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Joanne Gilhooly - Psychotherapist & Counsellor - Dublin City

B.A. (Hons) Counselling & Psychotherapy, Dip. Gestalt, MIACP

Dublin Counselling and Psychotherapy Blog



Posted on April 6, 2014 at 6:58 PM Comments comments (1288)
Counselling for relationship problems Dublin
Vulnerability isn't good or bad: it's not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.
~ Brene Brown, Daring Greatly.

Start where you are...

Posted on February 9, 2014 at 5:54 AM Comments comments (2119)
Counselling in Dublin City Centre
Start where you are...
Use what you have...
Do what you can
~ Arthur Ashe
We all have challenging days, so here is a three step check-in that might be useful when it feels like its all getting too much:
1. Slow down and check in with yourself. What's happening for you right now? What are your thoughts? Your feelings? What's happening in your body?
Are you stressed and tense? Frustrated? Anxious? 
Notice where you feel the tension, anxiety etc.
Be kind to yourself, no matter what your experience is right now.
2. Notice your breathing. Is it fast or slow? Deep or shallow?
Just notice it...
Stay with it for a minute or two, and notice if it changes. There is no need to try to change it, just notice if it changes by itself. If it doesn't change, that's fine too.
3. Ask yourself what you can do to help yourself right now. Just listen to yourself - what can you do? Try to leave aside the things you can't do, and focus on what you can do.

Why 'Good Enough'?

Posted on September 23, 2012 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (1508)
The term ‘good enough’, as used by many therapists, stems from the work of D.W. Winnicott, a psychoanalyst and object relations theorist who used it in relation to the mothers and children he worked with.  The good enough mother, though less than ‘perfect’, is good enough to be able to care for her child in a way that helps them to develop high self-esteem, good ego strength, and a strong sense of self.  
The good enough mother, according to Winnicott, is actually more effective than the mother who does not know when to step back. While there is a time in the infant’s life that they need constant care, there also comes a time when the mother needs to step back a bit so the child can grow and learn for themselves. If mother is unable to let go when the child reaches this stage, the child may become overly dependent and have difficulty developing the confidence they need to explore their own way of being, their own values, beliefs, choices and sense of self as they grow. The good enough mother knows when to let go, when to stand back and let her child take the initiative.
Applied to the self, ‘good enough’ indicates the ability to‘be’ or do-nothing-more-for-now, after a period of hard work, knowing when you have reached your unique and very personal limit. Just as the good enough mother is in tune enough with her child to know when she needs to step back, beinggood enough with oneself means knowing when we have given our best and it istime to rest and give ourselves a pat on the back, no matter how small the achievement may seem.
Perfectionism might be defined, in part, as the inability to step back, to let go, to accept where one is at. In this space, acceptance of difficulty, of struggle and of vulnerability, is anathema. The overriding feeling is that one is never good enough and that only by continual striving and forcing of personal limits will one reach a point at which they will feel ok.
This can result in a kind of paralysis or ‘stuckness’ in which the person can neither find the energy to go forward, but cannot allow themselves to be where they are at. Compassionate acceptance of personal limitations can help a person to make the shift out of this ‘life paralysis’, into a more relaxed, grounded and reflective space. In this space, making clear decisions, dealing with daily stressors, and simply enjoying life, with all its inherent terms and conditions, becomes a possibility.
The pursuit of perfection, and a damning inner critic, plays a part in many emotional difficulties, such as depression, severe anxiety, OCD, and eating disorders. When the inner critic is at full throttle, the idea of having self-compassion can feel counter-intuitive, even dangerous. It can be as though if you were to ease up on the self-criticism for a moment, you might suddenly spin out of control. I use the term good enough in the title of this blog, in the hope that it might be a reminder that good enough, really is good enough, and perfection is not all that it seems.
In this blog I will write about all things related to counselling, psychotherapy and emotional issues. I will also try to keep in mind the overall theme of good enough, and the importance of grounding the self in reality for emotional health. Being human means that meeting difficulty is inevitable, but it can also be our best opportunity for growth, and ultimately growth is what counselling and psychotherapy are all about.