New Year Resolution – still succeeding?


 
The Edinburgh Healthy Chat Therapist

Reaching your goal can be helped by gaining an objective viewpoint and reframing it within a larger perspective .

Here at my Edinburgh talk therapy clinic, my New Year resolve is to share some of my therapy and counselling ideas and advice on our Healthy Chat blog. So, in timely fashion, here are my thoughts on our great tradition to pledge a new year’s resolution:

What went through your mind as the bells rang in 2017?

Was it by any chance a pledge to give something up? Cigarettes, chocolate, alcohol? Take-away meals?  Retail therapy? TV or computer games? Gambling? Chewing your nails? Perhaps, conversely, it was a pledge to begin something, like running or swimming, singing in a choir or being more sociable, or to gain something, like a fit healthy body, or a six-pack torso, or a healthier bank balance. It might have been to be more assertive at work, or to be nicer to your mother-in-law. Whatever it was, a few weeks down the line, how is it going for you? I shall hazard a guess that those who chose a ‘giving something up’ type of resolution will be struggling more than those who chose to begin something or gain something.

And how’s your New Year resolve bearing up?

Unfortunately, a shift in behaviour can often be short-lived unless a sound plan is in place as to what to do instead of the old and unwanted behaviour, or what is to be gained from the loss. This is because most of us have strong unconscious negative associations with words like ‘losing’ or ‘giving up’ or ‘quitting’: our brains don’t like loss, and don’t like a void where there used to be an activity. Loss is the opposite of gain, and acquisition is a core motivation in humans. Also, we have been (albeit perhaps unwittingly) conditioned to associate giving up with failure. A decision to ‘lose weight’ or ‘give up smoking’ is therefore immediately hindered, or hoist by its own petard, as my father would have said.

 

Another key thing to note here is that our brain is an expectation machine: it wants to be set tasks so that it can pursue and achieve them. The trick is to give our brains a positive goal, not a negative one, as it will pursue each with equal diligence. If you set your mind to not smoking, your brain will focus on smoking, and sooner or later the word ‘not’ will be forgotten. If, however, you set your mind to getting healthier, with cessation of the foul habit of filling your lungs with poison set out as a clear part of your health plan, you will have a much higher chance of success.

 

To take a similar vein with body weight, instead of resolving to lose weight, set out to gain that slim figure that you so desire, or find your waistline (that you know is in there somewhere because you saw it a decade ago!), or become fit and agile. The change in words is so simple it may seem insignificant, but the reframing of the resolution can make all the difference.

 

It’s worth bearing in mind that one session with an effective therapist or coach can help you to set out your goals for maximum effect and the ultimate positive result. Sometimes it’s invaluable to, in effect, “borrow another brain” for an objective perspective on what you are aiming to achieve.

 

One note of caution here is to make sure that the new activity or behaviour is not only positive, achievable and backed by sound reasoning, but is also a behaviour that you want in your life.  I don’t mind admitting that (before I had studied psychotherapy and learned how our brain works) I once pledged to give up red wine, and rather unimaginatively decided to replace it with cranberry juice. By week three I had pretty much developed an allergy to cranberry juice and I subconsciously moved the ‘goalposts’ of my resolution from ‘give up’ to ‘give up for a month’ (another trick our brains are good at). On the first of February I fell upon a bottle of wine as a drowning man would a life raft.

 

Denial can take many forms and, if you go about it the wrong way, ‘giving up’ alcohol or cigarettes or ‘cutting down’ on foods can unnecessarily affect more of your life than you might think. Many folk who may feel they have overindulged over the festive season just choose not to go out because they will not know what to say when somebody offers them a drink or a bag of crisps. If you are ‘on the wagon’ for January then it’s no good floundering around wondering what to say when your friend is at the bar waving a wine glass at you.

 

But it is equally bad to stop going out: your New Year resolution wasn’t to deny yourself a social life.  If ‘losing weight’ is your goal then it might feel easier to just not visit your Granny during January, because you know she will have a plate of leftover mince pies and Christmas cake on offer, and you haven’t the mental energy to turn it down. But not visiting her affects both of you in terms of your connection and attention needs – and you don’t want to abandon your Granny to a month of loneliness. Conversely, giving up computer games or TV is all fine and good unless it causes you to head out to the bar to fill the void with alcohol.

