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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.

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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

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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
 
 
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
 
 
 
 
 

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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

 

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26 Feb

Therapy Supervision Dublin

therapy supervision dublin

Therapy Supervision Dublin: The single most important dimension of supervision between a supervisor and supervisee is ‘parallel process’. This is where the relationship dynamics between client and therapist literally appear in the supervision room. The supervisor becomes the therapist and the supervisee becomes the client.

The supervisee literally, but unconsciously, acts like the client to show the supervisor what is happening in the relationship. The origin of this is from our own childhood and mimicry at play. It is the supervisee’s out of character behaviour that really shows who the client is.

This process externalises the client for the supervisee and he/she can look at the client with fresh eyes and a sense of where the therapeutic relationship needs to go.

Parallel Process

Parallel process is the unconscious parallel of the therapist/client relationship. The supervisor becomes the therapist and the supervisee literally becomes the client; a space for the supervisee to walk in their client’s shoes for a time, register how that feels and take the learning from it.

The supervisee will unconsciously mimic the client to show the supervisor how the client is in a session. The origin of this is from our own childhood and mimicry at play. Top supervision expert Mattinson said: ‘Children play hardest at games and repeat those games most often when they are trying to come to terms with some experience which is painful or are trying to master the anxiety aroused’. Therefore, in supervision, the supervisee ‘in his attempt to describe what he cannot put into words, he unconsciously mimics.’ (Mattinson).

For a supervisor, it is the behaviour out of character with the supervisee that identifies the client and their behaviours.

Therapy Supervision Dublin

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

 

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12 Dec

Workplace Conflict Dublin

staff turnover dublin

Workplace conflict Dublin: Unresolved workplace conflict turns into bullying, absenteeism, employee disengagement and departure, rotting the company from the inside.

If workplace conflict is not managed, employees will bully each other. Psychologically, squashed assertiveness turns to rage, constructive assertiveness turns to destructive rage.

Bullying in the Irish workplace is the seventh highest in Europe. Nearly six per cent of Irish workers have experienced bullying, according to an EU-wide report ‘Physical and Psychological Violence at the Workplace’.

Absenteeism

Bullied employees feel disillusioned or defeated. They can ‘act out’ their defiance by their absence which, in the end, is an attack on the company.

Employee absenteeism in Dublin and Ireland costs small business €2million per day, according to Small Firms Association (SFA). Four million working days are lost in Ireland per year, costing business €490million annually.

Disengagement

The atmosphere generated in such an environment promotes employee disengagement, lowering productivity.

70% of US employees do not feel “engaged” at work according to a 2013 Gallup poll. Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project, a firm working with Fortune 500 companies to improve employee morale and performance, says this workplace phenomenon is happening across the globe.

Loss of staff

Inevitably, this leads to a loss of key staff across the business, especially as Ireland returns to full employment. Almost three in five Irish employees say they will change jobs in the next year, according to a survey by Irish recruiting firm Hays Ireland.

Importantly, with this kind of issue, it’s not the day to day of it but the underlying build up. A bit like a debt, one day it becomes unsustainable and it’s a case of ‘how did we get here’.

Workplace Conflict Dublin

Psychotherapy/Counselling deployed in your company is an ideal way to address workplace conflict, freeing up employees to be more present and motivated at work.

Either on site or externally, I can provide cost effective counselling to both staff and management in the Dublin area to resolve workplace conflict.

For a wider description of the psychological services I can offer your workplace, please see https://thomaslarkin.ie/corporate-counselling-dublin/

Or call me today to see how psychotherapy/counselling can work for your business.

 

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17 Jul

Employee Retention Dublin

Employee retention Dublin: Mental health is the biggest  cause of pay-out claims on an income protection plan, according to Irish Life.

The company has circa 200,000 people insured for income protection and more than 3,000 claims were paid out in 2015. Claims averaged €19,380 per year. Irish Life paid out €53m on income protection in 2015.

Income protection is an insurance policy that pays benefits when policyholders are unable to work due to illness or accident.

The figures show that the average claimant’s age was 49 for men, and 45 for women.

This cross-section of Irish workers mental health backs up research by Aviva in their Workplace Health Index. This found that stress and anxiety is the biggest problem in the Irish workplace today, with 55% of Irish employees struggling with it. See https://thomaslarkin.ie/workplace-stress-dublin/

Employee retention Dublin

These research studies on Irish workplaces show the underlying pressure on today’s Irish workers and is a big reason why there is pressure on employee retention in Dublin.

Reasons

The reasons for employee mental health difficulty is the obvious and the immediate: too much work pressure, time management etc. And it is correct to address them with things like yoga classes or mindfulness in the workplace.

But most often the reasons for mental health difficulty in work is NOT the obvious and the immediate. Most often, people don’t even have a vocabulary for what is going on in them.

Psychotherapy/Counselling in your workplace helps employees put a language on their issues, get to the roots of them so they can be more present and motivated at work on a long-term basis.

