Clap Your Hands Now

Next Steps

Over the last few months/years I have been asked a few times by graduates of counselling and or psychology courses and by other interested parties about the next steps to become either a coach or a counsellor.

Over the next few days/weeks I’ll share a number of ideas to advance ones helping career.

1. Investigate what a counsellor and a coach does.
2. If one or the other appeal to you find courses that you want to do next
3. Ask a number of counsellors/coaches about how they are finding their work and how their course was

Ascent: Looking like a long way up.
Take that 1st Step

4. Find out a little more of the marketing/business side of being a coach or a counsellor
5. Join or research BAATN, BACP, ATPN, Black Minds Matter, UKCP, Counselling Directory, The Counsellors Cafe Magazine, Black Thrive, BPS, Ayanay, National Counselling Society
6. Find courses both online or at a College or University that offer either counselling or coaching or both courses and apply. I believe only UEL do currently.

Made it from the bottom
Onwards and Up


7. Find a mentor who can support and offer insight through the learning process. BAATN provide a fantastic mentoring service for students.
8. Identify specific areas of interest i.e. Trauma, attachment, relationships, mood management, bereavement, anxiety, depression, Intergenerational concerns, the list is near endless.


9. Learn from others Brené Brown, Tony Robbins, Jim Kwik, Eugene Ellis, Rotimi Akinsete are good examples of how far one can go.
10. Read and listen to a few relative podcasts Tim Ferris has a good number, Science of Success is good as is Philosophy Bites, Kwik Brain, and a ton of others.

Resources
Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility Interview featuring Dr Dwight Turner
baatn.org.uk Eugene Ellis and Arike discuss Creating Partnerships with Training Organisations

Images
Cover Image by Daniel Lincoln Unspalash
Inlay Photo by Jukan Tateisi Unsplash
2nd Inlay Photo by Boris Stefanik Unsplash

Kwanda: Men’s Group

New Dynamic
Sometimes words simply aren’t enough to describe an experience. I believe Tank said it best in the Matrix when he said “It’s a very exciting time.” Or words to that effect about Neo joining the Nebudchanezzar and finally waking up.

Go Global
Earlier this year I had a compelling conversation with Kwanda. Their interest was about putting together a therapy group for Black people. The group had the potential to attract members from Kwanda’s global village. Potentially people could attend group therapy from the Caribbean, countries in the continent of Africa, people from The UK, the America’s and from Europe.

Topics
On Wednesday 12th of June 2020 the 1st group began. 3 men were able to dial in and begin initially talking about their general matters of concern. The Lockdown, CoViD19, work and finance being under threat or stopping, being with protestors for a range of reasons with the public outcry for justice for George Floyd, some choosing to find another way to lend their support.

Having Substance
Jumping into It


Unknown
Once it became clear that the vision of Kwanda had been realised a joyful exuberance about facilitating this group over took me. I grew confident something of significance had been achieved!  That 3 Black men who had previously not known each other, could discuss via Zoom, topics that were of interest and concern for us all, and related to the other virtual attendees of the group was a remarkable outcome of the 1st encounter.

Growth
The 60 minutes passed quickly and were filled with moments of genuine laughter, surprise, empathy and disappointment shared by all to all. The 3 were quick to note how comfortable they felt about discussing some of the things they had found within the group. A felt sense of knowing the other, without the need for pretence or hiding behind masks of pseudo masculinity was what I sought to experience and did.

After
Some had engaged with therapy before and felt that whilst IAPT support had been useful, it hadn’t resolved their primary concern for engaging in therapy. The men stated that a free form discussion was useful in the beginning. The men shared that they were also interested in tackling personal topics in a more focused and direct way.

Zoom
The 1 hour passed in what felt like a few minutes! A brief check out revealed that they all wanted to continue attending and would return the next week. A healthy beginning to a 1st Kwanda inspired social change event.

History Repeats
For me, Kwanda’s Group Therapy clearly informed that psychotherapy can be accessed by all especially by Black women and men. I would argue that group therapy is what many from the African diaspora are involved in currently socially. The African Diaspora have been culturally and historically engaged in social economies for centuries. Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook Watch Parties, Skype, Zoom, Instagram live and many other group social platforms are used to pass messages in ways similar to the old way.

Similar infact to the drum! Africans from yester year invented Tele-Comunication.

Perhaps in times of great change we could all do with some psychotherapeutic support. The vision of Kwanda for me, is that it’s about Legacy.

The, what we are able to pass on to those that follow.

