How to help somebody who is recovering from an addiction: praise and why sometimes this can have a negative effect.

We must apologise for not put in a blog up since the beginning of the year, Ewhat price can be a bad thingleos counselling has undergone a revamp of its website, which has taken us away from blogging, we intend to rectify this right now with this blog, hope you enjoy.


Recovering from any form of addiction can be hard, we have already discussed in another blog post how one of the overarching feelings that a person has when he or she is recovering from addiction is shame.

Recently while reading a book completely unrelated to counselling, I  was to find an interesting quote in the book  “the practice of practice”(Harum, 2014).The author quotes research carried out by Peter Gollwitzer into the subject of motivation; motivation is certainly one of the key ingredients that someone who is recovering from a substance misuse difficulty or behavioural problems such as gambling, needs.


Often what will happen is, that the person who is recovering, will not feel particularly encouraged by their support system ( the same people that encouraged them in the first place ). Often, a few months into their sobriety or change of habit a recovering person feels de-motivated as encouragement dies down, as people think that they are over their problem. In fact, this is often the hardest part of their recovery, and when relapses happen the most.

What often happens, the recovering person will state their goal to their support system which is often family and friends and people who wanted them to give up drinking, using drugs or number of other things such as, overeating, under eating, using drugs, or any number of negative patterns of behaviour. What in fact Gollwitzer says is that people need “ advance praise”, If we again return to the subject of shame and compare it to praise. Praise can be seen as the opposite of shame, so why wouldn’t a person in recovery want praise instead of Shame, with its added feelings of condemnation and judgement.

Unfortunately looking for “advance praise” can have a negative effect on recovery. Often a recovering person will gush about their goals, to others, and they would often be praised for setting such goals. The reason why a recovering addict would do this is that praise feels good, it fulfils their desire to identify as someone who is recovered, rather than in recovery. What Gollwitzer says is that our imagination is good at hamstringing the, a person who wants to change.

In fact, when somebody has been recovering, a short time their imaginative brain takes the praising which falls on them and tricks them into believing he or she have already done what he or she said he or she would do to recover;They believe that in fact  have fulfilled their goals by staying sober or making change into their negative behaviour but, unfortunately for some people, this can take many years. Moreover, it can also take many years to recover the trust that they had lost when they were indulging in negative behaviours.




Harum, J. (2014). The practice of practice. New York: Sol Ut Press.




Exercise improves mental health

Ladies Doing Exercise in the 1920s_eleoscounselling_depressionuk

What the experts say

Relaxation is good for the mind; it helps de-stress. But going to the gym can have a similar effect. The BACP, the British Association for counselling and  psychotherapist, issued a statement last year stating that people who exercise three times a week are less likely to suffer from depression. Furthermore, if one does suffer from depression exercising three times a week can have a marked effect on any recovery.

The bodies antidepressant


It is a well-known fact that the brain produces its own antidepressant endorphins or happy hormones. Endorphins are a powerful antidepressant with no’s side effects.

The Royal College of psychiatrists has an interesting web-page ;I have put a link to the bottom of this page.

Their findings suggest that exercising helps you sleep better; you be less anxious and able to concentrate as one of the many benefits of regular exercise.

Anybody who exercises regularly  will know the enormous sense of well-being one gets and the feeling of being more energetic.

Benefits for people with PTSD

There is evidence to suggest that, when one focuses on one’s body when exercising this helps your nervous system become more mobilized. Having a nervous system stuck in neutral is one of the symptoms people with PTSD often report.

Paying attention to one’s body and the way is working and being aware of one’s muscles joints, and movement is one way of putting the nervous system back into gear.

There is no suggestion by any of these leading authority that one should go out and start running marathons. If you don’t have time 10 to 30 minutes of exercise regularly, certainly have major benefits to your mental health.

Often having a negative self-image is one of the symptoms of depression. Exercise not only has physical benefits, but there’s also a sense of being more in touch with one’s body, through the process of physical exertion; one notices one joint more, muscles.

Support system

In the height of depression,  it is often said one feels that one cannot face the world. Exercising alone can have its benefits, but what if one starts to exercising groups, there’s the added advantage of meeting new friends and thus increasing your support network, to help you in those times when you cannot meet the world.


One of the fears people who suffer from panic attacks is breathing heavily, so some forms of exercise may increase certain anxieties. This doesn’t mean that one cannot take regular exercise. Yoga, tai chi, and mindfulness meditation, also play their part in increasing your well-being.



