Hunts and Cambs 01223 233047
Peterborough 01733 553166

Hunts and Cambs 01223 233047
Peterborough 01733 553166

Trauma - how to cope

For many years, reaction to traumatic events was overlooked as a cause of depression, anxiety and phobia, but as our understanding of how shock can affect behaviour and psychology increases, it is now more widely recognised that unresolved trauma can have a major and long-lasting impact on someone's future life and the way in which they react to certain triggers.

The same event could affect people in different ways, depending on their underlying levels of resilience, stress levels, and previous experiences, so just as there is no hard and fast rule about how trauma will affect someone, there is no 'one size fits all' therapy to deal with the effects of a traumatic experience.  Mental health professionals who are specifically trained in supporting trauma victims will formulate a plan for each person indivindually.

Typical reactions may include:

  • Shock and denial
  • Anger
  • Sadness and despair
  • Flashbacks
  • Unpredictable and irrational reactions
  • Physical symptoms such as nausea and headaches
  • Guilt and shame
  • Feelings of isolation and hopelessness
  • Extreme controlling behaviours such as OCD, eating disorders or attempts to control a partner

 

Some of the most common therapies include:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) teaches people to be more aware of their thoughts and feelings regarding the traumatic event and view them in a more positive way by reprogramming their brain to react differently to triggers.

Vivo Exposure Therapy is a form of CBT which focusses on the perceived fears surrounding a trigger and uses various methods which force the sufferer to confront the worst possible scenario to undermine the sense of catasphrophe and reduce anxiety caused by the trigger.

Psychodynamic Therapy (Talking Therapy) uses verbal communication to analyse the a person's inbuilt strength to find ways of reducing emotional pain and fear and embed techniques and thought patterns to enable problem management and adapting to new circumstances.

The above approaches deal with the memory portion of the trauma, but most therapists will use one of more of the above techniques in conjunction with some relaxation techniques, EMDR and mindfulness in order to assist the processes of reconnection between body and mind and reduce physical symptoms of trauma. 

 

Grounding Exercises

Once the specific trauma support has started to be embedded, it is often useful for sufferers to incorporate some grounding exercises into their theraputic plan.  These can be useful to keep the mind and body connected and distract the sufferer from reliving anxious memories and are good tools to have access to when confronted with events which trigger potentially harmful memories and flashbacks.  Grounding exercises help to keep your mind firmly in the present

   Remind yourself who you are:  Say your name, say how old you are, say where you are now, say what you have just done, say what you are about to do, say one positive         thing about yourself.  Do this over and over again until you feel calmer.
Take ten breaths.  With each breath, focus on the feelings of the air coming in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Count each breath as you exhale.  When you have finished, start again and try to make each breath slower than the last until you feel calmer.
   Splash water on your face.  
Rub the palms of your hand together until they feel hot.  Then place them over your eyes.  Notice the heat transferring from your hands to your eyes and the sensations that this produces.
   Hold a cold bottle, can or glass in your hands, noticing the coldness and the wetness transfer to your hands.  Take small sips 10 seconds apart.  Try to breathe deeply as         you count.
Notice everything that is touching your skin; the clothes on your body, your hair touching your head or face, the ground under your feet, the chair under you if you are sitting.  Notice the sensation of how these things feel against your skin or pressing into your body.  Squeeze the first and forefinger together, one hand after another.  Try to slow down the rhythm of changing hands and breathe in time with the change.
   Stop and notice your surroundings.  Mentally list 5 things that you can see, 4 things that you can hear, 3 things that you can feel, 2 things that you can smell and 1 thing         that you can taste.  Breathe deeply between each thing that you list.  Try to slow down the frequency of each breath as you list.

 

Don't suffer in silence - seek support and be free from the pain of trauma! 

CCC has therapists who are qualified and experienced in offering truama support to individuals and groups.  If something affects you or a group of people at your workplace, contact CCC to find out how we can support your staff and minimise the impact on the individual and your business.

Contact the Business Development Manager as soon as possible after the event for more information.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CCC 40th Anniversary Wellbeing Event

 On Thursday 21st June, CCC united nearly 40 HR and wellbeing professionals for a day of wellbeing to celebrate 40 years of the local charity providing quality counselling to local people.

 Initially formed as a government funded organisation to train counsellors to a high standard, CCC later became a charity providing affordable counselling to those in the area who needed support but can't afford to pay market rates or wait for a GP referral.  CCC's charitable activities are funded by providing counselling and associated services to local employers to support their staff's wellbeing, reduce absence levels, and support staff back to work after long periods of absence.  CCC is still doing this with great success after 40 years and is still growing year by year, now with over 40 counsellors located right across Cambridgeshire and surrounding counties.  The wellbeing day was intended to thank some of the long-standing corporate clients, as well as raise awareness about CCC and other local providers of wellbeing services.

