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.

 

Look at me, look at me, I’m all important


Narcissism

In my last article, Obsessively me, I briefly mention that some people strive at all costs to have power over others. Power-driven people are motivated by subtle narcissistic trait.  A trait and behaviour which signify infatuation and obsession with the self, to the exclusion of all others, in an egotistic and ruthless pursuit of own gratification, dominance over others. Perhaps due to their biological make-up, most narcissists (75%) are men, in their competitive nature of the evolutionary caveman dominance to provide for their woman.

Obsessing over objects or others can be alleviated by limiting your exposure to the object or other person. When you have the will to deprive yourself of the obsessed object or another person, you can safely presume that the problem no longer poses any issues. However, obsessing over self-grandiosity, self-admiration, self-serving attitude and constant need for admiration is far more difficult to eliminate. The onset of narcissistic trait begins in early childhood as parents inflict authoritative demands on the child. The child either exert Covert Narcissistic or Overt Narcissistic trait.

Covert narcissism is atypical characteristic of someone overtly charming, convincing and undeniably but subtly nice, helpful and friendly. These people will generally go out of their way to be seemingly caring, overwhelmingly sincere and convincingly selfless and giving. They will surround themselves with people who compliment them, and people do gravitate around them, feeding them compliments. They are the host at the center of a party. They are the apple in an apple pie. They are the cheery on a Bakewell tart! They are adventurously fearless, thriving on the power over others as they make themselves useful. Living a life of grandiose and unlimited adulation. They are extremely helpful and always seemingly happy. Take off their mask and you will get the Dr Jekyll and Hyde character. Behind the mask is someone quite different. A person who see themselves as the perpetual victim, with an inability to form relationships, where family members disowned them or distant themselves from them because they had enough of the constant need for admiration and excessive fantasy lifestyle. They seek continuous reassurances from people to validate them. They seek people who can boost their ego. If you cannot provide them with what they need, you are left high and dry!

Overt narcissism on the other hand is much more obvious. These people are all mouth and more mouth. They exaggerate everything from their achievements, self-importance, self-brilliance (cerebral narcissist) to beauty or sexual performance (somatic narcissist). They tirelessly seek attention, you will have to drop everything to go and see this person, if you are their friend/sibling/dependent etc. They are dramatically exhibitionist about their achievements. Their narcissistic supply does not run out; they have plenty of energy seeking self-importance. There is nothing or nobody more important than themselves. They lack empathy and understanding of the one time you cannot make it round because of another emergency. You will be strike off their list, which is a lucky escape. Don’t doubt that they will not walk over your grave in order to achieve their own just reward. They will stab you in the back to get that recognition and appraisal from your line manager! They are thoroughly arrogant to the bone, often contradictory and when confronted, but they will not yield. In sibling rivalry, they are envious, believing that they are the victim of mistreatment in the sibling rivalry. If attention is not given by the parents, they will create chaos in their life for validation. If attention is not given in a marriage, they will seek extra-marital activities. Don’t be fool, some might not be glued to the mirror and may not be particularly attractive to look at, but still has narcissistic personality. A person exhibiting overt narcissism trait holds the fantasist beliefs that they were once a beauty!

Like I said before, we all have obsessive tendencies. Obsessing over ourselves is unhelpful to self-preservation. How narcissistic are you depends on your view on competition and comparison? Being self-aware is about learning about the self and all the shadows. Learning what is mentally healthy, learning to accept the self and working on the self. As you learn about new things, learning about yourself is as important as learning something new.

Obsessively me


PokemonGo

An obsession is an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind. An object of obsession can be a person a thing or an activity. It is much like a fixation actually. As a fallible human being, we have a tendency to psychological disturb ourselves with almost anything. Much as we like to think that we are invincible, we are not. Much as we have proof of our power, as we ‘influence’ others, we are not powerful. We exert money over others to gain power over others, because this makes us feel powerful. Some people strive at all costs to have this power over others, but that’s another story. One that I might consider posting later. For now, I refer to the current craze over Pokemon Go.  I’m afraid I am one of those fallen prey to the current ‘craze‘. But, I am not a gamer at all!

