An edited Connect and Belong page

I’ve just been adding to the page for the Community Family Centres (CFC) ideas. I will eventually get to put all of it on this page….

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Group Therapy

Thank you for those who have been in touch regarding group therapy. We are now full for this group.

Group started in June and will continue for one year wherein the members of the group have committed to attend the group for that length of time as swapping and changing members is not really the aim for the group to come together and get to know each other. For the group to run as needed there has to be some consistency and expectation that all members will be attending for most of the sessions.

Group therapy is very useful for social practice, learning our own processes, and dealing with life in a way that is more comfortable to our inner self.

If we do continue to receive enquiries at the rate we have, we will make plans to start another group. This group would probably begin around November time.

If you are interested, submit an enquiry through this website or go to the Liverpool Therapies Facebook page and send a message, thanks

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New podcasts coming up

Part of the ‘In my opinion…‘ series

Boundaries podcast, find it here

We’ll talk about how boundaries are important in every part of your life


Self care

It’s not about putting yourself first…or last


It’s never the event, it’s the meaning

It’s not what happened, it’s what it meant to you


Present yourself as you want to be treated

People don’t know how you are, only who you show them


Arguing isn’t shouting

knowing how to argue is worth learning


I’ll let you know when they’re available!


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Want to try it?

I wanted to bring something up that I feel is very important. It’s about how we talk to ourselves. How do you talk to yourself? Are you nice to yourself when you have that internal conversation? Sometimes I feel that people think what they say to themselves doesn’t matter, as if what they say wouldn’t affect them. I’d just like to say that you can hear you, and every single word is heard and every single word affects you. If you are nice or at least fair with yourself in those internal conversations then good, and I’m so glad to hear that.

For those who are a little less nice in those internal conversations, I’d like to make a deal with you. A little experiment if you like. Something for you to try even if you don’t believe it will make a difference…

Let’s try this…

If you wouldn’t say it to someone else, don’t say it to yourself

Will you try it?

One week, just one week of sticking by that rule

Please try it….

Things to think about…

Why wouldn’t you say it to someone else? Is it because how it would make them feel? How would they feel?

But you don’t think it would affect you?

…and you say these things to yourself every day?

and expect no affect, even though you know it would affect others

Go on, give it a try

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What do you do about your anxiety?

Anxiety, it’s tough, it’s upsetting, sometimes we don’t know what to do with it, sometimes when we talk about it, it sounds like its a separate entity. Anxiety is often explained as if its is separate from us, as if its not our own system functioning for us, being spoken about as if it’s in control.

Have we forgotten that we are in charge and what we think, happens? If we aren’t in control of it, who is? Is it in control? No, but it makes us think like that! The anticipation of it is horrible, the thought of it is scary and overwhelming.

It sounds harsh to be writing as if its easy to get rid of it, as if it’s simple to change how you think. How do we cope with a thought pattern that we don’t like? What do we do to help ourselves when these thoughts happen?

Take a breath, give yourself that moment you need. Be kind to yourself. Do you think these things don’t matter? Yes they do….

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A Process Group

Hi everyone, I been thinking about what was really useful to me when I was training and beyond, and I keep coming back to one of the most therapeutic and supportive things, a  peer process group. There were actually fourteen of us in the group to begin with but a few people decided that the training was not for them and decided to leave the course, and along with that was also leaving the group for process.

What is a process group? Its a group of people who mutually find out how their processes work and become aware of how they think and say things, how they receive information when talking to others and how we react to that information. Sounds obvious that we already know how we process information and behave accordingly? Then everyone is sorted then! no problems for anyone at all! great!

How aware are we that we are defensive, offensive, withdrawn, shaming, have hidden sadnesses that quietly drive our defence systems, feel lost and don’t know why, feel angry all the time and don’t know why….. all of these we do in the world, but process group let us do it in a controlled way and in a safe space where everyone is in the same boat and here for the same purpose.

What is that purpose?

