Gavin Beard - EMDR Trauma & Addictions Specialist - Counselling and Psychotherapy in Brighton, Hove and East Sussex
Please scroll to the bottom of this page for information and support as to how best navigate your way through the Coronavirus. I have compiled a self care plan intended for anyone experiencing stress, anxiety or depression during these difficult times. I am also able to offer online therapy. My Living Centred During the Coronavirus tips and skills will help support you through the lockdown period and alleviate worries and concerns you may be experiencing.
I offer Counselling and Psychotherapy predominantly in the city of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex. I also work in Central London and meet with individuals, couples and families as well as providing Clinical Supervision. Over the last 20 years I have worked in Line Management Supervision roles providing support and training on an individual and team basis.
I have specialised in the treatment of Addictions and Codependency and have managed a number of successful Inpatient & Outpatient treatment programmes in several of the UK's most renowned Addiction Treatment Centres. I work with those experiencing alcohol, drug, ChemSex, gambling, food and 'process' addictions such as work, gambling, compulsive spending and love and sex addiction. Through this experience I am able to offer reliable individually tailored Recovery Plans to support those along their journey of recovery.
Counselling and Psychotherapy provide a unique opportunity to address obstacles that are getting in the way of living our lives fully. Sometimes these obstacles or events may be related to external factors such as problems at work or in our relationships. At other times we may be struggling with our own sense of self, purpose or direction in life. It may be that we are beginning to see problems or patterns in our own behaviour that we need to address.
Whatever the situation may be, it takes courage to face up to these issues and this is where therapy can offer some real and lasting change in a non-judgemental and safe setting. Once the need for change has been identified, sometimes we struggle with knowing how to implement these changes and may even fear what life may be like should we commit to the process.
We often experience real feelings of vulnerability and rarely in my experience do we feel fully confident at the point of change. It takes time, patience, support and understanding to establish these new patterns in our lives and become comfortable with the person we aspire to be and are indeed becoming.
Central to the process of transformation is that we feel supported, our needs and feelings acknowledged including the challenges we invariably face with change and that empathy - the human bond that links us all - is present and clearly communicated.
As a trained Counsellor and Psychotherapist I am also fully trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing), a therapy that helps those who have suffered from trauma, PTSD, phobias, panic attacks, depression and anxiety.
This practice also works well for individuals with a history of abuse, neglect, abandonment and addictions. Sometimes these issues coincide with the abuse of alcohol, drugs and other addictive behaviours whilst for others, they may find solace in acts of self harm and self deprivation or issues around food and eating disorders that often results in a breakdown in self esteem and a loss of control over their lives. You can find more information about this on my EMDR page.
I am able to offer online support via Skype and telephone for those unable to attend locally.
In Counselling I am reminded that compassion sits as a constant touchstone and reminder of our humanity and we can learn this in therapy. Through this process we are guided in ways in which we can provide greater compassion for ourselves.
"At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you" - Goethe
Living Centred During Coronavirus - Managing Anxiety, Stress and Depression
These are indeed unprecedented times as we are being asked to stay at home and isolate. Given we are relationship seeking creatures, this can be a difficult strategy to manage. I have provided a number of tips and skills you can use to help ease the pressure of lockdown and enable you to function and live as fully as you can and, dare I say it, perhaps even find new meaning in your life.
Self care is essential to good mental, physical and emotional health. Having a robust and flexible self-care plan will enable you to live life more fully, regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in. To feel more connected to and better attuned to yourself, your needs and your emotions. It will help you retain and build better relationships with others including the world around you. Remember, we develop self esteem by doing esteemable things.
START YOUR DAY WELL...
Maintain daily waking time
It’s all too easy to leave the alarm off, press snooze and have an extra lie in. Before you know it, you’ve slipped out of a good waking routine and it’s harder to pull it back afterwards when we return to our regular lives and routines. Ensure through the week you keep to a reasonable schedule.
If you are prone to tapping the snooze button too often, leave your clock/phone in another room so you have to get out of bed to switch it off! You can relax your waking times at the weekend.
Avoid napping in the day, it’s likely to interfere with your sleep hygiene at night. If you feel you need to rest, find a comfortable chair instead and rest for 20 minutes. You could use this time to practice some resting meditation, journal or engage in a restful activity.
