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Updated: Nov 4

Welcome to blog 10 of 2022. With each blog, we focus on a topical theme of counselling therapy, which I hope will inform you in your decision to seek therapy or to become a therapist.


I have been invited to facilitate a workshop on November 26th for the 2022 Bereavement Conference 'Decolonising Grief: From Marginalisation to Inclusivity', which is hosted by ONLINEVENTS. So. recently, I've been thinking a lot about grief.




As a therapist, it's inevitable that bereavement, being a part of the human experience, features in my work. Clients seek a space in which to acknowledge their loss, express their grief and understand its process.



Loss of a loved one is painful; it can be harrowing. The same may be true for other kinds of loss.

Loss of a loved one is painful; it can be harrowing. The same may be true for other kinds of loss. Grief may be due to the loss of a home, job, identity, friendship group. It may be a response to a gradual loss or change over time, such as aging, a health condition, the erosion of the planet.


Although grief is not considered to be a clinical condition, there are common symptoms that can affect both our physical and mental health. Some symptoms may be similar to depression. Lack of focus, a lowered immune system and physical pain may also occur. Which is why some of us visit our GP and seek counselling when experiencing grief.



Loss and grief that does not conform to a social or cultural norm may be denied or suppressed for fear of judgement.

What warrants loss and grief is often dictated by society: who or what we can grieve for, in what way and for how long. Consequently, grief that does not conform to a social or cultural norm may be denied or suppressed, for fear of judgement. This can be an isolating experience, causing psychological wounding, adding to the pain of grief. People of minoritized groups may not feel free to express their grief beyond the privacy of their homes or outside of their community. Grief can be multi-layered.



Rituals for mourning differ according to custom and belief. But across cultures, there are key strands to the process of grief:


Acknowledgment

Emotional response

Adjusting to being without

Holding whilst moving on.


There are several stages, not necessarily linear, in this process. Grief can be complex. It may be personal, familial, communal, societal, ancestral or multi-layered. Time is needed to adjust to a way of living after loss.





With such losses, we may respond in a similar way to the loss of a loved one, yet judge ourselves or feel judged by others for our sense of loss. But, in order to heal, it is important we acknowledge our loss along with our emotional responses to it.


If you are experiencing grief and feel that you are struggling to cope, counselling can help.




You may find the following links helpful:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-7c74-pUlk&t=23s


https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/bereavement/about-bereavement/


https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/feelings-and-symptoms/grief-bereavement-loss/


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2BJsOQypuw


https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200402-climate-grief-mourning-loss-due-to-climate-change


https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bereavement-conference-decolonising-grief-tickets-262487315627






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Welcome to blog 9 of 2022. With each blog, we focus on a topical theme of counselling therapy, which I hope will inform you in your decision to seek therapy or to become a therapist.


Alongside my counselling practice, I've been delivering a series of workshops over the past couple of years, focusing on the impact of race and culture on our mental health and wellbeing. The aim of these workshops is to explore what happens for us when we encounter another who differs from ourselves in race and/or culture, and to consider the impact of these responses.




Integral to my approach to therapy is the need to address the whole person, which, I feel, includes some acknowledgement of an individual's awareness of their race or ethnicity, culture, and heritage.


I'm writing this on September 30th, following a short interview on The Friday Night Show with Sophie Little for BBC Radio Norfolk and BBC Radio Suffolk about my practice and upcoming workshop Who's in the room? Race, Culture and Wellness for Norfolk Black History Month.


Norfolk Black History Month theme is 'Black Health and Wellness'. Who's in the room? Race, Culture and Wellness has been designed around this theme.


This workshop is for those looking to positively engage with others in exploring the impact of race and culture on our wellbeing. It’s an hour-and-a-half workshop, suitable for 18s and over. We’ll be sharing our lived experience, sharing narratives and celebrating difference. There’ll be opportunity to express ourselves through word, mark-making, sound and movement, if you feel so inclined. The aim is to offer a thought-provoking and uplifting experience.


Tuesday 4th October 7 pm - 8.30 pm

Last Pub Standing,

27-29 King Street

Norwich NR1 1PD


Booking is in advance by emailing marypascall@yahoo.com

Entry: free



Select here for Norfolk Black History month events

Select here for radio interview

Select here for more information on my workshops




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Welcome to blog 8 of 2022. With each blog, we focus on a topical theme of counselling therapy, which I hope will inform you in your decision to seek therapy or to become a therapist.


So you're experiencing some difficulty and thinking of seeking counselling. For several reasons, you prefer the idea of an independent practitioner. But how do you know what kind of help to seek? Or perhaps you're considering a career in mental health and are curious about the roles of practitioners. Then take a look at these definitions.





Counsellors offer guidance on specific personal or mental health problems. In the UK, a counsellor may have psychological training and may hold a certificate, diploma, degree, post-graduate diploma or masters in counselling and/or specific modalities. Professional training may take three to five years, excluding continuing professional development.


Psychotherapists treat personal or mental health conditions that may be specific or complex. To do this, they may draw on more than one modality. In the UK, a psychotherapist may hold a certificate, degree, post-graduate diploma masters or doctorate in counselling and psychotherapy. Professional training may take four to five years, excluding continuing professional development.


Clinical Psychologists are trained in a medical setting, in a range of modalities, to reduce physical and psychological distress and promote wellbeing. In the UK, a clinical psychologist will hold a doctorate in clinical psychology. Training may take six to seven years


Psychiatrists diagnose and treat mental health problems and illnesses. Treatment may include prescribed medication. In the UK, psychiatrists are required to complete a medical degree before training in psychiatry. Training may take up to 14 years.



Access to treatment

Your GP or hospital may refer you to a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, or recommend counselling. You can arrange to see a practitioner privately. A psychiatrist may refer a client to a patient psychologist, psychotherapist or counsellor as part of their treatment.


It's not all in the name

There is an ongoing debate about the distinction between counselling and psychotherapy in the UK. Some view psychotherapy as a longer-term, more 'in-depth' treatment, which may involve a combination of techniques. Psychotherapists are often viewed as experienced practitioners with advanced qualifications.


However, a practitioner identifying as a counsellor or psychotherapeutic counsellor may practice psychotherapy, and vice versa. It's also possible for a counsellor and psychotherapist to have similar experience and qualifications. Therefore, the definitions of counsellor and psychotherapist given above may be viewed flexibly.



A professional approach

This is because, unlike psychology and psychiatry, counselling and psychotherapy in the UK is not regulated by a government agency*. However, many therapists are members of regulatory professional bodies, such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). Counselling & Psychotherapy Society (NCPS). As members, therapists are required to adhere to a professional code of conduct, which includes ethical practice, training and development.



I hope this information goes some way to identifying the kind of support you need. Remember: when seeking a counsellor or psychotherapist, if a practitioner does not have all the information you require in their profile or on their website, get in touch and ask - whether it's about modality, experience and qualifications or membership of a professional body.


Please note that professional roles in mental health are not limited to those listed above.


* Practitioners are required to operate within the law.


Images: Anna Shvet; Alex Green



You may find the following links useful:


https://www.thecounsellorsguide.co.uk/difference-between-counselling-psychotherapy.html


https://www.nhsinform.scot/tests-and-treatments/counselling-and-therapies/counselling-and-psychotherapy


https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/social-care-and-your-rights/how-to-access-mental-health-services/


https://counsellingtutor.com/professional-practice-for-counsellors/counselling-and-the-law/#:~:text=Statutory%20Regulation%20of%20Counselling%20and%20Psychotherapy&text=Joining%20a%20professional%20body%20and,to%20practice%20under%20those%20titles.



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