Category Archives: Psychosynthesis counselling

Feel Better Every Day on Sea – sessions now available in Frinton

Feel Better Every Day on Sea

My main client space remains Witham, with the Feel Better Every Day Consultancy on the high street but, in recent months, I’ve been offering a few sessions a week from Colchester (and am starting teaching a Sleep Yoga class there in January).

As of this week, am delighted to be offering a few sessions a week from Frinton on Sea on Essex’s Sunshine Coast. The Connaught Clinic is just a few moments from the seafront and a short walk from the station.

Connaught Clinic

 Find out more HERE and, of course, let me know if you have any questions or would like to book an initial session with me.

love,

Eve

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The importance of self-care when dealing with people impacted by narcissitic wounding

Parts of this post may be triggering and upsetting but I’m taking that risk because I hope it will be helpful.

Gaslight

Seasoned White House reporters have been shocked* after being told that what they’ve seen with their own eyes is not true at Sean Spicer’s first press statement yesterday.

I work with a lot of adult survivors of narcissistically** wounded parents. As babies and infants (throughout our lives but especially then), we need to be seen. To be loved and accepted and cherished for who we are. To be allowed to feel however we feel. Even when we’re furious.

When we’ve been seen as we are (often through therapy as an adult) and have learned to integrate our own feelings and know it’s OK to feel however we feel, we’re in a much better position to empathise with others. To, as Obama said in an interview with Oprah long before he ran for President, ‘Disagree without being disagreeable.’

Yet, to varying degrees, we’ve grown up having certain aspects of our personalities celebrated while others have been punished or ignored. The recent pink/blue merchandising (cutting out a most of the rainbow and attempting to force boys and girls to conform to gender stereotypes) is an element of this. Black and white. Boy or girl. Good or bad. Republican or Democrat. Brexit or Remain.

When a parent (or President) has a high level of narcissistic wounding, his or her needs always come much higher than the children’s (or population’s). Ultimately, many of these adult survivors, as a result of systematically having their needs denied and suppressed, often believe they don’t have a right to exist.

When certain parts of our personality*** are celebrated and others denied, it can lead to us (naturally) feeling unseen in our wholeness. In varying degrees, this can lead to narcissistic wounding. If we weren’t seen and allowed to be as we were, we’re incapable of seeing others as they are.

Watching a powerful press corp being treated like naughty children who need to be disciplined can be triggering. Trump’s team, with his ‘running war with the media’ is attempting to tell the press they don’t have a right to exist.

I regularly recommend Elan Golomb’s book, Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in their Struggle for Self, as she explains (using many personal examples) how the residual effects (including self-loathing),  can be overcome. No matter how grandiose a person struggling with narcissistic wounding might appear, there’s a very fragile core which doesn’t feel good enough.

The new President of the United States of America is a self-confessed sexual predator.

We saw the tape (apologies for the language but this is the President’s own language) where he said:

Pussygate

His ‘stalking’ of Hillary Clinton, literally following her around the stage like he was going to do something during one of the DEBATES was chilling to watch (although she took it in her stride and handled it with grace).

We’ve seen the tape where he mocked the disabled reporter and all of his denials that he did this even thought we’ve seen the tape.

We’ve heard his outrageous allegations about people from various ethnic groups and his endorsements by the KKK. He’s said he’s not racist then appointed an Alt-Right (neo Nazi rebranded) publisher as his Chief of Staff.

Just as the narcissistic parent blames the child for the abuse because s/he made him/her do it, the President, while campaigning, blamed the government for not having tighter tax laws that would stop him exploiting a loop hole and not paying taxes for years.

And I’m not even mentioning all the evidence of hacking and electoral interference by a foreign government. Again, his tactic has been to deny it.

 As an adult (with an online ‘echo chamber’ although I attempt to be open to as many opinions as possible, just not tolerating hate speech of any kind), this is crazymaking: It was termed ‘gaslighting’ after the films (Diana Wynard in the 1940 original and Ingrid Bergman – pictured above – in the better known 1944 remake) about the abusive husband who slowly (with the help of some of his staff) convinces his wife she’s going mad.

For a child, it can be horrific to experience that sense of being ‘crazy’, ‘insane’, ‘stupid’ or ‘wrong’ because the adult you’re supposed to trust to raise you is telling you something you know isn’t right. It’s abusive.

Even adults who’ve had (as if there’s such a thing) ‘normal’ upbringings can be affected when, say, a partner uses such tactics and they lose their sense of self.

