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9th August 2022 
Home. Tom

Counselling and Psychotherapy in Battle, East Sussex with BACP registered counsellor

Counsellors often specialise in areas such as addiction, depression, marriage, anxiety, anger management, but what seems to be the underlying factor is how we relate to other people, either those we encounter in our day to day lives or more importantly the people we care about. How they affect how we feel and react, and whether we feel we have any control over this. I don’t mean being able to control other people, rather are we able to have any control over our own feelings. Especially when we become upset or angry.

This becomes clearer if we consider what happens when we get upset, indignant or angry, which can affect our judgment about what is actually happening. Is the battle really worth fighting? With our partner, boss, the other driver, the person in the shop? How much of what we feel is because of what has happened and how much is our ego, past experiences, prejudices, assumptions?

Of course we still need to stand up for what we believe in and not be walked over, but it seems that we are very quick to feel hard done by. However trying to remove or erase these feelings of anger or resentment, an obvious and often tried solution doesn’t seem to work that well, usually they squirt out and can be even more damaging by being denied and buried. When we experience mixed emotions this can be especially hard and confusing. Finding ways of feeling things that may feel wrong or unacceptable to you or others may work better, feelings don’t have to be acted upon or even spoken aloud,. I have helped people to be more able to do this.

I usually charge £20 for the first session,£40 for one hour after that whether for an individual or couples. I am happy to charge the same for two people as I don't see it as twice the work.I can also offer longer appointments if this would be easier as sometimes an hour can feel too short. Although weekly sessions are often most helpful I'm happy to discuss how often you would like have sessions, doesn't have to be the same time same day every week. I'm happy to discuss reduced charges if you are affected financially by the current situation.

I have helped people with difficulties including anxiety, depression, panic attacks, relationship issues, addictions, bereavement, or just feeling unhappy and lost and not sure what to do next. I enjoy working with people diagnosed as on the autistic spectrum or with other long term health conditions. I also have extensive experience helping long term carers.

I often work with couples to try to help understand what is causing any difficulties in their relationship,again this is often connected to past experiences being replayed in some way. Sometimes people feel they are in a battle with their partner rather than being on the same side! it usually helps to try to look at what is happening when the "heat" is off, and this is often easier with a third, neutral person present, bit like a referee! Humour can also be very useful to defuse volatile situations. We are often attracted to people who are different to us, eg a "planner" who has difficulty acting spontaneously has a partner who is impulsive and likes to wake up and go away for the weekend! if they can balance each other and see the value in the other way this can be great, if not there is likely to be conflict. It can help to avoid thinking of right or wrong, just different.

I often think about what people are troubled by and whether there are useful similarities that help to decide how best to help. This is probably what led to the many and varied forms of counselling and therapy that exist today. Of course this can be very helpful and has led to many brilliant ideas and discoveries, but there is also a risk that we assume what helps one person will obviously help another with “the same” problem,

This is the same thing that seems to in reality cause many of our problems ie making “logical assumptions” and rarely revisiting something we have decided we know to be true. This could be an idea, a way of behaving or thinking. If we are able to look at these beliefs and wonder whether we got that right after all this can be very helpful, counselling can help us to do this. However it’s not easy and can involve admitting we got something a bit wrong,

It seems that many of our issues as humans are related to how we see ourselves and relate to others, and especially how we can (or can’t) affect other people and events around us. This could be small personal interactions with friends family or strangers, or the bigger issues that affect us all like the lockdown, climate change, racism etc.

The conflicts with others and within ourselves that result from this fundamental problem are many and varied, arguments about Brexit, football, gardening, washing up, religion; opinions of all shapes and sizes etc etc. The Pandemic and lockdowns and now the war in Ukraine have added to this.

On a global scale managing this this one issue badly could be seen as causing people to attack and kill each other.

So can we manage to agree to disagree in a way that lessens our psychological distress as well as the appalling practical consequences? Maybe starting by looking at ourselves rather than feeling frustrated and powerless at the terrible things happening in the world, though of course we need people to be brave and daring as well, ambitions and dreams can be great. If this sounds like a contradiction, it is!

Some feedback (unsolicited!) below...

