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  • What to expect from Therapy

    This probably should have been one of my first posts, but it's been interesting to see how this varies in Private Practice as well as the similarities; this post will explore what therapy is like in general, what to expect, and how this happens in my sessions (this will be different for each therapist - thankfully! #diversityisbeautiful). I will be approaching this predominantly from a private practice therapist view, though there will be cross over with free services from NHS, charities, organisations. I'll be covering: Initial Contact Consultation/Assessment First Session Therapeutic Relationship Themes/Focus Structure, Consistency, & Boundaries Confidentiality In Between Sessions Endings Initial Contact Check out my post about how to find the 'right' therapist for expectations on the search aspect. Once you have found a few therapists you're interested in contacting it's time to actually make that initial contact; The way of contacting a therapist will be personal to them, as to what they offer. Most will have an email and/or phone number to call and enquire about sessions, but there are so many ways to make initial contact nowadays. It may be that you can book your initial consultation via a website or directory listing. This will normally involve giving some details for contacting and maybe some detail about what you're enquiring about. You can see an example via my booking page here. Alternatively you may be able to email phone, text, DM on Social Media, or WhatsApp the therapist directly. Regardless, it is important to have some space when making the initial contact as it can be a vulnerable moment. If you're making delayed contact (email, booking system, text, WhatsApp, DM) you can take some time over what you want to include details wise and outline what you're looking for. Be sure to check your spam for replies too, unfortunately this can happen with replies. Making immediate contact (phone call, live chat) may need you to make space before to note down things you want to ask or get across, time for the conversation with the therapist, and some time afterwards to ground yourself and check in as it can be intense depending on the questions you're asking, but also from any emotional build up the search and contact makes. I wish I didn't have to type this out, but please also prepare yourself for the potential of no reply from some therapists - though do check your spam folder often as emails can wind up there too. In addition, there is the possibility that the therapist you've contacted isn't able to take you on as a new client, so there can be a chance of not being able to have sessions with your chosen therapist. This 'no' can be for so many reasons (full schedule, conflict of interest, topic being out of competency, no longer practicing etc.), but it may be hard to not take it personally, so do prep yourself for potential feelings around rejection, especially if you know this is something you're sensitive to. Consultation/Assessment I can only speak of my own consultation in detail but I will try to give examples of how this might vary for other therapists - hopefully they tell you what to expect before you meet them. My consultation is a 45 minute session allowing space for us to talk in a little more detail about what you would like to get out of therapy, what might be going on for you at the moment, to talk through the counselling contract and manage expectations around what therapy will look like, and then I also leave space for you to ask any questions you might have. I do ask for payment on this at a reduced rate as it does take time to prep and be with you in the session, but other therapists might offer their consultation as a 'free first session' or a free 15 min phone call. I prefer to have a little more time to have the space to talk and take our time exploring what our sessions might look like before we just jump in - but everyone works different and that's why checking out a few therapists is important to see who you connect with. The consultation is a chance for both of us to get to know the other a little more so that we can make a more informed decision on whether we would like to go forward with sessions. I don't tend to use any questionnaires or scores but you may find that therapists ask you to complete one for the consultation. This is more used in therapy which is more goal orientate or in organisations where they need to show that the therapy is working in a more tangible way. First Session The first session may be filled with a few more questions from your therapist than normal as it is a chance for us to understand and clarify what's going on for you. It can take time for the therapeutic relationship to build up and so the first stage is very much around exploration and understanding. You may get straight into the content you bring to the sessions in the first session and this can leave people feeling vulnerable once the session is finished. I always try to check in with my clients at the beginning and then at the end of each session as a way to ground you but also to have a routine in keeping the session boundaried. I find this especially important in our first session as it allows you to get a feel for what our sessions will look like going forward but also because a consultation can bring up ALOT of information, feelings, emotions, and thoughts that have to be contained in a short period of time along with the contracting and questions, so it's good for me to check in on how it was for you after our