I often wonder if I am obsessively healthy or unhealthy. We have the tendency to obsess over something or someone. For me, these periods of obsession is called a fad. I don’t mind admitting that I have a period of blip where I was consumed by  burst of activities such as mobile gaming. I could not wait to for opportunities to play games on my phone especially since, nearly everyone old enough who can afford to have android phones, do have one. Awhile ago, I was obsessing over WordBrain. This went on for a few months until I’d got bored playing. Then I was introduced to Game of Thrones by a friend, and I couldn’t stop watching season 1-5 in a weekend! Then that was that! At the moment, I will admit that I am swept by Pokemon Go like millions of others. So obsessed that I play daily for most of the days. My phone is on constant charge. I do go out and walk around to find Pokemon. I recruited many friends and family to play. The benefit is that it gets me out and moving, as I walked 5km to hatch a Pokemon egg! I reached my Fitbit steps quota for the day. I exercised and burnt off nearly 430 calories of cardio (more than I would do in a heavy work out at the gym).

When will it end?  – Well, as long as there are benefits to your personal goals, it may or may not end. Obsession will become compulsive when it interferes with your responsibilities, the urges to continual playing will become irresistible. Be honest, ask yourself, what is your personal goals for playing or keep playing.

When does it get out of control?  – That depends on the individual’s internal perception and their interpretation of the object of obsession. There are varying degree of obsession and when it is a problem for you is when to think about the why. For me I suspect that I will be playing as long as it gets me out walking, exercising and interacting with my daughters. I have no intention of playing it expertly or to battle to gain any online status (to gain power over other players). So, you could say that I am a hoarder of Pokemons.

When is an obsession a problem? – That depends on an individual’s reasoning for playing. Pokemon games were around 20 years ago and my children were really crazy over the original Pokemon cards game, the miniature toys and cuddlies. As they grew up, the craze moved to Pokemon PC games, in a form of Pokemon Red, Silver, Gold etc. For me, it was a way of interacting with them through play. For me it was the cute cuddly features of the characters. Is it obsessive to know that Bulbasaur evolves into Wartortle and then Blastoist when you battle and train them well? Obsession is a subjective experience for each person. And as long as you are healthily benefiting from the activity, and it doesn’t interfere or get in a way of your real world than it is not necessarily a problem. It is a problem when the object of obsession is a risk to your health, life and to those around you, such as the dangerous craze where people gets out of car in mid traffic to catch a rare Pokemon, recently broadcast. It is dangerous when you are so preoccupied that you have an accident. It is dangerous when you are not playing sensibly or you have insidious agenda.

What can you do to keep obsessive behaviour under control? – Obsessive behaviour is about the needs for control. It is something that we do to satisfy our hidden desire. For me, I tell myself that I need exercise to control and maintain my healthy waistline. In order to be able to rationally think about what is healthy and unhealthy, you need to check and test out the level of your obsession and the degree of discomfort. See how long you can NOT play the game, an hour, a couple of hours, a day? See how uncomfortable you are when you are deprived of the the object of obsession? Start there and see how you long you last before the urges take hold.

Obsession doesn’t have to be a problem as long as YOU are in control of your activity and not the other way round. Ask yourself, without any unhealthy demands, are you in control?  

Lie to my face


Liar2

There has been studies into face reading as lie detector; Professor Ugail’s work at university of Bradford tries to use face reading technology for lie detector. And there are evidence that computer and camera are great ways to capture human facial recognition. We cannot fool the use of smart technology. Most of us who does not have the luxury of these technology and nor can we carry this around with us! How can we tell when someone is lying by reading their face?

