How to deal with unpleasant thoughts and feelings

How to deal with unpleasant thoughts and feelings – How Sean Connery gets me to the gym on a monday morning

We humans have evolved to do whatever we can to avoid pain, whether it’s physical, emotional or psychological.  Obviously avoiding physical pain is a good thing.  However, sometimes we behave in unhelpful and unhealthy ways in order to avoid unpleasant thoughts or feelings.  For example, making yourself super busy in order to avoid feeling something.  Smashing a tub of Ben & Jerry’s after a breakup to ‘eat’ your feelings.  Or avoiding social situations that make you feel uncomfortable.

 

Do unpleasant thoughts and feelings have a hold on you?  Try Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane
Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash

 

In psychological terms we call this behaviour “experiential avoidance”.  I do it myself.  We all do it to some extent because it’s a totally normal human behaviour.  If it’s not excessive or it’s not really hurting you, it’s ok.  But if it’s affecting your health or keeping your life ‘small’ in some way, then it’s unworkable.  In which case, it’s probably a good idea to look at how you can stop these unpleasant thoughts and feelings from having so much sway over your life.

I have unpleasant thoughts and feelings every Monday when the alarm goes off for my early morning PT session.  I’m guessing you may have similar thoughts.  When the alarm goes off my first thought is “Oh gawwwwd I’m so tired. I need to stay in bed.  It’s too early to exercise – I’ll hurt a muscle because I’m so tired and stiff.  Ugh I’ll get all sweaty.  It’s too far”.  (Cough… It’s a 10 minute walk princess …) 

 

Having unpleasant thoughts and feelings about getting out of bed each day?  Speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane

 

The truth is that when I’m there I love it and I feel GREAT afterwards.  My trainer is really knowledgeable and he doesn’t shout commands at me (unlike other trainers who didn’t last very long).  He’s also hilarious and my unofficial dating advisor.  So why the resistance?  Why the melodrama every Monday morning?

Quite simply, I’m not a natural early riser and a very vocal part of me wants to stay in bed.  I want to stay in a place of comfort.  I want to avoid the unpleasant thoughts and feelings about having to get up, get sweaty and get out there when I could stay under the covers and snooze. 

 

Avoiding unpleasant thoughts and feelings?  Learn techniques to accept them with Sarah Tuckett and Psychotherapy and Counselling, North Brisbane
Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash

 

 

As I’ve said, these kind of avoidance strategies are ok if they work and they aren’t too costly in one way or another.  But if I listened to those thoughts and stayed in bed it would affect my waist line and my muscle mass (very important for us ladies over a certain age).  And I’m pretty sure my PT would get fire me as a client, which would mean no Dating High Command.  

So every Monday morning I use a ‘de-fusion’ technique from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which helps me accept my unpleasant thoughts and feelings and gives them less power over me.

To do this, I replay the uncomfortable thoughts over and over in my head using the voice of a famous person/character.  My favorite is Sean Connery.  You can borrow him if you like. 

“Och I’m going to get so schweaty” said Sean, over and over.  It makes it sound a little silly and I smile a little.  The thought has less power over me.  I don’t get so anxious about it and I get out of bed!  (If I’m honest it also sounds a little bit pervy when Sean says it).

 

Learn Acceptance and Commitment Therapy techniques to help you deal with unpleasant thoughts and feelings - see Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane

 

Here’s how you can do it for yourself:

 

An easy de-fusion technique for unpleasant thoughts and feelings

 

  1. Pick an unpleasant thought or feeling that’s been plaguing you.
  2. Say it over and over in your head silently for 10 seconds. 
  3. Notice how you feel having done this. How much do you believe the thought (how ‘fused’ are you with the thought?).  How does it make you feel emotionally?  And what sensations can you feel in your body. 
  4. Pick the voice of a well-known character or actor.  Someone you can really ‘hear’ speaking in your head.  (Run out of ideas?  What about:  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Marilyn Monroe, Miss Piggy, Donald Duck, Dr Sheldon Cooper, or even that hideous Trump person).  

  5. Say the same unpleasant thought or feeling over and over in your head in their voice for 10 seconds.
  6. Again, notice how you feel having done this.  Do you feel any differently in your body?  Does the thought or feeling have more or less power over you? 

