Issues

One of the unique qualities of therapy is that as a therapist, I see my role as someone who is able to see far beyond the issues that you may arrive in the therapy room with. I believe that all distress, regardless of how complex and complicated it may seem, will make sense in the overall picture of someone’s life. We are the sum of our experiences and each person has their own story to tell. My role is to help you make sense of that. As a therapist it is not my role to diagnose and treat in the traditional medical sense of the word. I do not see the issues that you present as areas of your life in need of ‘treatment’ but rather, my focus is on you as a person with a unique life experience. There is no general right way of being or any notion of “normal psychological health”, what is right for you, is precisely what is right for you. That is to say, our journey together is to focus on you leading the life that you want to live and one that is not set by any other person’s ideals than you. Rather than being a cliche, your uniqueness is the way in which I will fully be with you, listening to you and seeing what emerges from that.

I will sit with the unknown, I do not label the people I see and I am not driven by a technique-driven path. I have a really comprehensive tool kit and will support you on the path that is right for you. As well as discussing the issues of importance to you, I will work with you to problem solve and establish new coping mechanisms and new patterns of behaviour, thinking or feeling that will work better for you. I believe that most “behaviours” can be clearly understood as a way of coping with some sort of trauma and adversity in someone’s life. It is a way of responding to manage and survive an emotional pain so rather than be dysfunctional, those strategies are often essential survival techniques! When they are no longer helping you though, we can explore how those behaviours may have come to be, and how you want to change them.

Bearing that in mind, common “issues” presented in therapy that I work with include the below. To find out more about each one, follow the buttons below;

Addiction

Addiction may commonly be associated with drugs and alcohol, i.e. substances that have a clear physical effect on the body, but it is possible to be addicted to any range of activities such as technology and gaming including the internet, sex, shopping, prescription drugs, solvents, work.

When we no longer have control over what we are doing, and it progresses to something which becomes obsessive and an overwhelming desire and pull to do, you may benefit from addiction counselling. At this point your habits are controlling you and it may have reached the point at which it has become harmful to you.

If your addiction is interfering with your daily life you may benefit from addiction counselling and psychotherapy.

Anger Management

Anger is an acceptable feeling and functional response to desire to change or do something in the present yet sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by our angry feelings and it becomes a struggle to deal with our own anger. We may find it difficult to name an origin or cause for our anger and we may not see how it came to be nor how to manage what is going on for us and therapy can help explore what is going on for you.

Anxiety

We may all be anxious at some time or other in our lives and other words used include nervousness, worry, concern or self-doubt, among others. When our anxiety goes beyond our control and becomes something that takes over it can be highly destructive and have huge impact on our life.

Attachment

For the majority of us, the relationship we have with a primary care-giver, usually our mother, is our first long-lasting and trusting relationship. Sometimes however, for a variety of reasons, this may not be the case. Separation, trauma or neglect could all mean that this first potential relationship does not get sufficient nurturing or attention. This is not always within the control of the parents either, for example if a baby is very unwell and needs to be looked after in a special environment.

For whatever reason, there may be uncertainty, mistrust and fear giving our early experiences and relationships a shaky start. Our experience of a safe, secure and healthy attachment could disrupted and we may experience unpredictability or even negativity from early care-givers. As babies and young children we are learning that adults cannot be trusted and can be unreliable. As a result we may develop attachment issues or if severe, an attachment disorder.

Bereavement and Grief Counselling

Over our lifetime we may come to experience grief and bereavement in a variety of ways. Whether we experience the death and loss of a loved one or the inevitable loss that accompanies certain life events such as moving house and losing a place we call home, friendship groups and possibly even our identity, the grieving process is incredibly individual and unique from one loss to the next.

Carer Support

Whether by choice or because of a need within your family, the role of a carer is an intensely demanding. it is also often physically and mentally exhausting. You may be looking after someone due to a mental or physical disability, it may be following an injury or health issue or it may be a life-limiting illness. If someone you know could not cope without your help and you are in an unpaid role, you are a carer.

