Counselling, Psychotherapy & Mindfulness in Crawley, Hayward's Heath & Zoom
Welcome to Milton Counselling. I am Nicola, a trainee Counsellor and Psychotherapist and fully qualified Mindfulness Practitioner. My background, spanning over 16 years, is in working with stress in the body and dysregulated nervous systems through my role as a Sports Massage Therapist and I have completed my formal training in Counselling and Psychotherapy. I have over 2 years of experience working with clients and am awaiting final exams.
Giving others the tools and insight free themselves of their individual suffering is my passion. We can see the world through warped lenses and have trouble with confidence, addiction, in relationships, and many other areas. Our nervous systems and stress responces can become disregulated, our thoughts and feelings stuck in unhealthy patterns and behavours compulsive, seemingly not of our chosing.
I enjoy using counselling and psychotherapy to help people overcome anxiety, navigate through grief, and to uncover the underlying, unmet needs that drive unwanted throughts, feelings and behavours in present day life.
The 8 Week Mindfulness course teaches techniques and gives you the chance to practise them in conjunction with guided mindfulness practices that fit the theory each week. This is a great option for those who would prefer to do a little less sharing but would still like to make changes in their lives.
Past trauma can shape how we see ourselves and the world around us. Physiological changes can result, making it all too easy for us to become overwhelmed by stress and so much harder for us to return to a neutral, contented state after becoming stressed.
Beliefs we do not even know we decided upon at a young age can drive our thoughts, feelings and behaviours and bury needs we do not realise we are still attempting to meet. You wouldn't let your two- year-old self drive your car, yet they might be driving your thoughts, feelings and the way you behave in this world.
Gently unravelling these and choosing to up-date these early decisions put you back in the driving seat. Counselling can help remove patterns of suffering we may find ourselves in, helping us to have:
* Ability to de-escalate anxiety
* Rich, satisfying relationships
* A deep sense of worth & 'Okness' not dependant on outside sources
* Belief in ourselves that we can cope with the ordinary and extraordinary challenges in life
* An ability to overcome limits you inadvertently put upon yourself
* Conscious choice over unwanted behaviours and habits
* To be able to know and meet your buried needs in a safe, healthy manner
* More Autonomy, spontaneity & Intimacy
* Ability to move through the nervous system states fluidly (recover from states of stress more readily rather than remaining there or needing to turn to substance)
* Increased ability to process overwhelming, difficult feelings such as sadness, grief, anger, regret, shame and resentment
I work with people from all walks of life and tailor my approach to meet what they need. This includes listening intently and non-judgementally and challenging you were appropriate.
For those who have emotional pain that dates back to a young, pre-verbal time it can be hard to articulate your needs and feelings. I very much like to work with people who cannot put words to their experience and have had great success in this area with clients. Your emotional pain and experience is there in your body and with the right help, can be accessed and processed.
If you are experiencing emotional pain (that can sometimes be experienced as physical pain too) tightness or emptiness that you cannot put words to, please reach out, you do not need to suffer alone or have the right words in order to seek counselling and psychotherapy.
Where Can You Have An Appointment for Counselling, Psychotherapy & Mindfulness?
I offer mindfulness courses and student level counselling and psychotherapy in Crawley and in Borde Hill, Haywards Heath near Borde Hill Gardens. There is plenty of free parking at the Haywards Heath clinic. **UPDATE: Zoom and phone appointments only until further notice**
If you want to seek counselling or psychotherapy but cannot get to Crawley or Haywards Heath zoom and telephone appointments are available.
As a student counsellor and psychotherapist I belong to NCS (National Counselling Society) and UKATA (UK Association for Transactional Analists) as my governing body and have regular supervision. (All Transactional Anaylist counsellors and psychotherpists require supervision.)
Love & Self-Love
Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate romantic love but there is an equally, if not more important love I think we could celebrate…. The love you have for yourself.
And that because this love – or lack of - can deeply impact the health of all of your other relationships.
Going for a Swim…
Imagine that not loving yourself is like not learning to swim, and that entering into a relationship is like jumping into the sea.
In the shallows you have fun splashing around together in the waves, but then before you know it you are out of your depth. You can’t swim. So you cling to your partner for dear life and any slight move they make sends you into a fearful spin, they are going to leave you.
