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Transactional Analysis & Personality
Where are your boundaries?
How do I find out if you are the right therapist for me?
Self-esteem Workshops Start 3rd Oct 2018 for 9 weeks
Open Wednesdays From Week Commencing 9th July 2018

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St Andrews Counselling & Psychotherapy Blog Opens
Working with Trauma:Early Deconfusion work
View from the Bridge ( trigger warning contains reference to suicide)
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Transactional Analysis: The Ego State Model

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Transactional Analysis & Personality

I often use what we call the functional model of ego states to illustrate what might be happening in the clients internal dialogue.
This diagram explains aspects of our personality and how we communicate with ourselves, or the intrapsychic dialogue.
We all have the ability to reflect and know which ego state we could be in and the headings, underlined, and subheadings explain when we are in this ego state, thinking feeling and behaviours.
We do need all our ego states, Parent, Adult and Child, and we have a choice and can decide which ego state might be useful to us at any given time.
Firstly with your therapist to understand when, where and why this could happen in your own internal dialogue. This structured reflection and feedback can help you to familiarise yourself with your unconscious process and bring this into conscious awareness.
Once you become aware you can be supported to use your ego states to support your move from less helpful aspects of your personality that might be limiting your life, or causing mental health issues (such as anxiety, depression and/or relationship issues) to a more helpful way to self-soothe, calm self and open up your options around thinking, feeling and behaving.
Want to know more?
Contact me on 07824700980 or email me on carol.foote1@btopenworld.com 

Where are your boundaries?

Often people run into difficulties when it comes to setting boundaries with others.

So what is a boundary: The Oxford dictionary definition "A line which marks the limits of an area; a dividing line". Looking at this from a psychological perspective " a psychological limit that marks the distinction between behaviour that does not cause emotional harm and behaviour that causes emotional harm".(http://guidetopsychology.com/boundaries.htm.)

When we have good enough boundaries we say "yes" when we want to and "no" when we don't want to. If our boundaries are lax or loose we can believe that we don't have either the choice or right to say no, this maybe due to poor self-esteem or self-worth and we don't want to upset the other.

This can lead to a subjugation of our own needs or not even realising we have needs and that others needs are important than ours. So we end up agreeing to do things we don't want to do in order to stay in relationship with the other. This happens out of direct awareness and maybe as simple as being asked "What would you like to do?" (about key decisions over finances, holidays, children, going out at the weekend, where to live, moving etc).

Would you say you are a people pleaser? Do you feel in order to be in relationship with your partner, friends and relatives you have to agree with them? What do you fear if you don't agree? Is this that they won't like or love you? When did you last put your needs first?

If any of this strikes a chord then this maybe helpful:
1.Before you agree or say yes, pause and consider, do I really want to do this?
2. Are you in a situation or relationship that is harmful to you but fear leaving or confronting this?
3. Do you allow others to decide for themselves or do you try and fix the problem, rescue or give unasked for advice?
4. How are you self-caring by pursuing your own interests?
5. Tell others how you want to be treated.
6. What are your needs, know what these are, for example; respect, being taken into account, being heard, to have choices and options, having personal space and privacy.

"Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others" Brene Brown

If you have found this blog helpful and would like to know more or would like to book an appointment, please email me on carol.foote1@btopenworld.com 

How do I find out if you are the right therapist for me?

I guess you may have checked me out on my Counselling Directory page or found me through Google search and looked at my website? I also have my CV and comments from colleagues who know me well on LinkedIn.

Often clients say to me I looked at your profile picture on your website and watched your video and I liked how you looked and talked.

I realise to get in touch with me is a big step, find out what you can about me. There are plenty of therapists out there. If you get a gut feeling to proceed the next step is to get in touch with me.

I do like to have a chat on the phone so give me a ring , leave a voicemail message if I am not answering as I maybe away from the phone. Or I often get a text with a contact number so we can set up a quick telephone call.

Once we set up a telephone call this is an opportunity to ask me questions such as:

What days/hours do you work?
Do you have any spaces just now?
How might you work with me with this issue?
How much does a session cost?
How will I know if therapy is working for me?
Friends and family suggested I contacted a counsellor but I'm not sure, what do you think?

