Juna Brookes Counsellor & Therapist in Horsforth, Leeds

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Guilt and Shame

One of the powerful techniques I have experienced myself, many years ago is called GESTALT DIALOG.

Many of us have someone in our life we have done something to regret about or we haven’t expressed in a way we could have done. These regrets about it or even a feeling of GUILT or SHAME can live with us for a long time.

When years ago, I studied economics at Narhoz Uni in Azerbaijan, I had a lovely teacher (Rauf Merzoevich) who I connected with and had a wonderful friendship and support for each other. After I have graduated there were things happened in my life which made me disconnect with many of my friends including that teacher of mine. I did not explain myself at the time and later when I couldn’t find the person anymore I experienced a massive feeling of guilt for disappearing without any explanation. I continued searching for the person with hopes to explain myself with no luck and carried that guilt for at least 15 years. I had dreams of that person being disappointed and angry at me and that could not stop. That overwhelming guilt felt at the time like a massive stone on my shoulders and I was feeling extremely bad about myself by letting that person down so much.

Once while studying counselling at Leeds Beckett we had to video our practice with our classmates.

I brought a feeling of guilt and were asked to express myself by my therapist as though that person was in front of me. While my eyes were closed I could see him in front of me. I could see his facial expression change while I was explaining to him. I was in flood of tears and emotions changing from angry and disappointed to ‘’its ok…relaxed and even smiley at the end of the session ‘’. It was the most powerful and liberating experience for me at the time which has taken away that 15-year guilt.

I have used this technique numerous numbers of times in my practice with wonderful magic results. Whilst the client is in the light hypnotic trance It can be challenging at first but powerful and liberating by the end of it. My clients know that they feel safe and looked after. If you find yourself feeling guilt, shame or sadness with unexpressed emotions this technique will change your life!

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When to Seek a Therapist

Problems always exist. Some are easy while others are not. While you don’t have to be in desperation to go to a therapy, it’s not always necessary to seek a therapist for every little problem that comes your way too. If this is the case, then how can you tell when it’s time to ask for help from a psychotherapist? Let’s find out below.

When You’re Feeling Extremely Sad or Angry
Extreme feelings of sadness or anger may be some of the signs of an issue in mental health. If these negative feelings affect your day to day living, like eating less than usual or withdrawing from friend and family, then it’s time for you to seek a therapist’s help.

When You Don’t Feel Like Yourself Anymore
While it’s natural to change a hobby, an interest, or a behaviour, a sudden change is a sign of an unhealthy mental state. It’s best to consult a counsellor for a counselling.

When You Seek for Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
If you start to use food, alcohol, or drugs as coping mechanisms to help you feel better, seek for a therapy immediately before your behaviours get worse.

When You Find It Hard to Accept Losing Someone
Without a strong support system, grief can be a very difficult process. If you constantly find it hard to accept the loss of someone from a breakup, divorce, or death, don’t think twice about asking for a little help from a therapist.

When You Suffer Trauma
If you have experienced neglect, abuse, or other forms of trauma from an illness, a crime, or any other traumatic event, a professional hypnotherapist can give you tips on how to cope from the unwanted feelings that have resulted from your past traumatic experience.

Your mental health is one of the most important aspects of your being. Take care of it and ask for help immediately as soon as severe problems arise.

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Thoughts Make Feelings

So, some kind of traumatic event happened.

It’s not what happened that is the problem. The problem is that how that interpreted at the time. What we thought of it. Thoughts generate emotions. A negative thought generates negative emotions (shame/guilt/embarrassment/anxiety/ sadness etc)

At the time the event happened we have the fight or flight response kicked in (we wanted to run away, to hide, to fight, to freeze)
Our mind then makes a decision (to behave in certain ways around similar situations, to react in similar ways) For instance that dog bit my friend, therefore, all dogs are dangerous/I don’t feel safe around dogs/therefore all dogs are dangerous, therefore, I am scared of all dogs)
Another example: A parent did not show approval and love. A child makes a decision that they are not loveable and that they need to deserve that love. A child’s emotion around it is sadness. They can, later on, compensate that feeling of being unloved by surrounding themselves with a lot of friends or by withdrawal. Some people might feel better in the role of pleasers (to get more of that unmet love) or developing the fear of rejection or abandonment.

When the feeling trapped inside of the event and it has nowhere to go, it builds a pressure inside and this generates anxiety, stress or physical symptoms and discomforts.

Some people carry those trapped emotions from childhood. So, at the time the traumatic event happened that decision being made rules the persons behaviour in certain lives situations.

Decisions made in childhood can rule the person’s life in their adult life.
In hypnotherapy, we work with that decision a child made at a time of an uncomfortable event.

There are certain steps we follow in our work (going back the time/reframing/gestalt dialogue/forgiveness work/future pacing) in order for that grown-up adult would be able to change that old pattern of reaction/behaviour and react differently ( In much calmer/relaxed or less bothered manner)

A client then comes to an understanding that at the time they did the best they could to survive. Their lack of maturity, lack of resources, skills and wisdom, perhaps lack of support or feeling overwhelmed and they were trying to make decisions not realizing that those decisions can impact them for the rest of their lives.

