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What you borrow from the day.

Addiction. — admin @ 5:54 pm

What you borrow from the day.

Here at Counselling Connections, we have been talking about addictions. As we write we are in the throes of the third wave of the global pandemic and another lockdown. This brings its own difficulties. But what we are talking about this week is a phenomenon that exists outside the bubble of the lockdowns.

We have written before about the psychology of a hangover, the graph of what happens to us in the looking forward to followed by the looking back with regret. http://www.counsellingconnections.ie/cc/psychotherapy/the-psychology-of-a-hangover/

Following on from that comes an idea about a deeper, maybe simpler view of what happens when we play with substances. Substance can be any of the usual mind-altering kind from alcohol to various recreational drugs. Even prescription medication. They all have differing characteristics.

One characteristic that lures us to take some stimulant or other is to squeeze as much high energy uninhibited fun into one night. Partying, dancing, talking, laughing are a great release. Only some of the time the excess which is such an attractive part of all this is fuelled by an excess of whatever accelerant or amplifying agent is used.

Here’s the thing. This is what we say here. What you borrow from the day, to give to the night; it has to be paid back. What we mean by this is more than just the hangover and spiritual hangover we talked about before. This is especially relevant when taking something for the high becomes a regular thing.

What happens is some sort of balance between day and night becomes disturbed. The day becomes more difficult because some of the light that you need to see you through the day has already been burned. That light was gathered together to give to the night. And It was great. But now it’s gone. You can be left feeling bereft. You can be left with no light, no energy, no life force for the day.

Having no life force for the day makes things difficult. In a situation like that we tend to withdraw. We withdraw back into ourselves, into the cave. This happens with our work. And relationships. Some of the time, once you get on this train, the only escape is the night. You can light up the night again with whatever gets you there. Maybe now it is just not as bright as it was before. The highs aren’t as high, the craic is not the same. It is harder to find the buzz. And then there is the day. The day is waiting. Empty.

What you borrow from the day, to light up the night, that has to be paid back. The balance has to be restored. This line is a well worn one. Lots of really lovely travellers have tried this track before. Lots of them have come back with stories to tell and also an appreciation for the simple life. Never taking little things for granted. A few don’t come back. In their name and in the names of the people we love who manage to restore the balance and live contented, we simply say try. Try to live well. Try to live clean try to live healthy, with healthy friends and healthy relationships. It is awful tiring to live in debt to the night. If you feel you can, reach out and come in and see if we can help you get some sort of peace of mind. If we can, we’ll always try to reach out a hand to a friend we know of who is on this path.

 

Further reading. If you like you could listen to Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd while reading this post.

Christmas and New Year opening times 2020/21.

Counselling — admin @ 4:32 pm

Christmas and New Year opening times 2020/21.

It has been a mad year. Nobody could have predicted what happened and what we have all had to endure. Beginning in March we had to shut and stay shut for nine weeks. We found ways to keep in touch, voice and video consultations. We spoke from home to people in their homes, their kitchens, bedrooms, from their cars and who had to go for a walk to be able to talk freely.

Nobody could have predicted how well it worked for many people. It wasn’t for everyone and many were glad when we were able to open our doors again and free to meet face to face. We managed this with protocols to sanitise and disinfect and come together safely as best we could. That effort involved taking responsibility which was embraced by therapists and clients alike. We feel proud at how this has worked out and are grateful to each client who took responsibility for every other client and for all of us who pass through this special place.

What we have seen this year is resilience and adaptability. It is a tribute to the human spirit to witness how people have found ways to manage all the challenges that the year has thrown their way.

This year, more than any other we have been humbled by the work, by the trust you place in us and by the value which you have placed on your therapy and your therapist. More so than ever before we found ourselves being asked ‘How are you?’. We are glad to have come through this testing time together. It is not quite over yet but we look forward with hope to the new year and an eventual return to something like normal.

So, we’re taking a few days off to revive and reset. We wish you peace and good health and look forward to working with you again in 2021 and beyond.

 

We’ll be here until Wednesday 23rd of December at 6pm. We’ll be back after the break on January 4th 2021.

We are not an emergency service. We will keep an eye on the email and voicemail messages over the holiday and will be on touch to make appointments in the new year.

