Blog Posts

Living By Intentions – What’s It All About For You?

By Ian Tomlinson

What’s the point of you coming to psychotherapy? Why bother coming to couples counselling? Here’s my premise: it’s easy to start both activities and forget why you started in the first place. This is a reflection of how we live our lives. You fall into autopilot and do things because you’ve always done them, never really questioning yourself as to why you’re doing them. Why Are You Here? Whenever I work with a couple or an individual, or even if you’re a participant of my couples counselling training, I’m going to be asking why you’re here and what your intentions…

Transactional Analysis Psychological Hungers – or Stuff You Need In Your Life To Stay Sane

By Ian Tomlinson

Feeling off your perch?  Maybe you’re not meeting all of your psychological hungers?   Eric Berne, the father of Transactional Analysis, came up with a cracking bit of theory around what us humans need in our lives to feel fulfilled.  Food, shelter and sex form our physical needs, but Eric said our psychological hungers are just as important.  They are structure, stimulation, and recognition. Why should you care? Ah, good question padowan, you’re learning!  Because this piece of theory is useful, my friend!  Useful I say! (oo – sorry, I came over all Fred Elliott).   Let’s have a look at them in more…

How To Deal With People In Your Life That Are Self Absorbed

By Ian Tomlinson

Let me tell you about Dave (not his real name, his real name is Mike – only joking, let’s carry on…) Dave has the fascinating capacity to turn every conversation back to himself.  If I say I’ve got toothache, he’s had root canal surgery.  If I like The Smiths, he will have seen them live in concert 5 times.  If I’m doing X, then Dave will have done X+10. Dave is self absorbed. Dave does not have the capacity to pick the ball and then pass it back under any circumstances.  It’s more that he sees the ball, grabs it and runs into the distance,…

Are You An Autopilot Zombie Sleepwalking To Your Doom?

By Ian Tomlinson

Autopilot behaviour happens to us all.  It’s all of those behaviours you do without even thinking.   Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is particularly interested in this behaviour because it often gets in the way of you having a rich, fulfilling life. Sometimes it’s like you’ve morphed into a zombie and you are sleepwalking yourself into Hell. When you wake up it can be too late and leaves you dealing with the aftermath. Shiny Head What things do you do on autopilot?  Here’s a couple of mine: When I’m having a shower, I often can’t remember if I’ve washed my hair or not.  …

How To Improve Your Relationship In Only 4 Minutes A Day

By Ian Tomlinson

What can you do in 4 minutes?  Make a brew?  Boil an egg?  Shift your relationship with the one you love?  Oh yes my friend – all of these are possible and I will tell you how. Now given that you’ve probably mastered the brew making and the egg boiling, let’s jump straight into how to improve your relationship in 4 minutes a day! I want you to focus on transition times.  These are times when you are shifting from one thing to another and there are 4 well-defined ones that stand out above the rest. When you wake up When you leave for work When…

The Drugs Of Love – A Simple Guide To Love Hormones

By Ian Tomlinson

Can you remember when you first fell in love?  Awesome wasn’t it? And there’s a reason for that – you were off your face on drugs! Not in a bad way I hasten to add, and you couldn’t help it.  It was just your bodies very cunning way to get you to find a mate and reproduce. The Romantic Phase In Imago Relationship Therapy, we call the first phase of a relationship the Romantic Phase.  Many things are going on, but one of the key changes you will experience is the chemicals that are being bumped into your body by your brain. Let’s…

4 Ways To Make Your Partner Feel Loved

By Ian Tomlinson

Want to make your partner feel more loved? Making your other half feel cared about is straightforward, honest! Here’s 4 simple but important ways of doing it. 1. Show Up You will have been in one of those situations that has resulted in you saying, “I’ve really found out who my friends are with this”.  That’s what I’m talking about.  Being there when the shit hits the fan and they need support. Showing up involves attuning to your partner and knowing what’s going on in their lives.  You find this out by talking to them. No really, I’m not being facetious.  So many couples…

How To Deal With Unhelpful Thoughts

By Ian Tomlinson

My brain is a total meff, in fact, it usually talks utter rubbish. Arguing with my brain is a complete waste of time.  It’s stubborn, always knows best, and stares back at me with an uncomprehending gawp if I disagree with it. If you have teenage kids, you’ll know the look I mean. ACT Metaphor To The Rescue In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy there is a lovely metaphor about brains, The Over Enthusiastic Unhelpful Assistant. Let me explain it to you. I want you to imagine you have an assistant following you around all day,  I’ll illustrate by telling you about…

Why New Year Resolutions Suck and What To Do Instead

By Ian Tomlinson

Over this Christmas holiday, I have spent a higher that usual percentage of my week sitting on the sofa and force feeding myself.  It’s tradition. Like a rather rotund hamster, I have shovelled the Quality Street and honey roasted peanuts down my gob in a way that would suggest they could be taken away from my at any time. This is in stark contrast to the ads I see on the TV whilst I’m watching Elf or the Grinch for the fiftieth time. There are adverts for ‘healthy’ foods and gyms telling me I need to be fitter, sexier and more buff. The adverts…

committed action in acceptance and commitment therapy

The Magical Power Of “So What?”

By Ian Tomlinson

Committed Action In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy I cringe at myself every time I ask a client to “tell me about your childhood. ” As a psychotherapist, it’s a legitimate question, but it’s so bloody stereotyped! It reminds me of one of my favourite tracks as a kid – “Hyperactive” – by Thomas Dolby. Now, I don’t have a Therapy couch and I don’t look as crazy as the shrink in the video. Rarely do my clients burst into song when I enquire about their upbringing. I do, however, have to work hard not to ask that question in a…

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