The Concealed Survival Personalities

Hypnotherapy and Psycho-therapeutic counselling, REBT, and NLP Transformation Coach based in Marlow, Bucks.

The concept of Survival Personality is a set of behaviours, personalities and traits developed from toxic family environment. When parents or care-givers exerted non-empathetic expression to a child, she develops what Psychologists called Survival Personality. Where the inner and outer orientation motivated to ignore the self, ignoring personal needs, and instead serving other people’s needs.

Something very familiar to me growing up in a non-empathetic family environment. As the eldest, I took the self-effacing ‘Helpful Girl’ role. My sister took the self-effacing ‘Bad Girl’ role. As we grew up, we become identified with these roles. I became identified with my survival personality, living, believing that this was me. As adult life poses its own sets of challenges, I’d forgotten my personal needs, passions, and pleasure. Putting other first, I became aware of adopting set of behaviours around others.

All the while, survival personality grew stronger and exerts its firm grove into my personality. It reinforces sustainability by guiding selection of career, romances, friends and interests. As it builds lifestyle around itself, by being ‘helpful’ in time of challenges, it creates a life that reflect early wounding environment.

Survival personality keeps a person arrested in their development. As growth is stunted, a person become stuck in life. Stuck in relationship. Stuck in a role. Stuck in the mundane.

If something happens that shake the survival personality’s blueprint, it will disturb the setting, as it stirs. When it stirs, a person experiences inner conflict, cognitive dissonance and shake-up. The survival personality will seek to establish it hold on the self, causing somatic interference.

Oh, so familiar? Sure it!

I had been identified with survival personality for many years. My survival personality kept me self-reliant, safe and protected from others, and the hostile external environment. I was so self-reliant that I cannot and would not rely on others for anything. I insist on doing it my-self. I insist that I can do a better job. I insist that other will let me know. So, for a long while, I did everything myself. It was difficult to determine if it was a locus of control that kept me stuck in a job that I fell into. It was difficult to see, hear, feel and notice.

As the survival self-reliant personality become stronger, it had more control over other aspect of my being. I lost sight of my inner essence of the inner child. That part of me seems so far away, I cannot see.

Long hidden authentic personality did not dare show its face. The strong survival personality is impregnable. Impenetrable.

As all these take place intrapersonally, I became a drone to autonomous living. Even when in social settings, I would be lonely in the room, because my survival personality tells me that they are all threatening.

The trouble was the survival personality would still be concealed from me, hadn’t been for the turn of spiral of ‘Mid-Life Crisis’. If it wasn’t for this natural life event, I think I’d still be enslaved in the loveless marriage. I used the event as a ‘Get out of Jail’ card and ended my marriage. It was the best thing ever! I felt so free. I felt alive.

Now, I was dramatic, in my performance in the divorce and separation. But almost any event that disrupts the ruling survival personality can be knot in the kink. I hope you can see some challenges in your life serves positive outcome.

For me I am thankful for the encumbrance traumatic divorce as I considered it to be transcendent-immanent to my authentic personality as it loosens the concealment of my survival personality. So, I implore you to look at your natural (such as loss, death, relationship issues etc.) life challenges as a positive, after, the event when you had time to analyse the situation and not caught in psychological conflict. Your amazing ‘mind’ is teaching you something that aligned to your purpose, meaning and values.

The child in me

Hypnotherapy and Psycho-therapeutic counselling, REBT, and NLP Transformation Coach based in Marlow, Bucks.

In the early part of training as a Psychotherapist/Counsellor, my personal preference and area of interests was Inner Child Therapy. I had considered training to become an Inner Child Therapist, specifically. But, as I developed as a therapist, my path has led me to Psychosynthesis Psychology, training which I am pursuing at the Institute of Psychosynthesis. I embraced the training and professional development. I embraced the learning experiences and discoveries. Reconnecting with my roots and going through synthesis and changes. It is a wonderful journey reconnecting with my inner child. The model of Child of Self and Child of History can unify the possibility of redemption and return to the experience of Self and wholeness through love, relationship, and inner work. The essence of the Inner Child is in the heart of everyone of us.

To be as a child is to be energetic, authentic, pure and open. Openness offers open-minded perspective to see our internal and external world with a kind eyes. With a beginner’s eyes, you can see clarity, see inspiration and omnipotent possibilities. Through these eyes, you can make decision and choices without other’s fearful thoughts. You can unlearn nurtured behaviours, habits, and unwanted mindset.

The child in me is playful, fun loving, with a hint of naughtiness. She is really strong will and is most resilience in surviving in the hostility of my external world. She is a dissenter but will co-operate in order to eliminate dissonance. She is adventurous, risky, and mesmerise by natural beauty. However, she is no fool, with draconian and strong righteousness, she values equality greatly. These are just some of the themes of qualities that I have discovered. The works that is required to dismember your habit, learned behaviours and mindset are powerful. It evokes feelings, emotions and somatic tension. It is tremendous design to awaken the unconscious repressed and suppressed memories.