Resources
Broken Record Rick Rubin and Daryl DMC McDaniels discuss therapy and music
What’s Ray Saying? Brother in Arms
Code Switch Some Of The People Knew Magic
TED Radio Hour Inspire To Action

Images

Cover photo provided by Kwanda take a look here
Inlay photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash

Vicarious Trauma

Before
I was 17 when the vicious attacks by LAPD officers on Rodney King were made and became a pre viral assault for global audiences. This was before the days of the internet. News was gathered from television news reports.

When
March 1991. This was my first year attending an art college in Wisbech Cambridgeshire. The Isle College was as far removed from the site of the brutal attack as I could safely imagine. Wisbech was then a small rural town.

Heard
Police and their brutal treatment of law enforcement towards Black, Brown and poor people – a frequent backdrop to the music I was listening to at the time – Public Enemy, N.W.A. and Jazz infused Hip Hop.

Understanding the double speak of systemic oppression



A First
The Rodney King event was something I had heard about but never witnessed! The video arrived in as raw a format as it could be filmed. A video 8 hand held camera – shaky – unfocused – capturing a seldom caught, or filmed spectacle.

Art Imitating
A friend at the time a fellow student, asked me the day after if I was okay? He a white male. A skateboarder. Aware of the hare-pin trigger reactions of police both here and there. His query stirred me. Back then I did not have the language, reasoning or capacity to make sense of Rodney King’s attack. I don’t now. His experience was unfathomable. Later that year I queued up to watch Boyz n The Hood. The film gave me a sense of context and framing to what I had been a naïve witness to earlier that same year.

Sho’
This post is short primarily because other’s have words that are far more apt, powerful and relevant for this time. In our age of oppressive acts and fear based divisive ideologies. The Jury left the building a long time ago and aren’t coming back.

Over
For women and men like George Floyd slain because a combination of conflicting factors have violently met. This systemic experience now calls for historic revolutionary unprecedented change.

Resources
Othello’s Children by Jose V. Pimenta-Bey
Deconstructing White Privilege with Dr Robin D’Angelo
Russel Brand with Dr Kehinde Andrews discuss White Supremacy
Whiteness on the Couch by Natasha Stovall
Hell you talm bout by Janelle Monae
When Black Death Goes Viral by Kenya Downs
www.kwanda.co The Community’s Village
#howwefight It takes a consistent approach to change

Images
Cover photo by Tyrell Charles on Unsplash
Inlay photo provided by PK of Diversity Space who sourced the image from: Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence 2005 Adapted: Ellen Tuzzolo 2016; Mary Julia Cooksey Cordero 2019; The Conscious Kid 2020. Originally shared by Michelle Gyimah & Ashanti Bentil-Dhue on their LinkedIn feed.

With thanks to Dr CW, ATPN, The Family Across the Miles Check in and Diversity Space for the videos and commentary.

Boundaries Slipping: CoViD19

With the experience of COVID19 being an extended period of strange, I am noticing things blending that perhaps would not have previously met. Such as home and work. Children and colleagues. Priorities and leisure activities. Tele-video conferencing and unlimited screen time. The challenge is with the frequent chopping and changing to meet a chaotic stream of demands. The ongoing effect of an ongoing strange situation is that of feeling, irksome, bored and fatigued. Can all responsibilities be equally met realistically?

Homogenised
Currently I am working from home. I have not gone in to work since mid March. A warning from a friend who manages a number of hospitals was “if the virus gets in to a prison it will be like being on a cruise ship” she said. I took the cruise ships warning, to mean that if the virus got in to HMP X, it would run rampant and be unstoppable! Me with a compromised immune system and now as of mid May 2020, also being in the high risk category of being a Black Male I have relented and stayed home.

Unease
Regretfully having not returned to my duties at Prison a feeling of malaise is growing. Now at 10 weeks in to self isolation I note that working from home has a number of common/uncommon challenges.

Full House
Everyone is here! Dr CW and my two boys, are home. Where else would they be? I try to juggle a responsible role amongst making lunch, attending to squabbles between the 12 year old and 10 year old. I am also the unofficial teaching assistant (TA) for the boy’s learning. Dr CW is the qualified teacher, dedicating herself to managing the older one’s learning. I am grateful for her insights and perseverance through #Lockdown. I struggle with thoughts of ‘Am I doing this TA thing right?’ or ‘I don’t wanna ask her, but…’ and thoughts of doing not enough or too much.