To become aware and practice within the group and then take that new awareness out into the world and to your relationships and to your workplace but mostly for you to know and feel happier within yourself because of the awareness, because of the release of old feelings, because of the freedom from your old ways that caused you trouble or heartache.

There are rules to group work and boundaries to learn about. These things are to your benefit as we take these things out of the group and into the world. Some weeks you’ll be sad as you uncover an old feeling, sometimes you’ll be proud of yourself as you realise what you actually have achieved considering what you may or may not have gone through. The rules are very simple; mutual respect (everyone has an opinion and no-one is better than anyone else regardless of where they come from, what they do for a living), let the person finish what they are saying regardless of how long that takes (as you’ll have your turn to do the same plenty of times), and speak without shaming or intimidation.

Sounds easy? Great!

Once the lockdown has finished and we all get back down normal and have settled back in, I would like to organise a group for process that includes anyone who wants to join. The group meetings would be held in Liverpool.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts on this. Would anyone be interested?


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Self Compassion

Self Compassion, do we even think about it?

If we do what we regard as wrong, how do we deal with it to ourselves. How far do we go to make ourselves feel bad. Would we speak like that to anyone else?

I want to investigate what goes on when we deal with a mistake, or a bad thing, or a repeated (what we think is a) flaw in our character. Let’s pick a scenario where we can explore self compassion (or non-self compassion as the case may be). Let’s pick a few common examples…

  • A person is in work and for the moment it’s fine; its at a good pace and nothing is stressing them out. All of a sudden, lots of work comes in. This person is already a worrier, anxious/ stressed. The person then goes into panic mode and can’t do the job properly (they think). Afterwards they go into the staff room and begin to tell themselves off for being so stupid…again!

This person is shouting at themselves in their own head…”What will people think!   Why can’t you just be normal like everyone else?! What’s wrong with you!”


  • Your friend is in work and for the moment it’s fine; its at a good pace and nothing is stressing them out. All of a sudden, lots of work comes in. This friend is already a worrier, anxious/stressed. Your friend then goes into panic mode and can’t do the job properly (they think). Afterwards they go into the staff room and you follow and begin to tell your friend off for being so stupid… again!

Your shouting at your friend, “what will people think!  Why can’t you just be normal like everyone else! What’s wrong with you!”


Lets try another scenario…

  • I go on a date, I sit there with my coat fastened up, anxious and just smiling. I know that I’m not full to the brim with confidence and the thing in the front of my head is that I have no confidence, it’s probably not going to turn out well, and that I didn’t want this anyway. We have a few drinks and he’s quite nice…well he’s ok. I don’t really know if he’s quite nice because he’s not saying much! I get home and I’m so disappointed with myself that I was just so unconfident, so stupid for thinking I should go in the first place! I didn’t even know what to say! So stupid, what was I thinking!


  • My friend goes on a date, she sits there with her coat fastened up, anxious and just smiling. I know that she’s not full to the brim with confidence and so she thinks that it won’t turn out well and might feel she doesn’t want to feel so uncomfortable anyway. She gets home and she’s so disappointed in herself. I say to her…”It’s your fault for being so unconfident, you’re so stupid for thinking that you should go in the first place, you didn’t even know what to say when you got there! You’re so stupid, what were you thinking!”


So, there are two situations above, in both scenarios, one part is with the person telling themselves off or disliking themselves or actually beginning to hate themselves for  “the way they are” and the other part is if it happened to a friend of yours and you were saying those same words to them. Do you think that you would talk to your friend like that at all? What bit of that would be ok with you, to talk to a friend like that, when they were already in panic mode and stressed, or were already feeling really bad about themselves being unconfident and uncomfortable putting themselves out there? Are we saying to them that they are right and it is their fault that they are anxious and they need to be shouted at? Are we saying that she is actually stupid to be unconfident and uncomfortable and needs to be shouted at to become more confident and more comfortable? Is that what should happen?

