Well, today is just escaping me, despite an early start.
I'm feeling as though I've not achieved a great deal today in between more unpacking at the new French house, signing up new clients and taking care of some admin I'm only now getting round to this - one of the three lots of writing that I am scheduled to be doing today.
But you know what, it's okay. I'm not going to let my inner critic beat me up for this. I'm doing as much as I can, to the best of my ability. Even if that does mean typing with The Great British Sewing Bee on in the background (no judgement please!).
Here are a few links that caught my eye this week, I hope you have a great weekend.
1) Antidepressant prescriptions in England double in a decade - The Guardian
2) The Gender Spectrum Collection: Stock Photos Beyond the Binary - Broadly & Vice
3) 'It's causing people to snap': Brexit anxiety is a very real issue in the UK right now - Huffington Post UK
As a counsellor working in private practice I am acutely aware of the cost of therapy. No, forget that - as a human being who has used counselling as a tool to maintain good mental health and process life's offerings, I am aware of the cost of therapy. However as a professional who meets people who have been unable to obtain help through the NHS or a charity, I am acutely aware of the cost of not being able to access therapy.
I think there are a few common schools of thought when private therapy is under consideration:
a) It costs money, I should be able to get it free (at point-of-access) through the NHS, I can get medication, I'm not going to pay
b) Its a luxury, I can manage my own issues with my own methods and where they don't work I can always get medication, I'm not going to pay
c) It costs money, but the emotional and practical cost to me of not being able to address my problems or talk to someone about what I'm going through outweigh the financial outlay and make it worth it
d) I have a niche issue that I need to address, and I like the fact that private therapy gives me more autonomy to choose who I work with, when and for how long makes it attractive to me
Where do you sit when it comes to private counselling?
I'll admit, that I - like most people I'm sure - believe that therapy should be more easily accessible through the British healthcare system. Unfortunately the funding for mental health support in the NHS is woefully small, particularly in times of austerity. Here are a few articles with further information for those so inclined:
But another option that I would suggest is to consider the idea of counselling and talking therapy as a practise that we should ALL be considering on a regular basis.
Most of us have enough going on in our complex and sometimes difficult lives to consider the idea of a session with a counsellor. Maybe an annual check-in that allows us to air the issues that might have been lurking in the back of our minds, keeping us from sleeping well but not yet impacting our daily lives or ability to form and keep relationships. Not yet manifesting as anxiety, depression or addiction.
And believe me, as a therapist, that's the stage at which I want to be meeting people. I want to be meeting my clients when they're well enough. When they can cope with the idea of meeting someone new and talking about personal things. When they can look at a set of sessions as an investment in themselves - a yearly mental health MOT if you will - and come away from the experience feeling lighter, alleviated of anxieties and having aired issues or sadnesses which they haven't been able to share with anyone else.
So to this end, I'm going to be offering a new way of working starting this summer in addition to my long-term online counselling sessions and email therapy:
The Harley Counselling Mental Health MOT: A block booking of one, three or six 1-hour counselling sessions for an affordable one-off fee - including a list of reading recommendations once completed to continue any work you might like to afterwards.
1 x 1-hour Mental Health MOT: £80
A full therapeutic hour to meet, discuss and learn from issues that are affecting you. Space to talk confidentially and openly with a qualified, trained and registered mental health professional around your life and what you want from it. A written recommendation for reading, videos, podcasts and literature adapted to your session content.
3 x 1-hour Mental Health MOT: £220
Three full therapeutic hours to meet, discuss and learn from issues that are affecting you. Space to talk confidentially and openly with a qualified, trained and registered mental health professional around your life and what you want from it. A mutually agreed plan for three sessions of work together on issues and subjects of your choice. Relationships, career aspirations and hopes can all be discussed here. A written recommendation for reading, videos, podcasts and literature adapted to your session content.
6 x 1-hour Mental Health MOT: £410
Six full therapeutic hours to meet, discuss and learn from issues that are affecting you. Space to talk confidentially and openly with a qualified, trained and registered mental health professional around your life and what you want from it. Here we have time to look at things that have taken place in the past, and how they impact behaviours now. Relationships, career aspirations and losses can all be discussed. A mutually agreed plan for six sessions of work together on issues and subjects of your choice. A written recommendation for reading, videos, podcasts and literature adapted to your session content.
What do you think?
I've had a lot of positive responses to this offering already from those I've discussed it with, and so this offering will be starting over the next few weeks. I'm only going to run these in the summer, where life can offer us a little space to attend to admin and we can hopefully take some time for ourselves. To invest in ourselves, and our futures.
If you'd like to know more or sign up, then please feel free to get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or my contact form on www.harleycounselling.com/contact
And they're back! My Friday links that I've received so many messages on social media asking for the return of - you're all too kind!
This week has been a really full week working online from my new French home. Businesswise I'm really pleased with how things are going in terms of uptake of sessions, my clients' progress and managing my own time. I've been unfortunate to catch both flu and develop bronchitis over the last month so its been a fine balancing act in terms of taking care of myself, working and trying to unpack (what seems like) hundreds of boxes! So I'll get on with giving you the three links that struck me as worth a read this week and turn my attention to this long moving to-do list...
Have a great weekend.
1) Seven ways to help someone through a panic attack - The Guardian
2) ‘Keep Their Memory Alive’: Four People Share How They Cope With The Deaths Of Their Siblings - Huffington Post
3) Joe Wicks on Fatherhood and Finding Balance - Happiful Magazine
Bonjour! You now find me working and living here in France - working online with many of my previously face-to-face clients, and also many new clients whom I have only met online.
Combining the move from the UK, selling my old home, closing down the previous business, buying a new home and setting up as a new micro-entrepreneur here has taken some serious administrative nous. I am very pleased to say though, on the other side of unpacking boxes, continuing to imrove my french and trying to overcome some of the administrative headaches that Brexit has caused, that things are settling down and I have space (and crucially an office!) to write and work from.
One of the early benefits I'm realising, of working in this new way, is that I have a lot more time - I'm able to read more - for me, being an integrative therapist means constantly learning new things and researching ways of working - I'm able to be very organised in terms of running the business, and I'm able to rest. Which has been fortunate as the last three weeks I have fallen foul of an epidemic of flu that has been sweeping France. Fortunately, that is now over and I can get back into blogging, updating my Instagram feed and sharing my Friday links as I did before.
I look forward to keeping you all updated on how things are going here, and sharing all of the new learnings that I now have the space to bring into my practice.
Laura is an online talking therapist and writer specialising in working with millennials and the LGBTQI+ community.