Nicola Hare Counselling & Psychotherapy in Crawley

ANGER

It may feel as though controlling outbursts of anger is impossible but it is absolutely possible to learn how to cope with anger, frustration and rage without acting in a way that is detrimental to yourself or others. Acknowledging you want to make a change and need help is a great first step. Talking through feelings and thoughts that occur just before an outburst can help slow the process down between impulse and reaction. This in turn can create enough time and space for you to step in with conscious choice, allowing you to have more control over what you say and do. As well as looking at slowing this process down, we can look at alternative ways to cope with heightened states and also look at where your anger issues may have stemmed from.
There is no shame in talking about anger and you are certainly not alone. Anger is a normal human emotion that can get out of control and that is where therapy can help


ANXIETY

Experiencing anxiety can feel OK, or it can feel as though you are having a heart attack and can't breathe. It can be nothing more than a useful cue from your body, or it can be an overwhelming, debilitating experience that affects all areas of your life. Why do people experience anxiety so differently? I have worked successfully with a number of clients using a tried and tested treatment plan. Firstly we look at how to cope with an anxiety attack, then we look at how reduce it's intensity, then finally, we look at how to re-frame anxiety so that it can be a useful cue for you rather than a frightening experience to endure. This last part might seem far off or impossible right now so let's start at the beginning. The beginning is an email or call to talk about where you are at right now with your personal experience of anxiety.


ATTENTION ADDICTION

Learning how to get attention is part of survival in the human species. In other words, it is normal to want or need attention. This need can become greater to the point of addiction and lead to distress, low self-esteem and attention seeking behaviours. While to others these behaviours can look like a choice, often it feels like life or death to the person seeking attention. The cause can be the brain's response to trauma from neglect in childhood. Neglect doesn't have to mean an absent parent or physical needs not being met. It can mean that your care giver wasn't emotionally responsive. Maybe they were attempting to cope with their own issues or life was stressful and this led to an experience of neglect for you. Whatever the reason, if you are feeling desperate in the absence of attention or anxious about losing the attention you are currently getting, it may help to talk this through to lessen the need, or to curb potentially damaging or unwanted behaviours. Building yourself up within can lessen the intensity of the need to depend on attention from others and lead to more balance and contentment. Finding positive ways to have the attention you crave can also help to lessen the need to gain attention in ways that aren't healthy for you


BEREAVEMENT

Losing a loved one is a deeply impactful time and each and every one of us experiences this uniquely. There is no 'one size fits all' help through this time but there is help out there. I trained in bereavement counselling and provided counselling to people during COVID lockdown who had lost someone in an unprecedented and complex time. I have worked with many clients in varying stages of grief. Talking can help normalise your experience which when you are in the middle of it can seem helpless or frightening as you, your mind and your body are all affected by the shock and loss of losing a loved one. When grieving, it is normal to be with your feelings and grief some of the time, then to be distracted from it at other times yet some people feel guilt around this oscillation. There is no time frame for grief. Grief doesn't get smaller or disappear, instead we build life up around the grief that we learn to live with. There is no getting away from feeling the pain that losing and missing a loved one causes but it is possible, in time, to cope and to live again. If you could do with talking to someone and receiving help on how to cope during this painful and tender time, please do get in touch


STRESS

We need a certain amount of stress. As mammals, we use stress to keep ourselves out of danger. Once the danger has passed our nervous systems should switch back to a restorative, content mode. We tend to get stuck though in the stress response and, unable to come out of this state, this can be distressing, causing us to react rather than respond. It can be hard to tolerate and lead to using substances to attempt to reduce it. This can lead to addiction and dependency which can leave you even less resilient to new stress and even more in need of your substance of unhealthy coping mechanism. Stress responses tend to be reaching for food, drugs or alcohol, shouting or violence, or another action you come to regret. All these reactions can lead to more stress and bad habits. If you find yourself getting stressed quickly, reacting in ways you do not wish to, or stuck in that state unable to come back from it you may benefit from a one-to-one 8 week mindfulness course to learn how to create healthy coping mechanisms. This course can help you notice stress when it is small, before it takes hold, so that you can step in and prevent it from escalating. Counselling and psychotherapy can also help you to cope with stress and to explore why you might have the stress responses that you do


BULIMIA

Asking for help for bulimia can be difficult as it is often a secret coping mechanism that can bring on feelings of shame. Fear of losing your coping mechanism alone can make asking for help difficult as can fearing you won't be understood. It can feel as though you are the only person in the world going through this but please rest assured you are not alone and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Your brain has come up with a way to help you cope so well done brain, but actually, there are better ways to cope than this. Learning new coping strategies while lessening the need to binge and purge, can be the start of coming away from this cycle and starting a new cycle more inline with what you want for yourself going forward