If we don’t think it’s right that we do it to a friend, why are we doing it to ourselves?

What can we imagine that shouting does to someone who is already in a state?

What can we imagine that the inner shouting at yourself does to you when you are already in a state?

Thinking about it, do you think that’s fair? We do hear ourselves say those things to ourselves and it effects us as if someone else said them to us.

What would be nice is kindness in our self talk, a bit of self compassion. We can talk to ourselves with the same kindness as we do to our friends.  Even if we make a mistake, we can treat ourselves as we treat others.

This is not about washing over what happened, it’s about not being mean to yourself. We don’t need to do it, but all too often we do. Instead we can accept that we lose our focus sometimes when we get stressed out and don’t need to see ourselves as if we are different to anyone else because actually, lots and lots of people lose their focus when they become stressed (it’s part of being in anxiety) and that’s ok; we don’t need to shout at ourselves for being human, we don’t have to judge ourselves on our high expectations that no-one else expects, as they don’t expect superhuman from us, only we expect that.


We don’t have to go from one end of the spectrum to the other, what’s in the middle?

Taking no responsibility at all<——————————————->expecting to be superhuman

A few examples would be…

It’s ok not to be perfect

I realise no-one expects me to be perfect as they already know they’re not

I realise that if things go wrong or things happen,  I don’t actually need to beat myself up,  I just need to learn, like everyone else and to know that’s ok

Why am I expecting myself to do more or be more than everyone else; I know my job, I do my job, I take responsibility for what I do and I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

So, above are some of the things that can be in the middle; not big criticism, not big lack of responsibility either, just reality. These things don’t give comfort as if whatever happened didn’t happen, but it doesn’t criticise either. 


It’s not about beating yourself up because your not super confident and not totally comfortable in new company and unknown circumstances, its about recognising that there are more unconfident people in the world than those with confidence…and that’s ok too.

Let’s be kind to ourselves because being mean to ourselves doesn’t help us in the learning and the progress of accepting who we are and being able to progress into the people we want to grow into.

I’m not talking about putting ourselves first, I’m talking about being equal and including ourselves in the group of people we care about. (please think about this for a moment and realise how important it is)

Being kinder to yourself is the first step, it takes our defences down a little and helps us be more helpful to ourselves rather than be stuck in the cycle of self criticism which isn’t helpful in our personal growth. Try it if you want to, you’ll be surprised!

There are other parts to self compassion too but this isn’t a book, it’s a blog,  so I’ll stop there for now.








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What are Boundaries?

I think a large issue for clients to be confused about is Boundaries. No surprise really because some don’t know the difference between rules and boundaries. When we begin to talk about boundaries, people say,  ” I don’t like confrontation” and when I say no confrontation required for boundaries, they look confused. When we began to learn things, we were very small children, we had no power of our own, and the incoming information for a child appears to be a one way system. As children we hear things such as, “Do as you’re told”….”do as I say”… “no you can’t do whatever or be whatever, you’ll do what we want”.

There are few choices to fulfil our own needs when we are young children and sometimes we don’t realise, as we grow to become adults, that those sentences don’t apply to us any more. Those sentences are caught within all of the other sentences of what we can and can’t do in life, as if all of the things that are ever said to us as children, are all bungled into one thing that we must follow. As adults we can choose, we can analyse what was relevant then, and what may not be relevant for us as an adult now.

Unless we saw rules in action, and saw boundaries in action, we wouldn’t know the difference and that’s fine, but there’s no reason not to start learning now as an adult with all the inner power and the choices that an adult has.

Boundaries are so important to every part of our lives. Boundaries are tied up in our confidence, our self worth and our values of self and others.

