Friday, 26 February 2016

Don't panic panic

Anxiety is on the up.  It makes appearances ever more regularly amongst my clients/patients.*  It comes in different guises:  sometimes attaching itself to certain triggers, at other times preferring to float more freely.

Anxiety is troublesome.  It demands attention yet does not like to be examined.  Anxiety does not always make sense.  There is often little value in seeking to ascertain its aetiology as, regularly, there will not be an obvious cause-and-effect in action.

First things first.  Anxiety needs to be put in its place.  Therapy can be extremely helpful in right-sizing panic when anxiety has become unmanageable.  

As a therapist supporting those for whom anxiety has got out of control, it is useful for me to understand what seems to be triggering anxious symptoms and how the individual experiences these.  No two anxiety presentations are identical, but there are patterns and traits I have become all too familiar with.    

Anxiety is a natural response that can get out of sync with the triggers that it should naturally follow.  There are a number of causes that can contribute to the development of anxiety and there exist powerful relationships between anxiety, stress, and depression.

Anxiety can be better managed once it is understood.  Coming to understand how it works can be enormously liberating.  Working out some strategies for better containment of anxiety provoking situations and triggers and self soothing responses can promote resilience and increase the likelihood that panic attacks will become a thing of the past.

Monday, 15 February 2016

We love you whatever

I did not hesitate to heartily and heart-fully congratulated a parent who had contacted me to discuss support they might offer their primary school aged child who 'wants to be different' when they told me that they had sought to explain in no uncertain terms that their love is unconditional.

In the midst of their angst about what they might do for the best in the situation which they felt was becoming increasingly urgent, my reassurance seemed not only highly appropriate but hugely valuable.

My hope is that we are slowly, but hopefully steadily, moving away from a gender binary that demands conformity amongst children who wish to explore their gender identity and expression.

I work with adults and young people.  I have colleagues who work with children.  It is a pleasure and a privilege to be able to refer potential clients to colleagues who, like me, practice in and around London.  At present, I am sadly less well placed to signpost more widely.  I am reliant on my own limited networking and will not point families towards those whose practice I am not certain is welcoming to and sufficiently supportive of individuals, couples and families who might identify as Gender and Sexuality Diversity clients.  I look forward to working within an ever expanding network of appropriately trained professionals dedicated to supporting young people and their families.

Recommended resources for young trans* people and their families:

Monday, 1 February 2016

Shutting up shop: Contact in a contactless network

The Tube is being made fit for the future.  Or so we are being told... 

People are being replaced by machines.  And the windows through which we used to interact are being bricked up.  The memory of dialogue is being erased.  To be forgotten forever?

As someone who commutes, sometimes on two wheels, sometimes on public transport the implications of the closing ticket offices have struck me as significant - quite apart from the deletion of aesthetic pleasures and architectural archive are we not at risk of losing touch with an important facet of travel?  

It occurs to me that many a journey is influenced and informed by a valuable engagement which may take place only briefly but which enables the person anticipating the journey to touch base and confirm their path with someone whom they imagine (rightly or wrongly) knows better.

This casual but perhaps vital double checking would, more often than not, take place implicitly, seamlessly, as a ticket is purchased.  The new set-up demands the passenger-to-be to boldly address their request directly.  And visible does not necessarily equal approachable.

Contact is being replaced by Contactless.  Ticket machines have been installed across the network.  They are part of a clever strategy to save money.  Whether they enhance the passenger experience is the subject of a debate that is rapidly heating up.  

Ticket offices will soon be a thing of the past at virtually all of the Tube's 278 stations.  Staff will be available to greet you at all hours and will stand in the drafty ticket halls rather than behind small windows.  They will point you towards the automated machines which may or may not be able to help you to enjoy the oyster of the network.