What is self esteem Self Esteem is about how well we think about ourselves, respect and value ourselves.   It is the way we talk to ourselves on a day to day basis ie ‘self-talk’ and ‘inner dialogue’. We all have a right to self-esteem, to be respected, and we are all of equal worth although it may not feel like that. How does self esteem develop We learn how to experience different levels of self esteem depending on: how we have experienced others around us in the past the way we experience others around us in the present the way others talk, behave and treat us the way we talk, behave and treat ourselves current... Read More »


It is common to experience changes in moods and thinking around menstruation time.  There are lots of changes going on in the body which affect blood sugar, and hormones which affect how we feel and think.  Self care is particularly important for women around their time of the month and so it might be useful to consider some of the following tips if you find you experience difficulties at this time. – keep a diary to plan or make allowances as best as you can around this time of the month so that you can get more rest, reducing commitments as... Read More »


Survival The subconscious mind is looking after us all the time, it is there to serve, and protect us.  It keeps all the systems in the body functioning, like the circulation, digestion and breathing, without us needing to do anything consciously about it. Habits It also creates habits and automatic functioning for us so that we don’t have to think about how to do something like riding a bike, driving, and the sort of things we can just do automatically without really thinking about it.  Anything we do consciously and repeatedly, the subconscious will see this as important (even if its not really... Read More »


Mindfulness helps us to achieve a calm, peaceful and relaxed being state of mind.  When getting into the habit of being mindful it means that we start to notice our thoughts, feelings and sensations rather than reacting to, or being consumed in them.  We can create some distance from our experiences and have more choice about how to deal with them.  By focusing on our breath, body or senses we find an inner calm place where we can observe, and acknowledge how we think and feel,and also be compassionate and accepting of ourselves.  Working with mindfulness can help with the... Read More »

RELATIONSHIPS: Why do I stay if I am unhappy

How is it that we can stay in unhappy, unfulfilling and unhealthy relationships, what keeps us from leaving? Idealisation Sometimes we have put the other person on a pedestal.  We idealise them or the relationship as perfect, acknowledging the good and denying what isn’t okay for us.  Although we may manage to do this most of the time, we will have our moments of reality and they may be short lived.  We might find it hard to acknowledge what we really don’t like and suppress this, however we are also likely to be aware of how miserable we are at some point. Hope of... Read More »

WHO AM I: Identity and Values

Who Am I? Sometimes in life we find ourselves asking Who Am I, we might try to be something we think we should be, or we might be confused about who we want to be?   Or we might question if what we are  is acceptable, right or good enough. Sometimes we are searching ‘out there’ for an answer, we constantly compare ourselves to others as to whether or not we are okay.  This can be anxiety provoking, confusing and stressful as the true answer can be found within.  It may be difficult to connect to that or stay connected to that inner knowing... Read More »


Recovery from pressure, stress, anxiety, emotions, thinking and activity Relaxation is an important part of helping us maintain balance in our lives, and to help us deal with pressure, stress, anxieties, physical demands, and difficult periods we may be experiencing. Dealing with challenges with work, family, and friends, etc as well as negative thoughts, and painful feelings means that we can be subjected to long periods of stress.  It is of course normal for us to have to cope with stressful times within reason, and problems can arise when we are not addressing stress levels with enough self care, relaxation and recovery... Read More »


One way of looking at anger and rage is that they are two quite different experiences and therefore need working with differently. Anger  is actually a positive emotion, in that it can indicate to us many helpful things.  It is how we use the experience of anger that can be positive or cause problems and difficulties ie how we may act out unhelpfully, or address issues, and make the changes needed.  See more about anger. Rage can be very harmful,violent and  destructive and  like anger  is  addressed  in counselling. When experiencing  rage, there is normally the inability to think clearly, and an inablility to... Read More »


    DANGER AND THREAT TO SURVIVAL?   When we are faced with, or anticipate fearful/dangerous/stressful situations our body can automatically respond so that we are able to fight or flight (run away) to keep ourselves safe.   This unconscious fight/flight response means that the brain focuses on preparing the body for action without you needing to do anything.  In dangerous situations it is important to get oxygen and energy circulated to different areas and muscles of the body so they can be prepared for action.  Other bodily systems deactivate like the digestion and immune system to save the needed resources and energy.      REAL OR... Read More »


  DAILY DEMANDS The mind and body can experience stress day to day as demands are made upon it.  It is healthy and normal to be dealing with a certain amount of stress as this alerts us and motivates us to make decisions, and take action.  If we are dealing with high amounts of stress over  long periods of time then we can sometimes start to suffer with our stress and maybe experience physical ailments.   STRESSFUL SITUATION OR OUR RESPONSE TO IT? It is not always what is happening  that is the problem but how we respond to it, or how we think or react that can... Read More »


  ALL TYPES OF LOSS Grief is a process which can occur when we experience loss.  It is normally associated with bereavement, and it is also to be found in other painful losses.   Not only can grief be experienced when someone dies, it can occur with endings, and loss of relationships with partners, family, and  friends.  When we make life changes we can experience loss in  identity, work, home and life roles, and things we expected to happen but didn’t.   A GRIEVING PROCESS Grieving is an individual process and everyone is different in how they experience their loss.    There are similar phases and tasks in... Read More »

RELATIONSHIPS – Why do I keep picking the wrong partner

  How is it that we can meet the perfect partner of our dreams only to realise to our later disappointment and heartbreak that there is no way on earth the relationship can work in a way that we are happy with.  Not only may we find it difficult to understand how we fell in love with this person in the first place,  we can also find that we make the same mistake more than once?  Also see > relationship issues.   ATTRACTION When we feel attracted to someone there can be a lot of processes going on that we are not aware of.  Sometimes we... Read More »

TRUST and relationships

  THE NECESSARY NEED FOR TRUST It is a normal human need to want to be in happy, meaningful and positive relationships however sometimes it may be hard to trust new relationships if we have  experienced negative, hurtful and harmful things with people in the past. Trust is an essential part of a healthy relationship to work well. We need to trust that the person will be respectful, caring, honest, fair, and reasonable with us etc.  Of course no relationship is perfect, and there are times when things may not go right.  However, when things do go wrong, it is important that... Read More »

LOW SELF ESTEEM – How does it develop?

