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Walking the path from struggle to strength  
 

I asked my clients to write a few words of feedback, advice or encouragement for people thinking about whether to start CBT, as they are the experts from experience. I’m sure you’ll be inspired about possibilities for change, when you read how far others have come!  I hope it also gives you a more detailed sense of how I could help you on your life journey, from those who have walked the path from struggle to strength themselves. There are no identifying details, not even first names or initials, as, to me, it‘s of utmost importance to protect peoples’ total confidentiality.
 

Handling anger, impatience and irritability

Although I was initially skeptical about trying CBT (mainly because I knew nothing about it), I found my work with Eleanor very positive. She has helped me to think about other people, life  – and myself – in a different way. Through CBT, Eleanor has taught me to tune in more effectively to my thoughts and feelings so I am more self-aware and able to recognise unhelpful thought patterns, often with unexpected flashes of humour, or being able to see things from other peoples perspective, rather than getting hooked into all my mind’s stories and loosing my temper as a result. The cost of CBT was far far less than what my anger was costing me to my health and reputation! I have already been recommending it to as many colleagues and friends as possible as I can fully testify to Eleanor’s excellence.”

I decided to start CBT with Eleanor because I was very angry and I couldn’t control my anger.  I wanted to explore anger itself because I was very scared of anger as a result of my experiences as a child, so I had misconceptions about it. Working with Eleanor has helped me to understand what anger is all about. It’s helped me to understand the psychological effects of my body after having a baby and the effects of my hormones so I know now that if I feel angry it’s not me being a nasty or bad person. I’ve also learnt that anger is a reaction to another emotion underneath that can help me recognise my needs and get my needs met.  Eleanor gave me the space to admit my anger, which is so helpful as there is a stigma about anger and makes you want to keep things secret. We looked at loads of different strategies I could use rather than over-react. Now I can laugh at things that I used to get really wrapped up in!”

The most important practical changes I’ve made through CBT are being so much calmer with my children. I have a star chart for my children and now I have a star chart for me too to remind me not to swear!! My sense of calm has also increased because anger used to then propel anxiety and perpetuates a fraught state. Eleanor helped me realize I could break that spiral in very practical ways. To give you a little taste of a much bigger picture -  I now walk to school with the kids for 45 minutes every day, and together we play some really fun games which are meditations in a great disguise!!  This really helps release my stress, clears my mind and helps us all to step into the day with much more positivity. Looking at practical strategies like this has really helped me recognise I can manage my anger.

In the past, when I was angry even though I did the best I could it must have affected the kids. Now there is an atmosphere that is much calmer and so they can talk to me much more. My relationships with my children are so much better – they are more relaxed and confident to be themselves have improved in the following ways....my partner looks forward to coming home now! We are really close we talk more and find things funny. The deep furiousness has gone and there is an atmosphere of peace. I have also been able to have a more healthy separation with my mum, so me and my partner and my kids as a family is more balanced and more in tune with one another. My mother said you seem really, really confident in yourself and my partner is now always telling me I’m a great mum and a great woman and I know that it’s genuine because I really have made a huge transformation to my life. If you’re reading this, I hope it gives you the encouragement to give Eleanor a call and make a difference to your own life and the people around you.

Work in progress is recognising that if my kids have been naughty at school it’s not a reflection on me as a “bad mum” – its normal for kids to be over talkative in lessons at school at times. My role is to help my kids see the consequences of their behaviour in a clear and loving way and I’m reminding myself my kids are not me! I have the strength to keep building on my progress because I now realise that I can choose to live life in a more harmonious way. I work with my 6 year old son to keep building positive lists of what we’d like to achieve to be happy and healthy together as a family and I’m practising instilling a healthy sense of helpfulness in my 2 year old son. If I ever needed help in the future I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the phone and have the strength to ask Eleanor to assist me. I now see future challenges as actually quite exciting!”

Every time I have had a session with Eleanor before I go to work, I have come away feeling totally uplifted and inspired to start doing some of the techniques she has suggested.  Even when it is a few weeks between sessions, I always feel that I have made progress, feeling tranquil and happier immediately, rather than how I used to feel which was irritable, impatient and quick to flare up at all sorts of things.  In my experience, CBT is such a good way of learning techniques for managing your feelings, recognising why you think in certain ways, and giving you ways to make positive changes to those thought processes.  It teaches you that even when you may not be able to change certain practical things in your life, you still have the inner strength to work with what you do have. I now realise that I have power in myself to make a difference, by recognising when I am getting into a spiral of a particular thought process, and getting myself out of that spiral.”

I finally discovered the real reason to be alive: is to enjoy it!”

— Rita Mae West