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- Merry Christmas and Happy 2024!
On behalf of all the team at the Craigie Partnership, we wish all our clients past, present and future a very happy Christmas and best wishes for 2024. As the sun sets on 2023 we thought we would share some of the kind words clients have given in testimonials this year. As practitioners who devote our lives to helping and affirming others, it is a real boost when we receive such words of affirmation. Thank you! What did you find particularly helpful about sessions? "Too much to describe! I attribute my greater ability to fathom a path through the farrago of corporate, domestic and familial pressures singularly to Sheila. Her patience, intelligence, empathy and inspiration make her very rare and very talented." "Being able to speak freely about my situation with no fear of judgement." "Helped me to deal with a very difficult period of depression and anxiety." "I found it helpful that the sessions were so flexible. When I needed to talk about developing situations in my life, I was given the space to talk and received helpful guidance. Whilst David also managed to keep focus on the goals and issues I presented in the first session. David made sure to give me techniques I could take into my daily life from the very beginning. I particularly enjoyed the mind map activity, which allowed me to continuously consider all aspects of my life throughout our sessions. Sessions were professional, yet friendly and informal. I looked forward to them every week." "I always felt like I was really being listened to, and Jenny would make sure that our sessions gave me exactly what I needed." A big thank you to everyone who took the time to write these testimonials. We wish all our readers a joyful and peaceful Christmas and may 2024 bring new adventures, fresh perspectives, renewed hope, and good health in all its forms.
We pride ourselves on building trusting and professional relationships with our clients, be they large organisations or self-funding individuals. Owing to the nature of private practice and client confidentiality, it can be difficult to provide testimonials. However, we are delighted that the following clients have agreed to share their views about our service. Names have been modified to protect anonymity. Alistair combined Psychological Therapy with Career Counselling: "I found it helpful that the sessions were so flexible. When I needed to talk about developing situations in my life, I was given the space to talk and received helpful guidance. Whilst David also managed to keep focus on the goals and issues I presented in the first session. David made sure to give me techniques I could take into my daily life from the very beginning. I particularly enjoyed the mind map activity, which allowed me to continuously consider all aspects of my life throughout our sessions. Sessions were professional, yet friendly and informal. I looked forward to them every week." Kieran came for Anxiety and Stress Management "Natural, professional and about me. There was no rush and time to explore my thinking and reflections which was such a powerful tool for me. Couldn't tell you how often I had "light bulb" moments. It was very interesting because we started out on actions to tackle my anxieties head on and soon moved to in depth conversations about me and why I felt the way I did. We tackled my life rules and challenged where it all came from and where it was going. For me, our discussions and what we recorded were so positive. This was not an overnight success story and needed a lot of work from both of us, but so worth it." Annabelle came for Career Coaching: "David provided a safe space to talk and was a compassionate listener. He offered helpful advice and strategies that helped greatly. I would continue to recommend his services to others." Sean came for therapy: "The sessions were transformative. They allowed me to own and articulate my recovery in an atmosphere of intelligent open enquiry, straightforward practical feedback and warm, empathetic support. I'm amazed at the speed of my journey from desperation to genuine wellbeing - I didn't expect to achieve anything like this, and definitely couldn't have done it without these sessions. Being able to get an initial appointment so quickly was also crucial." John worked with us for Career Counselling: "I found David's explanation and pace spot on and the sessions both affirming and insightful. Also, completely tailored to my needs." Sarah saw us for well-being coaching: “I very much appreciated the professional skill and sensitivity enabling trust to develop. Handouts [were] clear and concise. Having the opportunity to put advice into practice and then reflect upon outcome invaluable. I am aware that the emphasis of your work is towards work situations. There is a huge need for counseling and personal development, not work related, in which you could be of great assistance to others." Helen saw us for career coaching and CV preparation: “CV much improved. Would absolutely recommend this service to others. [You] provide good service tailored to individual needs." Michael saw us for a combination of help with depression and career advice: "Very helpful. The sessions provided me with practical advice and the results were tangible.” Jo asked for some career counselling