Posted in change, depression, Health and Wellbeing, hopeless, mental health, Needs, Psychotherapy, Self-reflection, Uncategorized

10 Myths About Psychotherapy

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Hello everyone and Happy Halloweeeeeen!

I have been discussing my own psychotherapy and how it has been helping me for a little while now but I still notice that a lot of people are afraid to try it for themselves. Though therapy might not be for everyone, a lot of the old misconceptions about it still hang about to this day. I feel that some of these ‘myths’ are the reasons some people don’t want to consider psychotherapy as an option for themselves. Today I hope I can help by debunking some of the myths you might have heard about psychotherapy that might be holding you back from giving it a go!


1. You’ll be lying on a chair, looking up at the ceiling and talking about your mother.

I think a lot of of people picture this image when they think about therapy. It is what we have seen in old movies and read about in old books but in truth, this is not how therapy works these days. This type of therapy is an old version of what is called ‘psychoanalysis’; a type of therapy made popular by the likes of Sigmund Freud. Though you can still find a lot of psychoanalytical therapists around today, most therapists have moved away from this type of therapy or have at least integrated it with other types. Psychoanalysis is seen as the starting point of modern therapy and a lot of therapists that use this method are very good, but they wont make you lie down on a brown leather couch in a mahogany filled office filled with intimidatingly titled books. Though maternal relationships are often discussed in all types of therapy, it certainly doesn’t have to take center stage. No one will try to tell you that you have an Oedipus complex either, unless of course Freud comes back as a ghost this Halloween….




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2. There is only one type of psychotherapy.

One thing I know I didn’t realise before deciding to study in this area is that there are many different types of psychotherapy. We have already skimmed the first type; Psychoanalysis, but there are two other main divisions of therapy: Humanistic and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Humanistic is the more commonly used type of therapy today and has slowly been replacing psychoanalysis. It is what is called a holistic, client/person-centered approach. It generally consists of building a therapeutic client-therapist relationship and allowing the client to realise their own capabilities and creativity. There are many different sub-types of humanistic psychotherapy such as Gestalt Therapy, which focuses on thoughts and emotions in the here and now, and person-centered which is very much about creating a supportive environment for the client to establish their own identity.

CBT is commonly used today for targeting specific behaviors that a client wants to change. It often consists of written exercises like journaling which helps the client to realise certain triggers and patterns that are causing some of the distress in their lives. It is usually used for short term therapy instead of  long-term.

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You can also have Art Therapy, Play Therapy, Body Psychotherapy, Jungian Therapy, Existential Therapy and many, MANY, more. Then you have Integrated Psychotherapy which is a method used a lot today in which a therapist may use a variety of different approaches that they feel may help the client depending on the issues they bring to a session. For example, a humanistic psychotherapist may suggest a CBT exercise to a client if they feel that it may be helpful for them to identify certain triggers for panic attacks.


At the end of the day it is about what feels right for you, so look up some of the different approaches and see if any jump out at you! Then shop around for a therapist who uses that method and see if it is a good fit. If you are a bit overwhelmed about all the different choices then it might help to consult your doctor to see if they have any recommendations. Make sure the therapist you choose has the appropriate accreditation for your country. For Ireland it is best if they are accredited by the IACP, IAHIP or IAPPC. I will leave links to their sites at the end!

3. Your issues aren’t “serious” or “bad” enough for therapy.

You don’t have to have been abused as a child, witness a death, be a victim of domestic violence or rape or anything else you think you need to be “qualified” to see a therapist. You also don’t have to have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, clinical depression, psychopathy or any psychological condition to benefit from therapy. If you are feeling sad or down, anxious or scared, but don’t think you have a reason for it, or if you are grieving for something or someone or just struggling with life in general, there is no issue that is “too small” for therapy. If something is affecting you and you can’t seem to get past it psychotherapy may be able to help. I promise you that no good therapist will turn you away for not having a “serious enough issue” or for not being “crazy enough”.

4. You will be asked ‘and how does that make you feel?’ every 5 seconds.

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Yes, therapy is focused on your thoughts and feelings most of the time, but for the most part the therapist doesn’t talk that much! Roughly 90% of the talking in a therapy session comes from the client. In psychoanalysis the therapist usually doesn’t talk at all! Humanistic types of therapy are where therapists will do a bit more of the talking but even then, it is usually just to make an observation or to ask you what is going on in the moment. CBT therapists often only talk to discuss the things that have come up as a result of one of the exercises you have done the previous week, and to help you to notice patterns from it. Therapy is about you so you are the one who does the talking!


5. A therapist will tell you what to do to be happy.

If only it was that simple! Therapists do not have all the answers to our problems. They are there to help us find our own answers because at the end of the day, the only person that can tell you what is best for you is YOU! No-one will ever know you better than yourself, so unless therapists suddenly develop mind-reading powers we have to try and figure it out. They might not be able to give you all the answers but they are there to support you in finding the strength and confidence to make the choices that are best for you.

