Get Your Glow Back – Episode 49 – Julia Samuel MBE
Julia Samuels MBE is a counsellor for Paediatrics at London’s St Mary’s hospital, Paddington, where she works with parents whose children have died and children who’ve experienced loss themselves. She is a Vice President of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, an Honorary Fellow of Imperial College and Founder Patron of Child Bereavement UK – an organisation set up to teach authorities and professionals how to support families and rebuild their lives after loss. She joined me on the podcast to discuss her new book ‘This Too Shall Pass’ all about moving through life’s changes. Here are my notes on our conversation:
What made you want to become a psychotherapist:
Wounded healer – both of Julia’s parents had significant bereavements before they got married which lead to a lot of unvoiced trauma which influenced her to be interested in uncovering what is going on inside
Human Connection – As a twin she began her relationships in utero and so feels most alive in relationships and loves working with people creating a relationship with them.
EMDR – eye movement desensitisation reprocessing, for trauma, transformational
What is the goal of therapy
Often due to a big event or crisis but could be due to low level dissatisfaction
The therapist’s work is to build a relationship with them so that they can explore what is going on inside them
To allow an openness to all that is going on inside and make more informed decisions that enable them to cope with difficulty and change without fighting it.
Is mental health on the rise?
Less stigmatised so more spoken about and more channels to share struggles
Much more support and information available than ever before
People have to take responsibility to help their own mental health and do the things that will make them feel better which takes endurance and commitment
Dealing with Change:
We live in such a fast paced world with more changes than ever
The answer is to accept the change and be prepared to do the work to adapt
Be aware of what’s going on, talk to those you are close to
Journalling can be really helpful if you aren’t seeing a therapist to prevent circular and negative thinking
Walk in nature and talk with a friend – Get outside and voice how you feel to understand your inner landscape
Key aspect of communication is listening, to ourselves and to each other
Don’t conflate feelings with facts: slow yourself down, take the information and work out what is feeling.
Our ability to deal with change is governed by our relationships
Physical and mental strength are connected, building physical strength can help us deal with mental struggles
Choosing to do things which support you creates resilience and builds an internal way of being that can hold you steady in the winds of change
Should we be invoking small changes to prepare for larger changes:
We’re wired to like habits
It’s always good to go out of your comfort zone
The more you resist difficulty the harder it becomes to deal with it
How to Deal with Relationship Change:
Not realistic to expect your relationship to meet all your needs, getting your needs met outside of the relationship, so you aren’t relying on it for everything
Relationships take work:
Accepting each other
Understanding each other, flaws included
Know what you are looking for and what needs you want met and whether or not that is realistic
Before commiting to a partner:
Discuss your values with your partner, do you both want the same things?
How do you deal with difficulties together, how do you resolve them and do you feel closer after?
Are you good as a team?
How do you feel about yourself when you are together?
Do you like who they are in the wide world?
Supporting your loved ones through changes
Help emotionally and pragmatically: what role do you play in that relationship?
Always requiring patience, endurance, understanding and ability to create a safe space
When giving advice ask yourself: Is your advice helpful? Is it purposeful? Is it for their benefit or for mine?
Dealing with developmental change:
Adaptation process as a parent is all about change
Knowing yourself, knowing your child and knowing when to let go and when to hold on