From when we are small, we are told that pain is a bad thing, mostly physical pain, for instance, don’t go near the fire, don’t touch the cooker hob etc. Are we applying that instruction to everything including psychological hurts and pains?  Pain is unpleasant yes, but is it a bad thing? What would make it a bad thing? From all of the other messages we get from our body, why is pain seen as bad, pain holds an important message just as all the other messages from our body do. Some are unpleasant but all are informing us of a truth. If it’s something unpleasant, we tend not to want to have it; and therefore a truth that we should have been informed about is lost. Instead we hold our defences close in the don’t do this and don’t say that and in doing so, compromise ourselves by crushing our own boundaries and let other people place their needs in front of ours.

Boundaries involve how we see ourselves and how valuable we see our time with ourselves and others. Whether we give our time when we didn’t want to, or whether we didn’t join in with something and enjoy that time when we could have done and wanted to. Its our choice to have our time however we want it. It not like someone who has realised they can have boundaries between themselves and the world suddenly turns into a mean and thoughtless person; it just means that you stop being that about yourself. Boundaries come from the inside and we can learn that we have a right to have what we want just as much as everyone else can.

We can learn that how we are, can have an impact on others around us. If we have people around us that don’t value what we want, and we don’t show any signs of boundaries, they start to re-evaluate who they are dealing with,  an example of that is that as people with no boundaries tend to be with people with no boundaries and as you don’t show any, they don’t have to cater for yours. Can you imagine how nice it would be to start getting boundaries and realise that you get new people around you, who are attracted by the boundaries you have because they have them too. Eventually clients change their friends (or how they’re treated by their friends) and they can start enjoying friendships so much more. I mean that those who walk over boundaries, may have needs for themselves but it requires both people to be equal and be seen as equal. For that to happen, both parties need to be seen as equal by the other but most importantly by themselves.

So what stops people feeling equal to another person by the time we are an adult? Well, the reasons can be very long depending on the person’s background. Some of the reasons can be, for example, from a bad school experience, or a bad home experience, whether it be from another person, or how we start to see ourselves from our own inner voice about who we think we are from something that happened. We hold onto experiences, we make defences from any pain and hurt and then we formulate who we can appear to be from then on. Defences are clever, careful and successful most of the time; however we can keep in mind that they are always in service of you in doing the job that they came to help you with. So therefore boundaries may seem like they are about today/the here and now, but mostly, its about something that’s happened previously that influences how your are about yourself today. Bad experiences can sometimes make us forget that we are ok as a person and that we are good and kind, that we are not perfect and are not expected to be (although cruelly, we can expect ourselves to be perfect) and that there is no perfect.

Therapy can be a wonderful place to explore what lays beneath the wonderful defences within a slowly paced, safe environment, where your defences feel ok enough, to feel that slower pace to be able to think and feel, and the safe environment where the defence feels the same thing won’t happen again to your feelings; the feelings that brought those defences to you in the first place.

You don’t have to go to therapy for that safe space, if you have a person that is non judgemental, holds your feelings safe with you and gives you time and space to explore what going on without alerting your defences, then you have found an environment that can help you. Therapist are trained to listen and use experience to maybe see where the situation is going in the moment but a good calm friend/person who you totally trust for this stuff can also be a good talking partner for you. If you feel like you are having feelings that you can’t cope with on your own, talk to someone.

We may feel when our boundaries have been broken by ourselves or another and we get a feeling inside that doesn’t feel nice. When the feeling switches from I’m helping, to I’m being used, it doesn’t go un-noticed by our body, that feeling is something we can learn to read and notice.

If we get to an argument or to confrontation, we can guess that a boundary has already been broken for things to get that far. If I said to you, “present yourself how you want to be treated”, what would that emotionally bring for you? Would that scare you and bring great fear, or would it make you feel all nice and giddy with thoughts or how nice that would be. If my next question was, “what do you think is stopping you doing that?” What would come up for you then? ok so those little questions have gone into your head, lets leave them there to do their own thing. I want to leave them there for now because let’s be careful here, we don’t want to get those big feelings popping up to you all over again so lets distract ourselves for a moment and realise something, if you feel like you have very few boundaries, or indeed you have no boundaries then you are not alone and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you at all. Looking around the world, or your family, or yourself, how many people do you guess have poor boundaries around themselves and others? millions!