consultation so we can look at how best to manage containing the emotions and feelings in future. I would recommend giving yourself some space after you first session, and all sessions, so that you have a bit of breathing space before going back into your day to day. Therapeutic Relationship The therapeutic relationship is not like other relationships in life. Whilst it is two way to some extent, most therapists won't bring their own 'stuff' to your sessions in terms of self disclosure. Some approaches mean that your therapist won't even answer "how are you?" as they want to be a complete blank slate in the relationship, meaning you won't know anything about them. Other approaches are a bit more relaxed on this and so your therapist may disclose information about themselves - this is done with you in mind, i.e. self-disclosure should be for the benefit of the client. You will have your own preference on this, so this may be a question to ask in your consultation with the therapist. I tend to do some self-disclosure where it feels appropriate. I do also share a fair bit of myself on my therapy socials, but again, I do this with my follower in mind - what I share is within the context of being for the followers benefit. The therapeutic relationship takes time to build, and it will be used within your sessions too. The relationship is there to be a consistent safe connection to model how you want to be in the 'real world' out of the therapy room. Your therapist will be empathetic, non judgemental, actively listen, and hold you with unconditional positive regard in order to let you explore what relationships mean to you, how you relate, and have a chance to practice how you want to be with others in your life. It is your chance to practice a healthy relationship! As you can see, the therapeutic relationship is important.Having a good therapeutic relationship has been found to be the biggest factor in having a positive outcome from therapy. We have supervision in order to make sure we are keeping this relationship boundaried, professional, and working in your best interest, because if we stray from this as a therapist it can have a negative impact. The relationship built should allow you to voice if you feel your therapist is wrong or if something said doesn't sit right with you. Ruptures can happen, as therapists are human and mistakes can be made, but if the relationship has a strong base, these ruptures can be a great chance to experience resolving conflict in a healthy way. With all this in mind, if you find your therapist isn't holding you safely, you feel like your feedback isn't being taken on board, or you feel your therapist is acting inappropriately please do look to raise these concerns with their Professional Membership Body, PMB, (currently counselling isn't regulated in the UK which can cause problems if you're looking to complain and your therapist isn't part of an organisation/PMB - check out my post here for more info). Themes/Focus You may chose to have a theme or focus for sessions. This will be different for the approach of therapy your Therapist follows. More solution focused approaches (CBT, SFT, ACT, DBT) will have a focus for your sessions. You might find that you have a structure to the sessions with a clear path of what you'll be doing. When I had CBT for my pain management I was given a handout which explained what we'd be doing in our 6 sessions. I had homework to do in-between each session to put what we talked through into practice. The sessions were very much about guiding me through the handbook, gaining understanding on what the process meant for me, and then putting it all into practice. This can be really useful and productive for those looking for ways of coping with a specific 'problem', however for ongoing deeper work it isn't always as effective. More client led approaches (Person Centered, Humanistic, Existential, Psychodynamic) might ask you what it is you'd like to get out of therapy, but it is then very much in your autonomy to get there. You will bring the topics to each session, your therapist will then help you explore this in the session. Integrative approaches tend to find there way somewhere in between these on the spectrum of client led or solution focused. I love being integrative, whilst it means I'm not a 'specialist' in any one approach, I am able to adapt to my clients preference of how to work and gives more flexibility on the timeline of sessions. I have found that most sessions tend to be client led to begin with as the rapport is building up, and then as more has been explored and understood there is a process of 'moving forward' which then brings in some of the practices used in the solution focused approaches. Structure, Consistency, & Boundaries Structure, consistency, and boundaries are important for therapy. We've already talked about boundaries in this post so far. Boundaries should be outlines from the offset of any therapeutic relationship. Therapists who are part of a PMB will have an ethical framework to follow which outlines the boundaries, so if you're ever unsure on if something is okay in therapy, you can ask your therapist or check out the framework yourself. Consistency is part of the ethical framework in terms of modelling the health relationship, and this goes both ways. It is important for you to be attending your sessions consistently as well as the therapist being able to be consistent in the space which is offered. As mentioned before, we are human, so there will be nuances to this as well as modern life not always allowing for weekly sessions. To me, the main