33. World in a Rush

World in a Rush. And it keeps speeding up. For what?
Technology is a big driver. The world on a click. Instant gratification. No wait. Speed is everything. As long as the news is first, its truthfulness second.

The rush inhabits every part of our lives. We tell ourselves that we are rushing to gain time. We need more time. We have so little of it. The more we rush- the less time we have – so the more we have to rush.

Parents rushing around trying to give their children the best life possible. More and more. No rest. No down time.
We have no time to think how we might be spending our time. Time is related to output. If time isn’t profitably spent then we have to fill so that it is. Our time cannot always be outcome based so we have less time. And so it goes.
In the Counselling/Therapy professions the same. IAPT employs 1000s of clinical psychologists in their 20s career ambitious rushing to gain well paid jobs. With no requirement for their own therapy.

This has spread to the Counselling/Therapy world itself. Minimum requirements for therapy just met. Least amount of practice in voluntary placements. Money spent on training and therapy as something that has to be paid back by earnings.

Again. Are we rushing to something or away from something? Counselling/Therapy is a craft where self awareness is everything. To stay out of the distressed person’s pain – to understand their pain not from our position but theirs.

If the rush of time rushes the slow and painful journey to self awareness – where will we all be?

Copyright Adrian Scott
North London Counsellor Blog 2021
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique



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32. Despair Helpless Hopeless

The world seems a difficult place at the moment.
War, Afghanistan, Extreme Weather, Post Pandemic, & the Economy.
More so. Issues coming home to roost. Climate Change, Politics Funding of Social Care, Pandemic, Economy.
The platform of our lives shifting.

To feel frightened and overwhelmed today in reaction to the world would be normal. If the world feels under threat it would be sensible to think its inhabitants would feel under threat too.

Under this present reality feelings of fear, insecurity, anger, vulnerability, overwhelm would be normal. To want to run, hide, scream might be justifiable reaction to the present and the feelings it evokes.

But these are difficult feelings which our psyche is determined to protect us from. So when we feel fear, helpless, hopeless we divert. That emotional muscle is unused, weak. So when we ask the muscle to lift the feeling weight the muscle struggles.

There are lots of distractions. Busyness Drugs Alcohol Sex Money Exercise. Keep moving to avoid distract.

So what to do? How do we develop that weak unused muscle? To slow down, to treat yourself as a separate being and get to know that person. What sort of person are they? How did they get here? What happened to them before to where they are today?

When we feel fear for examle – to slow down and turn towards the feeling. At first even for a 10 seconds, 30 seconds, a minute. Feel the pain, panic, fear, overwhelm. Like any skill it takes dedication, time, and practice. But slowly we get used to feeling difficult feelings, so that they overwhelm us less.

Our emotional compass is one of the psyche’s talents to guide us through our lives. A tool to tell us where we are going, and how it is benefitting us. Or not.

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North London Counsellor Blog 2021
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31. Althea Gibson Won

Althea Gibson was the first black tennis player to win Wimbledon in 1957.
Also the first black woman to play on a pro Golf Tour.

Multi talented, powerful with a natural athletic stature she broke race barriers for the first time in majority white sports. Her family were poor and she had to miss school. But she loved sports. She managed with few resources to reach the height of a sport. This route unimaginable today. Towards the end of her career she suffered from poor finances and failing health.

She never considered herself a crusader. Never wanted to be political.

Never heard of her? Again another demonstration as if we needed one of what a culture can see, and cannot see. We are taught to survive by making choices that keep us with the similar and familiar. Anything outside these norms is considered unworthy and alien. It’s how humans survive.

A modern dilemma is how do we increase our capacity to tolerate difference, at the same time acknowledging that we are not built that way.

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North London Counsellor Blog 2021
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30. Incel Culture Anxiety

Incel culture. Young men who feel that women are not interested in them, feel oppressed by women and hate women for it.
The quiet withdrawn boys at school who felt unattractive or unable to make relationships with women. They are in every school cohort.

