Wednesday, 14 February 2018

My YouTube Channel

Hi again everyone, I hope you are doing well.

I have been looking over my old content, and thinking about what I could publish in the future, when I realised that I haven't shared about my channel here for a while. I also realised that I have got quite a few ideas for posts and videos stored up, but I tend to second guess myself about what people will be interested in hearing about from my point of view. As a result, I talk myself out of creating content in an effort to 'play it safe'. This is something which I want to change. I want to feel free to share whatever content I find interesting myself, without worrying whether it will be beneficial to other people. When I think about this actually, I noticed that my inspiration tends to come from things which are currently popular with the people around me. This means that there is interest in that content, and so I can contribute to the conversation in my own way. I don't know why I didn't think of that before. Well, the past is past, and I can use that inspiration for future content. So it is not a waste in any case.

As for wanting to share my channel again, HERE is a link to it. There are some videos there which I uploaded last year. I am looking to create some newer ones soon, and any ideas for topics would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think.

If you would like to go directly to my channel introduction, you can find that HERE. I will be creating a new introduction to take in to account my new level of training, and the direction I would like to take things in.

I hope you enjoy what I have shared, and I invite you to let me know about any suggestions you may have. Please bear in mind that I will be coming at things from the viewpoint of a trainee counsellor, who has some experience in life coaching, and mental health/learning disability residential care.

Thank you for reading/watching and, until next time, take care!

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Chasing your own tail with tales - My first #SoCS after an extended break

This post is written as part of LindaGHill's 'Stream of Consciousness Saturday' activity. Find the most recent prompt HERE

OK, so the prompt for this week is tail/tale. Well I can work with that, and can even link it into the theme of my blog which is coaching and counselling. So, where to begin. Maybe an explanation of why I think the connection is a good one would be ideal. Ok.

So, in counselling settings (and even coaching if I'm honest), clients can all too often end up stuck in a cycle of 'telling their story' (the tale part is here). This is because they have felt that this becomes the way in which they must live their life, to the point that it becomes an unescapable narrative and a even a self-fulfilling prophecy. Consequently, the client feels there is no way out of the cycle and becomes stuck. Effectively, chasing their own tail.
God this sounds a bit too hamfisted the way I am explaining, but it is the truth - what I have found to be the truth anyway.
So, as a counsellor/coach/therapist, it can be my job to help interrupt these cycles of thinking and open up the client's perception so that they can see the full breadth of possibilities in managing their situation. For instance, they may feel that they "can't say no" - an issue I am working through myself - when the truth of the matter is that they WON'T say no. This can either be the result of fear or habit. I myself find that I can't say no because I worry that the person will get angry, or that they will think I am weak and unable to help other people. Then I worry that they will tell other people and they will stop coming to me for help and they will make fun of me. All of this happens in the split second between being asked to help out, and me saying yes. As you can see, the thought process can occur incredibly quickly and is instinctive. I'm sure that many people have similar, automatic thinking processes. That is because we are all human, and it is a characteristic of the human mind to automate whatever it can in order to free up space for self-preservation. The problem with this, however, is that what started out as a useful defensive tactic, can become overgeneralised and applied to a large number of situations which there really is no need for the 'tool' to be used. Alas, the brain becomes so productive that it is counter-productive.
So, how do we break this cycle? CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is a good approach. This is because it is centred around the idea of breaking unhelpful thinking cycles. It has techniques to open out the cycle into its individual components; this enables the observer to see where the defective step in thinking is. The observer/client can then decide on a more productive thinking step, and begin to introduce this in order to set off a new way of thinking. This can be hard, as it is essentially retraining the brain into a new way of thinking which is conflicting with its habitual patterns. Over time, and with repeated effort and prompting, the brain can learn to adapt to a way of thinking which is desirable. This is useful for issues such as anxiety, worry, addiction, and phobias.

I think I might be starting to ramble on a bit much, so I will leave it here for now. Maybe I should put links to other resources? No, it's fine. A quick google search will bring up enough results. Oh, and Pinterest too. There are loads of free printable worksheets available on there too. Ok, let's leave it there for now. I need a drink of water and am sat in a weird position. I've enjoyed writing this sort of post again. Hopefully I can get back into blogging. Maybe even get back into making videos again soon. I will have plenty of opportunity over the summer to do that, and whilst I am on holiday from work too. I must get my assignment work done too though, that is top priority.
Right, ok. That's enough for now. Time to schedule this and head off. Done!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Supporting, Signing off, and... Slimming

Well hello again. It has been a long time since I last posted, and I am sorry. What that means, however, is that I have lots of things to catch you all up on. So stick around to see what I have been up to these past few months.

