Friday, 24 July 2015

Therapy: The Wellness Model

Counselling can be used to make a good life great. Just as we work out with a personal trainer to increase our motivation and assist us in reaching our fitness goals, so we can utilise positive life counselling to overhaul  our views, emotions and mental perspectives to realize our full potential. The wellness model of counselling is a personal training session for our mental health fitness.

So how can it help?

Positive Life Counselling can:
·         Explore roadblocks that may be stopping you from achieving your best.
·         Make achieving happiness a priority.
·         Prepare you for one off events that may cause anxiety.
·         Encourage staying on the path when your resolve is slipping.
·         Highlight areas of your life that you are avoiding but that you would benefit from working on.
·         Help us learn, grow, become more mindful and respond to life with choice rather than being tossed  around by our emotions.
·         Be a catalyst for changing areas our life beyond the issues we bring to therapy.
·         Renew our vigour, energy and fun; we revitalise our passion for life.
·         Motivate us to replace unhealthy habits with new ones that increase our physical and mental    wellbeing.
·         Bring about a balance in all of our relationships; intimate, family or friendships.
·         Make us calmer better parents who know how to help our children achieve their full potential.
·         Focus us on work goals and how we want our career to enhance our life goals.
·         Show us how to find our purpose in life and work out your true passions.

Counselling offers an opportunity to spend an hour each week just focusing on ‘you’. The only subject matter is yourself; you can explore, proclaim and revel in being you. It is a unique space where you can practice how it would be to be different in a totally confidential environment. Once you have experienced change in the therapy setting you are prepared to take it outside the room and into the world without fear.

Reasons to try counselling

Understanding your past can release you from it; our past plays a role in who we are but it doesn’t have to determine who we become

What we perceive is our reality; each of us has a unique and valid viewpoint which can get obscured by circumstances. When we polish off the lens we are able to see the shine on the world around us

Ultimately all counselling enables us to become our own therapist; we are encouraged to treat ourselves with kindness, compassion and understanding. We can be our own best friend.

 Learn to slow down; time in therapy is like pressing the pause button; we explore the journey outside of the fast pace we more usually experience, the focus is so often on the destination we don’t have the time to enjoy the process. In therapy we allow ourselves to be rather than do which frees us to become more authentic outside the room.

Counselling encourages intimacy in all our relationships; it increases our emotional intelligence, we are able to satisfy our own needs, rather than place unrealistic demands on others, and in doing so we become more confident. All of our relationships are strengthened.

To find out more visit

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Walk & Talk

What happens when we take therapy outside the four walls of a room?

Just a few thoughts…..

Rhythmic exercise may have an impact on self-discovery.
Moving enables us to loosen the tensions that cause us to be ‘stuck’ in a set way of thinking.
Activity releases mood enhancing hormones that bring about deeper more creative thinking.
We may feel inhibited by the close confines of a room; being out in the open allows us to become less self-conscious.
Creative thinking, ‘outside the box’ is increased by being ‘outside the room’.
Changing the position in relationship to the therapist, walking parallel rather than sitting face-to-face, may make it easier to discuss difficult ideas.
When we are physically walking a new path we may open up new paths in our inner dialogue.
Movement literally and figuratively propels us forward; we are encouraged to make metaphorical progress.
The experience of freedom in the great outdoors may relinquish the social constraints that hinder revelations in a more traditional therapy setting.
When the therapist and client are walking together they will fall into step, the pattern of their breathing will align, the will match each other’s pace; becoming synchronised enriches empathy.
Sitting is passive, walking actively encourages taking responsibility for progress.
Walking together is a shared adventure in which both parties are equal.

We may reach a point at which we become lost in the process; walking and talking then becomes a meditative practice and allows deep access to our subconscious.