On a personal level anyone wanting to be in a relationship with another and feels this eludes them is a painful experience with no way out. The situation becomes ingrained. There appears to be no hope.

To be human we all feel like this about parts of ourselves and our lives. Something we keep repeating, which hurts us, but we keep doing it anyway.

But it seems the majority of women act in, and the majority of men act out. Men are external beings. Love hate aggression, pain is usually externalised. Energy thrown out through limb and muscle.

So if a man is not attractive or able to make relationships with women. It is external. It is the fault of women. Not the fault of the man. This creates a scenario where if it the fault of the other, the self need not be examined.
It’s not me it’s you.

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North London Counsellor Blog 2021
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29. Liberal Democracy Not Wanted

A third of populations are not predisposed towards liberal democracy. They want clarity, fewer choices, and less diversity. To feel safe surrounded by people of a similar background. “Liberal democracies have exceeded peoples capacity to tolerate it”.

Stenner makes the point that Authoritarianism is an aversion to complexity and diversity across space. They embrace change to get what they want. While Conservatism is an aversion to change over time. They can be the strongest part of a democracy upholding institutions and systems.

Threats to shared values and authority activate the authoritarian. Loss of confidence in leaders and shared values that bind us together activate the authoritarian. When authority is removed from daily life. When inequality is deep, shared values become impossible to share.

Social democracies have to take into account that this third of people have to feel more safe and secure to maintain social democracy safely.

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North London Counsellor Blog 2021
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28. Gareth on the Couch

Gareth Southgate England football manager, & one of the most successful English managers. He has brought up a young team uniquely gelling them together to create a talented football team.

In Euro 1996 in the semi finals Gareth also missed a penalty at 21yrs old in the shoot outs against Germany. Before social media he received a lot of abuse, and says it still hurts.

A sporting mistake beamed out across the world to millions of fans qualifies as a significant trauma. We all make mistakes especially when young which stay with us throughout our lives. But on a world stage under the glare of millions the pain and shame must be magnified.

The issue with trauma is not the trauma itself but how it is managed and what resources are available to cope with it. How developed are the coping strategies of a 21yr old male sportsman brought up in 1970s UK?

The trauma can never be resolved. But optimistically it can be made friends with, and not carry the trauma energy ready to unconciously associate or pass onto another similar situation.

For example: conciously to relieve the energy you might never want to take another penalty again. Or play for England or play football at all. Not possible to give up the beautiful game?

But unconsciously our traumas hold energy. It burns light and bright out side our seeing or noticing. The passage of time has little impact. We don’t know it. Or feel it – unless encouraged to re-experience the pain of it on the couch.

So when a similar emotional situation appears it is difficult to see how independent the making of the decision is, and what influence the unconscious trauma energy has had on the decision.

So what of Gareth’s decision to put forward young inexperienced players to take penalties in a very stressful situation? Well meaning – he chose the best penalty takers in practice? Or something of the trauma rebalancing – to show how difficult it is for anyone (not just him) to take a penalty in those circumstances? Or something else?
Who knows? Not even Gareth?

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North London Counsellor Blog 2021
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27. Tragedy of Mental Health

When a relative disappears without explanation purgatory follows. Neither alive nor dead as there is no evidence to say what happened.
This is what happened to the O’Keeffe family. Only to find that Dan was never far from home.

Awareness of mental health has increased. But it is still a taboo. And has a way to go before being equal to physical health. Poor mental health if not directly experienced can still puzzle those who do not suffer from it.

To not be able to get out of bed from depression. Or to be so anxious that the relationships cannot be maintained. In extremes the mental health cannot be survived. An end is more preferable. Nobody is to know. Suicide has to be innately private to succeed.

To the majority of the population mental health is periodic and mild. Perhaps triggered by a culmination of events, a perfect storm. People come into therapy in crisis. Not knowing what else to do. Whatever they try to do to alleviate their suffering it doesn’t work. They need support to get over the troubled time.

