Just do it

21 Jan 2021
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After reading Manuel’s blog (Saturday 5th December 2020) I felt I had to write this.

Totally agree that therapy needs to be tried. It can and will change your life if you allow it and find a therapist you really trust.

So as a therapist what do we say, “You will be happy after 6 sessions, 12 sessions, 100 sessions or we will give you a refund??”

We live in a world of quick fixes and want it now but for a lot of us our pain and suffering has been gradual and we have incorporated beliefs and values into our constructed world.

There is NO short cut. You need to acknowledge and feel those embarrassing, shameful, guilt inducing sometimes so traumatic feelings the words won’t come out for months or years. But why on earth would you do that. Because it heals. I could give you hundreds of mantras here but I won’t as I am sure you know what I’m talking about. A problem shared is a problem halved and all that! It is hard work and exhausting and sometimes terrifying. Not selling it very well am I?

Why do people say that therapy doesn’t work? I could go to my friend if I wanted to talk about my problems. Difference is we don’t ( and I am speaking for myself and not the whole industry here as I am well aware there are good and not so helpful therapists out there) tell you what to do and tell you our problems too. We acknowledge what it means to you. Just by having our feelings acknowledged is sometimes enough to shift the pain.

I do get frustrated. Yes, I am well aware frustration is anger but frustration sounds softer and I don’t want you to think I’m not a nice person by getting angry. (I am not talking here about venomous anger that people spew out on social media as this is another blog all together). Childhood messages stick with us and this is what causes our ongoing suffering. This is where we go wrong in life. Don’t be sad, don’t cry, don’t get angry. Yes please do. If not, where do those feelings go? Stuffed down in layers of shame, guilt, fear and so many more until it becomes unbearable and will show itself in anxiety, depression and physical illnesses. As (thankfully) this is not an academic piece of writing I don’t need to back this blog up with research but it is out there along with the numerous books to read on the subject.

And don’t let cost be an excuse as it can be for a lot of people. We can all say we don’t have the money and trust me I am with you. It is about our priorities and there are many wonderful charities around and therapists that offer low cost sessions.

I am aware that many of you will have your personal experiences both good and bad of therapy.

Wondering what your experiences are and what you have learnt from them?

Lara

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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Comments

Anonymous

Jan. 21, 2021, 3:42 a.m.

Hi Lara. The way I read your blog was that you are a therapist yourself and cannot understand why anyone else would not see it as you do. I have been guilty of this in the past because when in a profession we expect everyone else to think like we do. We get into a bubble. Therapy does not help everyone and some are so against it. Your blog is very helpful because it makes me see that many people have their own strong opinions on one subject that is important to them and as I say I’m guilty of that. Perhaps we all are. One thing I need to say is your words about cost shouldn’t being an excuse. Upset me that did. There are so many poor people out there trying to just put food on the table for their kids.

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Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 8:05 a.m.

Thank you for your reply. It was not my intention to upset and I apologise that I did. I wanted to express that there are charities and support for people experiencing financial hardship.

the room above the garage

Jan. 21, 2021, 7:21 a.m.

My counselling (private, third attempt with third counsellor, talking therapy with a chartered psychologist) was worth its weight in gold. I had no idea that what was happening then (pain lessening through listening in a safe, regular. trusted place) was also going to open doors which I wouldn’t walk through for some time. I’m still doing that part on my own many years after. The quick result is simply not often possible. Sadly, the current fix from the nhs seems to be CBT (rather than deeper therapy) which I think is helpful but not always a match. Perhaps the one size fits all approach to mental health is what is the failing. We can’t box-tick the therapy, it needs tailor made and regularly adjusted over time. In a nutshell, I thought therapy was not working, and it has actually been my lifesaver even though I went many years back. Thank you for the blog today, love ratg x

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Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 8:08 a.m.

Thank you ratg I believe passionately as a client and therapist that therapy works but great to have your feedback. Thank you for your comments. Lara

The Gardener

Jan. 21, 2021, 5:03 p.m.