I will then try and answer the questions and ask some of my own:
Why are you seeking counselling now?
What's happened to you?
What would you like to work on first?
How do you see the issue?
Have you had counselling before and how was that for you?
What would you like to feel when counselling finishes?
Are you OK to work weekly?

I do say to potential clients "let's meet for a no obligation first session and see how we get on", this gives us both to see if we get on and if clients feel "I get them".
We then set up the first session and take it from there.

If you would like a quick chat to see if therapy is right for you and if I am the right therapist for you then phone of text me on 07824700980.

Self-esteem Workshops Start 3rd Oct 2018 for 9 weeks

Self-esteem and Self-Confidence Building Workshop Group Starts 3rd October 2018 on Weds evenings 5.30 to 7.30pm

Does your self-esteem, how you see yourself, holding you back? Do you have self-confidence issues? Are you looking for help and support?

Would you like to find out more about yourself and learn ways to improve how you feel?

These nine workshops are for those who struggle with issues of self-esteem and confidence.

The workshops will have a limited number of participants, a maximum of six in the group. I will meet with you beforehand to discuss the group, to ensure this group is suitable for your needs. I am interested in working with clients who are seeking help and support with their self-esteem and making this financially accessible.

Participants in the workshops will be asked to consent to be audio taped for the purpose of advanced training and will be anonymised. The workshops will be for two hours from 5.30pm to 7.30pm on a Wednesday evening. Costing just £180 for the eight sessions, this is payable prior to the workshops.Dates for the workshops are later this year - 2018: 
  • 3rd Oct
  • 10th Oct
  • 17th Oct
  • 7th Nov
  • 14th Nov
  • 21st of Nov
  • 28th of Nov
  • 5th of Dec
  • 12th of Dec.
Book now.
Contact Carol on 07824700980



















Open Wednesdays From Week Commencing 9th July 2018

Welcome to my blog page!!

I have been working Mondays, Tuesday and Thursdays since I moved into my St Andrews office at the end of last year.

Recently new and existing clients have been asking if I had mid week appointments which would work well for them and having given this some thought decided this new arrangement would work well for me too!

Appointments on Monday, Tuesdays and Wednesdays start at 10 am and I usually finish my last appointment at 6.30pm. Each appointment is 60 minutes.

The St Andrews Counselling and Psychotherapy practice premises is situated in 14 A Woodburn Terrace, just off Lamond Drive and St Mary's so you can access the practice from either road. Parking is on road and there's usually plenty of space. Being just off the bus route means we are accessible from public transport and are just a 10 minute walk from the centre of St Andrews.

If you would like to talk about booking an appointment with me then please phone 07824700980, if I don't answer then please leave a voicemail message and I will return your call as soon as I can.

Or do email me on carol.foote1@btopenworld.com I will reply to your email as soon as I can.

I do like to have a quick chat with you when booking your first appointment, this is to answer any questions you might have and for me to ask you a few things which will help me to find out if I am the right person for you. It's also an opportunity for us to get to know one another before we meet and for me to let you know a little bit about how I work.

Once we decide to work together we can then plan your first appointment, usually within 7-10 days and I can send you more detailed information about how I work, my business terms and conditions, confidentiality policy, information sharing policy and ethical framework for my practice. I also like to send a leaflet about the type of therapy I use which is Transactional Analysis.

Is there anything else you'd like to know? Please get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmly

