Inside Your Head Episode 7

In the introduction, I talk about one of my passions – the wonders of language – speculating on how language came into being at all. After all, without language, almost nothing else in modern life would be possible and language has been called ‘the tool that unlocks all other tools’. I venture into neuroscience, pinpointing which parts of the brain are responsible for handling language, and I take a brief look at the study of how language – even just little grunts and ‘non words’ – can be crucial in the way we communicate with each other, as an introduction to the subject of Conversational Analysis.

The main interview is with Deidré Wallace, a Harley Street psychotherapist and relationship counsellor. She explains how she doesn’t offer relationship advice, but offers relationship knowledge instead. She explains how problems in relationships can usually be traced back to our childhoods and how our parents behaved and their values. I found particularly valuable information on her blog about abandonment issues, and how that can affect us in numerous ways in later life. These issues can begin in very early childhood, and Deidré explains the concept of “The Gaze”, and how as soon as the immediate mother/child bond is broken, this can potentially initiate a series of behaviours between mother and child that can have lifelong effects. We also discuss how we need to be aware that these issues can affect our career choices, as well as our relationship choices. Deidré has an extensive blog at https://relationshipknowledge.com where you can find out a great deal more about these topics.

Finally, our Relaxation on the Beach guided meditation focuses on gratitude, and how even the little things in life can inspire us to feel better about ourselves and the world.

Resources and bonus material for this show

Deidré Wallace’s blog

Deidré on Twitter

Deidré on Facebook

Harvey Sacks Social Science & Conversational Analysis by David Silverman

Language and the Mind audiobook course

The One-Minute Gratitude Journal by Brenda Nathan

The Relaxation on the Beach segment from this episode.

Transcript of Introduction and Main Interview from this Episode (created using Descript): COMING SOON

Paragraph timestamps are used to help reference the recording

Inside Your Head Episode 6

My introduction focuses on stories, their place in our culture and importance, and the stories we tell ourselves, especially in relationships. We need to be careful that we are aware that we can be acting as scriptwriter and director in our own life movie playing in our heads, but the other participants may not want to follow our script!

The main interview is with Michael Peterson, an ex-Canadian army chaplain, now an Anglican vicar, whose work has dealt with a wide range of issues. In the army, he provided pastoral care for families, but also counselling for military personnel who served abroad – including in Afghanistan and Libya – who suffered life-changing injuries and PTSD, though he remains impressed at how stoic many of them were.

But Michael’s primary story addresses the loss of his wife to ovarian cancer over a period of more than two years, and the additional challenges created by her having Type 1 Diabetes and other complications. [WARNING: some parts of the interview with Michael deal with difficult subject matter – cancer, medical detail, death and grief – that some listeners may find upsetting.] But both he and his late wife faced this terrible situation with dignity, their faith being a cornerstone of their resilience. Michael also talks about the fact that having acted as a counsellor himself for many years, he found himself reaching out for therapy to help him cope during this difficult time.

But his story is not all doom and gloom, and it has what can only be described as a surprisingly happy ending. I’m sure you’ll agree that Michael is a remarkable guest, and I was incredibly impressed with how he managed to tell his harrowing story in such a calm and measured way. (And this was the first time he had ever related these events to a stranger.)

Finally, I pick up the subject of stories again in my Relaxation on the Beach meditation, and how we can use compassion to free ourselves from rumination and anxiety.

Resources and bonus material for this show

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

Into the Woods by John Yorke

The Writer’s Journey by Chrisopher Vogler

Resilient by Rick Hanson

Royal Canadian Army Chaplain Corps (Wikipedia)

What Exactly Does a Military Chaplain Do? (ChristianWeek)

The Relaxation on the Beach segment from this episode.

Transcript of Introduction and Main Interview from this Episode (created using Descript): COMING SOON

Paragraph timestamps are used to help reference the recording

Inside Your Head Episode 5

I open the show by reviewing Emotional First Aid by Guy Winch PH.D. in the introduction. Guy Winch makes the point that whilst almost all of us have at least a basic idea of how to treat physical wounds or injuries, whether minor household mishaps or even more serious ones, such as if we witness an accident and step in to help, when it comes to emotional wounds, many of us don’t even know where to begin and are left floundering and miserable – and we can even make things worse if we’re not careful.

Examining seven types of emotional wound – rejection, loneliness, loss & trauma, guilt, rumination, failure and low self-esteem – Winch provides a step-by-step guide as to how we should apply both immediate and longer-term treatment to salve these psychological injuries, and is careful to point out how to spot whether a problem is so serious that the ‘patient’ is better off seeking professional help, rather than attempting to solve the problem themselves. This, of course, also applies to friends, colleagues and loved ones who may be well-intentioned in wanting to help, but may not be the best person to apply the treatments.

In order to show how the book works, I take an in-depth look at the section on rejection, because it is both the most common form of emotional wound, inflicts the most pain on the patient (and that pain has been proven to be real, visceral pain) and also something that impacted me personally during my own breakdown.

In the main part of the show, I interview Clare Josa whose latest book Ditching Imposter Syndrome is the culmination of her journey through a varied career that has included engineering, market research, yoga and meditation amongst other things. A remarkable woman who earned  FIrst Class degree in Engineering after writing her dissertation in German (!), Clare became one of the first people in Europe to qualify in Six Sigma quality control, and went on to become Head of Market Research at Dyson. It was during her time as an engineer, however, that Clare experienced her own serious bout of imposter syndrome, and overcoming this psychological barrier has latterly become her life’s work.

