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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‘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.

 

 

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.

 

Prescribing nature? ‘Ecotherapy’ in the news again….

download (2)We are always keen to promote mindfulness here on this blog, especially mindfulness outside in nature. You don’t need to live in the middle of the countryside, simply taking a walk in the park can still the mind and offer relief from the stresses of the day.

If you need scientific evidence to convince you of the value of nature to our emotional well-being, then the BBC reported last week on work done by a team at Stanford University  which found that being close to the natural world can help us avoid the feeling when negative thoughts seem to be ‘stuck on repeat’.

Experiments compared the brain’s responses to walking beside a busy road with those experienced when amongst oaks, birds and squirrels, and showed decreased activity in an area of the brain linked to risk of mental illness when walking away from the stresses of urban life. Gregory Batman, a researcher on the study, said:

“There’s an increasing body of evidence showing that natural versus urban areas benefit us at least emotionally with our mood and possibly also our cognitive development too,”

Bearing in mind that more than 50% of the world’s population live in towns and cities, this is a really important finding. Batman again:

“Here’s your prescription, walk in the forest five times a week for an hour.”

Furthermore, at the Hampton Court Flower Show last week the Royal Horticultural Society was encouraging us to bring nature into our gardens by reducing the amount of hard landscaping, such as concrete paving.

The ‘Greening Grey Britain’ campaign showcased ways to make urban environments rich in both vegetation and nature.

Nigel Dunnett is Professor of Planting Design at the University of Sheffield, was behind the garden.

“We evolved with nature and it’s completely unnatural for us to be separated from it”.

We are to benefit from his work  here in the south-west, as plants from the garden are coming to Bristol to green-up areas which include St Mungo’s hostel for the homeless.

This is really nothing terrible new, as the value of ‘ecotherapy’ and the connection between humans and the land has been understood by practitioners for years. But is always good to have the issue highlighted once more.

So do you think ‘green prescriptions’ are a valuable complement to the range of treatments available for emotional distress? Would it be more effective that medication in your view?

We would love to know what you think…

More poetry for mindfulness – Beannacht by John O’Donohue

mindful-big-new-newOn this blog we have often highlighted the importance of mindfulness as a means to really engage with the world around us and to live in the moment – this moment. Mindfulness is becoming ever more ‘mainstream’ and it now regularly appears in the media, becoming something of a new ‘buzzword’ to support our mental health (as other terms, such as CBT have in the past). Here at The Terrace we have always recognised that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to our emotional wellbeing. Mindfulness is a practice that many find beneficial, but that doesn’t mean it is a panacea for all the ills in society. It requires practice and discipline, and for many of us with busy lives it can seem difficult to take the necessary time and space to really benefit.

But sometimes we can simply be in the moment, for  – literally- a few moments. Hearing a familiar piece of music, the smell of new cut grass, or bread in the oven, looking at a fabulous view; all these offer us the time to catch our breath and become as one with ourselves and the world.

John O'Donohue

John O’Donohue

Previously we have offered poetry by Wendell Berry, Pablo Neruda, William Stafford, John Keats and Mary Oliver as a way to reflect for a moment on what makes us happy and what is really important in the lives we lead. Today, we highlight the work of Irish poet John O’Donohue. Also a philosopher, priest, environmental activist and proponent of Celtic spirituality, he died, at just 52, in 2008. Some words of his particularly struck us:

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

This is surely a thought that should be with us at the start of every day?

The following poem by O’Donohue is indeed a blessing and at times of stress and anxiety offers an opportunity to meditate and calm the mind. We would love to know what you think, and how the words affect you….

Beannacht
(Gaelic for “Blessing”)

by John O’Donohue

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

And when the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

Miranda Bevis is offering more mindfulness courses at The Terrace in the autumn. See our website for more details.

More mindfulness practice: Jumping in puddles – cultivating a ‘beginner’s mind’

imagesMany of you will have read our mindfulness posts in the past, perhaps learning some tips to try, or some poetry to focus on as you work to stay in the present moment. It isn’t always easy to make the necessary space and time in our busy lives, but the medical profession has at last recognised that for many, the ever-increasing pace of 21st century life is impossible to maintain.