6. You are paying them huge money to sit in a room and listen to you complain aka to do nothing.

Because of point number 4 this often becomes and issue for people. Therapists don’t give you the golden ticket to life or a book that will tell you how to be happy forever or have a secret potion that will make all your problems go away. So why bother with them? Like I said, therapists are there to support you. Their job is to provide a safe place for you to express what is troubling you in your life and to help you to discover what is holding you back from being happy. They can help you to unlock feelings and thoughts that might be unhealthily buried deep within but are holding you back from having a full life, they can help you to come to terms with a traumatic event or they can just be someone that listens to you when you feel like no-one else will. People go to therapy for many different reasons which is why it is important that you trust the therapeutic process but also speak up if you feel it isn’t helping. Tell your therapist if you feel like it isn’t working, they wont be hurt or insulted. Maybe they need to try a different approach with you or maybe they just aren’t the right fit for you. In that case they will be more than happy to recommend someone else who might be better suited to you.

7. You are just a paycheck to a therapist.

Gregory Reid; prop styling by Renee Flugge

Though therapists obviously need money to pay the bills and fund their own life, don’t think that they see you as a just a quick buck. Most people (remember, they are people too!) who become therapists have done so because they want to help people, or have had to have therapy themselves and want to give back. They have been trained to leave their work in the workplace just like everyone else but trust me, they will think about you and your situation sometimes outside of work. Therapists are human beings and they have been successful in their career because they are good at feeling empathy towards others. They may be holding a straight face in a session but sometimes what you say will really emotionally affect them. It is however, their job to be their for you and not the other way around  so they just wont show how much it affects them in front of you. That is for their own therapist to deal with!

8. They will just try to fill you with drugs.

Psychotherapists are not medically trained so they are not qualified to give you any sort of medication. They can of course recommend discussing the idea of medication with your GP or psychiatrist (if you have one) but they are there to listen, not to dose you up. Medication can be very helpful in some situations and can actually allow you to get the most out of therapy. It might be worth chatting to your GP about it but as for your psychotherapist they won’t be prescribing anything but mindfulness, exercise and self-care!

9. You will feel better straight away.

Unfortunately this is not usually the case. You will have some sessions where you come out feeling amazing but other sessions you will feel worse than when you went in. For those just starting therapy, this is’t very motivating to go back, which is understandable; why pay to go somewhere where you leave crying your eyes out? Therapy can bring out some very deep rooted emotions and issues that you could have been unknowingly carrying around for a long time. Uprooting these emotions can be painful and make you feel worse at the start but by exploring them you can begin to properly heal by accepting these feelings. Therapy is not easy but I advise you to stick with it! If you really feel that you are just getting worse instead of better, discuss this with your therapist and doctor and see if they can help to make the process more easy for you.

10. Therapists have it all figured out.

Though therapists are trained in how to help people cope with all the things life throws at them, that does not mean they are happy, content and fulfilled 100% of the time. It can be hard to practice what you preach so don’t think that your therapist’s life is perfect. They have their own issues too and could also be seeing a therapist! They just generally won’t disclose any personal issues to you because it is seen as bad practice and they are there to support you, not the other way around!


I hope this little myth-busting blog has been helpful to calm some people’s fears around the idea of going to s psychotherapist. It can be a scary decision to make but for some it can be completely life changing!

I hope you all have a fun, safe Halloween! Try not to eat too many sweets!


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Posted in depression, hopeless, Psychotherapy, Relationships, Self-reflection


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Happy Tuesday everyone! The sun has started shining once more and the temperatures are slowly beginning to rise. I am cautiously optimistic that Spring might finally be showing up!

Today I’m going to do a bit of reflection about something I have learned about myself recently. I would be interested in people’s thoughts about it if you would like to share them. So here it goes….

I was at therapy on Thursday and a topic that comes up a lot whether you are studying some form of therapy, or if you are in therapy yourself, is the idea of ‘needs’. When you think of what you need your mind may jump to the things our body needs to live such as food and water, or maybe you will think of things you want such as love or family or even material things like a house and money. Sometimes it is hard to decipher between a need or a want or to realise that what we want can actually be a need.

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I have come learn that I myself don’t like the term ‘need’ when it comes to my own needs. I care a lot about the needs of others and like to give them what they need, but turn that around and I hate the idea of ‘needing’ something from someone else. I don’t like relying on other people because I have it ingrained into my brain that they will just let me down. It is easy to come to this assumption when you have been hurt or disappointed by others in the past, but it dangerous when this assumption becomes fact to your brain. Asking for help, asking for the things that you need from someone else can become terrifying or just something you think is pointless. It can make you isolated and fearful of forming a relationship with others, not wanting them to get close enough to let you down.