It’s useful here to borrow a technique well known to athletes, politicians and actors: mental rehearsal.

Work out in advance what you will say when someone offers you a cigarette, a beer or a portion of chips. If retail therapy is your poison, have a clear plan in place before those January sales catch your eye. Think it through and rehearse the words. Be absolutely clear in your mind.  Hear yourself saying those words, “no thanks, I don’t smoke” or “no thanks, I’ve switched to a healthy diet this year” or, “let’s go ice skating instead of shopping this weekend”.

 

Conscious rehearsal is great up to a point, but those same athletes, actors and politicians will also be using visualisation to embed the desired mindset into their subconscious. My son can close his eyes and visualise how he wants to swim his race in a certain time. I used to use the same technique to visualise the time it would take me to complete a cross country course, and therefore where I could potentially speed up. Effective speakers take a moment in a quiet corner to visualise the calm, clear, confident authority with which they will deliver their speech. Visualisation makes use of one of the most powerful of our innate resources – our imagination – to generate images of the desired reality.

 

Reframing, visualising and rehearsing your own success are often the keys to achieving what you want, and to making your New Year resolution a permanent behaviour pattern in your life. A good therapist, counsellor or coach can help to kick start the process for you.

 

©Julia Welstead 2017

The Edinburgh Healthy Chat Therapist

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



Divorce – done with dignity and respect


93. Good Divorce

 

I’d like to think that with nearly 5 million divorces in the UK since the 1980s (about 150,000 per year) we’d be starting to hear stories of what worked and what didn’t when a couple went through their separation. I’d like to see a culture of sharing wisdom with the next generation; knowledge filtering out to men, women, families and lawyers about how best to navigate the divorce journey. I’d like to read in magazines and blogs, accounts of couples who put their children and wellbeing-for-all at the centre of their decision to shift from nuclear to extended family and that actually they made the subsequent life changes with ease and with a feeling of control and empowerment.

 

As yet, I’m really not seeing that information making it’s way in the mainstream media, however, I am meeting more and more couples who want a respectful separation and a working co-parenting relationship going forward. They come to me at Healthy Chat for mediation for 3 very important reasons:

  • They don’t want conflict to be at the centre of the separation they’re ready to make
  • They’re in agreement that living together is not bringing out the best in themselves or their children
  • They don’t want to invest £5000 – £25,000 in joint solicitor and lawyer fees when a divorce can be simply mediated and cost-effectively processed (and with the saved fees they can each holiday for a week in the sun!)

Here are the Top 3 suggestions on how to go about a peaceful divorce process:

 

1. Reject the myth of ‘divorce as a battle’

Choosing to separate because a marriage is no longer the best working model for a partnership or for parenting can be very liberating. The tradition model is one of conflict and battle and even when a couple can see the sense in divorce, often by the time they’ve each hired a lawyer to ‘protect their best interests’, the subtle suggestions of  ‘you could get more; you’ve been mistreated; your children might be taken away’ will drive a them into panic, blame and more legal-fee spending.

 

A more peaceful and up-to-date way of divorcing is to plan for a series of conversations (challenging at first perhaps – but they get easier) based around a concept of ‘more for all and less to none’. A couple and their children (age appropriately) can all be involved in these. Over a number of weeks and months a respectful and clear plan and time frame begins to evolve. Once that’s defined for everyone and all are in agreement, only then does the formal paperwork and reasoning get passed to a family lawyer to ensure the legal bit’s filed correctly.

 

2. Manage your expectations: commit 6 months to the process

An open mind is the trick to divorcing peacefully and in a reasonable time scale. There can be many mediated group and 1-2-1 conversations to be had during this time; each helping to clarify the wisest arrangements for both parties in relation to children, living arrangements, finances, work, re-training (if one parent requires extra support to up-skill to work for more income in the future), separation of possessions, holidays, pensions and future flexibility to re-negotiate the terms.