Cost-effective counselling

Either on site or externally, I can provide cost effective counselling to both staff and management in the Dublin area.

For a wider description of the psychological services I can offer, please see https://thomaslarkin.ie/corporate-counselling-dublin/

Or call me today to see how psychotherapy/counselling can work for your business.

 

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15 Mar

Workplace mental health Dublin

employee motivation

One-in-five days of employee absence in Ireland is due to workplace stress, anxiety and depression (SAD), according to the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

18% of lost productivity days are due to SAD and the average length of absence from it in 2013 is 17 days.

In 2013 alone, about 55,000 workers in Ireland were affected by work-related illness, resulting in a total loss of 790,000 productive days.

Employers body IBEC estimates that absenteeism costs Irish businesses as much as €1.5 billion a year, the equivalent to €818 for each employee.

Among the most commonly reported causes of stress are: no clear job description or chain of command, no reward for doing well, no way to voice complaints, too much responsibility with too little authority and job insecurity.

Why workplace counselling?

Psychotherapy/Counselling deployed in your company is an ideal way to address these underlying issues, freeing up employees to be more present and motivated at work.

Psychotherapy/counselling deals with the roots of stress and anxiety rather than just the symptoms. Providing training days on stress management or a yoga class for your workplace is like a wave on an ocean, it comes and goes but nothing really changes. Psychotherapy/counselling is about looking at the currents that influence the whole ocean, so the whole company moves forward.

Employees see counselling/psychotherapy as the key provision for employee wellbeing. 76% of Dublin workers feel there is a need for counselling in the workplace. (Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, IACP, survey 2013)

Workplace mental health Dublin

Either on site or externally, I can provide cost effective counselling to both staff and management in the Dublin area.

For a wider description of the psychological services that I can offer to assist your workplace wellness, please see https://thomaslarkin.ie/corporate-counselling-dublin/

Or call me today to see how psychotherapy/counselling can work for your business.

 

Dublin Counsellor Blog

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01 Feb

Therapist Supervision Dublin

therapist supervision dublin

Therapist Supervision Dublin: Supervisees often come to supervision and feel they should talk of client material only and leave their own issues for their own therapy.

As a counsellor/psychotherapist is their work, the two are interwoven and in understanding ourselves as a person this sheds light on our work as a counsellor and how we are relating to our clients. A win-win situation.

Supervision is never purely about the clients and is never purely about the counsellor. It’s about both and the in-between.

Internal Supervisor

Teaching a supervisee to move from affective experience of the heart, to reflective experience in the head and back again within themselves helps them develop their own awareness of self and their ability to register the counter transference with their clients. This is the development of their own ‘internal supervisor’.

This skill helps the counsellor/psychotherapist develop those skills in the client, increasing client emotional intelligence and awareness.

Well known supervisors Page and Wosket write: ‘Personal issues can be legitimately addressed (in supervision) if it increases the potential of the client work. It is sometimes necessary to engage in what amounts to therapeutic work with the counsellor…this is legitimate within supervision provided that the purpose remains that of understanding the counselling process and the overall intention is to enhance the work being done with the client.’

Separating issues

Addressing a supervisees personal issues in supervision is also important when those issues are interfering with client work. Supervisor and supervisee would work to separate them and understand them enough to unblock the client work. Of course if the supervisees issues are substantial further personal therapy would be required if not already happening.

Therapist Supervision Dublin

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

 

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13 Dec

Trauma Psychotherapy Dublin

Trauma Psychotherapy Dublin: The experience of trauma is about one thing; invasion.

Like a house with a garden surrounding it, our body has one boundary of our skin and another surrounding us that alerts us when our personal space is being encroached. This is why if someone is walking behind us we become aware of it quickly.

A traumatic experience is when these two boundaries are broken. Not only is this is a distressing experience but, in an on-going way, we also become highly anxious and lose our sense of safety and danger. We feel we are in danger all the time. Like a house alarm that is constantly ringing gets ignored, our instinct for when we are in danger becomes ineffective. Not being able to distinguish between safety and danger exposes us to further danger.

Why?

When we experience invasion, like a burglary, being hit by a car or sexual assault, our nervous system will ‘freeze’, called tonic immobility. Our brain and body will become suspended through the experience. This is our system’s anaesthetic, to protect us.

But, of course, everything in life is a double-edged sword. While it protects us, it leaves the experience in our body and mind UNPROCESSED. This leaves our body and mind reacting as if the experience IS STILL HAPPENING.

Trauma Psychotherapy Dublin

Trauma psychotherapy is about processing the charge left in our body/mind. This will put the experience back ‘outside’ of ourselves. In turn, this restores our personal boundaries and returning to us our sense of safety. Only when we know safety again can we distinguish between safety and danger. And only then can we protect ourselves properly, enhancing our sense of safety.

If this article resonates with you, or you have some questions, feel free to book an appointment with me.

 

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