The author of eight books ranging from novels, through meditation and mindfulness guides to volumes about personal and business success, Clare is a sought-after public speaker, an NLP Trainer and led the EU VAT campaign that managed to break all the rules and actually overturn legislation imposed by the European Union in 2015-16 (which is when Clare and I first met). Clare brings real science to everything she does, debunking myths and making the mysterious simple. Her unique approach manages to combine factors such as ancient wisdom and the latest neuroscience, creativity and ‘getting out of your own way’, so you’re in for an exciting ride covering many of the bases that Inside Your Head was created to examine!

Clare is very much someone who ‘walks the walk’ in her own life, and is a charismatic and enthusiastic guest – I’m sure you’ll enjoy listening to her.

As usual, the show ends with another “Relaxation on the Beach” meditation and this time, I introduce the technique of finding calm by ‘noting’ your thoughts and letting them go, rather than becoming embroiled in them.

Resources and bonus material for this show

Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure and Other everyday Hurts by Guy Winch

Clare Josa’s website

The Ditching Imposter Syndrome website

The Ditching Imposter Syndrome podcast

Clare’s books on Amazon

Clare on LinkedIn

Clare on Twitter

Clare on Facebook

Six Sigma (Wikipedia)

NLP (Wikipedia)

The Relaxation on the Beach segment from this episode.

Transcript of Introduction and Main Interview from this Episode (created using Descript): COMING SOON

Paragraph timestamps are used to help reference the recording

Inside Your Head Episode 4

The show opens with me revealing some of my own, recent ‘lived experience’ dealing with imposter syndrome, an incident that took me completely by surprise. I discuss how it manifested itself, the implications it has for my own psychological ‘work’ because it has revealed an aspect of my personality that I had overlooked, and how I have managed to deal with it. This also has implications for my discussions with forthcoming guest Clare Josa, who specialises in helping people overcome imposter syndrome.

The main interview is with Dan Holloway, an extraordinary man who, despite being bipolar, was Creative Thinking World Champion in 2016, 2017 and 2019, World Intelligence Champion in 2000, and European Speed Reading Champion in 2017, 2018, and 2019. He now runs a company called Rogue Interrobang which focuses on teaching people how to be creative, and this forms the main focus of our discussion today.

We look at how the term ‘creativity’ can be interpreted in different ways, ranging from what people often mis-name “talent” (in fact, frequently the result of thousands of hours of practice rather than a ‘gift from God’) to simply having new ideas about all manner of things, whether in traditional creative fields or business or politics.

Dan also talks passionately about something he is intimately familiar with: the way that suffering mental health problems can stigmatise you in the workplace, and that many businesses and organisations that praise themselves for their inclusivity in fact are nothing of the kind, creating barriers for disabled individuals that are impossible to cross.

Working in the self-publishing world, Dan also has strong opinions about the role of ‘gatekeepers’ and how frequently they are encountered, not just in the world of publishing, but elsewhere too.

The show ends with another Relaxation on the Beach meditation, this time using a ‘body scan’ to relax your body and ease any discomfort or tension. This is a great way to focus on the present, moving through the body and noting sensations, whilst clearing your mind of any other distractions and using the breath as your ‘home base’.

Resources and bonus material for this show

Why Creativity Matters

White Rabbit Anomalies

Creativity: Maker Culture for the Mind

Dan holloway’s books on Amazon

 

The Relaxation on the Beach segment from this episode.

Transcript of Introduction and Main Interview from this Episode (created using Descript): COMING SOON

Paragraph timestamps are used to help reference the recording

Inside Your Head Episode 3

The show opens with my introduction to the subject of self-compassion, focusing on the remarkable book Self Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristen Neff PhD.

The significance of the book is that it enables me to use my own experience of the last year to highlight the danger of self-loathing and self-criticism that can lead to one making desperate and potentially irreversible choices – in short, I nearly committed suicide early in 2021 and this is the book that, along with the care of a few loving friends, helped set me on the road to recovery. Though I can only give the barest introduction to the subject here, I hope that I have managed to convey just how powerful a tool self-compassion can be in healing emotional wounds and banishing the demons of self-criticism, making us not only better equipped to care for ourselves, but to care for others too.

The interview with Samantha Stockin brings a contrast to the first two shows which featured experts in particular fields. Our guest today reveals her own lived experience as someone who suffers mental health challenges, and even more extraordinary, explores the notion of inter-generational depression, by which the dreadful experiences of earlier generations may well have ‘wounded’ the family’s DNA such that mental health problems become prevalent in later generations.

But Samantha is also an inspiring individual because she acts as a ‘Mental Health Champion’ in a large bank, offering emotional first aid to colleagues who are suffering mental health challenges. I’m very grateful to Samantha for having the courage to talk so openly about her issues in a way that will, I hope, be of value to you, the listener.

Finally, the Relaxation on the Beach meditation deals this time with self-compassion, taking what I discussed in the introduction and applying it in a way that enables you to cope with difficult situations in your life, both by recognising that our problems are part of our common humanity and finding a voice within ourselves to soothe what ails us.

Resources and bonus material for this show

Self Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristen Neff PhD

Compassion for the Self-Critic

Transgenerational Trauma (Wikipedia)

The Relaxation on the Beach segment from this episode.

Transcript of Introduction and Main Interview from this Episode (created using Descript): COMING SOON

Paragraph timestamps are used to help reference the recording