If you are a novice, check out the 2 books that I have recommended on my blog first. It is best if you at least read and work through the books to get a field of the work. You will find some of the exercises very painful, if there’s trauma in your childhood. But, it is advisable to follow up with therapeutic work with a therapist. So that you can learn to relate to an empathetic person who can give you the support you need during your journey. Some resources are available here.

I have discovered the child in me from training and it has been wonderful to reconnect with her. After my Psychosynthesis training, Inner Child Therapy will be offered in my therapy room. What I have discovered is the wonderful essence of the long forgotten, abandoned child within. I have reconnected with her and she now resides close within. For me, training alone would not have been sufficient. Accompanying therapy as part of on-going training and CPD was most effective. This is a long term self-development journey, when you are ready for therapy, let me know. We can journey to the past and revisit your inner child in my therapy room.

Resisting my habits this Christmas

christmas-owl

Hypnotherapy and Psycho-therapeutic counselling, REBT, and NLP Transformation Coach based in Marlow, Bucks.

Resisting my habits is usually quite difficult anyway, but around Christmas, with all the temptations, it’s even more so.

Throughout the years, resisting my habits take a lot of my energy. Habits around food, on my own and at social event. Habits around drinking, at parties, at home in front of the TV, or after a stressful day at work. Habit around the house, when cleaning and doing chores, and slouching in front of the TV. Habits around shopping, buying presents, buying food, buying things that I do not need and buying more than one of the same item. Habits around stress, leaving things to the last minutes, being late to an appointment, being late and driving erratically. And habits around medications, taking paracetamol when hungover, when in minor pain, when suffering PMS, when not drinking enough water, and at the onset of a headache.

Here are some helpful facts around different types of habits.

turkey  Habits around food

Weight management is a continuous process, which I constantly and persistently check throughout the day. Just like you, I know what is best to eat, I know what to avoid and I know about the important of regular exercise. Knowing your BMI can be helpful to knowing your ideal weight for your height. Knowing this shows that when weight fluctuates, and they do! The threshold limits of a BMI shows me when I reached my weight limit for my height. Plus, my clothes are tight and I can’t zip up my favourite dress!

Unhealthy habit around food includes; over/under eating, eating alone (secret eaters), eating in company (finishing your plate, and finishing others plate), eating irregularly (missing, skipping meals), eating poor diet (eating lots of fatty food, meat, and sugar), eating in front of TV/studying/relaxing/in bed (eating when not at meal time) and emotional eating (eating during and after a stressful event).

Remember how we starve ourselves before Christmas, so that we can eat on Christmas day! Your stomach size shrink when you skip/missed a meal, and it expands to hold 4 Lt of food. When you eat a large meal, your eyes are bigger than your stomach! Your brain takes around 20 minutes, to tell your stomach that you are full! But, you know all these facts.

In some culture, especially, Thai culture, meal time is a social gathering and the family gets together to enjoy food and eating in company. But wastage is seen as unforgiving, so no wastage is allowed. All the food must be consumed, even if it is on someone else’s plate! I don’t know anyone that allow food to go to waste.

Did you know that sugar is addictive? Did you know that fat is addictive? Why do you think they tastes so good? Our brain loves sugar and fat, so it fueled our emotions. Our moods is linked to food.

Eating when it is not meal time and down time is habitual, a ritual of relaxation, chilling, and winding down whilst nibbling at snacks. It is poorly managed and through repetition of eating behaviour, this eating habit is reinforced. You know how to stop this unhealthy eating habit. You know how to eat healthily. Why not make a small change today?

mulled-wine  Habits around drinks

Drinking alcohol is problematic in excessive quantity. Excessive quantity is consumption that make you feel blurry, drunk, and intoxicated. Following by vomiting and/or a very bad hungover, the morning after. Drinking and alcohol addiction, in the UK statistically has the highest criminal rate. Safe alcohol consumption differs between men and women. Alcohol damages brain functions, and cause a person to lose their inhibitions. As we are entice by alcohol’s welcoming nature of euphoria, but not without a price!

Alcohol is a short term rewards, not a full time self-destruction. Depending on a situation, but I can have a glass of wine and call it quits for the night. I can leave my alcoholic drinks unfinished. But, on some occasions, I have ‘let my hair down’ and go crazy. And not without a price! The hungover the following morning disabled me all day, that it wasn’t worth it,  as alcohol shrinks the brain, causing a massive headache.