 

Local construction and building maintenance firm and last year's winner of both the Business of the Year Award and Corporate Social Responsibility Award, Princebuild, sponsored the event at the ABAX Stadium, where they also gave a presentation on how workplace wellbeing makes commercial sense.  

A number of other local wellbeing practitioners were on hand to give presentations, advice, and taster sessions as well as CCC giving an overview of their history and some of their services.  

An overview of CCC

Mental Health Awareness Session - CCC

Workplace wellbeing makes commercial sense - Princebuild

Nutrition presentation by The Nourished Soul

Chair Workout by Anytime Fitness

Stress Management - CCC

Yoga and Mindfulness - Free To Think

Hypnotherapy and Sleep - Hummingbird Hypnotherapy

Reflexology by Caroline Houghton

Laughter Yoga with Linda Nightingale

Massage by Soul Happy

Also there to promote their charities and services were Artbeat Therapy and Lipoedema UK.

 

Thank you to all who attended and took part enthusiastically in the session.  Special thanks to the speakers.

 

CCC is 40 years old and still providing top quality counselling, bereavement and trauma support, mental health awareness, stress management, amongst other things.  Find out how CCC can help you by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

 

If you need counselling support and want to book an appointment with an experienced, qualified professional, call your nearest CCC reception:

Peterborough 01733 553166    or    Cambridge - 01223 233047

or visit our website www.cambridgeshirecounselling.org.uk to find out more.  

 

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How to change your workplace culture

 
In today's competitive environment, recruiting and keeping the right people is tough and sought-after staff are making increasingly advanced choices about where to work.  Where high salaries and career opportunities once topped the wishlist of prospective employees, work/life balance is increasingly playing a large part in their decision making process about which employer to work with.  Short commutes, flexible holiday arrangements and wellbeing initiatives are increasingly part of the equation and it is the caring, more supportive organisations with a range of wellbeing initiatives in place who are attracting the best people.  Less stress is the name of the game.
 
As a result, many organisations are looking at wellbeing in the workplace, but those who merely pay lip service to the initiatives and see it as a tick box exercise may find and recruit the best people, but will soon find that the costs of a high staff turnover outweigh any benefits.  Employees rarely go back to an employer where they had a bad experience, but will often return to a good one once they realise that the extra few pounds in their pocket each month is poor compensation for bad management and a toxic atmosphere.  Companies who argue that some employees exploit their goodwill are missing the fact that these are in the minority and that whatever your approach to staff welfare, poor performance must be managed rather than ignored.
 

So what changes should I make?

Culture is infectious!

Try and look at your company culture objectively.  If most people consistently work a 70 hour week, despite being on a 40 hour contract, any new people will observe and slip into the cultural norm.  Whilst this might give you short term gains, staff will quickly develop burnout, feel exploited, work out their hourly rate, and worst of all, not make productive use of the time they are working, instead using the time to bemoan their plight to other co-workers and spread feelings of resentment towards the organisation.  If the managers and sending and expecting replies to emails at 11pm and 5am, staff will feel that their personal time is being invaded.  If managers are dictatorial and dogmatic rather than collaborative, or take credit for the achievements of their staff and blame them for their mistakes, any colleagues promoted to those positions will behave in that way because that is what they have experienced from their managers.

To change the social norms, encourage managers to listen to staff and work as a team to provide solutions to problems rather than imposing new process.  If people feel that they have been part of the solution, they are much more engaed in trying to make it work.  Encourage staff to take breaks, work effectively rather than long hours, and reward achievement.  Encourage a collaborative approach and an open environment where problems can be discussed openly without fear of retribution.  Put in place a structure wellbeing programme to promote good physical and mental health and encourage people to work together to maintain their health in a mutually supportive environment.

 

Redefine Success

Whilst success is seen as reaching the top of the management structure, earning most money, reaping most benefits and stamping on others to get where you want to be, a dog eat dog culture will prevail.  Encourage initiative which promote a kinder, more supportive workplace and strive for happiness.  Allow people to be who they are, provided it doesn't negatively impact others, encourage volunteering and helping others, both at work and as part of a society, and promote healthy living - both physically and mentally.  Redfine success as living authentically, purposefully and healthily and promote the goal of creating a better environment in the workplace.

 

Build a community

If people exist only as individuals they eventually feel isolated and in competition with their colleagues.  Teams need to know each other and understand each other's strengths and weaknesses in order to be able to function effectively.  Difference should be embraced.  Although most research shows that our natural instincts are to surround ourselves with like-linded personalities with a common ethos, team building models all recognise that in order for projects to succeed, a variety of skillsets and approaches are necessary.  A team full of 'completer finishers' will never make any changes or get anything implemented, whereas a room full of plants will conflict and not see projects through to the end.  Encourage teamwork and help people to recognise where they fit and how they contribute.

