Tuesday, 13 June 2017

New Zealand suicide rate, Katy Perry, and the importance of teaching empathy in schools and society

I'd been wanting to write a good blog for quite a while on the terrible suicide rate in New Zealand.  I am actually still waiting for more information I have requested in order to make something more formal and more developed to perhaps go into press release format.  However there have just been a few incidents of the last 3 days which made me feel it was very important just to write a something.

In /may 2015 we witnessed the closure of Relationships Aotearoa.  Ann Tolley irresponsibly closed it down and dispersed many highly vulnerable people to other services at the drop of a hat which could have had huge impacts.  The response she made after she'd done it astounded me in how she told Relationships Aotearoa to 'calm down'.  Like the comical thing you are told in the first day of mental health training to never ever say !!!! For anyone who wants to read my blog I did at the time it is here : http://newbeginningstherapy.blogspot.co.nz/2015/05/

Recently I have been in contact with Lifeline and their Executive director Glenda Schnell.  I was informed of the following statistics in New Zealand: In 2013 there were 125 000 calls to Lifeline.  Out of those between 5-6 daily were at risk of suicide.  Now just think about that for a second.  People phoning on a daily basis who may actually kill themselves because they feel so bad about themselves and their life that they can genuinely see no other way out other than to end it all.

In 2016 there were 1840 calls who were at risk of suicide.  Of these 1368 were able to somehow be settled down and have some kind of recovery plan throughout the call.  432 were however at immediate risk meaning that the police had to be called and the caller needed to be kept on the phone often until police actually arrived due to the threat being that serious.

It was a month or so ago I went to Silo outdoor cinema and saw a great while extremely sad documentary on Amy Winehouse.called 'Amy'.  What struck me as a Counsellor was how she was clearly just a vulnerable woman in need of help.  I so wish I could have helped her through some counselling and really truly believe I could.  Seeing her almost made me see her as an actual child.  So lost and vulnerable and killed by fame.  What also really struck me which it documented well was when she was going through her despair how people responded so terribly to her.  Graham Norton who always struck me as cool kind of guy teased her as did numerous people on different shows.  I mean why?  What had she done that was so bad?  Is it because she was a celebrity she just deserved it or maybe wasn't allowed to feel this way.  Anyone has suffering in their lives.

It was then a few days ago when I saw the shocking while not so surprising article on Katy Perry and her recent distress and the kind of responses people had to it.  Please see the well written article below.


In my view it's pretty great that she is being so open so why all the horrible responses?  Wouldn't it be great if unlike Amy Winehouse she could be someone supported and see as going through a good recovery and healing?  A good representation in the public light of someone dealing with their issues responsibly?  I think so.  Some of the sickening responses are: 'This is hilarious, her hair cut is scary'. 'STUPID BITCH', 'She's say anything to get attention'.

Now as a society where we have such a high suicide rate why do we behave like this?  What does it take us to learn our lesson?  As a Therapist I see empathy is truly being the thing that saves and binds us as humans.  Yes there's always a chance someone could be faking it.  For anyone who knows my work my niche is on people recovering from Narcissists and narcissists feed on empathy.  However when we see someone in distress (with the exception of if someone has done us or the world extremely serious wrong) would it not be good to just have a strong enough sense of ourselves and have the empathy to be able to atleast say: 'Hope you get better soon' or if it is a friend of ours to be able to maybe give a bit of friendly support.

Being empathic to those in distress is fundamental to life.  It's so easy too.  There are courses which teach basic Counselling skills I did when I was a volunteer counsellor many years ago.  I think this kind of teaching mixed in schools would be a wonderful asset.  There is a great book called 'Counselliing skills in everyday life' by Kathryn Geldard which is a great read.  I just checked and you can download the pdf here for free https://latonyarobbinsarch.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/counselling-skills-in-everyday-life-by-kathryn-geldard-david-geldard.pdf

I saw a good post yesterday which would discussing the idea of teaching about mental health education in schools.  For me this is a huge yes considering this dilemma we clearly have.  Here is the link so you can click your vote:

As a Counsellor I teach building a compassionate relationship with yourself and then from there to be able to relate well and be compassionate to other people.  We need to be teaching more of this and if we feel a need to behave cruelly really asking ourselves why.  It is cruelty which is pathology is Psychology and studies of Mental Health.  The only thing wrong with Katy Perry and pathological as far as I can see are the pathological responses which attack her human longing for empathy.  The same can be said around the issue of mental health and suicide in New Zealand.

