Author: Ludmila

Being in touch with your needs

Know your needs!

“Know thyself!” — in this maxim Socrates outlined his route for personal growth, greater happiness and fulfilment. What it means to know yourself is a hugely vast, complex psychological and philosophical question. We may wonder where and how we can embark on this journey. I would suggest the starting point by rephrasing Socrates’ call: know your needs! 

Being in touch with your needs forms a foundation for knowing yourself. This may sound prosaic, down to earth, yet the failure to recognize and meet our needs is often the root of many physical and mental health issues. 

Consider an example, that you don’t realize that you are hungry and you go for a whole day without food. You may end up feeling faint, developing a headache and getting snappy and short-tempered. Do it for long enough and more serious health issues may develop. Or suppose you do not heed your need to have some quiet time by yourself and keep saying yes to social engagements or volunteer to babysit your friend’s child. It will result in you feeling drained, resentful and wondering why the spark has gone from activities that used to be fun. Similarly, taking on extra tasks at work, working long hours on a regular basis will pave a road to burnout, often characterized by increased anxiety and depression. 

Our needs are diverse and complex. They concern physical, emotional and intellectual aspects of our existence. It is important to get to know them intimately in order to be able to create a lifestyle that supports and promotes our wellbeing on different levels. An appreciable part of my therapy work is dedicated to helping people get better at recognizing and addressing their needs. 

 

What stops us from knowing our needs

It may be surprising to know that you might need therapy to get in touch with your needs. Aren’t we supposed to just know them intuitively? After all, our needs are part and parcel of who we are. What can be closer to home? 

There are, however, serious hurdles that get in the way of us being in touch with our needs. Most of them stem from our upbringing. If our physical and emotional needs were neglected when we were children we wouldn’t become skilled in recognizing them ourselves. Equally, if our parents neglected their own needs we would have learned to do the same from their negative role-model. 

There are also all kinds of judgmental labels and messages which end up creating blocks to being in touch with our needs. One of the most virulent and pervasive of such labels is “selfish.” You may (or may not!) be surprised to learn how many people express qualms about doing therapy because spending time and money on themselves and their emotional needs means for them “being selfish.”

Similarly, values and beliefs implicated in our self-identity may obscure our needs from us. Our aspirations, our desire to live up to certain standards become intricately interwoven with our self-image. Our mind (a skilled deceiver!) will then “help” us to avoid an inner conflict by hiding from our awareness things that may challenge our inner beliefs and self-perception. Thus if we associate being “strong” with having a “stiff upper lip” we may learn to suppress our emotions and never allow ourselves to cry – even when we are grieving a significant loss. Likewise, the fear of being a “failure” may prevent us from quitting a job we hate and exploring other possibilities that would allow us to realize our potential.

 
One step at a time

Being in touch with our needs and knowing how to communicate them effectively is a basis for building healthy relationships with our family, friends and work colleagues, for preventing burnout and ensuring that we function to the best of our ability. 

Getting through to our needs may require overcoming certain emotional barriers, some of which I have outlined above: dealing with self-judgment and the feelings of shame that it triggers; challenging our pre-existing assumptions about ourselves and the world around us. It will require courage to learn to express our needs to others and not to suppress them for the fear of confrontation. 

This is a journey that will be forever unfolding as we are continuously changing and thus will our needs. It will always be a work in progress, a thought that  I find rather liberating. It means we don’t need to strive to be perfect or complete.

All we need to do is to take one step at a time. 

Wisdom of Serenity: Notes from the Therapy Journey

(By guest author Louise)

 

It came upon me unexpectedly. Well, not wholly unexpectedly.

I found myself in burnout. A combination of mental and physical exhaustion built up over five and half months.

The foremost feeling was one of losing myself. I felt lost and confused. In a mist, I had lost track of who I was; not centred and unlike my usual self.

The last time I felt like this was around five years ago when a friend passed away. I had hidden my pain from that in the immediate period and it did not do me any good.

Again, during this burnout, I had kept my feelings deep inside, fearful of rocking anyone else’s boat around me. I could see who was struggling around me, and my priority had been to keep them afloat. To keep the ship a-sail, moving, and with happy sailors.

But your feelings creep up on you. If you don’t address your needs at the time, and make them front and centre, they will continue to remind you, physically or mentally, of their existence.