Will the transition be painful? – it’s different for everyone, but probably. Keep in mind that it will ease in time (especially if couples priorities compassion) and that remaining in a dissatisfying marriage for another 1-5 years before you get to this point creates extended hurt anyway.

 

3. Trust that conscious co-parenting is in your children’s best interest

Children sense tension in a household even if they can’t put it into words. They can end up being emotionally better off in the long term once their parents agree to step up, communicate and make some changes. It might be that, through some mediated conversations, some new skills and knowledge are learned and a marriage takes on a new lease of life and everyone is happier (it happens!); and it could also be that separating whilst keeping the children’s best interests at the centre of the changes brings similar happiness over time too.

 

For sure this is not a simple subject and relationships are different for everyone. Life is long and it’s a good principle to re-confirm that you have many choices of how the future can be. If you can’t quite work out how to get to where you want to go for now, then borrowing a brain at Healthy Chat to help you get clarity may be a very wise first step.

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



Medication – do your research


 

56. medication2One of things I like to get clear on from the outset of working with a client is whether they’re taking medication – and if so, what is it and what effect does it have. Whether they’re emotion suppressants (for depression, grief, overwhelm, complex life change), sleeping tablets (stress & anxiety), pain management (migraines, cancer, post-ops), or nausea drugs (eating disorders or addictions)  – every single one of them has a wider impact on a person’s body than simply the remit it’s being taken for.

 

Some years ago I moved my practice from London to Aberdeenshire. Shortly after that I was introduced socially to a delightful and smart woman who, over a period of about 18 months, went from no medication to an increasingly-complex cocktail of at least 8 different types of pills daily – initially to manage depression, then weight gain, addiction, liver challenges, thrombosis, and on and on – until she died in hospital asking to be taken out of there because ‘ … all of this is too much’ (the drugs … not her life).

 

Go back to the beginning of that chapter, her depression began by not having access to her son because she was in conflict with her ex-husband. They had shared custody, however the husband didn’t always allow her the access she was due at weekends; he wouldn’t show up at court when she tried to hold him accountable through the present family law system; and he would speaking critically of the mum to the son further distancing them. In accumulation, this was the driving force for this woman’s stress, which in turn lead to an appeal for medical help and a first introduction to the anti-depressants and sleeping medication.

 

On many occasions I’ve had first conversations with clients that go a bit like this: ‘I realised it was serious when I went to my doctor and was perscribed with anti-depressants. I’m sitting here staring at them and I don’t want to start down this route … can you help?’. Ordinarily these clients will see me twice, perhaps 3 times, additionally-equipping themselves in each subsequent session, and then they leave and move on confidently with their next life chapter.

 

Most of us have an instinct about whether we really need:

  • a weight loss drug – or some nutritional advice and a tribe to exercise with
  • a sleeping tablet – or a meaningful, professional conversation to reduce our stress and work our best first choices
  • a pain suppressant – or some great physiotherapy and some genuine rest from our work or exercise regime

 

I’m not sitting here as a therapist in Aberdeen or as a counsellor in Dundee saying all medication is evil – far from it. I’m saying that in many cases heading to a doctor for advice is a great first step, and in many other cases it’s worth the time and effort to research whether there are alternatives to a pharmaceutical prescription that may help you more convincingly and faster without impacting your physical body in ways none of us fully understand.

 

Most of us at some point have taken time to understand the general nutritional or calorific content of our meals; how much more important is it that we do at least the same with the chemical content of our medication. Or even better, spend a few hours investigating the benefits a great nutritionist, physiotherapist, counsellor, massage therapist, bio-energy healer, acupuncture professional or chiropractor can offer you.

 

In this Human Givens therapist’s humble opinion, the more responsibility each one of us take for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, the more likely we are to live longer, happier, choice-filled lives.

 

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



Dying from too much comfort …


49. Too much2

 

Sometime I notice differences between being a therapist in Aberdeen vs a therapist in Dundee. Clients from the latter (not all) often action change more quickly than clients (not all) from the former. I wonder whether there might be something underlying that?