part of consistency is to be engaged - this includes being in contact with your therapist if you're unable to attend, as well as your therapist being consistent in there engagement too. I am transparent with my clients from the start in having chronic illnesses which can lead to cancellations on short notice, however I always try to offer an alternative to meet each week where possible. As for structure, this goes hand in hand with consistency and boundaries. My prefered structure for sessions is to have them weekly at the same time and day, however this isn't always possible, and so a flexible structure is still just as valid. The theme throughout all of this, is collaboration with your therapist on what works for both of you. Confidentiality Confidentiality is one of the biggest factors in therapy. As a therapist we do what we can to offer you confidentiality in sessions, this means checking our software is as confidential as can be within the limits of our competencies, making sure our sessions are held where others can't over hear, keeping any data we collect secured and anonymised, etc. Every session should be held in a confidential space where all of what is said is kept between the two of you. The biggest section of my contract is around confidentiality, this is to explain what I do to keep sessions confidential, but also to explain where confidentiality may be broken. Sometimes we may need to break confidentiality in compliance with the law. This isn't always straight forward and can be a judgement call on the therapists side as to whether a break in confidentiality is the right move going forward for those involved. The overview of this is if someone is in immediate harm - whether that's the client themselves or someone else (abuse, terrorism). My take on breaking confidentiality is to do this in as much collaboration with my clients as possible. I will always try to talk to my clients about what breaking confidentiality might look like and what the next steps will be. It is never easy to break confidentiality on either side of this relationship! If you're ever worried about what you want to talk about leading to a break in confidentiality it is always worth talking about what this might look like with your therapist. A general rule I've seen in organisations is if you have a plan to end your life within the next 24 hours and intend to act on it then this would be a time to break confidentiality and raise the support for the client to crisis services, however your therapist may have a different take on this. In Between Sessions Following on from confidentiality, if you were to meet your therapist in a public space (online or in person) the general take is that your therapist won't acknowledge you to keep confidentiality in tact, however if you want to say hi then you can. I have a section in my contract to cover this as well as a digital policy for online spaces. Other types of contact in between sessions will vary from therapist to therapist. Some therapists may set 'homework' that you are able to send to them inbetween sessions ready to discuss in the next session. Some therapists allow you to text/email/message them with different things that come to you as part of the ongoing relationship. Generally speaking, I don't contact my clients outside of sessions unless it is to rearrange sessions, notify of holiday, or for something important. But as with everything there are nuances to this where I may know of a resource that would be useful to a client that they are happy for me to send to them outside of sessions. In order for confidentiality and boundaries to be kept in tact, it is advised that any contact outside of sessions is discussed with your therapist so that you are both on the same page and it can be contained within the therapeutic relationship. Endings Endings can happen for many reasons in therapy. Hopefully the ending is because you feel your work is done and you're ready to go on without sessions, however this isn't always the case. How you end therapy is up to you, as part of therapy is empowering you in your autonomy. Therapists may outline what they expect in regards to an ending - for me I ask for 2 weeks notice so that we are able to wrap up the work we're doing, the client can experience a 'good' ending, and we can review the work done too. You have every right to end sessions with your therapist and you can do for whatever reason it is (not connecting, complaint not acknowledged, feeling unsafe, feeling you've got all you can out of the sessions, feeling ready to end sessions etc.) Sometimes though, it may be that your therapist needs to end the sessions. This can be for an unlimited amount of reasons and will very much be up to your therapist to explain where they feel able. The most common reasons (I've seen) are health related, change of circumstances, or due to a conflict of interest that has arisen. Endings are delicate, the hope is that we can offer you a 'good' ending as most endings in the world can be painful (break ups, bereavement, ghosting). Your therapist will be as congruent and transparent with you as they can with the ending on their side, and we ask the same of you when you finally feel ready to end. Summary Therapy is different for everyone. It is a relationship between you and your therapist which is what works for you. Your relationship with your therapist will be different to their relationship to their other clients. Therapy is YOUR space. It is to support, empower, and heal you. It helps you explore your past and move forward into the present, preparing you for your future.