Well, first and foremost I would like to tell you that I have been signed off from college for my Counselling foundation degree. What does that mean? Have I passed the course? Am I now a counsellor?
The short answer is I can now practice on 'real' people (i.e not peers on my course). As part of my training to become a counsellor, there is a requirement for a placement of at least 100 hours client contact in a therapeutic setting. So whilst I am not a qualified counsellor yet, I am able to start putting what I have learnt into practice. I am only seeing 2 clients at the moment, but I will be working up to 4 clients a week. My time in this placement will be overseen by my supervisor who I will have regular meetings with to discuss any personal or professional issues which I may have. This is to ensure that I satisfy all ethical and practical requirements. These requirements come from the BACP, where my placement is held, and also from my tutors at college. By complying with these requirements, my clients (and myself) will be kept safe from harm.
Secondly, I am now working as a support worker with Danshell. They manage residential units and hospitals for individuals with Autism, learning disabilities, and mental health issues. The unit I am employed at is geared more towards Autism, but there are some other issues which the service users present with too. The work there is always varied, but incredibly rewarding. It is so amazing to be able to see the difference I am making to the service users' lives, and the whole team are committed to providing good standards of care. It also helps that we are able to have fun at work too. It is definitely not your standard 9-5 office job... where else do you get to go to the cinema, go swimming, play with water, and help cook tea, and it all be part of the job?
...aaaaaand finally, I am looking to start on Slimming World. I have heard great things about its programme (and have seen the results myself in a few friends). It all seems to be very supportive and common-sense in its approach. This is an important thing for me. If things seem too sensational and vague as to the reasons why, then I am inclined to declare it a snake-oil operation and move on swiftly. So, when I found a deal for the starter pack, free enrolment, and two weeks free meetings I just had to snap it up. I am going to start with a small goal, and then adjust accordingly until I find a level at which my body feels healthy and well-balanced. Wish me luck!

So, these are a few of the main things which have been going on in my life recently. There are other things too which I may share in future posts, but for now I need to see how they pan out. Some good, some not so good, but it will pass eventually.
Thank you for taking the time to read my most recent update, I hope you are all doing well, and I wish you the very best. See you again soon (hopefully!)


Aaron :)


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Negativity Bias - Remember that time when...

Think of a time when you were embarrassed when you were in school... got it?

Ok, now try to think of a time when someone else did something embarrassing...
...I bet that was harder right?

Our brains are hardwired for self-preservation. We learn from our mistakes, and so anything which our mind feels to be 'dangerous' or could lead to falling out of favour with our clan, will be burned into our minds. Kind of as a warning against similar behaviours in the future. This is similar to how we learn other things. We repeat them until they become ingrained into our minds, and then they become second nature (driving, for instance). This way, we will be better prepared to react in the future. The flip side being that we don't tend to remember other people's mistakes, because our brain will disregard that, and focus on our own experiences.

So, next time you feel yourself getting embarrassed about something - say you stumble and fall - just laugh it off, and know that you are learning how not to fall again in the future. You will remember it, but no one else will.

So, until next time, take care - and mind your step 😉

Friday, 14 July 2017

What is Safeguarding?

Here in the UK, we have a system in place for the protection of children and vulnerable adults. This system is managed by a multi-disciplinary team which includes local councils, the NHS, and the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Together, they work to share information, and ensure that the necessary steps are taken to ensure the wellbeing of those in receipt of care.

If you feel like someone is not being treated with dignity, respect, and proper care, then do not feel like there is nothing you can do. You can contact your local council's social care department to let them know that you have a concern. If you are unable to reach them, then you can contact the CQC directly, and they will be able to instigate an investigation. The telephone number being 03000 616161 and the email address being enquiries@cqc.org.uk

Do not let your concerns go unheard. Anyone can raise a concern, and should there be an issue, then it will be investigated and rectified.

Remember, neglect and abuse may not always be visible, and may not correspond to stereotypes of what constitutes 'abuse'. If you feel that someone is being treated inappropriately, then there may be an issue.

If you are interested in learning more, here are some links which you may find useful:

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Shifting your perspective

I'm sure you know what I am talking about here. When you are in a bad mood, it can seem like the whole world is against you. Nothing will go right, and everyone is deliberately trying to annoy you even more. Right?

Well not exactly. What is happening here is that you are becoming trapped in 1st position.
"Help! My ballet teacher won't let me move."

Let me explain. There is a concept that there are three positions when it comes to interacting with other people. These positions correlate to the various perspectives which can be used when writing. Can you see where I am going with this? These are known, in literature, as '1st person', '2nd person', and '3rd person'. Whilst writing usage of these terms refers to who is the subject being wrote about, in social contexts, it refers to the perspective being taken.

In first position/1st person, we are focused on our own feelings. The biggest question in this mindset is "how does this affect me?" When negative emotions are at play, this is the position we tend to revert to. This is completely natural, it is a form of self-preservation. For example, something which could cause us pain arises, and we instinctively think about how to get away from it. But, in modern life, this reaction can be brought about when the threat is something like a person expressing an opinion which we do not agree with. This can be the hardest habit to break, in respects of this topic, as it is entirely instinctive. But I invite you to - next time you feel yourself being annoyed, or asking how something which another person has said affects you - take a moment to step out of your own head and try moving into what is called 2nd position.