  WHAT IS LOW SELF ESTEEM Self Esteem is about how we think, evaluate and feel about ourselves.  When we have a generally negative view about ourselves this can be termed as Low Self Esteem.   It means we can ignore or be unaware of our positive traits, have negative and self-limiting beliefs, lack self care, and experience an inner negative voice (inner self critic).  These unhelpful thoughts and experiences can also lead to difficult feelings eg sadness, guilt, anger and shame, which can contribute to depression.   HOW CAN IT DEVELOP Low Self Esteem can develop from childhood,  when we repetitively experience: – criticism, judgement, lack of acceptance – negative and abusive relationships – absence of positive... Read More »

ANGER – How is it helpful?

  THE POSITIVES OF ANGER Anger can often be viewed in a negative way rather than for the positive support it provides us.  It can be associated with aggression, shouting, violence and negative behaviour.   Surprising to many clients in counselling, is that the initial recognition of feeling anger can be a helpful communication to oneself.  It is not necessarily the anger we feel which is a problem but how we respond to it, or how we express it, when we experience it.  Also, it is helpful to differentiate whether it is anger we are experiencing or rage.  When we are aware of feeling... Read More »

GUILT – Healthy or Unhealthy?

  HEALTHY GUILT The purpose of feeling guilt is to help us to reassess our actions, and change the things we do that may be harmful or unreasonable to others. When we feel guilty about something we have done, it means that we can try and think what we are going to do about it.  This may mean considering the choices we have,  and the decisions and actions we take.   Healthy guilt enables us to  learn from our mistakes (a normal way of learning), and make amends or do what we can to put something right.   UNHEALTHY GUILT It is not healthy or helpful... Read More »

SHAME – Hide or seek?

  HEALTHY SHAME   It is normal for children to experience being shamed by significant others as part of  a supportive relationship – shaming can help educate and motivate children towards socially acceptable conduct.  Healthy shame inhibits illegal, immoral, and harmful behaviour; and means learning from our mistakes and our limitations.  Shame is experienced as negative thinking and feeling about oneself  ‘I am bad if I do this’  rather than guilt which is thinking and feeling bad for an action taken.   When children learn healthy shame  it is important that they are continued to be supported with an attentive and understanding relationship.     UNHEALTHY SHAME   If children experience shaming... Read More »

THE INNER CHILD – How do we heal?

  THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES   We all carry experiences from our childhood which include: memories, rules, learning, beliefs, thoughts, feelings and behaviour although we may or may not be aware of all of them as an adult.  These experiences are sometimes referred to as our inner child or the child ego state which can be a positive and negative part of our personality.      THE HURT INNER CHILD   Our inner state can change depending on what we are experiencing if there is a negative trigger we can connect to our ‘inner hurt child’ or a ‘vulnerable child ego state’.  Wounds from our past can be very... Read More »

SELF CARE – How well do we look afterselves?

  HAVE YOU LEARNT TO LOOK AFTER YOURSELF?   Looking after ourselves is not always an easy task.  We may not be in the habit of doing it, or we may not fully know what that means.  We may be busy looking after others, family, friends, partners or work.  It is important to take time to reflect and consider how well our we taking care of ourselves.   A further difficulty is the belief that putting ourselves first is being selfish.  If we have learnt it is not okay to look after ourselves, and honour the importance of getting our needs met, or... Read More »

THE PAST – How does it help?

    THE PAST INFORMS THE PRESENT   When we consider our early past relationships, childhood, and life experiences it can sometimes help us to understand our current ways of thinking, feeling, relating and behaving. Sometimes events in the past which have not been worked through sufficiently or at all, can negatively influence us in the present. It is not only the event which may cause problems but more often the way we have dealt with the event, or the unhelpful responses we have had, or the support we have not had which causes us ongoing difficulties.       LEARNING FROM THE PAST   We all have needs throughout... Read More »

EMOTIONS – Why they are important

  IMPORTANT COMMUNICATION   Emotions serve many purposes and communicate many things which are important for us to know, learn from. They are specific reactions to a particular event.  It can therefore be very useful to be aware and informed by our emotions rather than trying to ignore, deny, or push them away somewhere.     HOW THEY INFORM AND SUPPORT US    Some of the useful things emotions inform and support us with are:    protection, self care and boundaries knowing what is okay  and not okay for us, gaining support, comfort and understanding needed getting our needs met changing our behaviour processing  experiences, and difficult life events releasing tension and stress experiences of  loss and... Read More »

CRYING: Whats the point ?

  HEALTHY FUNCTION Sometimes in life, and counselling, people can struggle with the need to cry, dismissing it as pointless, weak, or negative in some way.   Crying like all our emotions, serves a necessary purpose, to support us in our life experiences, and our well being.     IMPORTANT AND BENEFICIAL There are many reasons, why crying is important; relating to physical, emotional and psychological well being as follows: A normal and natural response to grief, loss, distress, overwhelm, injury, hurt, fear and vulnerability Indicates a need for attention, acknowledgement, care, understanding, support and comfort Often there is a need is to cry with someone rather than... Read More »