Just to add what actually drove me to write this today was that when I saw a further post today of Katy Perry collapsing on stage a response I saw first on it was 'Who gives a f... about Katy Perry, totally vacuous'.

The point to me seems to just be 'giving a f...' about anyone regardless of who they are.

Here is another blog post I have wrote with a good link on what to do if a friend is suicidal.  Take care


What to do if a friend is suicidal ?

I felt it important to write this post.  It's that ultimate baseline thing.  Your friend is suicidal, or may be.. what do I do? I've looked around online and used my knowledge and wisdom I have of my years of being a therapist so far to give my best ideas I can to support through this hugely important time.  It may be important to act and to do and say the right things.
Remember that you are not a professional.  You are just there to be you and to provide the best counselling skills you can to be able to be the buffer to hopefully ease the person through this phase and to be able to transition them out.  Think of it as potentially being like a learning of emergency CPR which you may learn to perform on someone who needs it until further support arrives.
A huge huge thing that the person needs is validation.  I can't stress this enough. 'Validation' 'validation' 'validation'.  Sometimes in therapy we refer to it as 'the value of being there'.  The very act of this is profound and is going to make a huge different to your friend and what they may do next.  They need you now more than ever. 
Here it is important to make a huge distinction between sympathy and empathy.  This validation which is required means empathy and lots of it.  In my counselling training this was displayed well as being like your friend being in a hole.  Sympathy would be the person talking from above the hole saying things like 'oh its really bad down there' 'poor you'.  Empathy is more being in the hole with the person.  They are maybe literally dying right now for someone to atleast try to understand how they feel and to feel they are not alone and that someone is with them. 
The following website https://www.helpguide.org/articles/suicide-prevention/suicide-prevention-helping-someone-who-is-suicidal.htm is a great resource and I am going to summarise from here the main points about what to do and what not to do. Funnily enough the site on the DO list says be sympathetic which I feel is an error.  Here is a summarised list of what TO DO with the words 'Be sympathetic removed and replaced with 'Be Empatic'.
'Be yourself. Let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone. The right words are often unimportant. If you are concerned, your voice and manner will show it.
Listen. Let the suicidal person unload despair, ventilate anger. No matter how negative the conversation seems, the fact that it exists is a positive sign.
Be Empathic. non-judgmental, patient, calm, accepting. Your friend or family member is doing the right thing by talking about his/her feelings.
Offer hope. Reassure the person that help is available and that the suicidal feelings are temporary. Let the person know that his or her life is important to you.
Take the person seriously. If the person says things like, “I’m so depressed, I can’t go on,” ask the question: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” You are not putting ideas in their head, you are showing that you are concerned, that you take them seriously, and that it’s OK for them to share their pain with you.'
Stick with this list and remember you are only performing CPR and being the buffer for them to get through.  You are the emergency resource similar to the emergency act for someone choking in a restaurant.  You are not the full blown emergency services.  Keep it all as simple as you can.  VALIDATE AND BE THERE.  There is a myth that talking about suicide to them makes suicide more likely.  This is not true.  Supporting the person to talk about their feelings is the key.
Avoid any kind of moving into sympathy and somehow taking out of their frame of reference of seeing the world. Don't start saying things like 'I'd be devastated' or 'It's selfish'.  This is not validating, not empathic and not being there for them.
Do not leave your friend alone during this critical time.  You can call '111' if you feel there is immediate risk of suicide.  You could ask them if they would like you to do this.  Below is a list of numbers which can be offered as support for your friend.  Remember they just want you to be there for them during this time.  It's all about you being this prop and needed support to just get them through.
Lifeline 0800 543 354
Acute care team (ACT) 0800 653 357
A 24 hour helline from Palmeston North to Waikanae
Depression Helpline 0800 111 757
Healthline 0800 111 757.
Samartans 0800 726 666
Suicide Crisis Helpline. 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Helplines for children and young people
Youthline 0800 376 633

