Accepting our foibles
19 July 2020
“One of the most important moves in psychotherapy is to take whatever is presented and simply hold it and give it a place.”
I like the above quote because it is counter cultural, in the sense that it pushes back against the dominant message we get that problems are there to be fixed.
We go to our doctor to fix a problem and many of us start therapy with the same attitude. Of course, that is completely understandable. We are in mental pain of some kind and we want a cure - who wouldn’t?
Perfect love, imperfect relationships (book review)
5 July 2020
Perfect love, imperfect relationships is a great book on relationship psychology. It’s written by John Welwood, a psychologist and author who tried to bring together psychological and spiritual ideas.
One of the central ideas in the book is that we expect too much of our partners and are invariably disappointed when they don’t match up with our expectations. According to Welwood, this is the human condition.
It’s definitely something that resonates with me as I often find myself resentful when I don’t feel understood or valued by my partner and then it can become about trying to somehow ‘get’ them to behave in the way I want. That rarely works, of course, because people usually don’t respond well to pressure or manipulation of that kind.
How we long for deeper connection
28 June 2020
We may often find ourselves staying on the surface in our conversations with people and particularly in the fast-paced word of social media.
But research by the University of Arizona found that more meaningful conversations were linked to greater happiness. They found that people who had more conversations where there was “real, meaningful information exchanged”, were likely to report higher satisfaction levels whether or not they were introverts or extraverts.
This confirms my belief that one of the benefits of being in therapy is having the chance to talk at depth about your experience. It is in this place that new insights of perspectives can become visible.
Dealing with your inner critic
14 June 2020
All of us, I would guess, have an inner critic - a part of us that judges or criticises us. To some degree the inner critic can help us, for example in maintaining high standards at work.
But for some of us the inner critic is pretty vicious. It may say things like:
“You’re stupid - you never understand things.”
The challenges of child-to-parent violence
7 June 2020
Often a taboo area for the families that experience it, and one that has become worse during the confinement of lockdown, is that of child-to-parent violence. Many parents feel some shame in disclosing what is going on or seeking support, which means the young person is not held to account and the violence and aggression can grow.
It is a particular problem for many parents of children with special needs, adopters or someone bringing up the child of a family member of friend.