‘Sexting’ – how we must make sure young people know how to ‘Zipit’…

7841-Sexting234x346Here at The Terrace we are keen to promote charities that work to support children and protect those that are vulnerable, or who find themselves in situations that could leave them open to abuse and exploitation. We support the NSPCC as our chosen charity and run regular events to raise money for them, maintaining close links with the representative of the charity in the South West.

But it seems that we, as a society can never do enough. Those who want to abuse or place young people in the way of danger seem to find new ways to avoid detection and social media offers endless opportunities to put pressure on those with access to the internet to behave in ways that are harmful.

In the coming weeks we will be highlighting areas of concern that have been mentioned in the press, or which are part of good safeguarding practice. If you are a parent, a professional working with young people, or a young person we hope these posts will make you think and offer ways of identifying possible abuse. They will also offer you ways to address the issue.

Today we focus on ‘sexting’ – which generally refers to the sending and receiving of texts including pictures of young people naked, in their underwear or in sexual positions. It also includes text messages or videos of a sexual nature. They might be sent from a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or a stranger met online. Often it starts as an innocent conversation, but can rapidly go further than one party intended it to.

The charity Childline receives many calls from young people in deep distress  – images of them may have ‘gone viral’ at school or in their community, causing deep embarrassment at least, and at worst a wish to run away or even to commit suicide. Matters are now particularly acute, as a Childline survey showed that 6 out of 10 children own a smartphone, offering instant access to such pictures and messages.

Childline gives the example of one  17-year-old boy who told them sexting was “pretty normal” among his friends.

“My friends and I talk very openly about our experiences within our relationships, and the sort of things we’ve sent each other. It seems like everyone’s doing it…Someone saw a video message I had sent to a previous girlfriend, took a screen shot and posted it online. They called me a pervert and lots of people I knew saw it….I was completely devastated and, to be honest, almost suicidal.”

Isn’t it shocking that we allow such a thing to become a ‘normal’ experience for our children, many of whom are not yet teenagers?

Our nominated charity, the NSPCC, commissioned a report which was published as long ago as May 2012. Findings showed:

  • the primary technology-related threat comes from peers, not ‘stranger danger’
  • sexting is often coercive
  • girls are the most adversely affected
  • technology amplifies the problem by facilitating the objectification of girls
  • sexting reveals wider sexual pressures
  • ever younger children are affected
  • sexting practices are culturally specific

This indicates that where many parents protect their children effectively from ‘stranger danger’, they do not take sufficient account of peer pressure.

Zipit_bannerChildline has developed a phone app called ‘Zipit’ which offers the opportunity for a young person to send an appropriate response to any ‘sexting‘ they receive – a witty ‘killer comeback’ that gives them control. Essentially though, we need to ensure that schools take responsibility for education children and young people about the dangers of sending sexy images or messages using their phone. We also need to encourage them to check out the Childline website which has a terrific section on how to deal with a situation that makes them feel uncomfortable. It is all about defusing the pressure that they feel coming at them from their peers.

So we must all make ourselves aware of the issue and recognise that we as adults are not always innocent in this area. Celebrities have been caught out tweeting images of themselves in compromising positions and something that we feel comfortable sending as a flirty message may feel very different when it is read at the other end of the ‘line’.

So take a look at all the great information on the websites of children’s charities. Awareness of these issues is a great start.


Make St Valentine work 365 days of the year….

Valentines-Day1-300x217More relationship tips for St Valentine’s Day – and today is the day…

For many, this is a day that can really intensify feelings of loneliness, and we do recognise that.  The commercialisation of one day of the year upon which all our hopes of love are apparently supposed to hang can be frustrating and, quite frankly, distasteful. But for others it can offer the opportunity to reconnect with a partner and really notice and appreciate them in a way that compensates a little for days we take them for granted as life’s stresses take over.

Our last post gave a few first tips for real intimacy with a partner, rather than just superficial romance. Today Jane Gotto offers more thoughts to build on that intimacy.

Firstly you can make your own Day – it does not need to be the 14th. It is difficult to highlight one day of the year as the most ‘romantic’. Make sure the time feels right.

Think about what quality you would like to bring into your relationship – you can check back with last week’s relationship tip – and see how you are getting on. Is it working for you? We had a number of people get in touch about last week’s post saying how quickly they had realised that their relationship was loving but that real intimacy had drifted away. You may not be getting the response you want directly,  but stay with your desire and what you want, and resist getting resentful and critical.  Changes can take time and the response from the other person can come in unexpected ways.

Secondly, what would make this period of  St Valentine’s different and special, and even a ‘growing experience’? Perhaps  you could spend time every day for the next week telling your partner about something you really like about them –  a quality of theirs, something they have done for you, something they have thought of or taken time with. The important thing is to say it to them, in a way they can hear. Hopefully, they will want to join in and do the same for you.

Discuss what would be a fun and a novel way to ‘celebrate’ your relationship during this time. Some music, a walk, a leisurely day spent together, cooking your favourite meal, having dinner…..

