Becky Whittaker Counselling -  Blog

Becky Whittaker Counselling - Blog

About the blog

This blog is a collection of insights, inspirational material and useful articles to help educate you about the world of counselling, inspire you and hopefully entertain you. Happy reading. For details about my counselling services please visit my main website.

Counselling Via Skype

About counsellingPosted by Becky Tue, May 24, 2016 16:35:02

It has been a long while since my last post so I thought I would hop onto the computer and update you all.

My work with clients has been varied, rewarding and so very enjoyable, I have been gaining lots of experience working with so many really wonderful people, all of whom I am extremely grateful for.

I have been thinking extensively about trying to make counselling even more accessible to everyone and I am often asked if I can visit a client at home due to childcare or transport issues.

Whilst I think that working together in a neutral environment is really valuable, I do also understand that sometimes the logistics of a busy life can make a regular commitment difficult - this is where online counselling via Skype may suit some of you.

Skype sessions may be available on request to those that are deemed suitable for online therapy. It will be important that clients have access to a high quality stable internet connection, have downloaded Skype and have a working webcam / microphone. Online counselling will require the same level of commitment as face to face therapy and therefore appointments would be scheduled on a weekly basis (which can still be flexible) or less often if I feel that you would still find the process beneficial.

Having your own access to a quiet and confidential room where you will not be interrupted will also be a factor on whether working via Skype is for you, of course this something that we can explore.

As with face to face counselling I offer a free no obligation meeting via Skype (in person if you are thinking about starting counselling with me in my office) to allow you the chance to chat with me and see if you think that counselling might be helpful. It also gives me the opportunity to assess if I feel online therapy is suitable for you and to see if I think I can help - not to mention the chance to ensure that technology works as it should and test how stable the internet connection is likely to be.

I hope this little update has been useful, I am really excited to be offering online counselling, I look forward to meeting even more of you very soon.

If you are interested please do get in touch, my email address is becky@beckywhittakercounselling.co.uk or please give me a call on 07734 777698.







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How To Become More Productive In Life

Making ChangesPosted by Becky Sun, April 13, 2014 11:30:00
As busy lives seem to get busier daily it is easy to drift from day to day letting lots of little jobs be left by the wayside. As spring is traditionally the time to clean, refresh and overhaul I thought that I would put together some top tips to help you to stop procrastinating; allowing you to become more productive and motivated without it impacting too much on life and more importantly enjoying yourself.

#1 - Create a list of what you would like to achieve - The key to this is in the word "achieve", it is no good writing a list of unobtainable tasks either due to financial constraints or lack of skill to make it happen. Write a list of things that you know you can do, all those things that you have been putting off, it could be simple things like weeding the garden or more in depth tasks such as looking for a new job. When you write your list concentrate on between 5 and 10 tasks so that it does not seem too big.

#2 - Prioritise the tasks - Once you have created your list work through and put the tasks in order of priority. Some tasks are time limited and therefore need to be done by a certain date. Sometimes it makes us feel good to prioritise some of the quicker tasks so that you see items being ticked off sooner; a great motivation boost!

#3 - Try to tackle something on your list at least 5 times per week - Choose five days per week when you can start to work through your list. Set aside between 15 and 30 minutes per day and work on the tasks for only this amount of time, some tasks might need to be worked on over a few days but that is fine. By breaking it down the tasks seem so much more manageable and we can all find up to half an hour each day. When you reach your two rest days, enjoy them and know that you are becoming so more productive.

#4 - Don't keep putting things off - If there is a particular task that you keep putting off, sit down and really think about why your are procrastinating. Maybe you are struggling to see the benefits of doing it or perhaps you are not sure how to begin, by breaking it down into small sections it will become more manageable. Another great technique for stopping procrastination is to imagine what it will be like once the task in done, for example if it is to organise your kitchen why not take a look on pin sites such as Pinterest for photos of clean, tidy and organised kitchens for the ultimate in motivation.

#5 - Keep a calendar on your wall - To avoid nasty surprises use a calendar on your wall in a prominent position. Be sure to write down anniversaries, birthdays, insurance due dates and reminders that certain tasks need to be done. By having it in a place where you can see it each day you can add these tasks to your weekly lists to keep on top of the important stuff in life.

Remember that these little job's won't do themselves, by leaving them you are running the risk of them building up, becoming unmanageable and needing to spend lots of time sorting it out. By spending just a few moments each day to get these things done you will be relaxed, organised and can truly enjoy your down time.

