Therapy via writing/email

Many know that as well as a writer I am also a psychotherapist. I am planning to open up a few therapy slots to folk via email.

I am an experienced psychotherapist with many years of working with clients via the medium of writing. Would it be of interest? Details below on how it works in practice and its advantages

THERAPY VIA EMAIL . CCTLogo

“I do find it therapeutic, writing about stuff that was frightening and painful as a child, and managing to see it from an adult’s point of view. To get it out of the closet, on to paper… is therapeutic.” Julie Walters


If you prefer writing as a medium and a tool for self-expression then email/writing therapy would be a good option for you. It is just like writing letters through engaging in a meaningful therapeutic relationship and communication in order to express, connect, process and heal.

Therapy via writing/email is a way of obtaining help from a professional therapist without leaving your home. It is convenient and flexible in terms of time and location. Therapy sessions take place in writing via email exchanges. Online psychotherapy can work either short-term or in an open-ended way, i.e. longer term.

Email counselling can offer you many advantages:

– allows you to write an email in the privacy of your own home or in a safe and quiet private space of your choice
– works very well for most issues either in a short-term exchange or for longer-term, on-going work
– it can be a one-off exchange to explore a particular issue or a series of emails to get deeper level of understanding of yourself
– it can give you time to think what you wish to convey and reflect on your feelings and experiences
– writing thoughts and feelings down and being able to reflect on them can be very therapeutic
– time-saving, as there are no geographical restrictions or travelling time
– you can engage in sessions at any time and anywhere suitable for you therapeutically
– writing counselling is an effective, confidential and convenient alternative to face to face (f2f) sessions
– allows time to reflect on therapeutic response
– you have a written record of email sessions, which you could refer to whenever you need to
– writing can help release some painful thoughts and emotions simply through putting things down on paper. It can be really healing and even cathartic
– it can feel really supportive to know that someone is going to spend time reading and responding to your thoughts and feelings
– offers a safe and trusting space to express yourself without having to engage in face-to-face interaction or commit to travel time

In my Email counselling sessions I will provide you with:

– a safe virtual place where you can express and I can listen
– acknowledgement and reassurance of your thoughts, feelings and experiences
– empathy, support and unconditional regard
– validation, understanding and insight
– just as in my face-to-face sessions I work with the whole person rather than symptoms in isolation. Your well-being is my main priority. Please visit the rest of my website for more information on how I work.

How Email Counselling Works

Once we agree to work together email exchange takes place with one email a week equivalent to a weekly session:
– you write and send your email to me in your own time and I will respond within a certain time period (agreed between us) and let you know when to expect an email from me
– I will spend at least one hour on my therapeutic response. This time period can be an indicator of how long your email to me should be. Think of it as a face-to-face session, e.g. that lasts for an hour. This will have the same set up in terms of engagement and time spent.
– I will send my therapeutic emails via an encrypted email account, such as Hushmail to ensure your privacy remains intact. This is downloadable at http://www.hushmail.com should you wish to choose this form of contact, which I recommend. If you choose to use Hushmail as well, there is an extra level of security.

Repairing the Whole

lighted car in winding road
Photo by Kreisson on Pexels.com

Transpersonal: hope, strength, potential

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity…

William Butler Yeats

 

When all falls away what is left?

What we are experiencing is a crisis on many levels and what’s at the centre of it is a breakdown of the ‘whole’, a psycho-spiritual crisis of individual and collective. We are facing a long and dark night of the soul. When things no longer make sense, our minds race uncontrollably and feelings overwhelm our every day, fear-based behaviours flare out of control and our safety is compromised. When personal and collective fall away what and how transpersonal can help us get back to ourselves, get back ‘home’.

What are we left with? What else is there?

Transpersonal approach to psycho-spiritual work deals with the idea of human innate potential and bears witness to personal transformations through engaging with or experiencing something beyond ‘self’ when in crisis. Hope reawakens, inner potential begins to shine through and strength previously seemingly inaccessible comes back. As a therapist I have been privileged to be a witness to profound shifts in individuals when working in a transpersonal way. Working with life transitions and crisis is one of my favourite areas due to an openness and beauty of experience that can be had once transformation occurs through awareness, reflection and application. The beauty and resilience of the human spirit is profound. Transpersonal way of working for me, first and foremost, is an interconnectedness and the quality of being with another that holds the key to an effective recovery of all that matters.

When we are faced with crisis we can look at losing something as a way of gaining something else; an opportunity, a ‘welcomed’ surrender without resistance. In breaking down we break through. The crisis becomes a golden opportunity to self-actualise, a path towards what one always wanted to be. Crisis becomes a road ‘home’ towards inner wholeness.

