How Do You Truly Define A Narcissist?
Many psychological terms are overused in common parlance, and one of these is the term narcissist, which is used to seemingly describe anyone who talks about themselves too much.
Narcissism, or more accurately people who have been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder is a personality disorder with such limited research it was nearly omitted from the DSM-5: one of two main manuals for classifying mental disorders along with the ICD-11.
Narcissism is not about a positive self-image but about its extremes whether this comes at the expense of other people and how fragile it ultimately is. According to the DSM-5, narcissism consists of nine primary criteria:
A grandiose sense of self-importance, typically with the expectation that others will treat you the same way,
An obsession with power fantasies and the symbols of status, such as attractiveness, intelligence, brilliance, love and success,
An extreme self-perception of specialness. A narcissist will believe themselves to be superior to others and should be linked to
people of high status,
A need for admiration from others consistently,
An entitlement complex. They believe they deserve special treatment, to be listened to and obeyed,
A willingness to exploit the work of other people to gain success, status or power,
An unwillingness to empathise with the feelings of other people to the point that other people’s needs seemingly do not exist,
Extreme envy of other people, but also a belief that other people were just as envious.
Arrogant, pompous and superior behaviours.
One primary aspect of narcissism that is commonly found in literature is that narcissists have a fragile sense of self, and many of the criteria above highlight attempts to maintain a sense that they are exceptional.
For more information and advice from a Surrey psychotherapist, get in touch today.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
Procrastination is a mental process that is far too often misinterpreted and stigmatised, but by understanding the root causes for procrastination we can help manage our circumstances to lessen its impact on our lives.
It is no secret that we have become more fatigued, irritable, find it harder to sleep and are more prone to procrastination over the last year. It is also known as quarantine fatigue.
However, all of these conditions are interconnected and their causes are not rooted in what you would expect.
Fatigue is not about tiredness but mental exhaustion and stress. Irritability is as much about stress as it is about frustration and anger. Poor sleep patterns have been connected to fatigue and anxiety, and procrastination is not connected to laziness but is a coping strategy.
Procrastination, which is defined psychologically as voluntarily delaying an intended act despite an expectation of negative consequences, is rooted in our impulsive limbic system, as opposed to the prefrontal cortex which manages our future planning and other complex emotions.
When we are overpowered by strong emotions, the limbic system takes over, which is why we procrastinate on major tasks and focus on short term relief. This is also why we engage in “revenge bedtime procrastination”, or staying up late to enjoy ourselves in revenge for fatigue.
The first step to helping with procrastination is not to be as harsh on ourselves. Research has found that self-compassion as well as mindfulness exercises can help reduce the effects of procrastination because they allow us to come to terms and move past negative emotions.
As well as this, breaking tasks down into steps helps to remove the enormity of a task and helps improve productivity.
Accountability and rewards can also help by changing which parts of the brain are being stimulated.
For more information, advice and counselling from a Surrey psychotherapist, get in touch today.
How Do You Recommend Counselling To A Loved One?
If you’ve had the benefit and a positive experience from counselling or therapy, it may be tempting to nudge friends or loved ones to take the same action. But how can you do it sensitively, and what if they’re not interested?
It can be hard to see those close to us suffering and struggling emotionally, and it’s our nature to want to help. The pandemic has had a detrimental effect on many people, whether it’s from isolation due to the lockdown, or even .
Such compassion and concern should be admired, but it can also be problematic. They might not be open or ready for treatment, and it can be difficult to understand why they wouldn’t leap at the chance to engage with a treatment that would benefit them. So, how can you safely navigate this situation?
1. Provide them with (expectation-free) information
Providing information, whether it’s a leaflet, website details, or positive feedback from your own experiences is a good place to start. Done with respect and without ultimatums can open up a discussion about counselling, and you may provide them with some information they had not considered.
2. Be mindful of any hidden messages
You may intend to tell your loved one that you want the best for them, but there remains the possibility that they hear ‘you need fixing’, causing them to react defensively. Reinforce that you want to help them be the best they can, not that there is something wrong with them.