Not only do I not like to ‘need’ things from others, but I also often don’t know what my needs are. My therapist often asks me ‘What do you need right now?’. Nine times out of ten I have no idea. My needs don’t enter my head. I could tell you what my brother needs or my mother or my stepdad, or my friends, but I have no idea what I need, because I don’t see my needs as important. You may think that makes me a selfless person which it doesn’t. I have selfish wants all the time, but not needs.

Not acknowledging my needs is a behavior I have picked up over time. I don’t blame anyone else for this behavior but I can see where it started and how  it continued to the point that I no longer see what I need. I need food, water, money to pay rent and bills, basic things to survive, I can acknowledge those things. Anything else like emotional needs are lost to me for now.

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Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs from

To come to this realisation was quite painful in a way. To acknowledge that I don’t think enough of myself to know what my needs are seems very sad to me. I suppose it gave me a sense of hopelessness. If I do not know what I need to be happy then how can I ever achieve happiness? That is when I found my first and second need. I need to accept I have needs and that they are important. I need to find out what those needs are.

I think it is a good thing to sit down every now and then and ask ourselves what we need. Even if it isn’t obvious straight away, it is a good habit to think about it until we come up with an answer. To fulfill our needs is one of the basic steps we take to achieve happiness, but taking those steps are so important.

I think it will take me a while to dig down into myself and discover what my needs are. I think it will take even longer to accept that I may need other people to help me fulfill some of those needs. For now I am happy that I have taken the first few steps towards figuring it all out.

I guess what I wanted people to take from this week’s blog is that it is ok to need. It is a normal part of life and your needs are just as important as everyone else’s.  It can be hard to see that sometimes but you are much better off acknowledging your needs so you can do something about them, than to hide them away and let them build up. If we are to help the people we care about with their needs then we must make sure we are taking care of ourselves first.

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I hope my little self-reflection gave you a little something to think about over the next few days.

Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day and take care of yourself!






Posted in Relationships

10 Reasons I Find Online Dating Annoying

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Happy Valentine’s/Singles Awareness Day!

I hope you are all having a great week whether you are loved up in a relationship or, like me, being thankful for being single so you don’t have to rush around trying to shop for heart-themed gifts. In the spirit of the day I thought I would talk about the modern worlds take on dating. So grab some chocolate and be prepared for a bit of a rant!

So with the internet’s successful attempt at world domination, it is no surprise that almost everything we do these days requires us to go online. Though I have previously approved of my newfound ruler due to my love of social media, there is one aspect of this age of technology I find myself struggling to adapt to; online dating.

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I took a break from the dating scene about a year ago for the whole self growth and learning to be happy by myself thing. Though I was on dating sites during that time I wouldn’t say I was actively seeking a relationship and so wasn’t really using them properly. I have been wrestling with the idea of maybe trying to pursue a romantic relationship in 2018, but, the world of online dating is making me consider just becoming a crazy cat lady instead. These days dating apps seem to be the only way to meet a romantic interest. Long gone are the days of a person walking up to someone that they like the look of and starting up a conversation.

I was brought up during a time when online dating was seen as a desperate attempt for middle aged women to find a man, men to have casual sex behind their wives backs, and a way for scammers to trick people into giving them their life savings (thanks Dr. Phil). Though these may be unfair stereotypes, it was what I was brought up believing, so you can forgive me for feeling a bit nervous when the likes of Tinder, eHarmony and OkCupid started to come on the scene. I have been a serial “relationshiper” since my primary school days, when I would date boys and MAYBE hold hands with them if they were lucky. Casual dating has never really appealed to me, so I was very reluctant to go on these dating apps as I thought the majority of people who used them were looking for casual hook ups.  Though that may be true depending on what site you use, I found I was mostly able to sort through those looking for sex and those looking for something a bit more. Needless to say I appreciated sites like Plenty of Fish where you could actually state what type of relationship you are looking for.

I wouldn’t call myself an online dating expert by any means, but I think I have enough experience using these sites to know that I am not a fan online dating. Though I have accepted that I will probably have to keep using these blasted sites, I have also accepted that I will probably never like the experience (though it isn’t really the sites fault, more the process of using it). So here are the ’10 Reasons I Find Online Dating Annoying’

1. Using them makes me feel shallow.

With the way most dating sites are set up, it is very hard not to judge someone completely on their appearance. I know there are probably a load of nice guys with great personalities that I’m swiping no to, simply because I am not instantly attracted to them by the one or two photos they have put up. I could be passing up on a great person because their selfie skills are sub-par!

2. The “Popular” People.

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Image from the movie Mean Girls

This is something I know annoys other people. Your main photo should be of JUST YOU. I don’t have time to spend an extra five minutes trying to figure out which person you are amongst a group of 20 GAA players, or a group photo of you and your 10 closest pals who all look weirdly the same. You have friends, awesome! Throw in a pic of you and your mates as well as some solo pics and I’m sure I’ll be impressed at your social skills, instead of frustrated trying to figure out who I’m talking to.