sessions, and when asked what was particularly helpful, wrote: "Looking at the practical implications of changing career and helping me believe that it was possible to move jobs after 25 years in the same place." Martina came for career counselling and general counselling/therapy "Very friendly and approachable but also more professional than previous places I have attended. A comfortable environment for discussion without the overdose of empathy that can seem condescending..." Gina asked for a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) assessment "The time and interest and making the session relevant [was helpful]. I felt at ease and the therapist was genuine and really showed he wanted to help." Gordon worked with one of our team for therapy and commented that it was worth more than the price he paid. He also added... "Judy just made the environment feel very safe, like I could say anything and that would be ok, also her ability to pinpoint the problems was amazing, very friendly, comforting and overall very good at her job" Martin came for career coaching and help overcoming worries. Like Gordon, he felt it was worth more than he paid. "I was challenged at a very early stage and made to confront some of my fears preventing me from taking meaningful action towards moving out of my stuckness and confusion. Such as more flexible thinking approach and getting out of my socially phobic comfort zones. I knew I would be challenged and I needed a bit of a push that I couldn't provide entirely myself due to inbuilt psychological resistances." Tina came for stress management "Understood situation, was able to ask questions to help me assess myself to take action going forward. Direct approach which was helpful with understanding and support." Sarah wanted to talk about some stresses she was going through "Being able to talk about my issues and having an unbiased, non-judgemental approach to understanding what is going on for me in my mind. Understanding more on the physiological and psychological effects if stress on emotional well being." Rose came for CV and interview preparation "I found it helpful to review my CV and hear about how to make sure you are only saying positive things that reflect well on you in interview situations." Alex came for help with anxiety and panic attacks "Life-changing isn't a strong enough phrase to describe my experience, I cannot thank the partnership enough." Steven came for low self-esteem and anxiety issues "David was a good sounding board and I learned a lot through listening to him." We ask all our clients to rate us on a 5 point scale. The vast majority has given us full marks, rating our service as "very helpful." One of the reasons we have so many overwhelmingly positive comments about our range of services is that our job as professional psychologists and coaches is to work collaboratively with the client to ensure we work together in a way that is meaningful to the client. If we don't believe that our approach is right for you, we give advice towards finding the right support.
- Emergency Contacts
In an emergency - dial 999 The Craigie Partnership does not offer emergency or crisis services. However, we suggest the following sites: Samaritans The Samaritans is a support organisation available to listen over the phone, via letter, email, or face to face. For people who urgently feel they need someone to talk to. Lines open 24/7 08457 90 90 90 https://www.samaritans.org Free. NHS 24 A helpline and website to answer questions about your health and offer advice. The website also provides links and contact details for health organisations. For people who need health problems diagnosed and advice on what to do next. Dial 111 or visit https://www.nhs24.scot Free. Support Line This site provides information about and links to support numbers for a wide range of serious problems. For example, information about and support agencies for anorexia, bullying, cancer, debt, exam stress, health, loneliness, pregnancy, and many more. https://www.supportline.org.uk/ Free. Breathing Space A confidential phone and web based service for people in Scotland experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety. Breathing Space specifically, but not exclusively targets young men who are experiencing difficulties and unhappiness in their lives. The focus is to provide skilled assistance at an early stage and prevent problems escalating It supports those living with mental health problems and those experiencing emotional distress, family members, partners and friends who are concerned about their own wellbeing and that of people they care about. 0800 83 85 87 https://breathingspace.scot Free.
- New website and Christmas Greetings!
We are delighted to announce the launch of our new website. Our new, simplified layout showcases our amazing team and allows you to access the support you need quickly. You can see more about our Edinburgh Psychology Services for help with CBT, therapy, counselling and psychology support. Our Edinburgh Coaching Services offer help with career counselling, coaching, CVs, interview preparation and psychometric testing. Why not read some of our testimonials here, or find out more about our Vision or the differences between types of practitioners (coaches, psychologists, counsellors etc.)? You can get in touch by our form here.