3. Consider what the ‘issue’ really is
Tale a moment to reflect on what you think the ‘problem’ is. Do they even consider it to be an issue, or is it something that bothers you more than them? It may that you need to work through the issue with a professional first.
If you’re looking for a Leatherhead counsellor, get in touch today.
Women Struggling With Work-Related Stress More Than Men
Women in the UK are suffering more from stress at work caused by the Covid-19 pandemic than men, new research from LinkedIn shows.
Business Leader reported on the findings of the professional network’s latest Workforce Confidence Index, which found that 73 per cent of women had reported work-related stress in the last month compared to 57 per cent of men.
The news provider noted that this indicates that the global pandemic is likely to hit women’s careers harder than their male counterparts.
In addition, it pointed out that 37 per cent of women were checking in on work outside of working hours in 2020, compared to 29 per cent of men.
Women have also been more likely to spend time looking for a new job in 2020, although the publication noted that a survey by LinkedIn in December found that the hiring rate for women over the age of 30 hit its lowest point during the first lockdown in April.
UK editor at LinkedIn Emily Spaven told the news provider that this is evidence that the global pandemic is having a greater negative impact on women and their careers than men. “Our latest data shows women are spending more time than men working out of hours or searching for new roles - often while juggling work with increased family responsibilities,” she said.
Research published recently by the University of East Anglia found that women were drinking alcohol more frequently during the first national lockdown in the UK, although alcohol consumption across both men and women increased during this period.
The study also found that, while women were drinking more often than men, men were consuming more per drinking session.
If you are struggling to deal with the stress caused by the global pandemic, either due to changes at work or in your home life, and feel you would benefit from some counselling sessions with a Leatherhead psychotherapist, contact me today.
The Relationship Between Physical And Mental Health
The mind and the body are two distinct entities, but when considering mental health and physical health, the two should be considered as being connected.
Poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health problems. Similarly, poor mental health can negatively impact on physical health, leading to an increased risk of some conditions, such as heart disease and stroke, according to the British Heart Foundation.
There are several ways in which mental health can have a detrimental effect on our physical health.
People with the highest levels of self-rated distress are 32 per cent are more likely to die from cancer, and schizophrenia has been linked to double the risk of death from heart disease, and three times the risk from respiratory disease.
Your mental health can be affected by your physical health too, for better and for worse. Regular exercise is a great way to improve your mental wellbeing as it releases the feel-good chemicals called endorphins in the brain. Even a brisk 10-minute walk can boost your mood.
Good nutrition and a healthy diet can also influence how we feel. A healthy balanced diet is one that includes healthy amounts of proteins, essential fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water.
Promoting positive mental health can often be overlooked when treating a physical condition. One such condition is psoriasis, which is an auto-immune condition characterised by red flaky sores on the skin and is typically triggered by stress. 1.8 million people in the UK are affected by psoriasis, and it can have an impact on emotional as well as physical wellbeing.
You should always talk your GP if any physical ailments are affecting your mental health, and a Leatherhead psychotherapist can also help with any mental health issues, so talk to us today.
Why Do We Give Presents Psychologically?
Christmas is rapidly approaching, and many of us have either already started or are planning to start our shopping for what looks to be a very different looking festive season.
This poses the interesting question for a Leatherhead psychotherapist; why, from a psychological perspective, do we give presents and what makes it such a wonderful experience for us.
Naturally, there are some sociological factors involved, particularly for big gift-giving events; we give presents because other people are doing the same. However, that does not get to the heart of why we find it so enjoyable, and indeed so stressful to choose a gift we know someone will like.
Research from the Journal of Consumer Research, which typically looks at questions like this from a more sociological and consumer research standpoint, have taken a look at the question from an anthropological standpoint and found some interesting results.
They found there was more to the psychology of gift-giving then simply the event that requires us to. In doing this study they found there were two primary goals in play when giving someone a gift, both of which are connected but completely identical.