Now that summers here it’s time to dust off those running shoes, put on some Lycra, and exercising at least three times a week.

An act of kindness in a hard-nosed world.

Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863It Is often thought that we have to be hard-nosed to be successful in this world. Often people perceive kindness as a form of weakness and vulnerability. Nothing could be further from the truth. An act of kindness signals an incredible inner strength that is often never fully appreciated by others.

The story goes that Abraham Lincoln was hosting a dinner party at the White House. One of his guests poured his coffee into his saucer and blew on it before drinking. I’m sure you can imagine the fine ladies and gentlemen seated nearby were horrified at this social faux pas. Nevertheless, the story goes that, for a moment, the room was filled with an embarrassing silence.

Amazingly Lincoln took his own coffee poured it into his saucer and for the rest of the evening drank it straight out of the saucer, surprisingly everybody in the room followed suit. Therefore, one small act of kindness saved the White House guest an unbelievably embarrassing situation. This thoughtful gesture of one of America’s finest if not the finest president sets an example of kindness.

An act of kindness in life

It wouldn’t be surprised find out you never heard of Stephen Grellet, a French-born Quaker who died in 1855, a relatively minor historical figure except for these few lines which are likely to be remembered forever “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I do or any kindness that I show to any human being let me do it now”.

Who can you be kind to today?

Each day we have an opportunity to show a small act of kindness to people whether it’s spending a moment talking to someone and asking them how they really feel, rather than be satisfied with a “fine”.

Painkillers may give help to people with suicidal thoughts.

PANews BT_P-14c26646-8ab4-49bb-abc5-6a5e61e6bbdb_I1A recent article in new scientist magazine suggests research undertaken by a joint team of scientists working in America and Israel, have had some success in helping with clients overcome suicidal thoughts. The participants in the study were given painkillers (buprenorphine). The research suggests that there is some improvement in people’s thinking.

In this small study carried out in the US, by this joint team, participants were given the painkiller buprenorphine, because the low risk this carries from an overdose, also, the doses were kept low to carry less risk to the participant. Preliminary results show that people improved their mood on pain relief medication and were able to cope adequately with life.

It is thought that buprenorphine act on a number of opioid receptors in the brain, scientists of unsure which receptors exactly, but there is a promise that giving suicidal patients buprenorphine, may stave off the thoughts of taking their own life’s.

As yet GPs, psychiatrists and mental health professionals have nothing to help clients with suicidal idealization. This research may help thousands of people in the UK. The idea of a pharmaceutical which patients with suicidal thoughts could take to quell these suicidal thoughts has been asked for over 20 years by mental health professionals. Although this research is in its infancy, it certainly shows promising’s signs.

According to the phone helpline charity, the Samaritans   4,722 people in the UK took their own life in 2013, with the largest figure being in the male population at 3,684.

Suicide biggest killer of men between the age of 18 and 34, according to the Samaritans figures.


Your sex is not defined by your brain?

black-and-white picture of brain_eleoscounselling


A recent article in new scientist debunks the idea, of male and female brains. After scanning more than 1,400 brains, scientists at Tel Aviv University revealed there is no difference between male and female brains. Although male brains are known to be bigger, than female brains the features inside that brain do not differ greatly.

The idea that, when a baby boy is developing in the womb, and when testicles are formed these discharge testosterones which defines the brain as male, has now been disproved by research.

When the research group in Tel Aviv looked at 1400 magnetic image residence scans of subjects between the ages of 13 and 85, they found very little variance between male and female brains.

One interesting, spin off from this research is that the team found is that there are variations in the size of brain areas, as well as the interconnections between them. The researchers found 29 brain regions, but in general seem to be of different sizes between people who identify themselves as male or female. These include the hippocampus, which is involved in the laying down of memories and an area of the brain, which is considered to play a major role in risk aversion called the inferior frontal gyrus.

When the researchers looked at individual brain scans they found that they had very few people that have all the brain features they would expect, based on their sex. In fact, across the 1,400 brain scans, the research looked at, between 0 % and 8% of the people had all male or all female brains depending on a definition used in the past.

It is thought that we all somewhere along the continuum, with a mix of brain attributes that would define as individuals.

Researchers at the University of Tel Aviv commented saying that most people are in the middle.


Gender myths

Men are preoccupied with sex.