Drinking alcohol after a stressful work day is a reward for getting over the stress. But, as alcohol is a depressant, the reward is short lived.

swirling-tree  Habits around the home

Keeping the house clean is a chores that needed doing, I personally like pottering around, taking all day to do cleaning. I don’t put time frame around cleaning, as this become a chores. Seeking to potter about enable me to enjoy doing chores. But, then again, I also rearrange my furniture and sort out my clothing at the same time. I move pictures and ornaments and places them in different location. It de-stresses me pottering around the house. This annoys my husband greatly who rushes to complete the housework. Rushes around with the hoover at 100 miles an hour! What was de-stressing soon become stressful. Cleaning is often a habit that can be problematic for OCD sufferers and compulsive helpers. Cleaning habits concern the primacy of control.

These people do not like mess in the home. The hoover is out as soon as dinner time is over. The polish is out as soon as the table is cleared. These obsessive cleaners do not like dirt or mess! Everything around the house has to be cleaned. Just how clean is clean? How obsessive of me.

Couch potato is a pass time that I most enjoyed in the evening after dinner/supper. It is a down time and it is winding down time. The problem is sometime, this down time is stretched to earlier during the day and later into the evening and into the witching hour. And with persistent, this relaxing time becomes too comfortable to want to make effort to move and soon, we become lazy. Becoming inflexible, static and soon our imprint stays on the sofa.

figurines-of-two-santa-claus-and-shopping-cart  Habits around shopping and spending

Spending habit and shopaholic are serious habit that must not be under-estimated. It is just as addictive and secretive as eating habit. It is linked to attachment and object possession. Shopping this way lead to financial destruction and debt problems. Spending without thinking of whether you want or need to the goods can lead to accumulation of belongings. When your house is full of stuff, and you find it difficult to let go, you become a hoarder. Hoarding disorder is a problem in later life, as people find it difficult to depart with their possession.

Spending habit is a problem when you have no disposal fund and yet still spending on credit, in a form of store credit and credit cards. Spending habit is a problem when you have to have new item of clothing, need to have that new dress, need to  have the latest iphone, or need to have the latest console game. Spending this way is about the need to be the first with the possession, be the first to have the latest product, and be the first to be popular and be the first to be admired. Be the first to run up your debt too, if you don’t be careful.

Shopping habit also extend to purchase of services; with an intention to use. For example; joining the gym or sport club and attended only a few times. Belong to a social club and hardly attend. Or is a member of cinema club, and not been to see any films.

santa-in-police-lineup  Habits around anxiety and stress

It is stressful getting organised for Christmas and New Year if you’re hosting and cooking for large group of family and friends. Anxieties rises high this time of year when the working days are shorted and you are expected to still get all your work done, losing up to a week between Christmas and New Year. Anxieties rises when family comes together. It is really a season to be jolly, when you hate your sister’s partner, and he spoil Christmas for the rest of the family for being obnoxious? Is it really a happy occasion, when you have to visit family members that you don’t want to see the rest of the year, but have to make effort to see them on Christmas day! It is a happy holiday when you spend your day off in company of distasteful people? Being pleasant and civil to family members, eluded by family secrets never to be told, but secretly everyone know but choose the code of silence.

Christmas and New Year make me anxious, not sure about you. I find it difficult visiting everyone and the logistics of the journey is somewhat tight as I rushed from one place to the next, like visiting services on motorways. That’s not relaxing!

I’m anxious about eating too much and sabotage my trim waist line and put on weight, too quickly and over indulging myself. Worrying about dieting before Christmas day so that I can eat more on Christmas day! Exercise pre-Christmas and post-Christmas, who does that? You are not the only one! Good luck resist feeling anxious or stressed over Christmas.

pills-2  Habit around medicines

Sometimes, it all gets too much and the only thing that seem to work is a couple of paracetamol. Popping a couple of these babies seem to fix everything from a hangover to a headache. It is better than suffering surely? It is easy and quick. Who like pain?

Unless, you pop pills so often that 2 of these babies don’t seem to work, and you find popping two more in 3-4 hours. Or you take medicines as soon as you have a tickly cough. Rub anti-inflammatory on your sore as soon as you feel a throb. Perhaps take a shot of flu jab on the October 1st in preparation for winter.

Maybe hypochondriac is a word you recognize. But, is there anything wrong with being prepare for a symptom? Sometime, variety is the spice of life. Allowing your body to experience pain, so that you can increase your pain threshold is helpful. Try to resit and allow your body to do what it does best and fight those internal nasties with it’s own anti-bodies.

Perhaps you have other habits around Christmas that you like to share?   

Step back to my roots

buddhist-monks-walking-on-rose-petals

For years, I’ve been searching and chasing my tails! Like an Ouroboros! Really unsure of what I was looking for and testing different paths, roads and highways. I walked 500 miles. And I walked 500 more!

I don’t regret my search, it was the path that I needed to take. It was the journey that I needed to make.

Now in my 40s, at the virtue life stages of care, I came to a jolt. Halted by the realization, that I am back to the beginning of my search, back to square one, and back to my roots.

I wanted to know who I am, I wanted to know why I am here, I wanted to know; what is my purpose, I wanted to understand; what is my role and I wanted to identify the real me.