  • What is Pacing?

    Pacing wasn't something I was too aware of in the time of my life before my chronic illnesses kicked in to the degree they're at now. Before then I was overloading my plate and getting away with it, with only occasional breaks needed. However as I have gotten older and with my chronic illnesses developing - or I guess actually being more in tune with my body to notice my needs more! - pacing is something that is very much needed. Boom - Bust cycle The boom bust cycle actually comes from economics (Karl Marx) however it has now been applied to psychology and how we can live as humans. How I explain the boom-bust cycle is in terms of our energy levels and capacity, though this can then go deeper into pressures & expectations on ourselves. As the graph shows, when we have capacity/energy - a "good day" - we might feel the need to get as much done as possible. But then we'll hit a peak as we've exceeded our max capacity - this might be a pain flare up, condition flare up, mental health dip, migraine, etc. - and we then end up on a drop into the bust part of the cycle where we have no energy/capacity to do anything. Then after resting & recovering, the cycle repeats as we feel the need to catch up on the 'bad days' we've just had. The time that this cycle last might be different for everyone. It may be as volatile as every day, waking up with energy to do some tasks, overdoing it, and then needing to crash for the rest of the day. It may be that it's a monthly cycle. or a yearly cycle.... it will be individual to you. Have a think back to your last week/few months/year - does this sound familiar? So, what is "pacing"? Pacing is a process in understanding what your capacity is and working out a way to slow down so your capacity isn't overloaded. This can be done in many different ways and in a society where 'hustle culture', perfectionism, and comparing ourselves to others is rife, it can be hard to refocus purely on your own way of living and finding your own equilibrium within it all. This can be done in different ways in a process: Some people find spoon theory to be useful in understanding what their capacity is. this will be a process of working out how many spoons you actually have (make your best guess) and then how much each task takes. You might start with 12 spoons and categorise tasks into whether they use 1 spoon, 2 spoons, 3 spoons etc. Some people find timing events/tasks to see what you can manage before being at max capacity is useful. Similarly to above, this is categorising tasks, however it will be into time taken categories rather than energy used. Generally it is a good idea to pick one task to start with e.g. going for a walk. From here you would do what felt manageable being really mindful of how you're feeling before, during, and after. You would time the walk and do this each time you went for a walk in the week. Then look at the average time from the week as this will be your 'pacing time' i.e. the time that is manageable for this task. Some people might try a calendar approach by starting off with minimal tasks and building up to find their sustainable amount of events in a day/week before hitting capacity. Others might go about it in a more trial and error way. For me, personally, I looked at areas of my life and working them out in a layered way. E.g. my first priority has been work capacity. This involved working out how many clients felt manageable in a day, as well as spacing them out throughout the day for rest in between. I did this so I was under capacity, as then I've been able to layer on different areas of life like socialising, home life, looking after my dogs, housework etc. (I recognise here that I am really privileged to be able to do this with my work and have freedoms that others do not. If work isn't something that can be done in such a flexible way it's always worth looking into whether an occupational therapist visit is possible to help put reasonable adjustments in place at work.) Depending on what's going on for you, the absoluteness of how far you go with the process will be up to you. For some learning their capacity for different tasks down to brushing teeth, getting out of bed, getting dressed, showers, etc. is needed as their max capacity might be a lot lower than expected and so even the 'smallest' of tasks will take energy to a greater extent. For others capacity might be at a higher capacity and so figuring out tasks won't need to be as absolute but might be more to an extent of physical tasks taking energy e.g. housework, travelling, exercise, or mental energy e.g. reading, learning, work, or emotional e.g. social events, messaging, phone calls, etc. Or you might need to work out your capacity for a mixture of some/all of these things. It might also be that your capacity changes over time with the amount of support you have around you, with life events out of your control, with treatment options you might have. With this in mind, pacing is a fluid process which needs to have check ins with yourself and where you're at to adapt to where you are in that moment. Using a "Timetable" I was first introduced to pacing when I had CBT for pain management. The process here was to identify different tasks I fill my days with/or want to fill my days with. First off, we separated the tasks into enjoyable