Maria BellisCounselling and Psychotherapy

Finding a Way Recent. Orange flowers

Finding a Way Blog

Welcome to 'My Finding a Way' Blog.
Please note that I have now moved my blog to another site to which you can link on: Finding A Way blog

I want to share more about some of the ideas we have in counselling and psychotherapy that underpin how we work in my blog. I call it 'Finding a Way' because often this is the basis of therapy and counselling.
There is no one size fits all or a magic wand giving instant success. Basically we explore, we reflect, and we try out different things until something seems to make sense. But in the end it is about each person finding their own way.

I have copied all my past blogs from my web page to my new site but you can view past blogs here too.

2nd August 2018- Resilience- How do we build it.
See 'Past Blogs' page for previous blogs.

27/8/2018 Transformation and Wanting Change

I am a keen gardener and I like to think I work with nature. I have been struggling with one well established patch which gets over grown so that I can’t get into it- but it is good for wildlife, teeming with birds and bees when in season. So every year I carried on with my hard work and struggled on for the sake of the wild life but always questioning my effort.

Then this year I suddenly decided 'I don’t have to do this anymore’. I can change things and make it work for me and the wildlife. Yes it does mean some hard work taking things out and clearing space, and it does mean letting go of some things I planted myself. But deciding on change has liberated me to feel energised and enthusiastic as I consider a number of choices in transforming this patch.

This solution seemed so simple I wondered about why I had not done this before. That got me thinking about transformation and change. Sometimes we know what we want but we are worried about making change. Sometimes we want change but we are not sure exactly what. Or maybe we just worry about consequences- change sometimes involves some level of risk.

However the real change has to come from within us. We have to be ready for change. Sometimes we may get a Eureka moment, but often it is a long drawn out process as we reflect about the issue. Maybe doing this repeatedly. This process is important as we carry responsibility for our decisions and taking time means we can pay attention to all the aspects of our issue.

It may seem slow as we delay making a decision, but in reality there are little subtle steps that take place as we consider our situation. Wanting change becomes a theme and by returning to it we create subtle changes in ourselves. Allowing for the possibility of change means we imagine what it might be like, we consider different possibilities, we think about the obstacles and the risks, and we consider about staying with the status quo. We may even try out smaller changes.

Over time this process builds up in momentum so that one day it seems like we know what to do. Transformation does not have to be big, it can be small moments of enlightenment and change as we learn to be open to the new. Trusting ourselves in this process that we will work it out one day enables us to keep going through difficulties and find our own way.

I needed my time to reflect but I also had to be ready for this change. Now I have the joy of transforming my overgrown patch into something that no longer feels difficult and can benefit both me and the wildlife.

02/08/2018 Resilience – How do we build it?

When times get difficult how we cope depends on our resilience to take care of ourselves and manage the situation. How we learn about resilience is usually from our upbringing which hopefully gives us a good grounding and various techniques. We continue to develop our ability to deal with difficulties as we mature and grow older.
Information about resilience.

Resilience is not something we consciously learn as it is a combination of skills, knowledge and experiences we build up individually. But it is something we get to think about when times feel tough and we struggle to manage how we feel, to understand what has happened and to find a way through. Difficult times often lead us to self- question and reflect about our lives which can be positive and add to our learning experience.

Having helpful thought processes, self-care practices and supportive networks can be key to managing difficulties. But at challenging times we can sometimes be prone to self-criticism, neglect ourselves and not make use of available support. Switching off can be a stress response in itself as we try to cope with our emotions. Or maybe how we normally support ourselves is not enough.

There are some basic things to help:

  • Relaxation- we need to practice this regularly in order to achieve it. Even if we can bring the tension down a few notches it helps us to feel a little more in control and able to cope better.
  • Distraction - Find something worthwhile to do even if for a short while. This doesn’t have to be complex- it can be stroking the cat, going for a walk, calling a friend, doing some cleaning or cooking, watching a positive film. The idea is to take your mind in another direction and feel better. Put your efforts into things you can control and help you feel better even if only for a little while.
  • Is there potential for positivity in the challenge?- Health problems may mean taking better care of yourself, relationship issues may mean trying to communicate better. Again this can help us to feel we can get back a measure of control if we can do something to help ourselves.
  • Learning- Even if things don’t resolve as hoped, what can you learn from this experience that will help you in the future?
  • Keep it in context-Even if you feel you have done something badly, don’t label everything in your life as wrong or everything you are as bad. It is human to make mistakes- keep hold of the whole you, and see yourself in the wider context of all the good things you do as well.
  • Commit to keep going with all your relationships – don’t give up on them all if one or two relationships have difficulties.
  • See bad events as just temporary- You do still have to get through them but eventually it will pass into memory.

    Resilience is a lifelong learning and we all get tested at times. Recognising that there are things you can do to support yourself and get through the hard times is key to how you manage the situation. At the core of all this is how you look after yourself and support yourself. At difficult times we can learn to do this a little better and build our resilience further.

    If you would like to check out your own resilience bwp have an online questionnaire and some guidance:
    The Samaritans do an online course for young people around building resilience but this can be useful for anyone. Samaritans

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