How can transpersonal view help in a time of crisis? Transpersonal psychology ideas were birthed out of humanistic movement of the 1960s and have been widely used in psycho-spiritual work and incorporated in a field of psychotherapy. The actual term ‘transpersonal’ was first used by C Jung in 1917. I see transpersonal approach to healing and life in general as an active, purposeful engagement with ideas such as, hope, meaningful life, human innate potential, divine nature within us all – all of which create a ‘whole’ of life experience. It includes interconnectedness between earthly and spiritual, cognitive and emotional, physical and sensory, person and interpersonal, inner and outer, individual and collective. We have an opportunity to start with ourselves and extend our essential life-force and divine energy outwards. We can do so through nourishing thoughts and meaningful actions, emotional intelligence and awareness, intentional creative life, honouring of the body, practicing enchantment of life and spiritual awareness in a way that makes the most sense to us.

When all structures around us collapse, pillars that held our earthly lives in place, where do we turn for help and containment? What happens to our identity and personal concerns? Through history we have seen individuals, as well as, nations collectively ‘rising from the ashes’ when a surge in consciousness comes forth and personal diminishes. We access our strength, hope and potential in a place beyond personal. We can call it faith, spiritual awareness, experience that has no words, yet its power cannot be denied and transformations are inevitable.

Better knowing your nature one can be more effective in the world and seeing that we are not just one or the other, thoughts or feelings we are the whole experience of life in all its spectrums. In dropping into the dark we discover the light and with light taken away darkness serves as a lesson towards change.

As a result of a crisis what we ultimately look for is:

A path to consciousness through harnessing the unconscious

Inner and outer transformation (individual and collective)

Coming to awareness of the interconnected reality

Joining back in with the individual and collective ‘whole’

Spiritual connection to the divine

What we can do:

Turn within with love, compassion and trust

Have faith in knowing that our potential is limitless. Potential within us all is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. When all the external noise, defences, unconscious actions no longer dominate we can clearly see what really is available to us from within.

Become conscious of your unconscious through paying attention to your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Focus on your personal (with yourself), interpersonal (with others) and extra-personal (transpersonal, spiritual, divine) relationships.

Self-reflect with every step paying attention to words you speak

Be present through the body either through grounded visualizations or other activities that connects you to the physical. I find digging the earth, planting, gardening, walking or running very revelatory, cantering, meditative and often spiritual experiences.

Care-take your insights and implement into life as a way of practicing change, growth and transformation

Know what brings you joy and pleasure; what makes your passion burn; what actions make your life fulfilling and meaningful

“Everything living thrives for wholeness” (C. Jung) and it is wholeness we need to reclaim and rebuild following multiple fractures, isolation, disconnection and loss on a huge scale. Use the crisis to begin the work of rebuilding earthly and spiritual reality based on what matters to you. Spiritual to you might be finding meaning in life or creating a practice that allows you a space where you are most productive, loving, and compassionate. Through individual healing and awareness of the transpersonal, whichever way you choose to access it, use it as a helping hand, a reminder of ‘something more, something better’, we can weave threads of consciousness, however, small at first, as long as there is intention and inner belief in what we can truly do when we commit to healing and recovery.

When all falls apart what’s left is the extraordinary spirit that shines within us all, the innate natural capacities to do things unimaginable that often come force when we are faced with crisis. Through the light of consciousness step-by-step, piece-by-piece we pave the road ‘home’, back to ourselves, a road back to wholeness.

by Natalia Clarke

From Weathering the Storm by Moon Books collective

 

Forest bathing

spring forest

There’s a place in North Wales where forest is like no other. Gentle yet imposing, soothing yet dark. It never fails to stir the soul within me. Air so fresh it speaks of the deepest, most nourishing sturdiness and wisdom. It compares only to the most delightful embrace where I bury myself utterly in bliss. Forest bathing is by far my favourite spiritual experience where my body comes alive in completely in tune with my soul and I feel complete, at home.

One such experience earlier this spring reaffirmed my love for the forest yet again and spoke to me loudly of a place of belonging. As I walked deeper into pine kingdom covered in emerald moss I felt myself coming alive in every cell in me. Both my skin and soul screamed for exposure, immersion into what I can only describe as the light of spirit, ancient and completely perfect

Its welcoming voice whooshed through tree tops roaring me into its body and I became as one with it. Stripping layer after layer till bearing all I gently rested on its moist floor never wanting to be anywhere else ever again. Complete bliss enveloped my senses and pure peace entered my soul. I wanted to stay in that glorious house for eternity. Such feeling is rarely replicated in life. Like a mother the earth licked my exposed feet with soft caresses and I felt myself melting into the ground. It took a while to awake myself into the world again and sorrow of separation entered me as I left the forest.

forest bathing

 

‘Help yourself’ magic

Spring Equinox

There is nothing like spring coming back that invites us more into life. It calls for awakening from stillness and dreaming of dark winter. It pulls a body into a much needed stretch, into a new kind of movement and engagement with the world. It offers that space to hear a new song from within ourselves that had been hibernating and birthing in darkness.

