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20 Jul

Bereavement Counselling Dublin: Part 2

Bereavement counselling Dublin part 2: An important part of looking at bereavement is looking at ourselves and reconciling that we too will die. It’s hard to accept the death of another if we can’t accept it in our own self.

Death used to be incorporated into our lives in Ireland but, I feel, it is less so today, making death more striking and difficult to process once it appears.

Death is more seen and integrated in the east and with the indigenous peoples of the world, making their journey to acceptance and letting go a little less difficult. For example, when a Buddhist monk died in Thailand he asked for his body to be left at the local train station so people could see that life does end. And some arctic tribes leave their dead on frozen ground to feed animals as part of their mourning process.

Reduced anxiety

In the 1970s, psychologist Irvin Yalom, from his research groups, showed that looking at their own deaths reduced anxiety and brought about changes in their lives. A similar result can happen with a near-death experience. It is only when we really see death close up that we learn to really appreciate life.

Yalom said: ‘The difference between knowing and truly knowing, between the everyday awareness of death we all possess and the full facing of ‘my death’.…we must TRULY accept the anxiety that we will die and the world continues regardless and the universe does not acknowledge one’s specialness. What we want has absolutely nothing to do with it.’

‘Small Deaths’

In our lives, we go through ‘small deaths’ as we transition or ‘die’ moving from child to woman, to mother, to elder. Rites of passage ceremonies acknowledge the change and facilitate the moving on to the next phase of life, requiring a letting go of the last one.

Recovering from ‘small deaths’ require us to face death, leading to a rebirth or new life with a more whole self, the same process as psychotherapy.

For a wider description of how bereavement counselling dublin works, and to see my own availability for counselling, check out

Psychotherapy & Counselling Dublin

Thomas Larkin

Dublin Counsellor Blog

phone: 0857283697 | email: [email protected] | ← Back to Home

16 May

Bereavement Counselling Dublin: Part 1

Bereavement Counselling Dublin: Part 1: When someone is dying, they go through five stages, according to well-known psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross: the process of denial, anger, bargaining, depression before reaching acceptance.

What is less well known is the parallel process that those left behind go through. It is also a process of dying for the bereaved. Their old life has died. They must go through a mourning process that is also an adjustment to acceptance and is very similar to what the dying person is going through.

But, for the bereaved, with a death or an end, comes the possibility of a birth, the birth of a new life, which can be very hard to see when we are in the middle of grieving.

Bereavement Counselling Dublin

Bereavement counselling is there to guide the bereaved through their process. They go through a four stage process: 1) Shock. 2) Anger, yearning, anxiety. 3) Disorganisation and despair. 4) Reorganised behaviour as start of recovery.

In the shock stage, the experience can be overwhelming. Then it’s about processing the feelings: Anger at the dying person for making you experience that loss is healthy. Unhealthy anger is displaced as blaming of family or doctors; or yourself.

Anxiety can be felt as the loss of the person represents a loss of their own identity.

Disintegration and new life

Disorganisation and despair: The bereaved need support to function as they are questioning their own identity at the deepest level. This is also a process of growth.

Reorganised behaviour as start of recovery: The end goal of mourning is to emotionally relocate the deceased to the past, based on the full digestion of the experience of loss, and a moving on to allow new relationships. This can happen too early to avoid the pain of the loss but then the grief is brought into a new relationship.

For a wider description of how counselling works, and to see my own availability for counselling, check out

Psychotherapy & Counselling Dublin

Thomas Larkin

Dublin Counsellor Blog

phone: 0857283697 | email: [email protected] | ← Back to Home

16 Mar

Favourite Psychotherapy Books: Part 3

psychotherapy books

Clients sometimes ask ‘what can I do outside therapy work?’ Some find the practice of mindfulness useful in looking after their mental health. Here is a couple of books I would recommend by British author Richard Gilpin who wrote a book on mindfulness and anxiety, and mindfulness and depression. They are both short enough reads but provide good depth and insight on the subjects.

Mindfulness for Unravelling Anxiety

‘Anxiety is a state many of us know only too well and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is on the global increase. This book helps loosen the knots and tangles of anxiety and explores the ways we can break their stifling bonds through better understanding of the root of the problem – the mind. Richard Gilpin shares frank personal anecdotes and therapeutic insights, revealing how mindfulness can create a path for us through anxiety. With wisdom and clarity, he guides us through the transformative practice of mindfulness meditation.’

