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.

 

So you think you can read body language?

Eleos counselling blog_body language

 

It is a common perception that one’s body language can be read, but how true is this?

In a recent article in New Scientist Magazine the author Caroline Williams debunks some ideas, which are commonly held as true.

The assumption that we can read the persons thoughts and emotions by watching their body language, has been in popular culture for many years with many books written on the subject.

93% of all communication is non-verbal or is it?

A good place to start to look at this is an often quoted statistic, that 93% of our communication is non-verbal, with only 7% being verbal.

This is based on research carried out by Albert Mehrabian, a psychologist based at the University of Los Angeles, in the late 60s. During his research, he found that an emotional message, conveyed with a different tone of voice and face expression, had more impetus than the words being spoken, for example the word “brute” in a positive tone, and with a smile was received positively, consequently the tone of voice and facial expression sent a different message, than the words being used. Researchers found, that subjects, could not differentiate whether the message being communicated, was offensive or well-meaning.

Mehrabian, found that subjects tended to believe the non-verbal cues, over the words being used.

Unfortunately for Mehrabian, he has spent the last 45 years, pointing out that he never meant this research to be taken as any kind of fact, Mehrabian, is often quoted as saying that the results of this research, only applied when there were specific circumstances and conditions – when somebody is talking about their likes and dislikes.

An interesting fact was raised in the article, in as much as, that if 93% of communication is non-verbal, we would not have to learn a new language, we could all read each other, consequently, carrying on that thought, language, would become redundant.

Moreover, one of the things that reading body language is often quoted as being helpful for, is to work out whether somebody is lying or not.

You will often hear poker player saying that other players have what is called “tells”; this can be a body movement, a tension in their face, or a nervous fidget, likewise, something as innocuous as rubbing the left side of your face, therefore reading the “tells” can tell another poker player’s opponent is bluffing.

One often misquote example is “all liars, look to the right, when they are lying” but research carried out by Richard Weisman at the University of Herefordshire UK, found no evidence to support this.

In fact, Weisman’s team used footage of police conferences, for missing people with some of the emotional appeals, asking for information, coming from people who were complicit in the disappearance of the person. Closely examining the footage, it turned out that none of the culprits, looked right, any more than any other direction.

As for other so-called “tells”, after studying more than a hundred cases, the team concluded, that the only bodily sign found in liars ,definitely do more, than people who are telling the truth, is have dilutive pupils and certain kinds of fidgeting or fiddling, with objects or scratching.

So how do I spot a liar if you can’t read body language successfully?

In fact, the best way to spot a liar, the study found, was not to watch the person’s body language, but to listen to the inflection on the words they use, the syntax, and what they are saying. The study found that liars tend to talk in a higher pitched voice and gave few details of their account of events and tended to repeat words, and are generally have more negative attitude, in their assessment of events.

In conclusion, the overall research points to good old gut feeling, to spot a liar. g. One obvious problem with body language is that people who tell the truth can exhibit the same body language as those who lie.

 

An interesting spinoff to the subject body language is research carried out by is a TED talk by Amy Cuddy. Also we have commented on this in a previous blog

link

 

 

Samaritans suggest and new look at the causes of Male suicide

depressed man_eleoscounselling_blog pictureA report released by the Samaritans organisation, in June this year (2015), highlights the problem of men turning to alcohol instead of talking about their problems. What is more worrying, according to the report, this increases the risk of suicide.

The Samaritans suggest that the government should reconsider their response to the nation’s unhealthy drinking culture.

It is well known that the biggest killer of men between the age of 18 and 34 is suicide. What the Samaritans are suggesting is that there should be more communication between mental health teams and drug and alcohol teams. Unfortunately, with recent austerity measures, agencies such as drug and alcohol and mental health teams are being cut to the bare bone. The question here is how one gets men to engage, in talking about themselves (fundamentally, how does one get men talking).

