Blog Posts

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…

Win The War In Your Relationship

How To Win The War In Your Relationship

By Ian Tomlinson

Is your relationship a battleground?   Want to know how you can get the upper hand? My guess is that you will engage in one of two strategies to win this war. Strategy 1 – Maximising Maximisers are very good at pushing forward and getting their point of view over, often loudly. If you’re a maximiser you are probably shouty and determined that your partner hears you, so if they move away from you, you shout more. Strategy 2 – Minimising Minimisers take their energy in and disappear into themselves when it all kicks off. You might withdraw physically, go into…

hear all, see all, say nowt

The One Thing My Grandad Taught Me That You Need To Know

By Ian Tomlinson

My Grandad, Walter, was a man of few words.   I can only ever remember him saying three things. A traditional man, working class to the core, he’d sit in his armchair smoking whilst my Gran would whizz around him tending to his every need.  It was a relationship that seemed to work.  This was the 1970’s and to my young eyes, both of them seemed to know their roles and carry them out with diligence.  Words Of Wisdom You May Choose To Ignore The council house they lived in was small and well run and looking back on it now…

Acceptance and commitment therapy loops

How Funkadelic Saved My Sanity

By Ian Tomlinson

Sometimes I get stuck. This information may come as a surprise to you. Even though I’m a therapist and have spent years studying the art of avoiding holes, I still fall into some deep pits when I’m on autopilot. When I got stuck last week, Funkadelic threw down a rope and pulled me out. Here’s what happened. Life Is Hard My life in so many ways is easy. I have a roof over my head, I can feed my family, my loved ones are healthy. What have I got to complain about? Sometimes I feel dissatisfied but then think I…

acceptance and commitment therapy reading list

The Top 10 Resources For Learning About Acceptance And Commitment Therapy

By Ian Tomlinson

I deliver training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) at two levels at my therapy centre in Cheadle, Cheshire. If you know very little about ACT and want to know more you can come on my Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy course, which runs several times a year (click here to find out more). Once you have been on that course, or if you already know the basics of ACT, I offer an Intermediate Training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, (click here to read about the course and to sign up). I also use ACT with both individuals and…

Imago Relationship Therapy and Transactional Analysis

Crossing The Bridge: An Interview With Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt

By Ian Tomlinson

Imago Relationship Therapy is a couples therapy created by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt.  Imago is a contactful and effective way of working with couples and closely related to Transactional Analysis. I’ve spent over a decade training in Imago Relationship Therapy, almost as long as I’ve been a practicing TA therapist and supervisor.  Imago has had a huge influence on me as a therapist both in the way that I work with couples, and how I work with individuals.  It has changed the way I interact with my partner and given me a mechanism to create a deep, loving…

the Space-Between

The Biggest Single Mistake Couples Make In Their Relationship

By Ian Tomlinson

I see many stuck couples in my couples’ therapy practice in Cheadle.  Why are many of them stuck? They’re focusing on the wrong thing The Single Biggest Mistake You Can Make In Your Relationship  The single biggest mistake you can make in your relationship is to focus on the content – the who said what, when, etc and ignore the process – the Space-Between. It‘s easy to get caught up in your own stuff, forcing your point home if you don’t think your partner is getting it.  When you do that, you miss the most important thing. THEM If you behave this…

can i bring the passion back into my relationship?

Can I Bring The Passion Back Into My Relationship?

By Ian Tomlinson

“Can I bring the passion back into my relationship?” is a question I hear all the time as a couples therapist. It makes total sense that you would want to know if it could be like when you first met all over again. Passion, aaaaah. Remember the days when you first met? You’d stare into each others eyes, want to spend every waking moment together and could not keep your hands off each other. Heady days. The amazing, all consuming feeling of being attracted to another human being. And the sex – blimey! You never knew you had it in…