Having no boundaries is not something to worry about, however, wouldn’t it be nice if we could feel equal enough with other people to just ask for what we want, or say gently and clearly about things we don’t want. Wouldn’t it be nice to not feel annoyed with ourselves by hearing ourselves say yes when we wanted to say no, or saying no when we wanted to say yes; to feel an equalness from others by how they don’t step on our boundaries. I have to say though, it would take fantasy for them to know what we wanted if we don’t tell them. It would be wonderful if they just didn’t stepover our boundaries but that would be difficult because we haven’t said what they are, and everyone’s boundaries are their own according to what they want. We are accountable for what people know about our needs. If we don’t say, in an adult accountable and calm way, others don’t know. It would be wonderful in an ideal world if we told people nothing but they guessed correctly what we wanted or needed every time, that would be fantastic but we don’t live in an ideal mind-reading world and people will try to guess by what they do see and know of you, hence my question about presenting yourself how you want to be treated. Is presenting yourself how you want to be treated easy?,  well that’s when we go to the next question. So yes, we all feel vulnerable and that’s ok, vulnerability is another message from inside reminding you of how your feeling about that thing and that’s ok too; no outside force, just you listening to you, which is good. No pressure, no rush, just you. You can distract yourself from those feelings or not, you can let a tiny bit of that message come to you, or not; you’re in total control. You can leave it where it is but acknowledge that the feeling is there, all of it is up to you. If you think that there is something there, then yes contact a therapist in a safe environment where you can gently unpack it, or go see that friend to off load some of it, either way, make sure you are looking after yourself and recognising your emotional state for what it is, a message.

This podcast is not therapy, its not a therapist or a good friend, but it may help you know that you are not alone, that you are in the company of millions of people who are maybe influenced about some previous experience or a lack of awareness that we, as adults, can choose, and we are all just people doing our best at the time we need to do something…and that’s ok because actually that’s what everyone else is doing whether it looks like that or not. How those fears and hurts come out and show is boundaries or the lack of them. Its not bad, its just not useful to you. Where that situation emotionally sends you, is not useful to you, not emotionally connecting for you, not generally helpful for you.

Do we have to start immediately having boundaries with everyone after listening to this, no, but we could start by thinking about and gradually practicing, quietly within ourselves about what we could say or do. We can begin to be aware of what our boundaries may be, if we begin with the internal voice, the conversation that we can have with ourselves before we ever put it out there to others. We could start to think about what it may be like to feel differently in that situation. That would be a great start.  Boundaries are choice, choice of how we want to be treated but for that, we don’t need to look at other people, we need to look at ourselves first. Why would we look at another person’s treatment of us when we are not treating ourselves well. It all starts with us. If you think its only courtesy not to plough through a boundary, why are you doing it, to yourself? Boundaries are not so easy when your not doing how you would like to be treated but expect others to. Boundaries are wonderful things, they keep us honest and open with our needs, they are safe for others too as they realise the clarity in which you are gently telling them what you want and don’t want and how nice that is for them to know those needs of yours. When there is no guessing what you may want or not want because you say what you want and don’t want, it’s refreshing for them not to be thinking whether they should be doing this or saying that. Its so surprising for many people to realise that they are not going to get the same reactions that we did as children or even in school, and that when we say what we want, we get answers from adults that are hearing what we are saying, understanding our reasons and are very happy to go along with your clear concise, reasonable request or reply. It can be amazing to learn that these other people fully acknowledge that you have needs and are listening to what they are. When you are with others that have boundaries, it’s easy as they know exactly what you’re talking about.

Boundaries and the lack of them touch our lives in many ways and we can come back to such a huge topic another day but for now, thanks for listening

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About Depression

Depression is a large topic but I thought I would bring a snippet about it today…

When I talk to a client about depression in a session, I hear from them about the flatness, the emptiness and the nothingness. We have to remember in those moments, that the defences are doing their job and we need to understand why they are doing that and give them new instructions. 

