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Stigma, Discrimination and Mental Health.
Postive thinking
Self expression.
"Once in a Blue Moon".


stigma and discrimination
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Postive thinking

This idea of positive thinking is really interesting to me, especially as a therapist.

As mentioned in some of my previous blogs
e.g. positivity, trying to assist a client who is automatically inclined to use their cognition negatively, is no easy feat, however, there is something that intrigues and interests me about their processes.

Ok, let us assess your cognition/processes with am incident that occurred to me and probably copious amounts of you.

On Tuesday I went to the local cashpoint at Tesco's, (other supermarkets are available) to withdraw some money.  As I approached the screen, I noticed a message saying "transaction void, please press cancel".
I carried out the screens request and was directed to a normal screen, however, at that moment I thought to myself, "maybe I shouldn't put my card in".  So instead of listening to my inner voice, I ignored it and I put my card in the machine.  As I followed the directions typed upon the screen, I got to the stage where I could hear my cash being counted....JOY!
I waited for my card to arrive, shortly after my cash would follow.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
....Right, I'm sure it's not normal to wait for your card for 30 seconds. 
There you go...no card, no money.  As my demeanour began to turn sour, I walked into Tesco's and spoke politely to the manager, who informed me there was nothing he could do and that I needed to contact my bank...

Ok it's clear at this point....
I'm not a happy bunny...
How do you think, you would be feeling at this stage?

I retreat to the sanctuary of my home, poised, frustrated, victimised by a cashpoint machine and itching to call the bank, knowing full well what will happen next.  My dear old card needs to be cancelled; a new one needs to be issued along with a  pin number and of course, I will need to physically enter a bank to retrieve money...(Breathe)...oh the inconvenience of it all.

How would you be feeling now?

As I speak to the operative, Claire, on the phone, I begin to laugh and tell her that I'm old enough to remember the days when you actually had to go into the bank to get money... (ok, stop trying to figure out my age....and concentrate on the blog).  At this juncture, I'm feeling a little less agitated and accept that for up to  7-10 days I'm going to be without a cash card and will definitely have to step foot into a bank to retrieve money.  Yeah.... it's inconvenient, but worse things have happened at sea.   At his stage I've accepted my lot and remind myself to listen to my instincts more often. 
How would you be feeling at this stage?

The range of emotions I experienced were of, denial, frustration, anger, inconvenienced, thoughtful, accepting and positive.
By employing some positive thought, I was able to turn a frustrating situation into one less so and all in the space of 30 minutes.  Furthermore, my positive disposistion was further improved when a friend insisted I sample some of her rum collection.  I thought it rude to refuse, thanks Geri! DOUBLE JOY!!

As a therapist I have worked with numerous clients that would dwell on an incident similar to this for a long time.  Procrastinating, negating, blaming, victimising, employing a cycle of destructive cognitions....the list is endless. The power of positive thinking is invaluable and can definitely assist in defusing certain situations.

SW11 Counsellinghas assisted many clients towards looking and thinking about things more positively.  For more information about the services offered by SW11 Counselling, or to read otherblogs, please visit the website at: www.sw11counselling.co.uk.

Many thanks. 
Your comments are welcome.


Buddha; Buddhism: The state of perfect enlightenment through ones own efforts and insights.Fairly recently, I decided that it would be great to send positive messages out to family and peers via a social network.  I had no ulterior motive, I just wanted to share the positivity I had within..........outwardly.
Nothing too heavy, just little things like:
  • "Top of the morning to ya."
  • "Just gazed out my window and was greeted with a clear sky.  I can see Jupiter, right next to the moon.  It's great to be alive innit? Nite peeps!"
  • "Had a great day yesterday!! Here's hoping for more of the same. Enjoy!"
Responses to my goodwill and happy to be alive messages were interesting.  I got several messages from my brother calling me a "loser!" 
and a couple of messages from others saying "what drugs are you on?"
Fun and jokes aside... the majority of the comments I read were positive and wished me well, however, I did note that a small minority had a tinge of negativity, usually attributed to feeling over-worked or over-tired.
My thought processes  are usually positive, hopeful and optimistic.  I'm fortunate to be able to generate 'positive automatic thoughts.'  Although I have always been a positive person, it must also be  recognised that I'm no Mother Theresa and  I do my best to maintain my positive environment.  Put really simply, I tend not to sweat the small stuff because:
Smiley face.  Denotes feelings of happiness, joy, laughter, fun, ebullience.
  • firstly, it gives you frown lines and
  • secondly, holding onto good stuff generally feels much nicer. 
At other times I may utilise certain tools or reserves, such as: 
Night Sky: Visual interpretation: Peaceful, positive image.
  • Remembering special moments,
  • Watching a clear night sky, decorated with stars, planets and of course,the moon.  (Any opportunity to talk about the moon and I will seize it!...hehehehe.)
  • Listening to great music.
  • Doing things that make me laugh.
Individuals whose thoughts patterns are full of worry, angst, doubt and/or anxiety are likely to have a stream of 'negative automatic thoughts'.  Many aspects of their inner dialogue is fuelled by negativity, never allowing any space for positive processes to be filtered through and housed.
Loud speaker.  Visual representation: 'Melody of Mayhem.'Saxophone:  Visual interpretation: 'Sweet Symphony.'When you stop and listen to that inner dialogue that you have within,  what do you hear?  What kind of noises are being played?  Is it a sweet symphony or a medley of mayhem?
Listening to ourselves is extremely important, it helps us to learn and to grow. Talking therapies such as Psychotherapy and Counselling gives an individual experiencing a medley of mayhem, a safe space to be candid about theirthoughts and feelingsAt SW11 Counselling, the client and the therapist work together to explore destructive thoughts.  The aim is to work towards assisting the client in finding and housing their own sweet symphony.
Thank you for reading my blog.  Your comments are valuable and always welcome.