Many studies have verified that men have more casual sex than women. Nevertheless, the female sexual appetite may be underestimated. Women in general are likely to downplay the use of pornography or masturbation while men tend to exaggerate their use.

Women tend to be bigger gossips than men.

Is a common held belief that women are better communicators than men. The reality is gender difference in verbal abilities is very small. In fact, in some posts specific skills, men outclass women.

Boys are better at maths than girls.

An analysis of 240 studies found that girls and boys are equally matched when it comes to maths. The variable is girls tend to perform as well boys in countries where there is more gender equality.


Maybe it’s time to live life like every day was our last?

eleoscounselling_making each day count

Life with purpose.

Undoubtedly, Prof Stephen Hawking has one of the most brilliant minds. He has often been compared to Albert Einstein. Unfortunately, Prof Hawkins has a degenerative disease called motor neuron disease, which is left him virtually paralysed, his famous talking computer has become his voice, and is now instantly recognisable because he is now unable to speak. Fortunately, technology has given Prof Hawkins a way of communicating his brilliant thoughts to the world. Nevertheless, before he became ill, he described his life as pointless, that’s right! Before he became ill, Prof Hawkins, one of the most brilliant minds, to have lived, called his life pointless.

It has been well documented that he drank too much and did very little work, but on discovering that he had perhaps a few years to live Prof Hawkins suddenly became focused, his life suddenly had a meaning.

The meaning of life?

Victor Frankel a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps and eminent psychotherapist, in his book man’s search for meaning says this “for the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day-to-day and from hour to-hour what matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning for a person’s life in a given moment”.

One can often lose touch with what life actually is. If we lived each day as if it was our last, the simplest things would have more meaning. We often overlook the most important things in life in pursuit of personal goals such as money in the bank, a bigger house, bigger car, and a glittering career.


If we were to live as each day was our last, the laughter of the child, a beautiful sunset, the company and love of friends and family or just walk in the woods, would have so much more meaning. It is often said, that the most miserable people in the world those who believe that they have an entitlement; that life owes them something. On close observation, a person like this never seems to be happy, because they never believe they are getting what they deserve.


The Dalai lama in his book the Art of Happiness makes an interesting comment saying that the “true antidote for greed is contentment”.

 Making each day count.

As we come to the close of the year, maybe it’s time to consider what things are precious to us, it is often at New Year that we re-evaluate our lives, and make resolutions for the New Year, perhaps one of those could be making each day count?


Is it time you de- stressed ?????

Christmas; a tifogme for re-evaluation, and de-stressing?

Christmas and New Year is often a time when we take a good look at what happened the previous year. Also, it’s a time when we rest, and spend time with our family. But for some this is not so.

As we fast approach the Christmas season, we thought it may be good to look at tiredness, and how there are two distinctive types.

The two types of tiredness are not too dissimilar to different types of clouds, the large clouds you see on a sunny day, or spring clouds bringing rain. The other is the type of cloud that predicts a storm front or sometimes bad weather, high winds, and all too frequent hurricane force winds.

The first type of tiredness is normal, it’s temporary and it comes after you finished a good job. Furthermore, after a time of rest, you bounce back ready to go again.

The other type of tiredness is a type of chronic fatigue, this builds up over many months, of stress and strain. Unfortunately, this type of fatigue doesn’t manifest itself as exhaustion. In fact, it is often masked by frantic activity, alongside impulsive behavior. Here are some of the signs to look out for.

Six warning signs that you’re stressed, and need to rest.



  1. If You or someone you know is finding it difficult to relax over a meal or coffee. They may be a sense that the person has to get on with something, but seems to lack direction or planning.
  2. If You or someone you know is finding themselves checking and rechecking emails, constantly looking, at their mobile phone tablet or laptop.
  3. If Your office desk, or workplace is piled high with literature, that you are about to read, designed to keep, you or someone you know one step ahead of their competitors, but it never seems to get read.
  4. If You or someone you know is not having time off, as it seems impossible to have a break or they may be constantly keep putting off having days off work.
  5. If You or someone you know may be having trouble sleeping.
  6. If You or someone you know, has spent any time “escaping” this may be drinking, eating too much mind sitting watching television.

If any of this sounds familiar? Then maybe it’s time you took some time off and re-evaluated.