Outline NZ (experts on LGBT matters) : 0800 688 5463

Friday, 9 June 2017

Selfish and unselfish becoming one. Personal power and self actualising

I've been reading more of Abraham Maslow recently and the idea of the self actualising individual.  What I found the most resonating was the idea that moving into that kind of lifestyle that selfish and unselfish become somehow the same thing.  The idea that when we are able to build a compassion relationship with ourselves that life fulfillment comes from just being us and doing what we want while at the same time this filtering out to be something that helps others too.  As if to identify with the creative life and being a self actualiser brings us into this wonderful realm.  There is always the fear of being selfish I see often with clients as they work on their self love and also the very primal biological view of just for own survival.  This really resonated with me though and linked with ideas of Integral Practice and the idea of just becoming a more developed person means that selfish and unselfish become the same thing.

I'd recommend any works by Maslow.  I've been reading 'The father reaches of Human Nature'.  Works by Ken Wilber are great too such as Integral Life practice is getting an overall integral life plan for personal growth which naturally resonates outwards to living a more fulfilling life and ultimately being of better service.  Maslow conducted studies of who he termed self actualisers as being driven by peak experiences.  This realm I feel is something that anyone can reach into given the right conditions and is about accepting all parts of ourselves.  The idea of an integral life should be available to anyone and be a path where we can be more whole and leave the world more whole than how we found it as Ken Wilber says.  Notable people in history seen to be self actualised individuals are Albert Einstein and Abraham Lincoln

Note: I am available for skype and phone sessions. Transfers through paypal available for international clients.  Please contact to schedule a session. www.newbeginningstherapy.co.nz

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Highly sensitive person, INFJ, and codependent. The most targetted group for narcissists

If you fit into this category as I have done then you belong to the most targetted group for narcissists.  Your caring nature can be targetted mixed with the likely lack of belonging you have due to the least common archetype.  You are the easiest to be made to look a fool by the narcissist and be the object of their projected shame.

It's important to learn to grow to a healthy state of independence which may require professional support.  If you are a highly senstive person the work of Elaine Aron can be amazingly helpful.  Do a free Myers Briggs personality test online to help you to understand your character type and to embrace it and the innocent you which was underneath all the shame which was never yours to begin with.

By embracing these characteristics we can free ourselves by getting to grips with our own independent ego state.  We can see what has happened to us more clearly and become freer of the past.  We can pay attention to our dreams and often become more intuitive in the process.  We notice that our ego states start to function together like cogs in a machine which generate power and we are able to reclaim our lost selves.  Research into ego state theory and see how our many selves all function together.  Work to build a compassionate relationship with all parts for maximum effectiveness in life.
Note: I am available for skype and phone sessions. Transfers through paypal available for international clients.  Please contact to schedule a session. www.newbeginningstherapy.co.nz

Reflections on narcissism 3

Patterns of past narcissist couple still around.  Thinking she was my friend initially, an ally after my therapy, but not. Plus I was living overseas.  I'd wrongly given him the benefit of the doubt and now they were together and I was overseas.  Lost in my wound without realising.  The drama repeating was everything I felt in my therapy real? It was like being reminded... no... this is who you are... remember? Subordinate, controlled.  Creativity taken away, de-anchored and destabalised.  I could just watch it all play out.  That feeling of being less than again.  I could drift.  Clinging to the hope of change from the aggressors which would never happen.

I'd gone back there because of all that was ignited and started to flow out of me which I see now in my dreams.  It's still there but it couldn't come out.  The drama of frustration of just wanting to be seen and validated and I couldn't give it to myself.  I was unconscious and i didn't know it. Wanting that precious jewel of empathy from the narcissist they deliberately make it that you'll want from them then refuse to give.  This is the narcissist takeover.  Likely to happen when you have been sourced out from the start.  This is what probably happened but I couldn't see it then.  A cruel cycle.  Colonised, owned.

Lucy would set me free again.  I'd ask her over a year later if she remembered me, of course she did, she said.  The one person who I'd felt understood me.  Who'd set me free originally.  Was that all a dream?  She assured me it wasn't.  A journey started of understanding Narcissism and detaching from toxicity then starting again.  Creative powers came out.  I was happier while alone in ways.  No one would understand, it sounded too weird.  I had to make counselling connections.

