Here is more information on some of the issues I work with
Anxiety often comes from fear. Fear is a natural and helpful response to protect us from danger. In the past, we had to protect ourselves from predators and the fear response caused our bodies to produce adrenalin, raising our heartbeat and breathing in readiness to run away from danger. Nowadays we don’t have predators in the same way but our fear instinct still exists and can be triggered by people, situations, judgements from others (and ourselves), guilt, watching TV and films and anything we see as fearful. As we can’t rectify the situation by running away, we may internalise these feelings and suffer with anxiety. We can feel we are about to lose control, embarrass ourselves, pass out or even die. In counselling we can explore where these feelings are coming from, what other things they may be connected to, and work towards changing your responses and work on finding a more relaxed way of being.
Depression – that feeling of hopelessness, low energy, negative thinking. Through working together and exploring your life events and feelings we can discover ways to find a way forward.
Loss and Grief
Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. Feelings of grief may come from the death of a loved one, but any loss can cause grief, including:
- Divorce or relationship breakup
- Loss of health (yours and/or loved ones)
- Losing or changing your job
- Loss of financial stability
- Misacarriage or termination
- Infertility – you can experience grief and mourn the baby you haven’t had
- Loss of a beloved pet
- Loss of a friendship
- Loss of a feeling of safety after a trauma
- Moving home or location
- Going to, or leaving, university or college
You may feel you are unable to achieve the things you want to do. You may compare yourself to others and feel less important, less clever, not as good as them. You may have negative views on your looks, your body. Your internal dialogue may tell you negative things about yourself; that you’re not worthy, you look bad, you’re too fat, too thin, stupid, boring etc. Feelings like this often come from external sources; things you’ve been told or comments that have been made by significant people in your past. In counselling, through exploration of your past and present life, it is possible to change the way you feel about yourself and find a more confident you.
Phobias root from our natural fear response. Our inbuilt safety net helps to protect us from danger. It aims to stop us jumping off a cliff or high building, to run away from what we perceive to be dangerous animals or threats. If we live near the top of a cliff face, or in a block of flats, we need a level of fear to stop us falling or jumping off. If we live in a country where certain animals can seriously harm us, our fear of spiders, snakes, wolves or lions could save our live. If we live in a place where danger is right outside our front door (as we did thousands of years ago) we could be fearful of going out.
It is when a fear becomes more pronounced and gets in the way of our lives that it becomes a phobia. A phobia is described as an extreme, overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal. It is also described as ‘irrational’, but phobias often come from what feels like a very rational experience (a bite from a dog or sting from a wasp).
However, they often come from another person’s experience which is transferred to us; “my mum/dad/sister/brother always screamed at spiders, so I do too”.
There are techniques for overcoming phobias which we can explore together.
You may be having issues in your marriage or with your partner, or with family members, friends or colleagues. Relationships can be affected by so many factors. Job changes and redundancy, loss and grief, illness and disability, depression, having children, not having children, sexual issues, affairs, and misunderstandings in communication. Exploring yourself and what your triggers are, reassessing your boundaries and the way you listen and communicate, as well as gaining understanding of how others behave and communicate, can enable you to make changes and find new depths in your relationships.
The word ‘stress’ describes a range of feelings. It often comes from being under too much mental or emotional pressure, causing you to feel unable to cope. Some people find a certain level of stress is helpful to motivate them. Some find it makes them feel overwhelmed, anxious, irritable, helpless or low in self-esteem. Physically you may suffer with headaches, sleep problems, muscle tension and more. If untreated, stress can trigger depression and illness. Some people try to cope by self-medicating with alcohol, smoking or drugs. Mental health issues including stress, anxiety and depression are the reason for 40% of visits to a GP, and GPs often suggest counselling as a way to bring down stress levels.
Trauma, PTSD and CPTSD
Trauma encompasses a range of deeply distressing events where you have felt scared, overwhelmed, out of control, confused or unable to cope. You may be experiencing trauma from something that has happened in the past, or it may be something that is happening for you now. Causes of trauma can be harassment, violence, abandonment, rejection, sexual, verbal or physical abuse, narcissistic abuse, bullying, witnessing of violence (particularly in childhood), car crash, discrimination, life-threatening medical conditions, having an alcohol or drug dependent parent, and many more. These experiences can sometimes trigger PTSD (Post Traumatic Distress Syndrome) or CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Distress Syndrome).
With sensitive counselling and looking at the events and experiences in a way that is tolerable, it is possible to reduce the rawness of these feelings and move towards living without feeling controlled by them.