 

I recently went to hear Pauline Sanderson speak. She’s an adventurer who, with 6 others back in 2006, completed a cycle of 8150 miles, starting at the Dead Sea in Jordan and continuing on through Syria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal to Tibet. As if that wasn’t character building enough, the team then traded in their cycling gear for climbing equipment and over the next 4 weeks summited Mount Everest. They were the first team in history to complete the world’s longest climb (8,430 meters from the Dead Sea to the peak of Everest).

 

One of the first questions Sanderson asked us all was – ‘what’s the no. 1 thing that stops most people fulfilling their purpose?’. Answers like, money, fear and family commitments were offered up and we were told that each was somewhere on the list, but not at the top. Surprisingly (to me) Sanderson revealed: ‘the no.1 reason we don’t reach our dreams is: too much comfort’.

 

That triggered a whole number of connecting thoughts for me.

 

When I trained as a Human Given’s Therapist back in 2011 I remember Joe Griffin, the co-founder of the institute, being asked ‘is there a theme that runs through your toughest cases over the decades you’ve been a therapist?.’ The room fully expected to hear that ‘addiction, relationships, or depression’ might be most difficult to treat. But no, again a surprise response (for me) from Griffin was ‘my hardest cases almost always involve: entitlement’.

 

And this theme has been borne out over and over again in my own practice; clients from privileged backgrounds, raised from childhood to expect the world to conform to their expectations, over time, when that doesn’t materialise, can turn to drink, drugs or depression in response. When they seek out help, strategies for change agreed inside a session prompt little or no change because these clients have an extraordinarily complex web of ‘reasons why not’ and ‘here’s why that wouldn’t work for me’.

 

To some extent the same applies to women or men who have experienced comfort for an extended amount of time in later life – they’re financially sound, in defined relationships, reasonably physically healthy – yet super-unmotivated. They’re often clear about what they’d like to see be different in the future (extended travelling, new career, relationship changes, charitable work, more learning) but are fearful of taking the first step. Over months and years of compromising they experience increasing frustration. This can then show through excessive drinking, smoking, exercise, affairs, gambling, comparison with others (at work, school, with wealth or fitness), over-focussing on children or partner, big reactions to seemingly small things (re-decorating again!), apparently constantly super-busy – the list is endless.

 

In Human Givens therapy, there are 14 emotional health factors that a therapist will measure with every client they work with. One of the questions on this initial audit is: ‘Are you being mentally and/or physically stretched in ways which give you a sense that life is meaningful’.  It’s this one response that I’m now becoming super-aware of – not just for my clients but in my own life too (we’re all work’s in progress).

 

The questions I’m now asking myself are: ‘Am I using my present comfort to excuse me taking risks’; ‘Is it really true that other people are benefitting from me staying as I am?’; ‘Could doing nothing actually be more damaging that doing something’: ‘What am I most scared of … and what if I go ahead and start that thing anyway’?

 

What would your answers be? And if you’re interest in the full 14-question emotional audit -just get in touch.

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



To conform or to transform


 

10. DiamondRunning businesses that supply therapy in Aberdeen and counselling in Dundee when I’ve spent the last 12 years of my life in London and the previous 10 overseas in Jakarta, Hong Kong and Australia, there’s not much about my life so far where it could be said that ‘she’s a conformist’. It wasn’t always that way though.

 

Brought up in Africa, as a child my first 6 years were mainly spent in the company of my brothers and sister. We had similar values and there were few unknowns. I felt safe. We spent 2 hours every morning being home schooled by my strict mother. And almost every afternoon riding bikes, hunting lizards and swimming in pools and rivers.

 

When my parents returned to the UK to allow us to be schooled formally everything changed. I’d never seen so many children, all dressed in uniform, in one room together doing the same activity. As a shy girl with a stutter, I stressed about how I would ever learn ‘the code’ to fit in. I could already read, write, do numbers, reason, run, swim, catch a ball – it wasn’t the lessons that threw me. It was the playground. How did groups form? Who decided what games to play and who could join in? Who was kind and protective who was to be avoided (I shed some tears learning that one).

 

Fitting in meant learning who followed what rules. Who was clever, sporty, popular and who were the rule-breakers the influencers or the coasters. And it was important to conform in those days because people who were too different were teased, bullied and ostracised.