 

Thanks again,

Fergal and Maggie. Counselling Connections.

tel. 042 9331803 mob. 086 0381073

Christmas and New Year Holiday arrangements 2019/2020.

Counselling — admin @ 9:53 am

Christmas and New Year Holiday arrangements 2019/2020.

We’ll be open until Monday 23rdof December at 6pm. We’ll be back after the break on January 6th 2019.

We will be checking the voicemail during the days when we’re not here so if you like to leave a message we’ll ring you back to arrange an appointment. We don’t have an around the clock service for emergencies so check our links page http://www.counsellingconnections.ie/cc/links/ for contact details for Aware and Samaritans.

It has been another great year here at Counselling Connections and we remain humbled and grateful at the confidence you place in us. We’d like to wish all our clients and friends a Happy and Peaceful Christmas. We’re looking forward to working with you in the New Year.

 

Thanks again,

Fergal and Maggie. Counselling Connections.

tel. 042 9331803 mob. 086 0381073

Christmas and New Year Holiday arrangements 2018/19.

Counselling,Psychotherapy — admin @ 6:01 pm

Christmas and New Year Holiday arrangements 2018/19.

We’ll be open until Friday, December 21st at 6pm. We’ll be back after the break on January 3rd 2019.

We will be checking the voicemail during the days when we’re not here so if you like to leave a message we’ll ring you back to arrange an appointment. We don’t have an around the clock service for emergencies so check our links page http://www.counsellingconnections.ie/cc/links/ for contact details for Aware and Samaritans.

It has been another great year here at Counselling Connections and we remain humbled and grateful at the confidence you place in us. We’d like to wish all our clients and friends a Happy and Peaceful Christmas. We’re looking forward to working with you in the New Year.

Fergal and Maggie. Counselling Connections.

tel. 042 9331803 mob. 086 0381073

Christmas and New Year Holiday arrangements 2017.

Counselling — admin @ 10:34 am

We’ll be open until Friday, December 22nd at 6pm. We’ll be back after the break on January 4th 2018.

We will be checking the voicemail during the days when we’re not here so if you like to leave a message we’ll ring you back to arrange an appointment. We don’t have an around the clock service for emergencies so check our links page http://www.counsellingconnections.ie/cc/links/ for contact details for Aware and Samaritans.

It has been another year of extraordinary work here at Counselling Connections and we remain humbled and grateful at the confidence you place in us. We’d like to wish all our clients and friends a Happy and Peaceful Christmas. We’re looking forward to working with you in the New Year.

Fergal and Maggie. Counselling Connections.

tel. 042 9331803 mob. 086 0381073

Christmas and New Year Holiday arrangements 2016.

Counselling — admin @ 10:39 am

Christmas and New Year Holiday arrangements 2016.

We’ll be open until Friday, December 23rd at 6pm. We’ll be back after the break on January 3rd 2017.

We will be checking the voicemail during the days when we’re not here so if you like to leave a message we’ll ring you back to arrange an appointment. We don’t have an around the clock service for emergencies so check our links page http://www.counsellingconnections.ie/cc/links/ for contact details for Aware and Samaritans.

It has been a year of extraordinary work here at Counselling Connections and we remain humbled and grateful at the confidence you place in us. We’d like to wish all our clients and friends a Happy and Peaceful Christmas. We’re looking forward to working with you in the New Year.

Fergal and Maggie. Counselling Connections.

tel. 042 9331803 mob. 086 0381073

Mindfulness in Psychoanalytic Practice.

Counselling — admin @ 9:51 am

The Irish Forum for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Clinical Series Spring 2016.

Mindfulness in Psychoanalytic Practice Led by Michael ( Michelo ) Del Monte.

Venue: The Teachers Club (Club na Muinteoiri), 36 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1.

Dates: Saturday: March 5th, April 16h and May 14th 2016 Time: 10.30 am – 1.00pm.