BURN-OUT

Do you always have to be busy doing something? Does it feel as though you have never quite done enough? When you are trying to rest, sleep or switch off do you feel guilty or distracted? This can leave your nervous system exhausted and over time affect your physical and mental well-being. Burnout can also adversely affect relationships and enjoyment in your life. It can lead to substance dependence as you try to find a way to switch off. It may feel as though life just is this busy and you do not have a choice. Thais makes finding ways to restore even more important for your overall health. Transactional Analysis offers great insights into helping you to lessen the need to 'do' constantly to the detriment of your health and happiness. It can lead to more balance and a sustainable way forward. Paradoxically, addressing the compulsion to be 'doing' all the the time can leave you more efficient as you learn how to restore in between periods of being productive


CARERS

Caring for a family member can be very rewarding. It can also be very demanding and sometimes leads to resentments, loss of your sense of identity, isolation, guilt and burn-out. All of these can deeply impact both the carer and the cared for. In my work with @04 I provided counselling for many carers to help them cope with their role. Counselling can help provide space for you to safely air your feelings as well as looking at ways to avoid resentment or burnout and create balance that helps sustain you. I offer concessions for people on a low income so please mention this if you think you would benefit from counselling


CHILDHOOD ISSUES & TRAUMA

We form beliefs about ourselves, others and the world from ages 0 - 7 that affect how we function in adulthood. We may not even be aware of what they are, or why we have the difficulties that we have. Trauma during this time can affect how your brain and nervous system develop, how you perceive and deal with threat and how you see yourself and the world. Trauma isn't always in the form of abuse or a big adverse life event. Parents who argued, a barking dog that frighted you, being separated from a parent due to illness or their work, a teacher who humiliated you (accidentally or on purpose) can all be experienced as trauma. Very young trauma that occurs before the age where you can lay down memories can be held in the body or feel like something you cannot put into words. Processing childhood trauma can help you time stamp it as something in the past and help lessen the hold it has over you now. It can help you identify needs you may have that are affecting you now. The affects of trauma can come out in so many different ways in adulthood, from trust issues to substance abuse, from anger to depression and low self-esteem. Health and physical pain can also be a result of childhood trauma. Working with the body can help start you process very young trauma. Talking can help you make sense of why you feel how you feel, think how you think, and behave how you behave which can lead to you making the changes you want to make


CHRONIC PAIN & HEALTH CONDITIONS

Living with chronic pain and health conditions can impact all areas of your life and lead to depression or feelings of resentment and helplessness. There are some great mindfulness based theories and techniques that can help you change your relationship with your condition as well as reduce chronic pain. Please get in touch if you would like to find out if counselling and mindfulness can help you


CO-DEPENDENCY

Having excessive emotional dependence on another can be detrimental to your well being and to the health of the relationship. It can cause behaviours that may sabotage the relationship or you can lose your identity within your relationship. Co-dependency can look like; being unable to identify your own thoughts and feelings, being unable to make a decision, your mood being defined by the other, and in inability to function independently. Co-dependency can overlap with relationship addiction and lead to worsening states of low self-esteem or loss of sense of self. Not all co-dependent relationships are detrimental however if you feel you are in an unhealthy co-dependent relationship, speaking to a psycho-therapeutic counsellor can help you build your self-esteem and personal identity. It can help create and define your own boundaries both in your relationship and with other people in your life too. It can help you learn to trust, know and value yourself which in turn can cultivate healthy relationships in all areas of your life


COMPLICATED GRIEF

There is no time frame for grieving a loved one, however, it is possible to become stuck in the grief process. Inability to accept your loss, feeling numb, dissociated or unable to grieve long after a loved one has passed can be a sign that you are stuck in the grief process and experiencing complicated grief. Bereavement counselling can help you to learn healthy coping skills and help you to begin processing grief. Grief can also be experienced over other loses such as the end of a relationship or job, the loss of a hobby due to illness, a pet dying, or the loss felt from a childhood that wasn't happy. In these cases you can become stuck in the grief process because you haven't recognised your pain as grief. Some people experience relief when they learn that their emotional pain has a reason for being there and this can be the start of healing from it


COUPLES COUNSELLING

Couples therapy can help with communication and intimacy issues, trust issues, emotional distance and affairs and infidelity. Couples come to therapy to help decide if they want to work out their issues or if they want to separate. Couples also come to therapy for healthy maintenance of their relationship. It is natural for all couples to have periods of difficulty or uncertainty and couples counselling can help you to get back on track with more understanding of each other, and better tools to resolve conflict. It is not the role of a couples counsellor to make these decisions for you or to take sides. In couples counselling you can expect a safe place to be heard and understood by your partner and to hear and understand your partner. Unhealthy patterns can be picked up here and useful tools, aids and insights offered. Please note that for ethical reasons, I cannot offer couples counselling if one of you has been an individual client of mine in the past


