Posted in Weekly Blog

Thinking about our Inner Child

Below is a small snap shot of how we used with Russian dolls to help us develop a better understand the dynamics of our ‘Inner child’

1. Inside the grown-up deep inside is the child just like these Russian dolls.
You might feel it a positive when you are playing with children. For example I feel it while playing football with my young nephews.

2. You might feel it in a negative way if you are waiting to go in for formal appointment and you start to feel as if you did when you were called to the headmaster’s office. (Or maybe you were all good kids and were never sent to the headmaster’s office!)

3. (Using an elastic band)
Like this band we are all big and stretched out, but certain events, circumstances or people could make us feel small again.

4. (Imagining all our younger selves)
Thinking about when you were at primary school what 3 words would you use to describe the wee person you were then?

5. (Pick an age between 5-10 years old)
– Thinking about you at the age you have chosen  we will ask a few questions if that is OK to that part of you, be it 5 or 7 or 10 years old- whatever age you have picked.
– Think about who was your teacher, your favourite toy or who were your friends then.
Ok so we are all focused in on an age and who we were then.
QUESTIONS-
If that child had something to say, to be heard what might it say?
What did it need?
What would you like to say to it?
How might you soothe it? (Note: Demonstrate by putting the little one in the big one.

6. We end by putting all the dolls back inside each other so there is just one big one. It demonstrates we are back in our adult place.

Posted in Weekly Blog

Last group of the year!

After a busy few sessions requiring much thinking and discussion and brain power….this group was a celebration of all the achievements, growth, learning and development within the group and as individuals over the year. As we look to Christmas too and the New Year we had a party celebration and a consideration of how people may look after themselves in what can be either a busier time or more isolated time. Difficulties seem more poignant in a season which emphasises togetherness and family if these structures for some individuals are missing or fragmented. Being in Scotland too in December we are well aware of the very short days at this time of year, so much darkness for some can feel heavy and draining, as we post this we are just about at the shortest day sunrise 8.42am, sunset 3.39pm!! It’s so dark…though this does mean that after tomorrow the days start getting longer again as we sprint towards spring.

In the meantime however we celebrate the light and hope that is so much a part of this group, where one is in a place where it feels hard to hold hope, the others will hold it for them.

So, fun was had in the form of games, party food and warm wishes to one another as we head off for a break and look forward to starting a new year together in 2019. The first group back will be Thursday 10th January.


We leave this year with one of our annual classic comedy clips.
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Putting boundaries in place

The group had requested a session looking at boundaries, so we started by looking at where do you find it hard to put in healthy, balanced boundaries? People said that it was hard to assert themselves and they ran away instead, that it felt hard to say yes and that their social anxiety created their own cave. Others too were aware of overly strong boundaries and pushing people away. 
The reason that people found it difficult to set boundaries was being worried about offending others, letting people down, biting off more than they could chew and afraid in case they couldn’t follow it through.

Families were cited as a difficult place to set boundaries as they are very likely to push them, particularly kids as they know your vulnerabilities! It’s easy to give in here “Just to keep the peace”. We acknowledged that it is harder to do too when tired, and can feel guilty so don’t want to ‘rock the boat’.

Setting boundaries in a workplace can feel particularly difficult because of the power relationship of an employer who is maybe asking too much. Being taken advantage of here can have an effect on personal life where the reverse occurs and you feel you can’t say yes to anyone as you don’t trust people.

We also discussed the paradox of saying no, whereby it is great to set the boundary, however people may not be used to hearing your ‘no’ and have a difficult reaction to this, which then requires holding the boundary and knowing that the reaction is their responsibility, not yours. We discussed also that sometimes we are trying to please people and seek approval but recognised that this is not a helpful foundation for us or others to act out of in terms of self-care and good care of others.

Without healthy boundaries people realise that they take on a lot of responsibility for other peoples stuff, and also not setting boundaries creates future resentments. Interestingly, like the discussion about decision making where people actually knew the right decision to make, (it was other things that created confusion), in not having healthy boundaries, people knew that this didn’t feel right.

Posted in Weekly Blog

Are you a worrier?

Screenshot_20181123-135505_FirefoxThings by Fleur Adcock:

 

The following structure for this group’s discussion was taken from the following CBT book:

Corrie, S., Townend, M. and Cockx, A. (2016). Assessment and case formulation in cognitive behavioural therapy. Los Angeles: SAGE.

‘Generalised Anxiety Disorder’ (GAD) is characterised by “Excessive worry and preoccupation about a number of events and activities”.  The condition is diagnosed when this occurs most days; the feelings of anxiety causing restlessness, easily tired, finding it hard to concentrate, tense, disturbed sleep and affected functioning.

