Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Accountants or Clinicians?

So here is the thing ... it takes years and years for emotional architecture to develop; our own unique responses to stimuli - indiosyncratic thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Sometimes that architecture needs a repair or even a partial dismantling.

NHS prescription for such delicate and sacred work?? .... 6 sessions of operationalised guided self help. So who do you think came up with that one? - accountants or clinicians? OOOOoooh its a tough one!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hey ... I'm back

Its been a while. Not posted anything for ages. Been living it up in London .... and really struggling with assignments and general knackeredness. Feels wierd to be blogging again and may be reinventing myself. Lets see how it goes.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Its going to be a while

Hi Everyone. I am so damned busy that I am not getting any time to blog seriously. I could put up the odd post but I think its so rude not to then read all your lovely blogs and comment. So maybe I am falling between two stools. Not doing anything because I cant do it properly.

I will be back!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I cant seem to relax

I have a week off.

Usually I am racing around. Full time job, two post graduate courses to study for, London 2 days a week, social life off the scale, family etc You would have thought that a week off would be a 'good' thing. Yeh, you would have thought!

I am finding it so difficult to relax that I am actually miserable. All I can think of is getting back to work, re engaging with my course, doing all the things that will get our Service IAPT compliant. I am waking up at normal work time with my brain alive with all of this ... part of me is screaming "will you bloody well relax!" Some of my doomsday parent introjects are prophesying worst case scenario with heart attacks and physical collapse but try as I might I don't like standing still.

I feel morose when there is nothing to attend to. I can relax - for short periods of time. I love taking long, luxurious baths - I enjoy good food, wine and meals out. I listen to music, I go out with friends, I dedicate a good chunk of time to my spiritual and meditative pursuits. So I know there is nothing wrong with my ability to relax - what scares me is that I cant seem to relax for any length of time.

Last night I had nothing to do ... there was a bottle of wine, there were plenty of dvd's of my favourite programmes to watch, there was a comfy sofa ... I felt horrified; seriously agitated and not OK - depressed you could say. Life seemed meaningless and bleak, there was no purpose, no point to it all.

I don't like feeling like that and I know I can re frame this successfully and get back to feeling OK. Pleasure and achievement - the two vital components of behaviour, achievement is well sorted. Maybe I am defining relaxation by what other people think it is. Maybe I just need to play hard too!

Any suggestions welcome.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Intimacy and Blog Friends

Last night I had a wonderful time. It was the joint birthday of Fire Byrd and Trousers. We chose the Saturday which was equidistant between the two of them and celebrated accordingly.

There was no clubbing or raving or anything like that. What there was was companionship, intelligent conversation, good food and intimacy.

Intimacy is the final staging post of communication - the bit we get to after games when we no longer need to manipulate to get strokes. Intimacy is very real and feels wonderful because there is no need to pretend.

All of us, during the evening, commented on how blog friends often turn out to be people we feel most comfortable with. I believe it is because we achieve intimacy relatively quickly. Feelings are shared on the blog, opinions are aired on the blog and as there is no risk to relationship I believe there is a greater degree of honesty on the blog. Therefore intimacy is achieved.

A case in point. I am very close to Mei - again someone I met on the blog and at a blog party. Her openness and her hospitality are extraordinary. I trust her - yet in actual hours spent together I hardly know her. The blog established an intimacy that paved the way for what happened next.

Trousers went north of the Border to meet up with a blog friend he had never met. Fire Byrd travelled to a different continent to meet a blogger she had already established a strong bond with - the fact they had never met mattered not. I know a blogger in Australia that I would not hesitate to go visit.

It is an extraordinary phenomenon. It is blogging that delivers this - uniquely. It's not the domain of Face Book, for example (I would say disappearing half way round the world to meet a Face Book contact would be downright dangerous).

I think those who blog share so much of their inner world that the real person is seen, its hard to disguise malicious intent over the length of time and span of words that blogging requires - maybe I am too trusting but I for one welcome this spirit of sharing and hopefulness.

Long may it continue.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I will be blogging today - honest!

I have been down the black hole of CBT, full time (pressurised) job and the evil that is Facebook but as its the holidays I will be blogging again. Hopefully today if not then tomorrow. It all depends on fitting in a workout, having a bath and getting myself sorted before a night on the town with Trousers and Fire Byrd.

Will be catching up on all your lovely blogs too.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shifting Identity and Depression

I have felt really low this week. Down right depressed actually. Its an unusual feeling for me as I have had depression whipped for a good 7 years now.

As I felt utterly desolate this week I used my own skills as a therapist to get to the bottom of it.

Depression usually comes about as a result of a significant loss in the previous 2 years or a change of role/identity. Hence depression often sets in after having a baby, or losing a job, after the break down of a relationship or even at those crossroad moments of life where what you thought was true now looks decidedly shaky.

I think that is what is happening to me. I have been on the most incredible journey for the last 10 years, finding out about life, about my place in it, my spiritual beliefs, men, friends - you name it I have sought to turn what I was taught upside down.

My work as a therapist and especially a Transactional Analysis psychotherapist has been vital. TA has been a rock, a beacon - a firmly held belief. I believe in the sacredness of the soul and of humanities ability to grow. I have long held the view that to remove the obstacles to growth is all I have to do for my clients to naturally flourish. Its all rather mystical and beautiful and instinctive - an Art as opposed to a Science.

Boy oh boy oh boy. How things are a changing for the elf queen. I have now embarked on a CBT course, its prestigious and has the respect of the medical profession behind it. CBT is empirically researched therapy, it has statistics, facts and figures behind it. My identity is beginning to change. Its like being assimilated into the collective, resistance really is futile.