You might be interested to read my articles on face-reading, face the inside out or changing face of confidence to better understand the importance of your face, your external mask. One thing that smart technology cannot decipher is our attempt to covet the face. We do this by wearing make-up, veil, burqa or plastic surgery. This make face reading extremely difficult. According to Dr. Leanne ten Brinke, we have an innate pre-set instinct to detecting lies, we are our own lie detector. Providing of cause you have already established the person’s normal baseline behaviour in social settings, then it’s easier to pick up their uncharacteristic expressions, body language cluster (such as hair twirling, fidgeting, sway and body rocking) or attitude to conversation. A baseline is the neutral threshold which a person is at ease and not lying – inquire about subject you know they cannot possibly lie about such as the present weather condition or something that they have no reason to lie about.  You may already know some of the signs of lying. You may have already seen the face of a liar. Keep a close eye!

Looking at the head; watch for the positioning or the sudden head tilt or jerk in relation to being questioned. Watch for inconsistency of the head nods, bows or shakes that is different to the use of verbal language being expressed.

Forehead – Look for beads of sweat or signs of nervousness on the forehead. Look out for signs of throbbing as the vein pulses on the forehead, as well as crease lines on the forehead. Look for the eyebrows pulled together closer as the person is anxious about the lies. Plus any signs of scratching of the temple suggests, the liar is thinking about what to say.

Eyes – If the person is unable to look you in the eye in response to your questions, this is a sure sign of lies being concealed. As well as prolong and exaggerated eye contact used to deter reader into the false story. Rapid or lack of blinking are conscious signs to manipulate the listener. A normal person, who is not lying, will shift their gaze regularly exploring their surroundings. Look closely at the micro-expression quickly flashes in the eyes, in a fraction of a second, to establish the person’s true emotion. Monitor the eye direction, as the person is looking up towards the left – according to NLP is Visual Construct, demonstrating that the person is constructing the story. Eye movements, looking up toward the right – shows Visual Recalls – the person is not lying when remembering the story. Eyes show emotions watch for this carefully.

Nose – Just as in ‘Pinocchio’, watch the twitching and nose itching. Look at nose concealing and nose rubbing, as well as signs of frequently touching, rubbing or stroking the nose. They are all signs of lying.

Mouth – Watch for any signs to conceal, cover, and hide the mouth when the person is responding, as well as covering other areas of the body.  Watch for frequent signs of stuttering, swallowing, coughing or frequently clearing their throat are also sure signs of lie. Just as biting of nails; the liar’s body increase production of adrenaline, gets their saliva pumping and this creates none, resulting in dryness to the throat and mouth, making it difficult to swallow. While the saliva is surging, the liar might be gulping it down quickly and frequently. See how the lips don’t lie. Look at how the lips curl up, lips pressing or lips biting, are sure signs of stress generated in the limbic system.

Jaw – Look for movement in the jawline as the liar move back and forth, a movement to stimulate the salivary glands in the back of the throat. This movement is an attempt to moisten their dry throats due the fight-or-flight response.

Speech & Language – Listen out for the change of tonality and volume when the person is speaking. High pitch or quivering voice shows sign of distress, in defending the lies. Too long silences, absent or responses are signs of lies being invented. Pay attention to the use of language and the incongruity in face, the use of repeated words, words such as ‘to be honest’, ‘to be truthful’ or ‘honestly’ are signs of lies. Listen out for distraction in the story as the liar jump to a different story in mid-sentence.

However, it is not just the face that lies. The body can lie too and watch out for distraction in the hands, especially from those dramatics who are animated and creative in their explanation of their web of lies.

Try it for yourself, read those around you and see who is lying to you.

Individuality and Homosexuality


Thumb

What I learned I share. In my work at TVPS, I have recently become more aware of the prejudices within homosexuality and how much of it affect people. I have been unaware at the extent of the secrecy of homosexuality in individual cases. I, myself, accept that homosexuals as normal individuals who want to belong to a normal society. Maybe, my acceptance come from my ethnic background in Thailand, where we accept their existence in society.

