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 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.


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.