An interesting point is raised in the report, commenting that masculinity plays a great deal in the way men see themselves. The report suggests that men will often compare themselves, to their perceived model of what a man should be, often this can be a distorted image, of a man being powerful, white, rich, good-looking, and heterosexual. The reports suggest that when men are not reaching this model, often they can become filled with a sense of shame guilt and ultimately defeat.

Being a breadwinner is often central to being a man, particularly for blue-collar workers. Frequently, the loss of control due to a depressive episode or crisis will make a man feel chaotic, this often, can push men towards suicidal behaviours in an effort to regain some sort of control over their life. Regularly men, searching for relief from the psychological pain and the feeling of loss of control, will seek out substances such as drugs or alcohol, or both, as a way of coping.

Throughout childhood, boys are taught to be a man, looking to his father for guidelines, for how this is. Undoubtedly some of these messages can be, mixed. Furthermore, if the young boy’s father is not around, some of these messages can come from external forces, such as culture, social media or TV.

The report suggests that men in midlife, often seek out their partner as emotional support, suggesting that the man loses support from his peers after the age of 30. The report goes on to say that men traditionally seek out companionship, in doing an activity, but these relationships can often be superficial.

Traditionally, men have a poor view of psychotherapy/ counselling, coming to therapy only in extreme circumstances. This is something that we at Eleos counselling are working very hard to correct.

At the time of writing, unemployment in the UK is higher amongst men than it is amongst women. Traditional jobs, such as manufacturing are changing rapidly, with the onset of new technology. Added to this uncertainty, such factors as zero hours contracts, temporary employment, and for some, self-employment, to name but a few.

Perhaps one of the ways to engage men in any of form meaningful communication regarding their feelings, is to offer group therapy. The idea of self-supporting groups is not a new one, you only have to think of the 12 step program, and the tremendous support that gives, to see this could work, if marketed correctly.

Traditionally, men in the UK are Conservative bunch, the report suggests that men in the UK are caught between the strong silent type and the new man; being able to speak about one’s feelings openly. At Eleos counselling, we are looking at new ways of engaging men in therapy, rather than being reactive, we would like to be more proactive.

If this article has raised questions for you and you would like to talk to someone, then possibly Eleos counselling can help. If you would like to clink on the link below to be taken to the Eleos counselling main website.

www.eleoscounselling.com 

When your anger gets the better of you.

blog picture_angry farmer_eleoscounselling_ anger managementAnger can be a difficult thing to control, recently at Eleos counselling we are developing an anger management course for young people. We feel this is very important as teaching young people how to control their anger now will reduce the amount of angry incidences, not only in school, now, but later in life, when they have to interact with others, with authority, and form relationships with others.

It’s a fact, the more heated the disagreement, the more our inner pressure gauge goes up this can build up to breaking point, is at this point anger and rage can rear its ugly head.

This reminds me of a short story, I once read, about very religious and God-fearing Quaker farmer who owned a disagreeable cow. Every time he went to milk her it would be a battle of wills.

Early one morning, at milking time, the cow was unusually short-tempered, but the farmer was unwavering in his attitude to ensure the milking session, went, without so much as a bad attitude. As the farmer started to milk, the cow trod on the farmer’s foot with all her bulk. He winced silently, but mumbled under his breath freeing his foot, and then sat back on his stool to milk. The cow, then squished her tail in his face like a long fibrous whip. The farmer just merely leaned away so to avoid the cow’s tail, next she kicked over the milking bucket, by then half full with milk. The farmer started to mutter a few words to himself; but never lost his temper. Once finished with the ordeal of milking this cow the farmer inhaled a sigh of relief, picked up his bucket and stool and as he was leaving, the cow lets off a kick, kicking the farmer against the barn wall, catapulting him 12 to 15 feet. That, unfortunately, did it, the farmer, raised to his full height, walked in front of the cow stared at her big brown eyes and then he shook his long scrawny finger at the face, of the dairy cow, and he shouted, you know I’m a Quaker, but I can sell you to an unbeliever.