I used to see my integrative style as a strength. My new studies now frame it as a weakness - using an 'eclectic mix of methods based on the therapist's intuition' rather than a 'scientifically proven methodology'.

I used to value my 'hunches'as I consider myself highly intuitive, I encouraged this in my clients. Now I am learning that 'mind reading or fortune telling' is a particularly negative form of thinking that can cause real distress and anxiety. In learning to apply behavioural experiments and looking for concrete evidence I have to say, to my horror, I am beginning to agree with them. The evidence bares the theory out.

CBT is a Science not an Art.

I know this is a real challenge for me. My identity is wobbling, change is happening and like all change it will be painful for a while. I have a script pattern which places me between two polar opposites in key areas in my life. I think this pattern crops up over and over because the lesson I have to learn is to decide what I think, what my opinions really are. I was good at the arts and the sciences at school. I remember agonising over whether to take Physics or English Literature, Chemistry or German.

The basis upon which I work is being challenged, scrutinised, dissected. I am being asked to evaluate my belief in certain theories that have been likened to religious enlightenment. To offer structure and problem solving and to focus on the here and now because there is not any evidence (apart from anecdotal) to prove that dwelling on the past works.

I offer two groups where I work, one CBT - focusing on the here and now approach, and TA which is psycho dynamic and more interested in developmental idiosyncrasies. Both work but my goodness the CBTers are getting better quicker!

So here I am again. Its like growing up, suddenly there are rational explanations for the wonder of life and phenomena. Its like the magick could be taken away all over again.

I don't want to lose me.

I don't want to lose all that I knew to be true.

I don't want to see the world in a bleak cause and effect way.

So I am not going to - CBT does use different language but its still talking about the same things. Falling in love is still an incredible experience even if it can be explained as a biochemical process. Creating our own reality still happens even if you want to frame it as altering thinking styles and setting SMART goals.

This time I have to form my own opinions, not just take someone Else's on board and simply learn it. This is about my identity and magick and love. This is about science and credibility and wonder. Its time to be me. Not many therapists have Post Grad diplomas in Transactional Analysis and CBT.

That makes me unique.

My identity will emerge - till then I will rely on faith.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Snowing Again!

I must admit I do like the snow. I know it buggers up the roads and stuff but I still feel like an excited kid when I see the snow falling.

It was Imbolc on Monday - midwinter. I see it as a festival of Earth - Earth sleeps but there is life in the belly. New life is about to be born.

The snow is the icing on the cake, and as Imbolc is a festival of the Maiden the whiteness of the snow is very fitting, and very pretty. How girlie am I?

PS: I managed to waste nearly two hours on face book this afternoon. I am not proud of it but needed to confess. Thankfully I feel a bit better about my time as I have managed to blog. I am really trying to post at least once a week.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Journey

I used to tread a very narrow path - after all, "Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction". My world consisted of my family, my church and my home.

How could such a narrow place ever contain me?

I tried to stay within it beleiving it to be "right" - that reward was to be had in the diminishing of self, the withdrawing from experience and the covering of the veil.

When I look back now, I feel compassion for myself. My poor fragile, poorly self and I do give thanks that I had that experience because now ... now I love every minute of my life. Every busy, frantic, wonderful minute!

People tell me to slow down, to take it easy, to give myself a break. Why? Why ... when there is so much to do, and see and feel!

Spirit knows no frontiers, adventure ventures where it will,
Horizons lead to more horizons, time won't let us stop too still
And life is such a tempting menu, there is so much left to eat,
Borders mustn't cage the spirit, borders only stop our feet.

I had some Shamanic Healing in November. It was an amazing experience and it removed the final block to movement.

The block was a long held family script belief that movement forward will mean death. 70 years ago my great Aunt announced to her family that she was no longer going to attend the Church that she wanted more out of life, she wanted to explore an make her own way in the world. Within a week of her decision she was killed in a road accident - she was 19 years old.

Because of her death my father was born.

I have carried this tragedy and the moral message that was spun through the fibre of the family since birth. It took a long time to find the energy hiding in my body - it was in my right hip (a place where I had experienced pain for many years. Once the healer found it and I requested that it leave - it came from me. I uttered primal, gutteral cries as my body bucked and shuddered. It was like giving birth.

Then it was gone, I glimpsed for a moment my Great Aunt ... smiling and I had a new belief.

To move is to live!

I no longer experience pain in my hip or my heart.

I drink to you, brothers and sisters who take to the road, with
Your dreams and your visions,
Your spirits alive with the flow of your movement,
Seeking and venturesome along with the wistful and blue,
Shaping new lives from the uncharted patterns of life as it happens,
Day by day, day by day,
From the uncharted patters of life as it hapens, finding new ways

Brian Boothby; Trafalgar

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Phew - what a relief!

Been tidying!

Not just general tidying but finally clearing my study. It was so bad the cat was using it as a litter tray. I am ashamed!

Anyway - 3 hours and 2 Gin and tonics later I can move again. My desk has emerged from the chaos, it does exist it was not just a figment of my imagination.

I feel lighter, clearer - and able to face my day of admin tomorrow.

I started my CBT course in London this week. So far so good - I was the only counsellor the rest were clinical psychologists and one rather eccentric psychiatrist. I think I am going to love it - especially as I come out the other end a fully fledged supervisor as well as a therapist (Wooooooo)

Another BIG benefit is that Mei is going to put me up once a fortnight. Hopefully we will be able to have some girlie time together - and some wine. Cant thank her enough so Mei if your reading this - you are a star!

Right ... now for the ironing. Resembles Ben Nevis - going to take a long time!