Successful family relationships – how parents AND children need support

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Today’s post is written by Karen Green, who works from The Terrace. Karen is a fully qualified Chartered Clinical Psychologist and is registered with the British Psychological Society (BPS). 

As a clinical psychologist who works with children and families I am faced with a wide range of concerns which have to be considered in the context of individual development, the family and family relationships, friendships groups and schooling.

Children and young people constantly behave in ways which challenge the adults around them and whilst it is part of ‘parenting’ to meet and manage these challenges few of us can do this without any support, ideas and advice from others. Sometimes professional help can be valuable in ‘unlocking’ patterns that have become ‘stuck’ and fraught with negative emotion. This is can be especially difficult when juggling work, family and/or the demands and stress of other issues such as poor health, relationship difficulties and even separation/divorce. Many adult stresses and anxieties can impact on children and young people through their often uncanny radar for parental distress whether or not this is related to obvious relationships problems or less obvious stresses. Parental well-being also affects our tolerance with, for example, teenage challenges for greater control and independence. Other ways children and young people may be impacted are when decisions are being made about them, for example, access/contact with a separated parent.

Even the apparently simplest of problems can actually be complex and distressing for the family. With younger children it is often the parents who are the main source of any change. They may need confidence and space to explore alternative approaches to parenting, for example, a generally anxious or fussy child or one who has a phobia of clowns. Whilst this may initially seem amusing, the restrictiveness on family daily life and the child’s learning and development is no laughing matter. In this case, work was with the family and the child; although individual child work is not always necessary and often more likely with older children and teenagers.

Bringing various members of a family together in a safe and supportive environment can often help to build better communication and understanding of each other. Family strengths are explored along with alternative patterns and approaches to stresses and difficulties. Everyone in the family may need to change their behaviours in some way.

We are really interested in your thoughts about the best way to support parents and children to build successful relationships. Do get in touch with us on post@the-terrace.co.uk or comment below. We look forward to hearing your views.

Shaping Anger – a workshop for couples

shapeimage_3The Terrace is pleased to announce that Jill Gabriel is bringing her ‘Shaping Anger’ workshop to The Terrace in Taunton this autumn. This group has been running for many years in Bath.

Since 1983 Jill has worked and trained as a counsellor and psychotherapist in both analytical and humanistic psychotherapy. For twenty two years she has been involved with Spectrum, a humanistic and integrative psychotherapy centre in London. She has run their Working with Anger Workshop for ten years. She also has a private practice for individuals, couples, supervisees and groups. Jill is a co-founder of Relationshapes and has been training therapists since 1995 to work with couples. Her passion is to continue to understand her own truth while working with others to do the same.

In this workshop Jill will explore ways in which we organise and shape our expression of anger, both individually and as couples.  She will provide a contained space for couples to explore their patterns of conflict through dialogue and exercises. The workshop will also look at the function of this multi-faceted emotion and our responses to it.

In order to continue growing and maturing within our intimate relationships we need to find a balance between sustaining enough contact and maintaining enough distance. In this process appropriate expressions of anger help us to define ourselves and our differences. We will work with each couple’s unique ‘relationshape’ of anger.

Date: Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 November 2012

Time: 10am to 5pm

Cost: £150 per person

Venue: The Terrace, Humanistic Psychotherapy and Complementary Health Centre, 35 Staplegrove road, Taunton TA1 1 DG

To book a place on this workshop ring Jill Gabriel on 01225 318834,

or The Terrace on 01823 338968 or email post@the-terrace.co.uk

How does the weather affect our mood?

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The rain to the wind said,
‘You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged–though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.

Lodged by Robert Frost

For some of us, our mood seems inextricably linked to the weather. If you live in certain parts of the world, the weather can be relied upon, but in Britain even summer can be cold and wet, or one day hot and dry and the next cold and gloomy. As autumn takes hold the rain is falling, taking beautiful, bronzed leaves from the trees , making pavements slippery and sneaking under our brollies as a chilly wind blows huge grey clouds quickly across the sky.

Research suggests that the effect the weather – sun or rain – has on us is a very individual experience. For some, the heat of summer is unbearable. For others, like Robert Frost in the poem quoted above, a rainy, miserable day affects his human nature in the same way as it impacts upon the nature he sees around him. For many, winter becomes a time of unbearable sadness, literally, as ‘seasonal affective disorder’ (SAD) comes on as the amount of light fades and the days become shorter.

Edward Thomas, another poet of the early twentieth century, uses the image of rain in a quite different way. It is suggestive of solitude and loneliness, but it also has the ability to cleanse and to offer a new start….

From Rain

Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me
Remembering again that I shall die
And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks
For washing me cleaner than I have been
Since I was born into this solitude…

Edward Thomas

Perhaps it is how we look out upon the weather that is important. It isn’t simply the elements that cause our mood, it is part of a whole bundle of feelings and emotions. If we did not have clouds, we would not feel heartened as the sun breaks through them. If we did not have days of warm sunshine, the rain, when it does fall, would not seem so refreshing.

How do you feel about the weather? Does it directly affect your mood or simply heighten a feeling that is already part of your life? Do you have any coping mechanisms for days of weather that you find difficult to deal with?

We would love to hear your thoughts….