Thursday, 29 October 2015

Grow up little girl!

The needy little girl inside of Jayne Verity fell in love with her therapist.
He knew this.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Therapy With Liz Jeffries - Transactional Analysis Psychotherapist and Counsellor - South Manchester

Transactional Analysis Psychotherapist & Counsellor Liz Jeffries

Liz Jeffries offers psychotherapy and counselling for individuals and couples in South Manchester - Sale and Chorlton. Here is a link to Liz's website and blog:

My first impression of this lady was encouraging. I felt Liz respected me. I felt Liz would invite an equal therapeutic relationship, like the client's well-being would matter as much as the therapist in order to make the encounter worthwhile. If I were Liz's client, she would take a genuine interest in me and the mechanics of how I relate to other people.
Liz talks about the importance of feeling comfortable and being able to trust your therapist or counsellor through this post in her blog.
The therapeutic relationship behaves rather like a 'blueprint' for how we might hope to relate to ourselves (internal communication) and towards others in our life (external communication), promoting better and healthier relationships.

Liz Jeffries uses Transactional Analysis as her base for therapy. This can be a resourceful grounding coupled with most therapies because it looks at the patterns of behaviour (often outside of our awareness) that we have learned from influential figures in our past, and how they affect us now. Liz also helps her clients to identify unconscious patterns (particularly the ones that cause us distress) and skilfully challenges our beliefs about them, so that we might grow in personal awareness.

I feel working with Liz would be interesting and enlightening. Through psychotherapy, we would hope to discover and unpick unhelpful or unhealthy habits that we repeat according to our past, and hopefully, with time and patience, learn how to interrupt them in our current experience. 

Here is an example of one pattern I discovered through psychotherapy:

In my younger years, I had a tendency to become ill through stress. At the time, some 20 years ago, I didn't realise there was little physically wrong with me - the stomach cramps and sickness were very real, of course they were. Constipation was no joke, neither was the opposite! I pushed and pushed the surgeons to do something about my pain, even though most test results came back as normal.

When my organs began to malfunction and surgery had to be performed because I got myself so uptight - this was definitely real, and very painful. I had no idea most of my pain was stress related, or that my thoughts and feelings could have been making the symptoms much worse.

At the time, if I had a better understanding of how I communicated to and acknowledged the inner 'me', I maybe could have alleviated some, if not most of my suffering.
Take a look at another blog from Liz's website about how our mind can affect our body through thoughts and feelings here.
I would constantly quiet my inner thoughts and push them to the back of my mind in order to please other people. Most of my life I have strived to try and make others happy, forgetting about my own need to live a healthy life. I used to say or do anything to make others happy, unfortunately this made me prey to manipulative and controlling people. My submissive nature would soon be a lure to those wishing to influence me with conditional compliments and manipulations. As a result, my ignored thoughts and feelings needed something else to do, they had to go somewhere. I remember how powerful they were - so intense, I remember mentally jumping outside of my body at the cost of pleasing someone. Just like the continuous urge to say the word 'no'. I would bash the word back down my throat so much that it soon turned into a stomach ache. At some level, I was an expert at making myself ill. At the time I had no idea of what I was doing to myself.

The conclusions I made about my behaviour were a result of attending years of my own personal therapy as well as medical intervention from surgery. Whilst it can be helpful to attend counselling for short term therapy, psychotherapy goes more in-depth and hopes to get to the root of a problem,
Liz mentions this in her blog
For around eight years afterwards, I went on to train and qualify in person-centred counselling, neuro-linguistic programming and clinical hypnotherapy. So I grasped a good understanding of myself through dissecting my behaviour and personality.

Reading Liz Jeffries' blog reminded me of the power we can have over our well-being and how we can, given time, turn bad experiences around. Discovering how we function and relate to one another can help us to improve our lives and be the person we imagine we would like to be. Psychotherapy can be a huge investment, but I will say, very worthwhile. It certainly made me stronger.

It was a pleasure to meet Liz and discover more about her work.

If you would like to know more about Liz Jeffries, please take a look at her website here,

If you would like to read my story and how I eventually addressed controlling and manipulating relationships, here is a link to my book, Jaynie, author Jayne Verity. It is available in paperback or kindle.

(Please remember, I am not suggesting that counselling or psychotherapy is ever a replacement for medical treatment. I always recommend you check out physical symptoms with your doctor.)

Monday, 8 June 2015

When it's time to stop searching outside...

