Bev White is a registered counselling psychologist, has worked in the field of psychology since 1999 and is exceptionally good and well respected. During her career, she's worked with people with a range of issues including depression, anxiety, eating problems, phobia and abuse. She currently works in private practice and in collaboration with a number of organisations. Bev gives one to one sessions from her home in Scotland and also works with people from all over the world via Skype, email and phone. She tailors her work to each person and aims to work collaboratively to explore and make sense of your current situation, which may have brought you to this moment in your life. Her aim is to help and support each individual with changes they wish to make, to decrease distress and to feel more grounded and content. She uses all manner of techniques and psychological theory including some psychodynamic, analytic, cognitive and behavioural techniques. Bev has written an article for DHB about how not to feel terrified in light of recent events.
How Not To Be Terrified by Bev White
It is difficult for most of us to comprehend the recent acts of terror committed in Manchester and London. Being close to home at everyday events, there's something about the incongruence between our expectations and the reality that shocks us to the core, creating a strong reaction be it sadness, fear, vulnerability or anger. Much has been written about how we talk to children and young people about the terror attacks and rightly so but let us not forget our own needs. You may be surprised but what we need is not so very different. The reality is there are many helpful ways we can move forward and take care of ourselves, our families and communities.
It’s ok to feel this way
Well it’s not ok. It feels horrible but remind yourself that you’re feeling sad, angry or worried with good reason. You’re having a normal reaction to distressing news and events, so don’t dismiss how you feel. Acknowledge your emotions and if it helps, direct them towards something active. For example:
· have a cry
· go for a walk or run
· write down how you feel
· listen to loud or uplifting music (headphones optional!)
· read something which resonates with you
· watch a movie
· talk to a someone about how you feel
If you find news report and information about these tragic events upsetting, think about either avoiding them or setting a time once a day when you listen to or watch the news, look at social media or read a newspaper. It can be very difficult to avoid the constant stream of information on TV, radio and social media, so if you find it distressing just stop for a while. This is not you being avoidant, this is you being compassionate with yourself.
It is common for people who already feel anxious to focus on events in the news in an unhelpful way leaving them feeling increasingly anxious and avoidant of going out. Remind yourself that events which make the news are thankfully rare. Avoidance of going about your daily business will only add to your worry. Instead live life as normally as you can. By doing so you will be able to gather good ‘evidence’ to reassure you that you are not in imminent danger.
For some people the idea or preparedness helps reassure, so if you feel that way check out some good advice of what to do in the unlikely event of being caught up in an emergency.
Looking to the future
As a nation we have a wonderful ability to foster resilience and come together. These events draw into focus for us what is important and reminds us of our similarities as people. This is the perfect time to look at those around you and think about how we can treat one another with compassion and respect. The dialogues we have with one another today become the narratives of our children in the future. Kids are key to how we move forward, so let’s think about how we explain acts of terrorism and war to the young people we come into contact with. Let’s model kindness and inclusiveness in our homes, workplaces and communities.
If you feel compelled to help there are lots of practical ways you can do so. If you have some time, find out about youth projects in your area and how you can get involved. If you would prefer, you can donate some money or goods to a local community project. The Red Cross are also fundraising to support those affected by the UK terror attacks:
Where to seek further help
If having tried some of these things, you still feel overwhelmed then it may be helpful to seek some more structured support. If you feel unable to carry out your daily routine without feeling anxious, contact your GP who should be able to help you to find suitable support.
If you prefer to seek out counselling or psychotherapy independently then the following professional organisations will have details of accredited therapists in your area: www.bps.org.uk, www.bacp.org.uk
To get in touch via email:
Here's the link to Mae White Psychology Facebook page too: