Friday, 21 January 2011

Men, therapy and mental well-being

Dr Ewan Gillon gave a talk on men's mental health and wellbeing at a Men's Health Forum conference earlier this week. For more about the Men's Health Forum see

Men are often taught to keep things to themselves - to be 'big and strong' and not to admit any weaknesses. When it comes to health, it can take a lot for a man to seek help.

Therapy can appear very daunting to men - over the years it has been associated with women, but men need help just as much as women.

Many men just don't ask for help when they need it - they try and cope with things themselves. So it is vital when men do take that leap of faith and come for help, that they are treated in a way that doesn't put them off.

Everyone is different, of course, and we can't speak for everyone, but we have found many of the men who seek help at our centres feel re-assured by the availability of male therapists.

We have also found that goal-oriented therapy, such as Cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT), can work very well, although it is also important to address and work on difficult feelings that a man may be experiencing, such as low mood, anxiety, anger, etc.

For more about what we can offer male clients at our centres, see for Edinburgh, for Glasgow, or for Borders

Monday, 17 January 2011

Five tips to a healthy relationship

It's common knowledge that relationship problems can reach an all time high in January.

This is often attributed to the intensity of the holiday period making people feel they've had enough, but also because January is the traditional time for taking action to make things better for the rest of the year!

So here are five tips to a more healthy relationship.
  1. Make time each day to talk - communication is the key to a healthy relationship. 
  2. Be realistic about what you expect of each other - try to put yourself in your partners shoes.
  3. Be yourself, but that doesn't mean being stubborn and only doing things your own way. Try to be flexible and compromise with your partner too.
  4. Share your feelings with your partner on a regular basis and talk about the things you love about him/her.
  5. Keep a balanced life - make room for yourself and your interests as well as room for each other. Everyone needs time and space to grow!
If you think you need help to save your relationship,  a relationship counsellor or couples counsellor might be able to help. To read a case study about how this type of counselling helped Joanne and Paul with their relationship difficulties see

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Learning to set realistic goals

Yesterday an article was published by The Herald newspaper about ways to boost mental well-being. See for the full article.

One of the key suggestions was to set realistic goals for yourself so you don't get downhearted when you feel you have failed to achieve your targets.

Although goal setting is something people focus on at New Year, it is equally relevant to everything we do at all times of the year. Because of this, the skill of setting realistic goals is of great benefit to us in our home and working lives and can help us achieve greater work/life balance too.

So how do we set realistic goals?

Often when setting goals it helps to split a larger goal into individual tasks - that way there is a strong sense of progress and it avoids seeing the exact same thing on your list for weeks (or longer) on end, which can be demoralising.

A simplified example of the goals involved in organising a party might look something like this:

  1. Look into event venues suitable for a party
  2. Phone up/email favourite venues: ask about catering, music, number of guests, available dates and times
  3. Decide on venue and book date
  4. Put together a  guest list in consultation with interested parties
  5. Write out/design invitations and deliver
  6. Chase up invitees to get final numbers

Rather than:

  1. Organise party!

Despite being for the same task, the latter example wouldn't change throughout the process, whereas the former example shows the task broken into bite sized chunks. Splitting larger tasks like this means each mini task can be ticked off as it is done, leading to a sense of achievement.

This technique translates very well into much larger tasks too and even delegated tasks involving others and helps if you are prone to procrastination too! Give it a try!