Student mental health

Student mental health ‘failing a generation’

BBC News

In 2016, 146 students killed themselves, and three have died in Bristol in the past month alone. Read the full story

Mo says: So many are in crisis. Whether it is stress from exams, pushy parents, peer pressure, gender identity or many more issues. I believe it is out of control because there are only a few counsellors out in schools for them to talk to. Because there are no places for them to go to except their own bedroom where they ask the internet and get bogus answers from the wrong people.

Universities offer counselling services staffed by trainees or counsellors that may not have experience dealing not only with these specific kinds of problems, but of working with young people. It is not like working with an adult.

How often do we stop and listen?

No one has time, parents are too busy. When was the last time you stopped what you were doing and really listened?

When they ask for help, how do we make sure young people actually get it?

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A Prison Counsellor: What’s the reward?

Written by Alex Baldock, counsellor at HMP X.

What is so rewarding about working in a prison?

The short answer is the idea of helping people. But this can be ascribed to any other environment. Helping people in prison perhaps feeds into a basic childhood idea of cops and robbers, of good and bad. That being in prison is a thing, perhaps the one thing to be feared and to be avoided because of its negative connotations. So being in a prison can feel as though it is helping those who need help to right their wrongs.

This can unfortunately, be regarded as oh-so-worthy and patronising. “I’m here to help you because I’m not in prison and you are, therefore you need my help”. There is a selfish element to helping people in any context, doing the good deed, from which we can give ourselves a literal or metaphorical pat on the back.

But, as much as both of those reasons might wander around our thoughts, they perhaps don’t form the structure of why we work here and what we get from it.

That, for me, comes from recognising human beings who have their own challenges, trying to make sense of them in a challenging environment which often doesn’t offer the opportunity to talk and be heard; which doesn’t always provide space for what prisoners describe as a normal conversation, which can seem to give little in the way of encouragement or opportunity to change or grow. There is a tense mix of machismo and vulnerability in prison and not just from those who reside here, and navigating it is a daily exercise in personal security, physical and emotional.

So, the reward comes from helping, yes but also the feeling, the hope, that for one hour, in the eye of a storm, that person has the chance to just be themselves.

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Social Networks and Life Events

At our workshop on Saturday 16th June we will be looking at the effects of common life events on your clients – these effects can range from depression and stress to insomnia and relationship conflict. Life events will include divorce, death, empty nest, illness, redundancy, menopause, disability, legal action, and accidents.

We will then explore the ‘ripple’ effects of these life events on the people in their lives as well as the secondary influences that can follow. Social networks will include family, extended family, step families, adoption, work colleagues, neighbours, friends, and exes.

We will also discuss the role of social media in supporting or exacerbating situations

Finally, we will move on to discuss crisis and recovery techniques and tools. These will concentrate on managing the initial stages, coping with the first few days and weeks, and then rebuilding “normal”.

Our workshop will include materials and activities (some personal work and some using case studies). There will be opportunities to network with other counsellors from a variety of placements and practices. We keep numbers small so everyone can get the most from the day.

Please click here for an application form

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Safety for counsellors

Have a look at this article from the National Counselling Society.

Extract: “It is a common myth to think that the term ‘lone worker’ simply refers to people who work completely alone. Although thousands of people do indeed fall into this category, the term ‘lone worker’ actually refers to a much broader spectrum of people – including anyone who works remotely, in isolation, with vulnerable people or, indeed, who can feel vulnerable themselves due to the type of work they carry out.”

Toni says: Don’t forget yourself. You are important. And things can get out of control quickly.

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Keeping trying when it comes to depression

Toni says: if something doesn’t work for you (or a client), keep trying. Don’t give up!
Have a look at these natural ideas.
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A Counsellor’s Story – treating addiction in prison, Part 2

Toni says: Here’s Part 2 of Alex Baldock’s piece about the work he does in HMP X, his insights and reflections about his growth as a counsellor in response to the experience:

The cycles of change being what they are, the popularity of the 12 Step approach didn’t last and I returned to the CBT based treatment.  In ten years little has changed in this area.  The names change of the courses that are offered, but the content remains markedly similar.  For a long time I was really frustrated by this.  I felt like it was Groundhog Day, churning out the same stuff.  I accept that this was my issue, but for a while I was quite angry about it.  How can it have not changed in that time?  Is this the best we can do?

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Relationship gaslighting and perceptions of reality.

Toni says: Have a look at this article. It’s an insight into the vulnerability of women. How easy it is to chop away at their self confidence and the devastating effect this can have on perceptions of reality.

https://apple.news/Ar51ukOqPTTuz0PjOWcsQ0A

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A Counsellor’s Story – treating addiction in prison, Part 1

Toni says: We are really pleased to present a piece written by Alex Baldock about the work he does in HMP X and his reflections on the way that counselling addresses addiction and his journey as a counsellor. Here’s part 1, enjoy: Read more ›

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Workshop: Pain-free CBT!

Our workshop on Saturday 17th March 2018 will focus on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. We will explore what it is and how it works, then apply it to some common issues. By the time you leave you will be able to use CBT in an adaptive, intuitive way. We believe that CBT is more than simply handing out worksheets.

You will learn:

  • the Cinnabar Training step by step approach to using CBT with a client
  • how to break down problems holistically using Lazarus’ multimodal approach
  • understanding presentations of anger, anxiety, insomnia and phobia
  • using narrative to change negative thoughts, reframe memories and redefine behaviours
  • using many different theoretical approaches to work towards your clients’ goals

Our workshop will include materials and activities (some personal work and some using case studies). There will be opportunities to network with other counsellors from a variety of placements and practices. We keep numbers small so everyone can get the most from the day.

The workshop will be at the Easton on the Hill Village Hall, New Road, Easton on the Hill, PE9 3NN

10am – 4.00pm (9.30am registration and coffee)

Cost: £70.00 includes refreshments and light lunch.

Click here for an application form

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It’s a Slow Road to Your Dream Practice

We came across this impassioned piece in The Guardian: “What I’m Really Thinking – a disappointed counsellor”.

Toni & Mo say: We think that counselling courses should make the transition to practice much easier. If you are in a similar position don’t despair. Your studies and personal development have given you skills and insight that no-one can ever take away from you. Find a part-time placement, a couple hours a week if necessary, and slowly increase. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and good counsellors take years to bake.

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