Strange Situation Procedure – by Richard

Strange Situation Procedure – by Richard Bowlby (extract from full series) – YouTube > SIr Richard Bowlby is headlining the TAP Conference on 3rd May 2014 with Dr Una McCluskey, who specialises in adult attachment. Do come along to learn more about their work and how it can be applied .

Psychotherapy & Complementary therapies – how to convince, not confuse

147285612There is no doubt that the world of psychotherapy, counselling and complementary therapy has much to offer us as human beings, working  towards emotional well-being and physical good health. But occasionally, it seems, the simple fact that there are so many different types of therapy to choose alongside, or instead of, conventional medicine confuses  the lay person. The language excludes them, the choices are too numerous and the benefits seem uncertain.

It is difficult to address this. Therapists often stay within their ‘modality’ or specific approach, others are happy to work across the different schools of thought. But what is most important is the eventual benefit to those who seek help.

Gestalt, Humanistic, Core Process, Cognitive behavioural, Psychodynamic, Mindfulness, Neuro-linguistic programming, Life-coaching.  Hypnotherapy, Reflexology, Reiki, Bowen, Homeopathy, Cranio-sacral, Acupuncture. These are but a few of the options open to a newcomer to the field. For many, even the apparent distinction between ‘counselling’ and ‘psychotherapy’ is confusing. Some feel the therapy will prove too expensive; they don’t realise that they are also involved in the work and that often the therapy must continue for a long time. Some might need to come with a partner, or will be best served in individual or group work.

So it is really important to explain all the possibilities to a client, and offer sufficient time to make a proper assessment. Some clients will sit with a therapist, with whom they cannot properly connect, simply because they are too embarrassed to say so.   The triggers that have encouraged them to seek help are many and various and it is the skill of the therapist that ensures the interactions are successful and that sensitive issues are handled properly. An in-depth training is vital of course, but a good therapist is not born of book-reading.

Are there any therapies you would like more information about? Do you think the world of psychological therapies and complementary medicine is too confusing and exclusive?

Your thoughts?

The Terrace Humanistic Psychotherapy & Complementary Therapy Centre, Taunton, Somerset

Poetry for Mindfulness – I go among trees and sit still…..

treesOn ‘let’s talk’ we occasionally like to post a favourite quote,  a poem that strikes us as relevant to the work we are focusing on or simply words that mean something to us at a particular moment, on which we can focus our minds and enjoy ‘quieting’ our mind.

Today we thought our readers (and thank you – all those who follow us) might enjoy the following poem, by American poet, environmental activist and author Wendell Berry. Berry is a man often quoted by those who practice ‘mindfulness’, a subject we have discussed in recent blog posts. He is a man who believes in many things that relate specifically to living what he considers to be a ‘good’ life. He is a farmer, and supports rural communities, sustainable farming and the wonder of feeding our bodies with healthy food.  He is anti-war,, concerned about globalisation and the ever-growing industrialisation and technological advances in our lives. He sees connections in everyday things, and in our lives. He is a prolific writer and we intend to find out more – he is clearly a man who feels that we need to create a way of life for ourselves that takes in the essential value of the given moment, does not become increasingly complex and fraught with difficulties we struggle to overcome and in which we can learn to face and ‘befriend’ our worries, thus taking away their power to drain us.

I go among trees and sit still

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
Around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
Where I left them, asleep like cattle…

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
And the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry


By Wendell Berry from Sabbaths, 1987, North Point Press

Do you have a favourite poem that when read can calm your thoughts, allow you to breathe and face the day with greater strength? We would love to hear your thoughts.


Breathing-space for your Brain – the science of mindfulness


mindfulness-at-work-compBy Celia Kozlowski – science writer

Celia Kozlowski is a freelance science writer and editor based in Somerset who completed the Mindfulness-based stress reduction training at The Terrace in Taunton and has written, through the ‘scientific lens’, how mindfulness works.

The World War II slogan is everywhere these days—tee shirts, mugs,: Keep Calm and Carry On . But how do we do that amidst a high-stress life? A popular answer is “Mindfulness.”

The U.S. Marines are testing mindfulness to help soldiers function better under fire. Studies suggest mindfulness training may help prevent or improve recovery from combat’s emotional traumas.

Google’ Inc.’s headquarters — a high-stress workplace–has offered employees mindfulness since 2005. Their “Search Inside Yourself” improves workers’ performance, productivity, relationships, and job satisfaction while lowering stress, absenteeism, and employee turnover.

Scientific reports on Mindfulness show it can help people with a range of health challenges – anxiety, depression, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, insomnia.

Mindfulness can ease symptoms of multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain, eating disorders, hypochondria, mental fatigue following stroke, and recovery from substance abuse. Data show Mindfulness improves quality of life after treatment for breast cancer and blocked arteries.

The teacher at The Terrace, Psychotherapy and Complementary Health Centre, Dr Miranda Bevis, a former NHS doctor, told us her first exposure to Mindfulness was through her late husband. As he coped with motor neurone disease, he tried Mindfulness, which transformed his experience of the rest of his life.

Scientists are starting to understand how Mindfulness works. By studying the brains of Mindfulness practitioners, researchers detected changes in structure and function supporting theories that could explain the benefits. These suggest Mindfulness reshapes the brain for better control in sorting out emotions and signals from the body – like pain.

Instead of reacting automatically, a brain toned by Mindfulness chooses more deliberately what impulses get attention, and then crafts a healthy response. But there IS a catch. To realize the benefits of Mindfulness, you have to keep practicing.

Miranda Bevis Mindfulness Groups

Dr Miranda Bevis

The Terrace is running taster sessions Tuesday 9th April 6.30pm and Wednesday 10th April 9.15 with Dr Miranda Bevis. Book on 01823 338968, email

2014: On the New Year – resolutions, re-acting and relationships…

newyearHappy New Year and our best wishes to you for health and happiness in 2014.

There are many ways people support themselves towards health and happiness at the beginning of the year  – many of us start by making ‘New Year’s resolutions’.

That’s great – and it is an opportunity to see what you like about yourself and your life and to make decisions to improve the areas you would like to change.

Importantly, making New Year’s resolutions which are genuinely possible to achieve can create a feeling of well-being and increased self-esteem. It’s good to consider, carefully in the cold light of your life,  the decisions you have made to see if they are realistic, and if the time scale is actually possible. Re-negotiating a resolution could make all the difference to achieving it. That is a success, and puts you in charge of the decision you have made.

You might also need support or a ‘buddy’ to help you achieve what you want; making it public and sharing an aim can be more fun and you can enjoy the process too!

Enjoying the process is really fundamental to the continued success of what you want to achieve. It is one thing to make a change, but to feel good and substantial about that change is long-lasting and makes you feel good about yourself.

Couple with counsellorWe also have to consider whether, for those relationship changes that are important, having as ‘D-Day’ that one day at the beginning of January is a good thing. Often people find they are reassessing their lives after major celebrations or life events – Christmas, birthday, a bereavement or redundancy for example – and although these are important moments, they are also times to meditate on, and take time with, a decision. Taking that time and making space for contemplation may make for a better long-term result than the initial ‘re-acting’.

So if you are considering ending a relationship, take time to understand what that really means. Talk about it with your partner (if that is possible) so that when you come to your final decision it is well-considered, thought through and processed. At this point it can be beneficial to include professional counselling. When people do this the outcome is genuinely better emotional and mental health for themselves and for their family.

This Christmas and New Year had a particular spirit which seemed softer, and I keep hearing people talk about feeling good about 2014. My best wishes to you for yours.

Jane Gotto