Carol


Bridges of the Psyche

I was in Port Edgar earlier today, between the 2 road bridges, watching the Forth flow past, onwards under the rail bridge.
The view is iconic and the photo (Courtesy of the Guardian) catches the scale and drama astride the River Forth. Two of the bridges are for road and one for rail traffic, the county of Fife and city of Edinburgh see a daily flow of thousands of people and vehicles. Both places need this arterial connection of bridges for daily life, commuting, work, travel and leisure.
It occurred to me as a metaphor for the 3 ego states, Parent, Adult and Child and how we need all 3 to function effectively. When I look at the river I see how the unconscious ripples in waves, sometimes calm and then stormy and tempestuous and how the energy flows between the bridges and ego states. The Ego States can be activated and busy in the same way as when the traffic and trains are working at peak times or shut down and deactivated when there are faults on the line or when an accident or repairs are required.
Boats of many kinds and sizes bob and sail up and down the river, buoyed along by the tides, currents and winds, tacking and turning to make headway. I began to think about the boats as our thoughts, feelings and behaviours which ebb and flow, sometimes pushed along by the currents and breezes which weave between the bridges and how our attention can focus on a particular craft whilst others fade into the background, still there but unnoticed.
I then thought about how the nautical charts and maps out the safe course for marine vessels and makes clear where the hazards lie, such as sandbanks and wrecks, strong dangerous currents and jagged rocks on which the vessels can founder. The analogy fits the role of the therapist and how the work we do, brings all these factors together in a 3 dimensional view, to spot where the difficulties are to steer a safe and successful course through the journey towards the destination, together.
The 3 bridges need regular checks and maintenance to keep them safe and working well, the Forth Road Bridge was closed for several months, inactive whilst traffic started to use the new Queensferry crossing.
The metaphor might be understood as the Forth Road bridge as the Adult ego state, quiet and underused, the Rail bridge as the Parent and the Queensferry crossing as the Child ego states. The Parent dominating the landscape, powerful and imposing. The Queensferry crossing, busy and bustling, getting attention when there's and accident or incident, stopping traffic!The Adult under repair and strengthened and open for business, each bridge and each ego state making their contribution in smooth functioning and well being.

Look after yourself

I can't recall where I saw this but it was along the lines of "self-care doesn't mean scented candles".Maybe that's where we go when we think about "treating ourselves". However, looking after ourselves requires us to look after our most basic of needs.

Attending to our very basic needs when depressed or anxious can seem overwhelming.
By basic needs I mean, enough sleep and rest, nutrition and fluids, personal hygiene and physiological homoeostasis (bodily functions).

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (diagram on the left) illustrates how we need to have our basic physiological needs attended to before we can move up to the next level (Safety).

I have found that often these needs are neglected when anxious or depressed and stressed clients come to therapy. People come to see me with issues such as Love/Belonging and Esteem levels further up the Hierarchy of Needs

Good enough self-care starts with sleep hygiene, setting regular times to go to bed and get up, even at the weekends! Keeping your bedroom cool and dark and only using your bedroom for sleeping. Having a warm bath or shower before bed to help your body produce sleep hormones and avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the afternoon and evenings. Exercise is helpful but not 3/4 hours before bedtime and avoiding the use of blue screens on phones, laptops or tablets.Breathing techniques can also help, both for initiating sleep but also a useful technique to cope with anxiety/overthinking:

Breathing in through your nose until you feel your lungs full, don't force this and then open you mouth and breathe out fully. Follow this link for a helpful graphic.
https://media.giphy.com/media/xThuWfz7fNOXwiBLY4/giphy.gif

Sleep is vital for our physical and mental health and well being, it's so much more difficult coping day to day with low mood or anxiety when tired.

Looking after yourself can also include counselling or talking therapies to attend to these very basic needs and then to work on Safety, Love and Belonging and Esteem.

Take care of yourself!!!!















Moving

Well, I've been in my new office for a couple of months now and in the beginning I felt slightly out of place. I don't think I had factored in to moving premises, after several years working from my office at home, the impact this would have on me. To start with I thought I had made a mistake, this move felt wrong in some way, I felt a loss of comfy cosiness and familiarity. Moving involved a geographical relocation but also a psychological moving on and I guess I hadn't accounted for this.

At best I would liken this to starting a new job, getting used to driving here, a new routine, finding a place for things and then finding them again!

Having the furniture in different places, changing locations has more to it than I had imagined and had taken for granted.

Then there was my clients who had got used to coming to my office at home, they had to relocate and find me for the first time, where to park, how to let  me know they were there, could they come right in or use the waiting room first? Where would they sit? How would they be somewhere else?

To begin with the newness felt awkward and clunky, did I belong here?