2nd position is when we move out of our own headspace, and try to empathise with the perspective of the other person/people involved. I think it is important to draw the distinction between empathy and sympathy here. Empathy means feeling something with another person, as if those feelings were you own (crying with someone else). Sympathy, on the other hand, refers to feeling emotions towards the other person (e.g. feeling sorry for them). In 2nd position, we are able to understand the other person's reasoning, and can become more compassionate and accepting of their views. This is something which counsellors become adept at, so that they are able to fully connect with their clients - whilst also ensuring that they keep themselves safe through the use of supervision and boundaries.

Finally, there is 3rd position. This is the position of the outside observer. From here, the most objectivity can be gained, which is particularly useful for extremely emotional and/or important discussions. This is the position of the mediator in arguments and dispute resolution. This can be hard to step into directly from 1st position, as we will tend to still have remnants of our own emotional responses milling around in our minds. Thus, it can be beneficial to work through the positions in order to build a full image of the situation.

In closing, I want to thank you for reading, and reiterate my invitation to consider these positions next time you are involved in a heated discussion, or making a significant decision which involves you and your partner/family/friends/etc.

Bring your light to those around you.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

My experiences with NLP tools

For my Holistic Life Coaching course, I have completed a module on NLP coaching. In that module, one of the assignments is to put some of the techniques which are outlined in the textbook, into practice. The student is then asked to write about their experiences. I like this style of learning because it actually helps to develop a working knowledge of the technique, rather than basing all of it on pure theory. Another benefit is that using the techniques actually leads to insight and change in my own life. That is a nice little bonus.
Well I thought I would share what I wrote for this assignment, as I think it can help to explain some of the techniques of NLP, whilst also giving you a glimpse into my life through the lens of a Life Coach. Enjoy!



Select three NLP coaching tools, and, after you are sure you understand the concepts involved, use each tool to analyse or comment on a particular work or personal situation, stating what changes might make a difference. 
The first NLP technique I implemented was that of anchors. I thought this would be useful in a number of situations, and would be quite simple to learn. I decided to try a variation on the movement exemplified in the textbook (pressing thumb and a finger together) to help with relaxation. I decided to connect the movement with feelings of relaxation by using it when meditating, relaxing, and listening to music which made me felt calm. Over time, I found that I could use the movement in stressful situations - at work, for example - to help me calm my mind and allow me to think more clearly. This is beneficial as it is not intrusive and can be used quickly. I think that I will also try using this technique to help me to feel confident when I am trying to make a decision but second guessing myself; I will accomplish this by connecting a movement with thoughts of when I have been successful and received support from others.
Next, I made use of the ‘compelling futures’ technique. This is in respects of my goal of becoming a qualified counsellor, working in an organisation which is in alignment with my views and ethics. I found the process of building my vision to be quite soothing and enjoyable. I decided to do this by combining visualisation with writing down my desired goals. This became almost like a meditation, in that I was picturing myself in the situation. I found this rather easy to do as I have good visualisation skills. I was able to feel the sense of fulfilment which I am aiming for in that vision within me, which was encouraging and motivating to me. I am able to make use of this technique in a number of situations; for example, when I am feeling uncertain of myself or when people are curious as to what I am doing (in that I can give them a clear answer which bolsters my drive to achieve my vision).
The third technique which I practised was the meta-programs. I approached this in a different way to the other techniques. Rather than using the technique for a specific goal, this technique helped me design my goals to more deeply resonate with me, which made them more compelling. After analysing my meta-programs, I can see that I am definitely of the ‘moving towards’ mindset. Even when I am trying to get rid of something, I prefer to think of it in terms of what I am gaining. This has helped me to understand why previous attempts at losing weight had been unsuccessful. Beforehand, I had been focusing on losing the weight, which is an ‘away from’ goal. This became disheartening because I felt like I was cutting things out of my life, and so would be resistant. Since changing my goal to that of ‘becoming healthy and more flexible’ (important as I have injured my ankles and need to work on restoring their mobility), I have found that my weight loss efforts are more natural and there is little-to-no resistance anymore. I am thinking how I am gaining better physical health, more body confidence, and better psychological health too from the exercise which I enjoy and find relaxing. It has been useful to consider some of my other meta-views (‘necessity’, ‘focus on others’, ‘through time’, etc.) which has further helped me with goal setting and maintaining motivation. This has allowed my endeavours to become more enjoyable and inciting forward-motion in me naturally, rather than being a constant struggle to achieve a small success.

During this process, there were some techniques which I found to not work as well for me. The eye-accessing cues, for example, didn't seem to really work for me (although I can see how the theory would work). I am not sure if this is because I am left-handed - whereas the examples in the textbook were for a right-handed person - or some other reason. Thus I feel this technique is too subjective and would require a lot of careful observation on my behalf - something which may not be possible if my coaching is to occur over the phone. Thus, I gave the technique a read through, but did not try out extensively as I felt it would not be too appropriate in my current situation. I will revisit it, however, when I begin to counsel clients as it could be useful for getting an insight into the ways in which they think.
Thank you for reading. Feel free to check out my channel over at YouTube, and also my Instagram account.