Cost : €120 (Trainees in clinical practice €90 ) for series Spaces limited – Early booking advised 7.5 CPD awarded by ICP Further information, contact: Ann Daly, tel. 01 – 2722105 amdpsy@gmail.com

Long before CBT began to embrace mindfulness, psychoanalysts were exploring Eastern philosophy and practices from a psychodynamic perspective. Freud’s instruction to both analysts and analysands regarding free association, the third hovering eye, etc. are very relevant here. These three experiential sessions will be of interest to those who wish to explore the interface between the Western psychoanalytic approach to insight and consciousness and the much older Eastern approach to mindfulness and levels of awareness . Thus, the three sessions shall be a combination of the theory, philosophy and practice of mindfulness. The theoretical aspect will be sandwiched between experiential practice. There will be ample time for discussion of the theoretical, philosophical and mindfulness practice, and its relevance to clinical and personal practice. The use of mindfulness in deep listening to the analysand will be explored in terms of transference and counter-transference, as will its role in the construction of well-being.

Michelo DelMonte is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist working in private practice in Monks town, Co. Dublin, following retirement from his post as Principal Clinical Psychologist in St. Edmundsbury Hospital, Lucan, Co. Dublin (part of St. Patrick’s Hospital). Having primary degrees in both Genetics and Psychology, his M.Sc and Ph.D. research in the Psychosomatic Unit of St. James’s Hospital Dublin focused on psycho-physiological aspects of meditation and mindfulness. Michelo’s subsequent research and writing on Eastern Practices and Western Psychology and Psychotherapy span many decades, He has contributed to publications in Europe, North America, Japan, China and Australia and has published close to a hundred articles on mindfulness from psychodynamic and existentialist perspectives.

The Psychology of a Hangover.

Addiction.,Depression,Psychotherapy — admin @ 12:00 pm

Here at Counselling Connections this week we have been turning our attention to one of the less favourable aspects of the holiday season. Regular readers will know that we love this time of year. We like to try to remain tuned in to the cycle of the seasons and the turn of the earth. We like the ancient celebration of the solstice and the promise of brighter days to come. We love the optimism and the gathering together for a family celebration. Another feature of all of this anticipation is expressed in a letting off of steam in a series of office and other parties. A build up of months of hard work is released in group celebrations up and down the country. These occasions often involve the consumption of alcohol; sometimes lots of it. So, as we witness groups of friends and colleagues dressed in seasonal jumpers and often hopping from one pub to another in the latest party craze we pause here to reflect on what comes next. Without wishing to be accused of being party poopers, we’d like to pause for a moment and give some thoughts on the psychology of a hangover.

The first thing to bear in mind about a hangover relates to the expectation and frustration that sometimes accompanies the drinking behaviour in the first instance. People say to us that if they have had a hard week or a tough time in work that they intend to blow off a bit of steam on a Friday night. The reasons for having a few drinks can be important and we’ll explain why a little later. Sometimes clients tell us of occasions where they know that the reason they have a few drinks is to make some emotional problem go away. This is very successful in the short term but it brings a number of built in challenges with it. In short, it doesn’t last longer than the alcohol. In the best traditions of a Greek or a Shakespearian tragedy, the seeds of the eventual fall, the hangover, are sown in the character of the build up and the pressure which we’re seeking to release in the first instance.

Sometimes these pressures are emotional and sometimes mundane. From one end of the week to the other we get to bed and get up and commute and rush about at what is, to our instinctual self, often regarded as the bidding of the other. We go to work because we have to. We have to pay rent and mortgages. We have bills to pay. We don’t have as much discretionary income left over as we’d like to. And in these latitudes the evenings gradually get darker to the point where we often go to work and come home again in the dark and it can seem like we’ll never see the light of day again. The idea then of a chance to party a little, to kick up our heels and even to misbehave a little is a very welcome one. Indeed, at some level we feel we deserve a party as a reward for all our effort. This can be experienced as a frustration and a sense of entitlement for an office party where the company look after us for being good little boys and girls; we get to be naughty for one night for being good all year long.

If you’re thinking that what you’ve read so far isn’t in our usually positive tone well you’re right. That’s because we think that some of these frustrations and anger are what is expressed in a night of drinking and these are what return then with a vengeance the morning after the night before.