This post was written by Becky Whittaker, a qualified counsellor running a busy private practice in the towns of Newton Abbot and Chudleigh, Devon.

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New Year Resolutions; Do They Have To Be Done In The New Year?

InspirationalPosted by Becky Wed, January 08, 2014 13:23:20

Well 2014 is upon us and for many the New Year is a time of reflection, a time for changes to be made and when promises are made to ourselves. This concept of making a New Year's resolution to make a change within our lives leads many of us to pile so much pressure upon what is essentially nothing more than a new day. How many times have you made a resolution to join the gym, eat more healthily, read more or any number of other things? How many times have you managed to extend this new change much past February or even past January? Often we make a resolution because that is what people do in New Year but we make it with little regard for the reason that we were not able to make the change previously, perhaps the change was difficult due to lack of time, lack of resources or simply a lack of desire.

My theory behind New Year's resolutions is that more often than not they were not actually very obtainable in the first place, with the added pressure placed on what can be a very strained time of the year it seems like a possible recipe for disaster.

Whilst writing I feel that it is important to say that I am not here to abolish New Year's resolutions as for some they can be a positive experience but my reticence about them comes from a place of why wait all year to make the changes? Why not make them now?

When we speak to ourselves with kindness and without judgement we can become aware of what in life could do with a change but without feeling the need to criticise ourselves. For example you might be feeling that you would like to join a gym this year and get fit, this is a great start and what a positive thing to do for yourself; however where does this feeling come from? Is it a place of self criticism where you feel that you have let yourself go, don't look good naked or feel old before your time? Or is it a kinder place of self concern, feeling that you could be more confident, less anxious and more comfortable in your own skin? You see your goal to join the gym (and actually go regularly) is the same but the reasons behind this goal are very different.

Once you have decided what you would like to change (if anything) and thought about it from a state of self kindness does it feel different? Take a moment now to think about the change that you have in mind and the ‘kind to yourself’ reasons for wanting to do this. You might notice that for this exercise I am talking about a single change rather than more than one, Rome wasn't built in a day so rather than be a serial resolution maker let's concentrate on cracking them one at a time, remember this can be done throughout the year, not just at New Year; another part of being kind to ourselves and relieving the pressure.

Now you have the goal in mind and you are sure that you have identified ‘kind to yourself’ reasons for wanting to achieve the goal spend some time trying to imagine what life would be like for you when the goal has been achieved, will anything stand in the way? Be honest at this point and be realistic, what do you need to achieve this goal? Simple bite size chunks will get you closer to without feeling overwhelmed.

Step by step, in smaller, more realistic chunks changes can be made in life, by chipping away at our negative and self destructive thoughts we can take care of ourselves and make those all important changes for the better, whatever the date!

This post was written by Becky Whittaker, a Counsellor from Devon who helps clients to make changes in their lives, explore their true self or deal with certain issues. For more information please visit www.beckywhittakercounselling.co.uk.

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5 Quick Tips To Help You To Cope With Christmas

Meeting your needsPosted by Becky Tue, December 03, 2013 12:50:56
With Christmas just over three weeks away I thought that now might be a good time to offer you a quick post with my five top tips to help you to manage Christmas. The festive season can be such a difficult time for many. Those struggling with money issues, family problems, anxiety and the list goes on, it is simply a very stressful time of the year for many of us. Without further a-do here are some ideas to help.

#1 Try and reach a compromise

This sounds simple but it is very difficult to keep all family members happy at Christmas time, family time is so very important but it can also bring it's own tensions. In order to make Christmas an enjoyable experience try not to cram in visiting too many people or having too many guests over at once. You could try and spread out the festivities over three days of Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. By stretching it over more days it will lessen the rushing around and will allow you all to unwind and enjoy this special time of the year.

#2 Be organised

If you struggle with going out to busy shops try and find a way of being more organised so that you can shop at quieter times of the day. It is a good idea to purchase your presents nice and early so that you have plenty of time to wrap up the goodies. Use online shopping wherever possible and when it comes to the big food shop try taking advantage of 24 hour supermarkets, you could get up nice and early and visit the store early morning to get your food shopping when the shops are so much quieter.

#3 Pledge a different gift

If you are worried about money don't get further into debt by splurging on Christmas gifts, try making some handmade gifts such as jams or cakes, these very personal gifts make a lovely change and will be very much appreciated but those that receive them.