Explaining the reason why the defences feel they need to, for example, take away the wanting to go out, taking away the wanting to shower and get dressed, taking away the wanting to reply to a text. The defences think they are helping, saving the client from hurt. The defences go by the inner functions of the person and feel the change, bringing on a defence. What our body/mind needs to re-learn is to assess the change in our inner function and pause before sending the person into a particular state of mind that it thinks is appropriate even though it has ‘no eyes on the world’ and therefore acts solely on the inner regulatory factors which often have no bearing on the ‘outside world’ of the person. 

It’s common for a depressed person to have trouble explaining exactly how they feel and this is usually because its difficult to say what it is… when what it is isn’t the problem, its what it isn’t…or what we feel we are left with that is difficult to relay to someone else accurately.

If our defences pack all of our feelings away for safety, what is left to find a word to say what is left? The closest and most accurate I have heard is that ‘I have been emptied out of all my feelings and so when you ask me to explain, there are no feelings words left as they are the very things which are gone. I can’t say I’m sad as my sadness feelings have gone; I can’t say I’m annoyed as my annoyance feelings have also gone. The words I have left are empty, flat and nothingness.

If we take the theme of our feelings being packed away for safekeeping, we can begin to get a sense of why our defences are working this way. We can begin to ask the questions that our brain needs to hear so that it can understand the reality of what it’s doing and change the way it functions rather than function from its closed off world with no real sense of what is actually going on in the world outside of the brain.  The questions we ask are important, as the defences are reasonable in acting upon a basis of why they decide to defend the emotions in the first place. As we begin to understand that particular persons reasons, we begin to understand the defence. As we begin to understand the defence, we begin to release the emotions back to the person.

Depression is a function, a defence, and when we get to why, we get to know, and when we get to know, we get to work with our defences, teaching them that we understand and will work with them. Getting to know ourselves and regain our feelings again.

It takes a process for your defences to give you back your emotions and feel ok about it but with the understanding it can happen











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An Interview with Depression

With stealth I come, I have to creep for otherwise you would see me come and be prepared.  You would know it was me, your shield from hurt, your barrier from pain and you would be able to feel the feeling and sort it like any other emotion, like any other feeling.

I come to visit and decide that you should not feel, and I’ll take away not only the painful, but all, all the good feelings that would make you feel better, so, now you are not feeling …good, I am then doing my job, I will save you from feeling the pain by making you numb to everything, I will take feeling away, I am good at my job.

But what if you are with others and doing things and then you might feel? I will take care of that, you can stay in and then you will feel nothing and I am good at my job to protect you from feeling pain so I have you feel nothing. So I have protected you

But what if you got up and dressed in the morning? You may go out and see people! There would be a chance that you may feel something!  I will make you feel like you don’t want to wash or dress. That way you won’t go out. Then you will not see people. Then that takes away any opportunity to feel. I am good at my job. There you are, I protected you.

But what are we without feeling, being involved in our surroundings, or in company?  ….. When we are depersonalised, fragmented, isolated… just at the time when we need to be personal, whole and part of something. “What do you think about that depression?”

“What are you asking me for? That’s not my department I do one thing, I take away .. I take away company and the ways to get it, I take away feelings and the opportunity to have any, I take away clear thought so that you can’t see what I’m doing, and I take away hope so that you don’t give me any trouble. I do these things because I am good at my job.

Me: So what would happen if I took a tiny step and got up and dressed?

What would happen if I saw my friends now and again if I felt I’d like to try?

What if I allowed myself a little reward for making the effort of doing those things so that I felt a little better about myself?

What if I actually answered a text or two that people sent to me?

Depression: I’ve taken so much time convincing you that people don’t care, I’ve even made you forget that the texts are there

Me: Yes but what then depression… what would you do?

Depression: I’d leave you !






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