Monthly Archives: November 2015

If L S Lowry were painting today – what would we see?


                                                                                                            L S Lowry


I was recently told  by a good friend of mine who is a teacher of food in schools that the government intends on axing #Food ALevel from the curriculum. I hope Sue won’t mind me saying that she’s in her mid 50’s and head of a department at an all girls independent school. She cut her metaphorical teeth at some challenging inner city state schools from the early 80’s onwards, and from then to this day she knows what her students are reading, listening to and wearing. At a time when I might be saying ‘turn that racket down’ or ‘are you really going out in that?’, she’s full of the latest and greatest on the youth scene.  Her passion for them and food has created thousands of well-informed young people’s interest in a healthy diet: the buying, storage, preparation and cooking of meals that will then inform these women’s lives and the lives of those who they bring into the world.

Today I read the article in The Guardian 17th August 2015
‘Huge rise in UK diabetes cases threatens to bankrupt NHS, charity warns’, and I am reflecting on the link between these two national news stories.

This is no surprise to me. Nor should it be to anyone who looks around them.

#Obesity and #overeating are a national concern, and something that effects many clients who engage in therapy with me.  I have worked with those presenting with issues related to both  #Type I and #Type II Diabetes. They are very different, and yet for both they are fundamentally about a physical health condition that can seriously effect their quality of life,  and so their mental health. As #Jung suggested, the body is the bridge between the mind and the soul.

When Lowry was painting, his images reflected the stark reality of life in North East England. Manchester was portrayed as a cold place, with thin people and bleak expectations. When I look at his images I can almost feel the hunger of his Swinton subjects.  So what would Lowry paint today?

In 2015 england, our afflictions are more likely from too much choice and a desire to feed ourselves beyond our bodies need. Bizarrely our bodies  create a backlash; they start to attack us back. Enough they cry.

So where to from here?

Certainly it is my experience that shifts happen when clients start to take seriously their relationship with their bodies.  This often comes through understanding our unconscious beliefs about our bodies. And/or our relationship with food, along with some confusing internal messages between our minds and our physical selves. In becoming conscious we can choose how we want to proceed, and understand the choices we have.

#Diabetes Types I and II are certainly manageable where there is a good Adapted Child – hence the success of multi million pound companies like Weight Watchers. However there are also lasting results found where clients develop good access to Parent, Adult and Child Ego States, and realise they have options.

The governments Why Weight initiative has some benefits, but like many short term approaches it doesn’t get close to the stronger psychological problems that have led to #obesity, or #maturity-onset diabetes. Or both!  And the cost of #bariatric surgery is high with some serious health implications, not least as many have found ways of  continuing to overeat at an even higher risk to their health.

It’s my belief more is needed to be done by us as individuals to understood how we get to this position in the first place. And certainly a stronger and more powerful message is needed in the early education of our children to help us combat this tidal wave of ill health.

So I’m all for keeping A Level Food. Indeed with todays news surely there is  an argument to make it compulsory.

What do others think? To comment please click on the title of this article.

#Passion and #Relationships: A Psychotherapist Reflects


 “If you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, and your knees go weak, that’s not the one.
When you meet your ‘soul mate’ you’ll feel calm. No anxiety, no agitation.” 

Source : Unknown


When recently asked about #passion I was struck by my internal response; cautious. I’m thinking about #passion as depicted by popular American movies or the media. For example those selling perfume; so often #passion is portrayed as instant, instinctive and a sudden ‘passionate attraction’. Passion of the type we are fed by the PR machines, or propaganda to give PR it’s original name.


As a psychotherapist my consulting room is full of individuals or couples who have fallen ‘passionately’ in love, married or set up home, and then ‘things’ start to go wrong. The Games that we were completely unaware of when we meet gradually heighten and we realise that we can feel hurtful, or helpless with our significant other. As we all know, long-term, passion of a heightened nature is not sustainable. So how did that happen?


In #Transactional_Analysis_Psychotherapy (#TA) the founder #Eric_Berne has been quoted as saying something along the line of:

        ‘if you’re eyes meet across a crowded room, get the hell out’

In his studies of human behaviour #Berne noticed many of our relationships are based on intuition not intimacy. By intimacy he meant sharing conscious thoughts, feelings and behaviours, which could include sex, without fear of the others response. This naturally takes time.

How can you fall in love with someone you don’t know?

#Eric_Berne proposed that it’s an intuitive attraction to someone who will play our favourite psychological Games with us that excites us. I believe he meant that it’s this which feels like #passion, leading to a notion of ‘the one’. In #TA, #Game_Theory proposes that a Game requires two people who take up different and complimentary positions and then proceed to engage in a series of exchanges with each other. This continues out of awareness until one person switches their position in relation to the other, and both parties end up feeling hurt or hurtful. This can be in a moment or over years before the ‘switch’ occurs. #Eric_Berne proposed that we are probably in some form of a psychological Game with many different people 80 % of the time.

So now what?

Well the good news is that anyone can come to understand their #Game(s) and how they play them; or how they misunderstood #passion. The goal of #Transactional_Analysis is to develop and heighten your capacity for intimacy, spontaneity and awareness. What I’ve come to understand is that this is much more rewarding, and certainly longer lasting than the notion of passion we are fed.

Helen Davies is a UKCP registered Psychotherapist, Supervisor and Trainer. She runs a private practice working with adults, couples and groups in West Sussex and North West Surrey. She is a visiting lecturer in #Transactional_Analysis_Psychotherapy at various colleges. Helen supervises trainee and qualified practitioners of varying modalities including complimentary health practitioners.
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