In brief, homosexuality is a sexual orientation of a person of the same sexual gender as their own. It is believed that homosexuals are born that way, with biological tendencies. In today’s societies, although it is more acceptable for homosexuals to be opened about their sexuality, individuals still experience resistance in day-to-day life. Some people still cannot accept why a person is homosexual and often regard them on the same brush as those with mental health. The reason for this stigma comes from professionals, Freud included, who first thought that homosexuality was the disorders of the mind. Yes, professionals do get it wrong sometime. I don’t believe that homosexuality is a mental disorder or illness and at times it was considered by many professionals as so. It was officially declassified in the DSM-II in 1987 and professionals begin to have acceptance that biological factors are the driving force behind their sexual preferences and orientations.

I’m not here to argue for homosexuality per se, this article is to address the non-acceptance of homosexuality in society and how this affect individual lives, and the lives of those around them. I think homosexuality is a sexual preference of an individual toward someone of the same sex or gender. Read more on homosexual psychology here.

Individuals who had experienced prejudices in their daily lives know how difficult it is to live with it. Now imagine the individual with homosexual tendencies. Imagine the prejudice even though society is more accepting. There are some individuals who cannot accept individual differences. Why this is hard to accept the phenomenon of this pathological model of  homosexuality? Stigma and discrimination against homosexuality have always been around, society just chose to ignore it. Prejudice will exist in most society where there are differences to social norm expectations, where common humanity is shared. Individuals who do not fit into the societal expectation, becoming an outcast and rebel against what is normal, for these people, egalitarian society does not exist. It is also difficult to resist the social conditioning of the media porn industry that promote girls-on girls action.

Individuals who are confused about their gender or sexuality may be pressured to conform to social norm guideline in relationship formation, forcing them to seek a wife, have children, raise a family, as evolution dictate. For these individuals, suppressing their homosexual preferences can be like putting a lid over a boiling cauldron. As with the universal law, the pot will eventually boiled over. It is a matter of time that the energy is heated up. These people question the concepts of conformity and seek to express themselves through self-exploration. For some people who haven’t been able to identify their preferences or suppresses their preferences, this enlightened exploration can lead to a great relief. This discovery is a soul-soothing expression of one own sexual preferences. Isn’t this what individuality is all about? Is this not what each and every one of us aspire to being? To being human.

Individuality is a state of being, a state of uniqueness and self-acceptance. It is about being who you are, knowing who you want to be and where to go. Individuality disregard race, colour, age, gender, sexual orientation and religion and many other factors. Individuality is about whatever you want it to be. It is about whoever you choose to be and however you want to live.

My take on homosexuality is acceptance. Accept the person in front of you as a unique individual human being that they are. Accept yourself for accepting others around you.

However, if you find it hard to accept others and especially difficult to accept someone with homosexuality tendencies, perhaps you may to explore your own individuality for self-awareness through counselling. Contact me and see how I can help.

What role do you play?


Anxiety

Each and every one of us has a role to play. A role is the position of power that someone places on another person. Role Theory states that we are all in a role in various relationships as a spouse, a partner, a lover, a mother/father, a son/daughter, a brother/sister, etc. Within the role we take on responsibilities of that role. We assumed dominant or submissive tendency in certain role. We follow or we lead. We assume many roles and it is a balancing act to prioritize the different way to be in the different roles. Every one of us have at least one role, belonging to a group (EG: family group) promotes our self-worth, which is essential to our survival needs.

Role expectation is a perception of others. Social norms dictate that we must behave, act, and be certain way in certain situation. In the UK, the etiquette for driving is on the left side of the road. Therefore, as a road user (a role), you are expected to drive on the left side of the road. Role Theory highlights dominant or submissive tendencies. Role expectation of a dominant person can vary, depending on the dynamic of the relationship. A dominant position is a person who has power and influence over another. Someone who command, control, govern and presides over another person. It can range from being a leader, a chief, a boss, an advisory to someone with dependents and central to the community. Role expectation of a submissive person can be someone in co-dependent relationships such as mother-child or carer-patient. This person readily accepts authority and the wills of others. The submissive person totally conforms, obedient and is dependent on others. As role expectation is placed upon us by others based upon power, it can be given or taken away. However, I would stress that role expectation in the workplace is somewhat different to interpersonal roles in relationship formation.