Many adults are being triggered by the news on a regular basis, straight back into that suddenly not knowing if the sky’s up or down.

Brene Brown’s amazing work around shame and vulnerability, and the need to embrace them – however uncomfortable – if we want to live wholeheartedly, can help.

We can watch some of the inspiring speeches from yesterday’s marches. (You might want to get started with Gloria Steinem, Ashley Judd, Alicia Keys, Scarlett Johanson, America Ferrera, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Madonna).

We can connect with people, discerning safe people to share our vulnerabilities with so we can support each other rather than feel exploited by sharing with people who’ll use them against us.

As we connect and support each other, we can then reach out (as Obama advised) and attempt to talk to people who feel differently – not to dismiss their feelings but to attempt to hear and understand. I’m not talking about condoning hate speech and worse but attempting to connect with the best in people even when we’re flummoxed by certain decisions.

As always, you know what’s best for you. 

I really hope that enough of these reporters can stay grounded enough to keep calling out the lies, investigating properly, fact checking and not giving up.

What helps you stay grounded and in your truth no matter what someone else (who may, or may not have a high level of narcissistic wounding) is trying to convince you of?

Feel free to share below.

love,

Eve

*again – it seems, for them and for us at home, as if we all keep thinking we’ve seen it all and then something else happens and we’re knocked for six again

**Psychosynthesis, a transpersonal psychology, is very much about looking at what – no matter how challenging the issue – might be trying to emerge at a soul level. We’re all on a spectrum in terms of narcissitic wounding

***There was a scene in the documentary about Trump’s background where he introduced his then toddler son as ‘smart’, ‘vicious’ and ‘violent’ as if the latter two were good things. Melania and others at the Hollywood Star of Fame ceremony being filmed all laughed like it wasn’t something to worry about. I really hope he has people in his life who seem him for all of who he is and who will nurture and support him as he grows up in this enormous spotlight

**** While I’m quite outspoken about my politics, I respect others’ choices as long as they’re not hurting anyone. In those cases, I feel I have a duty to attempt to speak up (as compassionately as possible). I hope that yesterday was just a warm up and that we’ll all (the marches were led by women but all genders were welcome) do what we can to support each other and fight to prevent the progress that’s been made being undone

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Feeling our feelings

Clare Goodwin's Egg Diagram
Clare Goodwin’s Egg Diagram

A big benefit of counselling is increasing our emotional landscape. In psychosynthesis, Assagioli’s ‘egg diagram’ is a handy visual for showing our capacity for sorrow and joy as well as different levels of consciousness and our connection with Self.

I often well up (or sob) at something that hits me either because it’s so beautiful or sad.

Happy tear catalysts include a video of people dancing in celebration after succeeding in protecting the earth, drinking water and sacred ground from the Dakota Access Pipeline, a stunning piece of art, a moonscape and many, many other things (especially involving acts of kindness and compassion).

Similarly, I regularly cry at the news or horrors which I won’t repeat.

Often, the kinds of emotions that were ‘allowed’ when we were growing up are used to suppress feelings that were deemed intolerable. For many of us, feelings like sadness, fear and anger were discouraged. For some of us, even ‘positive’ feelings like joy (for example, if a parent was depressed and needed quiet) might have been discouraged.

Often, in an effort to numb ourselves from pain, shame, fear and trauma, we similarly cut of our capacity for joy. By healing what’s repressed – both ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, we can live life more fully.

I regularly recommend Elaine Aron’s work around the Highly Sensitive Person to clients as, so often, sensitivity is seen as a bad thing. Obviously, we don’t want to be so raw that we’re incapacitated (although, looking back, I see that when this was the case for me, it turned out to be a good thing as it made me make some big changes in my life) but sensitivity and empathy are strengths.

This time of year can make us feel more raw in lots of ways – bursting with love for people and also cranky and irritable.

When we accept all of our emotions as fleeting and equally valid, it can be easier to handle no matter the intensity.

When you think of the weeks ahead, does anything spring to mind as a time when you may feel emotionally overwhelmed?

What might you do in such moments to support yourself through it?

How might you better honour (or hone) your sensitivity to a range of feelings and emotions rather than numbing yourself?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve x

 

 

 

 

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My Weekly Summer Health special – mental health feature (published 4/8/16)

MWmentalhealthspecial

If you struggle with anxiety, post traumatic stress, depression, OCD or any other mental health issues, what helps you be extra kind to yourself?