I am so pleased it worked, ratg. If you have to keep changing until one 'fits' ends up more stressful than the underlying problem. You can't get a 'match' like a marriage bureau.

Anonymous

Jan. 21, 2021, 5:50 p.m.

You can get a match on line with what the therapist specialises in although it obviously doesn’t mean that your personalities will match

Quilec

Jan. 21, 2021, 7:50 a.m.

If you were raised in a dysfunctional and damaging environment, it takes some time and skill to work through this early imprint. Some of it, in my opinion will never be shifted but you can learn not to be defined by it. A good counsellor can guide you through this.

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Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 9:26 p.m.

Thank you Marigold for your comment.

Bearofliddlebrain

Jan. 21, 2021, 8:42 a.m.

Morning Lara, It’s finding the right therapist that is half the problem! We are all so unique - the mentally ill and the therapists! In the U.K. we are lucky enough to have the NHS and our first port of call when things hit the fan is usually our GP. But it used to take around three months to ‘see someone’ and when our mental health is very fragile, three months is too long. In the meantime we are relying on medication which can take two or three weeks to have an effect - good or bad. It’s all trial and error - too long sometimes to start feeling better. This is how Jon Cousins came up with his cards test for Moodscope. I see it a bit like the ‘three bears’ story: The GP might refer us to a therapist. The first one might not feel right to us or know how to draw the information out in order to help. Or we might get a therapist who does not seem interested. (I had one like this and she constantly yawned - I almost wanted to say sorry for keeping you up! I gave up on her) However, we might fall on our feet and be referred to someone who is just right for us and we can build a rapport. Thankfully I had this lady - but sadly she retired...how very dare she!! 80)) I think it is harder still if we have to pay for treatment. Mr. Bear was lucky enough to have medical insurance, but once he had received his ‘six weeks’, we couldn’t afford the £150 a session! He wasn’t ‘fixed’ - still isn’t totally, but we muddle along! We’ve learnt coping strategies. I agree Lara, there are no short cuts - it’s not the same as a bone that needs six weeks to heal and withstand the pressure of being used again. Also the old sayings were often true; a problem shared etc is a help. Years ago, people wouldn’t have had any access to a mental health professional - there wouldn’t have been such a person, so if you did have a meaningful relationship with your husband/wife or trustworthy friend, you would talk to them. That still applies today, but sometimes our poor mental health is just too ‘heavy’ a subject for others to take on. It scares people - especially the older generation who were brought up with some terrible ideas: ‘you just need to pull yourself together...’. Or they gloss over things and never want it mentioned! I’ve seen that happen - so then we don’t share. Thank you for the blog - it helps us to ‘see’ things from the professional’s point of view. Love and Bear hugs x x x

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The Gardener

Jan. 21, 2021, 4:19 p.m.

Bear, tough the insurance money gave out. I was classified 'manic depressive'. Years later it was agreed diagnosis was wrong. I had medical insurance, which promptly wrote out ANYTHING which could have mental origins.

Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 9:33 p.m.

Thank you both for your comments. Appreciate all of your experiences. It is lovely to hear from the clients view point. You have certainly experienced how different therapist can be.

Sally

Jan. 21, 2021, 9:05 a.m.

Hi Lara, I am singing from the same “hymn sheet” as you. I am a firm believer in the power of counselling, providing the match of counsellor and client is right. Really listening is what a good counsellor does. If you feel you’ve never been heard before, then the therapeutic effect of this is immeasurable. I believe I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for the work my counsellor and I put in 20 years ago. Really. I was lucky. The counsellor was everything a good counsellor should be, and I was sent to a charity called Beacon through my doctor and only paid what I could afford back then. Money totally well spent. A process worth its weight in gold. I’d advise anyone to at least have a go. It needn’t cost a penny either. You will feel an entirely new, free person. Devoid of the guilt which was not yours to bear. And realising you are a person of worth.

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Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 9:35 p.m.

Thank you Sally for sharing your experiences. I really want to highlight that cost needn't be a barrier as you discovered. So pleased it worked for you.

Anonymous

Jan. 21, 2021, 9:34 a.m.

