Would you like to prevent workplace stress before it makes you ill?
Would you like your working day to be more rewarding and satisfying?
People who came on The Resilience Programme have told us they felt better in many ways, such as...
More than a programme of training, coaching, and support…
January is the time of new beginnings when we think of New Year resolutions. Why is it that all too often these do not last beyond the end of the month? In this article I offer some tips for turning these aspirations into permanent change.
If you are currently considering counselling support but are concerned about the cost, then you may wish to contact us to discuss the option of low cost counselling at Brightstone Clinic. Brightstone was launched by therapists at The Hope Street Centre to give those who may be unable to pay the full cost of counselling an affordable alternative. Counsellors at Brightstone are either in the final stages of training or recently qualified. All have been carefully selected to ensure that their work is of a high standard.
Counsellors at Brightstone Clinic can provide support with a variety of issues, and some of the most common ones are described in this article. If you are interested visit the Brightstone Clinic website here.
Counselling is something that is often mentioned in the media, usually in connection with major disasters, accidents or traumatic events. Many readers may have wondered if counselling might be helpful for them, but been anxious about what is involved.
What follows is one person’s first experience of counselling…..
At the time I was well and truly stuck in a rut. I was teaching full-time and had been working long hours, often resentfully, for a long time, especially since the birth of my son 6 years previously. I felt pulled in all directions, as if I wasn’t doing justice to family or work, and what about me. I had no time left over for me. Added to this picture we had a family bereavement and my parents were selling up and moving away.
When dealing with simple forms of anxiety where the trigger is clearly identifiable, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments I have found.
Most simple anxiety problems can be summarised in a diagram similar to the one opposite. The trigger is the situation or event that sets off the feelings of anxiety or fear - it might be a an aminal, or a feeling of being trapped, or the way another person is behaving.
Once the anxiety is triggered we tend to do something to reduce it - this is called a safety behaviour. There are many types of safety behaviours - examples include avoiding the feared situation, seeking reassurance, distracting ourselves, using cigarettes, drugs or alcohol to calm ourselves, and performing rituals to calm ourselves.
The safety behaviour brings short-term relief, but in the long term it usually brings another set of problems.
Margaret Seal, a mental health service user and active member of several local support groups, died recently from a heart attack after a long period of illness.
She was actively involved in Central Cheshire Mental Health Forum, the Open Minds groups in Crewe & Nantwich and Congleton, Central and East Cheshire LINk and South Cheshire Community Council. This photograph of her was taken at the Open Minds 2004 event in Sandbach, which she helped to organise.
We have been informed that Margaret's funeral will take place at 11.30am on Monday 5th March at Coppenhall Methodist Chapel, North Street, Crewe followed by a Cremation Service at Crewe Crematorium at 12.40.
The body's reaction to stress is based on the fight-or-flight response, which is a relic of our evolutionary heritage for dealing with danger. In the past it served us well, allowing us to survive attacks by predators and other natural threats.
When we sense danger a surge of adrenaline is released, triggering a cascade of bodily changes such as increased heart rate and breathing, strengthening muscles, and closing down systems that are not immediately needed, such as digestion and the immune system. This reaction is healthy and normal - some people seek to trigger it by participating in dangerous sports for example, because they enjoy the feelings of exhilaration which follow.
The possibility that I might have lived previous lives is one that has intrigued me, and having reached an age where well over half of my expected life span has already gone the possibility that I might come around again seems increasingly attractive. However the scientific training I had earlier in my career makes me cautious and sceptical. It is clear that biological life stops at death, and it is hard to see what else there could be that could preserve the memories of my current life independently of my physical form. On the other hand there is an accumulating body of evidence for reincarnation that should not be dismissed out of hand.
Accidents and other distressing events happen to all of us at some time in our lives. Sometimes we take these in our stride and live through them unscathed, but some events can leave a residue that continues to affect us years later.
I've been trying to write this article on psychological trauma for over a year now, and each time I do I seem to end up with nothing but a series of lists. The problem is that the causes and effects of trauma are so diverse and widespread that it's hard to do justice to it in any other way. So there seems to be no option but to bow to the inevitable, and present the lists. These have been culled from a range of sources, and although they are lengthy I make no guarantee that they are complete.
Causes of trauma
Our brains are immensely complex pieces of machinery, vastly more complex than the computer you might have on your desk. As a complex and delicate machine the brain is vulnerable to damage or trauma.
In the ten years since I created The Hope Street Centre I have always been keen to network with colleagues in mental health services of all kinds—public sector, independent and voluntary. In that time reorganisation has been happening almost non-stop as roles, responsibilities, targets, funding and geographical boundaries have all changed over and over again.
I am sure that many of my colleagues would prefer a period of stability rather than yet more change, but that seems unlikely to happen. The new coalition government is intent on driving through change at high speed, and with Britain’s debt now estimated at £4 trillion or £200,000 for every taxpayer* they have very little choice.
A major component of the new strategy is involving local groups and service providers in delivering services. This is not a new idea, and I have seen it happening in East Cheshire for several years. Some examples of the way this centre has been involved are listed below.