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!

‘Let’s talk!’ – about mens’ mental health

iStock_000029384684MediumWe have written before about the difficulties men face when they are experiencing mental health issues. It is nearly a year since we wrote of the Mental Health Charter for Sport & Recreation in Boys Don’t Cry and since then we have seen periodic moves to raise awareness of suicides amongst young men, for example. Yet the situation hardly seems to change.

So why do men find it harder to seek help when they are experiencing difficulties, often so serious that they are considering ending it all? Is it that their issues relate specifically to being male?

There is still, even in the 21st century, an expectation that the man is the one on whom others rely. He will sort out problems, practical or otherwise. From toddlerhood a boy is discouraged from expressing his emotions in a healthy way – ‘boys don’t cry” or ‘act like a man’ are phrases many still hear, and thus when they are faced with problems they can’t solve, perhaps in young adulthood, they are more likely to feel they have failed as a man. A culture of silence amongst their contemporaries means few of them realise how common these feelings are.

Jane Gotto, Director here at The Terrace, says:

“Yes, men are at a crossroads and the question of how to be a ‘good man’ has changed and the parameters are different.   Mainly our culture does still support the expectation that men should be strong, shouldn’t cry, nor share feelings of being vulnerable or having difficulty.    This leaves some men without a way to process their feelings, or even acknowledge what’s happening for them, which can create isolation and alienation.   From there, the difficulty can escalate with other behaviours to cover the difficult feelings – increased drinking, excessive work or exercise, sexualised behaviour, drugs etc…”

Research has suggested that men sometimes feel better taking part in active therapy, such as art, music or horticultural sessions rather than direct one to one therapy sessions. It was also deemed important to ensure men didn’t have to take time off work to attend sessions as work was something that held many together, and when working in a stereotypically macho atmosphere many were reluctant to express their feelings openly. Some felt that mental health services were geared around ‘women’s problems’ and whether true or not that has to be a perception that is changed if we are to see any progress.

Rupert CounsellorFrom the articles and reports that have come out in recent months it is clear that there are specific issues men struggle with, including drinking increased amounts of alcohol and other addictive behaviours. The Charter for Sport and Recreation works to remove the stigma around men’s mental health by raising awareness of the problems well-known sports stars have faced. Cricketer Andrew Flintoff and footballer Clarke Carlisle have been frank about their problems, and now we regularly hear leaders in their sporting fields speaking about mental health. But there is still much work to be done. Jane Gotto says:

“22 years ago, when I founded The Terrace, very few men sought counselling support.  This has significantly changed with men seeking support for themselves and for their relationships in more recent years. Some men have been able to carve out a supportive network with mind liked men.     However encouraging this is, more needs to be provided and more needs to be said.”

In 2015, a documentary was shown on BBC3 in which Stephen Manderson, better known as British rap artist Professor Green, allowed cameras to follow him as he sought to find out why his father had committed suicide eight years ago.  Manderson said:

“At the end of the day suicide is a violent end. It’s the taking of a life……It’s violent, irrespective of the method, so it’s hard to talk about and it’s scary. Shying away from it is not going to do any good, though.”

He went on:

“The documentary was actually the first time me and my grandmother talked about it…. it is difficult. It’s not something even family like to talk about. It’s really hard.”

Manderson (Professor Green) went on to make a second program, showing where people can get support, including the work of The Maytree, a centre where people can go when they have suicidal feelings.

In an article about the documentary, published in The Guardian on 27th October last year, Rory O’Connor, professor at Glasgow University, highlighted the deep-rooted nature of male suicide:

“The bottom line is, we as men, are not socialised to seek help. We are traditionally the breadwinner, we’re the rock for our family…..Currently services, arguably, are not set up for men to access them. Much better research needs to be done about why men clam up more and we need to go beyond the traditional cliches.”

If you would like more information about the support available to men, and women, with mental health issues, these links are a good place to start.

Many offer a helpline if you fear you are reaching a crisis point.

For young people: Young Minds

Mental health charity Mind, with local branch Mind in Taunton & West Somerset

SANE

The Mental Health Foundation

www.mankindcounselling.org.uk

There is also an excellent report, referred to in this article, which offers an overview of men’s mental health services. It is called Delivering Male and to download simply click on the link to download a copy.

The link to Professor Green’s program can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGjlPACQC6Y&app=desktop

Do also feel free to call us here at The Terrace on 01823 338968. We have a number of counsellors particularly skilled in dealing with the issues mentioned in this article and we would be pleased to discuss matters, in confidence of course.

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.

FGM follow up – DPP calls for mandatory reporting of cases.

DPP Alison Saunders

DPP Alison Saunders

Our last post was a call for greater awareness of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and our horror at the way the practise of cutting young girls can continue in communities in Britain seemingly without fear of prosecution.

To write on the subject last week was good timing. Over the weekend reports and comment in the national press indicated that the challenge of eradicating FGM is gaining support and prosecutions will become more common. However, it is still far from easy to see how this will come about.

The director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, has criticised medical staff for the poor number of referrals. Only 11 cases of female genital mutilation have been referred for prosecution by the police to the Crown Prosecution Service in the last three years, even though at least 144 complaints were made to police. The first prosecution for female genital mutilation was announced two weeks ago. It is 29 years after it became illegal in England and Wales.

The DPP was appearing before the House of Commons home affairs select committee, the Chairman of which, Keith Vaz said they had taken evidence that as many as 66,000 women in England and Wales had been subjected to FGM. “Eleven referrals sounds a very small figure,” he said.

The DPP claims it is lack of evidence that prevents prosecutions proceeding, rather than loopholes in the legislation. That is why she wants reporting by health staff to become compulsory, but she would not go so far as to say compulsory examination of girls, such as that required in France, should become part of British law.

We appreciate that this is a legal issue that is fraught with difficulties, but it is too important to be lost in a mire of discussion. Even the announcement of a prosecution has met with concern, as the case is not straightforward, involving as it does a repair rather than the actual act of FGM.

What do you think? Are we guilty of talking too much and doing too little? How should medical staff approach this? Are you in favour of compulsory examination of girls? After all it has almost eradicated FGM in France.

We would love to know your views. This is a subject we will come back to and a campaign we are committed to supporting.

 

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.

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