  • The belief about the worry is worse than the actual worry
  • Worrying is actually a way of coping
  • The worry thoughts can centre around ‘what if?’
  1. When did you first notice that worry was a problem?
  2. What were the circumstances when you first started worrying?
  3. Has the worry changed or developed over time?
  4. Are there any significant worriers in your family?
  5. Have there been times in your life when things were going really well and how did you cope with difficulties then?
  6. Is it important to you to know what is going on all the time?
  • Can we think about worry differently? As a process without getting dragged into the actual fear, rumination or content.
  • Can we alter the way we talk to ourselves about things? E.g. not be so critical, perfectionist or brutal to self, instead be kinder, caring and give yourself a break.
  • Can we discover coping strategies?

Some strategies that the group have amongst them were to set a worry time (although this doesn’t work for everyone), meditation, write down the worries and then throw them away.  Accept that life is imperfect and uncertain.  Actually facing that uncertainty head on rather than avoiding it will see the worry gradually decrease over time.  Other skills that the group already employ included the use of poetry, adding a little transition between the days events e.g. to sit in the car for a few minutes after a day at work and going home, and remember that although you may feel anxious, others cannot see your anxiety.


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Decision making and responsibility

make-good-decisions

Do you feel that you struggle to make decisions?  Do you feel defeated trying to choose a cereal in the supermarket, or tormented about whether to attend your niece’s wedding?  We make so many decisions daily, and life is scattered with huge life changing decisions with a myriad of implications.  Popping into Starbucks for a coffee alone offers you no less that 80,000 ways to take your caffeine, or maybe no caffeine, or milk, full fat, semi or skimmed, or soya, latte or americano, tall or grande…..you get the picture (!) So how do we cope with making decisions.  Or do we not?  Or is not making a decision actually making a decision?

First of all in the group we looked at what is it about making a decision that can feel difficult? People said not knowing the outcome, the fear that if it goes wrong it’s all your fault.  People also said that a history of making bad decisions makes it hard to trust yourself and so decreases confidence.  Overthinking and rumination over the potential ‘what if’s’ of a decision provokes anxiety and procrastination.  And a final difficulty cited is that once a decision has been made you may then be tied to the consequences of it, and that is scary.

So, the second part of our discussion was around responsibility-the level at which we are able to accept responsibility probably promotes our decision making abilities.

Taking no responsibility leads to blaming everyone else, whereas taking all the responsibility is blaming yourself for everything.

We had a think about what these two elements look like: Not taking any responsibility manifests in procrastination, always letting others decide, not paying bills, not contributing, not thinking of others, avoidance, not willing to look at oneself, unhealthy coping mechanisms [to escape e.g. alcohol or sleep], and blaming others.  Taking all the responsibility conversely involves always making decisions for others, taking the blame for everything, putting others before self, only seeing the negative in yourself, dis empowering others, not trusting others which can lead to micromanagement and bullying. Another direction of over responsibility is taking so much care of others that it can lead to obsessive compulsive behaviours trying to protect everything.

The question was posed to the group ‘Do you actually know what decision is best to make, but fear and doubt are what comes in creating confusion and reluctance to decide’.  Interestingly people mostly did seem to concur that they did in fact know what to do, so it isn’t the not knowing that creates a barrier to deciding but rather the implications of the made decisions.  People did chat too that as well as not making or avoiding decisions, sometimes they just make very impulsive choices, we talked about whether at times these were self-sabotaging behaviours.

There are some things we can do to help in combating decision fatigue.  A study of an Israeli prison parole board showed that prisoners appearing earlier in the day were more likely to receive parole for no other reason than by the end of the day the judges were tired and less likely to have the mental energy to make a decision regarding a prisoner’s release.  This study is cited in the New York Times in an article about decision fatigue. 

It is no different for us, when we are tired, hungry or it’s the end of the day having already made thousands of decisions, it becomes more difficult to decide.  So sometimes putting an important decision off until the morning may be wise, and planning and organising can significantly reduce the pressure of having to make extra decisions.

9 tips here to make better choices.

 

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Childhood games we played

gallery-1463082693-atari-2600-1970s-toys

Today we looked at fun games from our childhood. We discussed games we used to play in the school playground like ‘British Bulldogs’ which we assume would not be permitted or acceptable in the present day on the grounds of health and safety! We also compared children’s playparks from the past to the modern today.  In the past if you were unlucky enough to fall off park facilities you would most likely tumble on to a ground of hard grass, sand or gravel thus creating a lot of scuffed knees. In the present day things have thankfully changed regarding safety with most playparks now using protective wood or rubber that can lessen the impact of a child falling.

We went on to discuss board games from childhood: These in included;

Ludo, Frustration, Cluedo, Mouse Trap, Battleships, Connect Four, Operation and Spirograph, just to name a few.

Click here for an interesting article about retro board games from The Daily Mirror site

Posted in Weekly Blog

Autumn Arts

animal-drawing-500x500geeseowl

An art session in this group is normally very relaxing.  This session we went for traditional drawing and sketching, leaving aside the glitter and glue on this occasion (fun though they are!)

Group members spoke about really being able to switch off through art and just be in a different space for a while really focusing on something, hopefully people were also able to enjoy the process without worrying too about the end result and just get absorbed in the creating rather than stress about perfection which can sometimes be a barrier to just getting stuck in. It was nice to see people being able to relax while doing this.