 

It’s important to understand that we’re not trying to avoid or ‘tolerate’ the unpleasant thought or feeling.  These thoughts are going to keep popping up into our mind and that’s not something that’s under our control.  But what do have control over, and what we’re learning to do, is to ‘accept’ these unpleasant thoughts and feelings.  To allow them to have less power over us. 

 

Learn Acceptance and Commitment Therapy techniques to make your unpleasant thoughts and feelings have less control over you - contact Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane
Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

 

We can do this in therapy with any unpleasant feeling or thought.  A particularly common one among my clients is “I’m not good enough”.  Not a particularly helpful thought, and probably not true. 

Through different ACT techniques we can help you unhook from these unpleasant thoughts and feelings.  And in doing so, help you stop avoiding situations or people where this thought might pop up.  Helping reduce the amount of experiential avoidance in your life.   Helping you live a BIGGER life.

 

If you want to find out more about ACT please hop on over to my Services page

 

If you would like to speak to me give me a call on 0450 22 00 59 or have a look through my online diary to book a spot that works for you. 

I offer confidential counselling and psychotherapy sessions to people who are going through a hard time, whether that’s because of a mental health issue like anxiety or depression or because of a situation (relationship issues, bullying, abuse, isolation).  There is no need for you to suffer in silence.  

If you’re feeling unsure, or want to ask me what Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or somatic psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

 

BOOK ONLINE

 

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

 

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

How to deal with unpleasant thoughts and feelings was last modified: October 30th, 2017 by Sarah Tuckett

Dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence

Dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence

I wish that this wasn’t the case, but I’m currently helping a few clients deal with situations of domestic violence.  Some still in the danger zone.  Others now in a place of safety.  But all of them dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence. 

Each time I hear stories of domestic violence, my inner Wonder Woman wants to protect the victims and annihilate the perpetrators.

The reason it generates so many feelings in me is because for a brief, but terrifying period, domestic violence affected my family too.

Dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling, North Brisbane

When I was in my early teens a member of my family dated an asshole.  Whenever she tried to leave him he punched her in the face.  I never witnessed the domestic violence first hand, just the ensuing black eyes, tears and confusion each time she took him back out of sheer terror.  

Even if I had witnessed the violence first hand, I’m sure I would have been frozen to the spot in fear, but I carry with me this strange mixture of guilt for not having protected her somehow, and fury at him for having picked on someone so small and vulnerable.

Whenever these feelings arise from my unconscious I work through them in a safe, therapeutic way with my own therapist, so that my own ‘stuff’ doesn’t get in the way of helping my clients. 

I metaphorically “killed” him in my early psychotherapy training.  The full force of my teenage feelings resurfaced 30 years later as I let out my anger in a safe, therapeutic space.

See below examples of me using a foam baton against a foam cube or punching a punchbag.   These are some of the tools I use in body psychotherapy – you can find more about this here.

Punching out anger in a therapeutic space - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling, Shorncliffe QLD 4017
Photo by Heros Gnesotto

 

Dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence: Hitting the cube to release tension in the body - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling, North Brisbane Dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence - hitting the foam cube to release tension in the body - Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling, North Brisbane

Obviously I didn’t want to really kill him. I’m not a violent person.  However, part of me wanted him to hurt as much as he had hurt her. 

My rage exhausted, I sobbed and sobbed. Tears of frustration that there was no one there to protect us.  Tears of grief for not having been able to protect her, even though I was little and needed protecting myself. 

Having processed these historical emotions that were trapped in my body and mind, the feelings have less hold on me.  I am able to help others without getting triggered.   

Now as a therapist myself, I have the tools to help other people through the aftermath of domestic violence. At times my role is just to provide emotional and psychological support to get them ready to leave (if that is what they want).  And at other times we may work through feelings of fear, grief, guilt and anger. 

Get emotional and psychological support to leave a situation of domestic violence from Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling, North Brisbane

So if you are a victim of domestic violence yourself – male or female, or just a witness like me, please know that you don’t have to live with the aftermath of domestic violence in your system – you can get emotional and psychological support – from a counsellor, from helplines and legal advice. 