Stresses is like boiling a frog


The truth is that stress is rather like boiling a frog, if a frog is put in a boiling pan water, it will jump straight out. The frog knows it’s hot and has enough sense to jump out of the boiling water. But if you put a frog lukewarm or tepid water, put it on the stove and slowly turn the gas up the frog and stay there till its boiled alive.

Stress can be quite like this, sometimes we don’t know we’ve been stressed or tired until we have a break.  Sometimes we can be poisoned by the belief that we are doing good things by working hard, but actually there is a point of diminishing odds.


The true cost of couples/relationship therapy

On average 120,000 couples divorce, in the UK every year. This would be no surprise to most, but what if those couples had gone to couples therapy, before they started legal proceedings?



The financial cost of divorce and the price of couple’s therapy


The cost of the court alone is £340, with legal fees averaging around £1200, and that’s if there’s no property involved. This figure can escalate if the couple, argue about parental access and who sees the children when and where, and who owns what as far as property is concerned.

On average couples therapy will cost £60 a session. You may say this is expensive, but looking at the cost above, one would say that it’s worth a try before you and your husband or wife embark on divorce proceedings.

Often couples do not have what is called irreconcilable differences, just a difference of opinion. This easy to forget when lawyers get involved that the couple once loved each other, and thus could fall in love again, with each other.

Simply talking to someone about your relationship.

Is often found in couple’s therapy that simply talking to someone that’s not emotionally involved and is non-judgemental, helps the couple to think clearly about their relationship, and map out a new direction going forward. Furthermore, if the couple and up splitting often, therapy allows for all the unfinished business, the couple may have, to be aired.

Of course, if there are children involved, then there’s the emotional wrench of one of the partners leaving the family home, it would be unjust and unfair to put a value on this, but the emotional pain alone, could be avoided, may be, if the couple came to couples therapy.


Returning back to the financial cost, simply doing the maths, if the couple were to have six sessions of couple therapy at £60 per session that’s £360, if a couple get divorced the court fees alone are £340. In the cold light of day, it is surely worth giving couples

therapy a chance.

How long does couples therapy take?

It may be that the couple stay longer, in therapy than six sessions, anecdotal evidence suggests that couples that do have more than six sessions, have a relationship that can be repaired, and differences that can be overcome.

How do I get couples therapy?

If after reading this you feel that you and your partner may need couples therapy, then there are many online directories of local councillors, who can offer couples therapy.



Can birth order dictate your chances in life?

The idea of, your place in your family dictating your chances in life, re-emerge with several new studies, looking into the effects of birth order, in families.

sibling rivalry_eleoscounsellingFamily order nature or nurture?

Francis Galton, a half cousin of Charles Darwin, first coined the phrase “nature or nurture”. Galton, in 1874 suggested that it was only the firstborn sons that would exclusively, become England’s finest scientists. This may well in the case in Galton’s time. Indeed, firstborn sons would always be the air to any title, money or land in the 1800s. Indeed, if one had been born a first son one may have been raised with a sense of entitlement, to such things, not so today?

Family order dictates your mental health?

One such study looking at the effects of birth order looked at survival rates; one only has to look at the animal kingdom to see that birth order can often have life or death consequences. A study carried out in Norway, which looked at 600,000 people, discovered that the oldest sibling is a greater risk of committing suicide than his or her sibling, with the likelihood of suicide greater in men than in women.

Sibling ranking and IQ?

A further study carried out of 250,000 Norwegian army conscripts, found that the eldest brother in a sibling group has a 2.3 higher average IQ, compared to his younger siblings. An interesting caveat to this study, is the research carried out by Petter Khristiansen, at the University of Oslo. He looked at males whose older brother had died. He found that this affects the IQ ranking of the surviving, next in line sibling; the study’s results suggested that when one moves in sibling ranking, ones IQ rises. Khristiansen, suggests in his study, that this is something to do with University places.

Family order even makes a difference in your  Immune system!

Furthermore, a study carried out by Matthew Perzannowski at the University of Columbia in New York, found that children, aged between four and five, with older siblings, are less likely to go to the emergency room due to an asthma attack, it is thought that a principle called hygiene hypothesis occurs, in effect being exposed to viruses, bacteria and fungus in early childhood may increase the immune system, effectively younger siblings more exposed to pathogens, brought into the home by older brothers or sisters, thus less prone to allergies than their older family member.


Trauma the roots of depression

trauma_eleoscounselling_the growth of depression


One only has to open up the paper to see the devastating consequences of war and the refugees spilling into northern Europe from war-torn countries. Some of these, if not all will be victims of trauma. Alas, you do not have to be a refugee to suffer trauma.