On another note, where is Molly, she hasn’t been here for over a week. I hope your ok Molly. Thinking of you. J x

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Salt Water Mum

Jan. 21, 2021, 10:33 a.m.

Thinking of Molly too here and sending hugs, hope you're keeping well hon x

Only Me

Jan. 22, 2021, 8:48 a.m.

Yes I’ve been wandering where Molly’s got to. Hope she’s ok

Salt Water Mum

Jan. 21, 2021, 10:31 a.m.

Thanks Lara for your blog, I am so lucky that I have a fabulous therapist. I attend (via zoom these days) on a regular-ish basis. She was recommended to me by a wonderful alternative health professional who knew both of us and believed we were a perfect match of client/therapist. And how right they were! For me, what's very important is that my issues/pain/sadness/anxiety/mental messiness are 'acknowledged' and that I am 'heard'. That I feel listened to. She is both wise and empathetic and challenging. It is expensive. I gift myself this. There are certain things I need for my healthy mind - walks on the beach and in woodland are free and therapy is expensive! Music is free although gigs and concerts (remember those?!) are expensive. I need all of the above! Plus my girlfriends and chocolate and I'm smiling ! take care all Moodscopers, swm x

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Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 9:39 p.m.

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences swm. It is so important to be heard as many of us never were. Ohhhh thinking fondly of concerts. Here's hoping we will be back to them soon. x

Salt Water Mum

Jan. 22, 2021, 9:12 a.m.

Thanks for replying Lara. Yes yes I can't wait to sing loudly and dance badly with lots of people at a music gig... :-))

Sal

Jan. 21, 2021, 12:17 p.m.

Hey Lara, I loved your blog. And it nudged me to go back to Manuel's post in December, which I'd missed, and where there was some more gold-dust. I loved the comments from Little Lighthouse, like "My therapist councelor or what ever she's called, reminded me Manuel that she is just the facilitator and I am the one doing all the hard work." I believe, with you, there are no short cuts. Also that there really is bad stuff out there in the world that makes life incredibly hard for many many people. Therapy can't fix poverty, oppression, injustice, war, illness etc etc. But hopefully it can help us to avoid adding extra bad stuff in our lives by the way we behave or react or think about things - once we understand what is driving those reactions we can start to drop them. Because it's me doing all the hard work, digging into the things that drive me to make my life worse, maybe I can do it with *anyone* I can trust enough to open up to. Trust and safety is such a vital foundation. If the person has insight and empathy, even better. But what a gift it is when we meet someone who really wishes the very best for us, and sees the very best in us. Like other commenters here, I am hugely grateful for the people who've played that part in my life. Not all were therapists, BTW - a Buddhist monk and an improv coach were among my helpers. Thanks again for an inspirational bit of my day. Wishing a good day to all Moodscopers ... xx

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Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 9:43 p.m.

Thank you Sal. I think there are many people who can have a therapeutic effect on us. As you say trust and safety are so important. Buddhist monk would work for me too xx

The Gardener

Jan. 21, 2021, 12:18 p.m.

In December 2016 I wrote a blog 'Does counselling do it for you?' Big response, last post, to me, telling. 'One day I might feel confident enough to stand on my own two feet and be my own person'. I realise millions of people benefit from therapy. But it scares me. Anybody can be a therapist, and will 'trap' those who did not have other access. From the quote above it can be a 'life sentence' too scared to make the break. Money-wise, yes, I am mean - never been in a situation to afford a therapist. I also wonder (not cynically) whether that money could be spent on a holiday in the sun?

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Quilec

Jan. 21, 2021, 1:39 p.m.

Gardener,not anybody can be a therapist.The training is extremely rigorous and a decent counsellor will be a member if a professional body and receive supervision.I could go on holiday but I would still be me.

Valerie

Jan. 21, 2021, 2:19 p.m.

I rather agree TG.My experience of people who have become counsellors and psychotherapists (not to mention the many dog behaviorists) is that you are very fortunate indeed if you get one who is of any real or lasting help. I know a few in my own circle,and despite their training and accreditations,I would not trust them with my issues.I have found hypnotherapy helpful to be fair.***

Oli

Jan. 21, 2021, 3:41 p.m.