Here are some helpful contacts for Queensland:

 

DV Connect (for both male and female victims of domestic violence)

Womens Line:  1800 811 811 Queensland-wide. Calls are free from any public phone (24×7)  http://www.dvconnect.org/womensline/

Mens Line:  1800 600 636  Queensland-wide service that operates between the hours of 9am and midnight, 7 days a week.  http://www.dvconnect.org/mensline/

 

Womens Legal Service Helpline

T:  1800 WLS WLS (1800 957 957)  Monday – Friday: 9am – 3pm. 

https://www.wlsq.org.au/

Rural, Regional & Remote Legal Advice Line – 1800 457 117 Tuesday: 9.30am – 1.30pm

 

If you would like some help from me in dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence please book in using my online calendar.

BOOK ONLINE

Or give me a call on 0450 22 00 59.

 

Would you like to ask me what counselling or body psychotherapy is all about? I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

 

BOOK ONLINE

 

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

 

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

 

Dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence was last modified: October 27th, 2017 by Sarah Tuckett

A problem shared

A problem shared (internet dating horror stories)

“A problem shared is a problem halved” goes the old English saying.  I heartily agree with that one.  This is not just because I’m a psychotherapist and I know that just talking to someone about your problems can be enough to help you feel better; but because I’ve had my own personal experience of this recently. 

I have entered the world of internet dating.  (Shudder).  I was finding it overwhelming, demoralizing and down right depressing.  However, I found that sharing the stories of outrageous untruths and appalling coffee dates with my own therapist has helped me cope better with it.  My resilience has increased and I’m hanging in there.   Talking to someone can really help you carry on through tough times.   So I’m going to share them with you too.   A problem shared…..

A problem shared - talk through your problems with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy North Brisbane

A few of my friends have met their partners online.  So I know in theory that it can work really well.  It’s just I’m having such a vile time of it because apparently in the online dating world it’s perfectly normal to be a complete liar pants and not even blink when you’re caught out.  

I’m hoping to meet someone who shares my core values and blah blah you know the drill.  But it turns out the gentlemen are not entirely honest in their profiles and it’s beginning to feel like a futile endeavour. 

Every unwanted advance from a Sexagenarian bikie without a basic command of English grammar or high school certificate, makes my self-confidence erode even further.  “Is this all I’m worth?” a snide little voice inside me says.  What exactly do they think we have in common?  A shared passion for Ballet?

A problem shared - talk about your problems with Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in Shorncliffe 4017 + A problem shared - talking about your problems with a counsellor can help you feel better - speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane 

 

I went on a date last month with a gentleman to a rather nice bar in James St.  During the date he asked: “Would you mind if I just went outside and bummed a cigarette off someone, I’m trying to quit at the moment”. 

I was confused not just because I wouldn’t normally agree to go out with a smoker – it’s one of my deal breakers – but because as he walked away I could see that he had a full packet of cigs in his trouser pocket.  Liar liar, pants literally on fire.  

A problem shared - share your woes in confidence with a qualified counsellor - speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in Shorncliffe North Brisbane

Last week I went out for a delicious Turkish meal with a not-so-delicious gentleman.  His profile said he was 46 and the photographs seemed to tally.  However, in person he seemed substantially older that the photos. 

I like to give people leeway on the first date – nerves and all that – but when he started talking about his grandchildren and his recent colonoscopy I realised that he was probably nearer 66 than 46. 

As he relayed the intimate details of his rectal procedure over stuffed vine leaves, I plotted an elaborate plan to flee.  (I didn’t though… I’m too polite, and the humus was amazing).  But seriously, who talks about a colonoscopy on a first date?  People let’s keep the conversation away from your ‘date’ on a date!

At times this whole endeavour feels frustrating and futile.  However, sharing the tales of hilariously awful dates with my therapist makes it seem more a comedy than a drama, and I have the energy to persist and wade through the pond life.  Her support gets me through. 

And I think that’s what it’s about.  Reaching out for help when you need it so that you can keep going, even when the going gets tough.   

So if you’re having a tough time with online dating, or anything else for that matter, give me a call and share your woes.   As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Sarah

P.S. People please stop lying on your dating profile.  We’re going to find out when we meet you in person.  So just cut it out smoky pants. 😉

Please give me a call on 0450 22 00 59 or have a look through my online diary to book a spot that works for you. 

 

BOOK ONLINE

 

I offer confidential counselling and body psychotherapy sessions to people who are going through a hard time.  There is no need for you to suffer dreadful dates in silence.  Speak to me and get some support.