Alternatively you could give the gift of time this year, perhaps visit your friends for a cuppa, pop round to a relatives home and tidy up their garden or do a neighbours shopping. Maybe it is worth contacting friends and family and suggesting that you don't do presents this year, perhaps spend a lovely Christmas lunch together instead, they might be grateful that you have suggested it. Remember too that Christmas is about so much more than a huge retail meltdown each year, the values are further reaching than that.

#4 Break down the planning into bite sized chunks

If you are hosting the festivities this year or just have a lot to do in general try breaking it down to a couple of tasks each day from now until Christmas. Write a list of what needs to be done between now and then, prioritise and write a couple of tasks in your diary for each day. This is so much more manageable, it will help to keep stress to a minimum and you will hopefully be more productive. The sense of achievement as you cross of the daily tasks can be a massive boost.

#5 Take time out every day

At this time of year it is important to get lot's of time to think and reflect. You could try doing 10 minutes of meditation each day, or maybe yoga. My personal favourite is to wrap up warm and go out for a nice long walk, the exercise will help you to feel better and you will return home with a clearer mind.

I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas this year and that my tips have been useful. They all seem pretty obvious but we all need a reminder from time to time.

If you need some help and are thinking about counselling I have a practice in Chudleigh and Newton Abbot, Devon. Please visit my website www.beckywhittakercounselling.co.uk or give me a call, I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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Using Hobbies To Help You Cope With Anxiety

Meeting your needsPosted by Becky Mon, November 18, 2013 12:37:35
If you are suffering from anxiety you will be familiar with the feelings of fear, nagging negative thoughts and worries that just seem to keep on rolling round and round in your head. With so many people living with anxiety there have been a whole host of studies on how best to cope with this very difficult and often life limiting condition. Those that are feeling anxious often get into a vicious circle of avoidance and feeling that the things they used to enjoy are no longer within their reach, many now seek the help of medication to help them "turn off" some of those thoughts or feelings. Whilst I agree that medication can help some people to cope I also find myself asking, is there another way? This is the question I aim to explore in this blog, maybe by opening life up again to hobbies and activities that help to channel emotions and challenge us again perhaps we can seek some relief from anxiety.

As a side note, if you have been prescribed medication for anxiety I am not suggesting for a moment that you ditch this and take up singing instead but I am wondering about maybe using the two in tandem with each other. Be sure to seek the advice of your GP if you are thinking of making any changes to your medication or else you may find it counterproductive.

Without further a-do here are my top four hobby ideas to help you to cope with the feelings of anxiety.

Take up art - You don't need to be a budding artist to use this relaxing hobby to help you to 'escape' everyday life and really channel some raw emotion into something so tangible. Often in my work with clients I ask them to put something down on paper to describe how they are feeling without paying any attention to what the picture will look like, we focus on colours, shapes and textures. Through this non-verbal exercise often clients can connect with something on another level so it is useful to do this when you are in the grasp of anxiety, grab some crayons or some colouring pencils and some paper; simply do something to demonstrate on paper how you are feeling. If you really enjoy being artistic on paper why not take your paints or pencils to a local beauty spot and challenge yourself to get immersed in your surroundings and draw it, perhaps join a life drawing class where this can be so useful to meet other like minded people and really take yourself away from your own difficulties in life.

Write a story - Whilst we are on the subject of being creative why not write a story? There is nothing quite like creating a character that you can build a whole new adventure for, this style of writing can be a huge relief if you are feeling anxious as it can help to distract you from your safety behaviours and allow you to become wrapped up in an exciting journey with your character. Start by thinking of a name and some simple pieces of information about what the principal person in your story may be like and just begin to write without worrying too much at this stage about punctuation or 100% correct grammar.

By getting inside the character in your story you may discover that he or she has dreams and aspirations that are similar to your own, use this and have fun with it. If you find that you have a skill in writing you could challenge yourself further by entering a short story competition, this can be very fulfilling and is something to aim for. Whatever happens in your writing see it as an adventure and an opportunity for you to leave your anxieties behind for a while.

Take up singing - Have you ever been driving home after a very difficult day singing along with a CD in your car and feel instantly better? Music can increase feelings of wellbeing and can alter our emotional state so for me this is a very important tip. Singing along to your favourite artist can have a real feel good effect but if you are brave enough try singing to a karaoke or backing track without lead vocals, practice your song and allow yourself to channel lots of emotion into it. By concentrating intently on signing the song and getting it right you will feel a sense of uplifting pleasure that really will take you away from your worries for a while. If you enjoy singing why not take the challenge a notch further and join a local choir or perhaps sing at a local karaoke session, singing lessons may also be a great way to increase your confidence and perhaps lead you do something you have always wanted to.