Walk & Talk with Rebecca

Friday, 10 July 2015

Zumba Therapy

We all know that exercise is good for us, “healthy body, healthy mind”, but I think it goes deeper than making us fitter, stronger or calmer. I believe that some forms of activity reflect the same process of change that takes place within the therapy room. And some instructors are conducting sessions that are life changing for the participants.
Many studies show positive links between physical fitness and brain function. Exercise literally changes the brain, stimulating new  cells (neurogenesis). Vigorous activity grows new brain cells, especially in the hippocampus, the area responsible for certain types of remembering. Children who exercise regularly achieve better academic results, find it easier to pay attention and are generally calmer and happier. Exercising as adults reduces the damage of daily stresses on our brain, improving memory and mood. Physical fitness translates into mental fitness. When we exercise we produce more of the hormone Dopamine which helps us to be creative, focus, and remain emotionally balanced. As we age a regular activity programme can stave off many of the degenerative cognitive issues that a sedentary lifestyle appears to encourage.
So far so good; exercise of any kind is good for our brain, and therfore our mental health. But I think Zumba is even better than that. I feel that Zumba classes and Zumba teachers create the core conditions that are necessary to induce positive change.

A Zumba class allows people to be in a relationship (with the other participants and the teacher) where they experience themselves as understood and accepted for who they are, by an instructor who interacts with them genuinely and sincerely.

 “If I can provide a certain type of relationship the other person will discover within himself the capacity to use that relationship for growth, and change and personal development will occur” Rogers

The three core conditions are:
Congruence – the ability to be yourself.
Acceptance - (Unconditional Positive Regard) being accepted and respected for who you are.
Empathy –  to be understood in your own terms.

Many Zumba teachers will recognize the participant who flourishes after a few weeks of coming to class. The shy girl at the back starts to wear brighter leggings, she no longer glances nervously around, but joyfully ‘whoops’ with the pleasure of moving her body. And of course some of this can be attributed to the purely physiological benefits of exercise. However  in my experience the attendees of Zumba classes are always warm welcoming and encouraging to ‘Newbies’ and Zumba teachers  positive, accepting and understanding.  Every class creates a space where we can be ourselves without feeling judged, a special kind of bonding encounter that keeps people coming back week after week and complete acceptance for all ages, shapes and sizes.
I wonder how many Zumba fans have made life changing decisions after taking classes for a couple of months;  finally getting up the courage to start saying ‘no’, or taking more control at work and asking for recognition, or even leaving an unhappy relationship.
Zumba teachers notice the changes taking place in their class and are able to adapt with speed and flexibility to the needs of each participant in any particular session. Zumba teachers are great at judging the ‘feeling’ of the class and changing the tracks to respond accordingly. The whole time continue to support, encourage and smile; role models that class members mirror in their energy and their optimistic outlook.  Neuroscientists discovered  ‘mirror neurons’ which fire both when we perform an action and when we see someone else perform the same action; when they fire they enable us to understand others goals, intentions and emotions. Many scientists believe that empathy is largely explained by the existence of mirror neurons.  When we mirror the Zumba teacher’s body movements and happy energy in class we become part of a positive cycle of congruence, acceptance and empathy.  

Saturday, 4 July 2015

The ARC of motivation

So following on from the last post more on motivation….. There is a theory of Self Determination, (SDT) that provides a way of looking at what needs underpin the foundations of motivation. These needs are Autonomy, Relatedness and Competency. I refer to them as the ARC of motivation. When setting goals you have a higher chance of achieving your targets if these three areas are enhanced. Autonomy in this instance refers to the need to have choices, to be in charge of the wish to change rather than have it imposed on you from external sources. Relatedness concerns the need to have a connection with others that is enriched by the goal, to be appreciated for the effort you are making. It can also mean the need to be understood and cared for when tackling new paths. Competence needs are met when we are able to manage our emotions and environments as well as new skills.

 How does this work in the real world outside of theory? Taking my goal this week of writing two blog posts :
 A - No one was looking over my shoulder or setting me a deadline, I chose to write for the pleasure and enjoyment of doing so.
R – My Blog connects me with others, the more often I write the more I hope to provide ideas that relate to helping people with their own goals. Writing about my own experience of therapy links me to others with similar experiences.
C – As with any skill the more I practise writing the easier it gets, and hopefully I get better at it. Writing about therapy clarifies my thinking, which will improve my practical abilities.

So goal achieved and gold stars all round.