Seeing all the past before then clearer.  Things had always been messy.  They were smarter than me.  I had been stitched up.  They were cruel though, not enlightened.  Just in that self righteous judgemental narcissism world.  My best interests were never with them.  I was a subordinate stepping stone.  They were wolves in sheeps clothing.  Abuse sugar coated as joking around.

I never thought the wound was so deep but detachment became my biggest thing I'd ever done and my most important.  I became internally free.  Life and dreams took on real meanings.  It wasn't drudgery.  I was raw.  There was so much energy taken up in memories which was so out of control.  Now became the time to start to try to centre it all.  Relationships became more normal and drama free.  There was so far to go but I was on the right path.

I could pragmatically see the way forward and keep taking each day as it came.  My life and my values were not enmeshed anymore.  One way or another I became the centre of my life, in charge and following the path I wanted.  The thing I recently read about of a kind of selfish and unselfish merging together was seeming to fit for me.  Seeing a world of pathology had opened up.  Narcissists and Psychopaths being a thing, rosy glasses taken off and seeing many people's intentions were not good.  Working to go in the direction of what is good.  Starting to dig away.  Doing well in the counselling assignments, cutting off from the past, feeling calmer, dealing with backlash.  Something more decent and integral was happening.

Note: I am available for skype and phone sessions. Transfers through paypal available for international clients.  Please contact to schedule a session. www.newbeginningstherapy.co.nz

Speaking to the wound/Psychosomatic issues

Ask your wound what it needs?  What does it look like to you?  Remember it;s your body.  As your body heals your emotions heal too.  Body, emotions and mind are all linked.  Emotional wounds can manifest in physical forms.  Where is your wound located?  People often say their stomach.  This area is our solar plexus or danitien as they say in Chinese medicine.  A centre for our empowerment.  People often talk about the wound as being like a cyst or some kind of ball of dirt.  Often they have been unaware of it for many years and only now is it coming into consciousness.  It could have been carried around for a long time.

Usually what it needs is lots of love, validation, support, sometimes forgiveness.  That knowing that you did the best you could in the past and that you are only human.  It's important to recognise then let go of those condemning voices.  You may have been trapped in a shamed place where you felt pressured to always be someone you were not causing a build up of toxic shame which was never yours to begin with.

Our body often needs rest at this time.  It's so easy to ignore the wound.  In fact it's habitual because that's our pattern.  We need to work on new habits though.  Give it a form and a voice and allow communication to take place.  Build a compassionate and disciplined relationship with it like you would with a child you love.  Help the pain to dissolve.

Note: I am available for skype and phone sessions. Transfers through paypal available for international clients.  Please contact to schedule a session. www.newbeginningstherapy.co.nz

Reflections and growth through narcissism 2

Continuing a theme of some feelings, reflections and growth through narcissism

Them just going on.  Dominating, controlling, an inability to leave anyone alone.  Running up to someone else to gang up on you if you say something that doesn't fit with their viewpoint.  A total gang mentality.  Completely and utterly normalised as the supposed best way forward.  As if somehow they're the pioneers for the future of humanity when the truth could barely be so different.

As soon as not being totally right is threatened the vampire teeth come out.  Then it's unwinnable.  You're dead ! A forum of zero empathy.  The only way forward is backing out and away at which point you've become the crazy one.  He/she has gone crazy they'll say.  You're left as a shell while a calmer one wondering what was real, if anything.  Even years of having it affirmed you weren't at fault still leaves you doubting.

Shadows and toxic shame as principles to be aware of and work on are non existent.  It's just about winning.  Principles about actualising are ridiculed, but it's their shadow that is saying this which has been repressed into their unconscious.  We're just animals seeking domination.  The worst person wins.  Partly true while totally self contradictory in where they speak from.  Narcissists and Psychopaths do win at the time.

We need to see that and aspire to be the revered person.  To study principles of the creative and self actualisers and know that destructive behaving people only do this from their own sense of shame.  We can work to our place of peace and see the darkness but become an example of light for others to see.
Note: I am available for skype and phone sessions. Transfers through paypal available for international clients.  Please contact to schedule a session. www.newbeginningstherapy.co.nz