The long-term effects of trauma.

Trauma can be a devastating shock to one’s psyche. Trauma can be linked to physical, sexual, and verbal attacks, or witnessing such attacks. People who have been raped or have witnessed a rape, witnessing a murder or catastrophic accidents, and even people who have been victims to benign medical procedures, have been known to suffer the effects of trauma.

Furthermore, an incident of shaming or an emotional or verbal attack, can leave its effects.  One can also be traumatised after the breakup of a relationship, or a bereavement.

Trauma can shape people’s beliefs about themselves, or life in general. Trauma induced beliefs can be such as “I’m never safe, “no one will love me”, “Love is incredibly dangerous”, “it’s my fault”, “I’m defenceless” thoughts such as these can affect how people, feel about themselves such thoughts can cause depression.

Sometimes a person’s beliefs are based on something that was true at the moment of trauma, such as a feeling of helplessness, this can translate into a general feeling of powerlessness.

Beliefs that are formed due to the consequence of trauma are stored without contextual information. Therefore, a moment of helplessness at the point of trauma can be translated into the core belief that “I am always helpless”. If the person doesn’t get a chance to talk about the traumatic event, and express their emotions regarding this they can carry on holding this belief, for many years, if not for life.

Trauma can be linked with depression

Dramatic events, associated with trauma can turn a moment of helplessness into a person’s belief system. Therefore, it makes sense if people who suffered a traumatic event can suffer from depression, this is amplified by the feeling of powerlessness and this can be translated into the rest of their lives.

If trauma occurs in childhood, such as witnessing a parent being abused by another parent; often the case of domestic violence. A person can be often be left with the feeling of hopelessness, and lack of power, which they had as a child, watching a parent being abused.

So painful are these memories that the person can often develop coping strategies, which become part of their belief system.

Beliefs such as, “I’m a weakling” can become part of the person’s core beliefs, living with this can be difficult, especially for a man, as societal and individual family cultures may say that men have to be stronger than women.

How trauma can define your life.

Returning again to the child who has watched mother being abused by her partner. This child may develop the core belief that they are a coward. Such a child may start picking fights and engaging in risky behaviour at school. Such behaviours will give them a euphoric feeling of control and self-confidence, furthermore, give them a form of relief from the pain of the feeling of their core belief that he or she is weak. Such euphoric feelings can be gratifying and help, he or she’s, desire to avoid any form of shame, therefore they carry on taking risks and engaging in risky behaviours.

In taking such risks he or she starts to form a new identity about themselves, risky behaviour will often get a child in trouble, when they come up against the rules, especially in the education system. This means that kids, such as themselves, are inevitably being pulled into each other’s orbit. Therefore, this makes them hard to do well at school, developing an identity as the tough girl or boy, who is not to be messed with. Often this will lead to, brushes with authority, such as the police, social services and probation.

Beliefs formed at that moment of trauma can come to shape the decisions the victim will make, in later life, such as who he or she will date, what employment, he or she goes into, where eventually they live, and ultimately what company they keep; who their friends are.

The point of realisation: how psychotherapy/counselling can help.

At some point the trauma victim may realise that he or she is depressed, perhaps when a close friend dies from an overdose, or a man or woman they love leaves them, when their behaviour becomes unacceptable, or it could be when they, themselves, overdose, and end up in a hospital A&E.

It is at this point, in the victim’s life that the causes of depression, may be uncovered, this is often when the victim is persuaded to enter psychotherapy/counselling, sometimes this is not the case and the cycle is repeated many times over. In unravelling the victim story, they may become, angry, not only with themselves but also the perpetrator of the trauma. Sometimes this anger is inward turned, and self-hatred can develop over the years, sometimes the anger is at themselves through, taking risks over many years, despite the consequences. Ultimately, their depression began when they watched their mother being abused. When, that trauma is resolved, only then can extricate themselves from responsibility,  realise it was never their fault, coming to the conclusion that they were a child and at that moment freezing was the only thing they could do.

Freedom to redefining oneself after therapy.


At this moment, this moment the victim often has the liberty to redefine themselves, and who they are. Knowing deeply that they were not at fault, as complex of these scenarios are there are many more examples of trauma, but ultimately talking about how you feel, with a trained professional, can help the victim move on, with their life’s.