Talking with someone helped me resurface my needs; reminding me of what they were, how and when they needed to be met, and how I needed to continue to evolve my leadership.

I realised that I could hold the pain of those I lead in my hands, without fully absorbing it, allowing me to better support them – using my rational thinking, strategic side to tackle the issues.

This talking and reflection also helped me see that whilst sometimes it may not feel like it serenity is always there. Serenity is in the control of our own decisions, helping us hold all opportunity facing us in our hands.

We cannot control what happens to us, but we can have the wisdom to decide how to tackle it.

And behaving in the best way possible, with peaceful and kind hearts is defining in itself. Indeed, the ways are more important than the ends.

This serene leadership is in my heart forever.

***

Notes from the Therapy Journey is a dedicated rubric in my blog where people I work with can share thoughts and insights about their experience of therapy and beyond.

You may want to read the earlier posts here:

From the therapy room: Freeing the inner child

From the therapy room: Asking for help

Can therapy really help to change your life? For anyone out there who is suffering and feeling hopeless

Read, enjoy and share your thoughts and comments! There is space for comments below. You can also email me.

Look forward to hearing from you. Stay connected!

Ludmila

 

Depression Therapy Online

Depression Therapy Online

 

Depression is like a twilight of a soul when lights are dimmed and colours are muted. Alongside with anxiety, depression is a very common mental health problem. It can manifest itself in a variety of ways and in some cases can be extremely debilitating. Depression Therapy Online makes counseling for depression more accessible than ever from the comfort of your home.

Working with a therapist can help you explore the underlying causes, address current issues and develop coping mechanism for overcoming depression and preventing it from recurring in future.

Depression can undermine your ability to work and enjoy a fulfilling life. It can also have a detrimental impact on your relationships. It is important to be able to recognize the symptoms of depression and to seek help.

Symptoms of depression

Depression  can manifest in different ways. Sometimes we may experience intense feelings of sadness either ongoing or triggered by seemingly minor events. Often people tend to loose interest in doing things they normally enjoy. They may feel exhausted and have little energy to engage and socialize.

During the episodes of major depression a person may feel exhausted and lethargic to such an extent that it may be difficult to get out of bed, have a shower and get on with mundane life. Poor appetite or overeating can often be signs of depression.

Cognitive symptoms of depression include difficulties concentrating and processing information as well as memory problems.

People struggling with depression may feel increasingly irritable, unable to unwind and relax. Sleeping problems often go hand in hand with depression. Difficulty falling or staying asleep as well as sleeping much longer than usual may be indicators of depression.

When we are depressed we tend to withdraw within our own shell and feel very isolated. We may feel very alone, like nobody understands us, and we can be hurt easily even by casual remarks.

Depression therapy online can help you relieve the symptoms, identify the causes of depression and create better coping mechanisms.

Causes of depression

Depression can have multiple causes. Roughly they can be divided into two categories:

  • The lack of something
  • The excess of something

Among the things that may be lacking could be things that

  • provide emotional nourishment (e.g. love, care, meaningful relationships);
  • ensure stability and security (e.g. home, job, money);
  • promote physical health (e.g. healthy diet, physical activity, relaxation).

Things found in excess may include

  • stress (either work-related or home-related)
  • worry and overthinking;
  • demands on your time and energy.

Both lack and excess create a disbalance in our system and it becomes either depleted or overloaded. Both of these states preclude our system from functioning at the optimal level and this may lead to depression.

Depression Therapy Online

Counselling, especially in combination with mind-body therapy can be very helpful in treating depression without drugs. First of all, counseling helps you to overcome the feeling of isolation. Many people find it easier to communicate their feelings to a professional than to a friend or a family member who may judge you or be adversely affected. Finding understanding and support can both produce relief and give you more energy to deal with daily challenges.

Depression therapy online can help you explore and understand the nature and the roots of your depression from the comfort of your home. It may help you identify whether your depression is circumstantial (depending on the set of recent or current events) or has its origins in the past (for example, childhood trauma). Addressing the underlying causes of depression allows both to heal the old wounds and to create strategies and coping mechanisms for maintaining better mental health in future.

