Category: Counselling (page 1 of 4)

Seize the Reins! How To Take Control of Your Life

Life is scary.

Often it can seem like so much is beyond our control, that there are so many things we ‘have to’ do and it can feel like we’re not the driving force behind our own lives.

Luckily, there are some simple behaviours you can adopt to take control of your life!

Take the wheel: Learn to take control of your life

Take the wheel: Learn to take control of your life


Treat Yourself As You Would Treat A Friend

We’re often much kinder to our friends than we are to ourselves: we’re much more likely to say ‘it’s not your fault’ or ‘everything’s going to be alright’ to other people. We also tend to give our friends good advice, and help them to follow it, whereas with our own lives we tend to either ignore or be blind to the best course of action.

This is because when it comes to our friends’ lives, we’re not ruled by our emotions. We can offer an objective viewpoint that allows us to assess the situation and find the best solution to a problem.

But when it comes to our own lives, our emotions – fear, anger, desire – can overrule our rational minds, meaning that even if we somehow manage to discern our best options, we go against our own advice because of what feels good at the time.

Treating our problems like they’re our friends can be a helpful way of taking back control over our emotions. If you can learn to address them by stopping and imagining that the problem is happening to a friend, then imagine what advice you would give them as an objective party, you can help determine the best course of action.


Say “No”.

There’s often an immense pressure to do every favour people ask of you, particularly if you’re put on the spot. The problem is, once you say “yes” a few times, people come to expect it of you. You can become forced into the role of event organiser for your friends and colleagues, or being the one who always takes on the extra hours or projects at work. People start to assume that you’ll do it, and the pressure can build.

Try and remember that you have the right to say “no”, even if you said “yes” in the past. You don’t have to justify “why not” and you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

It’s fine to do favours for your friends, or take on extra work once in a while, but once it becomes expected of you, these things are no longer favours or extras – they’re just additional stress.

Once people accept that you will say both “yes” and “no”, they will keep asking, but will accept your decision making. Plus, you’ll come across as more confident, which is a big bonus.


Do The Most Important Tasks First

We almost never wake up with just one thing we need to accomplish in a day, and sometimes it can be tempting to put off the more challenging or highest pressure tasks until ‘later’.

However, our energy wanes as the day goes on, and this can mean either that ‘later’ never comes, or the task takes even longer and is even harder because we’re tired by the time we get to it. This can leave us feeling like we’ve not achieved anything at the end of the day, or that we’ve not worked hard enough. Getting into a cycle of good intentions and then failing to meet them can be hugely damaging for our confidence and mood.

A good way of combatting this is by writing a To-Do List first thing in the morning, and organising your tasks in order of priority, with a section of those which can wait until tomorrow if necessary. Do the most important first, then work your way down the list in order. That way, the most important things get done when your motivation and concentration is at its best, and if you don’t finish the list, it’s only the things that can wait that have been left out.

Doing this will mean that you’re more likely to go to bed feeling accomplished and capable, which in turn will spur you on for the next day.


Don’t Obsess About Other People’s Opinions

Some people will like you. Some people won’t.

It can be tempting to focus on those who don’t like us – we might ask ourselves why, or try to change their opinion. But this is largely pointless as a course of action, and is a huge waste of energy.

Consider someone you don’t like. If they went out of their way to try and make you like them, you would more than likely find it irritating and off-putting. This is because we can’t force people to change their minds about us, and sycophantic behaviour is generally considered a trait associated with weakness of character, which is hardly appealing.

Yes, sometimes someone may change their mind about you, but if it’s going to happen, it will happen organically and not through a forced attempt on your part.

Try to accept that there will be people who don’t like you – more often than not, it’s not because you’re a bad person, and it’s not even a reflection on your character. Everyone has different personalities and not all gel well together, and that’s okay.

And anyway, wouldn’t the world be a very boring place if everybody was the same?


Take Some ‘Me Time’

Life today is very busy – almost all of us have very full schedules of work commitments, family events and social ties, which can leave very little time for us to take time for ourselves.

Set aside some time each week that’s just for you to do whatever helps you unwind – yoga, sports, art, music – it doesn’t matter what the activity is, just make sure that you do it.

Taking time for yourself gives yourself time to think and focus on what you want without being distracted by the demands of everybody else around you. This is vital to taking control of your life, because how can you take control if you don’t know what you really want?

It’s easy to become convinced that what we want is what other people expect when we’re around them, but when you’re doing something that’s just for you, you have the time to reflect without all the external pressures and make decisions for yourself.

Plus, taking time for yourself will help reduce your stress and anxiety levels!

5 Tips To Improve Willpower

Struggling to stay on track?

When we’re trying to achieve our goals, it can sometimes feel like we’re constantly fighting ourselves. For example, when we’re on a diet, we might feel like we have to fight the urge to order dessert, or if we’re on an exercise training programme, we have to force ourselves to get up off the sofa and go for a run.

We call this ‘willpower’.


Willpower is like a muscle – it’s not something that you have automatically, rather it’s something you have to train yourself to be able to do. It’s much easier to lie on the sofa watching TV than to go for 10 km run, but we force ourselves to do it because we know it’s good for us. If willpower were an innate ability, everyone would be able to get up off the sofa, but we know that’s not the case.

Plenty of people don’t force themselves to exercise because they don’t like it, or it’s hard – simply put, their ‘willpower’ isn’t strong enough to make them do something they don’t like, even if they know and want the long term benefits. This is not to imply that everyone should exercise (indeed, for some people it’s not safe to do certain things), or that anyone who doesn’t do it is lazy or weak – no one should be forced to do something they don’t want to even if it’s good for them. Rather, willpower is not an innate ability – it’s something that you have to work on.

So how can we improve willpower when it’s not as strong as we’d like it to be, or if we’re struggling to reach our goals?

