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Joanne Gilhooly - Psychotherapist & Counsellor - Dublin City

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

Dublin Counselling and Psychotherapy Blog

Blog

Your brain in anger or distress, and the power of your breath.

Posted on October 8, 2016 at 4:46 PM Comments comments (0)

On Being 'Better'....

Posted on May 16, 2014 at 4:21 PM Comments comments (0)

“When people start to meditate or work with any spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they’re going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggression against who they really are...loving kindness doesn't mean getting rid of anything. [It] means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s the ground....that’s what we know with tremendous curiosity and interest.”

~ Pema Chodron The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness

Start where you are...

Posted on February 9, 2014 at 5:54 AM Comments comments (0)
 
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.
 
 
 
 
 
 

A bright spot on a rainy day in Dublin...

Posted on October 26, 2013 at 12:50 PM Comments comments (0)
"The rain began again. It fell heavily, easily, with no meaning or intention but the fulfillment of its own nature, which was to fall...and fall."
   ~ Helen Garner
 
Stephen's Green, Dublin City Centre...
 

Looking Inward in Dublin City Centre...

Posted on October 20, 2013 at 2:39 PM Comments comments (0)
Counselling and Psychotherapy in Dublin 1
A quietish space, just a few minutes from the practice in Dublin City Centre. Great for taking a bit of time out to reflect after a counselling/psychotherapy session, during daylight hours at least.
 
Periods of reflection are important, whether it is after a session, after a tough day at work, a long day with the kids, or just when you need a bit of headspace. People reflect in different ways, whether it is a period of mindfulness, going for a walk or a cycle, writing a few notes in a journal, or simply finding a quiet space to be away from it all. What matters is what works for you.
 
So, how do you reflect? What helps you to connect with what's happening for you?

Time for you...

Posted on October 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)
 
Psychotherapy in Dublin
 
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” 
~ Carl Jung
 

Open...

Posted on August 25, 2013 at 4:44 PM Comments comments (0)
Psychotherapy in Dublin
 
"The cool water of the running stream may be scooped up with open, overflowing palms. It cannot be grasped up to the mouth with clenching fists, no matter what thirst motivates our desperate grab"
 
~ Sheldon Kopp, If You Meet the Buddha on the Road Kill Him!

Beginner's Mind...

Posted on June 19, 2013 at 9:13 AM Comments comments (0)
Buttercup on a Bray walk
Many mindfulness practitioners talk about a concept called 'beginner's mind', but what is it?
 
Beginner's mind is all about looking at or experiencing something, anything, as though we have never seen it before.
 
Whether it is this buttercup, your morning coffee, the street you live on, your work environment, or your partner, it is all about paying attention anew.
 
I took this picture of the buttercup while on a walk recently. Many of us will remember holding buttercups under our chins as kids. Our fascination with nature was almost brand new then, but I realised when I looked at this flower, that somewhere along the way I stopped looking at this simple thing, had stopped feeling fascinated, and thought I knew enough about them already. Looking at this picture I realised how much I had never noticed before.
 
Beginners mind asks us to challenge this resignation in ourselves. It asks us to look again, to challenge our assumptions, to keep looking afresh. It is about wondering, questioning, and staying curious.
 
Even about the people, places, and things, we have known our whole lives...even about ourselves.
 
 

Growth Has Its Own Pace and It's Own Rhythm, But We Can Learn To Move With It...

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)
Go with the flow...counselling in Dublin
Ever heard a counsellor or psychotherapist talk about there being a 'shift' in a person or in the therapy?
 
That word, that perfectly encapsulates the sense of movement and growth a person experiences when they have worked towards change - "There seems to have been a shift". "I have shifted into the next cycle of growth"
 
As a counsellor, I am aware that change does not happen overnight, but that it is a series of shifts, of periods of growth, each shift often followed a by period of stuckness and frustration, followed by more growth. It happens all the time. Unfortunately, the stuckness, the occasional two steps back, is a part of the work. They go together, stuckness and growth, like light and dark.
 
Without the stuckness, we wouldn't fully experience the sense of achievement of getting unstuck. We wouldn't get to experience a 'shift' in our emotional well-being, feeling our own emotional growth as it occurs, and the feeling of mastery that goes hand in hand with getting there.
 
This cyclical process is how we build self-esteem, confidence, and self-knowledge. We grow, we get stuck again, we learn again, we grow again, we get stuck again, we learn again....
 
It can be frustrating, it can be maddening, and it can be brilliant.
 
And it is the natural cycle of growth.
 
Jon Kabat Zinn said "We cannot stop the wave, but we can learn to surf", and that really is key. We cannot stop the wave, but we if can develop the skills we need to move with it, to balance ourselves when a high wave comes in, we can keep going. Eventually, over time, we learn to spot the wave before it arrives, we see it coming from a long way, and it doesn't bother us so much anymore, because we know we can surf. 
 
We know we are in a cycle. That every point on the cycle is temporary and fleeting, but we get to know our personal experience of the cycle as well as we can. Sometimes so well, that we start to predict it. We know when we are moving into growth, or when we are headed back into stuckness, and when we are heading out of it again. We learn about what we need during the tougher times. We prepare, we deliberately move into self-nurturing mode, we ask less of ourselves, we go with it, we surf...
 
...and we come back out again, having learned some more.
 
 

A Bit of Self-Care...

Posted on March 25, 2013 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)
Self-care - counselling in dublinCounselling and psychotherapy can help you to gain a deeper understanding of what is happening for you, how you are living, and what may be underlying difficulties that you are experiencing. Through exploration and reflection we can work together to deepen your self-knowledge, to empower you to make new choices, and to further develop your ability to tolerate and cope with life's challenges. Much of what supports change occurs in the therapy hour.
 
And much of it doesn't.
 
What we use as an adjunct to psychotherapy, how we support ourselves outside the therapy hour is at least as important. How we care for ourselves between sessions, how we nourish ourselves and challenge ourselves is another key to supporting our process of self-discovery. 
 
Whether or not you are seeing a counsellor or psychotherapist, your mind and body need attention and support to function well.
 
So, how do you care for yourself? Do you have somewhere you love to go? Somewhere you feel connected and in tune with yourself and your environment? Somewhere that helps you to hear, and distance yourself from, your thoughts? Or maybe it is something you do. Maybe it is sport, art, writing, gardening, hillwalking, meditation, tai chi, mindfulness practice....or something else.
 
Do you make enough time in your life for something that nurtures you? And if not, could you think about what might be a nurturing practice for you and decide to give it a try. It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be a formal practice, it doesn't have to be something out of a wellness manual, just something that nurtures and relaxes, or envigorates, you, without harming you.
 
And remember, it takes time to find what works. Very few people stumble upon what works for them as a self-care practice first time round. So be patient with yourself, try different things, don't get too caught up in right or wrong, experiment, and enjoy...
 
 
 
 

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