It’s not at getting angry, that’s the problem, it’s how we express that anger. Sometimes, that can be inappropriate, telling the boss where to stick his job might cause some relief, temporary, but when you have no paycheck at the end of the month, to pay the bills that may cause you a problem.

If you would like to know more about anger management, then please go to our website at www.eleoscounselling.com

Become a superhero? How your body language can alter how you feel

Aeleoscounselling_blog_hero recent article in the New Scientists writer William Lee Adams speculated whether self-confidence can be increased. Self-confidence is something that is often thought to be something one has, or one doesn’t. However, social psychologist Amy Cuddy, would disagree, her TED talk, lecture, currently ranks as the second most viewed TED talk. Speaking of self-confidence, Cuddy recommends standing with your hands on your hip and stretching, to increase self-confidence before any stressful situation, such as a job interview. With her mantra “fake it till you make it”. In fact, there is something to be said for the body language of people, especially those people who are depressed.

Researchers found that people who are depressed tend to hunch, as if threatened. Observing primates in the wild, and in captivity, gives rise to the view that spreading one’s arms out, and making oneself big is a dominant/confident position, and thus this is the origin of Cuddy’s hypothesis.

An interesting point was brought up by the article stating that lower status people, whilst amongst friends or in a work environment are always monitoring the higher ranked individuals, in their group. The research suggests that, because of this constant monitoring, an additional cognitive load makes it difficult for them to stay focused and achieve personal goals. This constant monitoring, in of itself can cause more depression, as goals are not met, or fall short of expectations. Research carried out suggested that more confident people have high levels of testosterone and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It was found that less dominant/depressed people have high levels of cortisone.

Of course, being overconfident can have its downside, a recent radio programme investigating air disasters, stated that because hierarchy is hardly ever challenged, particularly in the work environment, and most notably in airline infrastructure, this in of itself, can cause problems. One of the worst air disasters on record the Tenerife air disaster is such a case. For those who don’t remember the 80s, the crew was asked to go to a holding pattern before landing, the commander took the plane over dangerously high terrain, contrary to the orders from the control tower. It is now considered that if someone had questioned the flight commander, this would not have taken place; this disaster was compounded by dubious instructions from the Spanish air traffic controller.

Clearly, confidence is a complicated issue, too much and problems occur, too little and one can become stressed and thus doesn’t get that killer job one has been looking for.

 

If you’re worried about your self-confidence, there may be psychotherapy can help.

Eleos  Counselling is a  counselling organisation offering counselling, in Crawley West Sussex.

 

 

Does substance misuse cause mental health problems?

Alcohol and drug addiction have historically always been linked to mental health problems. Mental health problems do not necessarily cause addiction. Nevertheless, some mental health problems, addiction-black-and-white-depressed-depression-drugs-Favim.com-428367exclusively those which have not been diagnosed quickly, can cause alcohol and drug problems, for the person with a mental health difficulties.

Having a depressive disorder can cause a feeling of being overwhelmed by life, social isolation, sleeplessness, a feeling of psychological unconnectedness, and thus the person feeling this symptoms’, will often self medicate with either alcohol or drugs, in order to feel some relief from these feelings.

Recently a paper published in the Lancet has linked skunk cannabis misuse with a 24% increase first incident psychosis. The research was specifically aimed at people with no diagnosis of mental health problems before using the drug. Effectively, this shows a link between using a drug and a mental health problem. For some, this would not be a revelation, as often people have anecdotal evidence, knowing someone close or in the close circle of friends, who suffered a mental health problem and has used or in the past used drugs or alcohol.

One research paper by the University of Lancaster has linked the use of skunk marijuana and people who are self-medicating for symptoms of bipolar disorder. An interesting comment was made in this research saying cannabis use increase when somebody was in a positive or manic mood.

In fact, smoking marijuana can make depression worse. Temporary relief may be found in a line of coke or a drink, but when the chemicals, except the body depression can worsen to a new low. These so-called “withdraw depressions” happens after somebody has come down from using drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, many people do not experience chronic symptoms at first. Furthermore, the depression felt from using recreational drugs and alcohol can lead people to reuse, can lead into a problematic cycle.

