Beccy Stremes

Blog. lost at sea

Lost at sea - the therapeutic journey

Transitions – lost at sea
When you experience change, whether it’s a welcome change, or a cruel unexpected change, it can take a long time to feel that secure base of safety again and you can feel lost, fearful and unsure of anything anymore. With these feelings present, you may find that making decisions are impossible. You may feel that your stomach is constantly knotted, and there is a constant feeling of being Lost at Sea. All is just not ok. You may feel as if there are a million different thoughts darting through your mind, none of which are making much sense. Focusing may be extremely difficult and it feels like there is no way forward.

When we start working therapeutically together, the counselling space becomes a secure base for you to start unfolding all those feelings and fears. I stop alongside you. I don’t try and give advice or find a solution, but I act as an anchor, a place to ground, and we explore together everything that has brought you to this place, this part of the ocean that is so scary right now. We wait however long it takes until you are ready. Like a damaged boat lost at sea, we work together to make repairs, replacing old wood for new wood and new strengths for old weaknesses before we attempt to move on.

When the time is right, and you are repaired enough, I sail along side you as you begin your journey towards your new secure base. We journey at your pace, sometimes moving quickly forward, sometimes getting stuck for a while, and sometimes being dragged back a bit. But slowly we are definitely moving forward together on your journey and I stay beside you for however long the journey takes.

As you sail slowly forward, the shore begins to take shape and I know my journey with you is coming to an end soon. We spend time looking ahead to the new life just in front of you, and pay respect to the difficult journey you have sailed. You have new strengths with the wind within your sail and your own life is in front of you again. As we approach land, we bid a fond farewell and we part as I watch you in the distance stepping out. Our therapeutic journey has ended and your adventures are ready to begin. You have found your feet and are on solid ground again, you have found your own secure base.



Blog. Menopause blog

Counselling during the menopause

Going through the Menopause can be a really tough time, physically for sure, but also mentally. We often read about the physical difficulties - hot flushes; sleepless nights; erratic periods: but less is spoken about anxiety and depression that can appear from nowhere, leaving us wondering why we suddenly feel we've lost our confidence and the resilience that we had before. This is not surprising when you stop and think what you are physically going through.

Unfortunately the menopause comes along at an age when we could really do without it ( A bit like GCSE's bang in the middle of the adolescent stage!) We are facing a real time of transition, often dealing with adult children leaving home; or dealing with the worries of parents becoming elderly and frail. We might be questioning our relationship with partners, suddenly having more spare time together and not remembering how we used to communicate: we are also facing our own feelings about the ageing process and what life in older age will look like. It really can be a time of reflection and insecurities. Our settled worlds can suddenly feel rocked and unsafe. All of this will be explored in Menopausal counselling.


Having been through the menopause and having spent much time researching how best to emotionally support clients through this, I have been able to pick out certain therapeutic tools that I feel would be helpful through this menopausal transition.

We explore together, your own specific Timeline. of major events in your life, and what beliefs about yourself you may have built up. Then we look at whether these beliefs are useful or hindering you. If you think they are hindering you, we look at replacing these with a more helpful belief ( created by you) that will empower not hinder you.


We will also explore and look at the other issues you may be facing, whether it's pressure at work; or pressure at home, and see how you would best like to use the important down time ( playtime) to support you through.

And finally, we look to the future, to see what you are hoping to achieve, what your wishes are for the future. We look at any fears that are holding you back, sensitively challenging them, seeing if we can shift any feelings of being "Stuck" to a more freeing, empowering feeling.

If the Menopause is causing you to struggle emotionally and you feel that working with a counsellor would benefit you, please contact me via the e-mail button or by phone. Both can be found by going to my home page.



Blog. why choose counselling

Why choose Counselling?