tasks (tasks we choose to do for pleasure), routine tasks (tasks we do daily/weekly) and necessary tasks (tasks that have to be done otherwise there is a negative consequence). Once you have these lists sorted, you would then colour code these tasks into Easy (green - tasks that don't take up much energy), Medium (yellow - tasks that are doable but take some energy), Hard (red - tasks that take a lot of energy). Then you look at sprinkling these tasks across your weekly timetable, with a mixture of enjoyable, routine, and necessary, as well as easy, medium, hard being mixed up. You would then review how you feel each day and for the week overall to look at any amendments that might need to be made. Picture below as a brief example: The cognitive change to pacing It is one thing planning and prepping how you are going to pace yourself to try and even out the boom bust cycle, but putting it into practice when you've been used to going 'full speed ahead' is difficult - it's something I still have to work on and monitor daily! We might have narratives we have grown up with - "get on with it", "keep going", "man up", "stop being so flaky"... this list goes on. Putting a schedule in place doesn't remove those narratives and so some internal work is also needed, to be able to sit with those thoughts, acknowledge the feelings that might come up alongside them, and find a way to work through them to acceptance. My BIGGEST mindset challenge has been with exercise. I have always been someone who does so many different types of exercising, I get such enjoyment, empowerment, and release from exercise, but unfortunately all the types of exercising I used to love aren't accessible to me anymore. This was a huge hit for me, it took a lot to accept this, and some days I still mourn the fact that I might never be able to do them again. So, to face a day of resting because I am depleted of energy/spoons is hard when my mind is bringing thoughts like "lets do something!!!" which I would love to do. Therapy is helping, and has helped, me get through this. It is true that we grieve our old selves, our 'healthy' selves, to then look forward at what we can do now with what's accessible for us. This is a big process in itself, so please don't be hard on yourself if you still have moments of slipping back into the boom-bust cycle, it happens, but take each day as it comes and offer yourself compassion. Whilst you're building your pacing timetable or getting an idea of how much energy different tasks use, be mindful on what's coming up for you and any thoughts that follow too. Maybe you get caught up in the moment because it feels good to be doing something you enjoy, or you just want to feel 'normal' again, or you don't want to 'fail yourself' by doing less than you would have done before. Those thoughts are important to recognise so you can explore them and work through them. Is pacing giving up on myself? I had this fear. That slowing down so much would mean I was giving up on myself, when in reality you are being compassionate and offering yourself support where you're struggling. A boom-bust cycle is only sustainable for so long before burn out or your body catches up to you. Pacing is a proactive way to look after yourself in the long run. It might feel like giving up because of the ableism in our society, but accepting you need to take more time for yourself isn't a failure, it's a success in looking after yourself. Of course, there will be extremes on the opposite end of getting into thoughts where everything feels too hard to do, in these instances it is about using pacing to increase your activity levels in a controlled way. This might be starting with 1 minute of stretches a day for a week, then going up to 2 minutes for a week until you get to 15 minutes. Recommendations: Get some support in place for yourself through this process as it can be mentally and emotionally draining Take your time. My need to have things done and in place tried to take over with pacing; ironically, pacing the process when looking at pacing your life is needed. Therapy helped me with having someone guide me through it, challenge my thought patterns, explore the feelings, and look forward at what I had already done for myself (you'd be surprised how much this last bit gets overlooked). Explain what you are doing to those around you - obviously where you feel comfortable to - but it can be helpful so others are on the same page with you. You can still have fun, this process isn't meant to strip the joy from life, rather it's meant to help you find a way to live life to YOUR fullest, meeting you where you're at with your needs and health. i.e. I've learnt that if I want to go to a gig, or have a social day, I probably need to take some time to myself to allow rest and regrouping afterwards. The takeaways: Understand what pacing means for you - spoon theory? timings? energy ratings? capacity? etc. Figure out how pacing can work for you in your timetable Be mindful of your thought processes and narratives that come up for you in the process Try to offer yourself compassion in the process - it's not easy! Pacing is proactive and can be used to increase activity in a controlled way over time. You're allowed to take time for yourself. Resting and restoring your energy and wellbeing is important, as are you!

