Client Case Study

Josh moved away from the idea of needing help to taking action. In restoring mental health, he opened up an ideal career

“Helen really is a genius just like people say”

“I felt a massive reduction in anxiety. My thoughts became ordered and I was able to return to work. After only a few weeks I was able to socialise again. Emotionally I was at peace and months later that peace has remained”

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“Men often don’t feel like they can talk about what they are experiencing as it is counter to the cultural perception of men being strong. The irony being that in locking up their thoughts and emotions they do actually then create an emotional weakness within themselves which can go on to control their behaviour and thoughts. People who don’t have friends and family they feel they can talk to in particular suffer with these misaligned emotions and thoughts as they miss out on the chance to ‘regulate’ their internal responses to their experiences.

Counselling has got itself a stigma due to the wide variance in its application and success rate and again is often ignored by men who perceive going to counselling to be a sign of weakness or inadequacy – and that coupled with the inconvenience and expense make it a write off for many men.

When I came to Helen I was in the throws of anxiety about a failed relationship. I had been in this state before and knew it well enough to know I was looking at a good few weeks of not eating, sleeping or going to work properly until I could recover. I also knew my coping mechanism would eventually be to launch myself into a new relationship after a bout of instagram spamming and tinder dates.

The reason I came to Helen is because I wanted to break the cycle and I believed her when she told me it is possible.

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Helen has incredible insight; to the point where I found myself looking back at my experiences and behaviour in a different way before our first session had even ended. I learned that day how I had created coping mechanisms to deal with the outside world throughout each stage of my life and how each mechanism had dictated or reinforced certain behaviours that I was now presenting as a 35 year old adult.

Those behaviours form part of your personality after a certain age. In my case one of the things that was identified was being denied something when I was young, which contributed to me developing manipulative behaviours in order to get the things I want as an adult.

I always knew I was carrying an undercurrent of anger. In later sessions it was revealed to me that I am projecting anger in every sentence I utter, in my body language and in my thoughts. Whole segments of my thought process are underpinned with impatience and anger and manipulative behaviours, even when I have the best of intentions and am intending to project positivity and happiness.

There are so many things we don’t know about ourselves that are having an effect on our lives and our relationships. They are colouring the way we interact with others in the workplace, in our friendship groups and in our relationships. They are affecting our deepest thoughts and emotions and they contribute to why we have unanswerable questions inside of us that end up driving us to actions we then have to analyse just to try and understand ourselves.

My sessions with Helen opened my eyes to some major behaviours I was presenting, some known but some unknown to me.

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Once Helen has established with you what behaviours are dominating your life, then she gets to work. And it isn’t easy but once you do face those behaviours with Helen she will take you through why you are presenting them.

It is in understanding why you are presenting them that you can forgive yourself.
And it is in understanding why you are presenting behaviours that you can truly start to heal and move past them and move in a positive direction.

And that’s what we’re here for isn’t it? You are presenting behaviours you don’t understand or can’t control and they are leading you into responding to life in a way that isn’t working for you.

Helen talked me through how we go experientially through life – as a baby, as a child, as a young person, as a young adult, as an adult. Things that happen to you in these stages matter. How you dealt with them at the time and how they coloured your world view moving forward matters. Your world view at each stage has to incorporate the new experiences you go through at that stage. Every stage brings new atrocities, betrayals, let downs, disasters, disappointments, and you develop mentally and emotionally around these obstacles and incorporate them into your world view. Things that were inconceivable as a child happen to you in your teens and you have to deal with it – and how you dealt with it influences who you are today. The behaviours you developed to deal with those new experiences at every stage are really important and they are impacting you every day right now.

These are the things I went through with Helen in our sessions. I found them to be massively impactful and the days following each session were full of introspection. It’s a rollercoaster and it is not straightforward but I was at a point where I needed change and I wanted to take action.

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This phrase ‘take action’ is really important to Helen.

People (and as a man I can speak in particular for men) often perceive counselling as ‘getting help’. Let’s just deconstruct that for a minute; getting help completely puts the person receiving the help under an umbrella of being weak and needing the help they are getting. Need, help, weak – these are the concepts men are so desperate to avoid and the perception of getting therapy of any kind coming from a place of weakness is letting men down.

The phrase we should be talking about is “taking action”. When your behaviour is not working and you are leading your life in a way that is not working then what do you do? You take action! Going to see Helen did not feel like reaching out for help it felt like taking action. And that in part comes from how insightful and straight to the point she is. Helen will work with you and help you to create real change in your life. It’s hardcore. It’s stressful. But it is real change and it will help you.

Following Helen’s sessions I felt a gradual and then massive reduction in anxiety. My thoughts became ordered and I was able to return to work. After only a few weeks I was able to socialise with friends and work colleagues again. Emotionally I was at peace and months later that peace has remained.

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As someone working in the fitness industry I see a lot of men coming into the gym to get stronger. Obviously many have perfectly healthy reasons for wanting to be fit. But I wonder after my sessions with Helen how many are trying to get strong on the outside because inside they feel unstable. Helen would say the inner weakness they feel by being out of control internally causes them to want to gain order and strength by getting strong on the outside. For my part I can definitely say that was one of the main drivers for why I went to the gym.

A friend said to me the other day that going to therapy or counselling of any kind is like going to the gym for the mind. In the same way we do exercise on a regular basis to keep our body fit so it makes sense to go to some form of therapy to keep the mind fit. As a personal trainer people come to me so I can show them the best way to move forward with their fitness and in the same way it makes sense to go to someone who has qualifications and insight to show you the best way to order your thoughts and emotions.

When I came to Helen I was going in circles, controlled by behaviours I didn’t even know were there. I took a massive interest in moving forward and Helen was able to guide me through the process as I attempted to race ahead. Helen became a friend as well as an advisor and confidant. It didn’t matter what background I came from or that I was a man or that I worked in the fitness industry or what my individual issues were, she had vast experience with it all and was able to see the underlying features of everything I presented to her. In a short space of time I turned a massive corner. To this day I have her to thank for feeling more whole, more ordered and more at peace with who I am than I ever have before”.