The first is that the gift should make the recipient happy, which usually means giving them a gift they want. The second part of this is that the gift should strengthen the relationship between the two, which means giving them a thoughtful gift.
The problem, of course, comes that if you ask someone for a gift then it’s less thoughtful because they bought what you asked for, and the second part is riskier as you may get them a present they very much do not want.
When we succeed at both it provides a wonderful feeling, because it confirms that a strong relationship has been based on a foundation of mutual understanding, and few things are as affirming as feeling seen, appreciated and understood.
Study Finds Psychotherapy Effective When Medication Isn’t
A meta-analysis on the use of psychotherapy in anxiety and mood disorders where the initial medical treatment was not effective showed psychotherapy to be an effective treatment for improving the quality of life of people.
The study, published in Clinical Psychology Review, highlighted the need for a range of treatment options for people suffering with their mental health, from pharmacology to psychotherapy.
The meta-analysis showed that non-responders (people who do not improve after a course of prescription medication) responded very well to psychotherapy more often than not, with no significant differences depending on the particular disorder.
This proves that for anxiety sufferers in Surrey, a psychotherapist may be an effective option for treatment if medication is not working or has problematic side effects.
How Does Psychotherapy Differ From Pharmacotherapy?
When someone is suffering a mental disorder such as anxiety or depression, there are several options available, but the most effective and successful ones involve pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy or a combination of both.
Pharmacotherapy is the use of medication to help regulate the clinical symptoms of mental disorders and can only be prescribed by psychiatrists.
These medicines can affect behaviours and moods, and require careful analysis of a person’s condition to make sure the medicine works at intended.
Psychology on the other hand is a range of therapy methods where a mental health professional will help to resolve and overcome issues to improve a person’s mental state. This can involve working on underlying issues, resolving behaviours and helping to navigate crises.
Help For Better Mental Health During Lockdown 2.0
There is a growing awareness of the impact that the changes in our routines, the isolation, and COVID-19 related anxieties can have on our general mental health as the UK entered its second national lockdown.
However, it’s is worth keeping in mind that it is completely natural to be anxious about your health, that health of loved ones and friends, and uncertainties with finances and jobs. There are various ways in which we can help ourselves to manage our mental health better during the lockdown and the winter months.
Being able to normalise the situation can be a powerful tool in our arsenal to help manage our uncomfortable feelings. Remember to be kind to yourself, self soothe, and remind yourself that the lockdown is understandable and manageable, and try to make it all make logical sense.
Acknowledgement that the lockdown and the spike in infections are expected and normal for a pandemic, which, while is out of the ordinary for us, is being well-charted and predicted.
Accept the right here and now
Our minds will inevitably drift to fears about the future, a whole, sometimes irrational series of ‘what ifs’. While we might not have much power to affect the course of a global pandemic, focussing on what we have right now and what we are thankful for is a healthier way of coping.
Concentrate on the benefits of the lockdown, more time with family, no early morning commutes, even opportunity to finish that Netflix boxset.
Hope and faith in the future can help make you feel better, and making yourself feel better during times of stress through positive psychological and behavioural methods is priceless.
When trouble seem so large that there doesn’t appear to be a way out, reaching out to others provides a sense of perspective and purpose. Whether it’s picking up some items at the supermarket for a neighbour, or providing socially distanced support, it will help.
Importantly, avoid drink and drugs, as that will not help you manage your stress, anxiety, depression or sleep issues. Do not buy into the fear, and maintain sensible measures for infection control.
If you are looking for a Leatherhead counsellor, get in touch..
Could Virtual Reality Be The Future Of Psychotherapy?
When it comes to talking therapies, the environment in which you talk to a therapist matters With an increasing number of sessions taking place remotely as a result of the current circumstances, several technologically driven solutions are being considered in the field.
One of the most interesting is the use of Virtual Reality for both one-to-one and group therapy sessions. A study published in Leatherhead, psychotherapy showcased the potential for the technology for people with body dysmorphic symptoms.
The study fitted VR headsets to a group of people who then customised their virtual avatar to resemble themselves.
