There comes a point when you have to take stock and say, “Things are bad.”
The beginning of the economic downturn saw a tedious increase in ‘experts’ telling us that positivity would make everything better. Thinking about what is good rather than bad and focusing on the good stuff really can build new neural pathways and change your attitude for the better. But it won't help if you want to walk across the road with your eyes shut.
Very quickly the suggestion that positivity can be helpful has turned into a demand. We live in a country where therapists are working with the DWP to make unemployed people go back to paid employment and where paid employment is suddenly perceived as a ‘positive health outcome.’ If you think that’s wonderful then you don’t care about evidence.
It is unethical, counterproductive and has no basis in fact. It speaks volumes about the desperation that many therapists are feeling.
Because you’re reading this it’s probable that you’re all too aware that things have been falling apart for some time. Many businesses can’t afford the materials and staff they need and so existing staff are working at the edges of their ability and capacity. Public services - the services we all use when we travel, get ill, expect an educated population or want our elderly relatives to have some kind of dignity – have been amputated. Things are falling apart. The most vulnerable amongst us have been telling us this for years. And now ordinary people who are not vulnerable are feeling it.
Cognitive dissonance is
“the mental stress experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values; when performing an action that contradicts existing beliefs, ideas, or values; or when confronted with new information that contradicts existing beliefs, ideas, and values.”
We all experience it from time to time but many of us are finding a home in this unbearable environment.
Demands for positivity have become authoritarian, insisting that we cut a smile into our face and do little dances of joy to demonstrate team spirit or something. Anyone saying, “My life is hard” is a shirker. Anyone suggesting that motivational speeches don’t put food on the table is dismissed as unenthusiastic. People who want to care for a sick child are told that they must ‘arrange alternative childcare.’
How do you discern whether positivity indicates confidence or stupidity? Intelligence, good business strategy and the ability to avoid danger involves knowing when to cut our losses. The alternative is to continue staring at the sun, borrow unsustainable amounts of money, time and good will and crash disastrously.
Things are bad for most of us right now and, as adults, we need to look at facts rather than allow our prejudices and desires to rule us. Sterling is falling and the trend is downward. A 60-hour week is no longer unusual. (If you don’t work a 60 hour week that’s a good thing not an indication that you’re lazy.) Anxiety is twice as prevalent as depression. Our children are becoming more and more distressed.
If you’ve read my blog for a while you know I don’t like inspirational quotes and the pretence that everything will improve if we all just pull together and think happy thoughts. Now I’m saying that if you’re an ordinary person and you’re not feeling a bit crap that it’s likely that you’re ignoring something.
Last weekend I went to a workshop run by Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton, author, researcher, therapist and Chartered Counselling Psychologist. During the day Prof Cooper told us about his schedule which, apart from university work, included extra academic research, preparing and running workshops and conferences, an arduous commute, family life, physical exercise and writing 2,000 words a day.
The workshop was an introduction to Existential counselling, a form of counselling that I trained in and use a great deal in my own work, and which I see interpreted in ways that I find increasingly concerning. Therapists, not just those actually trained in existentialism, often quote Viktor Frankl the founder of a form of existential analysis, as a way of saying 'Pull yourself together' something I've written about often, especially here.
Strangely, absolutely no one is saying that one must be immersed in rabbinical and Talmudic texts, as Frankl (and so many other therapists) was or that one must establish a kind of monomania about ones spouse, which Frankl did, an obsession he credited for keeping him alive. His work is only used as a way to tell people they're not good enough.
It's always been very popular to tell people they're not good enough and to pull themselves together. When we do it we place ourselves directly opposite losers, people who can't (or more likely, the lazy pigs, just won't) get their act together. The contrast makes us feel successful and positive, consistent, resilient, focused, leaning in - whatever other buzzwords are being thrown around today.
And so my invitation to you is to just get a grip and reproduce Mick Coopers' schedule. He has children so that's no excuse for you not to. Prepare and educate yourself, reject chaos, double down, strive for excellence. Get on with it. What are you waiting for? Why are you procrastinating? What the hell is wrong with you?
I don't know Prof Cooper but I can tell you two things about him:
And whilst energy can be cultivated there is only so much that a person can do. Mick Cooper can do all these things and you can't. I can't. Most people can't. Which is the single best reason why you and I and the huge majority of people aren't a professor and the author of 10 books.