If new staff are just given a workspace and a job specification and left to achieve their goals independently, they will bring the culture from their old workplace, which is always a bit of a gamble.  People recreate what they already know as it is the path of least resistance, but if this doesn't match with your culture or where you want to be, there will be conflict.  So don't leave it to chance.  When new people join you, assign a buddy who already demonstrates the culture you are aiming for.  Ensure they introduce the new person to all of the specialists, that they know where to go for help and that it's OK to ask for help, and most importantly, ensure that it's more important to be kind, collaborative and supportive than to shine by being selfish, isolated and concerned only with the success of their department.  Introduce the idea of shared goals, company-wide success and humanity.

If we do not actively create the culture we want, another culture will develop on its own, which could be terminally damaging to the reputation and sustainability of your organisation.

 

CCC can help to support your wellbeing programme with general counselling, mental health awareness and stress management programmes.  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more.

 

 

World Mental Health Day 2017

World Mental Health Day is a time that has been set aside each year to celebrate and promote global mental health education, awareness and advocacy.  It's an initiative run by the World Federation for Mental Health, a global organisation with members and contacts in more than 150 countries, and the day was first introduced in 1992.

Since then it has focussed on such topics as; the link between mental health and meeting and eating with family and friends, mindfulness, depression and how to take a proactive approach to your personal wellbeing.  This year it takes place on Tuesday 10th October, with the theme Mental Health in the Workplace and is a good opportunity for us all to consider our approach to our own personal mental wellbeing and that of those around us, espeically at work.

 

What's the problem? 

Colleagues often become friends and provide a good support network for those going through emotional distress, but it is the line manager relationship that allows for the official communication between the organisation and the employee.  This is why it is key that your leaders have the right skills and approach to deal with staff who suffer from mental health problems compassionately and effectively.  Getting it wrong can be a distressing and costly mistake for the team and the business.

The line manager relationship is where discussions about personal wellbeing, performance and progress are likely to take place, so it is there that any issues are likely to become apparent.  It is not necessary to be a doctor or therapist to adopt an open and honest approach to reviews and a culture of understanding and willingness to address problems.  

 

What should I do or not do?

First contact is key in distress.  How an initial conversation is handled can affect the ultimate outcome, and it is important to display empathy without making rash promises.  There should be no implication of weakness, incompetence or blame, but a positive hopeful discussion led by the needs of the indivudal.

We all have times when we struggle, and often temporary adjustments can make a huge impact on someone's abiity to cope and to make logical choices to improve their situation.  It an employee feels supported and that an employee truly cares about their welfare, this can vastly improve their loyalty, attitude and ability to perform and succeed in the long term, which can only be a positive outcome for the employer.  Resilience and the ability to manage challenge and change effectively is a key skillset in the modern workplace.

 
 What can I do to help my staff?

Organisations have a duty of care to their staff, which you can help to fulfil by working with Cambridgeshire Consultancy in Counsellling to provide services for those in need.  You may find World Mental Health Day a good opportunity to initiate a conversation about what steps your co-workers could take to provide for their mental fitness.

Our services include:

  • Face to face and telephone counselling on a 121 basis.  Assessment plus 6 sessions on a 'pay as you go' basis
  • Mental health presentations to guide your staff in managing and improving their own mental health
  • Mental health workshops to help line managers take a proactive approach to employee wellbeing, within the parameters of your HR guidelines

For further information about these or any of our other services for organisations, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workplace Wellbeing makes commercial sense!

It's official - workplace wellbeing makes commercial sense!

A recent study by the World Economic Forum, resulting in their Global Agenda on Mental Health 2014-2016, concludes that a mental health issue is not a lack of morality or of weakness, and outlines how organisations benefit both financially and in terms of economic engagement and motivation when practical steps are taken to support staff through difficulties and proactive measures are implemented to improve staff mental health awareness.

For many years, employers have acknowledged the benefits of promoting good physical health to their workforce, but increasingly, mental health is starting to appear on the agenda.  It's easy to see the effect on work colleagues when someone comes into the office in a bad mood, but it's perhaps less obvious when a colleague is experiencing a slow and gradual decline into a state of depression.

However, the effects are real - not only on the individual concerned, but also on their colleagues; in terms of feelings of impotence (not knowing how to help), of guilt (not being able to help), of anger (if their workload increases because of someone else's lack of productivity or their absence) and in terms of general distraction.  To address these issues, not only benefits not only benefits the affected individual and their line manager, but also all of their colleagues, and potentially, the profitability of the business.

For the small investment of only £50 per counselling session, an employer could avoid weeks of paid absence.

For a one-off fee of £450, a group of staff could learn about the most common mental health problems, how to identify if they are a colleague might be suffering from one of them, and most importantly, action they can take to reduce the effects of and manage such conditions or how to help a colleague in distress.

To find out how CCC can help your business, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Read the full report at:  http://b.3cdn.net/joinmq/7eb7e59295b1ecd263_rgm6iy3yj.pdf