The issue with crisis is that therapeutically it has to be survived. Out of crisis then the work can begin to find out what path led the person to the crisis. And significantly what coping strategies help or hinder the crisis recovery. Curiosity and courage help to see how we have learnt to survive and if that helps us in our adult lives.

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26. NHS Bill Free for All

The Government is sneaking the NHS Health & Care Bill through before the summer recess. The bad news is that the Bill opens up the NHS to American insurance companies with no scrutiny to bid on private NHS tenders.

The truth is that this has been going on for a while. As you might have noticed. Scans, tests, & physiotherapy are now provided by private companies hired by the NHS. But this Bill puts the whole NHS up for grabs with no scrutiny. It opens it up like a free market full of goodies belonging to the State.

The NHS was established in the UK traumatised by war and death. It was to give the whole population basic healthcare free. The world is now broken up into opportunities for competition and profit. The NHS is swimming in a wet sea of marketing, and capitalist opportunity trying to stay dry. Like the BBC.
In this world voters have to make considerable efforts against the inexorable tide of modern capitalism. Local politics is the exception where voters vote for real issues affecting their lives. Like new train routes, and building in the countryside.
Contact your nearest Tory MP! Sign the Petition Here!

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North London Counsellor Blog 2021
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25. Moments of Race -ism

Black Men supporting children in poverty. Black men making national sporting mistakes. Taking the knee is gesture politics. And now the Tory party is waking up to its own racism? Wearing masks is voluntary and advisable but upto personal responsibility.

Here we are in the age of populism. Personal Responsibility. Do what you like. Where nations expose the underbelly of their prejudices/views repressed during more gentler times. Where politicians exercise their personal preferences on a world stage.

In one way dangerous. In another way exposing what most knew was always there. Like the ruins of a national transference (see previous post) the mist clears to expose the ruins of history, colonisation, & prejudice.

The human brain is wired to be around the familiar and therefore safe. To part of a white population colour is other. It triggers a primitive fear of being dislocated, overwhelmed, a way of life taken away. Global capitalism encourages this overwhelm and easily associates it with colour. Wrongly. With education and awareness and a containment of our own fears the racial melting pot is welcome.

But we all have our prejudices around colour however woke. To feel this is a humbling, disconcerting experience. Many feel like those expressing these views – but are clever enough not to say so.

The system we all live in and profit from is inherently colour biased. One of many biases. As long as we profit from it we can afford to ignore those who do not profit from it. This is the central plank to a post industrial capitalist system.

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North London Counsellor Blog 2021
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24. Live a Free Life

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. – Albert Camus

The way we live is an expression of ourselves. The problem is that it is difficult to see how we can do this if we are unaware of the influences and forces that make us.
How did I get here?

Before our creation our creators had their own values and ideals – With varying degrees of awareness. The act of making a child is essentially narcissistic. It is not about the child. It is about the creators. The creators’ wishes, compensations are conciously and unconsciously projected onto the new human.

So the new human will be to some degree always missed. They are the creation, of others. The creators’ power of expectations win out. The act of living and putting meaning to life is to some extent for the new human to fill in the gaps of their own wishes and desires. This is a challenging task as the creators’ powerful projections blur, twist, and contort what is real to the new human.

Freud recorded this as transference. The human repeating in unawareness the pattern of the creators’ projections. Awareness is a lifting of the mist and seeing the ruins. Always there. But not really seen without the fog of the creators’ wishes and desires for their creation obstructing the scene.

Transference is intent on safety and reproduction. Nothing else. It doesn’t care. It wants you to repeat and attach to the familiar to feel safe. It doesn’t discern the quality of the repetition. It just wants to repeat.

So living your life freely you must crack your own transference code. Even then difficult to live freely from what helped you survive.

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North London Counsellor Blog 2021
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