You can read the full piece by clicking the links below. I used to be able to easily create one pdf from several pages but this skill has (temporarily, hopefully) eluded me today.

MWMentalHealthBeyourowngoodfriend

MWMentalHealthBeyourowngoodfriend2

MWMentalHealthBeyourowngoodfriend3

MWMentalHealthBeyourowngoodfriend4

Hope you find it helpful.

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve x

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What to dooooooo? Working with our shadows

2015-08-04 11.43.10

What can we do to avoid historian’s predictions of Holocaust-like-history repeating itself? As individuals? How can we tap into the loving, expansive, inclusive, generous parts of ourselves and humanity instead of giving into fear and loathing?

Yes, there are petitions and demonstrations.

But what about the rest of our lives? The gazillions of thoughts and beliefs we rarely even notice but which contribute to our experience and the way we relate to others?

Apart from sending Metta to places we feel helpless around, we can take a look at our own shadow stuff.

I read an interesting piece by Deepak Chopra today on Donald Trump being a manifestation of America’s shadow.

We all have our shadow aspects and they’re not easy to recognise when we’re caught up in them.

Just as we all have the potential to do amazing things with our one, precious life, we could find ourselves in unimaginable circumstances and be capable of the worst, least imaginable acts.

When we notice them, we can integrate them by owning what we’ve been repressing in ourselves and projecting onto the other.

Something we can all do is pause before posting or speaking or lashing out in any way.

Notice where our shadow might be in that moment.

Who are we most angry with right now?

What does he or she represent to us?

What hidden aspects of ourselves resonates with what they’re doing?

How does it feel to own that feeling? To acknowledge that at some point, we’ve all felt homicidal?

Again, I’m not at all advocating acting on such feelings. Oddly, making this more conscious means we’re less likely to act out aggressively. 

It can be scary.

I’m a pacifist by nature. I wish we could all just get along. We’re all the same. Where we were born had nothing to do with us. Hippie, peace, love, blah…

Years ago, I learned that trying to send peace and love to people who were annoying me was, frankly, beyond me. I think Metta’s wonderful but even that varies day to day. This was years ago and I eventually realised that owning the fury, the rage, the anger and the despair was freeing.

Obviously, I’m not talking about acting on any of this. But recognising however we’re feeling and letting that be OK actually enables the feelings to move through us more quickly than when we try to deny them.

So writing this, thinking about certain politicians and their seemingly bullyish ways, I can either judge them and pretend it’s all about them or be open to acknowledging that bully part of myself.

The part that I don’t want to acknowledge I have yet that I realise of course I do, otherwise it wouldn’t upset me so much to see it in others.

Once I’ve done this, I can better see how I am connected to, for example, a politician. Or someone who votes differently to me. Or a terrorist. Or a serial killer. Or someone who puts his or her feet on the seats on public transport. Or child or animal abuser. Or any number of people I don’t want to think I have anything in common with.

As with everything, it’s a practice. But the more I do this, the less likely I am to add fuel to the emotional fires of the world right now with mean, small minded, unpleasant posts (I’m deleting A Lot).

Embracing our shadows not only helps us integrate and be more whole ourselves but we’re better able to reach out to others with compassion and kindness.

And this depends on us embracing our shadows (rather than beating ourselves up for not being saints, having said shadows).

Who are you most angry with right now? Who do you hate?

How does it feel to own that hatred and fury in yourself? (If a lot is coming up, you might want to work with a therapist – use all available support.)

Personally speaking, just through drafting this post, I’m feeling something closer to empathy for certain politicians than I’ve previously been able to feel.

How about you?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve x

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My highlights from BACP’s Practitioner Conference on Saturday

Gill Fennings-Monkman MBE
Gill Fennings-Monkman MBE Chairing the Coaching Strand and presenting on her integrative approach to working with clients struggling with eating disorders

I loved Saturday’s conference. From the time I got involved with the planning (meeting people from other Divisions) last year to finally seeing how it all came together.