 

I’m glad to say that now as a parent and having had the experience of 5 different UK schools I can confidently say they are farer, more diverse and more accepting places for our children to become a bigger reflection of who they were born to be. That’s a good thing. Our world is bursting at the seams with 7.3 billion people, none identical. They are held together by differences, similarities, choices, travel, change and progress.

 

It’s a proper stretch for our present leaders of countries, schools, businesses, faith groups and families to let the next generation express themselves in the diverse ways they do. It must be tempting to encourage (or bribe or force) our young (and old) men and women to conform – how much easier to manage, to create policies around, to know outcomes. Too much conformity  though and we’ll lose the ability to find the creative solutions required for our human race to thrive.

 

At the core of both conformity and transformation are the traits of gentleness, tolerance and love. Applying these regardless of gender, faith, ethnicity, riches, poverty, education, self expression, family make up and physical or mental ability is where the breakthroughs lie.

 

It’s uncomfortable to live in this era of unknown quantities. Trust me that you’re not the only one struggling with the little questions (will I have a job next year; will my family stay together; why are my adult children back in my house) or the bigger ones (will there be a burnt up planet for my children’s children; when do I tolerate and when do I speak out; are free will, free speech and free expression always a good idea?).

 

It’s important to find a Healthy Chat, a therapist & a philosophy to up-skill yourself in these fast-changing times. It’s the boldness to ask questions that builds a confidence to both conform and transform; to be anchored as you ascend.

 

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



Psychotherapist, counsellor, psychologist, coach – who’s going to help you


21. HealthyChat12

 

You’re not going to need to know whether to do a search for ‘psychotherapist Aberdeen’, ‘counsellor Aberdeen’ or ‘life coach Aberdeen’ unless you’re in the difficult position of having an emotional or mental health challenge or (less difficult) living in or around the Aberdeenshire area. But how do you know who to search for? What’s the difference to you in engaging a psychotherapist, a psychologist or a psychiatrist – it’s important that you know!

 

There’s no doubt about the fact that the choices involved in successfully navigating 60-100 years of a lifetime have increase. With the increase in choices comes an exponential increase in the complexity of finding a mix that works exactly right for you. Most people – from teenage years to retirement – will at some point find that range of decisions overwhelming, to a point where they require professional help to guide and to simplify.

 

So which professionals know what about what? And who’s going to make the difference to your specific situation right now? Here’s a simple guide:

 

Psychotherapist

This title can usually be inter-changed with therapist or with counsellor. It’s often used to intimate a longer term, or wider range of therapeutic study – however you can’t immediately assume that that makes a psychotherapist a better choice for your support and recovery process. There are different styles of therapeutic conversation offered by psychotherapists, therapists and counsellors and the best way to find out who’s best for you to work with is: read their website, look at their testimonials and, most importantly, talk to the therapist before you decide whether to work with him/her. You’ll get a sense very quickly about whether you have a shared chemistry, and they have the skills, that are going to help you to your chosen outcome. Trust your instinct.

 

As a general rule you could search for a psychotherapist to help with: depression, anxiety, panic attacks, overwhelm, post traumatic stress, an eating disorder, addiction or a phobia

 

Counsellor

See above. Also, it’s important not to assume a counsellor is less skilled than a psychotherapist. Some highly skilled therapists choose to call themselves counsellors because it has a more approachable sound. Some counsellors are extraordinarily skilled, intuitive and experienced. Again, contact the professional who’s site or profile reads well to you and have a first conversation about the outcomes you’d like to see from working with them.

 

Search for a counsellor to equip you with: strong relationships, successful marriage, quality parenting, healthy divorce, career change, wholesome bereavement and balanced retirement

 

Life Coach

There are again huge crossovers in the skills a life coach is equipped with when compared to therapists. The angle from a coach is often said to me more future and solutions focussed than with therapy which has a present and issues slant. However, a modern, up-to-date therapy, like Human Givens Psychotherapy, is as fast, effective and uplifting a conversation as you’ll get with most good life coaches.

 

Search for a life coach to: show up in a bigger way at work and in relationships, address limiting beliefs around your skills and abilities, add meaning to ambition.