In the perspective of Sociologists, role theory is considering as everyday activities acting-in to conform to the in-group social norm, or acting out to rebel against the harsh discipline of the social groups. Each social role is a set of rights, duties, expectations, norms and behaviours that a person has to face and fulfill. The theory takes the assumption that people will behave in a predictable way, and that people will act specifically in context of their roles that they are recognized as in groups.

For a closer look at some of our most common roles; its responsibilities, expectancy and behaviours.

  • Wife/Husband – a person of interest, a person who we have chosen to be our partner, a person outside the family group. This person satisfies our intimate needs, physically, emotionally and mentally. This person is expected to be loyal, committed and love us in return for the investment that we put into the relationship.
  • Mother/Father – a provider to support their children or other dependents. A person to guide, direct and educate their children or other dependents. This person is responsible for her/his children well-being and development until they reach adulthood. This person is responsible for providing the safety of home, security, love, affection, and nurturing their children or other dependents.
  • Son/Daughter – as a dependent child, this person need help and support from their parents and other family group members in order to grow and learn until they can become independent. Then, they venture outside the family group confidently. Later on in their lives, their role will switch; their parents being dependent on the children.
  • Brother/Sister – as a sibling and depending on your position of birth, your role in this sub-category will vary. An eldest child may have to be responsible for their little brother or sister, a mischievous middle child usually gets away with a lot and the youngest child is often spoils by the parents and the elder siblings. Each sibling will be fighting each other for their position of power in the family group, and for the affection of their parents or carers.
  • Aunt/Uncle/Niece/Nephew etc – a distance member of the family, may be seen as an advisory person to approach when an immediate family member becomes difficult to tolerate. This person offers guidance and different perspective to the problem, still maintaining the core belief and values of the family group.

Each person may have to manage the many roles that they hold. And each role come with set of rules, expectations and functions that have to be adhere to. In day-to-day situation, juggling the many different roles often create stress and anxiety and can often be the source of many conflicts. Many of our roles carry social behaviour that we have to comply within the group. Roles, in fact, is partly dictated by our social structure. And, in turn, each person can accept and influence the norm expectations and behaviours of other group members.

As we grow up through the developmental stages, we begin to explore our ecology outside the family group. We learn and take on different roles with our peers and people in different establishment such as school, social club, religious community groups, scouts etc. It is often a difficult transition to adopt new or different belief system to ones we learned from the family group. Sometime, we have to set aside old habits and re-learn new skills in order to be part of the new in-group. Depending on our personality type, we may choose to stay close to those with the same set of beliefs originally held or we might rebel against what we have learned and become influenced by new experiences of the outside groups.

Whatever roles you decide to embrace, one of the important thing to remember is that you have a choice to choose the role that you are most comfortable with. You can choose how to behave in the role. You can choose how to act in the role. You can be who you want to be.

However, if you need help identifying and balancing your many roles, contact me and we can walk the tight-rope together.

Me and my father


Father and son

I have discussed the role of motherhood around Mother’s day in my article, it is appropriate that I discuss the role of fatherhood on Father’s day. You may remember me mentioning the attachment theory of Bowlby, and the role it plays in a child’s development. Many psychologists refer to primary carer being the mother, although this is true in lots of cases, little light is shed on fathers as primary carer. We can see my Freud and many closely analyses the mother being the important to the child’s development due to breast feeding, in the absent of the mother, a father can be just as important to the child. Father and mother reacts differently to the same behaviour from the child. Father and mother also reacts different to the child, depending on the gender of the child. Our biological make-up drive our preferential tendencies toward the opposite sex. Such as the biological evolutionary law.

