This blog has moved

New blog address!

Thank you for following ‘Let’s Talk!‘. Due to a new website, this blog has now moved and we would love for you to move with us, to keep up to date with our latest posts. Please follow us at:

http://www.the-terrace.co.uk/blog/

We have lots of new interesting and informative posts planned for the future!

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The Humanistic approach: Not what is wrong, but what happened?

Jane

Jane Gotto

The practice of Humanistic Psychotherapy has gained significant recognition in recent decades.   Having been a humanistic psychotherapist since the early 1990’s, Jane Gotto, Director of The Terrace, has noticed research and results have brought the humanistic approach – putting the person in the centre of the work – more mainstream. It is now challenging some of the more traditional ways of treating mental health, by working with the person not their symptoms. This piece links to  a letter sent by Terry Cooper, Founder Director of Spectrum Therapy, in which he talks about Richard Bentall’s response to Stephen Fry’s programme exploring manic depression, as part of the BBC’s In the Mind series.

In Terry’s piece, published by Spectrum Therapy, (http://www.spectrumtherapy.co.uk/images/resources/ALL_IN_THE_BRAIN_COMP_DOC.pdf), Bentall asks Fry to portray the conditions he is so keen to demystify and destigmatise – bipolar disorder and schizophrenia – in a way that does not, as much current thinking seems to do, decontextualize the disorders. Are they, as Fry maintains, based on ‘bad luck’ or ‘genetics’, striking the especially vulnerable and becoming a lifelong condition only treatable by medication or are there more complex conditions at work?

As Terry Cooper stresses, “any degree of self- influence is empowering and generates hope” and “trying to fix people -remove symptoms- rather than provide time for them….. creates a premature closure of underlying problems.”.

Eleanor Longdon’s moving TED Talk ‘Voices in my head’ (http://www.ted.com/talks/eleanor_longden_the_voices_in_my_head?language=en) is as chilling as it is eloquent and moving. Her description of the way in which the medicalisation of her mental health issues created a downward spiral from which she was lucky to escape offers an alternative to the conventional twenty-first century psychiatric response and asks the question in the title, focusing not on what others have said is wrong with the client, but on how the client really feels.

Eleanor Longden TED

Eleanor Longden

It takes in issues such as nurture versus nature.  Do we look at a client’s response as a consequence of the pre-wiring of their genetic make-up?  Or do we examine it as a result of external factors after conception? This includes environmental factors, life experience and the effect of learned responses.

Jane Gotto shares Bentall’s concerns that we should not be quick to assume that the hearing of voices is a dangerous medical condition only treatable by strong anti-psychotic drugs that, in their medical effects, mask the real problem rather than treat it.

‘I think it is important that, as professionals, we shift from looking at symptom based treatment to finding out about the person’s experience;  who they are, what their story is, and how did they get to the place they are in?’

Jane Gotto works with a formative perspective, developing an understanding of what the person wants for themselves, and addressing what would make them feel better in their life.

There is evidence that a genetic component to mental ill-health is likely, but it is not easily identifiable and can blur the distinction between recognised conditions, such as bipolar, schizophrenia, ADHD and, as Bentall highlights, even Autism.  He points out that many psychiatric patients are deeply dissatisfied with what medicine alone can do for them. Why, when other conditions such as cancer, are seeing improving survival rates, is recovery in those with mental illness just as elusive as it was fifty years ago?

Jane Gotto says “The fact that Eleanor was dealing with voices in her head was the symptom, and what was healing was the experience of being listened to by others. But fundamentally and importantly she learnt to listen to herself. That’s a hopeful outcome.”

We would love to hear your views on this complex subject.

Therapy for Charity – Open Day May 2016

The Terrace 6th May 2016

The Terrace Open Day

On Friday 6th May 2016 we held our first fundraiser of the year, and a great day is was too, a chance for clients old and new to treat themselves whilst helping us to raise funds for our fabulous hospice at St Margaret’s Somerset.

A selection of treatments and therapies were available at a reduced rate, with all the money going to the charity and it was a great opportunity for us to let people know what The Terrace offers and support our charity for 2016 at the same time.

The Terrace counsellors offered full sessions for individuals and couples, and our complementary therapists were there to help aid the healing of various health issues, using techniques including Bowen technique, craniosacral therapy, massage, hopi ear candling and reflexology.

DSC_1208Thanks to everyone who came along and joined us on the day, we raised a fantastic £900 for St. Margaret’s Somerset Hospice and it was  terrific to see people experiencing new therapies, winning prizes and enjoying some delicious tea and cakes.

We were also thrilled to be joined by member of Parliament for Taunton Deane, Rebecca Pow, who helped us celebrate.