Marigold, I think that's a great point. There's still an issue with protected title though and I know this can be confusing for people who assume that "therapist" is a protected title, when it isn't.

Anonymous

Jan. 21, 2021, 4:39 p.m.

A holiday doesn’t help depression or help underlying issues. If only it did.

The Gardener

Jan. 21, 2021, 4:55 p.m.

I think this is a moot point. When we bought our first French house it was a risk - our business was very stressful - early 80's. Just crossing the channel, doing a bit of painting, attending a French 'hop' worked wonders.

Anonymous

Jan. 21, 2021, 6 p.m.

That’s different. A fresh start or a holiday to reduce stress is not the same as having deep rooted issues or depression, you can’t ‘run away’ from them.

Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 9:48 p.m.

So important to find a therapist who is a member of a professional body. But as with any industry you get good and bad therapists. You can try a number before you commit as many offer free initial sessions.

Orangeblossom

Jan. 21, 2021, 1:30 p.m.

Thanks for your interesting & informative blog which I have re-read prior to making a comment. Yesterday afternoon I typed up some notes that I made on writing as a form therapy. I do recommend it as a good form of coming to terms with difficult situations and experiences in my life. But especially difficult people who I have always found challenging. I remember Lex’s blog about the bullies he has encountered & from whom he has suffered indignities. The trainer also stressed that writing about Trauma was no substitute for good therapy.

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Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 9:50 p.m.

Writing and journaling is a great way to get our thoughts out on paper and really helps a lot of people. A practice that I follow and have for many years.

Valerie

Jan. 21, 2021, 2:27 p.m.

Hello Lara, I am not dismissing therapy,I have tried a few kinds,but I certainly err on the side of scepticism.I am particularly unconvinced that endless picking over the bad stuff from the past will bring long-term relief and healing.I would run a mile from any therapist who saw it as a very longterm/lifelong committment. There should be something to show it is worth continuing with after say 10 sessions?

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The Gardener

Jan. 21, 2021, 3:11 p.m.

I think your phrase 'picking over the bad stuff' keeps it in the forefront of the mind - it wont disappear, scars will stay - but somehow, whatever strategy is used, you must move on, let go of the guide rope.

Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 9:52 p.m.

Therapists have therapists. We go to the doctors and dentists to look after our bodies, I feel therapists help us look after our minds. Just my thoughts but completely understand your scepticism.

Dido

Jan. 21, 2021, 2:37 p.m.

Hi Lara, I am able to use therapy as my way of coping with my illness. I have been fortunate to be close to a city where there is very good theraputic provision of all types. I think without this space to go and find myself again in each session I would not be here or I'd be drugged to the eyeballs. It is difficult not to feel guilty but over the years I have found this is the way I can cope with myself in all my facettes. I am truly grateful for my counsellors who have spent time and given patience, understanding and reflection to me. Recently I was disassociating from myself, my counsellor brought her dog in so I could feel a living being again. It really helped. I do not feel able to cope with an animal again after the death 2 years ago of my four footed companion of 15 years, he was 18 years old and had been close by my side for most of the last 15. I digress. Therapy has helped me find out that I am allowed to be here, I am allowed to say what I feel , I am allowed to have a life. A long journey and worth every step.

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Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 9:57 p.m.

Thank you Dido for sharing your experiences. There are also a lot of support groups around and can be real lifesavers.

The Gardener

Jan. 21, 2021, 2:46 p.m.

Marigold and Valerie, just done a lot of reading. A very aggressive woman came to try and sell my house, said she was an 'on-line psychotherapist'. Internationally rules differ vastly. In Europe, France seems very strict - UK more 'voluntary' and 'put on trust'. 'Depending on the jurisdiction psychotherapists may be legally regulated, voluntarily regulated or unregulated'.I think the worst scenario is an open-ended cheque, where people (like example mentioned above) can't let go - if they can afford it and go on for life it's their choice (in theory).

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Oli

Jan. 21, 2021, 3:29 p.m.