How are you feeling?

Feeling Happy?
Feeling Sad?
Feeling Good?
Feeling Bad?
Those  feelings just keep on thriving, living off the triggers we hold within and those that exist outside of us.
Now if you are feeling pretty happy and confident with yourself  it could be said that you are more self aware, therefore,  better equipped to express your feelings.  This statement however, can also be applied to those of us that are feeling sad or angry.
Feelings, be they positive or negative in their stance are very important  because they are indicators, they let us know that we exist;  For example, these are some of the feelings that I experienced today (in this order too!  Yes! (sighs) Therapist can have anal tendancies too!) :-
Energised, thoughtful, tired, grumpy, pissed off, bored, less grumpy, calm, happy, fortunate, thoughtful, playful, cheeky............etcetera! etcetera!  Now the day isn't over and I am sure that I will experience a whole host of feelings and emotions before my head hits that pillow.  The marvellous thing, however, is that I have access to my feelings; am able to interpret them; understand them and express them. I am fortunate to be able to understand what triggers them, which in turn assists me in employing better ways of dealing with them.  
Psychotherapy/Counselling is an important process as it offers the individual the tools  to learn who they are through understanding and being able to express their feelings.  For example, when I ask a client:-
Therapist: "How are you feeling?"
and they answer
Client:  "Ok".
I will respond
"That is not good enough...You need to give me another word." 
(Gosh it makes me sound like an ogre...... I assure you, it's all in the tone!)
I promise you, I am no ogre.  If you click on the picture above you can read the testimonials clients  made regarding their experiences of therapy at SW11 Counselling.  You will see that being able to express their feelings was a beneficial part of the work we did together.
Through my own experiences, those of clients and my professional training I believe using the word ok can be interpreted as a way of saying,
  • "I don't know" 
  • "I don't want/need to share my feelings" or
  • "I am unable to share my feelings".
What do you think?  Your views are always welcome.
BTW, as I end this blog I am feeling
"Content and proud".....
...."How are you feeling?"

The top 5 regrets of the dying.

Firstly, I want to thank my 15 year old nephew for posting this article on facebook recently....... "Very impressed dear nephew!"
The article written focused on data collected by a palliative nurse in Australia.
The top 5 regrets are:
  • I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life     others expected of me.
  • I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
  • I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
  • I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  • I wish that I had let myself be happier.
I found these results particularly interesting for several reasons.
All of the regrets are based on factors or issues that clients have brought to me in therapy.  For example when a client is feeling fragmented or depressed, they sometimes find it difficult to express their feelings, thoughts and ideas.  By having counselling/psychotherapy the client has the opportunity to express their feelings in an environment which is confidential, safe and non-judgmental.
 Imagine it!..................someone has lived their life, are about to die and their regret in life is that they wished they could have been happier!!!  Gwhizz!.... to me, this seems very sad.  There are so many strategies and/or techniques that could enable an individual  to be happier in this world.  Look..... I'm not here to ram counselling/psychotherapy down your throat, but, funnily enough, I do have evidence that counselling and psychotherapy works excellently.  I view them as enriching processes and  excellent tools in which to empower an individual.  If the therapist and the client are fully engaged in the work, then counselling/psychotherapy will help to diminish/eradicate negative thoughts and feelings.
I feel that the article in the Guardian,  connects beautifully with a popular blog I wrote back in October 2012 titled, "To Live".  In that blog I looked at the notion of living/existing.  In short, I explored what it would it take for us to live happily,  bearing in mind, that after we live, we die;  The article in the guardian goes to the next step, it explores the regrets that people have actually shared, near their death.
I'd like to think that those of us that are experiencing some personal, interpersonal and professional concerns, wouldn't wait until their death bed to explore, assess and treat.  You are alive now! Please don't wait until it's too late.
If you knew you were about to die, what regrets would you have about your own life?
Your comments are always welcome and thank you for reading this blog.

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.

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.