This gradually builds up to mirror exposure therapy, where the person looks in a virtual mirror at their virtual avatar, being able to make adjustments to this body whilst all the while talking to their therapist about their concerns, thoughts and feelings about themselves.
What makes virtual reality so powerful for many psychotherapy goals is that it removes the feeling of judgement that can so often be a barrier to help.
At the same time, the control over the virtual environment and the ability to at the same time know they are safe in the simulation and also be exposed to what resembles the real environment that causes anxiety is a huge benefit.
As well as this, virtual reality sessions can be done remotely and yet feel like the therapist is in the same room as you, meaning that on a practical level they are particularly beneficial right now as so many therapy sessions take place remotely.
Even if the patient is away from Leatherhead, psychotherapy sessions operated in VR can potentially provide a greater level of care than telephone or video call therapy.
Employer Mental Health Support ‘Lacking During The Pandemic’
The mental health implications of the global pandemic are huge, but it seems that many people around the UK haven’t been receiving the support they need from their employers since it hit in March, with 56 per cent of employees saying that this is the case.
This is according to new research from mental health organisation TalkOut, reported on by HR News, revealing that although a significant increase in anxiety has been seen among workers, just 44 per cent have been offered some kind of support or advice.
The survey also found that 68 per cent of people reported feeling anxious or apprehensive about returning to the world of work, while 35 per cent said their mental health is now worse than it was before the pandemic.
Of those asked, 85 per cent said they didn’t believe that their mental wellbeing had been prioritised by their employers during the pandemic.
CEO of TalkOut Jill Mead said: “Whilst businesses were quick to adapt to social distancing and working from home, for many, the emotional wellbeing of employees was an afterthought.
“But the psychological strain of the crisis is impossible to ignore and whether staff have been working on the frontline, furloughed or working from home, it’s likely to have a long-term impact.”
If you are experiencing covid-related anxiety, stress, depression or another kind of mental health condition, talking to someone about how you’re feeling can really help. If you start to feel overwhelmed, acknowledge your own feelings and make sure you speak to someone you trust.
Are you looking for a Surrey counsellor at the moment? Get in touch with Nikki Charrett today.
Is This Your First Time Experiencing Mental Health Issues?
With everything that is going on around the world, from politics, financial strains, current events, and a global pandemic, it is quite common to be not quite feeling your usual chirpy self.
But when issues begin to be more than just having an off day, and you can’t seem to shake the worries and concerns that plague you, leaving you feeling disinterested and disconnected from others, then it can become a much bigger problem. According to the Guardian, those aged under 25 have been increasingly suffering from mental health issues over the past few months.
When your symptoms are interfering with your sleep patterns and leaving you unable to concentrate on work, feeling helpless and unable to act, then you could be suffering from depression, anxiety, or even both.
You might never have had any history of mental health issues previously, but given the perfect storm of a deadly global pandemic, the onset of a recession and the financial pressures that will bring, and months of isolation during the lockdown, it’s bound to trigger issues with mental health that you have never had to deal with before.
Imagine that you have a reserve tank of brainpower, giving you just that bit extra help on tough days when nothing seems to be going right. The more of that reserve brainpower you have, then the greater your resilience for those bad days.
However, our daily routines can either charge or drain this reserve. You might previously have had a healthy lifestyle, but when unhealthy habits creep in during the lockdown - drinking more, comfort eating, less exercise, up all night Netflix binging - you will lower your reserves, causing you to be able to deal with the everyday stresses, as well as the uncommon stresses we are facing.
It’s also essential to seek professional help with your mental health issues, as well as keeping yourself hydrated, get half an hour of exercise a day, and try to get a better, healthier diet.
If you’re looking for a Leatherhead counsellor, book an appointment today!
Research Finds Heatwaves Affect Mental Health
We can spend all winter wishing that summer would hurry up, but once the high temperatures start rolling in, not many of us are that great at dealing with it. Without air-con, open-air pools, and siestas we’re all tired, hot, and drenched in sweat.