DEPRESSION

Most people feel down or sad at times as temporary factors influence our mood, or we have experienced loss. Depression is different in that it can last weeks or months and affects your daily life. It is always a good idea to go to your G.P. to talk about how you are feeling if you think you may have depression. Short term counselling can help you develop effective coping strategies and look at your current thought patterns while longer term psychotherapy can help you find the cause of your depression and the deeper issues around it. While feelings of hopelessness are common with depression, it is highly treatable through medication, talking therapies, or both


EXPLORING CONFUSING FEELINGS

Sometimes people seek help through talking therapies without a goal or change in mind. They come instead to understand and improve confusing feelings that are hard to put into words. Exploring your feelings can lead to understanding them and feeling better. This is where the use of body work may be useful to you. During body work we will start to get in touch with these feelings and sensations in the body so that you can process them and lessen their hold or intensity. I tend to work with the body in cases of very young trauma or feelings that were laid down before your brain could hold conscious memories


ISOLATION

You can be alone and not feel lonely, just as you can be in company and feel alone. There are many different scenarios that cause people to feel isolated. Perhaps you are experiencing an issue or situation that you feel you cannot tell anyone around you. Or perhaps you would like to have friends or a relationship but are struggling to connect with others due to confidence or trust issues. It is possible to crave relationship while simultaneously (and sometimes unconsciously) believing this just can't happen for you. Or maybe circumstance is causing you to struggle with feelings of isolation. Living or working alone, losing a loved one, moving to a new area, or having a health condition that prevents you from partaking in your old hobbies can all be factors in feeling isolated. Feeling different to your friends, family and co-workers due to race, gender, sexuality, age or health status can also cause feelings of isolation. Talking through feelings of isolation can help you to feel less alone and to explore what is behind them and what you can do. If you feel you are in a different situation to most of the people who surround you in daily life, you may consider finding a group or people in the same boat as you


LGBTQ+

Hello, I am cisgender, and my pronouns are she / her / hers. The idea of 'normal' equating to being straight and identifying as the sex you were born is something I would like to see change. This is because by default, we are saying anyone who doesn't fit into this box is not normal and this is damaging. Feeling othered in society can lead to a myriad of challenges and causes of distress. 45% of young people in the LGBTQ+ community reported being bullied at school. 80% of transgender young people have self harmed and 60% of gay, lesbian and bi young people have self harmed. (Statistics published by Allsorts Youth Project). For young people, having the support of their parents can be a great help so if you are reading this as a parent please feel free to get in touch to talk about your experience and to talk through how you can be there for your child. If you are reading this as an under 18 and you are struggling, please visit @03 Youth Project. They offer support to young people aged 5-26 years old. Parents and over 18s please get in touch if you are exploring your identity, are concerned about coming out, are dealing with rejection, are having to hide your real safe in some or all circles, are self harming or experiencing suicidal thoughts. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and are at risk of taking action please contact @05 immediately. I work with people who feel othered and whatever that may bring for them


LOW SELF-ESTEEM

Feeling as though you have little control over your life, comparing yourself to others, people pleasing, and having lax boundaries are signs of low self-esteem. This could be due to a temporary knock or due to beliefs formed in childhood that you hold unconsciously. We tend to reinforce beliefs such as these, unconsciously seeking out people and situations that support our life view. Counselling and psychotherapy can help you unravel the reasons behind your low self-esteem, identify the areas of your life it is affecting, and offer you tools to build your self-esteem back up. People pleasing behaviours often go unchallenged because they can look helpful. Society tends to encourage helpful, selfless behaviour. But if this is to the detriment of your worth or others are taking advantage, it might be time to start putting 'you' into the picture. This can help you to stop saying 'yes' with no thought to yourself. Building self-esteem and finding your boundaries can be a very empowering experience. It can also be difficult as you go against old beliefs and ways of being in the world. You may outgrow one-sided relationships. The upside is you may also create room for new, healthier relationships where you are valued


OVER-EATING / COMFORT EATING

Emotional eating can be a difficult cycle to break as often you can be left with feelings of regret, shame, disgust and unhappiness. These feelings can lead to an increased need to repeat the cycle of over-eating. Emotional eating can be a way to meet known or unknown unmet needs or it can be a way of avoiding feelings you do not want to feel. Talking these through can help you to identify why you might be over-eating while mindfulness theory and techniques can help you to break the habit. Finding healthier coping strategies and outlets can also help you to break the cycle. If you have been over-eating for a long time it can be easy to believe you have tried everything and you cannot break the habit. You haven't and you can! Yet if you do believe you cannot change, we can talk about this in our sessions as this is often a barrier to people seeking help