There are some people who are consistently incredibly productive, often for decades. They get cancer and they work through it and fight it and beat it. Their child dies and they produce their magnum opus. They're exiled for 14 years and return to become the leader of a nation and Time's Man of the Year. Good for them.
So because they can do it, people who die from cancer are losers? Selfish, too, for not fighting hard enough and burdening their families? Bereaved parents who can't move on from this catastrophe, they're just workshy or weakminded? I know a number of people who are disabled and who run successful businesses - other disabled people have no excuse? Viktor Frankl survived concentration camps so all those lazy arses who died have only themselves to blame?
All of my clients are, by anyone's standards, very successful. When they feel that they're not doing as well as they have done in the past ask for help. And the ones who excel?
They're competitive but not vicious or scared. They work to their strengths whilst valuing and respecting aspects of their personality that aren't geared towards making money. They know that status within their employment is just another facet of personal success because they know endless numbers of peers who are rich and exhausted, cynical, addicted, burning out, psychopathic and phoney.
Ultimately, they are concerned with what is meaningful for them and don't try to be what they're not. Frankl, like the other Existentialists, understood that meaning gives flavour and satisfaction to life. Here's one of his quotes that is plundered much less often:
“Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success,
like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal
dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself.
Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.
I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge.
Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had
forgotten to think about it”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
Just by being themselves they're being (not doing) what the Harvard Business Review recognises as resilient. Not fighting anything. Not surviving a terrorist attack. They're taking the time to discover what is important for them and doing just that.
Hungary has come into wider European awareness for all the wrong reasons. Spending £73 million (yes, £73 million) on a 400 meter razor wire fence and anti-refugee propaganda; detaining thousands of refugees; putting them on trains; transporting them in the opposite direction from their destinations; writing numbers onto their skin; using tear gas on refugees in detention centres; splitting families up as they’re redistributed to other detention centres; directing the police to get rid of reporters . . . if Europe had begun to forget the ‘processing’ of vulnerable groups during the Second World War we were sharply reminded this week.
Hungary’s PM, Viktor Orban won the Economist’s ‘Politics of the Gutter Award” in 2007. He combines right-wing austerity and market liberalisation with Communist authoritarianism and it plays well to people who like A Strong Leader ™ more than they like a competent leader. Orban has developed his party’s relationship to the far right anti-EU party, Jobbik, the party that proposed that razor wire fence.
8 or so years ago we wouldn’t have known about all this unless we had a particular interest in Hungary, but social media has brought the rise of fascist groups, from Greece, France, Eastern Europe, Germany, Spain and elsewhere, into our homes. Most of us have ignored it, just as we clicked past the pictures of drowned children that have been brought to us for the last 18 months. But finally, the picture of three year old Aylan reached a newspaper which meant it reached everyone who went into a newsagents, whether they had a computer or not. And, in a bitter stroke of luck, Aylan’s very public death coincided with sinister events in Hungary.
When ill-will remains unchallenged, as the West has ignored Hungary for decades, it become normalised. It becomes possible to resurrect our darkest instincts and begin hunting Roma and Gay people again, to smash the windows of Jewish businesses. Here in the UK it becomes possible for us to say things to friends and colleagues and strangers at bus stops that we wouldn’t have dreamed of saying out loud 6 months ago.
Pub Geniuses say, "You've got to ask yourself, why are all these people coming over here rather than popping over to Saudi?" and they have their crowd of supporters who add totally bogus, hate-based information about free homes and benefits. Because parents put their children in leaky boats and make them walk 3,000 miles across Europe for a grotty hostel and no recourse to public funds. We say things about Muslims with impunity whilst ignoring the fact that the Far Right have murdered many more people in the UK and are a genuine and enduring terrorist threat.
When images of people being gassed and transported and processed reached Europe, Hungary suddenly changed its tune. They released the refugees, suddenly not needing all those trains and processing camps and people in uniform. A few hours later, Hungary compassionately supplied some coaches to drive the refugees the remaining few miles to the boarder. At the boarder, Austrians with blankets, food, open hearts and open minds met these determined, brave, enterprising, desperate people and welcomed them.
Germany is where most refugees want to go and they’ve opened their boarders, because they know all too well what happens when people dehumanise other human beings. The Orban government has humiliated itself, belatedly realising that, like the Pub Genius, whilst it can whip up a storm with its supporters the rest of the world can see what it’s doing. In a purely political sense it has inadvertently handed a lot of power to ordinary Hungarian citizens who have been disgusted by their governments behaviour.
And in politics as in life, power is everything.
