Joanne Gilhooly - Psychotherapist & Counsellor - Dublin City
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Dublin Counselling and Psychotherapy Blog
Dublin Counselling and Psychotherapy Blog
|Posted on October 8, 2016 at 4:46 PM||comments (3534)|
|Posted on May 16, 2014 at 4:21 PM||comments (718)|
“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
|Posted on February 9, 2014 at 5:54 AM||comments (2119)|
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.
|Posted on October 26, 2013 at 12:50 PM||comments (1394)|
|Posted on October 20, 2013 at 2:39 PM||comments (2537)|
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?
|Posted on October 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM||comments (1214)|
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
~ Carl Jung
|Posted on August 25, 2013 at 4:44 PM||comments (1491)|
"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!
|Posted on June 19, 2013 at 9:13 AM||comments (1959)|
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.
|Posted on June 13, 2013 at 5:15 PM||comments (1565)|
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.
|Posted on March 25, 2013 at 9:35 AM||comments (1600)|