COUNSELLING & COURSES FOR PARENTS

Parenting is one of the most difficult yet rewarding jobs we can have. If you are dealing with mental health issues this can affect how you parent. Being emotionally available, role-modelling healthy coping mechanisms and self-value and not 'snapping' can all become more difficult when you yourself are struggling. If your child is experiencing mental health issues it can be difficult to know how to support them. I offer counselling, courses and support groups to help with all these issues from your mental health, to theirs, to creating more connection and less stress in the home. I offer a Pregnancy to age 7 course, and an age 8 to 18 course for parents. The mother's stress levels can affect the baby in utero and bonding and connection can start here. Plus, pregnancy can be a great time to learn some of these skills before life gets busy and those developmental years begin. Love matters from pregnancy onward as these early connections become the foundations of beliefs about self and others far before your child can form memories. I believe if a parent isn't coping and wants to learn to cope better this is a positive thing and there is no shame or judgement in doing so


PRE-MEMORY / EARLY TRAUMA

Trauma that occurs before the age of around 2.5 years isn't remembered in the way we remember events that happen later than this age. That doesn't mean the trauma hasn't had an impact. It can be remembered in the body and can affect brain and nervous system development. It can affect trust, connection, ability to cope with stress. In fact, trauma at a young age can be deeply impactful. Trauma can be anything from abuse and neglect, to a parent who shouted a lot, to a depressed or anxious parent who wasn't available to give you that much needed love, touch and eye contact that babies need. If you cannot remember it, how can you heal from it? This is where bodywork and working creatively can be so powerful. Putting you in touch with past pain or unmet needs so that you can process them is the aim. There is no touch in body work. We work with sensations and feelings in the body rather than working with words. It is a very powerful and effective psychotherapeutic tool


PTSD / CPTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can occur after a one off event. It is more to do with the individual than the event itself. Talking about the event as soon as possible can help your brain to time stamp it as something that happened in the past. PTSD can look like having flashbacks or nightmares, trouble sleeping, being triggered by external events, or feeling irritable, guilty or isolated. Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder usually occurs after repeated trauma such as neglect, abuse or violence and is usually worse if it occurred in early life. CPTSD can affect the child's development and is sometimes called Developmental PTSD. Symptoms of CPTSD may not surface until years after the trauma events. If you think you may have PTSD or CPTSD please get in touch, counselling and psychotherapy may help


UNWANTED HABITUAL BEHAVIOURS & ADDICTION

Alcohol, sex, food, shopping, gambling, drugs, withdrawing, snapping at others, watching T.V, duvet days, self-harming. There are many behaviours that can start off as a distraction or a way to avoid negative feelings and end up as an addiction that is damaging our health and happiness. There are different ways to approach habits and addiction. Short term, learning habit breaking skills can be useful. Longer term, looking at what you might be avoiding can help lessen the need to partake in the habit you have become so good at. When learning new, healthier habits you are lessening the hold of the current neural pathways in the brain and creating new ones more inline with how you want to go forward. This process can take time, self-kindness and patience which for some can also be new skills to learn


SELF-HARM

Self-harm is a coping mechanism that your brain has come up with to help you cope. You may not know how else to cope with sadness, stress, anxiety, shame, etc. These are all big feelings and we aren't necessarily taught how to tolerate them or process them healthily. Counselling and psychotherapy can help lessen the need or impulse to self-harm while giving you new, healthier coping mechanisms to take through life to help you cope with distressing emotions.
If you are reading this as a parent, having a safe place to talk about your feelings and to talk about how to support your child could be beneficial to both you and your child


SHAME COUNSELLING

There is a difference between feeling ashamed of something you have done, and feeling shame as a go-to feeling about yourself. The first helps you to modify your behaviour to comply with social morals. The second can be a very isolating and distressing place to be. Shame tends to gain momentum in the dark and is a great example of 'a problem shared is a problem halved' because airing feelings of shame in a safe place can greatly reduce their intensity. Shame can lead to hiding away and turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms to cope with the feelings. It can also lead to angry and defensive responses to others that feel impulsive rather than chosen or thought out. Avoiding conflict at all costs can also come from shame.
If you are experiencing fleeting shame that comes from something you have done that is the purpose of shame. If you feel shame chronically and have feelings that you are not enough or that you are 'intrinsically wrong' in some way, psychotherapeutic counselling may be of benefit to you. There are other types of shame associated with having something done to you. Counselling can help you to process this type of shame.
If shame feels like it is deeply part of you please reach out and do not suffer in silence


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