I am entranced by this video
The song is about the singers relationship with her father, but it elegantly describes some of the processes that some people – by no means a particularly damaged or miniscule proportion – go through in order to discover more about their problems.
Michael * came to therapy with acute symptoms of stress. His workplace was stultifying, his boss out of his depth and another member of the team was a bully. The workload was too heavy for everyone and Michael had become the earthing rod for the offices collective unhappiness. We worked together to identify the shock and shame of being stressed, addressed the office dynamics and considered why Michael might have become a scapegoat. Michael felt much better prepared to deal with the complexities of his toxic work environment and decided to remain in therapy to explore the other matters that had begun to unfold during our time together.
Most of us have lost the innate power of our imaginations by our mid teens. Our heads are stuffed with factoids that will help us become hard working taxpayers and tremendous machine parts. You don’t have to write poetry or wear a rainbow jumper to be something other than a component: part of being a whole human being is about knowing what you feel and why you feel it, and therapy is a good way of kick-starting that process.
Michael found it straightforward to remember his past but realised that he couldn’t recall how he felt about events. His memory had become almost entirely cognitive. I wondered what his younger self looked like and we began thinking about Michael as a child of around 9 – how did he dress, what did he eat, did he have a nickname, what he liked and disliked, and so on. In a short period of time this younger Michael regained his own voice and began speaking with older Michael reminding him how he felt in some detail.
Like most people who come to therapy there was nothing poisonous or horrific in Michael's past. Part of growing up is, as well has having good times, experiencing disappointments, shocks, fears, loss, unhappiness, the usual stuff of an ordinary childhood and dealing with them. For all of us there are events that stand out usually because the adults around us behaved in ways that were unhelpful.
In therapy this work is never about blame. Circumstances make people behave in certain ways, no one is perfect, and it’s useful just to consider how things happened so that we, as adults, can make better sense of them.
Remembering the difficult feelings – betrayal, abandonment, shock, bereavement, resentment, terror – can be much more difficult and so we tend to say, “Well, that happened, it’s over. Let’s move on.” In fact, those feelings remain, unacknowledged and hidden away.
But they’re alive. And if we ignore them they begin to run us.
I'll be writing more on this subject in my next post.
A woman caught me as I stumbled on the bus yesterday. I sat next to her and she said, “We’ve all got to be kind to each other now,” and something extraordinary happened between us.
I held her hands. If you don’t live in London you may not know how utterly bizarre it is to hold a strangers hand on a bus. It’s unusual to make eye contact! But this woman was radiating something powerful that compelled me to take hold of her hands.
“What did you vote?” she asked. I’m old enough to remember when it was considered incredibly rude to ask how a person voted, but I answered her anyway.
“I voted UKIP,” she said and turned to look me straight in the eye. All I could think of to say was, “Why did you do that?”
“My next door neighbours are on benefits and they work cash in hand,” she said, clearly wanting my response. It’s not the most insightful or professional thing I’ve ever said but what came out was,
“Don’t you think that’s wrong?” she asked, and I said that they probably had very good reasons for taking the terrible risk of being caught. “But they’re from Iran or Iraq or somewhere, and I’ve had cancer and I work. Don’t you care that they’re on benefits?”
I told her I couldn’t care less and asked her where she came from - English wasn’t her first language. She said her mother and father were from different nations and that she was from yet another. “My boys tell me the same,” she said, “They say that what my neighbours do is none of my business.” We looked at each other, holding hands very tightly, and then she got off the bus.
I was dumbfounded. The whole interaction had taken about 3 minutes.
It would be foolish to extrapolate an entire theory from that short connection, but isn’t there something about her anxiety, her desperate need to understand, that’s reflected in the national response to the election? She won’t be the only person to have voted against her own interests – a non-White, not-affluent woman who has had cancer – because her need to punish, to punch down, to harm people who are more vulnerable than she is, is greater than self preservation.
An accumulation of other stresses would have preceded this outpouring and perhaps the election was the final straw. I have no idea. But it seems to me that the single most important thing that this woman said, that goes beyond politics and ideology, beyond feeling gleeful or shocked or devastated at the outcome of this election, is the very first thing she did and the very first thing she said to me:
She caught me when I stumbled.
She said, “We’ve all got to be kind to each other now.”
I had to stagger in to work today, feeling like hell and dosed up on Lemsip. If you’re self employed, as I am, you’ll be aware of the pressure to choose between staying in bed and paying some bills, and today I just had to get on with it.
