The western world is in the grip of a stress, insomnia and burnout epidemic because of the fast paced, interconnected, time stressed society we live in. Everyone struggles or feels anxious at some point in their life, but for some people it can be an ongoing problem.
Fortunately, sharing your issues with a Counsellor or Psychotherapist in a safe, supportive, confidential environment can often help.
Online CBT and Counselling is about you: your concerns, and your wellbeing and is accessible via Skype, WhatsApp or Email.
I want to feel more focused and less confused, lost and overwhelmed
I want to experience more of a sense of direction
I want to reduce my anxiety, loneliness and stress levels
I want to feel more confident and to tackle my low self esteem
I want to overcome panic attacks, feel less exhausted and more energised
I want to develop healthier sleep patterns and improve my overall health and well-being
Why can’t I just accept myself for who I am and stop comparing myself to other people
Then online CBT and counselling sessions may be very helpful for you.
Research indicates that online CBT and counselling is hugely beneficial and equally effective as face to face counselling and therapy.
What is online CBT and Counselling?
Online CBT and Counselling is the provision of professional counselling services concerns via the Internet. Services are typically offered via email, skype and WhatsApp. Some clients use online counselling in conjunction with traditional counselling and therapy, and a growing number of our clients are using online counselling as a complete replacement to traditional office visits.
CBT Bristol to help you overcome bereavement and grief
For many of us, bereavement will be the most distressing experience we will face. Some of my clients have reported difficulties with bereavement and grief, so I thought it might be helpful to discuss how Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help:
So what are bereavement and grief?
Bereavement, also referred to as grief is what we feel when somebody close to us dies. Bereavement can also be experienced when you suffer other losses, such as the ending of a relationship, loss of a job or a change in circumstances. Fundamentally, bereavement is the process of loss.
Bereavement is experienced by everyone differently, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to grieve and no timescales can be put on the grieving process.
The grieving process is a term used to describe the range of emotional and physical symptoms that occur after a loss. The resulting mix of emotions can be overwhelming and coming to terms with your own feelings is the key to finding peace.
So what does bereavement and grief look like for you?
The way grief affects you depends on many things including the type of loss you have suffered, your upbringing, your religion and/or beliefs, your age, your relationships and your health, both emotionally and physically.
You may feel many different things after someone has died or you have experienced a loss. These can include:
Shock – it may take a long time to grasp and accept what has happened. You may feel numb or for some people, you may carry on as if nothing has happened. What has happened does not make sense.
Anger – loss can seem cruel and unfair. There can be anger directed at the person or situation that is no longer there. And there can be anger directed at ourselves for things we did or didn’t do, did or didn’t say.
Pain – feelings of pain and distress when someone dies can be overwhelming and frightening. There can be an intense physical pain where it truly feels like our heart is breaking.
Guilt – a common reaction. You can feel to blame for the situation or feel regret at not doing enough.
Longing – thinking that you can hear or see someone who has died is a common experience. It happens because the brain is trying to process and acknowledge the death.
Depression – life can no longer feel like it holds any meaning and for some they no longer want to be here.
Anxiety – a bereavement can bring on anxiety and panic attacks. It can make us feel out of control and lack perspective on a situation.
CBT Bristol research findings about stages of grief and bereavement:
It is generally accepted that there are several stages of grief/bereavement that we work through to come out of the other side:
Accepting that your loss is real, denial. It is very common to refuse to accept that you will not see that person again.
Experiencing the pain of grief both physically and emotionally.
Depression is very common, you can feel like you are withdrawing from life. It is a normal and appropriate response to a bereavement.
Anger, you may feel anger at the person who has died, at yourself, at the world around you.
Adjusting to life without the person who has died. Routines changing, thinking about yourself.
Putting less emotional energy into grieving and being able to move on. You start to feel hope again. This is called acceptance.
At CBT Bristol, we have noticed that you will probably go through all of these grief and bereavement stages, but you won’t necessarily move smoothly from one to the next.
The grieving process can be a long one, and as stated earlier, there are no timescales or right or wrong way to experience grief and bereavement. It can often be the case that for some who feel that they are recovering or have moved on to find that they have a set back brought on by maybe a memory, a smell of perfume or a song. This again is normal and can be seen positively as the memory of their loved one living on. But understandably it can also be distressing, particularly if it catches you unawares.