My highlights included:

  • Seeing my fellow Coaching Exec members – the lovely Gill Fennings-Monkman, Michele Down, Steve Page, Becky Wright and meeting our newest member, Sally Brown. Working with them is my overall highlight of being involved with BACP Coaching.
  • Gill’s presentation on eating disorder work was an inspiration
  • Jayne’s presentation reminded me just how important BACP Coaching and AICTP (the Association for Coach-Therapist Professionals) have been to me as I’ve become more comfortable integrating all my therapies as appropriate. At one point, I felt a surge of joy at being in a room filled with integrative practitioners.
  • Dr Tatiana Bachkirova – a name I recognised from textbooks from my integrative counselling and coaching training – talking about our different selves as coach-therapists and how they fit into Modernist and Post Modernist worldviews. Her view of the coach as a ‘collaborative explorer’ as well as subpersonalities talk reminded me of my psychosynthesis training and how integration often feels like the most natural thing in the world and quite radical.
  • Cathy Towers wasn’t in the Coaching strand but I enjoyed her workshop on money and, of course
  • meeting BACP Coaching members and people interested in finding out more about Coaching as we (hu)manned the stand during breaks.

I was sorry to miss Michele Down and Steve Page, Heather Mason and Shaura Hall, Clare Myatt and Dr Christiane Sanderson as well as other speakers I hadn’t recommended but wanted to clone myself in order to hear.

Were you there on Saturday? What were your highlights? Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

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Happy New Year! (And setting a sankalpa to help make your dreams a reality)

Image courtesy of sscreations / freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of sscreations / freedigitalphotos.net

At this time of year, I look at what I want to leave in the ‘old’ year in hopes that freeing myself of unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, energies, behaviours and so on will make the new year even better.

Creating more space to bring all good things in.

And then I think about my sankalpa. Julie Lusk, in Yoga Nidra for Complete Relaxation and Stress Relief defines a sankalpa (often translated as ‘resolve’ or ‘intention’) as ‘a vow and commitment we make to support our highest truth.’

Actually, just typing that makes me feel a little overwhelmed. But sankalpas vary from traditional resolutions in that we, in yoga, ponder them during yoga nidra (yogic sleep). In a nutshell, this makes it less hard work.

Imagine you want to make 2016 the year in which you bring more calm or peace or joy or love (or whatever YOU choose) into your life?

By setting a sankalpa, such as, ‘I welcome calm’ and revisiting it during your yoga nidra practices, anything that doesn’t support your aim can fall away.

Lusk writes, ‘Our day to day frame of consciousness (beta brain waves) makes it extremely difficult to make and maintain these good intentions because they crash into our long term conditioning, habits, and social pressures. Through no fault of your own, your mind is simply not very receptive to making these changes. During yoga nidra, we knowingly, consciously, and consecutively experience a range of different types of brain wave levels: alpha, theta and delta frequencies. The level reached at the end of practice is very receptive to change. When we implant a sankalpa in the subconscious mind, useless thoughts and behaviours can be weeded out, and the conditions are created for significant and transformative change to take root and grow.’

I’ve just added some Yoga Nidra – Ease Into Your Weekend classes to my schedule (Fridays from 6-7pm) so, if this deep relaxation (after some gentle, restorative physical practice) appeals, click here for more information.

And, of course, while many people love yoga nidra, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. You can still set an intention for your year ahead (or the day or whatever period of time you choose) and reinforce it with what Assagioli, creator of psychosynthesis (click here for more information) called ‘evocative words’.

If yours was calm (or peace or wisdom or whatever), you might want to simply write it on little cards (or paint it or add it to your vision board – play with what feels best for you) and have it somewhere visible where it will remind you, on a regular basis, of the quality (or if you’re like me, qualities) you’re inviting into your life.

Early this year, I started experimenting with making these evocative words even more present by turning them into affirmations and making them my passwords for my computer and various other devices.

You can play with visual anchors, too and choose images, photos and artwork that somehow represent the qualities you want more of. Placing them in prominent positions (such as near where you brush your teeth) can, again, help keep your intention more conscious.

And maybe, life is pretty fab and perfect exactly as it is and you have no intention of changing ANYTHING! In which case, continue enjoying it.

If you do want to upgrade in some way/s, how do you imagine 2016 being better?

What have you done to support positive changes in previous years?

Have you tried any of the ideas above? What are your favourites?

Feel free to comment below!

Happy New Year and wishing you all good things for 2016 and beyond!

love,

Eve x

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Dealing with life’s ‘Grr!’s by looking at some sticky shadow stuff

Rainbow investigating HER shadow side*

Rainbow MagnifiCat investigating HER shadow side

 

I’m seeing a lot of posts on Facebook about people defriending others due to political beliefs. I’m aware that my rate of deleting posts I’ve typed before publishing them has increased massively since last night, too (and am conscious that a friend joked about a secret tool they have to read deleted posts!).