- Attachment and Me
Attachment and Me: How recognising attachment styles from the past can help in looking forward. One of our Associates and Psychological Therapists, Jenny Kerr, shares her experiences of working with Attachment Styles and gives tips on how to use this knowledge to get the most out of life. [Read time: 7 mins] My clients often come to therapy with concerns or confusion about how they respond to stressful situations within the relationships in their lives. They may be experiencing stress related to work, family or romantic relationships. They often report patterns of anxiety, frustration or a need to pull back from people. Often clients worry that these behaviours seem to be automatic and hard to control, even if rationally they know that things in the relationship are ok. This can lead to lowered self-esteem, increased self-criticism and a lack of self-trust. Whilst clients can initially clock this up to being weak, different or useless, they are in fact being incredibly strong, using everything in their power to keep safe. They are using survival mechanisms which may have served them well in the past. Confused? Don’t be. Read on, and I’ll explain... Attachment Theory can help explain why we all might react differently within relationships. In essence, the theory aims to describe the amount of stress that an individual does or does not experience when we depend on others in relationships. This can (but not always) relate back to our first experiences of being cared for as infants and is something we might bring through into our adult lives and relationships. Attachment Theory explains that people are naturally inclined to seek out care, safety and nurturing from birth by forming attachments with immediate caregivers. These attachment bonds are fundamental for our survival when we are at our most vulnerable. If the bond is strong and our needs are met, we feel safe. If we feel safe, we are more confident to branch out and try new things, knowing that we are protected and that there is someone there to console us if we don’t succeed. This experience of safety within Attachment Theory is called Secure Attachment. Individuals who are predominantly securely attached tend not to experience heightened levels of anxiety in relationships. They value the process of repairing relationship ruptures, whilst being able to manage and express emotions appropriately. They might be able to think more clearly in difficult situations, as their brain isn’t triggered in the same way as people with other attachment styles. Sometimes, if an individual does not experience the same level of safety and security in relationships, particularly early relationships, the attachment style may be different. If caregiving is disrupted in some way – through illness, familial breakdown, money stress, even trauma or abuse – they may receive too much, not enough or inconsistent levels of care from their immediate caregivers. Examples of too much care might be anxious, or overprotective parenting – meaning that the individual might not have the opportunity to try new things or gain confidence. Too little care may mean the individual has to rely on themselves for comfort from too young an age, and inconsistent care may leave the individual confused about how to get comfort from others, given that it may change frequently. This can impact the beliefs that develop about the nature of safety within a relationship and how to respond in order to feel more secure. People can start to believe, for example: that people cannot be relied on to give them the security they need that the only person they can rely on is themselves that they need to sacrifice their needs in favour of the other person, in order to keep themselves close that they can’t trust themselves in a caring relationship from one minute to the next Within Attachment Theory, this is known as Insecure Attachment. There are three main styles of insecure attachment: 1. Anxious Attachment: Individuals who tend to display insecure anxious traits hold a strong need for closeness in relationships. This is often accompanied by constant worries about the health of a relationship and sensitivity to any type of behaviour which is perceived as abandonment, such as not replying to text messages quickly enough. They are often very open about how they feel within a relationship, and can be very generous and attentive to those they care about, but can also be blaming of others for making them feel stressed or upset. They tend to engage in behaviours which intensify caregiving from others to make them feel more secure and less likely to be rejected. An example of this might be regularly checking with a romantic partner or friend that they like them, or over-analysing conversations to see if the person really wants to be around them. Of course, this is exhausting – and can often have the opposite effect, pushing others away as a result of too much pressure placed upon them. 2. Avoidant Attachment: Individuals who display insecure avoidant traits also experience anxiety. However, they tend to keep this far below the surface, hidden under the veil of apparent self-reliance. They may have a preference for emotional distancing, and may employ strategies to keep people at a safe