There are wise words from Aesop which I love ‘a crust of bread eaten in peace is far superior to a banquet eaten in anxiety’.
Although anxiety is around as long as humans are, there is some evidence that personal levels of anxiety are increasing. Neuroscience tells us that humans have an average of 60,00 thoughts a day. Our thoughts create our world and if we are caught up in a loop of negative thinking this will directly impact on mood and behaviour. In counselling, we build awareness of how we talk to ourselves and widen our perspectives which is essential to making sustainable and positive change. • Rumination: You dwell on an endless cycle of stuff that worries you while failing to act. Chronic worry is often described as akin to sitting in a rocking chair. There is endless movement but you are not actually getting anywhere. The view stays the same. • Overgeneralisation: you experience a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. • Jumping to Conclusions; believing people are reacting negatively to you when there is no concrete evidence for this. • Shoulds and Musts: you use these absolutes with yourself and others, failing to see that in the vast majority of situations we have a choice in what we do or fail to do. • Labelling; you punish yourself forever for making a mistake thinking ‘I’m stupid’, ‘I’m hopeless, ‘I’ll never get out of this rut’ • Magnification; you lose perspective and constantly sweat the small stuff. • Personalisation; you take on blame for things that are the responsibility of others.
Change is always possible and the most important step is to hold onto a sense of hope. What we have learnt that is unhealthy we can also, with patience and commitment, re-learn to find more productive ways of dealing with anxiety. Write it down; keeping a journal can be useful in helping us to understand our patterns. We gain clarity from seeing things written down. If anxiety keeps you awake at night, try a process of externalising them. Write them down, park them until warning and commit to allowing yourself a good night’s sleep. Switch off-It is very important we set boundaries around work and personal time. Having an evening ritual that helps you do this such as changing clothes, having a bath soak and turning off phones and devices is crucial. Build resilience-find an activity you enjoy and do it regularly. When we do something we love we tend to worry less. Contact Aine Egan, accredited counsellor, if you feel your anxiety is impacting on your potential and relationships. Appointments in Arklow, Co.Wicklow.
Counselling for change in Wicklow The mantra ‘A New Year, New You’ is a common headline in magazines and social media around the first week of January. This reflects the reality that many of us decide we want to make changes in the year ahead. How do you know that counselling may be a foundation for your change? Counselling is especially useful at times of transition or change when we recognise a sense of dissatisfaction and unhappiness and have a desire to make change that is sustainable. Sometimes our goals for change are clear; a new job, a new relationship, a new health regime. Sometimes we can be unclear what change will look like, but we know we are not prepared to continue with the status quo. Counselling can support you to develop a better relationship with yourself which is the cornerstone for all change. Fundamentally our self-concept, self-belief and self-awareness are the roots from which all actions follow. Will this happen in one session? The short answer is no. The process is less likely to be effective if you are looking for a quick fix, a magic wand. A counselling process is one that requires a regular commitment of time and consistency. Like most things in life, the more we invest in the counselling relationship the more we are likely to gain. Counselling works well when it is a collaborative process, the counsellor brings certain skills and awareness gained through their own training and experience. You bring your lived experience and your unique insight into what’s happening for you. As a counsellor, I have been privileged to share people’s lives in many different environments and this has shaped my approach to supporting others. It is a constantly enriching, humbling, and privileged position to be entrusted to be part of another’s unique journey, their process. Counselling Appointments available in Arklow and Greystones, Co. Wicklow. Counselling can help you to understand the experiences that have shaped your life. Build healthy boundaries, self-awareness and self-confidence. Improve your relationship with yourself and others. Gain greater clarity on your own needs and goals in life. Identify self-defeating behaviours. Call Aine Egan if you want to have a chat in confidence.
Counselling for teenagers can be a powerful learning process and useful for many young people who may be struggling. You may be reading this as a teenager or you may be an adult worried about someone you know. You may be judging yourself harshly for feelings of being overwhelmed or not being able to cope. Life throws many curve balls at us and seeking support in a counselling relationship does not mean you or weak or deficient in some way. Nor does it mean that you are ‘going mad’. Many normal people seek support at different stages of their lives and the safe, independent, supportive environment of a counselling space can be very powerful in helping us to process these hurdles. Young people must handle major physical, social and emotional changes in their lives as well as struggling with some of the key questions of identity formation. Who am I? Where do I fit in? How do I handle the pressures I am feeling? Is counselling for me? Even with a supportive, loving family, it can often be difficult to talk honestly to those we are closest to. We may protect others from the truth, our reality. Peer support is critical in our teenage years. If we feel we have lost this connection or our friends do not meet our expectations, it can lead to strong feelings of social isolation and loneliness. If you have experienced parental separation/divorce or a major bereavement or illness during your teenage years, these life stressors may be causing you difficulty. Speaking with a counsellor can also help you with anxiety, phobias, depression, low self-confidence and self-harm. A parental/guardian consent form must be signed and I will meet with both parent and the young person at the initial appointment. The first session offers the young person an opportunity to ask questions and to decide if they would be comfortable working with me. Appointments in Arklow, Co. Wicklow.
Bereavement comes to all of us at some stage of our lives. Although a natural part of the cycle of life, it is not easy. There is no right or wrong way to grieve someone we have lost, whether the death was predictable or sudden. The circumstances surrounding the death of a loved one can make life far more difficult, especially if we lose someone unexpectantly or in a violent way, such as the death of a child or the death of someone by suicide. A strong sense of grief can develop after a relationship breakdown, redundancy or a diagnosis of life-limiting health conditions. Counselling for loss and bereavement can be a powerful process in contributing to healing.
Talking to a counsellor can be useful, especially if we find ourselves reluctant to share our grief with others. We may be trying to protect them. We may impose some arbitrary time limits on our feelings of loss after a bereavement. We may struggle to understand feelings of confusion and anxiety that can follow. You may find that talking to a counsellor in confidence can help you; deal with the challenge of coping with responsibilities everyday work with complicated feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety and guilt. Prioritise self-care by learning to nurture yourself in body, mind and spirit. Come to appreciate the joy of the moment and to look forward with hope. If you think counselling may help you get in touch. Appointments in Arklow.
What is counselling and how does a counsellor work are common questions to ask if you are thinking about personal change. A counsellor’s role is very different to that of friends or family. Talking to family can be difficult as we may feel obligated to protect them from our anxiety and worries. We may know that complete honesty is not welcome, so we sugar the pill a little or a lot. A friend, by definition, has a vested interest in the friendship and we may find ourselves censoring information or minimising our anxiety to protect the friendship. Adopting a persona or mask in life is very common, for example, “I’m a person who can handle anything life throws at me” which can make it difficult to admit to any struggle that does not fit with this kind of persona. Counselling support allows you to explore any persona you have adopted in life and to determine if they have outlived their usefulness. Human beings are a mass of contradictions, desires, hopes, dreams and struggles. Taking time to engage in some personal exploration is an act of profound courage and is an act that will over time be rewarded, although this may be in ways we find difficult to predict at the outset. While many seek counselling in the expectation that the counsellor will ‘sort out’ their problems and offer a fix, it is the client themselves who does the work. The counsellor provides a space grounded in non-judgement, empathy and honesty which facilitates the work. As Kahil Gibran wrote in the prophet ‘No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge’. What is counselling and how does a counsellor