Create a work space
If you’re working from home, designate an area of your house that is your work space. It shouldn’t be your bed, or the sofa, but a place where you’re able to work comfortably and quietly throughout the working day.
A hard surface, a place for your notepad and pens, a comfortable chair. That’s all you need. Take pride in that space and respect it.
Leave this space on your lunch break. Leave it when you’re done with work. Come back to it at working times only. That way you’ll help to keep the boundaries between work and rest by making that boundary physical.
Make time for exercise
If you would usually incorporate exercise into your daily routine, then keep doing it now. And do it for the right reasons. Forget the pressure of maintaining peak muscle mass and fitness and hitting PBs. Now is not the time for additional stress. Just focus on what feels good.
There are plenty of forms of movement you can be taking from the comfort of your own home.
If your body is craving calm, explore virtual yoga sessions on YouTube. Don’t forget, you can still go for a walk or a run outside, but act responsibly. No more than once a day for an hour.
A word on the news
There is a constant stream of news and updates that we now have access to. Whilst it is important to keep up to date, please try to avoid tuning in too much. I have found some of my clients tuning in first thing in the morning and staying connected throughout the day. My suggestion is to limit this time as it tends to heighten anxiety rather than reassure or reduce anxiety symptoms.
To do lists - making use of the opportunities
Now is a time when we seem to have an abundance of time more so than ever. I am aware that nature abhors a vacuum and am encouraging clients to look for the opportunities within the adversities we currently face. And there are many opportunities. Taking time to write a list of tasks that have been placed to one side that can now be brought forward and put into action. It is an exercise often resulting in greater self-esteem and brings about a sense of achievement once accomplished!
Avoid too much alcohol/drugs
The World Health Organisation advise a maximum of 14 units per week. That’s equivalent to around a bottle and a half of wine. Yes really! If you do drink, ensure you have days off in between and avoid drinking alone or on negative emotions.
Many people find alcohol negatively affects their ability to sleep well and may find themselves waking after 2-4 hours sleep. Whilst alcohol has a sedative effect, once the sugar levels drop in the body people often wake up. Remember there’s a lot of sugar in alcohol and consider all those empty calories you’re taking on board!
When in a routine, your body is really good at developing its own clock for things like mealtimes and sleep. Keep respecting this.
Designate time for your meals away from work and at the times you would usually eat. Avoid grazing - allow a reasonable snack between meals if desired. Dedicate your mealtimes for spending quality time with loved ones where possible. Either the ones you currently live with, or on a video call.
At the moment, it’s pretty easy to think about things that you’re disappointed about or frustrated over. What can be difficult, but much more powerful, is remembering the things you are grateful for.
Practising gratitude is a tactic lots of people use in their daily lives to manage anxiety and stress. And we should be doing it now more than ever.
The practice of acknowledging and noting things you feel grateful for is a great way to reframe your perspective and help yourself get into a positive mindset for the day ahead.
This can be as simple as the sunshine or the brilliant cup of tea you had this morning.
Make time for fun
Now is the time to be inventive. There are lots of activities you can get involved with inside that you might never have tried before.
Each night, allocate time to do something that you know you’re going to enjoy. Something away from work, away from the TV, and away from your phone.
Do a virtual quiz. Make candles. Learn a dance routine. Do karaoke. Take a bath. Bake biscuits. Spruce up your garden or plant seeds from the kitchen. Have an indoor picnic. Do a fitness challenge. Practice yoga. Play board games. There’s an endless list, it just requires some imagination.
Bedtime & Sleep Hygiene
Stick to a regular time for bed.
Our bodies and brains need rest and a healthy sleep pattern. We especially need deep sleep or REM sleep. Assign a time to go to bed and prepare for this. Avoid caffeine after 7pm or eating later in the evening. Prepare your bedroom and ensure you have comfortable bedding and sheets. Make bedtime appealing.
Blue light technology robs us of melatonin and disrupts sleep so leave your devices out of the bedroom as much as possible.
Use meditations or try reading a book if you’re struggling to sleep. A great, simple sleep tip for those who struggle to get to sleep is a mantra as follows:
On the in-breath “relax"
On the out-breath “sleep”
Your mind will wander so bring it back to this simple and effective mantra.
Finally, hold onto the thought - this too shall pass.