Hi Gardener, couple of quick points: The "online" part of "online psychotherapist" is fine -- these days we've nearly all had to go online and for me the pros of being online outweigh the cons. The "psychotherapist" word is, as you say, problematic. I don't use it; to say why wouldn't be a quick reply though. For me I'd prefer to see a therapist who was personally recommended somehow. GPs might be aware who's good and who's not so good (but maybe they are not aware because we can't all be interested in everything so I'd actually ask the GP too). Marigold's point is really good and if you check out the letters after the therapist's name you can be proactive in finding out if that body is any good. I work in a highly regulated profession and a non-regulated profession. I'm a member of three different associations for the non-regulated profession. One of them is acceptably regulated; the other two, not so much.

The Gardener

Jan. 21, 2021, 4:53 p.m.

Thanks Oli, I know this woman had no qualifications at all. I think my age, and being old-fashioned makes a difference. Nowadays people talk of 'my therapist' like 'my hairdresser', 'my window-cleaner' as though they were an integral part of modern life.

Anonymous

Jan. 21, 2021, 6:09 p.m.

And why not? Therapy isn’t for everyone but it’s a way forward to improve the massive amount of mental health issues that were never recognised for a long time.

Oli

Jan. 21, 2021, 3:03 p.m.

Thank you for the blog Lara. For me, I feel pretty flexible with the notion that effective therapy can be done in a few sessions. The idea that there is "NO short cut" or "quick fix" begs a question about volume of therapy. I don't have a dog in the race; my preference has long been to follow the evidence. There's a lot of convincing evidence for brief therapy in context, just as there is for longer form therapy.

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Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 10:01 p.m.

Agree Oli. Brief therapy has as much place here as longer term work. Apologies I didn't mention that in the blog but hope my intention came across.

Jul

Jan. 21, 2021, 3:06 p.m.

I've never ever had a good experience with therapy in that none has ever helped me and I've wasted so much money. In the UK therapists are expensive and only worth shelling out for one if s/he really helps. But in trying to find that person, one can end up spending so much money. I hate wasting money. I find Moodscope a form of therapy and it's all I need. Jul xx

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The Gardener

Jan. 21, 2021, 5 p.m.

Jul, I'm not a fan. At the worst of my depression my GP sent me to an excellent psychiatrist - our marriage was suffering as well. He told me I was not marriage 'material', don't know what is - ours lasted 64 years, despite me being a 'non-starter'!

Jul

Jan. 21, 2021, 5:14 p.m.

Interesting! Thanks for this Gardener. I don't like the phrase marriage material but hear it a lot. Jul xx

Jul

Jan. 21, 2021, 5:15 p.m.

I don't think I am marriage material but have been married for donkeys years! Jul. xx

Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 10:03 p.m.

Moodscope is a great support and one that I use daily and recommend to many others.

Patty

Jan. 21, 2021, 4:35 p.m.

I had a wonderful therapist for many years and then she retired. I felt she was a good fit for me. All business, very nice, kind and a good listener. Very professional. The one I have now is so different, im not sure she is for me. She says personal things about herself where with my other therapist, I didn't know if she had kids or any thing about her. I think that that is how it should be or maybe it's just because that is what I was used to. Therapy was helpful to me and I went according to how I was doing. I might check in every month or 2 for meds. Or go for 6 months without going. It was helpful to me as I began seeing her after I was in the hospital for anxiety and depression at age 23. It has raised it's head and gone through the years as I am now 60. I can't say I am at my best right now, but I will say therapy has been helpful to me in the past. I feel I justvhave to let it be.

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Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 10:06 p.m.

thanks for sharing Patty. Checking in can work really well for a lot of us. Remember you are the client and if it isn't working you can stop or choose again.

Quilec

Jan. 21, 2021, 5:36 p.m.

Perhaps some clarity around the words therapist, counsellor,psychiatrist and psychologist might be helpful.

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The Gardener

Jan. 21, 2021, 6:25 p.m.

Marigold, if you Google psychotherapist, then go to Wikipedia you can read for hours - a wide range of 'practices' and historical backgroun.