 

Psychologist

A psychologist has a psychology degree at bachelors, masters or doctorate level. They are social scientists trained to study human behaviour and mental processes. They are not usually medically qualified and only a small proportion of psychologist will go on to work with patients/clients. Some will continue in research and some into education, mental health and occupational psychology.

 

Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have specialised in the study of mental disorders and their diagnosis, management and prevention. They may be additionally trained in psychotherapy (although that’s not yet commonplace) and they can prescribe medication to treat symptoms, which a therapist, counsellor or psychologist can’t.

 

So whoever you choose should you be in the north of Scotland – psychotherapist, counsellor or life coach – the encouraging point to take from this is that although there are more life choices (a good thing) creating more diverse individuals (another good thing), should you find that all a bit overwhelming at any point, there are also more professional navigators to help you get clear and move forward with simplicity.

 

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



How do you refer a friend for therapy


 

44. FriendHugIt’s a tricky situation this one. When you notice a friend or family member could do with help or support beyond what you’re equipped to give, how do you suggest to them ‘I think you should see a therapist?’ without hearing expletives come back at you?

 

There are lots of reasons why we can spot things about our friends that they can’t see for themselves. You might see:

 

  • A recurring pattern: dating the same type of controlling guy for example. They’re too caught up in the details of ‘but this guy’s different’ to notice that they’re repeating a life lesson
  • An addiction: could be to alcohol, drugs, sex or a personality type – whatever it is it takes a very aware person to acknoweledge that they’re living with a dependence on something (or someone)
  • A sadness: most people get sad sometimes – it’s part of the spectrum of emotions we’re privileged enough to encounter. The frequency and the depth to which we feel sad can differ greatly and when you’re in it it’s possible to say ‘doesn’t everyone feel down sometimes’ without recognising that you’ve been like that for 6 weeks now – your mind needs help to get back its resilience and bounce-back
  • A destruction: self harming and eating disorders can often be hidden from those at work or others in a house hold. Over time though it’s often the case that family or friends will notice a routine forming or a regular oddity (why does she always go to the toilet after dinner; or why does he always wear long sleeves even on a hot  summer’s day). Often just asking the question is enough for the person to share some extra details – but reason on its own (even with the best of intentions) is rarely enough to transform the behaviour
  • A debilitation: with panic attacks or with anxiety or stress, it can be the case that your friend will begin to retreat from socialising (with valid enough sounding excuses), will have increased sick days, will step down from opportunities they may previously have been front of the queue for.

 

To be helpful in all the above situations you would first have to be able to:

  • spot the harmful changes (being drunk as a one off is different than drinking to excess 4nights a week)
  • know how to confront the topic (to come alongside the person we care about and not judge them or offer simplistic solutions)
  • know the limitations of what can be dealt with as a friend and what should be passed to a professional (plus also, could you recommend a great therapist? – Like a personal trainer there are ones who can talk the talk, and those who can get authentic results fast).

So here are 5 ways you could approach a conversation with a friend or family member so they might hear that you care enough to suggest they see a good therapist:

  1. Ask some questions: you can’t show you genuinely care unless you’ve proved your willing to listen. ‘So what’s been going on’; ‘how have you been feeling’; ‘what are you thinking is going to turn this round’; ‘what have you tried’; ‘what are the consequences if you keep going like this’
  2. Plant a seed: do your research well and tell your friend (child, sibling, parent) that you’ve heard of someone (or some therapy type – like for us it’s Human Givens therapy) who gets extraordinary results fast. ‘I can email you the website or the number if you want to check it out’.
  3. Tell a ‘dear John’ story: like if you’d heard that ‘this friend of mine’s daughter’ had an amazing turn around from her addiction after she spoke to this great therapist.
  4. Don’t judge: a friend doesn’t want to hear a judgement about the tough point they’re going through right now. It might seem simple to you from the outside. It’s not simple for them, so if you’re going to say a ‘should’ or an ‘ought’  – stay silent and count to 10!
  5. Care & invest: if you need to go with them on session one, do it. If they need a bit more support getting into a new routine, be there. Encourage, cheer and love. They’d do the same for you.