These symptoms can be made worse when somebody who is on prescribed medication uses drugs or alcohol. Mixing Street drugs and alcohol with prescribed drugs can be deadly, putting the person in danger.

A question often asked for people with an alcohol or drug problem is “did my drinking or drug taking cause me to have depression?” It Is often the job of a psychotherapist/counsellor to help the client find the source of the depression. Furthermore, gain insight into the possible causes of their problems. Whether that’s passed problems unresolved, or fear of failure in the future.

 

It is often the case client who comes to therapy for an addictive problem are able to track back to when he or she first felt depressed, and gain insight into why they turned to their drug of choice, whether that be alcohol or street drugs.

At Eleos counselling we have had many years helping clients with depression, and a drug or alcohol problem.  We work in a Humanistic  way to help the client  come to terms with life’s hurts and the wave come to cope, if you would like to know more, please click on the link below and you will be taken to the Eleos counselling website.

ELEOS COUNSELLING WEB SITE 

What are young people saying when they are angry?

It would be right to say that most adults have angry feelings, theseangry teenager_Eleos counselling are normal reactions to when things which frustrate us when things go wrong, or people feel an injustice has been done to them. Children, young people express these feelings in different ways.

In a young toddler or young child, frustration and anger are often expressed by having tantrums, when they don’t get what they feel they should or get their own way. They can hit, scream, throw things and often destroy possessions. This is their way of saying they don’t like the emotions or feelings they have, and struggling to express these words. Consequently, their behaviours express their anger and frustration.

In teenagers anger can be expressed by being defiant and refusing to keep house rules. A teenager will often push against boundaries to increase their own independence or sense of self.

Young adults and children can often convey their anger by shouting, refusing to do what they’re told. Furthermore,  Parents often witnessed or objects of aggression when a child starts to hit them or hurt them, often using spiteful words, which cuts to the quick.

Young person or child could have many reasons for express their anger inappropriately, including the following:

  • Struggling to come to terms with hormonal changes during puberty.
  • Divorce or separation in parents.
  • Sibling rivalry or jealousy towards a brother or sister.
  • The feeling of rejection by parents or close family.
  • Witnessing domestic violence.
  • Being accepted into a friendship group or having problems, relationship   difficulties within that group.
  • Feeling powerless through being bullied or hurt.
  • Struggling to cope with schoolwork, academic workload.
  • Having to be a carer will look after parents or relatives.
  • Break-up of  a relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend

Anger is a normal part of being human, but for some children, or young adult’s  anger is often expressed inappropriately.  Parents, grandparents, or adults close to the  young people, young adults, often feel walking on egg shells and will often placate behaviours, rather than deal with them head-on.

At Eleos counselling we are developing an anger management program for young people. Unlike most programs Eleos counselling program is educational and fun for the young person to engage with. This course will be running groups, and rather seeing this as a punishment the young person, see this as an opportunity to find out how to express his or her anger. If you would like to know more, please go is the homepage and from there you will find our contact details, or click the link below and you will be taken to the Eleos counselling website.

Eleos  Counselling Link

 

 

Loneliness in the UK

loneliness_eloscounselingA subject often not talked about has suddenly become popular “loneliness”. A recent report from the National office of statistic claims that Great Britain is the loneliest place in Europe. Statistically, the British, are less likely to bond and make lasting friendships or even know their neighbors.

It’s often quoted that loneliness is an issue for the old, but actually is becoming more and  more an issue for the young, married up with statistics say that the biggest killer of men between the ages of 18 and 34 suicides, the evidence speaks for itself. A statistic from the charity the Samaritans, quoted that one in four men who call the service mentioned loneliness and isolation.

A recent article on radio 4 stated that objects which are plugged into the Internet becoming increasingly popular, stay connected to the cyber world is becoming a paramount importance. This says a lot, that we want to communicate with others however impersonal.

