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UK-Based BACP Integrative Therapist, Supervisor & Radical Honesty Trainer writing about #RadicalHonesty, Self-Work and Mental Health.

It’s 16 years ago today since we lost one of my heroes, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Here’s what I wrote when it happened in 2005:

Photo of Hunter S. Thompson c. 1976. © Michael Ochs

Steve told me yesterday evening that Hunter S. Thompson died on Saturday. Shot himself in the head with a .45 at his desk in Woody Creek. I was making chicken fajitas at the time and the kitchen was full of smoke and burning mesquite, so when I started tearing up he didn’t even notice at first. Just went and got himself a drink from the fridge and went in to watch the football.

It wasn’t…

Is it ever really possible to both ‘do’ and ‘be’?

Ask any mindfulness practitioner worth their salt how it is they aim to live their life, and they’ll most probably tell you ‘in a state more of being rather than doing’.

To those not familiar with the language though, this statement can feel a bit misleading. Simply being sounds — to someone who hasn’t experienced it — like doing nothing at all, perhaps just sitting silently in contemplation like The Buddha under his tree while leaves gently fall down around us. …

doesn’t mean I won’t resent you for what you said

Image: two identical figures in boxing gear punch a bag from opposite sides

My husband doesn’t subscribe to Radical Honesty. He appreciates that I make it work for me, that I changed the path of my life, cured my anxiety, improved my relationships with my friends and family, and that I manage periods of depression better now than I ever did before, but he doesn’t want to say what he’s thinking and feeling all the time. …

or how I learned to recognise moments of happiness and not ruin them by holding on too tight

Image: a man buries a young girl’s legs in the sand on a beautiful beach

Many years ago I watched a strange and beautiful Japanese movie ‘After Life’ in which the characters were asked to choose one moment from their lives, one memory, that they could choose to relive forever after their death. Their ‘afterlife’ would consist of just this one crystalline image, something that they could recall with the utmost clarity, and nothing else for the rest of time.

This choice — which you can imagine was the hardest one most of them had ever made…

Or what really goes on in those kooky Radical Honesty workshops

Image: a man stands smiling in a crowd of unhappy-looking people.

A few months ago I was taking part in intensive two day training program in couples counselling when the instructor conducting the training started to describe a form of group therapy he clearly considered to be both bizarre and entirely extinct. As he added more and more details to his description and the people around me in the class began to laugh, I began to feel less and less comfortable in my seat.

The workshop he was describing — one where participants stand naked and talk about their bodies…

If we don’t cry and rage when we feel sadness and anger, where do we believe those emotions go?

Image: a tree shaped like a human head bends in a strong wind

This week, I had a thought that I wanted to write something about how many people I meet — both as private clients and in workshops — who are depressed and full of self-judgement as a result of having a be strong’ driver: believing a story that their suffering is ‘invalid’ and that they have ‘no right’ to their anger and sadness.

But after starting and deleting the first few paragraphs a couple of times, I realised that what I actually…

What do you imagine would happen to your relationships if you let go of all your expectations?

Image: couple at a table, one is staring at their phone screen while the other talks

What do you imagine would happen to your relationships if you let go of all your expectations? Not just your expectations of your partner, but of your friends and families too? What purpose do you imagine the expectations you have of them serve? Do you imagine you use them to protect yourself, to make sure you are respected, cared for, not ‘taken advantage of’? …

How Impostor Syndrome affected my life, and how it may affect yours

Image: figure choosing between masks that show different emotions

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to write something about Impostor Syndrome, and — more than a little ironically — what’s stopped me up until now was the thought:

“I’m not even a qualified psychotherapist or a psychiatrist, why would anyone care what I have to say about the subject?”

And when a particular subject or theme reoccurs repeatedly in my client-work and in my own life, I have an idea this means I have something I want to say about it. …

“I don’t know why. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love my family. It’s just they always ask me so many questions.”

Image: Family enjoying Christmas dinner, above mother’s head is a thunder cloud

Just as the start of summer always seems to herald a drop off in people seeking personal therapy from me, so the start of autumn and the weeks leading into December always seem to show a steady increase in enquiries. Aside from theories about Seasonal Affective Disorder and the effect that sunlight may have on our mental health, the other reason for this — in my imagining anyway — is the increasing sense of anxiety many people…

I no longer see lying as ‘Wrong’, only as something that feels ‘wrong’ — or unpleasant — in my body.

image: young woman being pointed at and accused

Like a lot of people (in fact I’d suggest the vast majority) I was raised to think that telling lies was Wrong with a capital W. I imagine that this judgment, like so many, has its roots in Judeo-Christian religion, specifically in the biblical principles known as The Ten Commandments. “Bearing false witness against your neighbour” is normally listed as the ninth commandment — just under ‘stealing’ and just above ‘coveting’ — and is actually pretty vague as far as…

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