3. The ‘Lone Photo’ People.

Everyone has that one photo that they think they look a million bucks in. Maybe you are right and you should definitely include it in your profile but don’t let it be your only photo. Sure, I’m guilty of putting up a few photos with a few filters on them but I always make sure to have at least one photo of me as my usual not filtered self, so you have an idea of what you’re actually getting. First dates are awkward enough without showing up and realising your date’s profile photo was probably taken 5 years ago and they have shaved their head and grown a beard down to their knees in the meantime.

4. The people who don’t fill out their bio/profile.

Look, I’m not expecting you to give me your life story but please show some signs that you have a personality! The only thing saving me from my first complaint is the opportunity to read a bit about you. Don’t just put your snapchat ID (I will assume you are looking to send dick pics and want “sexy” pics back) or a one liner that says something along the lines of ‘just ask!’ or ‘not sure what to put here’. I’ll let you in on a secret….NO ONE KNOWS WHAT TO PUT THERE. Just show you put in a little effort and tell me a bit about what you do and what you are interested in. I am waaaaaay more likely to message you if I can talk about something I found interesting on your bio/profile.

5. The Posers.

Yes you have a nice body, maybe even a six pack, good for you. This doesn’t mean your profile pics should just be photos of you half naked and trying to attempt the “smoulder look”. Now if you are just looking for a hook up sure, go right ahead, but if you want something else then put a shirt on, this is not a Twilight film and you are not Taylor Lautner. If I see this I automatically assume you are just looking for something casual.  Being happy in your own skin is a great but maybe show it off in another format….

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Image of Taylor Lautner from the film Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2

6. The ‘Hi/Hey’ People.

So you want to send someone a message, great! I know it takes a lot of courage sometimes to message someone you are attracted to. Your courage will go to waste 9/10 times if all you send is ‘Hi’ or ‘Hey’. ‘Hi how are you?’ is slightly better but still not great. Most of the girls I have talked to about this will get at least ten ‘Hi’s’ in a day. Unless we are really attracted to you we are most likely going to ignore it. No effort has been put in. If we have filled out our profile (and shame on us if we haven’t) pick something you find interesting and find a way to work it into your first message. Even something as simple as someone mentioning on their profile that they like rugby, you could say: ‘Hey I really liked your profile, what rugby team do you support?’ or if they mention they like movies you could say ‘Hi I see you like movies, what are your top five? Seen any good ones recently?’ BAM a conversation has begun!

7. Dick Pics EVERYWHERE!

This one is pretty self explanatory. Put it back in your pants.

8. The Rules of the Game.

Don’t reply straight away, talk for a while then disappear for days, only reply as quickly as they reply, don’t let them know you are really interested, since when does dating have so many rules! Ghosting, fishing, whatever you want to call it, it is so annoying! I never liked the fact that some people treat dating like a game, but with the introduction of online dating it seems to have gotten even worse. If you are busy just say so! If you are attracted to the person, tell them! If you want to reply, just reply! I’m all for a bit of a chasing but come on. In my opinion, honesty is the best policy when it comes to relationships so starting one off by abiding by all these rules is a waste of time and silly!

9. The First Date.

Why First Dates & Marketing Are A Lot Alike, Betsy Kent, Be Visible
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As far as I’m aware, no one likes first dates. They are nerve wracking and awkward and can often become a disaster. If you are one of the lucky ones, sparks will fly and it will lead to a second date. A mediocre result is that the date was nice but you didn’t find yourself attracted to the person so you awkwardly part ways and wish each other the best of luck (and maybe make the false promise that you will stay friends). One of the worst outcomes is of course you land up on a date with a psycho but that is a whole other blog. No matter what outcome you get, that first 15-20 minutes can be brutal. The worst part of getting result 2 or 3 is that you know you will have to go through it all over again…….

10. The people who say ‘you are too picky’.

Yes there are lads and ladies out there that have impossible standards when it comes to online dating, but I really don’t think I’m one of them. I have four main things on my checklist for a potential match:


  1. I have to be somewhat physically attracted to them.
  2. We have to have a few things in common.
  3. They have to have a job or be in fulltime education.
  4. They have to want a relationship.


To be honest I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Some might judge me for the third one but I think it is a reasonable request for people in my age group (25-35). As for the others, there is no point in wasting both of our time if I’m not going to be physically attracted to you. If I get on well with someone and am not 100% sure if I’m attracted to them, I’ll at least go on the first date to check as sometimes you need to meet the person to really know.  I think the others are pretty self explanatory.

So those are the things that annoy me about online dating. Do you agree? What annoys you about online dating? Do you love it or hate it? Let me know!