What can the young do to fight loneliness, of the social media can be a boon or very problematic inasmuch that people don’t really say what’s on their mind but rather skirt round the peripheral issues. Maybe one of the services that can be offered through cyberspace is online chat rooms which effectively become group therapy; of course, how one maintains confidentiality and security would have to be looked into what the problem is not insurmountable.

 

Eleos Counseling would be very interested in hearing comments regarding online therapy, or online forums which help support people who are lonely. Please feel free to comment.

 

New figures prompt a request for a new look at rehab.

cocaine use_Eleos counselling

 

New figures released under Freedom of information act, Highlight that there that there is an inadequate amount of residential rehabilitation for drug users. This is added to the political debate on how people with drug habits are to be treated.

The ongoing debate ,by some experts, suggests that community-based rehabilitation is more successful and less costly than so-called L ive in  treatments. Furthermore, Figures released suggest that there are 138 addicts for every residential rehabilitation placement in England. The drastic lacking places this  is possibly due to lack of funding, as local government finances are cut back as part of austerity measures in general.

Taking somebody out of their normal circle of friends and put them into a rehabilitation center can sometimes be good for the addict, in general. They have time to reconsider their lives and have no network where they can acquire their drug choice. But, one would argue they have to live in the real world. Returning back to their home town, can start an addiction back up after being clean for several months in the rehab unit.

Perhaps one thing to consider is the amount of support drug users get. This varies from excellent to inadequate, depending on where you live. If the government goes for a community-based rehabilitation programme. One would suggest that they have to be some form of psychological support put in place as well as chemical support.

Psychotherapy has often played second fiddle, with drug and alcohol agencies, adding it as an afterthought rather than necessity. Using trained councillors/psychotherapy to help people through the drug addiction can have a marked effect on long-term prognosis.

Looking at why a person took to drugs in the first place can be very painful for them, but very useful in finding their triggers, and also they come to terms with old hurts, which may have caused them to use in the first place.

An interesting comment was made in the report. Inasmuch as, the UK is now deemed the addicted man of Europe, proportionally more having more problematic drug users in any country in Europe.

The report also asked for local authorities to adopt new models in drug and alcohol treatment. Perhaps one of these could be a home-based abstinence programme supplemented with psychotherapy at a local center?

Diogenes syndrome : a symptom of dementia or loneliness?

hoarding_eleoscounsellingA  recent article in the Daily Express spoke of a lady who had lived for three decades in a battered car, in a South London residential street. The lady in question Anne  Naysmith, recently died after being hit by a car, close to her home. It transpired that Anne Naysmith had been a talented concert pianist who had been suffering from Diogenes syndrome. This is mental illness, named after the Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, who cast off material things in favour of  living  in a large jar in Athens.

A person with Diogenes syndrome has many idiosyncratic characteristics, one of which can be hoarding. As with Anne Naysmith, Diogenes syndrome is often associated with extreme self-neglect, causing the person to become socially withdrawn, furthermore, sufferers of Diogenes Syndrome, will also have a compulsion to hoard rubbish, which can add to the social isolation.

It is thought that long periods of social isolation, which causes lack of cognitive stimulation, or a genetic precondition may be the cause of this syndrome. An additional factor which is also thought to cause the syndrome is a traumatic life event. In the case of Anne Naysmith, it was thought that the breakup of her relationship with a handsome choral singer induced some of the behaviours which she had to her death.

For the family members of someone suffering with Diogenes syndrome, it can be difficult seeing someone living in extreme squalor. Furthermore, for those who are left to sort through years of squalid living.

With the biggest charity in Britain today announcing three centres of medical research, one in, Oxford, one in Cambridge and one at Kings College London. These three centres will be dedicated in trying to find a medical solution for dementia.  It is well known that Early-onset dementia will become more prevalent , in Great Britain as the  population becomes older.

Increasingly, people are becoming more and lonelier and social stimulation, is something that people crave for.  One can only wonder whether , if Anne  Naysmith had received the right amount of support, in the form of psychotherapy, after the break of the relationship, whether the outcome for her would of been different.