That said, I was also able to come home two hours later and sleep, then continue to do a little bit of work from the comfort of my sofa. That’s a blessing. For the previous two days I’ve done nothing at all even though there’s a never ending ‘must do’ list. There always is. A few days away from it won’t kill anyone.
One of the questions I ask most of my clients is, “What’s the worst that will happen if you don’t go in to work?” Their response is usually to smile, look sheepish and say something along the lines of “Nothing much.” The pressure to keep attending work is astonishing. Just having your body in the office seems to be the single most important aspect of employment, rather than any work you might do. One of my clients* left his employer after a review where he was told his work was, ‘Exceptional, we can’t fault it,’ but he mustn’t listen to the radio on headphones. Why? Because his employers need for control was poisonous.
For this client, after finally realising that he was being bullied every day handing in his notice a couple of days later was the right thing to do. He had the backing of his family and enough savings to see him through 6 weeks of job seeking. For him, it was worth visiting his GP to get signed off, taking a week or so to rest and recover from an absurd work environment, and then get on with finding a new job.
The ideal way of dealing with a job you hate is to find a new one while letting your current employer pay your wage. What makes that difficult for many people is that they won’t admit that their employer is toxic. We tend to bitch and moan about work without doing anything about it, whether that’s looking for new employment or talking to a Union, and wait until something so preposterous happens that things begin to spiral out of control. I’ve had a number of clients who’ve denied anything was wrong until they’ve been assaulted at work. Denial is not just a river in Africa.
*Identifying details have been changed.
“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows, by itself.”
― Matsuo Bashō
The cherry blossom is at its absolute peak. For centuries, Japanese people have made a special event of hanami, of going to view the blossom and contemplate their ephemeral beauty.
I invite you to take the time to stand - better still, sit - under a cherry tree and just observe this ravishing event. Not for an embarrassed 5 seconds but a luxurious 10 minutes or more, allowing your mind to wander all over this sensuous and pleasing tree as bees, grateful for nectar, browse all over the flowers. Listen: can you hear their wings? Smell the fresh, clean perfume of the flowers. Feel the polished bark and know that a gigantic industrial process is occurring under your hand, sap rising, nutrients moving from root and leaf to stamen and stigma, anther and ovule.
This happens without anyone demanding a unique 9 character password or the permission of a funder or a position statement. It does not require a level 5 qualification or a DBS certificate and you will not receive a CPD certificate after fulfilling this experiential practice. All that you will gain is the reminder that you are a human being, whether you're professional, high status and lavishly remunerated or unqualified in anything and on the dole. You can both experience this extraordinary event as equals.
The point is, make the time.
Mindful In May begins in 7 days. Register now, and catch up on the very positive effects of being still for 10 minutes a day.
Back in July ’14 I wrote about compulsory therapy for people with mental illness on benefits. This policy idea was not based on any research – which demonstrates that making people go to counselling is counterproductive – it was a kite-flying exercise to test public opinion: just how much cruelty are we prepared to accept?
Something similar was floated last month this time seeing if the public will accept enforced major surgery. Just like the compulsory therapy business forcing obese people to have surgery perversely ignores all the research:
“ . . . any mandated program should have a strong evidence base for success. Unfortunately, diet and lifestyle interventions have restricted, often transient, benefits due to biological adaptations, that act to sustain high bodyweight. It is therefore important to ask whether requiring people to participate in weight-loss programmes, despite a high likelihood of failure, is acceptable from the point of view of an individual, provider, or society. Although there is some success with pharmacological treatments for obesity, the only treatment for obesity that has been proven to be successful for substantial long-term weight loss and improved quality of life in a high proportion of people is bariatric surgery."
"It is not fair to ask hardworking taxpayers to fund the benefits of people who refuse to accept the support and treatment that could help them get back to a life of work." This is the standard announcement to persuade people who pay tax (and many who don't earn enough to pay tax) to agree with policies that provably worsen medical problems.
We all know people who pay tax and don’t work hard. Sometimes it’s us. Whenever I hear “Hard Working Tax Payer” I hear the Shadow echo, “Idiot” because that’s how this term is in fact being used.
At the end of Downfall, a dramatisation of the last days of Hitler’s life, a boy is shown returning home to find his mother lynched by the Greifkommando. This paramilitary group murdered ‘cowards and traitors’ – old men, children, women – to create a climate of terrified compliance. In the film a civilian in a typically Bavarian hat is part of the Greifkommando: he’s not a soldier, he won’t be court martialed or shot if he doesn’t murder people, he’s just along for the pleasure of instilling terror and, if he gets the chance, killing people weaker than himself. He uses his righteous love of country as justification.