In my reach, I have read many self-help books, I have been in counselling and, still in counselling as I am studying for my MA. See more about me. I have reflected, contemplated and explored my psyche. I studied many forms of psychological approaches to understand my psychological profile. I have studied sociological societies and cultural differences. I have personally experienced polarized effects of differences between Eastern and Western societies. I have experimented with different types of therapies, mostly alternative therapies, such as hypnotherapy, NLP, aromatherapy, reflexology, mindfulness, meditation etc.

I wanted to fit in and belong, whether it be in a family group, community group, school group, or social group.

My journey was lonely at times. I had loneliness as my company. At times, I found myself to be lost. Tempted by materialism and greed, I began to acquire un-necessities. I was pressured into being someone that I didn’t like. I was comparing and competing against others, forced to see thou as enemy. I was confused by etiquette and political correctness.

My journey was blocked when I got stuck. Like a runner; hitting a wall, I could go no further. I was physically and mentally exhausted.

I was so busy in my search that I’d missed the beauty of my ecology. I passed through many wonders, many people and many places. Whizzing at 100 miles per hour! I missed it all!

It was only when I came to slowing down. Walking slowly and slowing my speed and pace that I realized what I had missed.

Going right back to my roots, from my earliest memories as a child, I missed the bonding, the connection and the love that I didn’t know or had. I missed having someone that I can trust. I longed for the touch and intimacy of being wanted. I yearned in my heart for the acceptance and welcoming. That’s the reason for my search.

Going back to my roots allow me to retrace my footprints in the sand. It allows me to relive some of the painful experiences and traumas in childhood. It allows me to find the earliest pain that was deep in my core. My heart and my maternal imago, and being Thai and being a Buddhist.

Going back to my roots, I found the gift that was given, the unspoken gifts and the gift made up the person I am today. The gift of love.

Inner child works helped me to find the lost little girl within, healing the sad and pensive child sitting alone in the corner recesses of my mind. I share my inner child experiences with you and I share my story with you, and I will share what I find with you, in Resources.

Today, I am still travelling and I think I will continue searching. Walking a different path, but searching. And searching is no longer daunting or arduous. The searching is fun, hopeful and exciting. Because it is not what I find but it is what I will learn along the ways that matters.

Identify yourself

individuality

Hypnotherapy and Psycho-therapeutic counselling, REBT, and NLP Transformation Coach based in Marlow, Bucks.

Identity, according to Psychologist, is the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks and/or expressions that make a person chooses, so others can recognize them. It is an impression of oneself through one’s own eyes. You can also called it a label.

It is a way of being identified. And the process of identity can be expressed creatively or destructively.

I once went on a training workshop, a woman introduced herself to me, “Hi, I’m social-phobic!” She identified herself as someone who fears social settings, because she believed herself to lack social skills.

The way a person introduces themselves to other people, is their self-identity and self-perception. Based on self-belief and self-worth.

However, there are other factors that determined identity. Some of which are:-

  • Role – a person’s employment or job title. Work and career identity is important and often closely associates with stautus identity.  How a person perceive their role identity says a lot about the person.
  • Health – a person’s health, illness and disabilities. In the case of my social-phobic friend. This person closely identity with their disadvanated health.
  • Status – a person’s class. Status identity is symbolic and dependant on finance and wealth. A person who identifies themselves with their status is proudly presented, with views of class or importance. This include famous celebrities.
  • Race – a person’s ethnicity and original of birth. A person who identifies with race is one whose accepts their birth rights, their ethnicity and their original. Acceptance of race means accepting cultural differences. There are great dissonance in societies regarding race today. The colour of racism comes in many guise.
  • Religion – a person’s religious beliefs. A person who identify themselves to religion is often seen preaching and disregarded for their belief. Religion plays an important role in the formation of society. It is a way to bring community together. It is a way to unite people to gather peacefully and congregate in social settings.
  • Weight – a person’s body size. A person who identify with their weight is often
  • Intellect – a person’s intelligence is concern with their mental capacity to brainpower. The sharpness and alertness of their mind. Someone who value their mental awareness and aptness for witty and quick response is seen to be on the ball.
  • Interests & hobbies – a person’s general leisurely activities. If you are a person who identifies with your interests and hobbies, this expresses creativity and art.

We are so caught up in our history and our habits that we became to identify ourselves with what others tell us. I know that, I was one. I used to identify myself using the factors above.

I used to intrapersonally think that; “I’m quick witted, intelligent, highly driven in my career, striving for independence and stature.”

And now? I realized that I am more than my identity. I am more than my body, my mind and my feelings. I am all of it and much more, expressing my transpersonal self.

Recognizing my identity means knowing myself and know my will.

Recognizing my identity means that I have a choice how and who I identify myself with in the interpersonal relationship and in communication. Identity does not have to be set in stone, nor does it has to be rigid, and according to NLP presuppositions, those with greatest flexibility exerts greatest impression.