distance, as sharing how they feel with others might make them feel vulnerable and unsafe. They might struggle to vocalise their emotional needs, instead using (sometimes unhelpful) techniques to relieve anxiety. They often prefer to deal with conflict in the quickest way possible, even if it means sacrificing their own needs in the process. An example of this might be in the workplace, when the person may create a persona of seemingly having everything under control, never asking questions or for help, and being helpful. This may work to keep people at arm's length or at a manageable distance and reduces any feelings of being vulnerable but may be hiding anxiety about performance at work which could be made better by asking for help. 3. Disorganised Attachment: Individuals who display insecure disorganised traits sit in a push/pull dynamic within relationships, with no clear or consistent way of engaging. They might appear hot one minute and cold the next – wanting to be in a healthy relationship with those around them but often struggling with deep fears of abandonment. They might experience high anxiety and high avoidance simultaneously and may have a tendency to be impulsive. They may struggle to communicate their needs, often self-sabotaging or putting barriers up to avoid being hurt. An example of this might be experiencing very strong feelings at the beginning of a relationship and being open to making big plans for the future with that person, only to begin to feel overwhelmed over time and back off or sabotage the relationship so that the other person is the one to break things off. The way we develop our attachment style can depend upon a number of factors and experiences. Individuals are rarely tied at all times into one style – often we respond differently, depending on the relationship and circumstance. However, living within an insecure style can be tiring! It takes a lot of effort to maintain a feeling of safety, and this extra effort can spill over into other areas of our life. It can impact our general well-being, levels of self-esteem and ultimately, our mood and anxiety. So how might therapy help? Firstly, knowledge is power. The more we understand about ourselves, the better placed we are to respond to situations which we might find difficult. Therapy, particularly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, aims to unpick the thoughts, worries or fears we might have about ourselves or the relationships we have, and the behaviours which we might use to make ourselves feel safer. It aims to build a ‘toolkit’ of helpful self-soothing techniques so that if we find ourselves stuck within our previous unhelpful coping strategies, we have other options to try. -------------------- A Case Study An example of this would be Sadie (not her/his real name), who came to therapy with feelings of low self-esteem and anxiety about how she was around others and at work. She was worried about how people thought of her and often found herself changing the way she interacted with different people to gain acceptance. This, ultimately though, was leaving her unhappy. Through therapy, she was able to recognise that her mother’s history of anxiety, along with other experiences, had unwittingly played a large part in her developing an anxious attachment style. Once she understood this, she worked with her therapist to recognise unhelpful thinking styles that she was using, such as predicting that interactions with her partner or work colleagues would go wrong and assuming she would end up being rejected as a result. She began to use techniques such as thought-challenging and assertiveness to begin to modify and challenge these beliefs. In doing so, she became more confident and able to be more consistent in who she was with others, which increased her confidence, and reduced her anxiety. -------------------- Remember – there is nothing wrong with having any particular type of attachment style and often the goal is not to get to the golden gates of ‘secure attachment.’ Merely understanding our attachment style is a helpful ‘arrow’ pointing us in the direction of how to build helpful techniques, to feel more secure in our relationships. Secondly, the therapeutic space aims to be a place of security. It is a space where clients can express their thoughts and feelings. It is an honest, open and healing space where a client should feel able to ‘unfurl’ and explore the worries or experiences they have had. If this sounds familiar to you and is something you wish to explore, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at the Craigie Partnership to arrange an initial assessment appointment. If you are keen to read more about Attachment Theory, I would recommend The Attachment Theory Workbook by Annie Chen. This is a workbook that can be used alone, or with the help of a therapist. ------------------------------- You can read more about Jenny and her professional background here. If you would like to arrange an appointment with Jenny or anyone in our team, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org You can read more about our Edinburgh Psychology Services or our Edinburgh Coaching Services or leave a message for one of our team with your contact details on 0131 215 1066.