It has been a tough winter for many in 2019 that made us stuck in chaos, confused and stalled, not much movement other than in dreams and other types of realities. The process had been necessary, as everything is always is, and the purpose of the ‘stuckness’ was to explore ourselves from a position of where we are and who we are, what are our realities and do they serve us. It has not been an easy download to understand and integrate, however, relying on intuition and instinct had been useful even those areas halted in space that invited asking help from outside. Sometimes there is nothing wrong with asking for help from outside when we are stuck and this can be particularly useful and necessary for those of us, who is not used to asking for help and instead there for everyone else. This was partly the work of this winter to get to know that pattern again from a perspective that actually it is absolutely ok to ask for that hand that we need to hold on to and it is ok not to lead once in a while. I also realised that when you do ask for help you then are able to help yourself better – an interesting insight, which manifested through some magical workings that also involved asking for help from the elementals. This is something I have not done before necessarily in this way, but, as always based on the intuitive knowing this is what came through.

I asked ‘Help me’ while in nature doing the work and two days later I got it. It came as a voice, a message, an insight that said ‘Help yourself’. It contained the energy of giving back to me the knowing and responsibility for my own healing. We are the best healers for ourselves without a doubt, but that does depend very much on our relationships with ourselves. Doing the ‘self’ work whether it is through a therapeutic relationship, spiritual practice, other activities, all of those together, will put you in touch with yourself like nothing else and that is the most important element to ensure one lives in a way that it ‘whole’, fulfilling and peaceful. Without a doubt the best gift of self work is you integrate back into what you were always meant to be with all your beautiful resources, qualities, unique gifts, resilience and potential intact. In order to get there we often need to ask for help, we need to learn to reach out and relate, connect without fear or judgement. We need to be vulnerable to become truly strong and grounded and we need courage and strength to be vulnerable when it is terrifying.

This spring feels already like a very nourished, turned over soil that is ready to share its bounty and wisdom with us if we are willing to be patient with our newly planted seeds, warm and kind with ourselves, accepting of all that we are, good and bad, twisted and glorious, strong and weak – all of that richness that is the soil of our bodies and the light of our souls. I am excited to see what is to come. It is all new again.

Coming back to yourself – identity and spirit

russian forest in autumn

As a psychotherapist and a transpersonal approach practitioner the aim of my work with clients is to facilitate making ‘whole’ and help clients get back to themselves, get back ‘home’.

This time of year brings me closer to my roots, to my ancestors of birth and land. I begin communicating with and seeing them more clearly. My food changes according to how they had eaten and I occupy myself with activities, music, books that had been familiar to them. Most of those traditions are closely woven with nature cycles, seasons. My home and people carry nature in their blood. It is as natural to us as mother’s milk. All traditions and customs that we undertake every season is never questioned by anyone. They are observed in a way that flows very naturally between generations, genders and ages. There is this common knowing, understanding and love of nature. We are in a very close relationship with all things nature. Spirit, emotions, intellect and physical sensations can all be linked to our expression through a relationship with nature. There are references to it in literature, poetry, music and language is filled with a variety of descriptions of moods, changes and emotion-evocative experiences. Nature is a living breathing being for my ancestors and myself.

What happened to me five years ago was a shift, a push towards ‘home’, back to myself. I needed to get back to my roots from which I also needed to cut off for some time in order to survive and fit in. I had to start a process of remembering, re-integration, re-igniting of my knowledge, resonance and love of what roots and home meant for me. This journey also connected me to the land that I currently live on and through finding striking similarities in the landscape and the emotions that it evoked in me, that remembering of ‘home’ journey became very rich and fulfilling. The process happened with nature spirit flowing through me at all times. I connected to my roots through learning and remembering about trees, weather patterns, the elements, magic, plants, my love for certain things in nature and remembering and connecting who I was then and who I am now in terms of what spirit lives within me.

I am writing this after watching a wonderful presentation on ‘Identity and spirituality’ as part of my CPD and it reminded me of my own process of connecting with my roots and establishing a solid knowing and understanding who I am now through who I was then and the process of becoming and evolving. It is the process of finding what is at the centre of my being.

