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Being Kind is good for your health and well being

Posted on May 22, 2020 at 3:37 PM Comments comments (189)

Kindness and empathy help us connect emotionally with our family friends and those tht we encounter. Kindness enhances our personal relationships and sense of belonging in a community. Research also shows tht kindness is good for our health and wellbeing.

Hormones are released that make us feel good.
According to research from Emory University, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centres light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed—not the giver. This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high.”  Like most medical antidepressants, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy!

Kindness reduces anxiety
University of British Columbia Study look at a group of highly anxious individuals that performed at least six acts of kindness a week. After one month, there was a significant increase in positive moods, relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance in socially anxious individuals.
Anxiety, whether it’s mild nervousness or severeWhile there are several ways to reduce anxiety, such as meditation, exercise and  medications, although being nice to others can be one of the easiest ways  to ease anxiety. Many people suffer from stress in their lives and helping others lets you get outside of yourself and take a break from the stressors in your own life, and this can also make you better equipped to handle stressful situations
Kindness prevents illness and you live longer
Acts of act kindness can trigger Oxycontin's release which reduces inflammation of the body, which is associated with diabetes, cancer and chronic pain.
According to health ,com you’re at a greater risk of heart disease if you don’t have a strong network of family and friends. When you’re kind to others, you develop strong, meaningful relationships and friendships,

unleash the creative adolescent in the therapy room.

Posted on May 19, 2020 at 6:16 PM Comments comments (0)

Counselling young people – Is talking enough

I have been working with young people therapeutically  for 3 decades and what I  realised early in my career  was that most struggled with counselling being  just a talking therapy.  


What’s the difference in counselling adults and young people?

Young people have specific needs when receiving therapy, this is a time in their lives that they are discovering their own individuality. At this age young people (those aged 11-19)  enjoy new experiences ,being creative is often seen as a positive activity  Abstract thought has developed and this can be incorporated in facilitating them to process their feelings and thoughts  with using metaphors within the use of creative tools. The expectation to just talk can be intimating and put young people off seeking counselling. Having creative opportunities is valuable to keeping young 
people engaged with the process. Creativity within the sessions allows the young person to explore difficult situations and feelings in a safe manner without having them feel too raw. Placing their thoughts/feelings  onto a object rather  owning it at that moment  allows them to feel  safe , then through exploration processing these difficult feelings can be achieved .

The tool box

I have found the counsellors that I supervise have discovered a wide variety of exciting tools to use, art equipment such as crayons, felt pens, chalks and paints are usually a good starting point ,clay or  playdough can be used for those that prefer a median that is  to tactile and many  can use the material to  channel the  release of emotional tension, in a simple primitive way. Investing or making a simple sand tray that can accommodate the use of miniatures and objects allow clients the opportunity for projective play. The use of miniatures and sand is a non-threatening activity  which needs no  art skills, which is  less self-conscious than traditional use of art materials. . They get into the exercise and discover unconscious material that they hadn’t realised. Other ideas include the creation of collages with materials such as magazines and coloured paper, I have had also used photographs when a young man who enjoyed photography. . A favourite one of mine  that I often introduce is asking the student to

Create a family portrait using whatever art materials they wish,  

This is a useful  tool to assess and reflect on family relationships roles and dynamics that they young person  may want to address.

Non -Directive Approach
 I work as a person centered counsellor  in a non-directive way, I don’t interrupt I help the client process their creations and allow them to discover their own meaning. Introducing creativity in the room is a skill that is developed.The basis is a relationship that is non judgmental and the young person  has trust within the counsellor.  .Building good rapport and having a relationship based on respect is central to the success of counselling young.  A young person will feel more relaxed and open to being creative if the environment in the room is one tht gives them the control , art material can be placed near to the young person in the session  or will  feel ok to be able to ask to use them. The contract will be the first discussion to  give permission to use the creative tools available during the session. . The person centered approach is not to interrupt the creations but to enquire and explore what the client  is creating . The person will be encouraged to find their own insight.

Why use them? .

Using creative tools can help with  a range of issues and are presented by young people These include .
Loss and  bereavement, 
identity issues , 
Past trauma . 
Bullying and low self esteem, 
Anger sadness and low mood 

Have a go ! you don't have to be good at art its the process and not the end the product

Clinical Supervisor to School counsellors and founder of 
space 4 u school counselling .