Learn to dance - This can work well to benefit us not only mentally but also on a physical level as a rush of endorphins can help those suffering from anxiety to feel a sense of escapism and wellbeing. As we learn to dance we can use our emotions to help convey what we are trying to say through movement, our fitness improves and as we concentrate hard on remembering the moves we also can benefit from taking ourselves away from the near constant worry that anxiety brings. There is a variety of ways that we can begin to dance whether we start with dancing round our homes to our favourite music, join a dance fitness class or learn a brand new style such as ballet, tap or street dance. In my opinion organised dance classes where we are having to intently learn moves seems to have the best effect on helping us to deal with anxiety as we have to concentrate so much on what we are doing.

There is so much that we can do to take us away from the feelings of anxiety, this is not a cure but it is a way of learning to challenge ourselves despite the fears that we might be experiencing. The above list is not exhaustive, there are so many other creative sports and hobbies that you could begin. We only live once in this life and whilst anxiety is limiting us we are actually maintaining the symptoms, perhaps by taking up a new hobby that gives us a new focus we can enjoy some relief from time to time, as we indulge in our new hobbies more often we can increase the feelings of blissfull escape.

What do you think? Could you see that taking up a creative hobby might help you?

For more information about my counselling service in Devon please check out my website at www.beckywhittakercounselling.co.uk.




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Five Tips To Help You Find Happiness - Part 2

Making ChangesPosted by Becky Tue, November 05, 2013 15:16:58
Well, as promised here I am back with part 2 of my tips to help you find happiness in your life. If you have not yet read part one please click here to take a look but in the meantime lets get started on part 2. Happiness is something that needs to be nurtured, worked at and I guess grabbed with both hands. By reflecting and making some subtle changes in your life you may quickly find that you are striving nearer towards being happier, more grounded and above all comfortable in your own skin.

#1 - If something in your life is making things hard for you try and change how you deal with it, this might be a job that is leaving you feeling miserable, a friend that is leaving you feeling negative or difficulties with money. To help to identify any issues in your life watch out for that sinking feeling that you get when you realise what your day consists of and really think about what is causing you to feel this way. Perhaps it is something you can deal with differently, if you dread going to work as your boss seems to have it in for you or your so- called best friend spends all your time together offloading about themselves but never asks about you maybe now is the time to make a change. Think about what you could do differently, could you arrange a meeting with your boss to discuss your concerns? Could you speak to your friend and let them know that you could really do with offloading from time to time too? Be assertive but polite and always find ways to be as amenable as possible without it being to your detriment.

#2- Surround yourself with people that help you to feel positive, seek out people that have similar interests to you and spend time with those people. Perhaps join a fitness class or start a new hobby, by widening your own social circles you will feel so much more fulfilled in life - enjoy.

#3 - Be self motivated, this may seem easier said than done but as a general rule we can enjoy life so much more when we are on top. Try not to put things off, simple things like renewing the car insurance or posting a letter can seem so small but can leave us feeling stressed and rushed if we keep putting them off. I guess whether you do it today or next week it still needs to be done so prioritise carefully (no-one can do it all in one day) and choose one of two of these types of tasks to do daily and revel in the feeling that you have done it!

#4 - Keep in touch, all too often I am aware that time moves on so fast and before you know it you haven't spoken to your best friend from school or seen your Nan for over a year, this can lead to feelings of guilt and gradually you lose the support network that has been there for you for your whole life. Make a list of all of those people that you are losing touch with and once a week or maybe twice a month choose to contact people off that list, whether it be a quick 10 minute phone call or a nice meal over a glass of wine do what works for you and enjoy spending that quality time with someone that makes you feel special.

#5 - Just be you, ok this seems obvious but I believe that in order to achieve happiness we all have to be true to ourselves. Know your own truth and do what you need to do to make happiness come to you, be kind to others and hopefully that kindness will one day be repaid in ways that you would never imagine.

I hope this series has been useful to you, have you tried out any of the tips from Part 1 yet? if so, how did you get on? I would love to hear.

For more information about my counselling services please check out my website www.beckywhittakercounselling.co.uk.

