"Doing" and "Being" are different entities - realising this can help relationshi

"I have to warn you, I've heard relationships based on intense experiences never work." (Jack Traven, Speed) As a psychologist and coach, my mantra has always been "Awareness is half the story - it's what you DO with that information that counts".  For many years many schools of psychology have talked about the importance of realising the issues at hand.  Of course this is important, but if you do not then take steps to manage them, your life still feels stuck...exept you now know why.  (...and the "why" is immaterial because that bit can no longer change).  Therefore as a coach my focus is then on how you can navigate your next move forwards.  It never has to be big nor dramatic (in some ca

Love Island: a desperate need for healthy escapism in a 24/7 world

The ITV phenomenon "Love Island" has sauntered out of the water in its bathing suit for Season 5, and while it has drawn in a peak viewership of 3.7million (Glamour Magazine, 2019) it is as divisive as Marmite.  A simple facebook question found a lot of romance: "It’s my absolute guilty pleasure..." "It also gives us hope when love is found..." "...it does give me an insight on how young people relate to each other." ...and a lot of dumping: "Absolute gutter tv!" "...a load of adults that acted like school children." "...vapid people compete to be famous for doing nothing." (hashtag sourdough) You could say "It is what it is" - a simple form of entertainment and if you don't like it, just sw

Gaslighting: Signs, Symptoms and what you can do

Gaslighting is back in the news again.  It is essential we understand the damage that coercive relationships can have on our mental health. ORIGIN OF THE TERM “Gaslight”, promoted as a "Victorian thriller" told the story of one man's obsession with an old crime was written in the late 30's, made into two films and remains a favourite on the amateur circuit.  The protagonist return to the scene of a vicious crime he committed 20 years previously looking for a jewel he couldn’t find at the time, and he brings with him his wife who he is slowly, systematically manipulating to make her think she is going out of her mind.  The play suggests it is because she is the niece of the victim (giving him

Health issues are collective, it's time we recognise that

I came very late to the "Nashville" party...and it's been everything I could have hoped for - the bubbles of soap with a modern day twist - and rather fabulous acting from a musical cast.  Like many I've jumped onto the Avery/Juliette bandwagon - played by the insanely talented Jonathan Jackson and the superbly multi-faceted Hayden Panettiere, and while I've only reached the start of their relationship in Season 2 I am aware of the story arc which takes us down the road of post-partum depression. It is wonderful that dramas are tackling such subjects - Nashville addresses alcoholism, drug addiction (including how easy it is to spiral into and painful to claw yourself out), and homosexuality

Living in the present still means respect for the past

I wonder if it is so easy to say "It's fine" for >75 to have their free TV licence revoked, because they aren't as "visible" as they deserve to be? It's father's day in the UK today. My dad is flying to Malaysia to visit family.  I had to book his flights – with wheelchair assistance at the airports, a seat near the toilet, help with his limited vision. They are very helpful each time, and he often reports that he sometimes gets a discretionary gift bag if there is one left over from “First” at the end of the flight. I’m glad, of course, he’s my dad.  In my eyes he’s “king” and should be treated as such. I wonder what they see. I think they see a slow old man who walks with a stick and is le

Mindful relationships

The toughest part about relationships (intimate or otherwise) is that your behaviour, thoughts and emotions are affected by and have an impact on someone else. Yet, it is only your behaviour, thoughts and emotions which you can adapt, alter or assert. Being mindful of how our friendships feel to us can be an important part of maintaining our own emotional wellness. I recently spoke on the Chrissy B Show about how I am learning to live with the discomfort (or even guilt) that some people I was close to are no longer wanting to be close to me, OR are unhealthy for my wellbeing. Whether thinking about a business relationship, a romantic one, or a friendship, here are some questions to keep y

5 signs you’re dating someone who is really right for YOU!

It's usually around valentines day when I'm asked to give comments on relationships, and it's an area which I have also covered during my workshops. At the moment I'm being asked for my thoughts on Love Island, so I figured it was a good time to release a quick series of blogs on this topic. Making a relationship work is as much about being mindful, not only of your authentic feelings, but also of your interactions with your partner. Relationships take effort, but it doesn't have to be hard. Here are my top 5 signs that you've got a good 'un. You genuinely don’t care what other people think So she’s a little bit older than you; or maybe your upbringings are completely different; perhaps cul

People pleaser? You're 'people' too!

I am learning to be comfortable living in the knowledge that some people disapprove of me. This is not a “you can’t please everyone” feeling, the wider population aside, I often know exactly who isn’t feeling too kindly, and I’m ok with that…because I’m finally learning to embrace authenticity…and that means not everyone – in my own friendship circle – will like me all the time. I’ve grown up being a bit of a “people pleaser”. Just as an example, I’m generally the organiser, the instigator, the hub, and actually, 8 times out of 10 I love it – and because I’ve done it so much, I’m pretty good at it. However, I noticed over the last few years that it was becoming more of a habit…even a chore.

Never confuse the need to win with the need to be heard

Communication is only as good as the message that has been received. I run a workshop on communication, and even after we've covered the various means of communicating, the unconscious signals we might be giving off, and the levels of listening, I'm still unsure how much gets through without constant practice. Any omission is my problem - my "go-to" methods are teaching (speaking), and writing (as you can see), and while I try to pepper those forms of expression with activity, interaction and humour (perhaps you would differ), my preferences of expression may not be yours of attention.  That's simply the first issue. The second is what happens if the message doesn't get through. In my case I

"You're so lucky" is sometimes a case of paying it forward

"I was slap in the right place at the perfect time Filled a gap, I was lucky But one thing I'll say for me No-one else can fill it like I can" (Evita - Andrew Lloyd Webber) I'm not the only person who has heard the words "You're so lucky..."; "It's ok when you're privileged..."; "You always land on your feet..."; "It's great if you know people..." used in place of a simple "well done".  Many people I coach - especially those who admit (like me) to having a twinge of "imposter syndrome" have reported similar experiences. I lost 2 stone over 6 months last year. It's not that much when you think about it - not compared to people who have achieved more in less time.  But people always acknowledg

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