- Leaving 2021 behind...
As we celebrate Christmas 2021 and start to look forward to New Year 2022, it's a good time to pause, take a breath, and take stock. Here are some thoughts from our co-founder, David Craigie. It's been a year like no other. For many, 2021 has been a year of constant trauma, as the world comes to grips with an ongoing global pandemic. Many have lost loved ones, sometimes tragically even unable to say goodbye to their nearest and dearest. We've all had to make sacrifices of freedom - changed plans, holidays cancelled, working/teaching/learning from home. Extroverts and introverts alike have struggled with the lack of social interaction, crowded living spaces, and deep loneliness. In an unexpected twist, we've had several clients in our practice confess that they've enjoyed lockdown and the enforcement of rules, which bring a feeling of safety and security in an uncertain world. For them, easing of restrictions brings stress and worry. Therapists around the world now have to revise their well-rehearsed scripts of challenging health anxieties and germ phobias by saying the likelihood of something bad happening is slim... The pandemic has also affected many of our careers. Working from home, furloughs, financial worries, and the stress of uncertainty and juggling roles. Many have also found this to be an opportunity to reflect on their careers and consider new directions. At times of serious disruption in our lives, it's often a period when we reevaluate things - our work, our habits, our relationships and friendships. When the things we take for granted are stripped away, it's also an opportunity to think about the things that are important to us. That said, we also want to be careful to not make too many big decisions during times of significant uncertainty, but times of reflection are always a good thing. Life will return to a sense of normality. We might need annual covid boosters, similar to the flu jab. We might find wearing masks in certain seasons to become a habit. But human beings are surprisingly adaptable, and we will find ways to adapt and adjust, while scientists and researchers continue their excellent advances. Now is a good time to pause and take a breath and take stock. How are you living your life? What are you prioritizing? Do your loved ones know how much you cherish them? Are you enjoying some or most of the work you do? Have you got creative outlets that work for you? Are self-care and self-compassion a regular feature of your life? Going forward into 2022, the Craigie Partnership is here to help and support you. If you would like a blog article from one of our team, drop us an email and we'll see what we can do! Our team has grown! We are delighted to have Jenny Kerr, a highly experienced CBT therapist and associate practitioner join us. We'll introduce Jenny in the new year, but you can read up about her here: https://craigiepartnership.co.uk/about-us/meet-the-team/jenny-kerr As always, we are here to help with psychological support and therapy and now offer blended sessions online (zoom) or face-to-face: https://edinburghpsychologyservices.co.uk/ We can also help with career counselling and coaching, including CVs, interview techniques, and psychometric testing online or face-to-face: https://edinburghcoachingservices.co.uk/ On behalf of all the team at the Craigie Partnership, we wish you and your loved ones a safe, healthy, peaceful, and relaxing Christmas and every blessing for 2022.
- Certified Principal Business Psychologist
We are delighted to announce that our co-founder, David Craigie, has been recognised by the Association for Business Psychology as a Certified Principal Business Psychologist. You can read more about David and the team here: https://craigiepartnership.co.uk/about-us/meet-the-team Our team of consultants, psychologists, therapists, and coaches is available to help with therapy (including CBT), career coaching, employee assistance, psychometrics, and well-being.
- Season of Good Will and High Blood Pressure
As we approach that time of year again, we thought our readers might appreciate some articles written by members of the team to help us cope with the season's stresses (and joys!). If you feel that things get on top of you at this time of year and it rushes past with stresses and strain, then you might enjoy a Mindful reflection on Christmas in our blog article: Keep Calm and Enjoy Christmas. If relationships can be tense or there are difficult family situations to be faced, then you might find this article helpful: How to Avoid Christmas Arguments. They say the old ones are the best. Well, your uncle Dave probably says that when he reads out another cracker joke. A new year often brings new opportunities, new energies and a new focus. If you are thinking of dusting down your CV, then this article from our archives in 2012 might be useful for you: CV tips article. And finally, if you fancy some of our free resources, don't forget you can download them by clicking here. Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas and a great 2018!
