As do most practitioners, I like to keep up with the newest information in topics within the world of counselling and psychotherapy. This week, I have finished my latest read which was a great book by Mark Widdowson, on the topic of Depression. I didn’t really know what I was in for when I began the book. Depression is a topic that we all learn about when we are studying, and I think I was hoping for a pathway, a guide to a better way of being with a client who shows signs of depression or for someone who has been diagnosed as suffering from depression. I want to be effective with clients. I want to be helpful and useful, not just making my way around the subject getting to know the client as we do and using our usual skills. Those skills are good, no doubt, but I wanted to read something that is actually useful as well as expanding my knowledge on the subject. To be up to date, to be innovative and to be clear and concise.  It delivered……..

As therapists, when a client sits in front of us, it’s always good to think, ‘what am I missing’ as we are never just sitting listening, never just passive waiting for information. We are listening in between the lines, under the sentence over the meaning and right the way through to the part that the client feels important to them. We don’t judge or make that happen but we are ready when it does. Information helps that process, knowledge of the subject is useful but even better vast knowledge of the subject can be game changing. Thats why therapists are always reading, attending classes, and attending conferences and seminars, to gain extra knowledge about as many subjects as they can, because people with many subjects walk through the therapist door.

To read a book that is helpful, up to date, deep in its knowledge that takes the reader far past the usual learning but keeps the material uncomplicated so that the reader can keep up, is settling and calming, rather than frustrating and hopeless. Some books are so difficult to read that they become ‘work’ instead of ‘pleasure’ to read. Not so for this book. I found it pleasing, satisfying and a book that should be kept for reference on many things such as medication, key therapeutic processes and neuroscience of depression. I feel as if I have truly learned something new and the information I learned is right up to date. I feel informed more in the therapy room and sit with the feeling that I have knowledge of the subject matter far more than basic and together with the individual tailoring of the therapy for each client, the huge subject matter of depression is processing in my head and ready for use as a new skill set for my practice.

Some of the topics were so interesting:

How different a treatment plan looks now that I have this information

Considering the biological side to depression and using it in the therapy room

Medication knowledge and the considerations they require.

Transactional Analysis for Depression: A step by step Treatment Manual by Mark Widdowson

Things I already knew, but now in much greater depth.

Does what it says on the tin…

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Peer groups, any thoughts?

I’m wanting to start a peer group. I have had the thought for a while now as I think its such a good idea. I am willing to build it up gradually to be able to end up with the right people, those who want to commit and contribute. I would like your input on this please. Thoughts, ideas, pros and cons etc…

I’m just a little too excited about the idea to be level headed until I go away from this keyboard and get back to other things.

I’ll look in to comments here tomorrow and see what thoughts have brought you to your keyboards and ideas we share to make things happen and/or make things better…


Get back to me!!                                                                                                                         Debbie,

Liverpool Therapies (facebook/twitter/, however you like

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The Power of Positive Thinking

The power of positive thinking is only just being recognised as a real entity. It is true that you are your thoughts and your actions follow those thoughts into making things possible.  It is clear that people follow their thoughts and so we should be careful of what those thoughts are. Those thoughts direct your life. Your life is run by your thoughts and feelings. The feelings are the engine of why you would like to not do things, and your thoughts are the engine for your day to day directions.

A person who has positive thoughts about the possibilities of their lives will have more positive things in their life because that is want they surround themselves with.  It seems too simple to be correct but the simplest things in life are usually the most successful. The simplest designs are the ones that become classics.

I know someone who saw a gypsy when they were young. The gypsy told him that he would never be rich but that was ok because for some reason or another and he would always be ok.  When he told me the story, I asked him about what she had said, he replied “well yeah she’s probably right but I keep going with the thought that she said I’ll always be ok”.  I asked him, ” Would you do lots of training for a highly paid job to be rich?”  He replied, “What would be the point if I’m never get gonna get the good job at the end cos I’m never gonna be rich? but I know I’ll be ok”.

I had asked him in the beginning of that conversation about what he thought about gypsy information and did he believe in what they said and he told me that he didn’t really think what they say could be true as “they don’t know you and how could they know the future!”. As we went through the conversation above, it appeared to me that his inside (subconscious) had listened to the gypsy even though his outside (conscious) had dismissed it.

I could clearly see a parallel between what parents say to children and the gypsy story and it shows how careful we should be about telling our children (or anyone for that matter) who they are and who they are not; what they are capable of and what they are not.  No-one knows who they will be, and in my humble view, it would be nice if we don’t try to squash whatever they will be, with words that can stop, and actions that can suppress whatever would have been without those words or actions.

Not all positive words or behaviours need to be ‘wonderful, or simply terrific’ they can be thought about and given a moment to re-organise the sentence or behaviour, so that it is not negative. We can support and ‘be there’ even without words. In my opinion a good gauge to interact with others is the I’m OK, You’re OK model which is simple and effective to manage even on a day to day level as it just requires one thought…

Are we speaking as equals…or in other words…(has he/she left me feeling less than her or have I left him feeling less than me).

