Monday, 20 December 2010

Travel Chaos!!

With the amount of snow that has fallen it is unsurprising that many people are encountering the stresses and strains of delayed journeys or of unfulfilled plans.  This results in a whole range of reactions. A common one is that of anger, cue pictures of passengers shouting at the train conductor or airport manager bringing news of further delays. Another reaction might be that of passive acceptance, a slump-shouldered withdrawal that is giving up on any active engagement with what is happening. These two reactions can, from a psychological perspective, be seen as examples of how different personality states operate. The first, the angry one,  may reflect what can be termed a 'parental' state,  in which an individual's authority is asserted in a direct way, perhaps with limited relevance to the actual outcomes such an approach might provide. The second, the withdrawal, may be more of a 'child' state, whereby the individual reacts in a way that diminishes his or her capacity to influence what is happening. Within psychology, is often the 'adult' state that is seen as the most healthy way or responding in many situations. This state, based around reasoned analysis, responsibility taking and reality testing, allows a measured response that addresses the actual nature of the circumstance being encountered.  It might involve assertiveness (not the same as aggression) where necessary, and/or decisions being made that reflect the actual responsibilities and limitations arising from the situation. As one stranded passenger stated, "once I knew I wasn't flying this morning there was nothing I could do to get there in a way that wouldn't cause me more stress than I wanted to deal with. I decided there and then, but with sadness and regret, to go home,  contact friends and enjoy what remained of the Christmas break" It is this kind of response that would typify the 'adult' state.

It is goal of much psychology to strengthen our ability to act from the 'adult' part of our personality. In testing times such as, however, this this might be easier to say than to do..

You can find out more about the model of psychology discussed here, Transactional Analysis (TA) on its Wikpedia page as follows,

Monday, 22 November 2010

Our new service for Rowan Alba

We are really pleased to be working with  Rowen Alba, a charity working with vulnerable people,  to provide a cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) service for women who have experienced domestic abuse and presently moving into their own home. This service is designed specifically to meet the needs of Rowen Alba clients, and reflects the specific and distinct needs of this community. The service is located in the Edinburgh Psychology Centre (, and led by Tasim Martin, Chartered Psychologist.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Getting your 'foot in the door'

We receive many emails and letters from students wishing to work with us to build experience, prior to applying to train in psychology. We all remember what it is like to be starting out, and do try to help when we can, but we were really delighted to read a new book 'Psychology - my foot in the door'  by Sarah Parry. This explains in detail the different avenues open to anyone interested in psychology as a career, focusing on the different types of 'psychologist ' (there are quite a few...) and spells out, in easy terms, the steps you may need to take to qualify and get a job in the field.  The book features some useful case studies, including one by our very own Counselling and Health Psychologist, Dr Ewan Gillon, and is an easy way of answering many of those questions that come to mind when starting out in psychology. It is available at good booksellers, and in keeping with the times, has its own facebook group, on!/home.php?sk=group_123630684362304&ap=1 

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

World Stress Day, 3rd November 2010

Stress is a term we use a lot nowadays, and world stress day (today!) is designed to highlight how many of us suffer from it.  There seem many reasons for this, including  the many pressures we experience  at work and at home (pressure is the term used to define events/requirements that are external to us - these can cause stress if we find them difficult or anxiety provoking in some way or other).  Managing stress, in this sense, is something we can do in addressing how we respond to the pressures we have to deal with.  This can be as simple as introducing coping strategies, such as exercise and relaxation, using techniques to worry less (such as identifying cognitive distortions such as when you are thinking in very unrealistic or catastrophic ways about what might happen) or indeed just planning your time more effectively.  Sometimes though the pressures themselves need to be addressed. It might be that you really do just have too much work to do, or are committed to things in your life that just are unmanageable.  Distinguishing between pressures and stress is important, because it allows you to work out what changes you need to make to feel better, and to combat stress for good.

Monday, 1 November 2010

We published our latest newsletter today!

We published our latest newsletter today. It's always such hard work deciding what each issue should contain. There is usually so much that we'd like to say!

We have two great articles: one looks at extreme sport and explores whether it is a hidden form of self-harm; the other is about anger and ways to manage those powerful feelings we all have.

We are also excited to promote a new family therapy service at our centres. We are working with the Institute of Systemic and Family Therapy (InSyT (Scotland)) to run this valuable service.

What a busy time we are having!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

A glorious day is so uplifting

This morning parts of Scotland have been so beautifully sunny and bright and it is so uplifting. It is amazing what a bit of sunlight can do for our mood. It really is a tonic - everything seems so much rosier and more positive!

Sadly though we are only days away from the end of British Summer Time, which will mean darker evenings. It is a stark reminder that winter is drawing in.

As days get shorter many people start to suffer from 'winter blues' and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Add to that the pressures of Christmas and things ahead can seem quite bleak.

However there are things you can do to help with the season ahead. Our article gives useful advice for dealing with the pressures of Christmas and the winter season. See

Friday, 15 October 2010

Edinburgh counsellor/psychotherapist awarded BACP accreditation

At our Edinburgh Psychology Centre we were pleased to learn this week that Maisie Hennessey, one of our counsellor/psychotherapists, has been accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). It is important to recognise that the accreditation process is quite a long and thorough one and it is testament to Maisie’s abilities  and experience as a counsellor/psychotherapist that she has been given this formal recognition. Well done Maise!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Playing Safe or Taking Risks? Some football-inspired thoughts..

Some of you will be interested in the tactics assumed by Scotland Manager, Craig Levein in the recent Scotland football match against the Czech's. The 4, 6, defensive strategy packed the midfield and was designed to squeeze a draw or, even better, a win on the break. It failed and Scotland lost 1.0. However the formation caused uproar, being tagged 'negative',  'pointless' and 'dull'.  But might there be some merit in being strategic in such defensiveness at times?  I guess Levein's thinking was that if Scotland set up to 'win', they would be unlikely to score enough to overtake the number of goals they would concede. Thus rather than being a risk, the approach was doomed to fail, and accordingly an act of folly. More likely to succeed was the opposite - a total blanket defence, which at worst would concede few and at best might manage a draw.  Hence playing safe wasn’t about fear, but a reasoned, calculated option in the face of no real alternative.  It was a decision based on logic, and carried through in the knowledge that it would likely attract criticism whatever the outcome.   This offers a parallel to life – that sometimes it is the safer option that is the riskiest,  in terms of the criticism it can invoke. So the bravest may not always be those who duck and dive, and take every chance that comes along, but those who take reasoned decisions and stick to them whatever the consequence .

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Words of wisdom

We have been on the look out recently for inspirational and empowering quotes.

We have come across many beautiful words spoken by many wise men and women over the years. It is lovely to be able to read them and share in their wisdom.

We'd like to share one of the beautiful quotes we have found with you. It is not long, in fact it is positively short, but who needs 20 words when 11 will do.

"Better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness." (Chinese proverb)

Monday, 11 October 2010

New sign for First Psychology Centre, Glasgow

We are busy this week organising a sign for our Glasgow centre. It is one of those jobs that had not been prioritised since we moved in to our new Westend location a month ago, but many of our clients and visitors have asked us why we don't have a sign, so it has become a priority.

Everyone who has noticed our lack of sign will be pleased to know that one is being made as we blog and it will be adorning the outside of our centre soon!