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 Counselling and Psychotherapy for Individuals, Couples and Families in London 

Distance and Relationships. Love and care while being apart 

12th October 2015

My “relationship” with distance started quite early on. One of my parent used to spend most of the week in another city for a big chunk of my childhood. A decade later or so, it was boyfriends living on the other side of the world. Then family, siblings, friends. Since then,  I have lived apart from some people I love dearly. Wherever I am, there is somebody I am missing. There is always a plane waiting to take me closer to somebody, farther from somebody else.

 

The "Baby Fog". Thinking of new parents.

25 April 2015

A baby is a miracle. It is one of the greatest privileges human beings may have: giving life, witnessing this miracle blossoming day by day , introducing a little creature to the world and being in the position of giving and receiving the most intense, unconditional love is an indescribable joy to parents and  to the whole family. 

However, this joy does not mean that at the beginning the whole process of becoming a parent will be an easy and a feel-so-natural one (is any happy life event completely easy, would it give us so much joy if it was? ) Pregnancy and birth are often a bumpy ride and an emotional rollercoaster too.

In my personal and in my professional life, I have had the chance to meet several new mothers and although expressions like “baby blues” and “post natal depression” are nonchalantly used everyday, it is still very hard and remarkably guilt provoking for a new parent to admit to themselves and their entourage how difficult, scary, de-skilling and exhausting the experience of becoming a parent can be.

The feeling that I have most frequently came across is isolation. . Most mothers I have worked with live in London, had busy professional lives before the baby arrived and live far away from their families of origin. Which basically means: not much emotional and practical support. Fathers help as much as they can but after two weeks of paternity leave, despite their heart sinking, they have to go back to work, leave mum and baby for the day and come back to them at night, most likely exhausted from their day and not so ready to relieve their wives back at the parenting fort.

 

What I am writing is well known to parents but what I do want to emphasize for my present and future clients: please do not be hard on yourself. No matter how wonderful, marvelous, breathtaking the experience can be, becoming a parent and looking after tiny little creatures may also be one of the trickiest things you will ever do.

I call it the BABY FOG: a feeling /state of physical and mental exhaustion, in which the perspective on things may become blurry because of sleep deprivation , the afterbirth, the hormonal turmoil, and the massive life cycle transition you are going through. But when in the Fog, please do not forget this: You will become better at it, you WILL go back to being yourself sooner than you believe and most important, you do not have to go through “the baby fog” on your own.

Ask for help: family coming to stay, friends, neighbours, mother’s helpers , babysitters . Try to reach out in your neighborhood/borough through baby classes, children centres, online communities. Also, there are great blogs that not only provide useful information but also help you to feel supported and to take away the edge of it with a little bit of irony. Some examples.

http://theuglyvolvo.com/

http://www.pregnantchicken.com/

If it still feels overwhelming and/ you are worried about your mood swings, thoughts and health, professionals are there to help you.

And yes, you can bring the baby with you.

A January reading: Ian McEwan's "The Children Act"

18 january 2015 at 17.00

According to some social media researchers, tomorrow, Monday or Blue Monday ( this year: 19th January) is supposed to be “the most miserable day of the year”.  Many people suffer from January blues and I have to say I also find this month somehow more challenging than others. Winter is still very far from being over, flus and colds are the highest peak of the year, in Uk it is the tax return deadline and the energy levels seem to be generally quite low. So in case you are wondering why your mood is not great, January is probably not helping with it.

However, there is always something we can do about it.  And it can be an interesting challenge. Some people focus on new year resolutions, starting new activities, classes,projects.  One of my favourite way of fighting the January blues is to focus on indoor pleasures like  reading. Instead of focusing on movies, it is a book I would like to write about today.

Ian McEwan did it again. Whenever a book of McEwan comes out, I cannot help myself being quite excited and I know that sooner or later it will be on my bookshelf.

For some reason, I was not particularly intrigued by his two previous fictions (Solar, Sweet Tooth) but somehow I knew as Family Therapist and as McEwan fan that the Children Act would have been different .

 

Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan

 

"Nightcrawler". The Dusk of Empathy.

“Nightcrawler” (2014) is what many movie critics described as a "must see" thriller of the end of this year. I went to watch it yesterday, encouraged by those reviews and also because I plainly felt like going to the cinema again. Is it a good movie? I think so. Enjoyable? I cannot say, because actually the feeling you are left with, rather than the violence content, can be quite unsettling.

Without giving too many spoilers, Nightcrawler is a movie about a guy, Lou (Jake Gyllenhaal) in his mid/late thirties, unemployed, who by chance one night is a close witness of a car crash and sniffs a career opportunity in L.A. night crime freelance journalism, mainly fatal accidents, murders, etc..  As “nightcrawlers”, there is one priority: being at the crime scene before anyone else, taking the most “graphic” shot to sell to the broadcasting news TV channels . Lou who does not seem to have any relationship/responsibility for any  living being other than a plant in his apartment and who is very likely to have an underlying mental health condition gets very quickly carried away by the night crime journalism. He discovers it may finally be something he is good at. “If it bleeds, it leads” is the motto and it becomes Lou’ s obsession, leading him to blur all lines of ethics and morality (and eventually , legality)  to the point that he is not just the observer of the crime, but the participant.

Quartet, Families and Life-cycle. A film review

5 October 2014

Yesterday I finally came around to watch “A Late Quartet”, the 2012 debut movie of director  Yaron Zilberman, majestically performed by Walken, the late Seymour Hoffman, Keener and Ivanir. It is a tale of a string quartet whose characters have played and grown together over a period of 25 years and who now have to face the end of their journey as a group. One of the members has been diagnosed with Parkinson and will depart the Quartet after one last performance all together.

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