In my practice I feel passionate about working with both issues, identity and spirituality, and both are closely linked in making ‘whole’.

It opens up discussion about your beliefs on whether we are spiritual beings having an experience on Earth or are we human beings with a spiritual nature. It might mean the same to some, to others there are clear differences. It would depend on your own personal experiences regarding spirit and beliefs about life on earth and afterlife. To me, spirit is an integral part of who we are along with our other aspects or functions, cognitive, emotional, physical and all operate together and ideally harmoniously. However, where there is a lack of presence or distorting in operation in one or more of these functions then a ‘whole’ is disturbed. For example, a person struggles to express their emotions or their thoughts are distorted or they manifest their difficulties rooted in the mind or heart through the body or their spirit is asleep or remains unreachable or unknown. In my work as a transpersonal therapist I aim to bring a person into balance, and to get all functions/aspects operating together and in harmony.

When pain finds a home within your soul

painful emotions

In psychological circles this is referred to as pain addiction. This is real, lived experience for many. It is a state of being where separating pain from anything that we encounter in life becomes impossible. It merges with our being in a way that becomes familiar, safe, even sweet and impossible to imagine not feeling it. It becomes one of the personal signature of an individual, which brings all sorts of distortions with it. The process of unravelling is needed, deep diving into dark places, but mostly reintroduction of the light into a personal experience, as the light often goes into a personal shadow.

This is what it looks like when I tap into that part of myself still present although it no longer affects my life in ways it used to. It is now fully in my awareness and I know this character well, hence able to communicate with it and meet its needs if and when.

Ugly, dripping poison from its finger tips, so wrapped in its own pain it is second nature. This creature outgrown the most excruciating suffering that it feels at home with it, it’s learnt not just to be with it, it is inseparable from her being. It is very old, with bent and crooked limbs, long nails and grey hair or is it fur – both. It is animal-like with human eyes and deep intelligence. There is kindness somewhere there, but it is not apparent. It wants to be bad, it thinks it is a good thing, as it will fill up the cup of pain even more. It seeks the ritual and any opportunity to refill it. Like an addict it is constantly in search of the next fix.

Grown into my flesh it wears deer-skins and smells of wet mud and berries. Like an animal it claws into me holding on with a scowl scary and disturbing. 

I know it well and these days all that is needed of me is the acknowledgement it is there when I begin to feel its warm breath on the back of my neck. It is often present around my shoulder/neck area. It is very warm, sometimes feeling like a burn, but it also shows me some compassion these days and often sweeps away mud and moss pieces when it feels it made a mess. It is a child and an old creature all at the same time. It is deeply broken, but not unlovable and it likes to spread itself on rocks (I love rocks) and roll off them into a wet grass.

I often work with clients in ways of looking at different parts of them. I would ask when they begin to describe an energy that takes over them and affects their life. I seek to bring it to life with my client in a way of seeing what it looks like, what it sounds like and what is its behaviour before moving to what that part of us need. Many find this very useful and become curious about what else is within them that affects their everyday behaviour. When we make those characters real it is easier to relate whether we choose an object representing it, or we do a drawing or find a drawing that most reminds us of them or we relate to them through colours, sounds. However we connect with parts of ourselves it is about becoming conscious/aware of what takes place within our psyches and why.

The journey of psychotherapy

image

I would describe the process of psychotherapy as a process of unfolding and becoming. It is a journey back ‘home to ourselves’. Therapist is a witness to that process, who is let into a world of a client to journey with and who serves a purpose of ‘being with’ another human being and reflecting empathy, acceptance and unconditional love. If that witnessing is successful a client slowly learns to be with themselves, get to know themselves and hence allowing the process of unfolding from unconscious to conscious begin.

When therapy ends one would hope that a seed of self-love, acceptance, compassion and understanding is planted so a person can go out into the world more confident in being with themselves, knowing their inner potential and being able to relate to the world and others in a more effective and beneficial way. They become their own witness. With awareness of themselves they go on to live in a more mindful and compassionate manner towards themselves and others. They would have discovered their qualities, strengths and weakness, darkness and light, become more emotionally intelligent and able to navigate the ups and downs of life with wisdom and acceptance.

The end of my own therapy after many years even though planned and conscious will take some adjustment. It’s been a routine and a weekly visit to my therapist provided me with witnessing and holding I found nourishing and supportive. An environment in which to process my feelings and experiences and grow. I now have a free slot on a Tuesday afternoon and what I am inspired to do is to create a process of my own where for that hour I will be with myself to witness what unfolds within and manifests without and reflect of my responses and ways to grow from experiences.

From that I will begin writing a ‘weekly insight’ blog posts as I continue on my journey of self-discovery.