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Archives for July, 2010

Existential Issues

Finding Hope: ‘The Instillation of Hope’ in Therapy and in Life

Serendipity’s a mysterious thing.
A couple of years ago, I was walking alone along a coastal track, climbing sandstone headlands and weaving through the bushes with a problem on my mind. I’d come out here to think it over, to find a solution. But it seemed intractable.

Just at the point where I could see no way through, I happened to look up, and saw the view in the photo above:

hope’… the sky...
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Bereavement Therapy

How Might We Grieve in a Death-Denying Society? (Part 2)

In the last blog post (Part 1) on grieving, we looked at how western grief theory is gradually evolving to allow for the idea of ‘continuing bonds’.
Instead of insisting that you must simply ‘learn to let go’ of the person you love after their death (as many of the earlier theories suggested), this idea of continuing bonds allows you to forge an ongoing relationship with them – even despite...
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Bereavement Therapy

How Might We Grieve in a Death-Denying Society? (Part 1)

Death is making its presence felt around me at the moment; in my work, in my family, in my circle of friends. So I’m thinking a lot about grieving, and the challenges of doing it in a society that would rather forget about death altogether.
Not so long ago, we generally did our dying at home, surrounded by the people we loved and the places we knew.

Now, more often than not, in the...
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Learning to Walk Without Your Emotional Crutches

The other day, I passed a woman on the street who was gingerly walking along with a bit of a limp and only one crutch. It seemed unusual, as crutches so often tend to travel in pairs. And it made me think about our emotional crutches.

So often, these emotional kinds of crutches get a bad rap. I can’t count the times I’ve heard or read about how we ‘should’ be giving them up,...
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Setting Boundaries: How Mending Your (De)fences Can Keep Your Relationships Healthy

A couple of years ago, the house I live in was broken into, and some personal things were stolen. The person (or people) who did this got in through the back door. And the thing that made it that much easier for them was that the back gate to the property didn't quite shut properly.

I’d known about this for some time, but somehow the fencing never seemed a priority to fix – until...
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Existential Therapy

How Accepting Your Own Ageing Can Enrich Your Life

Strand by strand, my hair is going grey. And, strand by strand, I am trying to let it.

Trying to resist the social pressure to pretend to be younger than I am, and to stop injecting more colour, where colour naturally wants to recede.

(Strange that ‘dying’ our hair aims to make us look younger, as though we’re keeping our age, and therefore perhaps our own dying, at bay…).

If you believe the...
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Climbing the Steps from Depression to Mindfulness

Sometimes it seems there are things to ponder everywhere – interesting messages and metaphors just waiting to be seen in the right light (or to be seen at all).

This notice, for instance – ‘Mind your step’ – is one I’ve walked past hundreds of times in various train stations without a second glance.

But the other day, for some reason, it ‘spoke’ to me.

For the first time, I realised that with a...
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How Questions Can Help You Begin a New Life Chapter

Where to begin?

It’s a question that crops up at the start of many therapy sessions, at many phases of life, and it’s here, too, at the start of this blog.

In therapy, it can sometimes feel like you have to bring the ‘big stuff’ first, and set-off from there. To have a set plan or a problem to present to the therapist. Every single time.

But, intriguingly, it often turns out...
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