Psychotherapy – whats it about?

At In Dialogue we get quite a bit of nervous new comers who, understandably, are cautious about therapy. This video from school of life is useful.It says we are not born knowing how to live life and therapy can help one become more self aware so they can feel more confident in living life and managing relationships. Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) aim is to consider how we have learn’t how we see ourselves in the world, through relationships. Sometimes this way of seeing ourselves has become restricted or “one eyed” and therapy can help us see ourselves from a different, more hopeful and empowered perspective.


‘Being faithful to ourselves’ – it’s OK not to be in the moment

In this age of mindfulness we can be even more pressuring of ourselves to stop and feel and feel true, whatever this means. Mindfulness is a great tool but it is also OK not to be in the moment as perhaps we have learnt to cut off or be less in tune to cope with life. The school of life video expresses this well

In Cognitive Analytic Therapy we consider observing ourselves lightly, without judgement, a more helpful way of being but also recognise that this is hard to do when one is used to critiquing their every move.  Being faithful to ourselves and recognising our own expectations and the weight of these at times, can be helpful and we hope in the New Year we can take it easy on ourselves.


Befriending anxiety

Stepping back from anxiety and trying not to fight it is one way of feeling more at peace. This article is interesting in how it describes anxiety and how our response in not stopping and listening may make things harder.

In Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) we do consider how we relate to an anxious state of being, how we may try to avoid it by stepping into the avoidant or pleasing trap, contributing to more anxiety. In reflecting on this in therapy we can often start to consider other options.

Facing the Tiger: Welcoming Anxiety’s Fierce Wisdom

Listening to podcasts – a different voice

Here at In Dialogue we often get clients tell us what is helpful. Recently I have had a few people suggest the podcast ‘No Feeling is Final’ by Holly Eastly ABC. I had a listen and was struck by how she explained the extreme self critical voice and how it gets airplay through fear, just like our media, at times does. Here at In Dialogue, using Cognitive Analytic Therapy, we think about how these voices can colour our world and relationships often leading to a conflicted relationship with them. Holly does suggest things that could be helpful when you get stuck in a one kinda of voice, such as writing about them or voicing them to others who may open up a dialogue.

It is pretty heavy going at times so please listen when feeling OK enough.

Our relationship with work

Our work/career can give us purpose and is often part of our identity. This article was a useful way to check in about our relationship with our work. It mentions that we can be trying to find comfort through our work and if this is our only way of getting this perhaps we can check in with ourselves. Good to know that overworking may not mean we are better at our jobs!

Cognitive Analytic Therapy provides a useful framework in thinking compassionately about what work means to us and how we may want to add to our way of feeling good about ourselves.

Sharing our story through art

This article caught my eye as art therapy is gaining more evidence. Therapy is about making sense of things with another person who is non judgmental and can help us reflect on things we couldn’t by ourselves. Expressing ourselves through art may be another way of sharing and understanding our experience. It can help us start to relate to ourselves in a different way too as one woman has described in the article. She started to notice how brave she is through sharing her story.

Therapy in doing

I have been struck this week by how many people find their own way of coping through activity and hobbies or their own mindfulness in things they enjoy. I was listening to a pod cast about the famous writer, Marian Keyes, who has a long episode of depression and found baking helped her get through the day. Then I was reading this post in planthunter and noted that being in nature, such as gardening, is something that can still the mind as well as reflect on things.

This article made me consider how engaging in things that are mysteriously beautiful, like the garden,  can help us be ok with not knowing and not having to fix, and thus, perhaps have a break from our anxieties.

Finding the words

One of the ways in which therapy fosters healing and change is by putting into words our experiences – the fleeting thoughts, the felt emotions – which prior to this often hovered under our awareness but impacted us none-the-less.  We love the idea behind this, to expand our repertoire of describing our experiences by looking beyond our own language and culture.

Raising a parent

One of the commonly identified roles of a parent is that of a teacher; raising your little one to play nice, know the alphabet, and a never ending list of other skills, information and customs.  This letter from a mother to her young son is a lovely reminder that, as with all relationships, they are not one way.  Our children can be a clear (sometimes confronting) reflection of our own strengths and weaknesses.  This recognition of ourselves in another can be a powerful experience that not only shapes who we are as parents, but who we are as people.

Embracing mediocrity

We can be bombarded by advice about what we “should” be doing do make us happier, better, more successful.  We at In Dialogue often advocate for less doing, and more being, through reflecting on ourselves, our unique mix of traits and preferences we can choose a path that suits us.  In this lovely piece the writer takes us on her own journey of recognition of what is sustaining for her.