Inside Your Head Episode 9

In my introduction, I explore a link I have realised exists between mindfulness, Transactional Analysis and Attachment Theory as ways to regulate our emotions. I also read out a wonderful thread I found on Twitter by Miranda @mir_and_a entitled How to Stop Out of Control Emotions. (Thanks for granting permission, Miranda!)

My interview is with the amazing Kari Olsen-Porthouse who creates choirs and singing groups. Kari has had an amazing career path, including working as a primary school teacher and working in an advertising agency. Now she runs her own business going into other companies and creating choirs amongst the staff members to raise morale. Following a bout of Covid, she was inspired to thank the NHS staff who had helped her and set about creating The Liberty Singers for ICU staff who have been at the front line during the pandemic, many of whom suffer from PTSD and other mental health issues as a result of the constant strain of the work they do.

As well as creating the choirs (which have members throughout the UK who meet regularly over Zoom), Kari has masterminded the recording of a single to raise money for charity: you can listen to Every Breath You Take (We Watch Over You) on Spotify and other music sources. kari is a truly inspiring person, and you can get in touch via her Twitter account @libertysinger73 .

Our Relaxation on the Beach guided meditation is all about exercising mindfulness in difficult conversations. We explore various ways in which you can learn to respond, rather than react to what the other person is saying, as well as learning to truly listen and pay attention to what is being said.

Resources and bonus material for this show

Transactional Analysis (Wikipedia)
I’m Ok, You’re Ok: A practical guide to Transactional Analysis by Thomas A. Harris M.D.

Attachment Theory (Wikipedia)
Attached: Are you Anxious, Avoidant or Secure? How the science of adult attachment can help you find – and keep – love by Dr Amire Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller

Mindfulness (Wikipedia)
Calm – you can try their meditations and mindfulness guides for free. There are a host of books on meditation and mindfulness out there, but I actually find listening to an app or audiobook easier. If you’re skeptical, start with my (free) Relaxation on the Beach Episode 1 available here, or a simple book like 10% Happier by Dan Harris.
You might also find sites like The Mindfulness Meditation Institute site useful.

Kari Olsen-Porthouse and the Liberty Singers

Every Breath You Take by the ICU Liberty Singers

The Relaxation on the Beach segment from this episode.

 

Inside Your Head Episode 2

The show opens with an introduction to the subject of attachment, which owes its origins to the psychologist John Bowlby who studied the relationship between babies and their mothers, creating the categories of secure, anxious (also known as ambivalent) and avoidant.

This subject has more recently been expanded to cover adult relationships, whether romantic, family or friendships, and I take an in-depth look at some of the guidance contained in the marvellous book Attached: Are you Anxious, Avoidant or Secure? How the science of adult attachment can help you find – and keep – love by Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller, M.A.

In the main interview, I talk to Dr Susie Christensen who is a Psychodynamic counsellor based in Brighton & Hove. Susie made a major career change several years ago, moving across from an academic and teaching background – she originally studied English Literature and obtained her PhD in the relationship between modernist literature, neurology, psychoanalysis and psychology in the period 1860-1939 – into the world of therapy, obtaining her qualifications from the University of Brighton. She has also worked as a bereavement volunteer for CRUSE.

We discuss the differences between psychodynamic counselling and various other types of ‘talk therapies’ and the crucial role of the relationship established between the therapist and the client. We also discuss the concept of ‘transference’. Susie also has some interesting tidbits about the early work of Sigmund Freud, the ‘grandfather’ of psychotherapy.

We spend some time discussing the notion of ‘story’, and how that can work in different ways: how individuals in a relationship can unwittingly develop differing stories about the dynamics of that relationship, which can actually lead to them realising too late that they have very different ‘takes’ on the situation; but also how story can be used in therapy to help the client build a meaningful picture of their past life, particularly if they have ‘blanks’ that may be the result of trauma. I refer to Rick Hanson’s brilliant book Resilient.

Susie and I also look at how the body can influence our thoughts, and the notion that the brain in our heads is not necessarily the only ‘brain’, and how what goes on in our gut and our heart can have a powerful effect on our moods, the mind-body connection, introducing the subject of neuropsychoanalysis.

In the last segment of the show, my Relaxation on the Beach meditation focuses on how we can use meditation to free ourselves of unwanted thoughts and allow them to drift away whilst we return to our ‘home base’ and achieve calm.

Resources and bonus material for this show

Attached by Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller, M.A.

Sigmund Freud (Wikipedia)

Resilient by Rick Hanson

The Relaxation on the Beach segment from this episode.