Here we can see all four position possibilities of I’m OK, You’re OK:


im ok your ok

Having an I’m OK, You’re OK position is a positive thinking person’s way of being and can bring all kinds of new ideas to the table in a work environment and can massively help with personal relationships. If we can put ourselves in the other person’s shoes when we are speaking, then it is easy to keep this in mind. A person would think that being in a one up position is good but it rarely yields the outcome that people require. Having a positive atmosphere with everyone in that conversation is beneficial to all. We are not gypsies and we don’t need to mould attitudes to a one down position. Positive thoughts can be realistic, there are two sides to lots of things, lets see if we can try the side that takes us forward, not holds us back.

Positive thoughts make an openness for positive behaviour and small changes can get big results.

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A time for Personal Adventure

Thinking about my own personal journey recently, the journey itself has made me so glad that I decided to ‘dip my toe into the water’ of getting to know myself better (when I thought that I already knew myself quite well), getting to know my potential better, and learning much more about what I really wanted out of my life. This became especially clear when it came to interacting with other people, but especially beginning to interact and listen to my inner self, the one I had ignored for so long as I appeared to be so busy, so cool and calm on the surface that I wasn’t actually dealing with the emotions in the history of my life that I should have gradually processed along the way…but never did.

Once I had given myself a little time and attention, I realised how much I had just absorbed without processing, how much that hidden hurt or stress had influenced decisions I had made and I began to feel relieved of those held, hidden events and began to process them and clear them out, leaving me feeling free of them and happier from doing so. Some things were easy to bring to mind, some things came from further back in my history and took a little longer. It all happened in my own time not rushed by me, or anyone else, thoughts and feelings wandered out when they were ready to.

My therapy was so useful. I found that sitting with someone who listens, really listens, not judging or rushing you, is a lovely feeling; its refreshing and soothing, its peaceful yet exciting at times. Sometimes it can bring apprehension, sometimes not. Sometimes we need to look for the light at the end of the tunnel of thoughts and feeling that are slowly revealed but once through the tunnel, the rewards are clear, most definitely clear.

What it does bring is growth, growth in us for yourself, growth in us for being with others and how we spend time and interact with others.

Now I am a therapist and love every minute of it…

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Relationship workshops.

Can’t emphasise how much this could change your perspective on how you will deal with relationships and how much it could help you. With the understanding of how it all works and the practice in the groups, it will help your personal growth and your ability to be in relationships.

The workshops will have:

-group sessions for personal growth

-handouts with what people get caught up on in a relationship

-practices for working through issues

-how to say what you really want to say

-what makes a good relationship

-how to maintain a relationship

-homework books on request



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Are our emotions complex?

It’s difficult to realise that we are governed by chemicals and electrical currents, but we are. What they do though is so important to our day today living. If we recognise what is causing how we feel that day and how our body is reacting, we can literally change that feeling by inputting new chemicals and changing how we feel.

Easy? No but not impossible.

The most typical example I can think of is anxiety (See previous post on anxiety in depth).

What we have to realise is that the chemicals have no eyes on the world (not with the reality of the world, just with the reality of you), but what they do have is your reactions, and which chemicals they send next, from your reactions, depends on you.

You can feel anxious about a situation in the beginning but then teach yourself to realise that its actually OK and there is no need to be anxious, its just your chemicals getting you ready for something in case something happens, then when you have realised whats really going on, you will release another set of chemicals that soothes the anxiety.

If we say to ourselves…

‘I can’t change my thinking to change my chemicals’,

then you’ll be right, they won’t change, why? because you aren’t changing your thinking and therefore your chemicals. We need to remember that there is no one else or nothing else involved in this process.

This is you telling your brain what to do so if you say you can’t, then you can’t. No one is silly for unconsciously keeping tactics that were used years and years and years ago, like a helplessness feeling of a child that there is no choice, but it would be nice to change those tactics to something that is useful to you today as an adult and in your future.

Easy? no, we are all in the same boat in the beginning, thinking that there is no choice, but then we realise that it is possible but we need to teach ourselves how to become aware that there is a choice.

A life time’s thoughts aren’t changed in a day, it takes practice and we all know how to practise as we do it all the time with the anxiety chemicals, over and over again, practising and practising. The more we practise something the stronger it becomes. The anxiety chemicals are so well practised that they are strong, heart racing, fear jerking and released so many times that they are now practised to perfection, ready for action at a seconds notice.

May be its time to practice the other chemicals and see what happens. What about other people, other situations…? No change there. They don’t change, just you but it was only ever the chemicals you own, control, and practice.

Tell the chemicals that can’t see reality what is really going on. Say what you see to your brain. Let your brain know that it’s scaring you because you had a fright or that you’re nervous about something and that its OK to be nervous about something and to stand down from being on alert. If you don’t tell your brain, it won’t know.