DSC_1221

Rebecca Pow (left) with psychotherapist Helena Trump

Our special thanks for the day to Rebecca, to Susies’s Bakehouse, Taunton Wheelchair Tennis and to our therapists, who gave of their time so freely for such a good cause – Kate Bowen, Sarah Sellick, Helena Trump, Sandra Abrahams, Su Stokes, Nicola Withers, Jane Gotto, and all our wonderful clients.

We will be holding other events during this year, aiming to raise more money, so look out for details on our website and Facebook pages and we’d love to see you there!

‘Open Day’ Fundraiser for St Margaret’s Hospice

open dayHere at The Terrace we adopt a charity each year and over the 12 months our therapists work to raise as much money as possible, usually at special events that offer those who come along and hand over their hard earned cash the opportunity to try a therapy they might never have considered before.

This year we are fundraising for a charity that is held in great affection across Somerset. St Margaret’s Hospice is a charity that cares for people with any life-limiting illness. More than 1000 people volunteer to support the wonderful medical staff who last year cared for around 3,200 people, most often in their own homes. They offer everything from in-patient care to complementary therapies and day care and support not only the patient but their family too.

So, we are keen to help. To that end we are having an ‘Open Day’ on  6th May 2016, at which seven of our therapists will be giving their time for free so that those that book sessions know that ALL of the £30 they give will go to St Margaret’s. There will be three psychotherapists – Jane Gotto, Helena Trump and Su Stokes – who work with individuals, couples and families; Sandra Abrahams who offers reflexology and hopi ear candling; Nicki Withers, a cranio-sacral therapist; Sarah Sellick who offers massage therapy and Kate Weeks, a specialist in the Bowen technique.

Getting involved is simple. Click on the image or HERE to see what is available, call us on 01823 338968 or email post@the-terrace.co.uk to check availability and to book and after paying in advance (we have to ensure we do everything to avoid ‘no shows’ on the day, to raise as much money as possible) simply turn up and know you have done something really worthwhile – supporting your own well-being and that of others.

So thank you in advance! Over the course of 2016 we will undertake to raise as much as we can for what is a terrific local charity.

 

 

‘let’s talk!’ about EMDR

1380742651emdr client_250by150A therapy we have recently been asked to feature on ‘let’s talk’ is known by the acronym EMDR. This stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing and it was developed as a psychological therapy by American clinical psychologist, Dr Francine Shapiro, in the 1980s. Dr Shapiro also published the first research papers supporting the benefits of the therapy in the 1989.

EMDR is a technique that has been found to be helpful for those suffering from:

  • accident or injury
  • assault
  • depression
  • anxiety or panic
  • fears and phobias
  • childhood trauma and abuse
  • post traumatic stress
  • low self-esteem
  • illness

Negative experiences in life can lead to overwhelming feelings that the brain is unable to process  and make sense of, resulting in the memory being  frozen or ‘stuck’. The memories are stored  alongside associated thoughts, emotions and sensations, so when for some reason the memory is recalled the person experiences the full range of sensations associated with the original event – even to the smell, the taste and the feelings they had at the time. Often the event is repressed to avoid constantly experiencing the distress of recall.

The goal of EMDR is to facilitate the processing of disturbing and isolated memories. In the process these distressing memories seem to lose their intensity, thus becoming less distressing and more like ‘ordinary’ memories. This reduces the distress and offers insight into the experience and any  subsequent negative thoughts.

The way EMDR works in practice is by stimulation of the ‘frozen’ (or blocked) information processing system. This is achieved by activating both sides of the brain using eye movements or taps alternating across left-right sides of the body.

How the effect is produced is not certain, but it is believed to be similar to when your eyes rapidly move from side to side during natural REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) .

Research has shown benefits, particularly to those suffering from PTSD and is also recommended by The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).

You can learn more about what to expect from the EMDR Association.

We have a skilled EMDR therapist working here at The Terrace. Registered clinical psychologist Karen Green has many years experience across a number of different psychological therapies, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), family work, psychotherapy and EMDR, and can tailor an approach to suit the needs of each client. If you would like to know more, contact us today for a confidential discussion and to see how Karen might be able to help you . Email post@the-terrace.co.uk or telephone 01823 338968.

Treating Tension Headaches and Neck Pain with The Bowen Technique.

We have written a couple of posts about the Bowen Technique on ‘let’s talk! and they have always proved really popular. It is gentle, making it attractive to those who prefer a treatment that is less invasive. It can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, but here our expert Bowen therapist, Kate Weeks, looks at how it can provide relief to those who experience tension headaches or chronic neck pain. 