  • How to cope with grief

    Through my work a theme of peoples expectations on themselves and how they 'should' be dealing with grief has become apparent, they are often so unrealistic and add pressure on to ourselves to 'be better'. So, I wanted to demystify grief and what can happen for us in grief. This post includes: What is grief? How can I manage self expectations? What can I do to cope with grief? Further Resources Helplines What is grief? Grief is a complex mix of emotions that come about from a loss; the grief that we experience will be different to how others experience it as it is unique to the relationship we had with who we've lost. Because it is different for everyone it can be really difficult to describe exactly what grief is - it may be intense sadness leading to depression, it could be anger, feeling numb, feeling relieved, feeling guilty, shock, disbelief etc. Whatever it is you are feeling after losing someone is 100% valid and human, there is no right way to feel grief. The grief we experience will also be different depending on our culture and upbringing. If we have a religion the aspects of that religion can play a part in our grief and how we cope with the loss. Some cultures and religions see death as a way of 'completing' life, you have fulfilled what you needed to and can move on to the next life. There is, largely, acceptance around death, and though it can be a sombre occasion, it is also celebrated. Other cultures don't really talk about death and so grief can hit harder as we may feel completely unprepared for what death means for that individual and for ourselves. Experiencing grief for the first time can be really scary whether we have an overwhelm of emotions or a lack of them - there are quite often the questions around comparison and questioning if our grief is normal i.e. does anyone else feel this way? Why can't I stop crying? Why aren't I feeling anything? There can be times where our grief is much more complex; bereavements through unexpected, shocking or traumatic situations, multiple bereavements, and bereavements through the COVID pandemic are examples of where bereavement can be complicated. Complicated grief is where we may feel stuck in our emotions or unable to manage our emotions over a long period of time. How can I manage self expectations? Some people may go back to work within days of a close bereavement, others may take weeks or months to feel ready to work again or find a daily routine that now works for them. The impact of grief can be so different, so it can be hard not to compare our grief to other people and then look at why we aren't like that. I like to remember that "grief can often be a reflection of the unique relationship we had with the one we've lost. The pain we feel can be so intense because of how much we loved them." Remembering that our grief is unique to us and the relationship we had is so important as this shows it can't be compared. Even siblings experiencing a loss of a parent will experience grief differently, whilst there may be some overlap of emotions. It's also important to remember we all experience emotions differently and process them differently too. You may process feelings & emotions quickly and be able to manage continuing the day to day, but this doesn't mean you didn't care as much as someone who struggles to process the feelings & emotions. It just means you process and manage in different ways, which is okay! One way to challenge the expectations you put on yourself is catching yourself thinking statements including 'I should' or 'I must' - as a client once put it - 'should or must according to who'. Do you actually believe you should be doing something in a certain way or is that coming from elsewhere? Another way is to think of what you might say to your friend if said friend was going through the grief? Would you expect them to be coping flawlessly? Or to not cry? If you wouldn't expect them to do those things, then why do you expect that from yourself? The idea behind doing this is to reality check yourself - are you grounded in what you're expecting from yourself. This can be particularly useful when we are having feelings of guilt around the bereavement as, whilst guilt is valid, it often brings a lot of unrealistic self-blame. What can I do to cope with grief? This is always a question I get asked, "how can I cope?, what can I do?", but there isn't a golden answer, it will be different for each of us! The first thing I would always say, is to try and be kind to yourself and give yourself some compassion. Berating yourself or putting yourself down for experiencing grief in a certain way is only going to make things feel worse - so what would it look like if you were to give yourself some compassion and acknowledge that grief is really hard and difficult to manage. I like the analogy of