Dublin Counsellor Blog

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21 Nov

Anxiety: How it Works: Part 1

patience

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.

 

Dublin Counsellor Blog

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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.

 

Dublin Counsellor Blog

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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.

 

Dublin Counsellor Blog

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20 Sep

CBT for anxiety Dublin

Psycho therapy

CBT for anxiety Dublin: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) says you cannot THINK your way out of anxiety.

Often when clients come to CBT sessions they think there will be that ONE thought, phrase or insight that will stop their anxiety for good. It’s not the case.

The main component of anxiety is SPEED. When we are anxious our thoughts get faster and faster, this makes us more and more anxious.

Also, each thought is feeding on the fear of the last thought. Each thought is frightening the hell out of ourselves and making us MORE anxious.

Trying to think our way out of anxiety is like pouring petrol on the fire to put it out.

Imagining the worst

When we are anxious we look for the worst possible scenario so we can protect ourselves from it but in doing that we are actually scaring ourselves WITH  the worst possible scenario.

Our imagination can scare the hell out of us far more than the reality of things. This is how horror movies work. The unknown lurking horror is far more frightening than when the killer finally appears.

And the thing we find MOST scary is ‘forever’. There is an assumption that ‘I will be anxious forever’. When something seems endless, it’s the most frightening and dispiriting experience of all.

CBT for anxiety Dublin

In CBT sessions we learn to slow ourselves down so we can actually listen to ourselves. There is a part of us that is really frightened and we have to hear ‘what exactly am I frightened of?’

This work can be blocked when we ‘hate’ our anxiety. Then we are refusing to hear why we are frightened, making us MORE anxious and fracturing our relationship with ourself.

When we are finally able to listen and hear what our anxiety is about we start to come out of it.

Try CBT for anxiety in Dublin today.

 

Dublin Counsellor Blog

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04 Jul

Panic Attacks Counselling Dublin

panic attacks counselling dublin

Panic attacks counselling Dublin: Panic attacks are rushes or spikes in anxiety. We get flooded with it. But the key thing is it comes from inside us, not from the outside.

Clients often come to psychotherapy/counselling saying ‘I get panic attacks but there is nothing to be frightened of’. They are right, nothing is happening externally to make them anxious. What we are afraid of is the appearance of the anxiety itself from within ourselves. We are anxious about being anxious.

Anxiety beginnings

We either grew up in an anxious household or we experienced something in our lives that made us frightened, such as a car accident or health worries or any manner of frightening experience. If these experiences remain unprocessed the anxiety stays with us.

The longer it remains unprocessed, the more anxious it becomes. For example, if we were in a car accident with a red car, after some time, we can react with a lot of anxiety to the colour red. We get a spike of anxiety from the part of us that experienced the accident.

Soon our anxious self becomes more anxious about more things as it seeks to protect itself. As a reaction, clients often make their worlds smaller and smaller to avoid the anxiety, for example, they won’t go shopping. But the anxiety is within and it doesn’t matter what we stop doing, the unprocessed anxiety remains.

Panic Attacks Counselling Dublin

Psychotherapy/Counselling is particularly effective for panic attacks. In the therapeutic setting, space is given to the anxiety itself and, as it becomes processed, we feel less and less anxious about more and more things. Until we reach a stage where our anxiety is the more natural alarm bell for real external danger.

As our anxiety goes down, confidence goes up in exact relation, the two are interlinked.

Try psychotherapy/counselling for panic attacks in Dublin today.

 

Dublin Counsellor Blog

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16 May

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Dublin

Obsessive compulsive disorder ocd dublin

Obsessive compulsive disorder OCD Dublin: OCD is about one thing – anxiety.

It is also displaced anxiety. Displacement is a defence mechanism where, not wanting to experience our original reason for being anxious, we substitute some other object or action. We don’t even do this consciously.

This is how someone who is very anxious could end up putting all their energy into cleaning. Obsessive cleaning is someone’s way of acknowledging that something needs to be cleaned up but it is actually the unfinished business of the original anxiety that needs to be cleaned out.

It snowballs…

So, no matter how much someone cleans, the original anxiety remains. Not only that, it gets worse with time. It snowballs as it’s being neglected. All the energy goes into cleaning, which is the classic displacement, and none goes into healing the original reason for the anxiety.

The cleaning gets more and more frantic with time as the original reason for the anxiety gets more and more neglected, like a wound that becomes infected.

So much time has passed, it can be we have forgotten the original reason for the anxiety. We have lost track of ourselves and, from this, people can often feel lost in their lives.

Obsessive compulsive disorder ocd Dublin

Psychotherapy/counselling is particularly effective for obsessive compulsive disorder ocd. In our sessions we would track back to the original anxiety and begin to give it a voice.

As the anxiety finds its voice, the anxiety itself goes down as it is finally getting the attention it needs. The anxious part of us finally feels safe enough to look at why he/she is anxious and, often times, it is never as bad as originally thought.

What made it worse was the ignoring of it.

Try psychotherapy/counselling for obsessive compulsive disorder ocd in Dublin today.

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