SW11 Counselling - A therapeutic counselling service to all in need of support.
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Stigma, Discrimination and Mental Health.
Postive thinking
Self expression.
"Once in a Blue Moon".


stigma and discrimination
The Self
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My Blog


Christmas is a magical time,
Is there any doubt?
But I'm going to need a psychotherapist
To get my anxieties out!
The sugarplums might be dancing,
But they're messing up my mind;
The silver bells aren't doing much
To help me unwind.
Section of a poem by
Joel Bjorling, Gilson taken from: www.theholidayspot.com 

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others.  Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?
By Bob Hope,takenfrom: quotations.about.com
This comes to wish you
joy and good cheer
not just for Christmas
but throughout the new Year. 
Christmas is..Christmas is...
What is Christmas?..
To some there is no Christmas..simply because of their religon.
To others Christmas is a time of loneliness because of past events.

By James, taken from: www.poems.md

To live.

To live means to...........?
This may sound a tad morbid, but, there are three things we are certain of in life....We are born, we live and then we die. Well I did start writing this when it was Halloween, so, I am allowed to be a bit chilling.  However, when it's put like that, so matter of fact, it can give anybody the creeps.  Coincidently, I thought I'd let you know that only two out of the three really apply to us nowadays.   So, there it is, the harsh truth.... plain and simple,
We live and We die.
To live means to...........?
The "WE LIVE" part of ourselves, is what may bring a client to seek counselling/psychotherapy.  What do I mean by this?  Well occasionally some of us forget how to live, or sometimes don't even know how to live;  For others, living can be a real struggle.  Mental health issues such as Stress, Depression, Anxieties, Addictions, Eating Disorders, OCD's etc, can be linked to experiencing some level of difficulty with existing or living.
To live means to...........?
I know you see the question I'm asking.


“I am doing it for the thrill, for that feeling of danger and freedom.
This is my way of expressing myself…
We set ourselves limits, but we are all strong enough to aim higher, to achieve our goals.
All we have to do is find such within ourselves.
Know how to develop it….........”
Alain Robert (French Spider-man)
 (Taken from Xtremesport4u.com; Written by Lola Jones; Sept 29 2009).

Ok,.....I admit it, I confess!  I haven't written a blog since July; which to me is significant. One of the goals I set myself when I created my website, was to maintain monthly blogs.  It keeps my website active and I like to think that the topics been displayed will evoke interest and encourage discourse.
So how come I haven't written any blogs recently?
I may be defensive in my response and say that "I'm a busy woman and I have other important things to do"; or I could explain that sometimes finding the motivation to do particular activities or duties can be quite challenging. However, today, I have found the motivation to write about something....How did this come about?  Was it something inside of me (intrinsic) that was the driving force, that willed me to start writing?  Or was it something outside of me (extrinsic), a reward of some sort that pushed me? (PAUSE).
......A couple of hours later......
(RESUME)....Even more interesting, however, was monitoring how my motivation undulated throughout my attempts to write this piece.   If you notice at the end of the previous paragraph, we end with the word PAUSE; and begin this paragraph, with the word  RESUME.  This illustrates, that whilst writing this piece my motivation had waned...why?.... The simple answer is because I had been distracted by something more interesting.  The very fact that I allowed myself to be distracted in the first place surely speaks volumes!  We could argue that, if I had  been truly committed and focused, I wouldn't allow for any distractions.  I'm sure the French spider-man, Alain Roberts, wouldn't  have been distracted that easily!
As a therapist I have worked with clients that have come to therapy for a variety of reasons. Lacking motivation is an area that concerned some to such an extent, that it resulted in amplyfying other behaviours, such as anxieties, panic attacks, drug abuse and isolation to name but a few.  When I'm asked " what can I do to motivate myself?", as  a therapist I can't really answer that question, because it could be defined as giving advice...and we all know that therapy is not about giving advice.  However, equally important  is the idea that as humans, although we may share similarities, we also have differences, thus, what motivates me, won't necessarily motivate the masses.  Therapy involves the client and the therapist working together, openly and honestly, providing a comfortable, confidential space where thoughts and feelings are spoken, listened to and explored.  Counselling and Psychotherapy is an extremely valuable resource toward discovery of self.  When we are given the opportunity to truly explore ourselves, we also get the opportunity to discover novel things about ourselves....even things that motivate us.

What motivates you?
Your thoughts and responses are welcome.

More endings.

