Category Archives: Psychosynthesis counselling

Feel Better Friday video: What’s your ‘happy place’?

I realise that not everyone would be delighted to be on a pretty cold beach with choppy seas and bracing winds but imagine your OWN happy places…

Where have you felt completely yourself, at ease, peaceful, happy and joyful?

Maybe you remember specific moments (use all your senses to make it as vivid as possible) or maybe you need to – for now – imagine such a moment. When I started doing this, it was floating face down in the sea, far away from any land.

I still love a few Disturbing Position face down floats after my swims but I need to be careful to move into underwater handstand to avoid alarming other swimmers. In that out in the middle of the ocean version (I rarely sea swim too far out of my depth in real life in case I get swept away), I could float face down for as long as I wanted to hold my breath, totally at peace.

Some people like to imagine a hammock on a sandy beach with the sun warming them. Others, a hot mug of tea on a favourite sofa…

The world is your lobster and you don’t have to just pick one.

What is your ‘happy place’? How do you feel after spending just a few moments imagining yourself there?

How can you anchor it in the present? Maybe you have photos or other reminders you can use to help yourself make it feel as real as possible?

Feel free to share below.

love,

Eve

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My highlights from Chairing yesterday’s Working with Coaching day for BACP

Yesterday was in the planning for many, many months – as a member of BACP’s Coaching Executive and Chair since January last year, I knew that this would mean my hosting the day.

This felt both a little daunting (80ish people expected – turned out, it was fully booked and, including us and staff, we had nearly 120!) and cheeky.

After all, Carolyn Mumby, our Chair Elect, did soooo much of the heavy lifting in taking the lead in organising  the day and liaising with the speakers, along with BACP’s staff (who make the actual smooth running of events look so effortless).

The whole Coaching Executive – Sally Brown, Gill Fennings-Monkman MBE, Steve Page and Michele Down, spent days (we’re all volunteers)  creating the format, briefing for presenters and helping fine tune content.

It came together beautifully.

Side Plank

When I did this Side Plank in the morning, burning off some stress hormones so I could better relax into presenting, I had NO idea I’d be teaching yoga in a dress later on – one of our speakers was ill so I did a little impromptu mindful breathing and chair yoga during some of what would have been her slot.

Intro

Introducing the event

Jackee Holder

The fantabulous Jackee Holder opened the day with a session on trees as metaphors and reflective writing

Carolyn Mumby

BACP Coaching Chair Elect, Carolyn Mumby‘s talk on working with young people inspired me to consider doing some additional training in this area

Sue Sutcliffe

Sue Sutcliffe (typo on pic not here) made the case for preventative couples’ work (ie, working on our relationships sooner rather than waiting for things to go wrong and potentially implode).

Catherine Macadam

Catherine Macadam talked about coaching for unpaid carers, pointing out just how many of us have or will be carers (or need care) at some point in our lives

David Britten

David Britten spoke about coaching for recovery

I realised that this was exactly what I had done – I trained as a life coach when self-loathing was my default position. The coaching tools I learned and coaching I experienced helped me begin to overcome how I felt deep down and after years of coaching and adding other therapies, I felt ready to delve deeper and do the counselling training which I knew would involve personal therapy.

I am so glad that through David’s and others’ work, more people are benefitting from coaching and the building on resources that this can offer. Obviously, it makes sense to go to a coach with psychological training too but coaching alone can be a powerful support.

At this point, I no longer have pics as the lovely person photographing was then offering timer support to the speakers:

Katharine Collins was an inspiration. Her talk on ‘coaching through a queer lense’, and encouraging people to define their niches based on the changes we wish to see in the world is the best niching advice I’ve ever come across.

And Miranda Rock, talking about the journey between qualifying and working with executives and directors was a breath of fresh air.

Jackee then helped us ground the day and identify our own personal next steps. Being an integrative and expansive soul, my own next steps felt more like ‘find out more about x, y and z’ than narrowing down as so many of the speakers had inspired me but I know that I’m also drilling down to simplify my offerings.

This blog post represents my own experience of the day but the energy in the hotel was gorgeous and feedback so far has been incredibly positive.

People, passionate about counselling and coaching, wanting to learn more, to find out how to serve more people. It was a delight listening to the speakers, talking to delegates, catching up with the team (our last meeting had to be cancelled due to snow so it had been a while since we’d all met in person).

We’re already planning another Working With Coaching Day for York in November – if you’re a member of BACP Coaching or BACP and have ideas or feedback you’d like to share about yesterday and upcoming events, do email me – eve@feelbettereveryday.co.uk

And feel free to comment below.

Love,

Eve

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My EFT and yoga tips in Woman & Home’s Feel Good You (New Year 2018 issue)

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Obviously, I’m a big fan of talk therapy, too but loved sharing some information around some body based alternatives, EFT (emotional freedom technique) and yoga which I often incorporate into my counselling and coaching, when appropriate – thanks for including me, Charlotte Haigh.

Have you ever talked about something too much?

What helped you get unstuck?

Feel free to share below.

love,

Eve

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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.

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Hope you find it helpful.

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve x

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What to dooooooo? Working with our shadows

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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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