Hello Tom

Tracey and I have decided we wish to finish our sessions with you. This is in large part due to how well you helped us talk about our differences. We are extremely grateful to you for all that you have done for us. If we feel the need to return to couple counselling† we know we could come back to you as a safe space to help us† talk things out. We have found over Christmas and new year that we have† come a long way since starting with you and our life together is so much better than it was before.

We wish you all the best, and again thank you so much for your help, it has† been absolutely invaluable. If you ever† want me to supply a testimonial of any sort I'd be very happy to

Hi Tom

Just wanted to say a big thank you for your help & guidance over the past few months, you have been great, striking just the right tone, It’s been incredibly helpful and I have very much enjoyed our conversations .It feels good to have a clearer path now. All the best and thanks again for your support

The internet is as usual proving a mixed blessing, so much information, what to believe? thepandemic and now war in Europe really increases our tendency to be black and white in our thinking, from "we're all going to die" to "what's all the fuss about". This tends to increase anxiety as we swing wildly from one to the other. As with most things trying to keep a balanced view is probably most helpful, an area where our thinking brain may be more useful than our feelings. It's also worth remembering that it's not easy to spend lots more time together with family unexpectedly and in a stressful situation, so try to make allowances!

One issues that seems to re occur is how we think about ourselves, especially when we have “low self esteem” which we are usually very good at hiding, from others and also ourselves. Unfortunately if we don’t find a way of repairing this we might well find ourselves in all kinds of trouble which also makes it much harder to get to the cause of the problems. It’s much easier to blame others, (and of course sometimes we’re right) than to look at ourselves and what we get up to. The more we behave in ways we really know to be “bad” the more we damage our view of ourselves, and so we continue.

So it’s not easy and it’s important to have some help and support to avoid damaging self esteem even further by facing these things (ie ourselves!) Hopefully finding the right Counsellor would provide the help and support to be able to do this.

Of course Counselling can also be just someone to talk to who will just listen without interrupting or telling you about their stuff, good or bad, which is why it can be so helpful and different to talking to a friend or family member however sympathetic they might be.

Sometimes the things we have learned which we think are very useful are actually what can trip us up the most, we often make assumptions based on past experiences, it can be very helpful to look at what we think we know and checking out whether we got that right! This can be hard to do but is often more use than learning exciting new techniques and clever ideas.

The uncertainty and division around us in the world of politics or economics,with distressing events happening with depressing frequency is also often a cause of stress and anxiety. The recent decision to chose our next PM affects us all though the end result may not be very different. The unresolved discussions about our relationship with Europe(I'm avoiding the "B" word!) are another potent source of anxiety, the unknown by its nature is usually controversial as people try to predict or tell others what will happen. In the US It seems Mr Trump the expert salesman has done a very good job of selling himself to the American people. These huge events also have an effect on our personal relationships and interactions with each other. The issues around misuse of power by famous or influential people to exploit others are shocking, and understandably this brings up very strong feelings,which makes any discussion of what actually happened very difficult.Shame is a very powerful and upsetting feeling, which damages our self esteem, there are some very public examples of this around in TV entertainment and sport at present. Even writing this I feel very aware of not saying the "wrong" thing!

Although Counselling and Therapy are complex subjects which can be explored in great depth, there are also some simple ideas which can help,for example experience and thinking are often seen as the most useful guides to help us make good decisions, but sometimes using our instinct or gut reactions can also be very helpful. So how do we get the best out of these seemingly contradicting abilities we all have? We need thinking and feeling to work together in balance to help us live and work in harmony with the world and those around us. Although we rightly see experience as something useful sometimes what we "learn" can lead us to make assumptions about people or ourselves that are wrong, for example " I always meet people that let me down" - these things can become a self- fulfilling prophesy and we are in danger of sabotaging ourselves.

Often it’s the conflicting emotions that we find the most difficult to cope with, it can seem more comfortable to decide we either love or hate something or someone rather than deal with the upsetting changes in our feelings about the world and the people that we care about.

Counselling can be seen as a way of holding up a mirror in front of you but instead of reflecting your physical appearance you can see yourself as others see you behaving and reacting to them. In a way this is the most important thing we try to learn and do as counsellors, to try to feed this back in a helpful and sympathetic way. I often see people who don't love or even like themselves very much, though this is so painful that it's often very hidden, and usually comes from difficult experiences when young.