93  murdered in Norway.......Amy Winehouse found dead are shocking endings that have occurred over the past 48 hours.
As outlined in my previous blog about endings, they can take on many forms; the recent atrocities in Norway and Amy Winehouse's death illustrate endings that were sudden, painful and definitely caused shock waves.
This blog could take so many different avenues, such as focusing on the callous nature of, put simply, a sociopath who disguised himself as a police officer to slaughter copious amounts of young people  in Norway; or the addictive behaviour and personality of a singer, unable at times to function to her full potential, as the escapism of  her drug use helped her to escape her reality; the idea of an individual walking amongst us with so much hate and resentment; or the unfair notions that come up when we think about young lives being taken before their time.  These recent headlines encompass the idea of loss....loss of life, loss of rationality, loss of love and empathy.
These events will stir up a multitude of emotions and the healing process will be a long long way in the distance (if at all).  My thoughts are with those families that experienced tragedy over this weekend.
Your thoughts are welcome.


"Thank you and goodbye".......
will be the headline on the front cover of the News of The World newspaper.  The News of The World, founded in 1843, will cease publication on 10th July 2011.  To be fair 168 years of reporting the news is momentous in itself, however, it is clear that their moral code/ethical stance in their bid to have a "scoop," has definitely been the catalyst for its demise; The News of the World has come to an end.
It's interesting how endings take form, some are forced upon us, other endings are a shock/surprise, whereas, some endings can be a gradual slow process.  As mentioned above, in the case of The News of the World, its end was due to its unsavoury conduct.
Endings are particularly significant in psychotherapy and counselling because it illustrates, that the client who arrived into therapy feeling distressed is  now able to leave feeling more comfortable and more aware of themselves and their processes.  One of the most rewarding aspects for me being a therapist is hearing a client tell me that they are ready to end therapy, they are ready to go it alone and to fend for themselves; it simply demonstrates the client that was once so fragmented, isolated and lost is now  more complete, connected and empowered.
Interestingly, the year so far has made me  look at some of the endings that I've experienced on a personal and professional level.  Although these endings have worked for me positively and negatively, causing me to feel elated, validated, frustrated and agitated, I can tell you confidently and congruently that they have enabled me to learn and to grow.
So to conclude, endings can be painful, sudden, scary, fun and exciting....but I also like to think (being the eternal optimist that I am) that we need to experience  different endings so that we can learn to understand other aspects of ourselves, as well as, start to forge new beginnings. 
Like they say: "When one door closes another one opens".
Your thoughts are welcome.


Who are you?
How do you define yourself?
Who are you when you are alone?
Who are you when you are amongst others?
How do you think you are perceived by others? 
Image of a blank face; a representation of an individual without identity
Identity....When you think of your identity what springs to mind?
For example my identity could be placed into various boxes, i.e. professional, sexual,  gender, religious and so on.
I suppose what i'm interested in, especially as a therapist, is who you think you are? 
Since I became a therapist, I have seen many clients who really don't have a clue how to define themselves.   Well, actually that statement is only half true!  The vulnerable clients that I have worked with can define themselves, but, only in negative terms.  One exercise or process that I do with a client is to ask them, how they see themselves.  I start by asking them to give me five positive adjectives.  More often than not, clients who may be suffering from loss of identity, depression, low self esteem/self worth, really struggle to relay these to me.  However, in contrast, these clients often have a myriad of negative adjectives in their schema.
Psychological assessment tools such as Myers-Briggs and Johari's window are helpful in understanding how an individual relates to themselves, their environment and to others.
I believe that Counselling and Psychotherapy is extremely valuable in helping a vulnerable client develop a clearer sense of self.  What is particularly important in therapy is the relationship between the client and the therapist.  The focus is on working together to understand the origins of these negative processes, as well as, enabling the client to understand who they really are.  This by no means is an easy process, as it involves being really open and honest with ones-self and with the therapist. 
How did you find answering the questions at the beginning of this blog?
I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Work it on out.

An Hour Glass, an abstract image of life passing on by.And I, I can let my life pass me by
or I can get down and try
work it all out this lifetime
work it on out this time
I can let it all pass me by
or I can get down and try
work it all out this lifetime lifetime

Maxwell - Now (2001); 'LifeTime' Lyrics (chorus). 
There are many of us who can find the motivation to achieve our goals and to live each day as if it were our last.  However, in contrast, there are some of us who find the future a scary place, therefore, are more cautious or tentative; we may have no self-worth or belief, so become frustrated, confused and even more unsure.
Listening to these lyrics, as a therapist, I wondered, how many of us just let life pass us by? Wishing for something else....... something different, but, feeling paralysed to do anything about it.  Maxwell's song 'Lifetime' expresses feelings and thoughts of love, loss, depression, hope, growth and change.
"I can let my life pass me by....Or I can get down and try".
It's true, change is scary and the journey to some form of Self-actualization, has its obstacles, but breaking free from debilitating thoughts and behaviours is achievable and empowering .  We can choose to let life pass us by, but surely we owe it to ourselves to......
"Work it all out this lifetime...work it on out this time". 

