Tag Archives: relationships

Learning to be a better parent

We were honoured that Suzie Hayman came to Marlborough last weekend to offer her pearls of wisdom and inspiration to small groups of parents as well as professionals.

Suzie is a parenting expert, Relate-trained counsellor, journalist, broadcaster and author of over 30 educational books about families.  As before, when we heard her speak in October 2016, Suzie was engaging and pragmatic, always offering us helpful comments to our questions without attempting to pretend that parenting is ever easy – and, of course, reminding us that there is no such thing as the perfect parent; only “good-enough”.

We discussed digital technology and step-families in detail in two separate seminars in small groups.  Suzie was keen for us to remember that, when facing any conflict or difficulty within our families, we can ACT:

A = Adult: ask ourselves “what is going on for me right now? Am I tired, stressed, sad, angry, etc?”

C = Child: ask ourselves “what is going on for my child right now” and be like a detective looking at all the variables that may be affecting your child’s emotional life.

T = Toolkit: what is in my toolkit so that I can deal with the situation in a constructive way, rather than REACT.  This may include for example “active listening” such as taking turns to talk and listen to one another.  Or remembering to use “I” statements (avoiding “you” blaming statements).  For example “When you….I feel….because…. What I would like it/What are we going to do about this?”

Following ACT gives us the opportunity to gain insight around the problem, why it’s happening and how to discuss it without reacting from an overly-emotional stance.

Suzie suggested we set family or house rules.  Every household has rules but usually they are not clear or agreed.  A key point here is to have a “Family Round Table” so that all members of the family – including the children even if they are young – can contribute to and “buy in to” the house rules. Appoint a note-taker, take it in turns to talk (perhaps using an object such as a wooden spoon, allowing each person holding the spoon to have their say without interruptions), have the note-taker write down everything.  Then revise these to allow for compromise and simplicity where necessary.

This task felt somewhat daunting to some of us, but Suzie gave us confidence and courage to think about it.  The earlier you start, the easier it will be get!  And children feel good about being heard and respected.

We were delighted with the level of engagement in both seminars.  I would like to thank everyone who attended and for sharing their experiences.  Many of us benefited from knowing we are not the only ones with our particular difficulties!    Thank you also to the White Horse Bookshop which gave a wonderful ambience to our day.

From 14 feedback forms we received the following scores which are fabulous:

Overall assessment of event: 5 out of 5
Speaker (Suzie Hayman):  4.93 out of 5
Helpfulness regarding learning new skills: 4.93 out of 5

Comments from participants:

  • “I’ve learned a lot both from Suzie and other participants and I value the way the group was facilitated to include everyone’s experience.”
  • “Really good to hear others’ views and experiences and having new techniques to try!”
  • “Suzie is great.  More please!”
  • “Very informative and relaxed”
  • “The group size was just right”
  • Thank you. I really enjoyed this and am going away feeling much more confident!”
  • “Good lively group with interesting discussion and feedback”
  • “Excellent, good venue, good size group”

By Wendy Bramham
February 2017

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Sir Richard Bowlby – “a rare and special opportunity” in 2014

Rachel Cooper, psychotherapist at Wendy Bramham Therapy in Newbury, reviews our recent day on attachment theory with Sir Richard Bowlby:

“Hearing Sir Richard speak at the recent Wendy Bramham seminar in Newbury felt a rare and special opportunity to get up close and personal with his father, Sir John Bowlby’s, pioneering work.

Richard highlighted the significance of attachment theory by taking us back to the fright we each felt when we got lost (and separated from our caregiver) as a child, even though we were not in any danger; caused by the terror of separation from an attachment figure. He also reminded us of its ongoing impact on all relationships held as adults and explained how he himself developed a secure attachment as an adult through his relationship with his wife.

Sir Richard Bowlby and Wendy BramhamSir Richard with Wendy Bramham

Richard provided an updated slant with research and views, sparking stimulating debates that ranged from the science of epigenetics to the art of using attachment theory creatively and individually within psychotherapy. Also the despair caused by the lack of influence of attachment theory on politician’s agenda within schooling, versus the hope from a psychotherapist providing a reliable, responsive, helpful and empathic secure base from which clients can begin to explore in a way that has previously been too scary. I loved Richard’s description of a psychotherapist being, “someone to hold our hand while we go into scary places”.

Richard was such an engaging speaker through his warm, humorous and down to earth style. His sharing of personal experiences with his upbringing and own family really brought the theory to life. A really engaging, enlightening and informative event.”

newburytherapy.com/rachel-cooper-therapist-newbury.php

What’s love got to do with it?

Jo Turner, our relationship therapist, writes:

Sometimes we feel the pressure of conforming with all things love related… when we actually feel that our relationship is affecting our well being.

Suppressing feelings and thoughts about our partners can sometimes lead to a slow build up of unresolved and unwanted emotions which can turn into resentment. Why do we feel unfulfilled? What do we want from our significant other? What do we want for ourselves?

Making space and time to talk together in a safe, confidential environment can help us to make sense of our relationship.

The quality of your life, is the quality of your relationships – Anthony Robbins.

Jo Turner
Relationship Therapist

Counselling and psychotherapy in West Berkshire and Wiltshire
PG Dip. Mar. Th. MBACP (Accred.)

Valentine blues

Friday 14th February – Valentine’s Day – can bring up difficult feelings for many of us, whether we are on our own or in a relationship. We place a huge amount of importance on our romantic attachments but they can also bring us a great deal of pain. Therapy is an opportunity to reflect on why we are as we are in relationships, what baggage we are bringing from the past and what we really want and need. Talking therapy can also help couples who are struggling to communicate.