They want to have some fun with you in the water, swim off on their own for a bit then come back and tell you all about their swim. But no! This is too scary for you so try to control (perhaps unconsciously) and manipulate. Not because you are a bad person, but because you only feel safe when they are right there, acting in exactly the way you need them too in order to feel safe and stay afloat. This is exhausting for both parties and doesn’t make for a very enjoyable or long-lasting swim.
If you can both swim, then yes, being out of your depth may be a little scary but you can swim! This means you can play, swim away for a bit and enjoy coming back to one another. You are not living in fear, hypervigilant that your life raft might show signs of leaving you.
Maybe sometimes one will need the other to keep them afloat at times because, well, that’s life. But on the whole, learning to swim (love yourself) makes for a far more enjoyable, secure paddle in the sea (relationship).
The Effects of Lack of Self-Love
If you have little in the way of self-love, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy, secure relationship. Expecting your partner to ‘fix’ you, pinning your worth onto them or tasking them with the impossible job to ‘make you happy’ can lead to unhealthy relationship dynamics and downward spiral patterns.
If you love yourself you are less likely to:
Put unrealistic expectations onto your partner
Live in constant fear of abandonment
Experience hurt, anger and blame
Sabotage the relationship
Have heated arguments that escalate and seldom resolve productively
Replay old childhood needs deficits
Feel insecure, clingy or needy
But What is Self-love?
Take a moment to think about what self-love means to you. What does it look like? What ways do you show yourself? What things do you say? What boundaries do you set yourself in the name of self-love? What forgiveness? What expectations are you imposing upon yourself?
Self-love starts with NON-JUDGEMENTAL AWARENESS, coupled with KINDNESS and often is a skill you need to work at, learn, and practise too. I have seen many clients who do not know where to begin so we start with how would you treat a child? If you wouldn’t say the negative, unkind things you say to a child, practise not saying them to yourself. Instead, think of what you would say to a child and say those things to yourself. We usually start with perceived mistakes, short falls and not living up to self-set standards, and take it from there.
Pay attention to the things you say to yourself, the boundaries you set, the things you do. Do they demonstrate self-love? Does self love feel alien and out of your grasp? Do you feel guilty even thinking about the idea of loving yourself? Do you feel worthy of love? Are you allowed to love and be loved or are you getting in your own way?
Relationships can be tricky, even the one you have with yourself.
If you would like to explore the theme of self-worth, love, and your relationship with yourself, or your relationship with relationships please get in contact for an informal zoom session or phone call.
Lockdown Self Care for Anxiety & Depression
Both anxiety and depression can lead to a change in the way you care for yourself. The way you care for yourself can have a great impact on your mood and inner state. The downward spiral here is clear to see.
What you have done in the past 24 hours can impact the way you feel in the present moment. So why not give yourself the best chance of doing some of the things that may help improve your inner state?
Whether you are struggling to wash and dress, eat regular, healthy portions and get fresh air, or to exercise, get jobs done and connect with others, a ready made chart can be a useful tool for when you wake up feeling low on motivation.
Even ticking off one item when acutally you don't feel like doing anything at all could be the start of a new routine for you.
Ticking off something you have done can also feel like a good accomplishment for your brain.
The great thing about a chart is it's right there ready for when you need it, once you ahve made it. It can also be altered and changed no matter what your goals and wishes are.
Please see below some ideas of what you could put on your chart or tick-list. What would you add to yours?
Have a bath / shower
Do the washing
Tidy my living space
Get some fresh air
Take some exercise
Reach out to someone
Eat a healthy meal
Eat at regular times
No alcohol today
Less caffeine today
Portion Control on treats
Watch something positive
We tend to think grief can only apply to us if we have just had a recent death of a loved one.
However, you can be suffering from grief related to losses from other less obvious sources too.
*A loss through death that happened years ago
*A loss of relationship, home, job, pet, or health ability….
* The loss of something you never had such as a secure childhood
Greif is a process that we can get stuck in; or be in without realising we are there.
Often we can discount the importance of our losses by comparing them to others, however, loss is loss and comparing yours to somebody else’s doesn’t make your own personal pain any less. You still have the right to process yours no matter what is happening to others in the world.
