Posted in Weekly Blog

Safe Cards


safe card

Several years ago in the group we developed a safe card.  This was a tool for people to draw on in moments that felt difficult, overwhelming or unmanageable.  The idea is to fill it in when feeling in a more positive place.  First of all in the group we thought about the types of situations where it may be helpful; times of crisis, or being very down and self-critical of oneself.  Sometimes when we fall into a very negative place it can be hard in those moments to bring to mind a more positive outlook or a different possibility of how things might turn out.  It may be that in those moments we can’t get there at all by ourselves so we might be reminded of someone we can go to who is able to remind us which is  why there is a space for a supportive person’s number and crisis phone line numbers.  The kind of things that the group knew to do to look after themselves were to go for a walk, eat something, exercise, talk to someone.  People found quotes that were helpful to them too, that made them feel better, things that reminded them to embrace the vitality of life and that troubled times change and pass.  People cited the serenity prayer:

serenity prayerWe chatted about the value of acceptance of situations we can’t change rather than fighting against them, because we have power to change our feelings, thoughts and actions.

What we can also find sometimes too is that we have ‘paralysis in pursuit of perfection’ in that we don’t even try new things or new ways because they may not go perfectly but that’s ok!!

other serenityThere seems to be a power of writing important reminders down and then sticking them up. Remember that our brains and thoughts default to the negative, and we need ways to remind ourselves of the other ways of thinking, a different story and other possible outcomes.  So this is where a safe card can come in useful.  We also chatted a bit about the last section of the safe card; a vision for the future.  For some people this was about identifying and realising things they had maybe not put into words before, and others at different stages in life were ready to start looking for a new journey to find a new passion.

When you are feeling anxious it is so important to have strategies to cope. To this end using a safe card can provide a safety net to hold and ground you.

Posted in Weekly Blog



“I don’t see what others see in me”.  This is a saying that we can hear a lot of in society throughout all walks of life. Is this a default position we go to or are there cultural reasons for it? Certainly here in Scotland and the rest of the U.K. there does seem to be more of a tendency to play down our strengths as to do otherwise could leave you feeling uncomfortable. Is there a fear that by acknowledging our strengths we may be seen by others as ‘getting too big for your boots’ or ‘playing your own trumpet’. Does finding the fine line between confidence and arrogance play a part in our fear? You only have to look at celebrities who are universally loved by people all over the world who also can struggle and use self-depreciating comments such as; “What if I get found out, and am not as good as people seem to think I am?” This may seem like a silly thing to say given all the evidence to the contrary, but it does show that  they are only human and can have insecurities like anyone.

Group members shared their own experiences of how they found acknowledging their strengths. Some people actually felt that it would be much easier to list their short comings.  We then did an exercise where we asked people to write down the strengths and qualities they saw in one other and pass it back to the person so they could see the qualities others saw in them.  While people found it nice doing this they still found it a challenge to take in and believe what people saw in them.

Today’s subject felt very relevant as this group is very much based on helping people build up their sense of worth.  The hope being that through doing this it can play a part in being able to acknowledge their strengths without totally dismissing them.

Posted in Weekly Blog

Fear Of Failure


At today’s group we looked at the fear of failure.  Although our fears come from a protective place they can ultimately leave us feeling stuck and unfulfilled in parts of our life. If you’ve suffered disappointments in life it feel such a risk to try something new and it not working out. To avoid these disappointing feelings people may decide it safer to stay in the situation they know. In this case the fear of failure can feel more powerful than the possibility of success. It can feel so scary to take that leap of faith into the unknown. Group members gave examples of how they overcame fears and how it became the making of them. The thing to remember is that even if you try something and it does not work out you can always try something else. This of course does not take away the feelings of disappointment but it certainly does not make you a failure. We are learning all the time, particularly in the hard times.  If we think back to being a toddler and learning to walk we do fall at times but we get back up and gradually learn to walk. Below is an inspiring video of people who have faced disappointments but managed to keep on trying new things.

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Our dreams and what they may mean


The group had expressed an interest in spending a meeting exploring dreams and what they may mean.  We all dream, not everyone may remember their dreams, and we found that people also remembered some very vivid dreams even from childhood. People also experienced recurring dreams, and some sleepwalking and talking.

We talked about people’s shared experience of common dream themes, these included being chased, but not being able to run or scream (paralysis), flying, or sky surfing or running so fast you could take off.  Being on high places or cliff faces and having to let go, looking at big waves, driving out of control or plane crashes.  People dreamt their teeth fell out and others dreamt about people they’d not seen for years randomly popping up and being reassuring.  People had dreams about being back at school or taking a test or starting a job and not being prepared.  Most people had the dream, or is it a sensation (?) of falling.  Some of discovering new rooms in the house, whilst some dreamt of sweeties (sweet dreams?).

