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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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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.

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.


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.

"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.


In May we looked at "feelings"
This month I "thought" it would be interesting to look at certain attributes that are linked to our feelings.  One attribute in particular that interests me is the idea of thinking or thought.
Thoughts and  feelings are closely connected because the thoughts we have can definitely trigger our feelings and emotions.  Equally important however, is how our feelings can be the catalyst for many thoughts...albeit adaptive or maladaptive ones.
Please believe me when I say that I am not an ogre, however, I love to watch my clients cringe when I ask them "How they are feeling?" or "What are they thinking about?"  More often than not, those that cringe are those that find it difficult to access their emotions and thoughts.   What  really pleases me though, is watching the change in a client who once found it difficult to express themselves.  As they continue to work on themselves they find it easier and more comfortable to describe, assess and monitor their thoughts.  
As a therapist I am aware that clients come to me with their experiences and entangled within those experiences are a vast array of feelings and thoughts.  The work within the therapy is about being able to explore these thoughts, to entangle them; make sense of them.  This of course is not easy, but essential for ones development and existence.
At SW11 Counselling it is important to me to assess how a client is feeling; acknowledge their thinking patterns.  Of course I am a huge advocate for talking therapies and strongly believe that Psychotherapy and Counselling  are excellent tools in getting an individual to understand their inner world.
Right.............that's enough from me, now I turn the tables toward YOU!
I have a few thought provoking questions below that I want you to try and answer.  I understand that answering these questions may be more difficult for some than others.  Have a go anyway....it'll be interesting to see where your thoughts and feelings take you to. 
As per usual your THOUGHTS and comments are always welcome.
What makes you smile?
What makes you frown?
When are we self-improved enough to accept ourselves?
What impact are you wanting to leave on the world?
What does it mean to you to allow another person to fully love you?

What in life, is beautiful to you?
Where do you find inspiration?
What is your quirkiest habit and how long have you had it?
Give your 5 favorite songs. Why do you like each one?
What is your saddest memory?
What is your happiest memory?
Can you describe your life with a six word sentence?