Some of us succumb easier than others to this psychopathy. We can’t deal with complexity. Immigrants are bad: it used to be that immigrant simply meant non-white but now we’ve broadened the term to include people from Eastern Europe. People on benefits have always been sneered at but now the disabled are also Scroungers. We can’t cope with the fact that the highest proportion of benefits - 47% - go to pensioners so we ignore that. We’re comfortable with Them and Us where They are something to be despised and therefore so much easier to devastate.
This is simply human nature. Germans didn't suddenly go bonkers in 1938, any more than Rwandans, American settlers (AKA the British) Cambodians, former Yugoslavians, Turks or any other group of people who lost their sense of humanity. Part of all of us, myself included, loves to hate. Our job is to resist that, to retain our empathy and intellect. Because apart from anything else it might be you who is cut from the herd next.
Once again, our attitudes are being assessed to see just how far down that road Hard Working Tax Payers have gone. Are you happy to force someone to have major surgery?
Part of my training as a nurse was to spend time on a mental health ward so in 1983 I was sent to what was genuinely a bin. One of the women there had arrived as a child when the building had been a Work House. There was an elderly man with Alzheimer's, a 16-year-old young woman with alcohol problems, several young people with learning difficulties and about 20 other people with diagnoses that I knew nothing about.
Young doctors practiced electro-convulsive ‘therapy’ on the elderly woman. Every couple of days the elderly man was dragged naked and shouting through the ward and made to stand in a bowl by his bed where water was poured endlessly over him as he became increasingly distraught. The 16 year old young woman was sedated every time she challenged the staff on the basis of what she was actually feeling, which was often. In retrospect she was being punished because the staff felt threatened by her obviously splendid intellect. One of the young women with a learning difficulty was offered voluntary work at London Zoo but the staff laughed at her, saying that the idea was as stupid as she was and they prevented her going. All the women were sexually assaulted by some staff and some patients.
Aged 18 and stuffed with the high moral ideals of my nursing school I imagined that this was an urgent problem. It was only because I was a gobby teenager who didn’t know better that anything got done: none of the managers and just one of the (very senior) teaching staff took me seriously. The school of nursing protected me and two members of staff were sacrificed. Nothing changed. I kept banging on about it until one of my teachers said, “What do you want? Blood?” I was flabbergasted that the alternative to dealing with grotesque abuse was perceived to be killing someone and at that point began to learn to shut up.
News that staff knew about Jimmy Savile’s abuse of patients shouldn’t come as a surprise. We know that people - often very senior, generously paid people - find it easier to punish less senior people than to take whistle-blowers seriously. We know that whistle-blowers are treated with absolute contempt and ill treatment, not just by managers but also sometimes by relatives of abusers.
DBS checks are a waste of time and a horrific waste of money. What actually protects vulnerable people is a culture, not of suspicion but of openness and transparency where every person from the most senior manager to the youngest student are expected to speak out about what they see. That culture is supported by a policy that has to be followed if someone alleges abuse: it's a statement on the poverty of where we are now, that a policy has to drive people towards transparency.
I wasn’t the only student nurse on that ward but when I spoke to my peers about what we were seeing I was told that we were only there for 6 weeks, that it wasn’t that bad, that the staff knew what they were doing, that they didn’t want to risk a good review, that they were frightened. Just a kind of non-specific, generalised fear. As if the sky might fall on their head.
Every sphere of employment is full of bullies. Often, those bullies are out of their depth and anxious because they’ve been promoted on the basis of ticking some boxes in a selection process rather than because they are actually suited to their role. How many of us would admit that, turn down the big wage and move somewhere where we might be happier? But that’s their business. What is our business – your business too – is to ensure that we safeguard people who are weaker than we are. It’s not just in healthcare; it’s in offices where you have the power to make someone’s life worse.
The energy that you will have to use to protect yourself from knowing that you have made someone live without heating, without a home, without dignity will exhaust you. The people around you need to tell you that you’re doing the right thing because they’re doing it too. If this kind of behaviour makes you feel uncomfortable, take note. Leave if you can’t change the culture. If it makes you feel powerful, if you’re just following orders, you really do need support to stop.