How you identify yourself to others is important because you will imprint an impression. Did you know that the first 4 minutes matters a lot? The first 4 minutes of meeting someone new is the time that it takes for that person to form an impression of you.

Have a go at being impressive in the first 4 minutes. I love to hear about your experience of it.

The layers of change


growing-copy

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.”  ~Pauline R. Kezer

Change is inevitable – like the prevailing southerly breeze. Change needs to happen and should happen. A seed can remain a seed. But if the seed is planted, it will bud and change. After all, a budding plant cannot remain just a budding plant in the right conditions, it will change, and through the seasons become a blooming flower. We are like the seed. We can choose to remain a seed, and there is nothing wrong with that.

But, if you feel stuck and want to change, there are processes and procedures a person goes through in order to being themselves to change. It’s easy to said than done. Change is really difficult for some people because of the fears of the unknown. For these future-focused people, it often leads to procrastination.

Change is like an onion, it has many layers. There are misconceptions that change need to be big, huge or enormous. Significant change doesn’t have to be big, it can be small changes to everyday’s life. It could be just taking the stairs rather than the lift, to increase your daily steps. It could be just having less red meat and more fish in your diet. It could be drinking more water rather than pops. Whatever it maybe, it doesn’t matter, as long as you can take this tiny dolly-steps approach to change. The big change such as moving house, getting married/divorced, changing career etc needs a different strategy. And I will get to that, after all, you can’t run before you can walk.

The next layer is to increase the dolly-steps. Make the steps bigger. How? Here are a few examples of comfortable safe dolly-steps:-

  • Change your pace.
  • Change something that you have been comfortable doing, safely. Such as change your route home, if you have a fear of being lost, even better, change the directions of your journey.
  • Change the colour of your bedroom wall, if you owe your own home, look at the room with a different perspectives from a different colour.
  • Change your mask, if you often wears your Halloween mask, change it to a Fairy mask. Whatever you change, notice what you notice.

This next layer is an even bigger dolly-step. Change something that you will be uncomfortable changing. Change something for the sake of changing. Change something that you are less confident in doing. And change your mind. Now, don’t forget our little friend – the ‘subjective experiences’. Here are a few examples of possible uncomfortable changes:-

  • For some people with long hair – changing their hairstyle to a short hair will be really uncomfortable and difficult. This dolly-step will be your turning point in that maze I referred to, in my article on stuck state.
  • Try changing something that is out of your comfort zone. Like changing your thinking – if you have a problem with this – try some of my relaxation techniques. Perhaps you think that you don’t have time to relax, I won’t stress that every need to find time to relax, it is your choice not to relax. Another quick way to quieten the mind from all your thinking is – curl your tongue up to the roof of the mouth, where the gum meets the top teeth and rest it there.
  •  Change your car – change the make of your car could be symbolic to your status. Think about how you feel if you used to have a Mercedes and if you were to change it to a cheaper less expensive car like the Micra. I am being extreme, the point here is the uncomfortable feeling and the status of the car. And as you think about this, notice the discomfort.
  • Change your job – almost as high as 70% of people in the UK hates their job.
  • Change your lifestyle choices.

This outer layer is the biggest change. It is the penultimate change. Now some people may have more category of change – but you get the gist. This level of change is often life changing and significant changes, that is why it is the last change to be made. It is the most difficult and most people are reluctant to change this stage. Some of the changes here include:-

  • Moving house for a lot of people is really traumatic. For many elderly people it can lead to poor and deteriorating health.
  • Getting married is often a time of great joy but the change is under-estimated. It is a big adjustment if two people have not live together before. It is a big adjustment to commitment to one person for the rest of your life.
  • Getting divorced – what goes up, must come down. Divorce rate in the UK is higher than marriage rate.
  • Having a baby is a milestone but change in lifestyle is required and adjustment have to be made to the home in preparation for the new baby.
  • Your physical attractiveness is often the unspoken change that a partner often wants in their spouse. This change is evolutionary as our biological clock tick away. Tick tock. And often many people seek surgical assistance to delay their aging process.

Some change is not easy to swallow. Whatever you decided to change or not, the choice is yours and yours along. Change should be made by your will and not anyone else’s. I’m not recommending any changes, in this article, that will cause any form of irreversible distress. They are simply my observation within modern society. Whatever you decide to do with the knowledge, it’s up to you, but please note this – you can only change what you do for you. If your aim is to change others and if you change for others, your outcome might not be as you want.

If you like this post, please share it. Your interactions and comments are welcome.

Self-help Books vs Face-to-Face Therapy


laurens

Before I started training to become a therapist, I had lots of self-help books on my shelves, gathering dusts. You might be familiar with that. I regularly buy self-development books, with a very good intention to read it. If you are like me, you might have a list of all the books and their costs on spreadsheet (for a quick reference). But, out of the hundreds and hundreds of books, have you got time to reading them? There is nothing more welcoming in a home than seeing a house full of literature.