 

Mindfulness for Black Dogs and Blue Days

‘This book provides insight into depression – an experience that will affect one in five of us at some point in our lives. Richard Gilpin shares his ongoing journey with his ‘ black dog’ – shedding light on this often misunderstood subject – and explores how the art and practice of mindfulness can help to train and mind that faithful companion. The book also includes short contributions from internationally recognized experts in the field of mindulfness.’

Richard is a gestalt therapist based in Brighton, UK, and can be found at: https://www.richardgilpin.co.uk/

An online read that I would recommend is anything by Fergal Brady, a psycho-analytical therapist based in Dundalk, although he also works in Dublin. Fergal writes very eloquently on his practice’s website, counselling connections. Here is a sample of his work, explaining ‘the psychology of a hangover’. http://www.counsellingconnections.ie/cc/psychotherapy/the-psychology-of-a-hangover/

Favourite Psychotherapy Books: Part 1

Favourite Psychotherapy Books: Part 2

Anxiety recommended reading

Dublin Counsellor Blog

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03 Dec

Favourite Psychotherapy Books: Part 2

Freud psychotherapy books

The Freud Reader/The Carl Rogers Reader

I just love the original works by the original authors. They give such a strong flavour of who these pioneers were. And the pieces selected are chosen by experts in the author so I trust their guidance. And, for me, that is why therapy training is such a privilege, to spend some time digesting the fundamental insights that make up their body of work is to experience something important in life. Without these people, humanity would be in a lot more trouble than we are currently.

EVERY trainnee therapist needs to connect with these pioneers of therapy, to fully understand their roots and the roots of therapy. I would also recommend these authors to clients as, at the very least, they are important historical people who have really contributed something fundamental to humanity. An education on life would not be complete without connecting to them.

On Learning from the Patient

It’s just a straight-up classic and probably every therapist has eaten this book and digested it with satisfaction. It gives a wonderful picture of the unconscious and working with it in a psychodynamic way. After reading this I found it easier to measure and sit in the painful silence that can be so difficult for clients and therapists alike. But also understanding the importance of it. It teaches you how not to jump in to early or too late, allowing enough space and silence for ‘self’ in all it’s authentic nature to arise. It is about space, both for your own internal supervisor and the client’s ‘self’. It actually measures something that seems unmeasurable, a real sign of deep fundamental insight on the part of the author.

For further reading recommendations, check out

Favourite Psychotherapy Books: Part 1

 

Favourite Psychotherapy Books: Part 3

For reading recommendations on anxiety, check out

Anxiety recommended reading

 

 

Dublin Counsellor Blog

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14 Oct

Favourite Psychotherapy Books: Part 1

psychotherapy books

Character Styles by Stephen M Johnson

Favourite Psychotherapy Books: Part 1: This was my bible through my therapy training and a bit of a transition object from trainee psychotherapist to a more confident one. The depth and breadth of the book was reassuring for me and gave me a good base to tackle a lot of issues in therapy.

From the emotional to the psychodynamic to the body and energetic descriptions of the character structures I felt held by the expertise in it. Considering I was doing an integrative psychotherapy training and being bombarded with the whole breadth of therapeutic thought, I felt a bit overwhelmed. This book had enough for me to feel contained in exploring the various strands of therapuetic thought as it covered the basics and a whole lot more. Anxiety, as you may have gathered, was an issue for me in my training.

Reich

Character Styles is based on the work of Wilhelm Reich, a student of Freud, weren’t they all, who looked at the physical impact of various forms of emotional distress.

Psychotherapy Books

Now, ‘Character Styles’ still has pride of place on my book shelf even if I don’t have to read it much anymore which, for me, is a good sign. I would recommend it whole heartedly to psychotherapy students, regardless of their anxiety levels, as it does explain a lot in one fell swoop. I’m not sure if it gets the pride of place I feel it should have on counselling courses but that’s not my place to say. It can be a bit dense in the reading but like a rich chocolate cake, it can only be digested in small portions as it’s so rich.

I don’t think I would recommend it to clients as it’s a pure technical read. You read it so they don’t have to.