Psychiatry has often been used as a tool of state control. People who have been inconvenient or low status or cost too much to care for have been brutalised for centuries, so last weeks 'kite flying' announcement that people who are unemployed and mentally ill may be forced to attend some kind of therapy or have their benefits stopped has precedent.
Throwing an idea out without a formed policy behind it is called 'kite flying' because the people proposing it want to see how such an idea might fly. Will we rejoice that unemployed people are being further required to perform more hoop jumping or will we boggle at what a ludicrous bit of nonsense this is?
Ethically, it's a non-starter. When we begin compelling adults to have medical procedures we enter the world of ethical committees and High Courts: particularly because psychiatry has been used to abuse people compulsion in it is treated with enormous caution. This is not to say that it doesn't occur but when it's used it's almost always in a situation that is considered life threatening. People who are not sectioned but who are so depressed or anxious that they cannot work are not a threat to themselves or others.
We have evidence of what happens when we put a government agency - ATOS - between a patient and their GP. The suicide rate increases and the financial cost of appeals outweighs any savings made. The emotional cost to patients and their families is often catastrophic. There's no reason to believe this new scheme will be any different.
Therapeutically, counsellors know that a person who has been sent to therapy by a spouse, employer or parent is unlikely to do well. Therapy should never be a punishment or way of controlling someone, it has to be freely chosen. Yes, offenders are often compelled to attend therapy and what happens is that a majority learn the language of contrition rather than positively learning much about their motivations and their effect on victims.
So we know that compelled therapy is ineffective. We can also add that if this dreadful idea was ever to be implemented it would be limited to six or so sessions, which is barely enough for someone who is mildly unhappy let alone someone with a mental health diagnosis. The waiting list - already enormous for NHS and most agency therapy - would make it unmanageable and we can guess that, just as with CBT, many of the people trained for this project would not actually be therapists at all, but technicians on a budget and under pressure.
So what might the purpose of this dreadful scheme be? Would people compelled to have therapy be removed from the official numbers of the unemployed? This is what happens to people who are compelled to join other unemployment schemes so that the numbers of unemployed and particularly long term unemployed fall, on paper. If ministers wanted to help people with mental illness back to work they need to give appropriate funding to existing mental health services and reopen the services that closed because of reduced funding.
But we live in a period of time when it's not quite acceptable to throw stones at the mentally ill, yet we are encouraged to pour scorn on them if they are also unemployed. If the public mood likes the idea of punishing people who are so profoundly unwell that they have resigned themselves to living on around £100 a week then this will no doubt happen. At the very best, it will offer therapy to people who have not been able to access it. At worst it will offer dreadful non-therapy from ill-trained, ill-motivated non-therapists.
This idea slunk off in shame in 2009: there's no good reason why, 5 years later, it shouldn't slink off to die.
All Abandonment Abuse Ancestors Anger Anxiety Ash Wednesday Attitude Banking Bereavement Birthday Bravery Breivik Bystander Effect Camila Batmanghelidjh Carnival Cbt Challenger Charlotte Bevan Childbirth Childhood Children Christmas Coaching Compassion Contemplation Control Counselling Culture Dalai Lama Death Death Cafe Democracy Denial Depression Domestic Violence Dying Eap Earth Day Empathy Employment Eric Klinenberg Ethics Exams Existential Failure Family Annihilation Founders Syndrome Francis Report Gay Cure Genocide George Lyward Goldman Sachs Good Death Greg Smith Grief Grieving Grooming Groupthink Happiness Hate Hungary Illness Interconnectedness Jason Mihalko Jubilee Kids Company Kitty Genovese Life Light Living Loneliness Love Mandatory Reporting Meaning Men Mental Health Mid Staffs Mindfulness Money Mothers New Year Nigella Lawson Optimism Organisational Collapse Oxford Abuse Panama Papers Panic Panic Attacks Parenthood Petruska Clarkson Pleasure Politics Positivity Post Natal Depression Power Priorities Priority Productivity Psychotherapy Ptsd Red Tent Reflection Rena Resilience Riots Rites Of Passage Ritual Robin Williams Sad Sales Savile Scared Seasonal Affective Disorder Self Care Self Preservation Self-preservation Shock Sin Singletons Sport Spring Status St David St Georges Day Stress Suarez Suicide Support Talking Terry Pratchett Time Transition Trauma True Self Truth Understanding Unemployment Valentines Day Viktor Frankl Violence Whistleblowing Who Am I Winter Blues Women Work