However, some of the self-help books are contradictory, confusing and condescending. You know and you have the resources to change. You know what it take to shed that last few pounds. You know what you need to do to quit smoking. You know how to reduce and prevent your anxieties. You know why it is that your mind goes blank in certain situation. And you know why it is that you can’t hold a conversation in social settings. See…you already know without reading. But, I won’t discourage that reading is extremely helpful to give you another perspectives base on the author’s subjective experiences. I love books especially self-help books for the different ideas and methods to resolving something that I may try and tested it for myself.

During my training, I had to buy lots of reference books to accompany my training, so that’s my excuse for not reading the books I already have gathering dust. And you know what, I don’t want to part with it until I finish reading them. Once, I’d read a book, I can discard it or sell it on. And I see many sellers selling old books, although I am not sure if I can sell mine, as I marked, referenced and written on them. My point is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with self-help, self-development books and I praise them. The book that I cherished are shared on my Instagram page. Check it out for yourself and follow me on social media.

However, nothing beat face-to-face interaction of a therapy session. As you are getting to know your therapist, you can really engage. In the first few sessions, you are still getting to know each other in therapy, which is why therapy sessions should be a minimum of 6 sessions. Don’t forget, you’ve only just met for about an hour. How can you expect to know each other in just an hour. These things take time. Time is a great many things. Time to reflect. Time to heal. Time to get to know each other.

Often, clients come into my therapy room, not knowing which way to turn. They are stuck in their old shoes. A simple answer would be to put on a new pair, right? Well, if only it was that easy to find a new comfortable pair. That’s often why, generally, people find it hard to get out of their comfort zone and change, as they compare the safe comfort to the competitive change. Did you know that comparison and competition both drive to control your actions, it is what kept you lost and stuck.

When you walk into my therapy room, you’ve made a change and broken free from your old routines. You want to make the change with face-to-face therapy. You are curious about what you find out. And it’s good to be curious. It’s good to be afraid of change too. It’s good to be worried about what you might uncover. Do you recall reading a really good book, the one that you can’t put down, that’s right, that one? Imagine that the book that you are reading is a book of stories of your life. Imagine reading it and imagine being curious and encapsulated with the story. Imagine that the next chapter is your therapy work and as you work through your issues, imagine the rest of your story unfolding. No wonder you can’t put that book down!

So turn the page and explore face-to-face therapy. It offers you, the opportunity to freely express your concerns, worries, and anything on your mind in a safe space. You can learn a lot about sitting with your discomforts. You’ll learn more than any self-help or psychological books. May be you are wondering why you behave in a certain ways around your parents and family members. Safe disclosure can reveal vast arena of complex relational dynamics within family groups.

Sometimes, it is easy to read those self-help books because it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t disagree and it doesn’t question you. And because of this, those old shoes are so comfortable. However, I implore you to be curious about learning more about the why you do the things you do, be curious about the what make you do the things you do, be curious about when is it that you do the things you do, and be curious about where you see yourself doing the things that you and if you wish to continue this pattern of behaviours.

Change is possible – just think about it because you know it.

Counsellors in counselling


Stones

Before counsellors become a counsellor, part of our training was that we had to have counselling ourselves. After all, we must practice what we preach. If I haven’t forego therapy, how can I promote something I’m selling without experiencing the benefits for myself? Any good and well established school of psychology would insist upon this as part of professional development. Each students of psychology need to be have counselling as a requirement. Although, I have had some counselling prior to my Psychotherapeutic Counselling training, as I progress through further studies, I am undergoing further counselling as well as supervision.

I don’t think there is any shame in disclosing this fact that perhaps clients are not aware of. It is just as scary for us in therapy as we continuously work through our self-awareness as a therapist. As a counsellor under counselling, I do understand the nervous tension of disclosing some underlying fears that may not have been shared with anyone else. I understand it in my own way, which may be different to the way you understand nervous tension and fears, because the way I interpret situation will be different to the way you interpret your world. Although, we are looking at the outer world, our inner world is different due to our life experiences.

Before I’d chosen my counsellors, I had research the therapist, browsing their website and tried to get a sense of what this person is like. Depending on what modality of counselling you’re after, and it may not have any relevant to you, but it does to me. I chose a therapist based on their location to me, and their field of expertise (their modality eg: Psychoanalytic, Person-Centred, Cognitive Therapy, Transactional Analysis etc.) Over the past 20 years or so, counselling field have expanded and it can be difficult to choose a modality suitable for you. If in doubt, try an Integrative therapist who has wide range of modality like Psychotherapeutic Counselling, where many interventions are used during sessions. If you choose a therapist that hold similar views to some of your belief and you get a sense that this type of therapy is for you, your time in therapy can be rewarding and fulfilling.