It is very important to be able to share your thoughts and feelings around your grief and bereavement as this will enable you to move more smoothly through the grieving process.
If you feel unable to share with family and friends, CBT Bristol and other counselling professionals can help you to overcome grief and bereavement.
CBT Bristol can also support you in making sense of your feelings and guide you through the process.
Over to you:
If after reading this blog you are still struggling to process your grief and are feeling overwhelmed with painful feelings, distractions and negative thoughts don’t panic or give up just yet.
CBT Bristol bereavement and grief sessions can help you.
So, if you need a bit of extra support and encouragement and a few on line, telephone or face to face CBT sessions why not contact Karen Deeming to arrange an appointment or for a short free introductory chat on 07950 751352 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CBT Bristol for bereavement and grief other treatment recommendations:
There are several different options available to support you with managing your grief:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – focuses on how your thoughts, attitudes and beliefs affect your feelings and behaviour and teaches you coping skills to deal with grief.
CBT Blue Monday: a bit of background first then some Blue Monday CBT and Mindfulness tips
Aren’t Januarys tough sometimes? what with post Christmas blues and cold dark nights?
CBT can help you on Blue Monday.
Both Mindfulness and CBT can help you to reduce stress, panic attacks, anxiety, negative thinking patterns, sleeping difficulties and burnout.
Feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed or depressed because of dark nights and too much rainfall?
Dreading the arrival of your credit card bill this month?
Want to simply curl up in bed beneath your duvet and hibernate for the whole of January?
Feeling disappointed that your New Year Resolution, detox or weight loss programmes aren’t going as well as you had anticipated?
Then you may have fallen victim to the Blue Monday trap.
Following extensive research findings, the third Monday of January, supposedly the most depressing day of the year, has been awarded the gloomy title due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills.
Even though I, Karen Deeming, am doing my dream job, Blue Monday is still always tough
However, what helps me cheer myself up on Blue Monday and get through the day are my daily CBT and mindfulness practices
Also: doing nice things for other people or simply remembering that I have roof over my head, have the pleasure of three good meals a day and I don’t have the misfortune of living in a war zone.
Mindfulness is a technique for reducing stress, exhaustion, high blood pressure, panics, anxiety, and negative thinking patterns which has been widely approved by the international medical community.
It teaches greater awareness of our thoughts, feelings and sensations through simple techniques like visualisation, meditation and gentle movement.
Let me give you a recent, real life example of how mindfulness helps:
Despite a prediction of heavy rain in Somerset, I decided to take out my rickety vintage bicycle “Flo” for an impromptu cycle ride to the local farm shop.
The cycle route from Pilton to Pylle is no stranger to me but today it was a strikingly different experience because I had decided to attempt mindful cycling. In other words, I adopted a small steps approach, focusing on the here and now and the journey rather than a speedy arrival at my destination.
How stunning I chuckled to myself as I was greeted by the distant view of Glastonbury Tor. I even encountered the delightful sound of a trickling stream for the first time too. Slightly distracted by these delicious in the moment experiences, I cycled through an unexpected knee deep, muddy puddle resulting in a near trench foot endangerment.
Fortunately, I escaped lightly and though my socks were thoroughly soaked, a brief recollection of a relentless flooded tent experience at the Glastonbury Festival in 1996 encouraged me to soldier on. What also helped me manage this somewhat unattractive incident, were the charming duo of immaculate cocker spaniels grinning at me from the rear window of a delapidated jeep ahead.
How can CBT also help you on Blue Monday:
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?
CBT is an evidence-based, collaborative, solution-focussed form of counselling/therapy approved by the NHS.
CBT is a way of talking about:
how you think about yourself, the world and other people
how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings.
When does CBT help?
CBT has been shown to help with many different types of problems. These include: anxiety, depression, insomnia, panic, phobias (including agoraphobia and social phobia), stress, bulimia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and psychosis.
CBT may also help if you have difficulties with anger, a low opinion of yourself or physical health problems, like pain or fatigue.
The application of CBT and mindfulness together with my conscious intention to zoom in on the abundance of delightful landscape instead of focusing on the scarcity of sunshine resulted in a highly pleasurable experience.