Research has shown that attachment with both parents are preferable in a child’s development, but it doesn’t come with criticisms. But in today’s society with the rise in divorce, and parents separating, the child is ping pong between acrimonious court proceedings resulting in tremendous stress. In majority of cases, a mother gets full custody of the child and the father has limited access or is absent. Many studies proof that absent of a father can deter healthy development. It is really inconsiderate and selfish of divorcing parents to use the children to gain power of custody in the separation proceeding.

In an ideal world, a child needs both parent’s regular contact to promote healthy social development through the life stages. I would like to address the importance of psychological effect of an absent father in a child’s development. As Mott’s research mentioned, the emotional and cognitive effect on a child of absent father is tremendous. I can relate to this, as my biological father was absent in my early childhood. I personally think that it depends on your gender preferential as well, as Freud crudely mentioned the Oedipus complex, for me, I prefer companies of men, as a result of paternal attachment deprivation. There are many factors that contributed to this preference, for me, I crave the male attention I was lacking in childhood. Of cause, this is not the case for everyone. Absent of a father affects the sons as well, creating unstable emotional disturbances in relationship formation. Father matters and I reached this conclusion, once my step-dad came into my life as a stable role model. As a daughter, I found myself attaching to him from the years of absent paternal figure. Although, I may have viewed female companies as competition previously, it is no longer the case, thanks to his guidance and perspective in my development.

Problem with attachment and absent of paternal figure depends largely on the reasons for the absence, all of which has devastating effect. If the absent is absolute, where a father voluntarily abandoned the child completely, it is likely that the child will feel rejected, hurt and guilt. Feeling like these can exacerbate depression. With no male action-orientation to model, depending on the child’s tendencies, he/she might not be able to relate to social setting from the male perspectives leading to social anxiety, inadequacy and may cause difficulty in forming relationships. If the absence is due to the maternal figure being deceitful, building trust will be a problem. If the absence is due to violence and abuse, on the mother or child, separation is almost justify and although it is difficult to accept that your father is violent or abusive, it is invariable the best choice for a child to be in a safe environment. If the absent is due to death, the child need to grieve the loss, and children should be told the reality of loss through death, rather than being sugar-coated. If the absent is due to an incarceration, this treatment need to be treated with sensitive, depending if the father will want to remain in the child’s life after the prison sentence is served. Whatever the reason, it is helpful to explain it to the child at the appropriate development age to comprehend and understand. Ignoring the absence is the worst possible way to deal with the situation. Burying your head in the sand and hope that the child do not ask is not the answer.

How do you recover from absent of a father figure? Address and accept that your father is absent from your life. Establish when the father was absent, and establish your current age including the maladaptive patterns of your destructive relationship formation will help pinpoint accuracy to locate the critical factor. Re-educate and learn of the reasons for his absent can promote awareness and help with acceptance. Connecting with him, if at all possible, it is never too late to (re)build relationships. Seek reassurances and reach out for support from your network of contacts can be therapeutic. Direct your energy through exploration and talk about your feelings surrounding the absent of a father figure through counselling can help address problem maintaining relationships. Aspiring for your own future, with or without, him and working towards your own satisfactory resolution.

Face the inside out


Following my article on The changing face of self-confidence, our face are marked and shaped not only by events in our life but our biological make up also plays a role. As we grow up, our physiology changes through the various developmental stages. Our body go through several surges of hormonal fluctuation, and our face changes too, especially during certain life stages. Here, I want to bring an attention to the teenage years, concerns with transitions from childhood to adulthood. This difficult stage comes with many dilemmas and coping with teenagers are often problematic for many parents.

A child going through this stage is flooded with hormones accompanied by erratic mood swing, irritability, aggression, recklessness and restlessness. The child experience rapid rise in sex hormones. Girls will be flooded with oestrogen and progesterone leading to mensuration and boys are flooded with testosterone making the teenage years a foundation for difficult behaviours in adult life.