5 things to consider when choosing a counsellor

Posted on April 18, 2020 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (1)

last year I decided that it was time to buy a new car the whole process of deciding on the right car for me was anxiety provoking and took me several weeks. 
For many people the process of finding the right counselor is one that fills them with panic. 
I have been a counsellor for  over 20 years and have seen hundreds of  clients during that time. I have often asked them why they choose me ? 
Some said that I was convenient  in my location, some said they liked my profile picture, one person disclosed that my name was the same as her beloved Granny. Although all these reasons had value to these people I can  offer you 5 tips on finding the counsellor to fit you and your needs which are less risky . 
Tip 1
The general demeanor of the counsellor
The process of counselling is to be able to feel at ease with the person so you can share sensitive private thoughts and feelings. If you dont feel a connection then it dosn't matter how qualified and experienced they are. Use your gut feeling its usually right. 
Tip 2 
Don't be afraid to ask them questions and proof of their qualifications/ membership credentials. 
Any counselor that is who  they say they are , will be glad that you have asked them. In the UK counselling is not a protected profession i.e someone with  limited training can set up a counselling practice. I would recommend the your prospective counsellor is a registered  or  an accredited member of one of the main counselling organisations.The BACP and UKCP are the largest  , you are able to look up  counsellors if they are registered ,from their websites. It takes several years to become a therapist and  all the counsellors I know are proud of their achievements, so would be happy to share  this information. 
Tip 3  
Don't opt for the first counsellor you contact. 
It is good practice for counsellors to discuss a counselling contract/ agreement with you when you first meet , this is an opportunity to negotiate an agreement that you are happy to sign. If you don't wish to commit to the terms then you may decide that this is not the counselor for you. Its OK to say that  you don't want to book in future appointments. There are plenty of counsellors that may suit your needs more . Many counsellors have specialisms that may be valuable in helping you in your therapeutic journey, when you contact  therapists .make sure they are aware of your issue ,so this can be best catered for. 
Tip 4 
Be yourself. 
To have a successful counselling experience you will want to be heard and acknowledged by a genuine kind person that wont judge you . These  are fundamental qualities at all counsellors to demonstrate and is set out in our professional code of ethics and good practice , 
The outcome of a positive counselling experience relates to the quality of the therapeutic relationship between the counsellor and client. 
Tip 5  - 
Be aware of  the use of power. 
Counsellors can be seen by their clients as always  being right with almost  super human powers . This isn't true, counsellors are humans and have flaws. As a client you should be treated with respect and the counsellor should  be open and transparent in terms of letting you know what is expected in the counselling process  i.e reviews and planed endings . This is another reason to make sure they are a member of a professional body so you have the right to complain. 
Many people have successfully entered into counselling , when they are facing uncertainty ,emotional distress or negative thoughts, It  allows people to feel supportive, to have space to reflect and process life in general. 
Finding the right counsellor can be Like my car purchase, I was able to test drive a few cars before I settled on the one I felt best served my needs and have no regrets. 

rite your post here.

Creative tools used when counselling adults

Posted on May 24, 2015 at 4:34 PM Comments comments (8)
Last Saturday I delivered my second workshop at the counselling charity steps, the delegates for both workshops were counsellors trainees and qualified working with adults that had surfed sexual violence.
The workshop introduced creative therapy theories and practical exercises . The workshop covered a number of creative tools,
The use of a metaphor,
Sand tray and the use of symbols.
The use of Art
The medium of Clay
use of imagination with creativity.
The delegates rated the work shop favourably high and I enjoyed the enthusiasm and commitment of the counsellors in having a open mind .
Creativity is part of being human and  for some  the expression of their deepest concerns and conflicts can be expressed even more deeply than only using language .
This workshop can be purchased by counselling charities or organisations as part of their training calendar. If interested please contact me.

Launch of space4u primary

Posted on May 24, 2015 at 4:13 PM Comments comments (1)
Space4u has now launched their primary counselling service and we have secured a partnership with Inglehurst primary school in Leicester.
The counselling helps children access and deal with emotional distress by playing and exploring, The counsellor uses the sand tray and other creative tools to discharge tension and conflicts causing stress and worry.
We are committed to allowing children to access counselling within schools and our service promotes the benefits of counselling as a early help strategy.

Counselling not fines .

Posted on April 8, 2014 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (17)
The introduction of the policy that fines parents if the take their children out of school to go on holiday is not the most effective way to reduce the worrying number of unauthorised absences.
Many children and young people that don’t attend school is much more complex than having a few days off because theparents are wanting to manage the family budget more effectively or that theirwork commitments make planning family holidays difficult.
If children are feeling sad stressed,worried and confused, then more emotional support is required within schools so that children can be more able to feel confident to be in a learning environment which is often perceived by young people to be very competitive.
Research has demonstrated that counselling can reduce levels of lateness and absences within schools. Children can feel understand and acquire better coping strategies to deal withdifficulties that they may be dealing with i.e. poor family relationships, loss trauma and the deprivation.
When children and young people feelvalued and empowered then they often make better more positive choices about their lives which includes better concentration at school.

Counselling in schools should it be in all schools?

Posted on February 28, 2014 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (28)
School counselling increasingly is being acknowledged as being a fundamental service offered as part of the pastoral support that schools offer. There are many benefits that counselling provides, to has been showed that many young people that receive early mental health care, a reduction of more serious problems can be prevented. Counselling reduces stress and worry and this reflects in better school attainment. Space4u promotes the social and emotional well being of all children .

Bullying at school

Posted on February 10, 2014 at 5:49 PM Comments comments (24)
What can schools do to help children that experience bullying at school? Lets start a conversation and let those that write anti bullying policies know what may be useful.