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



Feeling sad – what you can do about it


 

21. Sad-HappyThere are a remarkable number of people who look happy, hold down jobs, parent their children, do sport and have great friends … and all the time they feel sad.

 

It’s not a flaw in someone’s character, it’s not a thing a person should feel guilty about (which they often do if they have many things in their life to be grateful for), and it’s often not something that needs medication as a ‘fix’.

 

Sadness is on the emotional spectrum like every other feeling. The trick is to learn how to move up or down that spectrum as required and often to learn to observe and accept a particular emotion as being ‘right for now’ without trying to judge it, change it or over think it.

 

From a very young age we are taught to associate certain feelings as being good or bad, right or wrong. So you might have been told that it’s good that you’re happy and bad that you’re sad. Or right to be grateful and wrong to be angry. As our experiences in life get wider and richer, that type of catagorising just doesn’t work for the complexities we start to experience.

 

Think of these situations and possible emotions:

  • first love: happy, energised, confused, scared, jealous, elated, adored
  • bullying partner: nervous, content, on edge, frustrated, angry, self critical, high, low, doubting, questioning
  • high paid, unstimulating job: grateful, compromised, challenged, fearful (stay or go), stuck, glad (of the money & choices), stymied

 

So what can we do about feeling sad? Lots and lots, but here are a first few suggestions:

  • Pay attention: what you think about expands. Pay attention to the thoughts that you’re thinking each part of the day and begin to notice which ones make you feel more uplifted and which ones contribute to you feel deflated. Actively choose the better feeling thoughts. This is a huge skill set – only practice will get results over time.

 

  • Notice your diet: some people can have reactions to certain food groups. Processed sugar (in sweets, fizzy drinks, energy and chocolate bars) can give you a temporary energy high followed by a depressing sugar slump. However there are subtle allergies that our bodies might be reacting to from meats, gluten, dairy or even selected fruits or vegetables. Seek out a great nutritionist. And remember, the high from a night drinking can be paid back with an all-day low (feeling lost, sad, depressed or alone)

 

  • Exercise often: 3-4 times per week minimum if at all possible. Raising your heart rate and releasing uplifting endorphins influences your mind towards positivity. It creates a sense of discipline and control, both of which are life an success affirming

 

  • Edit your friendships: make an assessment of the 5 people you spend most time around. If they live life with traits you find admirable, stick with them; otherwise, dial down the time you spend with them and actively seek out inspiring, positive, encouraging relationships

 

  • Actively up-skill your emotional resourcefulness: lots of adults are trying to achieve happiness in life with an emotional skill-set from their teenage years. Advanced life choices can require advanced communication and navigation skills to be successful. Seek out a mentor, coach or counsellor who has evidenced their results.

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



Successful divorce – is it doable?


14. respectful divorce

 

Best together? Best apart? Stay married? Get divorced? These are not assumptions I make when a husband, wife or partner comes to talk to me (either separately or together). Relationships are extraordinarily unique things and two (or more) people can be in one, be committed, yet still have entirely different perspectives about longevity, intimacy, sharing, friendship, ownership, control, roles and contribution within a household.

 

We learn models of what makes a ‘good’ relationship from what we observe when we’re growing up – parents, older family, couples we know from church, school or clubs. Possibly without conscious thought we hear stories and layer assumption after assumption onto ‘marriage’ or ‘living together’ and progress into adult life with those assumptions relatively unchallenged. Rarely do they match up when we get to the point of choosing a partner and moving to co-habiting with them.

 

The concept of ‘forever’ is hugely tied up with a successful relationships. But is that really the case? Or can we put this in a personal choice category along with: quantity of time spent with each other; common interests; matching faiths or philosophies; cultural or socio-economily similar backgrounds. These topics could be highly relevant or not at all – there’s really no right or wrong answer.

 

Some of the most common assumptions I hear are:

  • Yes, they’re happily married – they’ve been together for 30 years
  • They have 4 children and one on the way – they’re so committed
  • She’s his wife – of course she knows how he feels
  • Women are just better at nurturing and raising children
  • They must be happy … they never argue
  • They got divorced – that’s a failed relationships

This list is inexhaustible because no people who choose to live a chapter of their life together can ever fully know how that’s going to play out over the months, years and decades to come. One of the biggest challenges to a partnership that I see is when a person or couple reference their success against other couples, then register dissatisfaction because their relationship isn’t as supportive, happy, exciting or authentic as the couple they ‘think they know’.