Practise, practise, practise… be patient with yourself, you know its possible because you’ve already successfully practised the anxiety chemicals, its time to practise the soothing ones.

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Making a good conversation…

When we attempt to make a good conversation, what are the things that we think about? Do we try and be humorous? That’s usually quite a pleasant chat. Do we want to have a deep conversation? It great to talk about things in depth.

What really is important though is how you interact with the person, not what just you have to say. Actually, its not just what you have to say but the way you say it and the reasons why you chose those particular words. What is relevant to a conversation is that all those within the conversation are held as being OK as much as you are yourself. This sounds a bit silly but you’ll find that if you take this fact into account when having a conversation, it will go better if you make sure you still to the good guide of ‘I’m OK, you’re OK’. Below is a diagram of this in action…

im ok your ok

When someone takes a one up position, the other person or other people in the conversation are not wanting to be in a one down position and they won’t feel comfortable. The same goes for anyone interacting with others and not taking the importance of the one up or one down position.

These one up/one down positions are very important in ones whole life even from a very young age. If parents have been dominating they will have taken a one up position making the child feel as if they are saying ‘I’m OK (parent) you’re not OK (child), or if a child has been brought up by uncaring or inconsistent parents, although the child doesn’t take the one up position they can feel like ‘I’m OK , You’re not OK as they feel unsafe or vulnerable instead of having the feeling of safety and security around their parents.

The I’m OK, You’re OK model should be kept in mind if you want to have good relationships with others. A mutual respect can be valued more than most other things within a conversation.

At the end of a conversation can you say to yourself…yes I left the conversation feeling OK and I feel that I left the other person feeling OK too? Good, you reached I’m OK, You’re OK.


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Nature, like it or not…

Whether you’re a city person or a country person, most people find being outdoors somewhere pleasant beneficial to them and their health.

Actually, it has been found to be beneficial to both our physical and mental health.

Going to a park, being in the garden/yard, spending the day in the countryside. If we can do those things then great, but what if we don’t live by a park etc? Well lets go into why we need to have nature to be healthy. What does it do for us? If we can’t get close to nature where we live, can we get second best thing by knowing what nature does for us?

Maybe we can make do with what we do have…

Do we have natural light? Do we have an outdoor space of any size? Do we have a place to sit and be quiet?

Nature is calming, grounding and most times interesting. Most of all it gives you time. Time for you, time to consider, to be… instead of do. Nature doesn’t judge or demand speed.

How about if you just get yourself a little bit of time to breath, to listen to your own heart beat for a moment, to connect your mind and your body again and be with yourself for a while. Five minutes isn’t a massive amount of time but its a massive amount of important time for your well being. No huge organising, planning etc, just find somewhere safe that’s near to you that is the closest thing to the ideal outdoors that you’d wish for, and take five minutes for yourself….


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Its hard to know where to start with the topic of Dementia. It affects people in such an individual way but with common threads that are recognisable to anyone who has known Dementia.
Dementia is not something that affects a single individual it is something that happens to an individual which affects whole families/loved ones.
There are stages to Dementia, there are up and downs on the path to where it is going. Just when you think that you have a handle on what’s going on, it has advanced and you are on the back foot again, needing to learn what to do now, today…and tomorrow. How to cope with this unknown, how to care for this loved one and the unknown that now comes with them. It is difficult for the person with Dementia t deal with this for themselves, but it is also so very difficult for the partner/family member or friend who is looking after their loved one.
Its often found that the main carer is lonely, run down or simply exhausted from the new requirements of life. Becoming educated on the subject of Dementia is a good starting point. It tends to alleviate the guilt feeling that occur when frustration for the loved one, and guilt for feeling angry at the loved one start to come into thoughts but reading about how natural that is does make it better on the person. We are all human not just the loved one. We do need to be compassionate on ourselves as well as the person we are looking after. We’re not superhuman, we have feelings, we get tired and we get hurt by the things that are happening around us. and that’s OK. When we feel frustrated, make sure that the person is safe and take a ten minute break to get yourself back together, count to ten and try and start the thing you were trying to do again. If this doesn’t work, you need to zone out for a moment and gather your thoughts that way.
One of the main things to keep you grounded is to remember not to take it personally. Whatever is going on, whatever is being said, you know that you are doing your best and that is good enough. Sometimes… nothing you’ll do is ‘good enough’ on that day and that is the type of day they are having, not the type of day you nee d to have. It sounds ridiculous really to say those things as if it was as easy as that… but it can be done. No-one is saying that its easy…but it can be done. To zone out and take your own pace, not to panic as if the loved ones ‘orders’ are the end of the world. Zoning out and allowing yourself to have your own thoughts for a while is looking after yourself and that’s OK.

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Liverpool Therapies

Liverpool Therapies, my Psychotherapy practice.


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