- Dealing with Boasters
How do we respond to boastful people? I’m sure we all know one - that person, perhaps a family member, friend or colleague who always seems keen to impress others. Perhaps it’s a regular name drop, a frequent retelling of some “impressive” achievement or yet another example of how clever they are. We all respond to these people in different ways, and often it depends on our energy levels or mood. Two classic responses are to ignore them or to try to find a way to put them down, bringing them down a peg or two with mockery or arguing to prove them wrong. However, while these might bring us temporary relief, it’s possible that this will actually maintain the problem. Low Self-Esteem Many people who regularly boast or constantly try to impress, do so in response to a deep need to be accepted and loved by others. An inner vulnerability and low self-esteem can result in over-compensating behaviour. The logic makes some sense – if I feel unloved or unappreciated, then telling a story of how impressive I am or sharing some personal achievement should result in me getting the praise and affirmation I so deeply long for. When talking to someone who doesn’t know me well, the chances of this happening are higher. I get the buzz of being the centre of attention and being admired. My vulnerable self-esteem gets a temporary reprieve. However, when others mock me or don’t seem impressed, this causes me a problem. My self-esteem takes another hit. This perpetuates the cycle, as I now have a greater need and so will continue to seek affirmation in the way I know best – try harder to impress. Pre-emptive Appreciation What should we do if someone we genuinely care about continues to be, let’s be honest, just plain annoying? Well, firstly, we need to recognise that our negative response to their behaviour is also connected to our own self-esteem. When someone tries to puff themselves up and impress, if we are totally secure in our own identity, then we should be able to remain unaffected. The problem is that if we have hidden our own lights under a bushel, or have had our own achievements overlooked, then another person’s boasting can be hurtful. It is a reminder of how we have made our own sacrifices and our humility in the face of their apparent arrogance results in an emotional response. Our actions then follow on from these emotions. However, a second approach is counter-intuitive. This is to give genuine, pre-emptive praise to the person who normally seeks it out by impressing others. This suggestion can be difficult to stomach, as it feels like we are rewarding bad behaviour. However, as many parents will know, when a child is hungry, their behaviour can deteriorate. To reward bad behaviour with some kind of treat will only reinforce that bad behaviour. However, a good parent will learn to identify the patterns and by ensuring the child doesn’t go hungry in the first place can vastly reduce the bad behaviour. This isn’t rewarding behaviour that we don’t like, as the child hasn’t yet engaged in the negative behaviour designed to find a solution to its deeper need. It is prevention rather than cure. How does this translate to our situation in practice? Well, it means thinking about the person we care about and finding genuine points of praise and validation for them. This isn’t the same as flattery or buttering someone up (that would be giving sweets to a toddler to keep them full). Instead, it is recognising the deeper insecurity (that they are likely to be unaware of) and showing them that they are valued, appreciated and loved for who they are, not what they do. The more you can do this for others, the more their sense of self-worth can grow. They will still occasionally boast and continue in their previous behaviours, but over time, you might find that this need decreases. Good relationships require many more positive affirmations than criticisms to flourish. Redressing this balance by pre-emptive affirmation can help. It also role models to other people the behaviour of genuinely praising others, and this can result in a culture shift. It certainly makes a change from the previous pattern. The final benefit is for ourselves. When we train ourselves to seek out positives in others so that we can genuinely praise them, we rewire our brains to look out for positives. Research into cognitive bias modification is showing promising signs that focusing on positives can have a beneficial effect on our own mental well-being. Article written by David Craigie, Chartered Psychologist and co-founder of the Craigie Partnership (Job title and qualifications written to impress?) ---------- To find out more or book an appointment, email us at email@example.com or call 0131 215 1066 www.edinburghpsychologyservices.co.uk www.edinburghcoachingservices.co.uk