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Five Tips To Help You Find Happiness - Part 1

Making ChangesPosted by Becky Mon, September 23, 2013 13:12:35
Happiness is a funny thing, who is responsible for yours? Your friends, your family, your employer? Actually there is only one person that can make you truly happy and that person is you. I have a personal theory about happiness and getting hold of it, anyone who has worked with me as a client will probably know what I am going to say next but I believe it is all about meeting your needs. The more of your needs that are being met the likelihood is that you will feel happier. Here I share my personal top tips to help you to become a happier, more grounded person, the best bit is these tips are really simple.



#1 - Make time for you -

This might seem a bit of an obvious tip but have a go at trying to take some time for yourself every day. Quality time to sit back and reflect is so very important in helping you to make changes, accept any changes and work out what your needs are in life. No matter how busy we are, we can all spare between 15 minutes and half an hour each day to sit where there is no distraction, turn off your mobile, tablet and television, enjoy sitting comfortably and just reflect.

#2 - Learn how to reflect -

Tip number 1 will make so much more sense once you have a real grasp of what true reflecting is. When trying to reflect think of yourself as your own best friend so that you remain balanced and neutral. Whilst you are sitting quietly ask yourself the following questions;

What am I doing well?
What would I like to change?
What do I need to help me make those changes?

Celebrate all that you are achieving, remember every step forward no matter how small will take your closer to your goal.

#3 - Do a daily good deed -

For the ultimate in feel good factor try to do a daily (or even weekly) good deed. Whether you donate something to a charity shop, put your neighbours bin out or help a lost stranger find their way there are thousands of different ways to make a difference. By helping others you will receive a tremendous sense of pride and well-being, it really is a great way to help you to feel happier in your own skin.

#4 - Create a tidy mind with a tidy abode -

Have you ever woken up in a good mood only to feel stressed and miserable half an hour later when you couldn't find your car keys? To feel happy and content we need to be comfortable in our own surroundings, make time each day to tidy a draw, a cupboard or have a good clean round. It only takes a few moments each day but by doing a small task will help you to gradually become tidier, more organised and this in turn will leave you feeling much more at ease. In this case happiness really does start at home.

#5 - Communicate face to face -

In a world of social media, email and text messages most of us have a great relationship with our smart-phones and tablets. It has been well documented that all of this technology whilst great fun is not doing much for our actual relationships. Leave your mobile device in your pocket and spend time each week talking face to face with friends and family. Enjoy seeing people, especially people that leave you feeling positive and motivated. Make time for others and they will make time for you.

I could go on.........

As I was writing I realised that there is so much more that I could say about happiness and making the relevant changes in your life to help you to get there. I am hoping that this will be a good starting point for you and I will follow up with the second part to this soon.

What do you think about happiness?

I am a counsellor with bases in Chudleigh and Newton Abbot, Devon. If you would like more information on the services that I offer please check out my website www.beckywhittakercounselling.co.uk.



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How Do I Know If I am Ready To Begin Counselling?

About counsellingPosted by Becky Fri, September 06, 2013 12:51:25

This is a question often posed by clients, how do I know the time is right to begin working with a counsellor? This is very much a matter of personal readiness and as such there is no clear cut answer. Maybe you are struggling with a difficult life event such as loss of a job, a bereavement or the end of a relationship. It might be that you have parts of your life or personality that you need to explore, make changes or perhaps come to terms with something that has happened.

It may be difficult to know where to begin when you meet a counsellor for the first time but often the easiest way to make a start is to let the counsellor know what is there for you in the present moment, this is often a really good beginning to the process. Even if you just begin by sharing how you feel about starting counselling, maybe it will be excitement, fear or nervousness. However you feel when you sit down in the seat try to share it, your counsellor will do their best to help you to feel at ease.

As your first session progresses you might feel that you have too much to share and can’t verbalise the whole story or you may feel that you are not sharing the “right “ things, remember counselling is a process and rome wasn't built in a day so cut yourself some slack and relax into it.

If you think you would like to begin seeing a counsellor but are not sure if it is for you then I would suggest arranging to meet for an initial session, some counsellors offer these free of charge and it will give you a great opportunity to see if you think you are ready for embarking on a counselling journey, if you are not sure if it is the right time then let the counsellor know and explore together what you are hoping to achieve.

It is no secret that counselling can be challenging so it is important to be sure that you are working with a counsellor that understands you, offers you empathy and is willing to come with you as you travel on your therapy journey.

If you are thinking of starting some counselling and have any questions please pop over to my website www.beckywhittakercounselling.co.uk for my contact details, I will do my best to answer your questions even if you are not looking to have counselling with me.

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