For further reading recommendations, check out

Favourite Psychotherapy Books: Part 2

Favourite Psychotherapy Books: Part 3

For reading recommendations on anxiety, check out

Anxiety recommended reading

 

Dublin Counsellor Blog

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11 Jul

What is Paranoia?

workplace stress Dublin

What is paranoia? Paranoia is defined as ‘delusions of persecution’. The word ‘delusions’ is a way of saying ‘you are crazy and I (the doctor or mental health professional) is sane’. This is the mental health professional’s way of saying ‘I don’t understand what is happening, so I will label you to protect me’.

Paranoia is projected anxiety. It is our fear, when it is too much, projected onto the world. This is a defence mechanism that all humans use for overwhelming experience.

Projected experience

Generally, people with paranoia grew up in hostile families. This made them frightened and they learned that people are dangerous. As the fear is too much to cope with, they project it outside themselves as a form of self-defence but it creates the self-fulfilling prophecy of on-going persecution.

Growing up in a hostile environment, it is also unsafe for someone to experience or express their own anger. This also has to be projected outside, again, creating the self-fulfilling prophecy of on-going persecution. All people are angry/hostile.

The person sees the world as full of rage and fear, their experience growing up.

Embodied experience

Trauma psychotherapy tells us unprocessed experiences remain with us physically.

When flight or fight is not possible, the nervous system goes into ‘tonic immobility’ or ‘freeze’. This is the body’s anaesthetic or last line of defence. It protects the body but the charge from the experience remains in the body and so it feels as if the experience is still happening.

A therapist will know if this is happening by a client talking about such experiences in the present tense.

This makes the experiences still very real for the person.

As the client processes the experience, the charge gets discharged, the projections are withdrawn, the client can own their own experience of fear and anger, and the ‘delusions’ end.

For a wider description of how counselling works, and to see my own availability for counselling, check out https://thomaslarkin.ie/psychotherapy-counselling-dublin/

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21 May

Anxiety: How it Works: Part 3

patience

In part 1, https://thomaslarkin.ie/anxiety-how-it-works-part-one/, we saw how our inability to say no causes us to be overwhelmed. Overwhelmed means we are full. This is physics as well as psychology. When we are full we are in danger of drowning, and thus dying. This is our anxiety regarding the external world.

In part 2, https://thomaslarkin.ie/anxiety-how-it-works-part-two/, we looked at our internal anxiety, how we are already full. When assertiveness is squashed as a child, it becomes what Freud called the Super ego. The squashed assertiveness becomes anger or rage. And, as it’s not safe for it to go outside, it’s turned in at our self. We take out our frustrations in life on our self. This creates further anxiety unrelated to what’s happening externally. For the most part, this process is happening unconsciously.

Parental relationship

Welcome to part 3. The deepest dimension of our anxiety is based on the above two and is how they came about: Our relationship with our parents. This process is also going on unconsciously and needs to be worked through in therapy.

When we can’t say no, we learned as a child that ‘I am not worthy of receiving help’, a sense of ‘not good enough’ is devastating in an adult. We also learned that ‘I have to cope alone’.  Both of these add hugely to anxiety as we are insecurely attached. This insecure attachment makes us feel unworthy of help from others and unworthy of setting our own limits.

The pushover

With secure attachment comes an imprint of ‘loveable self and responsive others’ that we take into life. When parents are inconsistent, the imprint is ‘not loveable self and unpredictable other’. When parents are rejecting, the imprint is ‘self not worthy of care and others don’t care’.

We literally don’t have enough substance, from a lack of parental love, to be able to say no. We are ‘the pushover’. Addressing this lack of substance, is the deep work of therapy and tends to be the roots of anxiety.

For a wider description of how counselling works, and to see my own availability for counselling, check out https://thomaslarkin.ie/psychotherapy-counselling-dublin/

Dublin Counsellor Blog

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20 Feb

Anxiety: How it Works: Part 2

patience

https://thomaslarkin.ie/anxiety-how-it-works-part-one, dealt with external anxiety, or managing our world on the outside.

In Part 2, we will look at anxiety from the inside.

Sometimes people in therapy say, ‘I have nothing to be anxious about’, and I say ‘not externally’. There can be nothing happening outside but anxiety can still be going on.

How are we overwhelming our self on the inside?

And, most importantly, we are doing this unconsciously or outside of our conscious awareness.

Squashed

When assertiveness is squashed as a child, it becomes what Freud called the Super ego. The squashed assertiveness becomes anger or rage. And, as it’s not safe for it to go outside, it’s turned in at our self. We take out our frustrations in life on our self.