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There's More to Life than Food and Water

As well as our basic needs for water, food and shelter, humans have a set of other emotional needs which are not so obvious, but just as essential to emotional well-being.
When don’t meet these needs, we can suffer anxiety, depression addiction, loneliness. And because this develops over time we don't notice it straight away and when we have a problem we feel confused about where does it come from.
It is important:
1.The need to give and receive attention.
A balanced social life is the best way to meet this need.
Who do you give your attention?
2. The need for mind/body connection
People increasingly treat themselves as non-stop robots. We work too many hours, sleep too little, eat junk food, we don’t exercise. But neglecting proper nutrition and rest leads to psychological problems.
How do you take care of yourself?
3. The need for purpose and meaning and sense of achievement.
If a person is deprived of the satisfaction that comes from achieving goals or fulfilling a purpose, then there is a gap in a person’s life.
We need to be working towards something. This enables you to feel that ‘’yesssss’’ sensation of being proud of yourself.
Without a sense of progress and achievement, we can come to feel worthless, like there's no reason for our existence.
What does give you a sense of achievement?
4. The need to feel a part of the community
Anything that takes the focus off the self will achieve this, whether it's church, clubs, sport or charity work.
Do you go anywhere where you can feel as a part of the community?
5. The need for challenge and creativity
Try something new. Explore and improve an existing skill. Be creative even if it involves picking glass and shelves on the beach and sticking them creating a picture. Boredom is not a nice feeling and can make life feel flat and grey.
How do you challenge yourself and take yourself out of your comfort zone?
6. The need for intimacy
We need to feel needed. We all need at least one person with whom we can share our hopes, dreams, ambitions and ideas. Some people can fulfil this need by taking care of a pet, but most of us need a small circle of loving and supportive friends and/or family.
Maybe its time to get yourself a pet and enjoy its unconditional love?! :)
7. The need for status
It's important to feel important! Status means different things to different people and isn't just met through paid work. For some, feeling recognized for being a good grandmother/parent/child might be enough.
What do you do to make you feel important?
8. The need for safety and security
To varying degrees, we all have some need to feel safe and secure in life. And it would be a cherry on the top of our job would be something we enjoy and feel rewarded.

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The Many Part of a Person

I hear very often my clients say: ‘’This part of me thinks it will be good for me but another part of me tells me that it is stupid or not appropriate… Or one part of me wants this and another something completely different… Or I know I am a kind-hearted person but there is another voice inside of me which tells me horrible nasty things’’.
In psychology, we call it ‘’ a conflict in between subpersonalities’’
Our Personality is made up of many different aspects selves or sub-personalities. It begins at birth. At the point, we learn to interact with the world to have our needs met. As we grow we learn which behaviours are accepted by those around us and which are not. It becomes a pattern which shapes which behaviour we put forward and which we suppress.
There are a huge amount of subpersonalities, perhaps hundreds. Some of them we use very often when others can be hidden in our subconscious mind. We can jump from subpersonality to another very fast.
Here are some that are most commonly known/used by many people:
Pleaser- a part that pleases other people as it makes them feel appreciated and loved
Inner critic –that voice we hear in our head that criticizing us and remind us things we have done in the past which have embarrassed us
Rule maker- the one which keeps to the rules of society, culture, religion etc
The rational mind is another one
A rebel or stubborn part
A Pusher who keeps a person on a go
An anger
A clown, a joy, an inner child, wise you
And lots of others
Which subpersonality is a forefront of your psyche quite often?
Which subpersonalities are in conflict with each other?
What can we do to make them work for us rather than against us?
By accepting our subpersonalities, and expressing them in a safe setting, giving them a voice then the conflicts between them can begin to dissolve.
We have to take the broken pieces gently in our hands before we can begin to glue them together.
Allow the therapist to gently assist you on the journey of knowing self, decreasing the sound of the unhealthy subpersonalities to become weaker and the wise parts of your psyche to become stronger so you can have a happier healthier relationship with yourself and with others. We have to take the broken pieces gently in our hands before we can begin to glue them together.

Starting Therapy

You feel like you need a change, to talk to a person who will understand and not judge you, a person who you can explore anything which troubles you. But for many of us, it is not an easy step to start counselling. Many questions can cross your mind. Where do I start? How can I trust a person who I have never seen in my life? What if I want to cry and will not be able to stop? What will she think about me? What if it is too painful?

These and other questions I had in my mind when I visited my therapist a while ago. I can reassure you that I have been there too. It’s scary and daunting and well done for trying to make these first steps and coming to counselling over your fears and insecurities. Wait a minute I have got mine. I am not a super person who can give you directions and advice. We will start and continue this route together. We both will share our thoughts opinions, we will look at different things together. I might explain you some psychological moments or offer you suggestions and show you the different sides of the coin. I might stop you and point out at something which you can’t notice. I might ask you questions which will lead you to the thing to a degree level. I might ask you to play with pebbles, crayons, sand and figures, clay and beads since it is a well-known fact that our subconscious mind clicks and turns on when we explore using craft materials. Or in a different case, I might offer you to write your thoughts and we will work cognitively.

I also can offer you different techniques which help a lot of my clients and me personally. I will only offer when I feel you are comfortable with me when you are ready to make another deeper step towards your well being.

As long as we have built a strong therapeutic relationship the healing power will take place and will bring a positive change.

Therapy is about looking at yourself from observer position and valuing what you like about yourself and finding ways to change those parts of your life which you don’t like.

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