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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

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

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.

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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.

 

Dublin Counsellor Blog

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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.

 

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