Maryam's Blog

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19 July 2022

""Five years ago I felt like a failure as a dad""

"Looking back now at his early days as a dad, ...[Marvyn Harrison] wishes he’d had more skin-to-skin contact with his babies, carried them in slings, helped his wife more with the night feeds and talked to them more often about anything – even if it was just what they had for breakfast. “Your voice should be soothing to your child, it should be something that calms them – and so should your smell, your touch. And it all helps you – not just with their connection to you, but with your connection to them.”"
""I want to be with my children. I want to have experiences with them. I want to take them places. They are the most important people in my life.”"
♦ Excerpt from:
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12 July 2022

Early Experiences Are Massively Important

"...If a child has faulty vision during a critical period after birth, he [neurobiologist Colin Blakemore] found, the brain will never develop the ability to see properly, even if eye problems are then fixed. That theme echoes through developmental science. The younger you are, the more it matters what happens to you."
♦ Excerpt from:

12 June 2022

Is There a Difference Between Counselling and Psychotherapy?

This depends on the therapist’s training. Traditionally, the term Counselling referred to relatively short-term therapy (weeks or months), focusing mainly on strengthening a person’s resources and improving their life in their present circumstances. Psychotherapy on the other hand referred to longer term work (months or years) for a deeper focus on the person’s life since childhood, to help them understand themselves and transform their lives for ever.
In reality, Counselling and Psychotherapy are identical in depth and value and many therapists use these terms interchangeably. The differences of focus are more to do with the type of training / modality. Ask your therapist about their training and focus. It helps to know something about the type of therapy you are receiving so you can decide if that is what you want to commit to.
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10 June 2022

Why do we buy it?

"Research findings that are probably wrong [are] cited far more than robust ones, study finds"
"Scientific research findings that are probably wrong gain far more attention than robust results, according to academics who suspect that the bar for publication may be lower for papers with grabbier conclusions."
"Studies in top science, psychology and economics journals that fail to hold up when others repeat them are cited, on average, more than 100 times as often in follow-up papers than work that stands the test of time."
♦  Excerpts from Ian Sample, science editor, The Guardian, 21 May 2021

23 May 2022

Sleep is like shoe size. One size does not fit all

"We are regularly told that the “ideal” night of sleep consists of eight uninterrupted hours. But this belief is wrong in so many ways. Sleep is like shoe size. One size does not fit all, and these kinds of edicts cause confusion and anxiety for many. The truth is that how long we sleep, our preferred sleep times and how many times we wake during the night vary both between people and in the same person as they get older."
"Recently, people have been turning to apps to monitor – or perhaps police – their sleep. But these are too often sources of misinformation."
"Eight hours a day is a myth. Embracing our individual sleeping patterns could be the key to a better night’s rest."
♦ Excerpts (22 May 2022) from

20 May 2022

2022 UK Public Perceptions Survey: talk to a counsellor or psychotherapist

"Almost nine in ten people (88%) agree it's important therapy should be accessible to everyone who wants it, and 85% agree it’s a good idea to seek counselling or psychotherapy for a problem before it gets out of hand.
65% of people agree it’s better for people to talk to someone about their problems rather than take medication, and 74% agree people might be happier if they talked to a counsellor or psychotherapist about their problems."
"All figures... are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 5136 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th - 23rd February 2022.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 16+)."
♦ Excerpts from


6 May 2022
"Samaritans says the Covid pandemic has led to more people calling its helpline about loneliness and isolation.
It is an issue affecting all ages.
Nearly a third of all callers contacting the charity during the pandemic mentioned it. Prior to that, it was about a quarter."
♦ Excerpt from: - posted 5 May
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British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy shocked that Conversion Therapy ban in UK is discriminatory

24 April 2022
"A ban that only addresses conversion therapy for sexuality and not gender identity is inadequate."
"Sexual orientations and gender identities are not mental health disorders. Anyone accessing therapy should be able to do so without fear of judgement or the threat of being pressured to change a fundamental aspect of who they are."
♦  Excerpts from
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Trauma is a part of our human existence.

Here are some (often overlapping) types:
A single event trauma is when the brain is having trouble processing a threat.
A multiple event trauma (complex trauma) is when a number of such events are involved.
Developmental trauma is when we experience events over a period of time in the context of significant relationships. The more embedded they are in our childhood, the deeper is the impact.
Secondary or vicarious trauma is when we are exposed to and triggered by someone else’s experience.
Are any of these familiar?
Psychotherapy helps you to gently reconnect with the free and strong person that you are under the weight of trauma, and you can begin to slowly process the unprocessed.

UK Mental health unit patients and specialists speak out

“…Keir Harding, founder of Beam Consultancy, says such environments ‘recreate a lot of the trauma [patients] have lived through’.”
Emma from Derbyshire, an inpatient for 3 months in 2020 says: ”I know how close I was to not making it through. Now I channel that energy into trying to fight for other people."
“The Department of Health and Social Care said it was ‘rolling out integrated community mental health teams which will give 370,000 people with severe mental illness greater choice over their care’.”
♦ Excerpts from BBC File on 4 and UK Insight. By Adam Eley and Emma Forde
“Calls to male sexual abuse helpline doubled in 2021.”
Alex Feis-Bryce, Survivors UK: “We need to be teaching young people about consent and their responsibilities when it comes to sex, and to remove shame from sex, because that perpetuates silence.”  
♦  Excerpts from Rachel Stonehouse, BBC Newsbeat Report, 10 January 2022

Anxiety: the 'fight, flight or freeze' responses

Like other animals, we have evolved to protect ourselves from perceived danger.
When our brain detects a threat, our body reacts by releasing useful hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones make us want to fight off danger or run away or numb out. These are automatic and uncontrollable physical responses.
'Fight, flight' responses are more commonly known, but what about 'freeze'? When our brain thinks it can do absolutely nothing to ward off danger, we go blank, or experience a kind of paralysis, or numbness. Click here for an excellent article about 'freeze'.


Our survival instinct compels us to suppress the emotions that we think are a threat.
Recognising and expressing emotions safely, helps us own, understand and process them.
Express them by telling someone, imagining, making, drawing, painting, dancing, walking, running, punching (safely), digging, writing, listening to music, talking to yourself out loud, making noise, singing, playing, etc. Then... think through the impact of those emotions on you and what you're going to do with them.
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National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

November 2021: Qualitative evidence gathered by Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists offered 5 studies that showed "people with depression expressed strong beliefs about the potential benefits of talking therapies, either alone or in combination with antidepressants. The opportunity to gain insight and understanding, and to talk to a professional who is not part of their life, were particularly valued."
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Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 50

Ruth Sutherland, CEO of Samaritans wrote:
(1 Aug 2018) "Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 50. You can quote the statistics about suicide, but it is hard to convey the devastation with just numbers. A suicide is like a rock thrown into the water with the ripples spreading outwards, covering family, friends, soaking work colleagues, acquaintances, the wider community."
♦  Excerpt from
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