detail-of-old-womans-hands 09 Aug 2017

BY: Caroline Cairns Clery

Spirituality

Comments: No Comments

Purpose

What is it all for? Why are we alive? Is there any purpose or meaning to it all that the world’s major religions or philosophies have not made their own?  Is there really ‘nothing new under the sun’?

Well, there is you! You and I and every other, unique one of us human beings! And most of the 9 billion of us on the planet would agree that we each have to find our own personal yet collective meaning and purpose to some degree. We can pledge ourselves to some religion or ‘ism’ but our own meanings and purposes can only be searched for and found by ourselves.

Which is not to say we cannot help ourselves find them by way of the ideas of a carpenter’s son who died persecuted and in pain (1). Or by following the ways of a contemplative prince who sat for a long time beneath a tree (2). Or, indeed, that of an orphan who lived in a cave and came out a prophet (3), to refer to three of the more popular religions. There are many other different examples of collective, shared beliefs about how best to make sense of the business of being alive. And it is just as effectively found by people who remain open-minded in relation to the world’s different belief systems (4), and by those who feel easiest finding it solely by way of logic and evidence without also needing a god or an ideology (5.)

In other words, it takes all sorts to make a world!  And individual meaning may overlap with a deeper, massively collective sense of purpose that we may not, and sometimes cannot, even be aware of but which plays a huge part in the process of how are lives pan out over the years it takes to live them.

Psychotherapy assists people to make their own personal sense of their feelings in terms of both their own and wider history, biology, culture, psychology, as well as religion, relationships, sexuality, life events, traumas, etc.,.  Psychotherapists try to help people feel less alone in becoming more aware of, and finding their own way through, the underlying complexities of their lives.

(1. Jesus.  2. Buddha. 3. Muhammad. 4.Agnostics. 5. Atheists.)

Blog written by Caroline Cairns Clery, Family Psychotherapist at The Surrey Centre

For more information on Carrie, visit: surreycentreforeatingdisorders.com/theteam

listen 23 Mar 2017

BY: Caroline Cairns Clery

Spirituality

Comments: No Comments

Listen

Listening and hearing. Do we know the difference? Or is a part of life about learning to know just what exactly the difference is between them?

To listen is be alert to others. To other people, their feelings, their hopes, intentions and so on, in their voices and gestures and moods; and to other things, like the sound of raindrops on a window pane like tears, or maybe the swish of movement from a passing car like the passage of time, or wheezy lungs like leaves in the trees in autumn.

Listening is an activity and it is usually a conscious activity that we do deliberately. It requires attention to what other people are saying or doing and in return it gives them a feeling of being attended to which, as long as we are listening kindly and fully, helps them to feel respected and worth listening to. Listening gives them confidence that they are being taken seriously. This is why babies and children and young people thrive on our giving it to them. It is why adults often demand that we listen to them. It is why the voiceless (those with no power, money or influence and those who are unwell or disabled) need more of it from us.

To listen to others is to pay them respect as unique, individual human beings. It shows consideration for them and it signals our own ability to be considerate.

But we need also to listen to ourselves, to listen to our own bodies and minds when we are hungry or full, sleepy or wide awake, full of energy or aching, happy or sad, and so on, and respond to ourselves with the same consideration we give to others. This is called hearing which I will talk about next time.

Blog written by Caroline Cairns Clery, Family Psychotherapist at The Surrey Centre

For more information on Carrie, visit: surreycentreforeatingdisorders.com/theteam

Insightfulness 28 Jul 2016

BY: Caroline Cairns Clery

Spirituality / Therapy

Comments: No Comments

Insightfulness

Gaining Insight: struggling with an eating disorder.

To better know and understand our feelings few would disagree that insightfulness is helpful.  But in and of itself insight changes very little. Unconscious, psycho-biologically driven behaviours are not much influenced at all by how much we know about them.

Clients and patients make this clear to me over and over again in their struggles with eating disordered symptoms.

Many of them say the urge to over-eat and then to purge totally overwhelms them and it does this so quickly and routinely as a response to stress,  although it did not start that way, that they come to The Surrey Centre in despair, feeling powerless to resist it despite knowing, i.e., having insight into the fact, that over time succumbing to it over and over again can and does cause awful damage to their bodies. And their minds, already struggling with self-respect, come to feel more and more despair about it. They therefore need to know that I know resisting it is infinitely easier said than done.

At the other end of the spectrum the constant state of being split-off from their emotions and feelings, characteristic of so many people who come with problems of self-starvation, is a much slower, but in many, often more subtle ways, just as overwhelming an experience. If not more so because of how completely it affects their thinking and behaviour so that no amount of insight affects that at all. Their anorexia thrives on starvation and these women, and it is usually women, know, i.e have insight into the fact, that it does. But their insight doesn’t change it at all.

They tell me what makes a difference is feeling they are in a therapeutic relationship. Feeling understood, feeling helped, feeling they can be honest, feeling they can be in a relationship with someone who knows from experience that normal thinking and eating patterns can be recovered.

Blog written by Caroline Cairns Clery, Family Psychotherapist at The Surrey Centre

For more information on Carrie, visit: surreycentreforeatingdisorders.com/theteam