If we are physically ill, most of us go to the doctors, and ask for help to put things right. It's a sensible thing to do. We don't want to feel the aches and pains, and we are looking after ourselves. In fact, if you complain of an illness to a friend, most likely the first thing they will say is " Have you been to the doctor?"
If we are feeling emotionally unwell, somehow we expect ourselves to "Get over it" and carry on. We plod on regardless, and usually through positive experiences happening as well, we quickly recover and get on with dealing with life. However, sometimes our emotions just get too worn down, like getting a bout of flu over and over again, and this is when I feel counselling has a real part to play. When we are at this point we "simply can't see straight" and a helping hand is what is needed. This can often be the helping hand of a friend, but every now and then their words don't comfort anymore and you know you need outside help. To speak to an absolute stranger IS Scarey. To talk to someone and tell them how awful you really are feeling takes guts. It's a big brave step to take, and I have loads of admiration for anyone picking up the phone to make that first contact.
My own experience of having counselling has left me in a place where I have a better understanding of how my mind works and my emotions work. I've realised that when someone or something makes me feel vulnerable, I will react in a certain way to keep myself safe. Only sometimes the way I react is not helpful to myself. I may be feeling vulnerable because of a fear that stemmed from something years back. I may start feeling anxious or panicy, re-living the original fear when actually it's not necessary. I will react much better from a position of neutrality, rather than triggering off a reaction from fear. I'm waffling, so let me try giving you an example.
My belief is that I cannot cope with opinionated people. This stems from my family life where there were strong debates about politics. As a child I felt threatened by the ever increasing noise when the debates started. I would feel anxious, on hyper alert, and wouldn't dare speak even if I desperately needed something. When I hear someone being opinionated now, my immediate reaction is to feel anxious; on the alert and ready to escape, and this feeling usually make me withdraw very fast from the conversation. Now I can see that this was how I felt as a child, I can see I don't necessarily have to feel like this today. So, actually rather than withdraw, I might quite enjoy learning where their opinions came from. Because I don't feel vulnerable, I might join a conversation that is really interesting, I might even challenge what they are saying. I don't have to agree with anything. So, I have the chance to try out different ways of reacting, which let's me have more choices in life, rather than just reacting the way I always did. This is just a small example of how we can react differently when we have a chance to explore our past and the behaviours we set up to deal with issues.
SO this is my experience of counselling - the chance to discover patterns of behaviour which are reactions to emotions, and then decide whether I want to carry on reacting the same way, or try out other ways. It's like a freedom from the rut, a chance to do things differently. A new beginning.
If you feel like you're reacting from past experiences which are holding you back, and would like a fresh start, away from those original emotions, counselling may be for you.
If you would like to book an introductory session, please contact me by phone on 07834 422039 or e-mail me at [email protected]



Blog. Is your stomach churning/

Is your stomach churning?

According to Michael Gershon, M.D., author of The Second Brain (Harper-Collins, 1999), we have a second brain in our stomach. I heard this mentioned at a conference I was at the other day, and it made so much sense, I just had to write about it.
So, those "Gut" feelings and "Gut" Instincts now make perfect sense, and I will now be listening even more intently to what my stomach is saying to me.
I see my stomach as a round Pie chart - with different sections that grow or reduce depending on my feelings.There's different sections for anxiety; sadness; joy; anger; guilt and shame, and they all have different colours. So for me, anger is red; joy is yellow; sadness is grey;anxiety is purple; guilt and shame is green. Through each message sent from my brain, my stomach reacts and the pie chart shifts around from emotion to emotion in a constant movement of colour. I am learning to really listen to stomach, and work out which emotions I am feeling. This is a helpful tool, because I may be feeling angry about a situation that I've just experienced, but I'm unsure why? When this happens, I can think about my earliest memories of being angry. Most times this gives me a little indicator of any patterns of anger, and I can quickly see whether I am just reacting to old patterns of anger to see whether the anger I'm feeling right now is really justified. If I'm feeling anxious, I can quietly see what I can do to calm it down a bit. Do I just need to really organise my day, so that the thoughts that are causing anxiety are addressed. This anxiety usually happens when I am dealing with a lot of different work issues and I'm not sure which tasks to prioritise first. Just thinking about what the anxiety is about, means I can see what is the most important thing to get done, and what else can be ditched for the time.
When things get ditched, I imagine wrapping the thoughts and actions needed, up into a nice box with lovely wrapping paper and a big bow round it. I then wrap this in cling film a few layers. In my imagination, I then push the wrapped box, ever so gently with both hands, and watch it disappear into the sky, where it sits neatly on a little ledge ready for when I need to look at it. If I do this, it means I have THIS day, to look at what is important to get done, and I have a much better chance of achieving all my goals for the day. Tomorrow, I can send for the lovely wrapped box, and see whether it is the right day to open it, and tackle the issue inside. What this does for me, is it reduces my anxiety, and leaves me more space to en "Joy" other parts of my day.
If I am really feeling anxious, ten minutes listening to a good meditation tape, works wonders. I have to admit, this took practice, and at first I couldn't get my brain to be quiet. If I can stop the constant chatter in my brain, it gives my stomach a chance to re-balance, so that the pie chart is all nicely equal for a little while. When it's equal, my body feels calm, and I feel at peace with the world. When I'm at peace, It's usually followed very quickly by a real feeling of Joy.

If you feel your own personal pie chart in your gut is out of balance, and would like to explore this with me, please contact me and we can arrange a time that suits you, to meet and see how we can re-balance this together.

If you would like to book an introductory session, please contact me by phone on 07834 422039 or e-mail me at [email protected]














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