feelings being like the sea. Sometimes those feelings can get really choppy and hit us hard. It can feel like they're pulling us under and if we fight it, it can make them feel worse. So instead we can try and let them wash over us, as well as using buoys (coping techniques) in the process. Like a storm at sea, it can get rough, but it will pass - your feelings are like this too. If things are feeling too overwhelming it can be good to break things down into small manageable chunks. Take some pressure off yourself! The best way to do this is by taking things day by day or even hour by hour. Look at what feels manageable for yourself in the next hour and stick to that, then reassess when an hour has passed. Try and imagine what your first step might be. If that feels too big break it down even further. e.g. I want to have a shower but that feels too overwhelming. So your first step might be getting out of bed. If that still feels too much it might be sitting up in bed etc. Letter writing - sometimes people find it useful to write letters to those they're grieving over. This letter can be to say goodbye, or to say things you wish you had time to say, or just letting whatever comes out come out. This letter is written in a safe and quiet place, the reason being, it can bring up a lot of emotions we might not have originally been aware of, whilst also allowing us to process our thoughts. Once you have written the letter you can keep it somewhere safe, share it with someone you trust and feel comfortable with, talk it through in counselling/therapy, rip it up, burn it etc. Keeping it allows you to come back to it at a later date if you wanted to Sharing it allows you to process the emotions and feelings further whilst exploring it in a different context. This is especially useful if anything still feels like it's stuck in your mind. Ripping it up or burning it can be a way of 'letting it go'. Some people find this useful if it's been painful emotions that they felt able to process through the writing and no longer want to 'hold on to it'. Sometimes the process of writing is enough to give us some respite. Letter writing can be done as a one-off tool or it can be done regularly depending on what works for you. Personally, I use this tool often in different ways as I find the actual act of writing, getting the words out of my mind and onto paper/screen, helps me! Some people like to create memorabilia in order to remember the one(s) they're grieving. This could be: a jar full of memories - get a clear jar and different coloured paper and/or pens. Then write different memories of the person to fill the jar. You can colour code different type of memories if you wanted - this is done to remember the person as a whole and human (the good, bad, and neutral). a scrap book of different memories, stories, photos of the person you're grieving. This might be done in a random order, you might want to put it in a timeline of their life, or you might want to order it in a different way that gives meaning to you. You can do an online version of a tribute here - Get support in place for yourself. We might find that when we are grieving we tend to withdraw and isolate even though what we're craving is connection and support. It can lead to feeling angry at everyone and the world or exacerbate your already difficult feelings. Ongoing support might be speaking to friends or family, finding a support group, speaking to online communities, starting therapy or counselling, speaking to your GP etc. Short term support might be using helplines when things are feeling too overwhelming to help get you through the immediate and the self-help suggestions above. Further Resources The box and the ball analogy is really helpful in explaining how grief can change over time. It shows how grief doesn't really disappear but we learn to adapt and grow around the grief over time and with putting support in place. The dual process model of grief can be useful to refer to when trying to understand what grief might look like for you. Remember that grief can be messy - just like the human experience - it isn't necessarily linear and will come and go. Help guide have some good information on different types of loss and grief and what you can do to help yourself as well as seeking support - Cruse have some good information on understanding your grief - At a loss has some useful resources around bereavement. They are run by bereaved people using their own experience to guide others. Hospice UK has some information around end of life support and how to cope with grief - Sudden have some resources for understanding and coping with the sudden loss of somebody - Sue Ryder have online bereavement support courses as well as resources - Trust Inheritance have information about what to do after someone dies as well as resources - Winston's Wish is an organisation that has resources around helping children and teens with their grief - Life Ledger is a death notification service which deals with notifying companies of someone's death so you don't have to keep repeating yourself or managing the admin of it all. It is also free to use and is for notifying private companies (phone contracts, banking etc.) - Tell Us Once is a notification of death service for public companies (HMRC, DVLA, Councils etc.) - Helplines General bereavement helpline - Pet bereavement helpline - Parents grieving the loss of a child - Baby loss & miscarriage helpline and support - Bereaved by suicide support - Mental health crisis helpline -