In certain cases antidepressants can also help regulate the chemical balance in our brain and facilitate recovery. Although treating depression without drugs is successful in many cases sometimes it is recommended to take antidepressants alongside counseling.

My approach: Mind-body treatment of depression

When I work with people struggling with depression I often use a variety of approaches and techniques. Each person is different and finding treatment that is effective for this particular individual is very important. Thus cognitive approach to treating depression facilitates greater awareness and understanding of different aspects of depression on the conscious level.

Sometimes, however, we need to access deeper strata of our psyche. Then mind-body techniques in combination with counseling prove to be very effective. Mind-body treatment of depression can help eliminate the long-lasting effects of past traumatic effects that can be stored in the body. It promotes relaxation and increases the sense of peace and calm. It can help unearth forgotten memories and heal them. It can also help reprogrammed our brain and engrain different responses and coping mechanisms.

Depression therapy online is just as effective as therapy received in person. This is also true for mind-body treatment of depression. Modern technology such as Zoom allow you to see and interact with your therapist as if you were in the same room. If you are struggling and travelling is not an option for you I would certainly encourage you to try depression therapy online.

 

Online Group Therapy: you are welcome to join!

Welcome to Online Group Therapy. As days are growing shorter and nights colder what can be better than spending time in a warm circle of caring supportive people? Especially in the present, when new restrictions on socializing are being introduced every day my online therapy group offers a friendly hub where you can feel safe to voice your concerns, share your feelings and find understanding.

Group Therapy can be helpful in many ways. This is what one person says about his experiences of group therapy:

“For me the main thing about therapy group was the opportunity to learn about other people’s lives and witness their fluctuating emotional states. This can be quite a surprising eye opener. Sometimes quite cathartic. You can be profoundly moved. It certainly helped me to become more attuned to other people and more empathetic.”

Most importantly, Therapy Group allows us to interact with others in a safe and nourishing space and thus can be very effective in enabling us to

  • Improve our interpersonal and social skills
  • Express and explore our emotional challenges in a supportive environment
  • Overcome loneliness and create the sense of connectedness
  • Alleviate anxiety
  • Develop our self-awareness and empathy

I ran therapy groups for many years and both myself and the participants found it to be very enriching and gratifying experience. Now I am introducing the online format which opens the group for people from different parts of the country and indeed of the world! I want to keep the group fairly small though (6-10 people) and would be grateful if you could let me know soon whether you (or a friend of yours) may be interested in attending.

Here are a few essential details:

When?           The group is intended to start in early November, meeting fortnightly in the evenings.

How much?   The cost is £12 per session payable by Paypal or bank transfer.

How long?     I would ask the participants to commit to 6 initial meetings (1,5 hours each) and then review.
The first session is a taster and you can decide not to attend after it.

Can I join later?  Once the core group is established and going the question of newcomers will have to be put to
the group.

Please share with others and feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

Look forward to hearing from you.

With warmest wishes,

Ludmila

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to reconnect: Therapy online

Breezy spring greetings to everyone!

Hope you are keeping well and in good spirits in this time of uncertainty and new global and personal challenges. As it happens, the current adversity also brings with it some unique blessings. The abrupt slowing down of the grinding wheels of modern hectic life offers time and space for deeper reflection as well as the opportunity to reconnect with yourself and with your friends and family — even though it might be via emails, telephone calls or social media.

Personally, I am taking this opportunity to write and reconnect with you after a longish pause. As you may know, I have taken a break from my therapy work to recharge my batteries, attend to my health, spend time with my family and explore new paths and ideas. I am happy to let you know that I am resuming my work, albeit primarily in an online form, at least for now.

I have a lot of experience in counselling and body-mind therapy online and can say with confidence that it is no less effective than face-to-face sessions. It may feel slightly unusual to start with, but one quickly gets used to it and it also saves you time on travel.

Whether you are considering doing counselling for yourself or know somebody who is contemplating this route for personal growth I just wanted to touch base and let you know that I am back in practice. If you are unsure and want to try whether online counselling may be right for you I offer 20% discount off the first session to make it more affordable. I also have referrals discount scheme where both people — the one who refers and the one who is referred — can benefit from 50% off a session.

I offer therapy in three languages: English, Russian and Hebrew.

Once again, hope all is well with you and look forward to hearing from you.

With warm wishes,

Ludmila