Spring - A time for change.

Cumulus Clouds - A Spring like sky.
Searching through the internet I found so many interesting quotes and proverbs associated with spring.  Some of which I'll share with you in this blog.
"Spring is natures way of saying LETS PARTY." ~ Robin Williams.
"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is Summer in the light and Winter in the shade" ~ Charles Dickens.
"The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day that he created spring" ~ Bern Williams.
When I think of Spring Time, I look forward to seeing the world change from a place which was once cold, but, becomes warm; a shift from dark to light; grey clouds become fluffy and cumulus; leaves that were once brown and lay dead on the earth are replaced by hopeful buds, on their journey to becoming proud leaves, like the feathers on a peacock. 
As a counsellor/Psychotherapist, an important aspect of the work is forming a therapeutic alliance with my clients, so that they are able to recognise elements of SPRING within themselves.
Counselling and Psychotherapy can really help an individual who suffers from certain mental issues, such as depression.  Depression could be synonymous with Winter, whereby, an individual is numb to their emotions, their existence, everything is negated, dark, bleak, dead, unbearable, uncertain.  Through therapy an individual has the space to talk about their thoughts and their feelings in a safe confidential environment.  Although the journey is not an easy one, eventually like Spring, the individual, evolves, changes, is less constrained and considerably freer. 
"No matter how long the Winter, Spring is sure to follow." ~ Proverb.
All quotes and proverbs were taken from www.Quotegarden.com/springhtml.

St Valentines Day.

Abstract image of a love heart.So, February 14th marks the celebration of LOVE ...
There will be some of us getting  excited, waiting for a loved one or admirer to display their undying love, with a series of gifts, celebrations and proposals.  However, there will be others that believe that Valentines day is another commercial celebration, designed to make gullible people spend money unecessarily.
St Valentines Day originates from Roman times and is traditionally associated with the Cleric St Valentine.  Emperor Claudius II, ordered St Valentines death when he discovered that the cleric had been performing secret wedding ceremonies.  During St Valentines incarceration, the emperor wanted the cleric to change his religious beliefs, however, Valentine refused.  It is believed that St Valentine was executed on 14th February 270 AD.   It is also suggested that because St Valentine refused to renounce his religious beliefs, he portrayed the idea of a christian love.   St Valentines Day is less likely to be associated with its religious heritage and nowadays is defined as a passionate love.
LOVE takes many forms and is culturally defined, therefore,  applying a universal definition would prove impossible.  Emotions such as love interest me on various levels.  For instance, in my role as a counsellor, I have seen clients who were at a crossroads in their lives and questioned their love for partners.  Moreover, I have seen clients who found it extremely difficult to recognise any postive attributes about themselves or others, finding it much easier to negate their existence and that of others.  In short, having no love for themselves or anyone else. 
The love I write of here, involves the capacity to form an emotional attachment to another - interpersonal and a positive connection towards ones self - intrapersonal.  Therapy or counselling is extremely beneficial in understanding the issues that may affect you surrounding interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships.
No matter what your thoughts of  St Valentines Day, it is connected with the notion of love.  Love does exist and it is complicated, exciting, painful, generic, specific, free, suffocating, puzzling, elevating...................
What does LOVE mean to you?

When a push doesn't result in a shove.

A candle to show that we remember those young people who have been murdered violently. Between 1999 and 2003, I worked with young people who were labelled as disaffected.  My role at the time was to ensure that they utilised our services and assist them in changing certain patterns of their behaviour.  Back then we predominately worked with young men aged 13-19, viewed at risk because they were truanting from school; had been expelled; or were known offenders.  The gang culture amongst the young men that used our services was in full effect and the staff team and I would hear countless tales of violent encounters between our young men and rival gangs.  Stabbings and shootings were frequent occurrences.  Some of our young people were admitted to hospital as a result of stab wounds; one of our young men was stabbed which resulted in his death.  He died alone in a ditch in South London .
When I hear media coverage of the young man(aged 17) who was found dead in a stairwell on the pelican Estate in Peckham, my heart bleeds.  Yet another senseless murder.  What had he done that warranted him dying in that way? This takes the total of teenager murders this year in London to 19.
Although I'm not condoning violence, couldn't this matter have been resolved with an argument and a punch up? How come a push doesn't result in a shove?
This topic is both emotive and a long way from being exhaustive.  There are many variables to consider when we look at this subject matter.  I invite you to share your experiences and views.
This Blog is in rememberance of all of those young lives that have been taken, through violent means.