 

It’s important to note that:

  • generally couples don’t disclose or dissect  their full experiences with other couples (there perhaps isn’t the time, isn’t the right trust, or there can be a sense of not wanting to be seen to be ‘failing’)
  • most couples are happy to share the fun, special or unusual event or experiences of their relationship – and not the routine, painful or challenging bits
  • often the people we seek advice from (older family members or friends) are having or have had similar challenges within their relationship. They may still together because they’ve developed tolerance (not a bad thing) but perhaps not always a deep understanding. They’re perhaps not fully equipped (or expert) then to offer you a well-thought-through strategy that will turn your relationship around

 

Successful relationships have a life cycle – they might well have ups and downs be destined for ‘forever’. They may equally have ups and downs and reach a point were one or both parties no longer see their futures together. Either way it’s the respect, the hope and the ability to communicate that will ultimately define whether successful divorce follows or whether successful togetherness continues.

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



Enough with tolerating


38. Freedom

 

This afternoon I chose to leave work a little early and go down to the pool for some exercise and some mind clearing. After 30 minutes and with 64 lengths done and dusted (that’s a mile exactly if you’re wondering about the random number) I headed to the showering area.

 

As I was washing my hair a woman with a young son and daughter pushed the buttons of the showers opposite. Whilst the mum and son quietly got on with their shampooing, the daughter felt the water on her back and said ‘burning, burning, burning …’. Strangely though, she didn’t step out from underneath the heat of the shower. She stayed in there chanting ‘burning, burning, burning …’ over and over again as her mum encouraged her to ‘get on with it, get your hair washed’ and re-pressed the water button for more.

 

Clearly the child wasn’t genuinely burning or anywhere near it, but it got me thinking …

 

How many of us tolerate ongoing discomfort on a daily basis without taking action to change things? How many people speak to friends and family about how demoralising is their job, or how disrespectful is their relationship, then get up the next day and tolerate it all over again. How many adults suffer weeks, months and years of repetitive, joy-less ‘burning, burning, burning …’ in their life expecting someone else to show up and rescue them? Far too many is the answer.

 

The dictionary defines tolerating as ‘allowing the existence, occurrence, or practice of something that one dislikes or disagrees with without interference’. So why do we do that? Where do we learn that that’s ok?

 

In my experience there are 2 main reasons: the first is that we’ve seen tolerating modelled to us from a young age (parents in an unhappy marriage for example) or society tells us there’s one right way (‘divorce would be failing’) and we haven’t thought to challenge those models; and the second is that tolerating creeps up on us so slowly and over such an extended amount of time that we’ve forgotten that the contrasting experience really exists.

 

Whatever the reason, if you’re reading this and you’re an adult tolerating stressful, depressing, disrespectful days on end, then it’s time to stop it. And the first step’s already occurred – you’ve noticed. Sometimes that’s all that needs to happen because then you’ll begin to spot that choices are available to you.

 

Choosing not to tolerate means making a choice for change.

 

And change doesn’t have to be sudden, severe or painful – I’m not advocating job quitting or relationship ditching (although they could be valid choices – only you’ll know). I’m saying this:

  • Start to pay attention to your discomfort
  • Use it to create a contrasting thought (eg. if I DON’T want to be given the routine tasks at work every day, it means I DO want to get involved with some special projects. Do you feel the empowerment of shifting a don’t to a do?)
  • Write down the outcome you want to achieve (it’s good to be reminded should you have some weaker moments)
  • Take action (talk to someone, research your choices, skill yourself up to get the result you want, be patient (your partner might take a while to get up to speed) and be persistent (don’t go back to how things were)
  • Review every day whether your thought changes, new conversations and action taking are getting you closer to the vision

You’re a valuable, smart, worthy human being. Choose every moment to believe that. When you stand up for happiness, you’ll be surprised who’ll show up to stand with you.

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.