Category Archives: counselling

Grab a cup of tea and let’s talk about mental health

Jess Glynne inspiring me to write about mental health

Last year, it was This is me, I make no apologies song that inspired me for #timetotalkday. This year my inspiration is Jess Glynne’s song ‘Thursday’. Although it is a love song, some of the words struck a chord with me and seemed apt.

Often clients who have had time off work for anxiety, stress or depression, worry about returning to work. ‘What will people think of me?’ they ask me? ‘What will my colleagues say?’ ‘No-one will understand’? The stigma of mental health is something they fear. The importance of Time to Talk is to create conversation and discussion. This will help stop the stigma around mental health. Stop the fears that my clients and others who suffer from poor mental health.

I’m sick of covering up

Jess’s second line of the song says ‘I’m sick of covering up’. That is what #Timetotalk is saying. Let’s stop covering mental health up. Let’s talk.  We don’t need to hide or be ashamed if we have a mental health problem.

Jess’s second line of the song says ‘I’m sick of covering up’. That is what #Timetotalk is saying. Let’s stop covering mental health up. Let’s talk.  We don’t need to hide or be ashamed if we have a mental health problem.

I’m tired of feeling so broken

‘I’m tired of feeling so broken’ continues in the song.  Yes, those suffering mental health problems are exhausted from feeling broken. Many want to move on but don’t know how too or feel afraid too. It is isolating as people as people that they feel they are the only ones broken or depressed. Talking about mental health and their struggles, would help stop people feeling isolated. This can be achieved through talking to friends, sharing on social media or through a qualified counsellor.

‘I wanna love, I don’t wanna cry, don’t want those tears inside my eyes’

Jess’s song continues. Often clients who come to counselling sit embarrassed by their tears or will announce they will not cry today. They see tears as a sign of weakness. It is not. Crying is an emotion. Sometimes you cannot stop the tears falling. The emotions need to come out. Perhaps it comes from our childhood trying not to cry in front of others. I remember as a child being told to wipe away my tears or being called ‘cry baby’.  How shameful is that? In fact, all I just wanted was a hug and a chance to talk. So where is this going? Well, maybe next time you see someone crying, why not sit with them, and ask if there is anything you can do for them. Show them empathy.

‘I try to embrace all my insecurities’.

 Insecurities can cause highly emotional responses, and make us feel bad about ourselves. This in turn causes a lot of mental stress or anguish.  Embrace your insecurities and try to tackle them one by one. Notice it when feel an insecurity. Rather than react to it (for example, run away or ignore it) try to tackle it. Feel it. Look at where it comes from and think how you can change or build upon it. Don’t beat yourself up. Try to put positive words into your head and be rational. 

‘I was always taught to just be myself. Don’t change for anyone.

How inspirational these words in the song are? It important to have the confidence to be yourself. Believe in yourself. If you are going to change, only do it because you want too. If you notice a behaviour in yourself that does not help or makes you feel bad, then change it. Only make changes because you want to. It is helps you be happier. Remember to do it at your own pace. 

The song ends ‘I wanna to feel beautiful’. Yes! Learn to love yourself. Feel positive about who you are, and grow from your mistakes. Don’t struggle.

How would you continue the conversation of talking about mental health? #timetotalk

8 helpful ways to deal with stress

Deal with stress


Do you find you often feel stressed?

Are your nights disrupted with poor sleep?

Is your mind often thinking about too many things.

Then STOP.


It sounds as though you are stressed. Need to find ways of tackling your stress?

Below are eight helpful ways of dealing with stress. Active change can help you build a happier life for yourself. Continue reading

Therapeutic Journal – Journey to knowing yourself

Why write a therapeutic journal?

Therapeutic journal


Therapeutic journal is aimed at helping you, the writer, to understand yourself better. It can take you on a journey where you discover the ‘real’ you. It can help you to start understand how your think. It can help you learn to feel your emotions. It can help you unpick your problems. Through your therapeutic journey you can learn how to tackle your issues head-one. Continue reading

Working Therapeutically with Syrian Refugees

Working Therapeutically with Syrian Refugees

As part of Refugee Week,  I thought I would  share my experiences of working therapeutically with the Syrian Refugees on the Resettlement programme. This programme is based here in Sheffield with the Refugee Council.

When working as a humanitarian worker, I enjoyed working with different communities.  I worked with displaced people and refugees who had fled their homeland or country due to conflict.  I was installing emergency water and sanitation systems. During this work, I spent a lot of time listening to the communities, (especially women), as well as providing emotional support.  It was therefore exciting that this experience led me to have the opportunity to work therapeutically with the Syrian Refugees. It also fulfilled my silent ambition to be working again with refugees.  Continue reading

Working as a counsellor for Employment Assistant Programme.

A steady income for many private counsellors is being an affiliate to an Employment Assistant Programme (EAP). UK EAPA report that 50% of employers now have support through an Employment Assistant Programme. There are many companies in Sheffield who sign up to an EAP. That is a lot of counselling! But what is an EAP and what are the pros and cons of working for them?