For me, in therapy session, since I am paying, I want to make the most of the session and utilize the time resourcefully. It is a great way to get things off my shoulders. If the hour flies by, I know that it was a good session. Just as I learn new things in my daily life, I learn new things about me with every session and this is like reading a good book, once you start, you cannot put down.

I enter each session without any expectations and eagerness. This way I can just speak my mind. If I entered the therapy room with expectation that the therapist is going to wave the wand and get rid of my problems. Hmmm, what do you think will happen? You will be disappointed. Disappointed that you have got the response that you wanted? Disappointed that you didn’t get the affirmation to your problem but lots of challenges? Disappointed that the problem is still there?

If you treat your therapist as an individuals who has your best interest at heart than you may find this more useful. If you persist, persevere, and have patient, you won’t be a patient for long.

For me, although I am qualified as an Integrative Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, I am striving for growth. So in my effort for growth, even though I am fully qualified and fully accredited, I am pursuing further studying into Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy – which fits with me. This model feels right with me. Like any trade person, you need to have the right tools for the job. Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy is another tool on my belt. As I see value in my therapy, I can see that I want to make the most of my sessions, and as I want something, I need to put the effort into it. Being in counselling gives me the insight into apprehension, consternation and disquietude that clients maybe feeling when embarking on therapy for the first time. But, like everything we perceived in the internal dialogue, the reality is somewhat quite diverse.

Just like you, we also strive for growth. Just like you, we also have skeletons in our closet. Just like you, we have our own path in which we seek.

Secrets never to be told


whispering

Secret is defined as ‘something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others’. Most of us have secrets never to be told, and there lie a paradox. I don’t anyone that doesn’t have a skeleton in their closet. As you keep secrets, there will be danger involve in keeping up with the lies that are attached to the secret. Secret involves deliberation of choice; how long to keep the secret, why keeping secret, and who else know about the secret. Those who hold power holds secrets.

The science behind secret is the power that you hold over someone who do not know what is going on. I know the costs of secrets and it made me really unhappy. It is like keeping a lid on a boiling pan! Inevitably, the intense pressure will blow the lid from the pan.

Keeping secrets can be for a good intention, protecting someone from exposure for their own safety for a short period of time. The content of the secret matters a great deal – keeping a secret about a family holiday to a-once-in-a-life time destination will not cause any harm. This is what I’d call safe secret. However, in long term the decision to keep secret causes anxiety and guilt. Depending on the severity and intensity of the secret, the person may be overwhelmed with emotions that it seeps through the pores, affecting rational behaviours, psychological well-being, resulting in mental breakdown.

Unsafe secret is one that is destructive, traumatic and life changing. Why do many families keep secrets can help explain this. What is being kept secret explains some common motivations. Secret leads to lie, lie leads to cheat, and cheat leads to fear. And we know (from the force of Star Trek) that fear leads to the dark side.  A secret have ways of stacking up and escalating, affecting everyone, like a domino effect. Secret becomes unconscious as we ‘chunk up’ it’s value. As an example: A friend once disclosed a secret of his affair to me – I would keep the secret by telling myself that it is for the best if his wife do not know. I’m a good friend for keeping his secret. It is supporting him and reassuring him that he is not necessarily to blame. I would convince myself that it is for the best, until he is able to reveal the secret etc.

Secrets are riddled with shame and guilt. The person holding the secret is unable to logically think of a way out. Fearing what will happen when the family find out and fearing judgement (aka Social Phobia).

Holding a secret is not necessarily unhealthy – if you partner is being secretive in his behaviour, it doesn’t necessarily means he’s promiscuous, it could be that he secretly plans when to ask you to marry him, planning your surprise birthday party, or planning a surprise anniversary holiday etc. Only unsafe or harmful secrets are ones that causes internal incongruent and violate our moral codes. It is ones that is sadistically sinful. It is ones that is self-destructive and horrifically harmful. It is ones that evokes disapproval from others. When a secret is disclosed to this person, the strong cathartic desire to spill the beans greatly influence the person to reveal the moral secret. Communicating the secret is partly self-preservation, so that they can feel better when revealing, and partly to justify their value system.

Family secrets often revolves around an abuse of some sort. Many secret persists in most families, it persists because what is going on behind closed door – stay behind closed door. It is the family code not to reveal what is going on in the family to outsiders. Secret acts to sustain and maintain a unified front. United we stand. But, it doesn’t have to be that way – you can break the destructive noose around your neck! Break the chain and break out against secrecy. Breaking out the family secret does not mean that’s dishonouring or bring shame to the family. Breaking out means doing what is right.

