The reason for writing this blog is to provide ongoing support to current and past clients, and anyone struggling to develop a more resilient mindset to deal with life’s challenges.
If I haven’t worked with you, I have 15 years counselling experience, as well as psychological wellbeing, life coaching and training, both in the NHS and private sector. I have worked extensively with depression, anxiety, workplace stress, relationship and communication issues. I have a private practice and enjoy being my own boss. I am a member of BACP, have a post grad diploma in Counselling, and am working towards my post grad diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
This summers sporting achievements inspired this blog. I was impressed by the Olympians, (team GB especially!) who worked so hard to reach the top of their games and gave us renewed national pride under the team GB banner. And, I was equally fascinated by the hardiness and resilience of the Paralympians who had overcome illness, personal tragedy and adversity to become heroes and heroines in their own right. The jewel in this sport fest crown, was watching our own Scottish tennis hero, Andy Murray, in true Robby the Bruce style, finally become King of the US Open.
The story and sentiment of Robert the Bruce, is one that Scottish kids, of a certain generation, were weaned on. If you don’t know it – briefly, he was renowned as the ‘Hero King of Scotland’ in the 1300’s. After many battles with English troops he was in exile and hiding, where he watched a spider try and try, and try again to spin a web. The spider never gave up… and this encouraged King Robert to go try again, which he did and subsequently won independence for Scotland, so the story goes…
As we heard from many of the stories of the Paralympian athletes, there are many different strategies to develop resilience and to overcome adversity, and whilst the purpose of this blog isn’t to train you to win an Olympic Gold, or National Independence. What I do hope is that I can share some tools, techniques, stories, that may inspire you to achieve your own personal best, and help you overcome feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, confusion or lack of confidence that may be holding you back.
So, lets get started. One of the first things is to get a notebook, a pen and time out for yourself. You need to become your own ‘project’ and to invest some time and effort in yourself. The more you put in, the more you will get out. For once, it’s okay to be selfish, as this is all about You.
I’ve found that most people benefit from writing things down. Especially when you are learning some of the techniques in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. There is something cathartic about writing when you are upset, being able to express feelings honestly, openly and privately. Also, being able to observe your own reactions, to be dispassionate. Looking beyond the obvious at what is really behind these feelings. And most importantly identifying what it is that you are telling yourself about the situation that you are in?
One of the fundamental principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is that what you think, affects how you feel and this affects how you act.
It sounds very simple, however, the real skill is identifying exactly what it is you are thinking, what this means to you, and then being able to challenge this effectively.
It is usually obvious to you when you are upset, you know – and everyone else around you usually knows – if you are angry, grumpy, sad, teary or anxious. It is tangible, you can feel it, and even see it. What you are thinking, or what you are telling yourself, is more intangible, and therefore more difficult to pin down.
The good news is that CBT can be learned.
It is a logical process. There is even an ABC of how to change your thinking, therefore changing your behaviour. In my next blog post find out how you can benefit from identifying and challenging your thoughts.