Depression

Every now and then we can all feel sad and empty. We may be going through a tough time or experienced something upsetting that has rocked us and this would be a natural and understandable reaction to what is going on for us. But if you find that your low mood persists and doesn’t feel like it can lift, you may be experiencing depression.

Phobias

A phobia is an irrational or extreme fear of something. It may be a debilitating and overwhelming feeling that has an impact on your day to day life. Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder and issues can be triggered by a particular situation or thing. Phobias can sometimes originate in childhood but not always. There may not be an obvious cause or even rational reason for a phobia which often makes them difficult to understand. It may also mean it is difficult for a sufferer to find appropriate help if they don’t understand it themselves.

PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health problem that can occur after being exposed to unavoidable damaging or life-threatening traumatic events. A traumatic event can be defined as any event in which we see we’re in danger. It could be that we have been in an accident, experience sexual abuse, be witness to a fatal injury, experience a traumatic childbirth, get diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, lose someone we love or a range of other circumstances. It may also occur if we are exposed for prolonged time to someone else’s trauma (secondary trauma or vicarious trauma).

It is normal to be affected, upset or have difficulties following a majorly damaging events and this may continue for some weeks or months. If you find that your difficulties are not subsiding and continue to impact on your daily life and prevent you from going about daily activities, you may have PTSD.

Self-Development

No matter what kind of issue you may want to focus on, all therapy begins with awareness. If you have an idea of how an issue is affecting you or if you are aware of the area in your life you want to change, therapy can help unlock and heighten your understanding and awareness about the impact it is having on your life. This is the first step in your self-development journey.

Stress

We can all experience stress from a diverse range of sources on a regular basis but not suffer any adverse effects. Being under pressure with stress hormones flowing through our bodies can also bring positive results too. If we have a difficult meeting scheduled or an imminent exam we may find the flow of stress hormones galvanises us into action. It may help us spring into motivation mode and prepare us for the challenges ahead of us.

When we experience prolonged levels of stress hormones we may find it has a negative impact on our mental and physical health. At this point stress is no longer healthy and could be a chronic issue in need of resolution or improvement. We may also seek therapy for stress levels.

Suicidal Ideation

Suicidal ideation, or suicidal thoughts, is when you have considered suicide and may have the means or a plan to suicide. Many people may have suicidal thoughts and these may come and go and they may increase during times of stress or depression. If you are experiencing an emotional crisis there is hope and support available.

People having suicidal thoughts may find it is as a possible result of other mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or a range of other issues. But this isn’t always the case and suicidal thoughts may not be linked to another condition in many people.
Symptoms of suicidal ideation include;

A feeling of hopelessness and despair
Experiencing mood swings outside of our ordinary
Withdrawing and isolating ourselves from others
Engaging in risky behaviour that may inadvertently lead to our death
Changes in alcohol or drug consumption
Experiencing a heightened state of alert and feeling anxious
“Sorting ourself out” and putting things in order
Change in the language we use to include talk of “being a burden”, “wanting to end it all”, “can’t cope anymore”

Suicide

Grief as a result of suicide is a type of grief all on its own.

Alongside losing our loved one, there may be feelings of guilt, anger or shame associated with their death. The grieving process can be more complex and seemingly highjacked by a whole raft of emotions, thoughts and questions.

Has this really happened?
Will he come back next week?
Should I have noticed something was going on?
What could I have done to stop this?
How can I go on on my own?

Our questions may be endless and many may go unanswered. We may have to find a way to grieve around unanswered questions and we may have to learn to live with a certain amount of unknown.

We may also feel isolated and withdraw after experiencing a loss by suicide. We may feel a stigma attached to suicide and we may not be open with others about the reasons behind our loved one’s death. It may be that we invent other reasons for their death, wanting to avoid the questions or fear of judgement from others. We may also feel intensely frustrated and angry that our loved one has taken their life. We might not ever understand or even know the reasons for their death and it may be maddening to not be able to make sense of what has happened. Hopelessness and betrayal may also be experienced as we struggle to understand how we were not able to stop what has happened.

All of this and so much more may be common after bereavement by suicide but you are not alone. Finding a way out of such a confusing space and time is possible.