As if pandemic, political, economical, climate change, and everyday anxieties weren’t enough to deal with, research has shown that heatwaves can also damage our mental health, it’s not just sunburn and physical discomfort we need to watch for, according to The Conversation.
The author of the research, Harriet Ingle, a researcher in climate psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University, says that hot weather can incite rage in us that otherwise might lie dormant.
She explains that historic studies dating back to the early 19th century discovered that hotter regions had higher violent crime rates than cooler countries. In those regions, violence is higher during the hotter months, even taking into account other factors such as poverty, unemployment and age.
A quick Google search for the most deadly riots in the USA would show they all happened between May and September in cities with very high temperatures.
Harriet cites a UK study that found that above 18C, every 1C increase in temperature is associated with a 3.8 per cent increase in the incidence of suicide and a 5 per cent increase in violent suicide.
‘In fact, during the 1995 heatwave in the UK, suicide increased by a staggering 46.9 per cent. Similar results have also been observed in other parts of the world,’ she explains.
More research of the psychological impact of heat needs to be done, but we do know that spikes in temperature increase our cortisol levels (the stress hormone), as well as adrenaline and testosterone, which can lead us to become aggressive, violent, and sexually hungry.
It can be easy for the excessive heat to throw anyone into a mental spiral and for tempers to become frayed and short.
If you do find you are needing help, then talk to your GP, or seek out a Leatherhead psychotherapist.
Remote Therapy To Benefit Young People Post Lockdown
Youth Access, an umbrella organisation that provides youth advice and counselling services, has published a report that recommends combining traditional face-to-face mental health support with remote interventions.
According to the organisation’s press release, a more innovative approach that incorporates both types of support to build a more young person-centric service, as well as giving young people more choice and control.
The findings from the research were drawn from an analysis of 50 studies on remote health interventions, carried out across nine countries. The key highlight from the analysis was the reduction in young people who accessed remote forms of support in the severity of clinical symptoms, as well as increased wellbeing and lower levels of suicidal behaviour and stigma.
There is also increased accessibility for those who struggle with face-to-face services, such as young men, young carers, young people with disabilities, LGBTQA+ young people, and those living in remote locations.
Remote support is more accessible to young people due to the flexibility of the time, shorter waiting times, and no requirement to travel to appointments, according to the report. Young people also felt safer, saying there was less of the risk of being judged compared to face-to-face sessions.
The report does also state that remote interventions are not a one size fits all solution, and should not replace face-to-face services
Barry William, the charity’s interim chief executive officer, said: “As we emerge from lockdown, we have a unique opportunity to build for the future, embedding this innovation to offer what young people have been telling us that they need: a blended model of mental health support that provides remote interventions alongside face-to-face support.
“This report adds to the growing body of evidence that this is the right way forward,” he said.
If you are looking for a counsellor in Surrey, get in touch!
Student Mental Health ‘Should Be Top Priority’
Lots of university students have been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic, having had their education disrupted while their lecture theatres and laboratories have been forced to close.
After the government imposed lockdown towards the end of March, students across the country were left in limbo, unable to continue with their studies or complete their end-of-year exams. This was especially detrimental to those in their last year of further education, with results of their missed exams determining their overall degree qualification.
It was particularly difficult for international students who had to remain living on campus while their education was put on pause. Furthermore, they were separated from family and friends and unable to return home due to the crisis.
Therefore, it is not surprising many students have experienced a deterioration of their mental health over the last few months, unsure of what the pandemic would mean for their future.
As a result, Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said it is essential they are given adequate support to get them through this challenging time.
“Mental health and the wellbeing of all students, whether they come from here or further afield, must be a top priority and it certainly is one of mine,” she stated.
To help higher education pupils, she announced a £3 million fund for an online resource called Student Space, giving university goers in England and Wales the chance to access support when they need it.
This includes tips for boosting mental health, online resources, peer support platforms, volunteering opportunities, and signposting to therapies.
Students in Surrey could benefit from counselling in Leatherhead, where they can get the help they need.