Continue reading

Counsellors guide to online counselling

Counsellor Guide to online counsellingIn 2017, 90% of households in Great Britain had internet access, an increase from 89% in 2016 and 57% in 2006. We are beginning to rely on using the internet for our daily tasks – banking, music, communication etc. So why not finding support for mental health issues? You will see that they are various apps providing support – Headspace, Calm etc. This also extends to providing counselling online. Continue reading

6 easy steps to creating an online blog

Creating a blog online is relatively easy.

The fastest way is set a blog up in WordPress or Blogger. I use WordPress as I find it easy to use. I can choose my own themes, layouts and there are plenty of free plug-ins that add functionality to my blog.  I have created the blog and website myself and I continue to manage myself. I pay for my domain name only. Everything else is free!

This blog post will look at setting up a counselling blog in WordPress. Continue reading

Blogging for Counsellors

Blogging for Counsellors

 Why create a counselling blog?

  1. Blogging for counsellors helps give clients (and other professionals) an indication of what counselling areas you specialise in and it demonstrates what you know.


  1. Blogging helps build your writing skills. It allows time for reflection. It increases your knowledge of the counselling process, different areas of mental health and the techniques that you use.

Continue reading

Counselling and Psychotherapy Blogs 2018

Counselling Blogs 2018

Blogging has become a way for counsellors to share their thoughts, reflections and knowledge of their profession. Counselling blogs are also becoming a useful way for counsellors to market themselves. It makes them stand out. It allows counsellors to share their reflections on different counselling issues.

Starting a blog needs careful consideration by therapists. It needs to be ethical, Continue reading

Communication in relationships


Communication in relationships

Communication in relationships is key to being able to get on and help resolve conflict. Most couples manage effective communication without much effort. However, those who are poor in communication are often unhappy and stuck. It puts a strain on the relationship and leads to conflict.

Poor communication results in partners giving mixed messages to each other and often using personal words that put their partner down. They can give hidden messages through their tone of their voice and say non-supportive comments. They fail to see each other’s world and are unable to problem solve.

So what is good communication?

 Communicating in a relationship is to clearly say what you mean. You need to demonstrate that you are actively listening and showing empathy. In other words you need to show your partner that you understand what they are saying and that you are understanding their feelings.

How do you go about improving communication?

The following steps are ways of improving communication:

  1. Stop and listen to each other. A common mistake is when there is poor communication is that couples do not hear each other. They are focused on what they are going to say in response, they stop listening. When your partner is talking, listen to what they have to say.
  2. Be open and honest. Saying you are fine, when you are hiding deep hurt or resentment does not help communication. Hiding your emotions or giving your partner the silent treatment is not letting your partner know how you feel. You need to open up to help improve the communication between you.
  3. Be brief and to the point in what you want to say. If you launch into a list of problems, your partner will forget the first point and more likely respond to the point that will be controversial or knows it will cause a reaction.
  4. Be positive and show empathy to each other. Put yourself into your partner’s shoes and try to understand their feelings. Reflecting their feelings is a good way to show empathy. Do not mind read! Listen to what your partner is saying about their feelings rather than interpreting them.
  5. Always end on a positive. If you need to say something negative wrap it around something positive so to avoid an unpleasant ending. If you end with a negative it may lead to an argument.
  6. If you don’t like something your partner does, try to think of a suggestion of how it could be done differently
  7. Stop bringing the past into the conversation. Concentrate on the ‘here and now’ and the future.
  8. Stick to the subject. Do not drift into other areas. Arguments between partners can lead to everything being brought into the discussion. Keep to the matter in hand to what you are discussing, rather than bringing in all the problems. Arguments that veer of subject, tend to grow larger arguments with often no resolution.
  9. Speak as ‘I’ rather than saying ‘you and launching into critical comments’. In a relationship, it is easy to start a conversation with saying ‘you’. For example, ‘you make me feel angry’. That is blaming. It is better to say ‘I am feeling upset and it is over something you have done’. This enables your partner to respond to the idea rather an than retaliate and get angry themselves in return.
  10. Do not try to win the battle. If couples try to end the argument or become concerned with winning it ends up with one partner feeling defeated or misunderstood. It is better to agree to have the discussion at another time when you or agree that you will not agree but will respect each other’s opinion. You need to be flexible and to keep the relationship and communication open.

Remember change comes from within

A common trait that occurs in a relationship is that both persons see themselves as the victim and think that there partner is being unreasonable.  With this mind-set, it means that conflict continues and never resolves itself. Couples need to accept that there are two ways of seeing a problem, and try to step back and see that the other person is right in their way of thinking. Therefore the only thing you can change is yourself. Giving your partner good advice, teaching or talking is not an effective way of bringing change in your partner.  You need to change yourself and behave differently. This will help your partner see the change and think about changing themselves.

What is your experience of communication in relationships? Do you use any of the above steps to help your relationship?

The next blog post will look at ways you can self-help improve your communication in your relationship.