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  • How I work | Fees | Emily Duffy Therapy

    How I work As an integrative/pluralistic therapist I adapt my way of working to your individual preferences in a collaborative and consent-led way. I believe you are the expert of yourself, and so, we will talk about what it is you would like to get out of counselling and look at ways we can do this; the approaches and methods used will be used to account for intersectionality without pathologising you, i.e. I work with YOU in a holistic way. ​ My core way of working is offering a safe, compassionate, affirming, and non-judgemental space through person centred counselling and it's core conditions, which are to hold you with unconditional positive regard, empathy, and congruence. From here I layer on tools and techniques from other approaches such as gestalt ways of working (metaphors, 'here & now' work, somatic exploration/body work), ways of working from MBCT/SFT/CBT (using mindfulness techniques to explore our ways of thinking, looking at how this can be different, and how this can then impact our behaviour/emotions), and CFT/ACT (looking at our internal narrative, how we can be more compassionate and accepting to ourselves). Check out my about me and qualifications if you'd like to know more. Depending on what it is you're wanting to explore, how long we work together, and your preferences, will depend on the techniques used in our sessions. If you are considering short term work with myself then we will look at the most pressing issue you would like to focus on, whereas longer term work will allow more breadth of work. ​ ​ In whichever scenario we will have a 45 minute session at a discounted price for a consultation; this is for me to understand what you are coming to counselling for, to go through my counselling contract, for you to ask any questions you may have, and for you to assess if you would like to continue with myself going forward. ​ All of my sessions are on a one-to-one basis, for residents of the UK only, and currently I am only offering remote sessions via Zoom, Signal or Phone Call. Fees: The initial assessment will be £30 for up to 45minutes over the phone or zoom My guide fee for ongoing 50 minute sessions is £60 unless otherwise agreed. ​ ​ If you feel you are unable to afford this we can discuss low cost options in our consultation. Book a Consultation

  • Emily Duffy Therapy | Counselling Online | Queer, multiamory/non-monogamy, fat acceptcance, mental health support

    Emily Duffy Therapy Sometimes we can feel stuck in a mindset, situation, or feeling - therapy can help you become unstuck. ​ I offer one-to-one online counselling sessions for residents of the UK. Majority of my work revolves around identity and exploring who you are as a person, whether that's within your 'self' (e.g. sexuality, gender, neurodiversity, mental health etc.) or who you are within your outside world (e.g. relationships, within your job, after losing someone close to you etc.) ​ I have professional and lived experience in my areas of work. I work collaboratively and with informed consent around the approaches/methods we use in sessions. Check out About Me and How I Work for more info. ​ Contact me today to set up a consultation. I am happy to talk through any questions you may have, I also have Frequently Asked Questions here . Email me at - or Leave me a voicemail** or WhatsApp me on - +44 (0)7508387585 **Note - I will only return your call if you leave a voicemail. If you don't leave a voicemail I will not return contact. ​ ​ Emily Duffy Therapy is located in Waltham Cross, Herts, England Leave a voicemail WhatsApp me Email me Ready to book in? Click here. Home: Contact Check out my Instagram

  • Self Referral Form | Emily Duffy Therapy

    Self Referral Form Please complete this if you want to book in a consultation with me. I will then be in touch to set up a suitable time/day. Your Name Date of birth Email address What's your phone number? Your Gender? What are your pro-nouns? What you are wanting counselling for? Where did you find me? Submit Form

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