On average I see people for 6 to 20 sessions though sometimes I work with people for months if there is a deeper issue, or if you are a counselling student. Counselling should help you become more able to look after yourself and your feelings, not to become reliant on another person,including the counsellor, so I always work with this in mind. Having said this most of us need other people talk to which includes "offloading", this is a very important thing we humans can do for each other. I also have experience in working with people on the autistic spectrum, or who think they may be on the spectrum but have never been recognised, maybe wondering about aspergers or high functioning autism. I find this very interesting and rewarding, and sometimes challenging as well! Sometimes the difficulties with other people that might be diagnosed as due to these issues may be also connected with past attachment or emotional issues, whatever the cause I believe that counselling can be helpful.

It seems that anxiety is becoming a problem for more and more people, not helped by being still a more "hidden" issue than say depression, making it harder to talk about. There is more about anxiety on the anxiety page of my website.

It can sometimes feel that moving to a new town or even different country will solve our problems- described recently by Dr John Cooper Clarke as "doing a geographical"- however he also said the problem is you have to take yourself with you! it may be better to look at ourselves first or as well as our surroundings, which of course may need to be also addressed.

There are some ideas that are not that complex which can be very useful, the concept of containment is something that can cause difficulties especially when we find it hard to "contain" our more difficult feelings and thoughts, this seems to happen more and more in the online world. Being more able to contain or tolerate these difficult feelings seems to be very useful, these are things we ideally learn when we are very young, but it is possible to improve your ability to do this later in life, counselling can help.

I have helped people struggling with many different feelings and situations they find themselves in, especially when they lead to anxiety, depression, panic attacks, or problems with the various ways we try to distract ourselves from our problems which can then feels like the problem itself.This could be unhealthy use of alcohol, drugs, bingeing on food or shopping, gambling, sex etc. We often avoid thinking about painful events or feelings from the past, either consciously or without realising it, as we want to protect ourselves and avoid pain, but sometimes this can cause problems with our relationships which can be significantly helped by revisiting some of these past experiences in a safe supported way. People usually find that however difficult and painful this might seem it is very useful, partly because talking about our fears and insecurities makes them real and what is real is always less frightening than what we can imagine might happen.However dwelling too much on the past can be unhelpful, and is often why people are wary about counselling. It seems that putting these painful things into perspective is what helps, acknowledging the pain and experience, accepting it is in the past allows you to move forward in a more positive contented way.

I am also interested in how men may feel about coming to counselling. Men often find it harder to talk about their feelings and what might be troubling them than women do, it seems that the fear of being thought weak or admitting we have problems can get in the way of this. We are all often under pressure to succeed and look after our family, the threats may have changed from things like attacks from animals but the fear of losing a job or being tricked by con artists can be just as disturbing.

We have a lot of clever technology; phones, tablets, apps etc, to help us "communicate" now which can be very useful, but they can sometimes distract us from being present in our interactions with others and make it harder to enjoy what is happening now. Filming events or concerts on mobiles may be fun (unless you are standing behind!) - but does it get in the way of enjoying the experience fully? It seems that many of us have issues around relationships with other people; partners,lovers, parents, children, colleagues and friends; and that the feelings we have for others affect the way we feel ourselves.When we struggle with these feelings we often use other things to avoid feeling bad and this can lead to problems such as those mentioned above.

Counsellors are usually careful about telling you personal details about themselves, this is because you should be the focus of the work we do together, however it is also important for you to find someone you feel comfortable with so I am happy to answer some questions about myself.

I am 61 married andy moved to Battle near Hastings from Caterham in Surrey in 2017

I have premises in Battle near Hastings in East Sussex,within easy reach of Hastings,Bexhill,Hailsham, Rye,Winchelsea,Northiam,Robertsbridge,

I can offer short or longer term counselling or psychotherapy in East Sussex.
So if you are in the Battle, Hastings,Bexhill,Rye,Lewes,Hailsham, Northiam,East Sussex area and looking for a Counsellor in East Sussex or thinking about counselling or psychotherapy please don't hesitate to contact me.