AndrewH

Jan. 21, 2021, 5:43 p.m.

I've seen a lot of pro and anti comments on therapists - which suggests like most professionals there are good and bad, plus you need the right one. Most, but not all, of my mental health issues stem from my cancer. I am "lucky" that the Haematology department at my hospital have two Psychotherapists attached who are used to working with people in my situation. Mine concentrates not on analysing the core issue, which would be pointless, but helping me to refocus my mind on other things. Thank you for an interesting blog Lara.

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The Gardener

Jan. 21, 2021, 6:28 p.m.

That's so practical, Andrew. When Mr G started Alzheimer's I was 'issued' with a mentor, a nurse/social worker trained in psychology - she would visit -mainly to see if I was coping, and to get help for me if I needed it (and if available, of course).

Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 10:08 p.m.

That's great Andrew that you had the support when you needed it with therapists that really understood your situation.

Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 10:10 p.m.

TG it is so important that the support is given when needed with illnesses. I hope it helped you at the time.

Anonymous

Jan. 21, 2021, 6:54 p.m.

I have had good therapy and not so good therapy. I’ve taken away a lot from both. From my experience I think it’s vital that the person is caring and understanding however many qualifications they have. Ideally experience themselves of mental health.

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Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 10:12 p.m.

We tend to be called "Wounded healers" as a lot of therapist ( myself included) have lived experience.

Hugo

Jan. 21, 2021, 8:31 p.m.

Hi Lara, I’ve recently finished 16 sessions doing CAT. Now I’ve never done this type of therapy and there has been times when I’ve left feeling more deflated than when I went in, however there has been times when I left feeling better. You are right, this has not got rid of the so demons so enveloping by depression but I must say it’s given me insight into how I think, it’s challenged it, made me more aware of my feelings, behaviours and thoughts. To say it’s been easy is a lie, there have been times when I’ve hated my therapist for bringing out the worse in me but maybe that is what’s needed. I definitely will carry on in some form or another..I’m on a 3 months processing bit, taking in all I’ve gone through in the sessions. I would say it’s important to give it a go, even though it will feel awful and strange as you untangle those thoughts and feelings that’s essentially making you miserable. Cured? No..far from it! I am more aware though and I guess that’s a step forward! Onwards and upwards I hope!

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Lara

Jan. 21, 2021, 10:15 p.m.

Hugo thank you for sharing. I hope you continue as you say in some form or another. There are a lot of charities and support groups around that may be worth having a look at. There will probably be more springing up after the last year

Bearofliddlebrain

Jan. 21, 2021, 10:27 p.m.

Dear Hugo, I’m so pleased you have been able to get such a long range of sessions and really hope that you can now spend the time processing what you have gone through. We often have to challenge the thoughts that are whirring around our minds and maybe learn to see them and let them go - and not let them be fed by our fears. It’s a great step forward and you should be proud you’ve got through it. Bear hugs x x x

Cyndi

Jan. 22, 2021, 12:27 a.m.

Thank you, Lara, for an interesting blog. Interesting good, not interesting bad. 15 months ago, I had reason to tell someone that they needed to speak to a therapist as loading their problems onto a "friend" was not doing either of them any favours. She had developed strong feelings for him and he was feeling drained and unable to stop helping her, in case it pushed her over the edge. It was only when I called her out on her behaviour that she agreed to do what he had been telling her to do for months (see a therapist) While it is one thing to share our pain or otherwise vent to a friend, we should not make the mistake of using this friend for all our woes. Therapists are trained to see the warning signs of inappropriate emotional attachment and are also better qualified to give us the advice we need.

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Daren

Jan. 24, 2021, 9:30 p.m.

“ This is where we go wrong in life. Don’t be sad, don’t cry, don’t get angry. Yes please do. If not, where do those feelings go? Stuffed down in layers of shame, guilt, fear and so many more until it becomes unbearable and will show itself in anxiety, depression and physical illnesses.” So true...

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Lara

Jan. 25, 2021, 1:21 p.m.

So glad it resonated. Thank you for replying

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