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WHAT IS ANGER? Anger is a natural feeling we all experience. Assertive anger is expressed in ‘I’ language. It is specifically stated, and it is in proportion to the situation at hand. Repressed anger can sometimes manifest itself as physical illness Depression could sometimes be anger turned in on oneself. Guilt is sometimes anger turned against the self. Anger can be a cover-up for another feeling, like grief or fear. Anger is violence. Many women are angry and ashamed of it, Root anger is recognisable because it is an over-reaction to present experience. Surface anger is about a response that fits the situation at hand. I am responsible for my own anger. WHAT TRIGGERS ANGER? Anger is one of the most difficult emotions we have to deal with, and when it comes to our children, we hope to give them good behavioural habits which will last into adulthood. The first thing we need to do is to understand how anger triggers our brain. This in turn will help us to react more effectively, with ourselves and our children. Anger is rooted in our reaction to fight when we are initially alerted to danger. This includes psychological dangers such as fear, frustration, jealousy, powerlessness and hurt. Possibly the most significant thing that happens when we get angry is the fact that the amygdala in our brain reacts first, before the rest has a chance to click into gear. The adrenaline that the amydala triggers floods our brain, switching off the thinking part of our brain, literally before it starts to think. The phrase ‘the lights are on, but there is nobody at home’ can be a very apt description of what happens to us. The reason this happens is because all our senses go through the amygdale before they get to the rest of the brain. It, quite literally, has a head-start. It can take up to a couple of minutes before we start to think. This is why calming down is so important: this is what allows our thinking brain to kick into gear and start to work.

Is your relationship going through a rough patch or are you simply stuck in a rut? I am an experienced couple’s counselor and have worked with many, couples over the past twelve years helping them to stay together and move into a new phase of their relationship or, sometimes, helping them to separate in a healthy way. Coming to couples counselling can feel like a daunting experience. What you need to know is that you are in safe hands with an experienced therapist who can give you the guidance you need to move your relationship into new territory. Many couples leave it too late to come to therapy. Your relationship doesn’t need to be in a trouble before you take the leap. If you are reading this then the chances are you are already contemplating getting help in moving your relationship forward. Something to bear in mind is that most couples don’t regret making this move although they often regret not having taken it sooner.

The term addiction is used to describe a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity despite harmful consequences to the individual’s health, mental state or social life. In other words, addiction is any behaviour that is repeated over and over despite significant negative consequences. A symptom of addiction is when your desire for something becomes a compulsion. You describe yourself as “needing” something, as opposed to wanting or liking it. For example, a compulsive gambler feels an overwhelming urge to gamble, is thinking about gambling when not engaging in it, may lie about how much time and money is spent on gambling, feels guilty about the time and money spent on gambling but does not (and cannot) quit. People can develop addictions to a range of different substances and behaviours, such as: Drug use (Drug addiction can either be associated with illegal drugs, prescription drugs and over the counter drugs). Alcohol use Food (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, etc.) Gambling Sex Internet use Work Shopping Any activity, substance, object or behaviour that has become the major focus of a persons life to the exclusion of other activities or that has begun to harm the individual or others physically, mentally or socially is considered an addictive behaviour.

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) ? Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a collaborative, practical and problem oriented approach to emotional problems whereby the client and therapist work together toward understanding difficulties in terms of the relationship between thoughts, feelings, body responses and behaviour. CBT is based on the concept that how we think, how we act, how we feel and what we experience in our bodies all interact together. This cyclic relationship is illustrated in the diagram. How does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) work? CBT helps clients break the vicious circle of altered and unhelpful thinking and behaviour. The therapy focus on the thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes that we hold, the personal meaning we associate with these and how this relates to our behaviour. We work to help clients learn more useful ways of thinking and coping. What can Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) treat? CBT is effective for a wide range of emotional problems from relationship problems, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, anxiety, depression, compulsive gambling and eating disorders. Its efficacy has been proven through major research studies. What does the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) process involve? The CBT process is usually of 6-8 week duration. The client works with the therapist to understand each problem and break it down into its component parts. This helps identify individual patterns of thoughts, emotions, bodily feelings and actions which are causing distress and we can then trace the underlying beliefs that maintain them. After identifying and agreeing collaboratively what beliefs the client might change, the therapist may recommend ‘homework’ assignments the client can complete and practice outside the sessions to counter or disprove these beliefs. To assist in this process the therapist may invite the client to keep a log or a diary. The strength of CBT is that the client can continue to practise and develop their skills even after the sessions have finished, making it less likely that symptoms or problems will return. CBT can be used exclusively or it can be integrated with other therapeutic approaches such as humanistic or psychodynamic depending on the needs and requirements of the client.

Some of the effects that this has on a person are feelings of shame, fear, anger, hurt, loss, low self esteem, difficulties with emotional intimacy, sexuality and trust. Those who have experienced sexual abuse can also suffer flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, fear of things associated with the abuse (including objects, smells, places, doctor’s visits, etc.), self-esteem issues, sexual dysfunction, chronic pain, addiction, self-injury, suicidal ideation, somatic complaints, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiet, among other problems. It is estimated that between one in four people by the age of eighteen have experinced some form of sexual abuse. It knows no particular social class and it is experinced by both boys and girls, men and women alike. Sexual abuse/trauma can be understood as any exploitation of a person for the sexual gratification and pleasure of another person. This can range from indecent exposure and voyeurism, obscene telephone calls, taking pornographic pictures, fondling, kissing, being shown sexually explicit material, intercourse or attempted intercourse, incest, rape or child prostitution.