There were many, many times I lay in a hospital bed with undiagnosed pain. 'Adhesions', they would say. The result of many abdominal operations and procedures. It was something I had to live with, there was nothing really wrong with me. My blood tests were all normal, scans were inconclusive, that's why it was given a name 'neuropathic' - a long word for 'you have to learn to cope with it on your own now.'

I cringed inside at the thought of never being able to live a normal life. All of my time felt wasted on drip feeds and opiate injections as I was rushed in and out of casualty when tension in life translated itself into blocked internal drains. Stress came to me in many guises, I didn't recognise it's ugly presence until physical pain took over.

BUT, I got through it, many, many times.

My changing point would start when I got back home, filled with bruises from injections and exhaustion through lack of sleep. (Hospitals are such noisy places, especially at night, alone with thoughts about what will they do next, and ping's from life giving monitors.) At home, seeing myself in a full length mirror was enough to force a promise: 'From now onwards, I will stop looking outside for help, start to say 'no' more often...and take care of myself.'

They were familiar friends, those promises. I wish I could have kept well for longer. But the visits did become much less frequent as I finally took actions on my decisions.

I recognise the signs more now: When to take a break away from expecting too much from my life. Writing is good, I find it helps me to express my inner thoughts and feelings. Changing my thought patterns is a valuable tool too. In my book, Jaynie, I talk about reading affirmations aloud in the mirror until I believe the words are true. I still do that now and find it to be very effective. Relaxation is a life-saver for me too. Self-hypnosis, prayer, meditation, whatever you want to call it, really helps, as I go on an internal audit, making sure each of my organs are functioning well. Lifestyle change, eating healthy was a conscious choice. It took effort, but this is how I turned my life around. All part of the package to stand up for myself and grow strength.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Breaking free from stomach cramp

This is a recent visualisation I used to help myself feel more comfortable:

I went inside of myself and took out of my stomach what looked like a round fairly flat, black rigid disk, a bit like a Frisbee. I looked at it back to front and top to bottom, I felt it and it felt hard. I broke it and smashed it into pieces, but I didn't feel all that different when I checked out the result. So I put it back together again. Then I decided to make it into putty and mould it around like a ball, squishing it into shape until it was a soft round ball. It felt a little bit different but not all that much. So then I decided to turn it to a pink colour, wow, that felt different. I liked it. I felt different. Next I decided to use a rolling pin to flatten it out like a pastry. Then I decided to wrap it around my shoulders, like you would a lace shawl. I felt very different. Next I decided to make some little blue and yellow flowers to stamp carefully around the edges as it sat on my shoulders. Then I felt ever so different, I opened my eyes up and thought about my tummy. It felt much better. So, do we call that Submodalities in NLP, Gestalt, Visualisation, Healing? Whatever it was, it worked for me. We all have imaginations and what works for me may not necessarily work for you, we are all different. This was my own personal visualisation I used to help me rid my stomach ache.

(Please, always check out with your doctor before trying anything yourself. I use this technique because my tummy aches are often stress related.)

Monday, 4 May 2015

Never, ever EVER, give up!

Never, ever EVER, give up!
Keep it going, keep your faith - grow more faith
Find more faith, do what you need to do to keep on believing.
Believe in you, however small the spark, it's a start - believe in you.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Comfortable in your own skin

In counselling, there is a word called 'congruence'. Basically it means being true to yourself, being as balanced as possible through your communication, both within yourself and therefore through the non-verbal signals you put out. If you can be true to yourself, you are showing (or giving the opportunity for) the other person to do the same.

Let me give you an example:

If I said to you, 'Hiya, how are you today?' and you replied, 'Oh, I'm okay thank you,' when really you felt awful, you would be acting 'incongruently' - not being true to you or me. In society it happens all the time. People tell little 'white lies' all the time. But, what about if those little 'white lies' were hurting you inside. Really deep down you want to communicate something, to say something to someone, but you don't? Maybe you want to say 'no', but never quite find the courage.Would you rather please the other person than be real? Some might describe this as not being assertive. I used a technical word called congruence because it was one of the gems I discovered whilst training to be a person centred counsellor. Whatever words you want to choose to describe an untruth to yourself, this is your opportunity to care about and value you, by acknowledging 'you'.

I believe it can take time to grow as a person. Some adults live their whole lives without being honest and true to themselves. I denied my own needs for about seven years, possibly much longer. It took loads of therapy for me to care about me. I broke free from controlling relationships. It took courage and determination. It was like starting again, growing up again and priming my personality to live in another world where I had to learn about self-responsibility. But, I did it, and today I just wanted to share with you a little something I learned about change.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Here is an excerpt taken from the end of my book, "Jaynie" by Jayne Verity. This doesn't give away the details of my story. But, I thought it a good way to bring together the main learning's from my time with the therapist I went to see.