Our own Miranda Bevis, an expert mindfulness practitioner, runs regular workshops and courses to support anyone wanting to learn mindfulness techniques. She has also written widely on the subject, and she has shared the following piece with us. I found it deeply moving, remembering watching my own children experience the joy of something simple for the first time, and wanting to enjoy that feeling over and over again. As adults, Miranda points out, we rarely do this and. perhaps, need to get in touch with our inner child just a little more often……

When my kids were little, they were drawn, like magnets, to puddles. Many a walk ground to a halt as a puddle had to be inspected. Stood in. Jumped up and down in. Delighted in. But not just one puddle. Every single one they came across. Oblivious of cold and wind, for them, each puddle was a fresh and new excitement, and needed to be explored and reveled in.

At first I could delight in their happiness, their squeals of joy. But inevitably, my mind would stray and become bored. How many times do we have to do this? We’ve got to get on, let’s find some thing new. I’m afraid there were times when I gritted my teeth in frustration,

Small children are very good at being present. They can easily find magic in the mundane, and become completely absorbed in each moment. As we grow up, we tend to lose this. It’s easy to become bored and cynical. “Seen one, seen them all”. We want to move on and find new distractions. So, as I sit now, looking at my rain washed spring garden, at first sight, I am aware it’s beautiful. Of course it doesn’t change, after one minute, five minutes, ten minutes. But what can change is the way I perceive it. I might only appreciate the beauty for an instant, before I get used to it, and become distracted. Instead of staying with the experience of my senses, thoughts to crowd in. Of things that need doing, of plans for the garden. And masses of non-garden related thoughts. The garden, and it’s beauty “disappear” from my awareness.

What we aim to do in mindfulness, is to cultivate something called a “beginner’s mind”. That means learning to see things as if this was the first time we’d ever noticed them. You can practice it on anything; perhaps try with a flower. As best you can, let go of thoughts about the flower, and keep on coming back, over and over, to the experience of your eyes. Let go of any thoughts about being bored and wanting to move on to something else. Rather, keep on “refreshing the screen”… this flower, and this flower, and this flower, so that, in each instant there is a new and wonderful flower in front of you. Or go and splash in puddles if you must!

Miranda Bevis - 226x316 (1 of 1)Dr Miranda Bevis’s original training was in medicine, and she worked as a GP in Somerset, with a special interest in psychological problems. She gained a diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling, and now works as a senior counsellor and EMDR practitioner at the Somerset Counselling Centre in Taunton. She is also a British Wheel of Yoga teacher.

 

The Terrace Taunton: The first twenty years: An interview with Jane Gotto

Jane

Jane Gotto

2014 was an exciting year for The Terrace in Taunton, marking as it did the twentieth anniversary of its establishment and its development into a leading psychotherapy and complementary health centre in Somerset. There was much to celebrate, and even more to look forward to  – no one is slowing down now.

To mark the anniversary Jane Gotto, Director of The Terrace, was interviewed by Suzie Grogan at some length about the history and development of the business; the ethos behind it and the therapies available, as well as plans for the future – including her commitment to taking The Terrace into social media and the blogosphere!

As part of the on-line plan, The Terrace has opened a YouTube channel and the first videos uploaded are, of course, the interviews with Jane. In this first one, for example, she discusses how The Terrace came into being.

And in this one, she discusses future plans….

Do take a look at the channel, and if you have any ideas on other videos we can produce, or clips already on YouTube that we can link to we would love to hear from you.

So not only does The Terrace have a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheTerraceTaunton, you can also follow us on twitter @terraceclinic and on Pinterest www.pinterest.com/terraceclinic.

It isn’t all about promoting the business, although that is important of course. We find interesting articles on issues relating to psychotherapy, counselling and complementary health, alongside those campaigns we support  – most particularly the prevention of sexual abuse and female genital mutilation. And of course, on this blog we write in more detail on the same subjects and offer mindfulness practice and explanations of therapies you may not have considered before.

So after this shameless self-promotion we would love you to engage with us, comment on posts, converse on twitter and follow us on Facebook. We never spam and are always happy to answer questions. And of course, there are lots of lovely pictures and inspiration on Pinterest.