While each person will experience their own grieving process in their own unique way, several emotions are commonplace throughout the grieving process. Often these emotions cause us additional distress, and they include ; anger, shame, helplessness, sadness, relief, fear, lost, confused, guilty, loneliness, anxiety, blame, numbness, depression, vulnerability, pain, embarrassment, suicidal, and loss of identity. How grief affects us Grief and loss impacts all aspects of our physical & emotional well-being and can impair our daily lives. When grieving, we will experience some or all of the following symptoms: Feelings (Anger, sadness, fatigue, anxiety, shock, relief etc) Physical symptoms (tightness in chest/stomach/throat; emptiness or heaviness in stomach; oversensitive to noise, breathlessness, lack of energy, muscle weakness) Thoughts (Disbelief, confusion, preoccupation, sense of presence, hallucinations etc) Behaviours (Sleep/appetite disturbances; forgetful, crying, social withdrawal, avoiding reminders of the deceased, restless overactivity; visiting places/carrying objects relating to the deceased, dreams of the deceased (normal and distressing)

Anxiety is a physiological and psychological state characterised by cognitive, somatic, emotional, and behavioral elements. These components together create an unsettling feeling that is generally associated with uneasiness, apprehension, fear, dread or worry. Anxiety is what is termed a generalised mood condition that can often occur without warning or of something having triggered it. As such, it is different from feelings of fear, which happens in response to an observed or perceived threat. Additionally, fear is related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is the result of threats that are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable.People with symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder tend to always expect something to go wrong and can’t stop worrying about their health, money, family, work, relationships and school. The worry is often unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation. Some common symptoms of anxitey are excess sweating, heart palpitations, nausea, body pain, shortness of breath and intrusive thoughts.

Counselling/Psychotherapy aren’t necessarily something we begin in response to a particular event in our life or as a result from a specific trauma. It is an exploratory relationship which allows us to become more self-aware. Having greater self-awareness usually empowers us to make conscious choices for ourselves, whereas before we may have “acted out”, and in doing so, not always getting the desired outcome for our self. Working with a Counsellor/Psychotherapist can be an asset to helping us enhance existing coping skills or resources, while learning and using new and sometimes more effective ones. Working towards our full potential leads us to living a more contented, fulfilling life. Getting to know ourselves, getting to know and understand how we often limit or restrict ourselves, can often be the gateway to moving on in our lives in a more positive and constructive way than before. We are a “work-in-progress” so self-care and self-managing means we can experience life feeling more equipped and informed to do so in a healthy and positive manner

Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger, whether it’s real or imagined, the body’s defences kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as “fight-or-flight” reaction, or the stress response. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. In emergency situations, stress can save your life. It also helps you rise to meet challenges by helping you to perform under pressure and motivates you to do your best. However, modern life is full of demands, deadlines, hassles and frustrations making stress so commonplace for many people that it has become a way of life. People’s mind and body pay the price causing major damage to your health, mood, productivity, relationships and quality of life. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. Long-term stress can also rewire the brain leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression. Health problems caused or exacerbated by stress include:- pain of any kind, heart disease, digestive problems, sleep problems, depression, obesity, autoimmune diseases and skin conditions such as eczema. Because of the widespread damage stress can cause, it is important to know your own limits and to recognise when your stress levels are out of control. One’s ability to tolerate stress and to stay calm and collected under pressure depends on many factors, including the quality of relationships, general outlook on life, emotional intelligence and ability to relax. Counselling can help people examine their lives for stress and look for ways to minimise it and adopt healthier lifestyle habits.Content goes here

Depression is a debilitating illness and will affect one in six of us at some stage of our lives. It is characterized by a generalised low mood and a loss of interest in things previously enjoyed in life. Other symptoms may (but not necessarily) include poor concentration, irritability, crying, feeling hopeless and/ or helpless, under or over eating, under or over sleeping and possibly suicidal thoughts. If you have been feeling this way for more than two weeks it is important to seek help so that you are not left struggling alone. A trained Counsellor or Psychotherapist will support you in developing coping strategies to help manage difficult days. We will work with you towards recovery and prevention of relapse.

Psychotherapy helps children and adolescents in a variety of ways. They receive emotional support, resolve conflicts with people, understand feelings and problems, and try out new solutions to old problems. Goals for therapy may be specific (change in behavior, improved relations with friends or family), or more general (less anxiety, better self-esteem). The length of psychotherapy depends on the complexity and severity of problems.

Pat is a qualified career guidance counsellor and can advise students and anyone stuck in there career or education so that they can make informed choices about their future in relation to employment, education and further training. He can provide one-to-one or group sessions to engage, motivate and to take an active role on their personal education and career development.

For more information contact Pat on 087 286 8590 or