The secret is not what you do, it is HOW YOU DO IT. To help you get in the mood, here is a poem to inspire you, one that wraps you in a really intimate embrace of its own…

The Hug by Thom Gunn

It was your birthday, we had drunk and dined
Half of the night with our old friend
Who’d showed us in the end
To a bed I reached in one drunk stride.
Already I lay snug,
And drowsy with the wine dozed on one side.

I dozed, I slept. My sleep broke on a hug,
Suddenly, from behind,
In which the full lengths of our bodies pressed:
Your instep to my heel,
My shoulder-blades against your chest.
It was not sex, but I could feel
The whole strength of your body set,
Or braced, to mine,
And locking me to you
As if we were still twenty-two
When our grand passion had not yet
Become familial.
My quick sleep had deleted all
Of intervening time and place.
I only knew
The stay of your secure firm dry embrace.

So do take a look at our previous post alongside this one and let us know what you think these tips could add to your relationship. Or let us know what already works for you – we would love to hear your own tips.

Relationship tips for St Valentine’s Day & beyond..

240px-Antique_Valentine_1909_01In recent weeks Jane Gotto has been offering a ‘Relationship Tip of the Week’ on our Facebook page for those of us interested in Valentine’s Day, or for anyone interested in a good opportunity to refresh and look at a relationship. Today we bring some of the most recent ones together and next week will make a digest with some new ones for the big day itself.

So firstly,  have a thought about what you  are putting into the relationship in comparison to what you would like to take out of it.

So if you are thinking ‘I would like her/him to be warmer towards me ‘, ask yourself the question “How am I being warm?”

If you would like more affection , the same question applies –  “How am I being affectionate towards my partner?”

It’s so easy to want something different and expect someone else to give it to us – and we can often feel quite entitled and expect that ‘they should’ be meeting this need.  However, when we think in this way we are being judgemental and attacking.

Thinking of what we would like, and seeing ways we can put this quality into our relationship for ourselves, is taking responsibility. Taking responsibility is also being able to find a way to talk to our partner when we do want something different or to make a change; we can find ourselves saying it in a caring and open way and allowing them time to hear it, digest it and continue the conversation. That is INTIMACY!

Romance is different from intimacy, and it is intimacy we are looking for to satisfy us in long-term relationships. Romance is the unexpected, not knowing, being whisked up and into the ‘romantic bubble’. This is great in its right place, such as the beginning of the relationship, but long-term it does not last or satisfy. Real connection comes from commitment, and that contact with another creates an intimate relationship.

So coming back to Valentine’s Day –  if you find this idea interesting, look at  how you can you create connection and contact with your partner  and just what you would you need to do or say. It is a challenge, but that deep intimacy is the basis for a lasting and nourishing relationship with a partner.

‘let’s talk!’ about: The Bowen Technique


Problems Bowen has been shown to help

Recently we have been asking our readers, and followers on Facebook and twitter, which therapies they would like to know more about. At The Terrace we offer psychotherapy and complimentary therapy, but within those areas there are many different approaches to emotional and physical well-being. It can be confusing – and in past posts we have looked at homeopathy and mindfulness.  But today we thought you may like to know a little more about The Bowen Technique.

Bowen  is a gentle, non-invasive remedial therapy that offers effective treatment for a wide range of ailments. Australian Tom Bowen developed this system of body work more than forty years ago and it is now recognised by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council and available on many private healthcare policies.

For the past twenty years Bowen has been practised in the UK and offers an effective and straightforward treatment to bring balance and correct function to the whole body. During the treatment, a series of gentle, rolling moves are made over the muscle at key points of the body using fingers and thumbs. Each set of moves is followed by a rest period of roughly two minutes to allow your body to respond with maximum effect. There is no adjustment or deep tissue manipulation and it is not a form of massage. For this reason it is suitable for all age groups including the very young and the very old. Treatment can be performed directly on the skin or through light clothing.

Bowen is a holistic treatment, and the whole person is treated, not just the problem area. It is often the case that chronic back pain originates from tight hamstrings, or that a shoulder problem has started in the neck for example. Getting to the root cause of the problem can lead to improvements in conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), hay fever, hormonal imbalances, high blood pressure, depression, sleep disorders, constipation, headaches and many more.

Kate Weeks practises at The Terrace and has recently found some great survey data from The European College of Bowen Studies (ECBS) that supports her view, and ours, that Bowen can offer gentle relief to many – even those who have exhausted all other forms of treatment.

1130 people were asked the following 3 questions.

1. Would you have a Bowen Technique treatment again?
2. Would you recommend the Bowen Technique to family/friends?
3. Overall has the Bowen Technique been of benefit to you?

97% would recommend the Bowen Technique to others and
97% said they benefitted from having Bowen therapy.

A recent article in Saga magazine offers more evidence and personal experience that highlights how mysterious our body is and how Bowen can work with it to benefit our physical health. It may be gentle, you may hardly notice the work the therapist is doing. But it offers an alternative to more traditional and potentially invasive therapies, so why not find out more?

Kate Weeks Bowen TechniqueKate Weeks
01823 338968 07721 462096