I do not and will not condemn therapists and counsellors by saying that absolutely everybody needs ethical and boundary training. Personally, I believe ethics and values are born from our own personal self respect. Then, and only then, do we learn how to respect other people. I believe care of self begins with 'self'. This is my own opinion. You don't have to agree. I am sure there are many many counsellors and therapists out there who have a good level of self-respect and understand what boundaries are. Perhaps they have a different name for the same thing. However, I have met a few who don't have a clue, or it was just a little bit of theory they were given one day at college or university.

I learned the difficult way, through bad experience. But, when I studied and qualified as a person centred counsellor, how to be and how not to be in a therapeutic setting was easier for me to gauge. With lots of personal therapy and the added bonus of already being qualified in neuro linguistic programming and clinical hynoptherapy, I grew tremendous self respect.

Boundaries are the marking of a territory or a line where one space ends and another one begins. They are like posts or markers that enable each person to recognise what should or should not happen in the therapy room. Without boundaries, therapy sessions could be led by presumption and manipulation. Without boundaries, no one can really understand someone else’s purpose or intention. There is nothing to hold therapy sessions together because nothing has been agreed beforehand. I believe having clear boundaries in place from the outset shows a good level of respect for self and others during a time when the client is at their most vulnerable. A safe and ethical environment can help develop a nurturing therapeutic relationship.A further mark of respect is the contract. Usually the first session is a good opportunity for the counsellor or therapist to go through a list of what is involved. The written contract sets out clear boundaries so that each person knows what to expect and what not to expect from the therapeutic arrangement. The contract should have the counsellor’s or therapist’s name, a contact phone number, and what to do if either party cannot make an appointment. It will often include the pre-agreed number of sessions, their duration, the fee and how it should be paid. The contract should also explain that confidentiality may be broken, but only if the client is at risk of hurting themselves or someone else. In any event it should be discussed by both parties wherever possible before it goes outside the therapy room. Even then it should take a structured approach that involves the client every step of the way to ensure they are safe and get the appropriate help they need. The counsellor or therapist should explain this and it should be summarised in the therapy contract. The contract should also give the name of the counsellor’s or therapist’s professional organisation and the code of ethics they uphold. Both the client and the therapist/counsellor should sign the contract and each have a copy. The client should always feel able to revisit any of the details in the contract if there is something they are not quite sure about. The client always has the right to check the therapist’s or counsellor’s qualifications or behaviour, by contacting their professional organisation.In therapy, a counsellor’s or therapist’s role is to counsel, and to use therapy skills to facilitate and to give the client space and time to talk and explore their feelings. A client’s role is to bring their problems to the therapy session and hopefully feel comfortable enough to talk in a safe and ethical environment. Clear boundaries are put in place throughout to protect both parties. Roles are important. A counsellor is not a client’s friend. A therapist is not a client’s friend. A counsellor or therapist should provide the right conditions to help the client feel safe enough to grow independently. If a counsellor or therapist allows their role to change, this can interfere with and confuse the client’s healing process; it can promote reliance and dependency upon the relationship for both parties. It is considered absolutely unethical, limiting, unprofessional and very wrong for a counsellor or therapist to become a friend. This is not a healthy way to work. It selfishly fulfils the therapist’s or counsellor’s own urge to make people better outside the therapy room. The client’s sensitive and vulnerable state should not be manipulated to fulfil the therapist’s or counsellor’s own needs. This is what lonely therapists do: they do not know how to maintain a relationship outside their therapy settings, so they hold onto their clients. This is unprofessional; those therapists or counsellors need help and should be having personal therapy themselves! These dual roles are unethical, limiting, unprofessional and very wrong.In a professional setting, a counsellor or therapist should usually have peer supervision to ensure they are working professionally and ethically, and to the best of their potential. Supervision is to help the counsellor or therapist work within their role and maintain a good standard of practice. A therapist or counsellor will talk about their practice with their supervisor whilst keeping similar clear and confidential boundaries as in the therapy room.                                                         
‘‘I am not going to give you what Delbert Wallis gave to you. I aim to help you discover how to help yourself feel loved, by starting to accept who you are and by learning to love yourself, without being dependent upon anyone. Do you understand?’  Quote taken from chapter, Proper Therapy,Jaynie by Jayne Verity.