Moreover though it was forecast to train at 11am it didn’t actually rain until 11.10am when I was safely home and dry nestled up to the cat on the kitchen sofa.
Over to you
If after reading this blog you are still struggling to motivate yourself on Blue Monday or indeed anytime in 2020, why not take this one small step today by booking a CBT session or by signing up to one of my mindfulness one day or eight week courses where you can meet like minded people and achieve life changing results!!
If you have decided to consider CBT, and are not quite ready yet to make contact or to arrange your first session:
According to Oxford University Mindfulness Professors, thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers prove that mindfulness enhances mental and physical wellbeing and reduces chronic pain.
So if you want to reduce anxiety, stress, depression, exhaustion, physical pain, they all decrease with regular sessions of mindfulness exercises and meditations.
Mindfulness can help you to reduce anxiety, stress, depression, and exhaustion
It can also help and teach you how to:
improve your reaction times at home and at work
rebalance your nervous system
regulate your emotions and moods
overcome exhaustion, procrastination and low-self esteem
accept yourself for who you are
achieve greater success levels in work and relationships
reclaim your capacity for fun, humour, excitement and joy
Another benefit of mindfulness is that it enhances memory retention and an increase in mental and physical stamina.
Research indicates that those of us who practice mindfulness regularly are calmer, happier, more contented and less prone to psychological distress.
Some Mindfulness Tips
As well as delivering Mindfulness courses, I also find it helpful to introduce some Mindfulness techniques and ideas during individual counselling and psychotherapy sessions.
Often these clients say that whilst they find the Mindfulness downloads that I recommend they try at home helpful, they are not sure whether they are doing the Mindfulness exercises correctly so here’s what I encourage my clients to do:
1. Regardless of what happens (eg if you fall asleep, lose concentration, keep thinking of other things or focusing on the wrong bit of the body, or not feeling anything), just do it! These are your experiences in the moment. Just be aware of them.
2. If your mind is wandering a lot, simply note the thoughts (as passing events) and then bring the mind gently back to the meditation.
3. Let go of ideas of “success “, ” failure “, ” doing it well “, or “trying to purify the body “. This is not a competition. It is not a skill for which you need to strive. The only discipline involved is regular and frequent practice. Just do it with an attitude of openness and curiosity.
4. Let go of any expectations of what the mindfulness meditation will do for you. Imagine it as a seed you have just planted. The more you poke around and interfere, the less it will be able to develop. So with the meditation, just give it the right conditions – peace and quiet, regular and frequent practice. That is all. The more you try to influence what it will do for you, the less it will do.
5. Try approaching your experience in each moment with the attitude: “Ok that’s just the way things are right now “. If you try to fight off unpleasant thoughts, feelings and body sensations, the upsetting feelings will only distract you from doing anything else. Be aware, be non-striving, be in the moment, accept things as they are. Just do it.
6. When you experience a negative thought, feeling or physical sensation, breathe, pause, step back then ask yourself the following question:
“what do I know?”
“I know that if I allow my negative thoughts to take over it is not healthy for me and leaves me feeling anxious, I also know that though I can’t stop my thoughts, feelings or physical sensations, I can change what happens next, such as, consciously deciding to stop myself from catastrophising or getting too attached to my thoughts.”
Today it’s Halloween so I thought it rather fitting to briefly talk about human beings and their shadows.
I also wanted an excuse to show you a photo of the amazing pumpkin face that my partner Liam made earlier today!!!
“ Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.” Carl G Jung
According to Carl Jung, the shadow alias “the other side” is an archetype, meaning that it exists in all of us. The shadow contains everything denied and despised, everything considered sinful and everything we find awkward or unnerving. Furthermore, it accounts for the cruelties which people have inflicted on each other since the beginning of time. In religious terms, the shadow is symbolised by Satan and in fiction, fairytales and mythology the shadow is seen in many guises such as Faust who made a pact with the devil Orpheus seeking Eurydice in the underworld and Dr Jeckyll who transformed into the evil Mr Hyde. Essentially, the shadow is perceived as the dark side of the individual but one should not disregard the undeveloped positive parts it contains. Jung believed the shadow to be inferior and primitive in nature. Therefore since it is instinctive, it is likely to have a disturbing influence on our personalities unless it is confronted.