The super ego is critical by nature and doesn’t SEE our self, just its faults. For example, if we are feeling anxious, it says ‘you shouldn’t be anxious’. So, not only are we anxious but we are not allowed to be anxious, making us more anxious.

And it also carries the internalised messages we got growing up from parents and society. A good example is ‘boys don’t cry’. We are sad AND we are not allowed to be. This is why men’s suicide rate is five times higher than in women.

Needs

The super ego does not see our limit or what we need. Our collective human super ego treats our planet in the same way as we treat ourselves. We don’t care about its limit and need, we just keep taking from it until there is nothing left. Our super ego destroys ourselves in the same way as we are destroying the planet.

This process feeds internal anxiety because there is a part of us working AGAINST ourself rather than FOR ourself.

Anxiety: How it Works: Part 3

For a wider description of how counselling works, and to see my own availability for counselling, check out https://thomaslarkin.ie/psychotherapy-counselling-dublin/

Dublin Counsellor Blog

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19 Feb

Body Psychotherapy Course: Testimonials

 
 
I wanted to thank you so very much for the  course. It was really beneficial and helpful for me. You provided and facilitated a space in which for me personally provided a rich seam not only professionally but also personally, like a light illuminating some dark corner within me. The last day in particular, taking a risk, not playing it safe was initially a little frightening but like a boat tied to the quay side, tight against the wall , loosened the rope and I felt a sense of liberation, really felt witin me, feeling giddy and wanting to dance, dance within. Much to process from this experience both the dark and the light. Your intuition and skill were in no small way powerful and helpful to me, for which I thank you.
Andy
 
The course has been and will continue to be an eye-opener and I am so grateful to be part of it.
Jessica
 
Thank you so much for facilitating the course. I really enjoyed how you delivered it.
Geraldine
 
I’ve really enjoyed the course and have found it very helpful with clients.
Maura
 
Thank you sincerely for a most worthwhile course. I found it varied, informative, experiential, at times a great laugh and very well facilitated.
Mick
 
I have really enjoyed every minute of the programme and a great group to learn with.  I will be highly recommending your programme.
Thank you for the experience.
Ed
 
The 6 days with Thomas on the Body Psychotherapy course were extremely rewarding both professionally and personally. The experiential nature of the course brought the theory alive and gave me and the group a more integrated way of understanding the work. Thomas has a lot of knowledge and shares it freely and delivers it gently. The course not only gave me greater understanding of the work but also challenged and supported me to better understand myself and my own process in the therapeutic relationship and my relationships outside of the work.
Barry
 
 
 
 
 

Dublin Counsellor Blog

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21 Nov

Anxiety: How it Works: Part 1

patience

Anxiety: How it Works: Part One: Anxiety is overwhelm. Overwhelmed means we are full. This is physics as well as psychology. When we are full we are in danger of ‘drowning’, and thus ‘dying’.

No matter what they say in football about ‘giving it 110 per cent’ there is only 100 per cent and we are finite. We treat ourselves like planet earth. We treat earth as if it’s infinite when it is not. We use the year’s resources of earth by august each year. We do that to ourselves as well. The basic rule is we treat others, including the earth, the way we treat ourselves.

Say No?

We can feel we can’t say ‘no’ or ‘enough’ to stop the drowning. As the saying goes ‘no is a complete sentence’. Ireland couldn’t say no to Germany during the bailout and now we are drowning in their banks’ debt and we have to bear that and the anxiety that goes with it.

We drown ourselves with the defence of rationalising. Rationalising is denial, our mind’s way of trying to convince us we are not drowning when we are.

But these thoughts are seeped in anxiety so they are anxious thoughts. These thoughts make us more anxious. This feeds into our body which shows the signs of panic – fast heart, shooting adrenalin, this makes the thoughts more anxious, faster and faster, in a loop. So thinking can be like throwing petrol on a fire to put it out.

Safety Seeking

As we are looking for safety, we have to imagine what is the worst thing that can happen here. But in imagining the worst possible scenario, we frighten the hell out of ourselves with that. In trying to make ourselves feel safer we are making ourselves more anxious. We are looking for safety we cannot find.

People come to therapy because they are full and drowning.

Anxiety: How it Works: Part 2

 

Anxiety: How it Works: Part 3

For a wider description of how counselling works, and to see my own availability for counselling, check out https://thomaslarkin.ie/psychotherapy-counselling-dublin/

 

email: [email protected] | tel: 085 7283697 | © Thomas Larkin 2014