So, you wake up in the morning after having a little too much to drink the night before. Sometimes this is mild enough and at other times it is much more debilitating and puts you out of action or bed bound for the best part of a day. One of the first things that people describe is the phenomenon often referred to as ‘the fear’. This seems to be a double edge sword. Firstly, it is simply a feeling of all over dread based on the physiological reaction to the levels of alcohol consumed and still in our system. Alcohol is a depressant. Secondly, as we wake and review the previous evening’s activity we are often consumed with a range of feelings based on what we can remember of what we have done the night before. Sometimes this process happens in waves over the course of the day. We might have said something indiscrete or just plain stupid. We might have just carried the fun a little too far and made a nuisance of ourselves. Or we might have committed some sexual indiscretion and wonder how we can undo any damage to relationships that we have caused. A number of referrals to our office come as a result of violence, sometimes involving police and courts which were a direct result of alcohol intake. We get belligerent when we’ve had too much to drink.

As we look over these things we face the fall in our estimate of our self and can spend some time in self reproach. We call this part of the process a spiritual hangover. Quite apart from any physical sickness which will quickly pass, this spiritual part of the hangover can be quite serious and oddly enough can be part of the process of frustration we described earlier which will build and lead to the next blow out. People often describe to us how this can become a cycle which can seem difficult to escape. So, drinking heavily can cause real spiritual or psychological harm which is not good for our mental health.

The reasons why we were tempted to have a few drinks in the first place return with a hangover with a renewed self destructive cheer. It is like all the problems we were trying to escape simply sat on the sidelines and witnessed our brief interlude into a party self and then expressed themselves again with a renewed vigour. And again, this is often then associated with severe self reproach. We are hurting our self when we do this. And we tend to do it over again.

The antidote to all of this is quite simple. When we say it to people they think it is quite radical and often a little extreme. The one sure way to avoid a hangover is not to drink. When we dream of a lovely, bubbly, cold beer on a weekend we rarely pause to check our expectations or experience. The drink does not deliver on the promise; it doesn’t give us what we hope it will. It is very temporary. We don’t stop to think of the whole process of hangover and recovery that we have gone through before. Sometimes this process is harmless enough but often it is not. It is often quite harmful to the self, to our mental health, to drink to excess and then to repeat it again. We can get stuck in the cycle of this and end up feeling miserable over and again. Quite apart from any physical health problems we can say for sure that it leads to mental health problems.

So, with apologies for the sobering tone in this, the party season we would simply urge you to look humbly at your own drinking. Mind your self and take good care of your mental health.

Counselling Connections.

Christmas and New Year Holiday arrangements 2015.

Psychotherapy — admin @ 10:26 am

Christmas and New Year Holiday arrangements 2015.

We’ll be open until Wednesday, December 23rd at 6pm. We’ll be closed from the 24th until January 4th 2016. We will be checking the voicemail during the days when we’re not here so if you like to leave a message we’ll ring you back to arrange an appointment. We don’t have an around the clock service for emergencies so check our links page http://www.counsellingconnections.ie/cc/links/ for contact details for Aware and Samaritans.

We’d like to wish all our clients and friends a Happy and Peaceful Christmas. We’re looking forward to working with you in the New Year.

Fergal and Maggie. Counselling Connections.

tel. 042 9331803 mob. 086 0381073

My Brother: A poem about a boy with Autism, by his brother.

Psychotherapy — admin @ 10:18 am

My Brother

 

His room is his fortress,

A bare, barren floor.

One bed in the corner

And a key in the door.

The ritual of locking

Eases the stress.

Four pulls on the handle

No more, no less.

Washing is solace

from the grim everyday,

Cleaning his hands

Helps take the fear away.

Watching his clothes spin

At forty degrees

With bubbles and powder,

God knows what he sees.

The world makes no sense

In his strange little head

He washes and washes

Till his fingers turn red.

What will he do

when it’s all stripped away?

Will he think “carpe diem”

And then seize the day?

Or will he regress to a simpler stage,

With none of the problems that come with age?

If he stays as he is, what then?

Repeating things over and over again.

Should he be nudged, or should he be pushed?

Should we be patient, or should we be rushed?

Left to his own devices, I fear

his mind will become more clouded, not clear.

The others around him suffer as well

Perhaps, he makes life a living hell.

Anger and shouting can sometimes arise,

While he wipes the glistening tears from his eyes.

But despite all his foibles, despite all his flaws,

He still can be helped, and that is because

He is my brother and that allows me

To see past the cloud of emotional debris,

To the little boy floating in stasis within

This is his true self, the yang within yin.

With time and affection, this flower can grow

The thorns will be brushed aside and new life will flow

Stress, fear and loneliness will be things of the past

And he will be happy at last.

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