However, the child going through this stage is also marked by acne that can scar them, mentally and physically, long into their adult life. A closer look at the myth surrounding acne indicates that it may begin during our teenage years but it can last long into adulthood. As a sufferer, I know too well the frustrations and painful torment it can cause to self-confidence. It mark the face, scar the body and deplete confidence, yet it is brush in society as something quite trivial. As mentioned in BBC Newsbeat and Changing Face, may be we ought to give it some attention. After all, it can effect a person in so many ways.

It can lead the sufferer to become target of bullying, lead to low or lack of confidence. It can be detrimental to our health and psychological well-being. It can result in embarrassment which prevents us forming intimate relationships. It may even lead a person to become a recluse, an agoraphobic or developing social anxiety and depression.

As acne marked the face and body, we naturally want to cover it up and we mostly do this with make-up. We covet over those lucky people with perfect clear skin. This envious feeling can lead to low self-confidence and low self-esteem. We may depreciate the self and damn the self, other and the world which does nothing to our ego.

As we feel pensive on the inside, this will show on the outside, especially in the face. The face is a thousand picture and often when I use face reading in my assessment of my clients, I can assess how they are feeling on the inside, when what they say is not congruent to the way they feel.

Not only are you suffering physically from the acne, you are also suffering internally too. Looking good is important, isn’t it? Is it really or is it something that we are socially led to believe. The way we look attract others to be our friend or our partner. People form impressions of you immediate within seconds of meeting you. People judge almost instantly whether they will like you base on your look. People prejudice against you as soon as they see you. Everyone look mainly at what is on the outside.

I say, of cause, looks are important it plays a role in our psyche and our survival needs. How can it not. However, I think looking good on the inside is vastly more important, for our mental health, physical health and spiritual health. Looking good on the inside, where the body hold equilibrium of healthy mind, organs and nutrients will show on the outside and as a result will show in the face. Healthy face is blemishes free, smooth and mark with healthy lines such as laughter lines around the eyes.

Haven’t you already been battered enough by the stigma from others about the way you look? Why not ask yourself, who’s painting you a bad picture? Who judges you by the way you look? Who’s voices are these?

  • “Look at the face on that!” Remember that the person saying this also have imperfections too, and what they judged in you is all too often what they are lacking on their inside – perhaps you have reminded them of their own facial imperfections.
  • “How you can let yourself go like that, you obese person?” Remember that the person who is judging you had their own misconceptions of you. You can reject their misconceptions. Perhaps they see themselves obese in the mirror. Perhaps looking at you, they see what they judge in themselves.
  • “What a stupid ass! How can you not see a simple solution?” There is no need to accept someone’s opinion of you. You can choose disregard their opinion, as their eyes rolled up in annoyance.
  • “Just look at the state of you, you tramp!” You can look them straight in the eye and hold their stares. You can look them blankly and passively with influence, showing that you are unaffected by their harsh glare and slight curl at the corner of their lips showing disapproval or disgust.
  • “Look at what she is wearing today, what a slut!” Recite this self-talk in your head: “I prefer that they do not treat me insensitively but I can accept that they can, they may do, and have their right to think whatever they thought about me. But I do not have to accept what they say.” There will always be someone who think differently to what you wear, the amount of make-up you have on, the way you have your hair, and the clothes on your back can be a source of jealousy and envy. They want to have your figure, they want to have your legs, they want your height and the covet what they don’t have.
  • “You annoying cow!” Look for positive qualities in yourself. No matter what you do, you will not be able to please everyone, why should you worry about trying?
  • “What the hell are you doing here?” Look for positive outcome from your environment and from those you meet. You may find that you are drawn to the new people as you send out new vibes. Everyone has the right to be anywhere they want to be, go anywhere they choose, in any place they wish.

Perhaps you can think of some of your own statements that you used to form judgment in situations or that you experienced. You don’t have to be an expert on face reading to see what someone is think about you by looking at their face. Why not share your comment with me?

You don’t need to accept anyone’s opinion of yourself. Make up your own mind and make up your own face!