It feels like it’s been a long week, with an awful lot going on from day to day, but it has been highly productive and energising too.
We began by welcoming Anne Edwards to LCPC, who has brought humour, energy and creativity to the team, and by Tuesday her room was furnished and finished, ready to receive clients. She has worked hard to make the room look really good, though I must give a special mention to Steve the builder for his expert conversion on the top floor – thank you Steve!
Amy and Ampy have been working away on our behalf for a few weeks now, improving the website, our communications and our events – this week has seen my comments on crushes (!) published in two magazines, we’ve had some wonderful photographs taken of No12 for the website, and we’ve taken an active part in Mental Health Awareness Week in a variety of ways, including hosting a Scandi style “hygge” lunch for local businesses on Friday, raising money for MIND in the process. We’ll be doing that again soon……. Myira has her profile in the new Therapy Today, introducing the BACP Board of Governors, and we’re looking forward to a range of events including our launch on 21st July, which has been confirmed as being at No12 from 6pm, then on to New Walk Museum from 7/7.30 for food, speeches and a guest appearance on the piano! We’re also excited about Michael Jacobs coming to deliver his workshop on Oedipus in November – book early as places are limited.
However, while all of this is very exciting, we are really clear that our clients are our priority – to make sure that we are being the best we can be with all of our clients.
We are working on building a community, and piece by piece this is taking shape.
I’ve just been walking through the city centre, taking a few minutes to enjoy the sun and collect my bass guitar from the repair shop (it had developed something resembling performance anxiety, and had lost its voice completely….happily now restored).
Wandering through the streets and dodging people either fixed on their phone or with heads down, I was reminded of the confidence classes my colleague Becky and I used to deliver to students at Leicester University. We would discuss self-perception as a group – usually with an agreement that self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence among the participants were low, then explored the belief for many in the room that a) other people didn’t feel the same, b) that other people could see their low self-perception and c) avoiding eye contact and going “unnoticed” was generally the safest method to use when going from place to place.
We challenged these students to try something different and encouraged them, between that session and the next, to make eye contact with others as they walked to, around and from the campus, and to report back what they noticed in the following session. We were regularly amazed at the huge impact this simple technique had on the majority of students, who would be eager to tell us of what they found in the following session. The typical finding was “EVERYONE is looking at the ground or their phone, not just me!” and a realisation that their fears of being seen, exposed or ridiculed in some way did not happen.
This one simple technique had a huge impact on many students in the group, many of whom used it as their starting point to develop their confidence in themselves.
If you struggle with your own feelings of self confidence, next time you’re out and about – why not try it yourself?
#mhaw17 #confidence #community #lcpc #mentalhealth #counselling
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, with the theme of Surviving or Thriving. We’ve been thinking about this at LCPC, and we’re going to blog some thoughts each day, and then on Friday we are hosting a “Scandi Lunch” where staff from local businesses have been invited to eat waffles, drink coffee, relax and connect with others. If we have conversations about mental health then great, but what’s important are the conversations, the connections, the community.
For me, surviving is keeping your head above water, staying one step ahead, managing to cope with all that life throws at you. There is something to celebrate, but the sense of there being a struggle is implicit. Thriving, however, is different – defined as prosperous and growing, flourishing. So, how do we help our mental health move from surviving to thriving?
One crucial element enabling this to happen is our capacity for creativity, especially through our ability to “play.” That ability of young children to be able to lose themselves in worlds of their own making, where the real, outside world has no influence, seems to get lost once we grow into adulthood – things we like to do gradually give way to things we need to do. Survival, for many, becomes the priority. But I suggest it is this creativity and imagination which fuels our ability to flourish, to grow – which elevates us from merely surviving.
My thought, therefore, is to try to encourage as many people as possible to think about surviving and thriving – how much of what we do day in and day out is about survival? How much room do we dedicate to creativity, immersing in an activity which offers temporary reprieve from the demands and stresses of life in general? It’s not easy to maintain and preserve the space required for being creative, but the benefits for mental health are huge.
One of our counsellors, Myira Khan, won a Mental Health Hero Award for her pioneering work in the field.
Myira is a counsellor based in Leicester, but she has led work locally, nationally and internationally to break down the particular stigma mental health conditions are faced with within Muslim and South Asian communities.
In April 2013 Myira founded the Muslim Counsellor and Psychotherapist Network. This network promotes counselling as a career path to those from Muslim communities.
“I am really honoured and humbled to be receiving the Deputy Prime Minister’s Mental Health Hero Award. I believe it is a reflection of my work as a Counsellor, Lecturer and as the Founder of the Muslim Counsellor & Psychotherapist Network.
“I am driven by my passion to create easier and wider access to counselling services for our communities and to provide effective, safe and supportive counselling to all clients.
“I also believe in my social responsibility to break down barriers and reduce the stigma around mental health issues. Mental health awareness, talking therapies and counselling/mental health services need to be recognised and fully supported and funded to ensure that everyone can get access to services and the help they need, when they need it.”
We’re very proud to have Myira on the team here at LCPC.