1. Imagine Your Success

When building willpower, your imagination can be a powerful tool.

Whatever your goal, the temptation to stray from the path you’ve set yourself will come up along the way – so be prepared for it. Instead of ignoring the craving or temptation, address it. If you can imagine yourself as you will be when you achieve your goal, you’ll stimulate your desire to achieve it, which can help you overrule the temptation to ‘cheat’.


2. Diversion Tactics

No matter how hard we try, often negative thoughts can creep up on us. This is the little voice that tells us we ‘can’t’, that we’re ‘weak’, and that we should ‘just give up now’. One trick to improve willpower in the face of these thoughts is to train yourself to respond to them by focusing on something else. If every time you realise you’re thinking this way, you think of something that makes you happy, eventually it will become an instinctive response to distract you from your negativity.


3. Build Good Habits

Habits are notoriously difficult to break, so if you can form good ones when you’re feeling strong, it’s going to be easier to keep going when you feel like you want to give up!


4. Set Realistic Goals

It’s easy to get caught up in your ‘big picture’, overall goal, but often focusing on that might not be the best approach. Your end goal can often seem too far away or unattainable, particularly in moments when you’re not feeling as dedicated as you’d like. Instead, if you set smaller, more achievable targets, taking it one step at a time, you may find it easier to stay on track. For example, losing 1lb a week is easier than ‘losing 2 stone’.


5. Don’t Give Up When You Slip

This is the most important point on this list.

It’s so easy to feel like we’ve failed when we have a day where we don’t meet our own expectations, and it can be tempting to give up altogether. Diets are famous for this – you’re ‘good’ all week, then binge at the weekend and give up because you feel like you’ve undone all that good work.

No one is good all the time. Everyone has days where they don’t meet their goals. What separates the successful is that they don’t give up each time they mess up. They pick themselves up, promise to try again tomorrow, and set themselves back on track.

In the words of Scarlet O’Hara, tomorrow is another day.

Chrysalis Placements: What Help Is There?

Applying for Chrysalis placements can be a daunting experience: it’s just like applying for a job.

When studying with Chrysalis, you’re not alone – we can help you find the perfect placement, all you have to do is ask!

What We Can Do:

1) We can supply in depth information about the course so that the placement provider understands what you are studying and the requirements of the course. This means that you’re less likely to end up on a placement that’s not suitable due to miscommunication or misunderstanding on the part of the provider – we’ll make sure they know what you need from them!

2) If the placement provider requires further information to this, Chrysalis can arrange for a member of the Chrysalis team to contact the placement to talk through the requirements. If they’ve got questions, we can handle them for you so that you can be confident that the placement you undertake will definitely fit the requirements of the course, and you won’t waste your time.

3) Chrysalis are currently collating a list of placements, which get published on our website with information on how to apply. We’re also looking to launch a student space on the website, where ads will be published. Of course, you can find your own placement, but if you apply to any on our list, you’ll know you’re doing an appropriate course straight away (and negate the need for items 1 & 2 in this list – Bonus!).

4) For Autumn 2016 Chrysalis will produce a guide on finding a placement with all of the top tips to help you find your ideal placement provider. If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to finding your placement, you’ll be able to check out our handy guide for all the advice you’ll need.

Please remember that it is down to the student to find a placement. We can help out, but we can’t be there in your interview!

If you have any questions then please feel free to get in touch via email or phone, and one of our helpful team will give you all the advice you’ll need.

Young Minds Matter: Are We Neglecting the Mental Health of Children and Young People?

child depression


These statistics are unsettling.

10% of children will experience a mental health problem, but it most cases, intervention comes much later than it should.

There are obvious speculations to be made about why this is – often children’s responses to mental health problems get dismissed as mere ‘naughtiness’ until the behavioural pattern becomes significant (or even dangerous) enough to warrant escalation by teachers or parents.

So What Are The Risk Factors?

  • Long term illness
  • Parents with a history of mental health problems, alcohol or substance abuse, or problems with the law
  • The death of someone close to them
  • Parents’ divorce or separation
  • Being a victim of bullying
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Living in poverty
  • Experiencing discrimination for their race, religion or sexuality
  • Being a carer, or having other adult responsibilities
  • Prolonged educational difficulties

This list is, of course, not exhaustive, and it is not to say that children who don’t experience these things don’t develop mental health problems.

Monochrome portrait of a sad and lonely girl crying with a hand covering her face (with space for text)

What Are The Most Common Mental Health Problems in Children?

Children and young people can develop any of the same conditions that adults can, but there are some which have proved prevalent among children and young people. The following list contains some (though not all) of the most common, along with warning signs to look out for.

  • Depression – as with adults, children with depression may withdraw from social activities, or experience difficulty concentrating in school (sometimes resulting in a dip in grades)
  • Self-Harm – particularly common in teenagers, they may cut, scratch or burn themselves (often on the arms or legs)
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder – children may become reluctant to do particular activities, have difficulty concentrating, or become more fidgety or agitated
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – usually a response to a traumatic event or experience, which can be anything from a death in the family to abuse
  • Eating Disorders – this can be purposely under-eating, over-eating, or purging. Look out for secrecy about food habits (either secret eating or hiding uneaten food), anxiety at meal times, or rapid weight loss or gain.


New Chrysalis TV Ad

You may have noticed a few more butterflies on your TV screens than normal…

Our TV advert launched at the beginning of April, and has been playing regularly across a range of channels – from freeview to subscription – ever since.

Not seen it? Check it out below!


Our TV ad is just the start of our campaign to reach a much wider audience, to show people that they can make a change.

Chrysalis offers the opportunity to train on fully accredited courses to become a qualified counsellor or hypnotherapist around any current commitments, be they family or work related, meaning that anyone can make that career change.

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