So I thought I’d spend some time with my shadow today. Jung popularised the idea of our shadow selves, where we project what we’ve disowned in ourselves onto others (be they loved ones, colleagues, strangers, politicians or people from other parts of the world and religions).

The bad news is that this leads to much acting out unconsciously.

The good news is that by reclaiming those unloved aspects of ourselves, WE CAN HEAL. We literally become more whole.

Thinking about this in the pool today, I realised that one of my personal triggers is people blocking the lane in the swimming (it’s a verb) pool. They could be standing to chat in a million other places, my incensed thought processes rant, and there are so few places to swim…

And on a good day, I can smile to myself recognising that this little Grr may have more to do with me than with the thoughtless people chattering away (ditto people blocking doorways, cycle paths, putting feet on train seats etc – I could go on but will restrain myself).

I can ask myself if there may be (even a teeny tiny) part of myself that may be jealous of their casual oblivious approach to life? That maybe I can acknowledge that swanning through life with less consideration for others could potentially be more fun. And as soon as I can acknowledge that, yes, of course, there’s a thoughtless, oblivious aspect of my own personality, I suddenly feel far less bothered by the previously seemingly Evil Lane Blockers.

Sometimes, like today, as soon as I have that epiphany, they move away!

I have a tendency to be overly empathic sometimes, focusing more on others’ needs than my own. This can be a useful thing (in my work, for example) but I’ve also worked hard to dial it back in my personal life as it’s not helpful (or fun!).

By being aware of this shadow aspect to caring and empathy (RAGE towards thoughtless people who don’t give a ****), I’m better able (progress not perfection) to own my own stuff and have a much nicer swim / bike ride / train journey / life etc.

If I remained oblivious to my own shadow, I might act out (swimming violently to SPLASH said Evil Lane Blockers (I’m joking, they’re totally normal people, just like you and me) or even saying, ‘Excuse me!’ in a slightly passive aggressive way.

You get the picture…

What springs to mind when you think about the people and situations that irritate / infuriate you the most?

Think about who makes you go ‘Grr!’ (if you want to – this is not for the fainthearted. Our shadow aspects are parts of ourselves that we, at some stage, unconsciously deemed So Awful, we cut them off, burying them in the dark).

Does a particular person (known personally or maybe on social media or on TV – anyone at all) really trigger you?

If you were Really Honest with yourself, what might your irritation or anger be trying to tell you about an unclaimed shadow aspect of yourself?

I’d love to hear your thoughts (if you’re happy to share) so do feel free to use the Comments section below and let me know what makes you go Grr and what that means to you?

And, of course, if you’d like to explore this in more depth, do get in touch.

love,

Eve x

 

 

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Silent Minute for peace – 9pm every evening (from the comfort of wherever you want to be)

 

SilentMinute

If you’d like to join the movement, all you have to do is pause for a minute at 9pm (when possible) and envision a world of peace and returning light. You can click here to read more about it if you’d like.

I’ve been stopping whatever I’ve been doing when my phone alarm reminds me of this these past few days – had become a bit lax about it but it’s a great antidote to those times the world feels that bit too scary.

I have absolutely no idea how many people around the globe are doing the same (or if it’s just me!) but it’s something that helps me focus on ways to bring more peace into my own world. So that’s helpful anyway. But when I imagine countless other people, in their own homes / time zones etc, it definitely boosts that feeling of connection and peace on earth.

Have you tried it?

What helps you?

Feel free to comment below.

love (and peace),

Eve

 

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Some clips from my studio guest slot at the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Private Practice conference on trauma last month

BACPWebcastTrauma19915

I really enjoyed joining Anne Scoging and Karen Lloyd after Michael Gavin’s workshop on self-care and trauma at BACP’s trauma conference last month. And now I’ve figured out how to edit online video (I feel like a technological genius but know that I’m far from it), I can share some clips which I hope you’ll find interesting.

Introduction to the way I work (and how no one’s broken beyond repair) – click here to watch

How to tune into our bellies when we may be filled with self-loathing about our bellies – click here to watch

Some tips for embodied self-care for counsellors and other caring professionals – click here to watch

Another quick tip for embodied self-care – click here to watch

How EFT can be helpful in trauma work – click here to watch

More on how EFT can be helpful – click here to watch

Click here to register for the fuller conference webcast.

Feel free to comment below and to share your own top tips for self-care, too.

love,

Eve x

 

 

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