If you’re feeling unsure, or want to ask me what counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

 

BOOK ONLINE

 

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

 

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

 

A problem shared was last modified: October 17th, 2017 by Sarah Tuckett

It’s time to speak up

It’s time to speak up

A friend of mine created the excellent campaign “It’s ok to say” (if you don’t feel ok).  It’s about letting people know that you have anxiety and/or depression so that you’re not going through this alone.  But with the news of women in Hollywood speaking up against Harvey Weinstein, it got me thinking about other matters we don’t speak up about: bullying, unwanted attention, loneliness, abuse or things that scare us.   It’s time to speak up and get some help. 

There is so much we don’t say.  And so many reasons why we don’t.  Fear that we won’t be believed. Second-guessing ourselves (‘maybe I did something to create that situation …?’)  Fear of rejection, isolation, loosing our job, or being ostracized.  But people it’s time to tell someone.  It’s time to speak up when something’s not ok.   

 

It's time to speak up - speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in Shorncliffe North Brisbane

I once had to speak up at work about a man who had showered me with unwanted attention on my morning commute in London.  And I’m so glad I did, because it short-circuited his campaign of lecherous advances.

For days I had unsuccessfully tried to avoid this guy on the little shuttle train from Clapham Junction to Olympia. He worked on the floor above me for a different company, but I saw him every morning on that commuter train and the walk to the office.  

He seemed oblivious of my increasingly not-so subtle body language:  putting up the Metro newspaper in-front of my face to physically block him out, wearing earphones and avoiding eye contact.  At night-time I had to walk for 30 minutes across Clapham Common on my own and I was terrified he would follow me across the dark, empty parkland.  I had even stopped going out at lunch on my own in case he was waiting for me. Yet I told no one.

It's time to speak up - speak to Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

He finally got the message on the day that I waited until he had gotten onto the train and then ran along the platform and ducked into another carriage.   When I got to work there was a barrage of emails from him to my work account starting with the words “Never have I been so offended….”

Until then I hadn’t told a soul.  Not my friends, not my flatmates, not my co-workers.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps because I wasn’t sure I wasn’t making a mountain out of a molehill.  I remember also feeling embarrassment and shame.  Surely I should be a big girl and fix this by myself.   

Don't stay silent - it's time to speak up.  Get help from Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling in North Brisbane

One of my male co-workers must have seen my face because he asked me what was going on.  I explained and showed him the email.  He asked if he could reply on my behalf.  I said yes.  Before I knew it he had typed “F…  Off” and pressed send.  I was petrified of the repercussions.  What would this man do now that I had been so direct?   Nothing it turned out, because he was a creep who shriveled the moment I stood up to him.

With my colleague’s encouragement, I told our HR person.  They talked to his HR person and started an inquiry.  Within 24 hours they found out that he had harassed every female in his firm with the exception of the PA to the CEO.  And he was newly married (poor woman).  A’hole. 

No one had spoken up before.  It took my complaint for them to come out of the woodwork and talk to each other.   He ended up being fired from his job and we were free to catch the train in peace. 

It's time to speak up. No need to suffer in silence. Get help.  Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

We’re all terrified of being rejected, harassed, laughed at even.  But if you speak up, there’s a chance you can help yourself and maybe others.   So speak to someone. Tell someone if you’re not ok.  Tell your friend, a family member or a work colleague.  Or find someone neutral and non-judgmental like a counsellor.  Just make sure you speak up.

 

Sarah x

If you would like to speak up to me give me a call  on 0450 22 00 59 or have a look through my online diary to book a spot that works for you. 

I offer confidential counselling and body psychotherapy sessions to people who are going through a hard time, whether that’s because of a situation (relationship issues, bullying, abuse, isolation) or because of a mental health issue like anxiety or depressionThere is no need for you to suffer in silence.  Speak up and get some help.

If you’re feeling unsure, or want to ask me what anxiety counselling or body psychotherapy is all about, I offer a FREE 20 minute discovery session by phone/skype for new clients.  You can also book this online by clicking the button below.

 

BOOK ONLINE

 

Alternatively call me for a chat on 0450 22 00 59 and ask me how I can help you.

 

If you’re not ready to book just now, you can sign up to my monthly client newsletter and see what I’m sending my clients.  I never give away contact details and you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

It’s time to speak up was last modified: October 16th, 2017 by Sarah Tuckett