The stuff of dreams is still much of a mystery, and whether it is the brain resting and restoring, or consolidating memories, or whether they convey important messages is all still up for debate.  The meaning of each dream is really up to the individual dreamer, however some generalised meanings for common dreams are below:

  • Being chased may signify anxiety or feeling pressured, what are we running away from or avoiding?
  • Linked to this is feeling paralysed, but this is because when we dream, our spinal cord switches off (to stop us from getting up and acting out the dream).  For some people this remains in place after waking and can be very frightening as the body literally cannot move for a couple of minutes; this is called sleep paralysis.
  • Flying can often be a euphoric feeling in a dream, signifying achieving goals and potential unless you can’t quite get off the ground which is maybe more about blocked or frustrated goals.
  • Losing teeth can represent different fears, and commonly that of getting older or being unattractive.
  • Showing up naked for work may be about feeling exposed or vulnerable.
  • Dreaming about other people may be showing us different aspects of ourselves.
  • It may be that dreams about pregnancy, babies and dying are all about new starts and changes in life.
  • Taking a test which you are not prepared for or being back at school is maybe about not feeling prepared, or anxious, or lessons we need to learn from the past.
  • Falling might be about needed to let go of something, loosen control.
  • Dreaming about food, well we just might be hungry! Or we are need of some other kind of nourishment or learning and hungry for that.
  • Dreams of water can be a reflection of how we are managing emotions and may include therefore dreams about still waters or stormy waves or fast flowing rapids.

Looking after yourself after a bad dream

Dreams and the emotions they create can have a powerful impact and lingering effect on us. Sometimes if people have experienced trauma, they may have bad and disturbing dreams about the traumatic event and wake from these feeling re-traumatised.  We talked about how to ground yourself if this happens by reminding yourself where you are now, what you can hear and see and how you are safe.  Equally it may be that a nightmare does cause trauma even it is not related to real life events.

Some sleep and dreams stats and facts:

33% of dreams contain bizarre elements impossible in everyday life

7 to 9 hours of nightly shuteye is best for adults

5% of the population can function normally on 4 hours’ sleep

11 days The longest anyone has stayed awake

100,000 Number of annual car crashes in US related to fatigue

31% of drivers in the US report having fallen asleep at the wheel at some point in their lives

30% of US workers sleep less than 6 hours a night

Everybody dreams but mostly people forget

Some people dream in black and white

Animals dream…and cats and dogs sleep for about two thirds of the time


Some blind people have visual dreams

Lucid dreaming is being asleep but in a state of awareness about the dream and even being able to control it

Your body is paralysed during your dreams and you can’t read or tell the time as that part of the brain is also shut down during dreaming.


Posted in Weekly Blog

Nostalgia and Sentimentality

Today we looked at things that are sentimental to us. It dis not have to just be a physical object it could a time or a place. Some things people chose were;

  • Letters from loved ones
  • Jewellery from loved ones
  • Music
  • 90’s ‘curtains’ hair style and flares
  • 80’s hot pants
  • 70’s Bell-bottoms and ‘New wave’ styles

It was an interesting and emotional experience to hear the reasons behind the sentimentality even if we do look back now and cringe at some of our fashion sense!




Posted in Weekly Blog

Having fun increases our well-being


While preparing for our group programme in advance we are always mindful of the need to make sure it is finely balanced between light topics and others that are a bit heavier. After having a few deeper sessions it felt nice to mix it up today having a session on fun!  It’s something that is so important for our well-being which sadly at times we can all too readily dismiss as un-important.

We did an exercise using spiritual cards and asked group members to choose a card that meant something to them. People found this useful as it provided an outlet to communicate how they felt. After this we played the card game adaption of the popular game show, ‘Catchphrase’. By the end of the game the scores between the two teams were fairly equal!

We finished with a look at what people’s favourite movies where and why. This evoked a discussion about the emotional attachment certain films held for people. Some of the films chosen were, ‘Cinema Paradiso’, ‘Kung Fu Panda’, ‘Back To The Future’, ‘Riding In Cars With Boys’, E.T., ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’, ‘Mary and Max’ and ‘The Godfather’ It was so nice to feel the passion and energy this brought to the conclusion of todays’ group!

Pop corn with soda and movie shows