For the person that breaks the moral code of secrecy, there are disapproval and dismissal from other family members, as they maintain peace and harmony within the family unit. Breaking out can leave the person without support from other family members who may be skeptic or shock about the revelation that you are shunned. As part of the psychological processes a person has to juggle whether or not to reveal versus the implications of the revelation within the family. This is a small price for doing the right thing. The greater price is a stronger and more supportive family unit as everyone readjust their life position as a result of the secret revelation. Family that stay together, pray together.

As a spoiler, I rarely keep unsafe secrets from people around me. And I especially do not keep unsafe secrets within my family or close relationship. Keeping unsafe secrets do not sit right with my moral codes, and being a counsellor, this is an important ethical considerations. When a client discloses secret that has risks of personal safety or safety of a child, my ethical duties is to report my suspicions to authority or relevant protective services.  This is the only exception in the confidentiality statement, more on this in my T&C. Your secret is save with me.

The colour of racism

races

I used to post and blog about topics that are currently trending in the news and what I considered my followers might be interested in reading. But, now I post and blog about experiential events that personally touched me. I post and blog about psychological disturbances affecting my network of family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances that I am empathetic towards.

Racism, I can relate to personally, having been a subject of racial slur during my teenage years. When I first came to the UK, in the mid 80’s, I was certainly the minority in school. With a disadvantage of unable to speak English as a child, this did not prevent me from reading body language of my classmates, I was able to pick up racial taunts among fellow students, careless whispers and cheeky Chinese imitations. If you have experience someone being racist, you will know the kind of subtle behaviours I mean. Bless their ignorance, in their sheltered lives, they have not seen an oriental girl before and do not know differences between races.

As I grew up and integrated into English culture, at college, I sheepishly, found myself being the perpetrator of racial slur at other foreign nationals, because I really wanted to fit in, even though I am also a minority! So, I believed that I do hold a perspective as a victim of racism, as well as, a perpetrator of racism. I believed that we are all capable of being racist through misjudgement and naivety.

Articles on racism are becoming an everyday normal news, according to statistics, especially since Brexit.  It is unsurprising how some people gain self-esteem through hateful prejudices this way, I certain gain confident when I was part of the group that target another group racially.

Racism has long been part of every day’s stresses within societies. It originated as soon as humans developed the awareness of group survival, learning to share resources and become part of the group means safety during those very harsh ‘survival of the fittest’ in the Palaeolithic era. Early human begins evolution from the apes, through to Homo habilis to Homo erectus, to Homo sapien (species of modern human existence). They would have had to face other races in order to survive and be a dominant species that currently inhibiting the planet. They dominated over Homo neanderthalensis, a race once dominant in history. Evolution has been about the fight for survival with different races, so, it is such a surprise that racism exists?

Today, when you look, on the ‘outside’ a person of ‘white’, ‘pink’, ‘brown’, ‘yellow’, ‘black’, and ‘tan’  skin-coloured hue, you judge against them, according to their race by their skin colour, this is the true colour of racism. It is visibly noticeable to distinguish someone by their skin colour. It is easy to de-humanise a person and target them by their skin colour. It is plain sailing to dislike someone because of their skin colour. It is facile to belittlingly begrudge someone because of their skin colour, when in fact there are other underlying reasons for the unhealthy envy. It is effortless to have jealous stint with someone because of their skin colour bases on inequality.

Up until Brexit, people may have hidden their hatred behind closed doors. And Brexit seemed to have given many xenophobic people the ok to come out. Many people seem to become confident in their hatred for racism. It is not that Brexit causes people to become racist. I’m simply saying that racism has always been part of societies, and it will continue to be a challenge long into the future because it is our evolutionary make-up to be self-severing, species protective,  but I really don’t like stating the obvious, aren’t we all made up of the same colour on the ‘inside’?

Why are people racist? Because we are threatened by individuality and uniqueness. Because we are unhealthy envious of the person, for their successful career, wealth and possession. Because we are jealous of the person base on their looks, their physique and their beautiful tan.

Being racist is like a cancer, it will eventually consumes you. It poisons the mind, and when the mind is toxic, this causes the body to wither and die. You can make a difference to the toxic thinking and be consciously aware of your thoughts and beliefs. Isn’t far healthier to be mindful of your thoughts, your judgments, and your behaviours towards others. For me personally, it is watching out for those automatic thoughts, and the instance judgement creeps into the mind, when in that situation, I’d ask myself, what is it that I am thinking and feeling, about myself, that bring on these thoughts. I’d ask myself why I think this about the person in front of me. I’d ask myself what I see in this person that reflects back about me.

Being self-aware helps me to reality check what it is that I am admittedly lacking that I project my hatred onto others by racial slurring. Being self-aware helps me to become conscious of how my unconscious actions affect others. Being self-aware helps me to be more receptive of other’s feelings. Being self-aware helps me to realise my ecological awareness and the needs of others and their rights. Once, I have this insight, I was able to be non-judgmental, emphatic, and accepting. Just like in my therapy room, I hold everyone I meet, friends or foes, with unconditional positive regards.