Lonely Uk??

ring_B&WIn a recent newspaper article in The Mail newspaper spoke of “Lonely UK” and that the number of middle aged people who are now living on their own has been rising, due to a decline in marriage with the office of National statistics giving the number of middle-aged people living on the own as almost reached 2 ½ million, giving specific figures for people aged between, of 45 and 64 with a number of men far outstrips the number of women, who are now this position. The article goes on to say that one the reasons that middle-aged women are not forging good relationships, after middle age, is that they are better qualified, with jobs that have rewarding career paths, as opposed,to the rising number of low earning men.

This has had a marked increase in the price of homes with a rapid rise of middle-aged single people stoking the requirement for homes pushing up prices and demand.  The piece goes on to comment about the benefit system, which may be the real point of this article, missing ,what I would auger, is the real story  that such a section of society feels that marriage or forming a relationship is not worth the effort.  An interesting aside to this is what is happening to society? Could this be that there is a reluctance to form relationships after one has had a long term relationship go bad? Could psychotherapy have some of the answers?

There is a growing number of divorce recovery workshops which have been springing up throughout the country these serve some purpose but maybe they fall short to do what is really necessary and for some that is group or individual therapy to find out where, why and how the last relationship ended, and what lessons could be learnt this is not to a tribute blame but to realise that there was a part to play in both parties this does not give licence to any abusive relationships, such as domestic violence.

For instance, if someone has been in a 20 year plus relationship and that should end, they may be looking for the same form of relationship but may find that some form of change must take place.  Through therapy or group therapy a person can explore and make meaning of their experience, furthermore, this can help a person not to repeat past mistakes.

Psychotherapy obviously has a large role to play in sense making of past relationships.  What can so commonly happens’ is that a person expects the relationship to be the same as their previous relationship, but with a different partner.  This can happen for both parties and evidently needs’ will not be met and thus the potential for another failed relationship.  I have heard one therapist use  a brilliant metaphor in saying that the dancers change and so has the tune.  To prolong this metaphor, if a person was used to fox trotting with a former partner and their partner new partner is used to tangoing, in his or her previous relationship, then the two will be out of step with each other and the inevitable will happen toes would be trodden on ,as a consequence,feelings damaged.  What individual or group therapy can do is explore the learning of different steps to different tunes, essentially, to learn a different dance.  This is, indeed, could be an oversimplification, there are much more complex issue, but it this metaphor gives say graphic mental image, of truly what could happen.  I think the challenges that psychotherapy therapy needs to be adaptable to the needs of society rather than the other way around. Could it be that an imagination from of coaching is needed?  It may well we UK does not adapt very well to group therapy, unlike our American cousins, who find group therapy and support groups a normal part of society.  It could in the UK group therapy is more associated with support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.  One thing is for sure psychotherapy/counselling must, indeed, adapt to the changing patchwork quilt of society.

I would be interested to hear your comments if you’d like to post comments on my blog site, all comments will be very much welcome negative or positive.

Male Counselling – A Different Approach?

One of the alarming facts which came to light, this year, is the rate of suicide in young men. In a March 2012 article on BBC News UK is quoted as saying that more than 3,000 male deaths in England and Wales in 2010 were ruled as suicides or undetermined fatalities. In February 2012 (Bazzano, 2012) an interesting article appeared in the counselling profession magazine, therapy today, again with some interesting statistics quoted, in the article saying that 78% of all traffic offenses and 81% of all speeding offenses were committed by males. The article went on to say that 91% of all violent incidences in England and Wales, including 80% of incidents of domestic violence were male orientated.TracyRaverBaby01

The question, has to be asked, could this change? Furthermore, what part could counselling/psychotherapy, play in helping decrease the number of incidences and the staggering number of deaths and domestic violence, the surprising thing is that most therapists are actually female; this is not to say that female therapist are not capable of working with this client group. Another interesting fact is that training courses generally have a low male uptake; my own anecdotal evidence was that I was the only male with 25 women and I’ve been told that this was not unusual. An interesting aside of this is when I was undergoing my training I was told by one trainer that male therapist do not continue seeing clients, long term, but rather write books instead. The real issue here is how many male therapists actually see the perpetrators of violence and the suicidally depressed?

Something in the system is failing if 3,000 males die each year from suicide or of an undetermined fatality, also the staggering number of reported Incidents of domestic violence, where men are the perpetrators. They clearly could have been helped. There has been a suggestion that because of the number of female counsellors that maleness has been bashed; these are not my words, I rather feel that suppressed would be a more appropriate word. Again,In an article to the counselling profession magazine, Therapy Today (Duffell, 2011) in which the writer suggests that men are unemotional, my own anecdotal evidence has found, when working with male clients, quite the contrary. I have often seen men cry when there are estranged from the family, I’ve often seen a man breakdown when he realises that he will be not able to see his children, or have contact with them, due to his own actions. Furthermore, I have often witnessed anger and frustration, in the counselling room. I think the point here is that all these emotions are not considered positive; is it just that men are unable to show the softer side of themselves due to historical social constraints? One of the expressions I’ve often heard used Today is the word “man up” this gives me the impression that men have to somehow suppressed their negative emotions and take on the systolic persona. Being a humanistic counsellor I am a firm believer that the relationship, between the client and the counsellor, is the, catalyst for real change within the client. I think the mandate for councillors in general, is that male clients should be allowed space to voice socially perceived negative emotions, such as anger, to be heard and validated. I began this blog by setting a question which I feel is not really easily answered. My own anecdotal evidence suggests that men require a different form of relationship rather than a different form of counselling. I’ll be very interested to have your comments on this blog.


Bazzano, M. (2012). Reconstructing masculinity. Therapy today 23, 90.
Duffell, N. (2011, November 2011). Manifesting men. Therapy today, 22, 87.