I connected with my past and my childhood of moving every 2 or less years around the world and having to settle in and find my place there, of feeling out of place and not belonging. To get to know a new location, people, settings and routine and how hard this was for me as a child, to get settled only to be uprooted and move again. This was the familiar feeling of loss, and one I know my clients feel, of being "out of place", grief and bereavement, loss of relationship, loss of a sense of self and place in the world.

Yes I had underestimated the power of moving and being moved and the loss of the familiar and change in routine. This has helped my reflect on what has happened to me and how this connected me to my past and the importance to account for this when being in the present and considering the future. 

Metamorphosis

I have lately been reflecting on my new office and consulting space. 

Work starts soon, in the next couple of weeks, and I have been thinking of this new beginning as a metaphor. The office, as it is, is empty, run down, shabby and needing major upheaval to change. The effort to change into something else is considerable. Just putting a quick coat of paint, new blinds and carpets will simply not be enough. The fundamental shift required to change from a hairdressers shop (where we are)into a safe, secure, comfortable and therapy space (where we want to be) requires planning, expense and investment of time and money.

And so it is for those who recognise their lives have become mundane, banal and empty and have tried to make changes, to put a surface coat of normality and functioning but its' really not worked. they become stuck, not sure where to start with their life renovation and recognise they need some support in this project planning " to put a new show on the road" (Berne).

I might liken the process of therapy to the client as the existing office, absolutely OK in their essence and recognising a deep sense of unease as to how they feel or function in their own skin. They can continue to operate as a run down shop or hairdressing establishment, not really getting anywhere or undergo a refurbishment which entails considerable commitment and motivation. As with any change it's not easy. The therapist could be seen as the architect of change"What is it you want to do here?", what needs to be done first, and then next? The therapist offers the client their training and expertise in turning the client's "building" into somewhere soothing and settled, somewhere to be themselves, to find what they need.
The metamorphosis of the caterpillar into the butterfly takes time, energy and enormous reorganisation of their internal world. The metamorphosis of the individual in therapy is no less profound.

I will keep you posted on how the office metamorphosis goes!Work in progress!! here's the before photos.

Being Busy

I have been reflecting recently about how client's have been presenting with what seems to be surface issues such as a general feeling of unhappiness or dissatisfaction with relationships.
Scratch the surface and under this veneer lies stuff that's been hanging around for years going back to early childhood or even infancy.
Client's manage these feelings into adulthood by filling time with being busy, working hard, achieving high grades at school, getting a good degree, high achievers at work, being the brightest and best at what they do. 
Often they are the envy of their friends, appearing to "Have it all", and yet............
They come to see me feeling depressed and anxious, lacking joy and happiness realising these feelings have been dogging them for years. They have tried pushing these feelings down "maybe if I work harder, achieve more I will feel better?" as if working harder, longer will make these feelings disappear.
Sometimes client's will "self-medicate" with drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, tobacco, gambling, sex and overworking to "fill a hole in their soul".
They sort of know something is wrong or there's something wrong with me? Why aren't I happy? From all appearances and the outside world I have everything, but inside I feel worthless, empty.
Something happens that slows things down or speeds this up; the breakdown of a relationship, a partner leaves, someone close dies suddenly or diagnosed with a terminal illness, work becomes too much with work-related stress, they can't sleep or function anymore and thoughts of suicide emerge. The client visits his GP and is diagnosed with anxiety and depression and given medication. They think "I must be weak" something else to chastise themselves over!
Perhaps someone close to them suggests they see a counsellor "What me?" "I just need to pull myself together""talk to a stranger!!". They think about this suggestion and do a quick Google search to see who what where there are counsellors nearby or maybe further away from home. They find me on myVistaprint website, Counselling Directory, Adwords or NaturalTherapyForAll. 
Clients often comment on the warmth of my photo and the content of what I write strikes a chord with them.
This is a fairly typical case study of clients who come to see me.
So what do I do? First and foremost I listen and hear about how they have been feeling and thinking and find out about their lives, struggles and achievements, what has made them the person they are today. What happened to them over the years and how did they decide to be the person they are today?
We then make a plan together for the work ahead... sound OK to you?

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