Bowen1My approach to treating clients who suffer with neck pain and tension headaches follows the general ethos of Bowen – to always look at the bigger picture. It isn’t enough to purely focus on the neck. It also isn’t enough to just try and ‘relax’. Muscle has memory at a cellular level, and postural habits die hard! Bowen is brilliant at ‘showing’ the muscles how to relax and resetting the way the muscle and fascia behaves.

Headaches have a variety of causes and symptoms. Tension headaches are common, and tend to be caused by muscle contractions in the neck and head, which in turn causes constriction of the blood vessels and can compromise nerve function. Clients often describe the headache as starting in the neck and working it’s way over the top of the head.

Working with tension headaches, I generally find the problems start at the lumbar thoracic junction, just about where the ribs end. Although it is impossible to separate all of the muscle and fascia connections in the body, some of the muscles that run up into the neck and the back of the head start here. The typical Western ‘head forward’ posture puts a great strain on these muscles, particularly when working at a computer or driving, as the added concentration and stress causes the person to hold themselves in a position of significant tension. The head is very heavy and the muscles act as an anchor to stop the person falling forward. For a successful outcome it is important to work with all of the muscle groups and fascia that influence the neck and head carriage and to help the client become aware of the postural habits that are creating the problem in the first place.

bowenWith neck pain, a similar situation applies. It is important to look at the bigger picture and notice head carriage, pelvic alignment and whether the tmj (jaw) is functioning well. I have noticed that muscles in the front of the neck are often overlooked when treating neck pain. Some clients, diagnosed with arthritis or similar neck conditions, become pain free after treatment. It isn’t that the arthritis has been cured, but that most likely the pain experienced was due to the muscle and fascial tension.

Bowen is a gentle technique, and does not involve manipulation. Three sessions are often enough and for some conditions, a maintenance programme is recommended.

Kate offers treatment here at The Terrace. Contact us on post@the-terrace or on 01823 338968 . To find out more about Kate, and Bowen see www.the-terrace.co.uk or www.kateweeksbowen.com

 

A Mindful New Year…..

new yearWell we are a week into 2016, so we thought we would repost a great piece by our own mindfulness expert, Miranda Bevis. How many of us are still keeping to those new year’s resolutions? Should we even be trying – adding additional pressures to our already stressful days? 

In days gone by, as the old year departed, I would enthusiastically construct a huge list of New Year’s Resolutions. This was it! I was at last going to get in control! Become thin and fit and popular, well read, up to date with current affairs and so, so organized. And for the first few days, I’d get up early, go for a run, read improving books and eat improving food. Hoover under the sofa, tidy my sock drawer and open brown envelopes immediately.

If I’d managed to carry all these good intentions through, by now I would be lean and fit, living a life that worked like clockwork, fluent in a number of foreign languages, with an In tray that was always empty, and an Out smugly full. But happier? I’m not so sure.

Anyway, not surprisingly, I rarely got beyond week one with any of them; certainly they never made it to February. Very quickly, exhaustion, apathy and chocolate would take over, and I would be back where I started.

Why do we do this? I suspect it’s got something to do with wanting getting to grips with life, and to feel more in control. Perhaps coming from a feeling of not really being in control.

And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve aspects of our lives, perhaps we need to hold on to these goals lightly, and understand that even if we achieved them, it wouldn’t necessarily make us happy or help us to navigate the pitfalls of life.

The truth is that we just aren’t fully in control of our lives. Difficult things are always going to happen. Mindfulness offers the possibility of being “in control of not being in control”. It helps us embrace both the pleasant and the unpleasant, the joys and the tragedies of life with equanimity. It’s not about trying to change things, but simply learning to be OK with being exactly where we are.

So these days, there’s only one item on the list, and that is to do as much Mindfulness as I possibly can. Over and over to come back to the present, to the simple breath, to an awareness of what I’m doing , while I’m doing it.

And strangely, the more I practice, I find that some of the things on the original list begin to come more naturally. By developing a kindly awareness towards myself, it becomes much easier to give myself what I truly need.

Still not great with brown envelopes though.

Miranda Bevis Mindfulness GroupsMiranda is offering mindfulness taster sessions at The Terrace, Taunton in January 2016:


Taster Sessions:
Tuesday January 12th 6.30- 8.00pm
Wednesday January 13th 9.30- 11.00am
Cost £5

Eight week Mindfulness Courses
Starting Tuesday January 26th 6.30- 8.45pm
Starting Wednesday January 27th 9.15- 11.30am

Optional half day for both courses: Sunday 6th March See the Events page of The Terrace website for full details.