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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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Self expression.

How do you express yourself?
Through Art?
Are you one of those types who are comfortable:
  1. expressing how they feel?
  2. asking for what they want?
  3. engaging in dialogue with novel people....?
  4. using a loud speaker, whilst driving to tell someone you like their hair...?
Yes... Number 4 happened to me two weeks ago. 
Whilst I waited to cross the road at a set of traffic lights, a white van passed me and an individual announced through a loudspeaker (...yes I did say a  loudspeaker) "NICE HAIR!". 
The other pedestrians, now privy to this broadcast, smiled in my direction.  I wasn't embarrassed, more amazed because the event was just so random, so unexpected.  On the other hand, maybe it's more common than I think and I've just lived a sheltered life.....?
Me thinks NOT!
Anyway, I love my hair and agreed with the announcers observation, however, as I processed this episode further, I smiled.......you know, one of those internal smiles.  I smiled at the wacky, random, uninhibited act of this individual.  I smiled at their confidence, their individuality, their spontaneity.  The therapist part of me smiled; it made me think about some of the clients I have worked with, who felt unable to express their selves freely.... solution? Easy! ......Issue them all with loudspeakers.
Hope you enjoyed this blog.
As always your comments are very welcome.

"Once in a Blue Moon".

It's August 2012 and this month the night Sky has some great things on show.  I'm pretty excited because I love watching the sky at night.  Sometimes living in the city makes it difficult to see things clearly.  However, there are some occasions where the sky at night is so clear, free from congestion and clouds.  During those moments you get the chance to see a myriad of stars decorating the sky.. simply beautiful!...Mmmm,Bliss!
My favourite, FAvourite, FAVOURITE though is......the MOON!  For some reason it fascinates me, makes me reflect on how amazing it can be to exist; to connect; to feel. This month we see something that doesn't happen that often.......
Wait for it............
Instead of one full moon, we get TWO!  I know... Can you feel my excitement?......I can feel yours!
For those of you into Astronomy, two moons in one month is known as a  Blue Moon and only occurs every 2 - 3 years, hence the phrase "Once in a Blue Moon." (doesn't happen often.)
The last time there was a blue moon was in March 2010.  We expect the next blue moons on the 2nd and 31st August 2012.
The idea of the blue moon not only got me EXCITED (night sky watcher mode); it also got me thinking (ok..... back into therapist mode);
thinking about our existence on this planet we call earth. 
I overheard a conversation where an individual felt they were 'plodding through life'. Plodding through life is a reality for many and after a while it can become tiring, isolating and disheartening.  I want you to try and think back to the last blue moon in March 2010; What were your goals or issues back then?  Two years have past and we are now in 2012 with another blue moon beckoning.  What are your goals or  issues now? What is it like comparing , reflecting and analysing the self you were two years ago to the self you are today?
There will be another blue moon in September of this year, however, after that we won't expect another until July 2015.
I wonder what kind of person we will be in 3 years time, whether we are able to press on, or will we just be plodding on?
"It's true some things happen once in a blue moon
we don't have to wait for the next blue moon to make things happen."
Taken from Antoinette Prince (in therapist mode).
Thank you for reading and your thoughts are always welcome.

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.


2012!  Time to make New Year resolutions,
time to change.......blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!
Every New year we are bombarded with images, adverts and the like with messages of making a change.  TV adverts have a myriad of activities, designed to get us, fit; into shape; healthy!
Now I'm not adverse to change, how could I be...I'm a therapist, assisting change is a significant part of what I do.  However, change which is force fed and designed as a money making venture doesn't sit well with me.  A person who wants to give up smoking will do this when they are ready, not just because it's a new year.
Therefore, I won't be saying to you all:
"You must have counselling because we have started a New Year and you need to sort your life out". 
However, what I have noticed recently, indicates that some of you are looking and searching for something! Therefore, this blog, will focus on my observation...something I've been paying attention to throughout December. 
I'm fortunate, because my website provides me with daily reports about how many of you visit my site and what pages are being read.  My blogs appear to be pretty popular and throughout December 2011, one particular blog has been extremely popular.  In October  2011, I wrote a blog entitled "To  Live" (if you click on this link you can have a little read) and it appears that it has been really popular throughout December and into this  New Year. 
Having the investigative mind that I have...I wonder and question, why that blog would conjure up so much interest.  Could it be as simple as we think? Are some of us finding it difficult to live and exist? Maybe, but more importantly why?
Now I'm gonna ask you three simple questions, the same questions my therapist asked me when I was training to be a counsellor.
1.  What do you spend most of your time doing?
2.  What do you do in your spare time?
3.  What do you spend your money on?
Ok, now the same questions, just phrased slightly differently
1.  What would you like to spend your time doing?
2.  What would you like to do in your spare time?
3.  What would you like to spend your money on?
The answers you give to these simple questions may indicate what kind of life you are currently living. 
Yeah it is 2012....however, regardless of the New year, how do you want to live.
Your comments are welcome and Happy New Year!


“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.