Below are some of the symptoms that may point to being stuck in the grieving process. Please note this list is not a diagnostic tool and it is not exhaustive.
- Anger, irritability, anxiety
- Low mood or motivation
- Yearning or longing
- Obsessive thoughts about your loss
- Behavioural changes or addictions you don’t feel in control of (drinking, over-eating, self harming)
- Disinterest in things that used to bring you happiness
- Fear of further loss
- Hyper alertness
- Sensitivity to noise
Having space to talk can help normalise what you are going through. Having a reason for why you have been feeling out of sorts can also be a great relief. Knowing where you are can allow you to start to heal or move forward from a ‘stuck’ place.
Visiting your G.P, seeking counselling, reading up on grief or turning to a trusted friend are all options open to you if you are concerned you might be stuck in the grieving process.
A Question for You
If you spoke to other people the way you speak to yourself when you've made a mistake, how would your life change?
a) More people would feel safe around me to learn and grow
b) Nothing would change, I treat myself the same as I treat others
c) I'd have no friends
Paying attention to the things you say to yourself when you have made a mistake can be very insightful. Are you kind to yourself or spiteful? Are you nurturing or berating? The way you speak to yourself at these times can make the difference between adding suffering to your experience, or learning and feeling positive about yourself. It can be useful to ask yourself, would you speak to a child this way? What would a child need after making a mistake? And can you apply this to yourself? If not, why? What is standing in your way? Whose voice is it berating you? Is it a harsh figure from your past? Can you make a new choice today to switch up your inner dialogue to something else?
Can you change the answer to this question from a C to an A? It all starts with noticing, where it ends is up to you.
Grief in Lockdown
Grief in Lockdown
Losing a loved one at any time of the year is painful and can be overwhelming. Add to that the restrictions of Covid-19 lockdown, and the chances are you have lost a large part of your usual support network. Restrictions around visitations, travel, and funeral arrangements can also add a layer of pain to an already painful time.
After grief counselling training with St Catherine’s Hospice I worked with St Wilfrids Hospice counselling those who had been affected by loss through death during lockdown.
If you feel you could benefit from speaking to a counsellor in Crawley, on zoom or on the phone Milton Counselling is currently offering student counselling. Your counsellor has over 1 year of experience working with clients, has completed three years formal training and is awaiting final exams to fully qualify.
Need a low cost counsellor in Crawley? Trainee counsellors have completed formal training and have experience in placements working with clients therefore can provide a quality service at a lower cost.
Behind Every Behaviour is a Need
Whether you are snapping at loved ones, reaching for a favourite bad habbit like smoking or drinking, seeking affairs, or hiding under the duvet, there is likely to be a need behind the behaviour you wish you could kick.
It can be frustrating partaking in behaviours you regret after and it is too easy to pile on the shame or beat yourself up for it. Shame and regret often leads to worse self esteem, more stress, and a higher chance of repeating the very behaviour you wish to change.
Talking the behaviour through in counselling with someone who isn't going to judge can reduce shame and take the pressure off. Through exploring thoughts, feelings and your past you may just find out why you are really acting in ways you wish you weren't. Making sense of well-buried needs and finding new, healthy ways to meet them can help reduce or cease the urge to partake in your old unwanted patterns leaving you happier and more in control of your life.
How Can Counselling and Psychotherapy Help Me?
Whether you are facing a temporary hurdle and need a safe space to explore how to jump it or are repeating behaviours that do not serve you and think they may have origins in your childhood, counselling and psychotherapy can help.
Sometimes we do not know why we feel 'bad' and struggle to put words to feeling low or empty. Counselling and psychotherapy can help you find those words and make sense of such feelings so if you aren't too sure what you need, please make contact and we can explore this together.
You don't have to suffer in silence just because you don't fully understand your issues. That is what we are here for. There are ways we can work together creatively and with the body that can help with young wounds and complicated emotions.
Milton Counselling understands every single person has their own unique needs and will tailor your therapy to best meet these needs.
In the counselling and psychotherapy room you can....
Boundaries in Counselling are paramount. If you would like to see a low cost counseller in Crawley yet beleive we have a pre-existing relationship or if you would prefer to see a male, please get in touch so I can help connect you to other trainee or fully qualified counsellors in Crawley, or on zoom.