Distant Guide
I am also supporting my team that do go in to work at the prisons. I supervise remotely either by msn teams, Zoom or WhatsApp video call. Here too elements of guilt seep in to my awareness. Me at home, them there, putting themselves at risk and against the impossible task of welfare checks and keeping themselves safe in a prison! The thought of I should be there too, drags at me.

Lane Change
I have given up the hour long commute – a 3 month old distant memory. The leaving the house at 7 a.m. is no more. The wondering about what to have for lunch at work is absent. The many other trivialities of getting ready for work seem a faint consideration now.

WFH
The challenge for me currently is the blending of environments. Baffling and causing me to reminisce of the times had before the Lockdown. Work and home. Responsibilities of both now being mixed. Competing for dominance because they are both independently more important, urgent, and demanding of my 100% attention.

Pre CVD19
How were things before? They were in neat enough little boxes. Tidy. Distinct. Recognisable. Acknowledgeable for what each box contained. And I knew where those boxes were. And I knew how to open one and close another. There was an order, a schedule, a pattern.

Squared
Now it’s like all the boxes are open. Things are leaking from some boxes into others, some are neglected or forgotten. The reasons for the negligence is that there are fires raging in some and rain pouring against others. Soaking some and threatening to utterly destroy the collection. It is Monsoons and Volcanoes. The Cardboard boxes don’t stand a Chance!

Reflection for Understanding
I mentioned to 2 peer supervisees and to a friend that this time of ours in COVID19 Lockdown feels more stressful and anxiety provoking than anything I have lived through before. There have been other large seismic events that were as incredible as they were terrible. Tiananmen Square, the Zeebrugge Ferry disaster, September 11th, the Boko Haram kidnapping of school girls, the ongoing slaying of Black Women and Black Men in North America by police and security officers, Hurricane Katrina and the July 7 attacks in London all have pock marked my memory indelibly.

Conversations leading to discovery and creation

Never Ending
But this enforced captivity and forgive the crude analogy, is like being sentenced along with family to an IPP indeterminate sentence. With little information as to our possible release dates. Parole options remain hidden. Being able to work towards a release date with good behaviour with our probation officers is off the table. The analogy here looks at those responsible for the management of the Pandemic (Governments). The offence would be catching the disease and spreading it by not socially distancing or non observance of WHO guidelines. With the suspected crime being committed we are then to be summarily mass incarcerated at home: indefinitely.

Tiny
I mentioned in an earlier post that this virus, so small, is like a mushroom fungi spore. Altering the biochemistry of it’s infected hosts turning them into cadavers for birds and other feeding creatures to spread the fungi’s spores as far and as wide as possible. This virus has changed our view/experience of our world in ways that are similarly inconceivable.

Call Time
Maybe I am not alone in thinking I’ve had enough. My fill of Netflix and Prime is replete. Being with the family and Zoom calls with friends, colleagues and clients a depended must. Contact with family overseas was good wholesome and necessary in the beginning of the outbreak. Now seems as tiring as the push me – pull you antics of the UK government. The experience being a blend of missing the simple act of human to human connection and dislocation/dissociation/disruption from what is and what is not real.

Summarise That
Post COVID19’s tag line might read ‘Life Just got Tougher and Now Closer to the Impossible.’

If you contract the illness there is a fair chance you will survive but you might not be the same after you recover! It is probable that our world won’t be as well.

Walking whilst Black through this though, may be another type of story. This tag-line might read: Life was tough before. COVID19 brought out the worst. We are to gather and be limitless!

Demanding better futures and an honest retelling of our world history. Insisting on a closer, more informed and equally educated society, fearing less, eating healthily, thinking clearer and inclined to critical analysis and desiring to be ready to make meaningful change for our lives and for the lives of generations to follow. Perhaps with an idea of a sense of responsibility is a reason for fatigue?

Remembering
There was something about those boxes (mentioned above) that gave a sense of knowing that also comforted and fatigued in a naturally expectant way. Life back then was manageably unpredictable. Now – exhaustively confusing. An old saying is –
‘Life is simple, it’s just not easy’.

Life is also tough but ultimately, it is an ongoing process of change adaptation and learning. I advise us to simply be open to what happens in the years to follow.

In answering the query at the top of this piece, all responsibilities are not equal and so cannot be prioritised equally or fairly or at times rationally.

Resources
Thrive – 20 things to do during lockdown for wellbeing.
The Coronavirus is a Disaster for Feminism I thank EK for this resource. A true reflection of how it really is.
Couples Under Lockdown: Lagos, Nigeria from Where Should We Begin?
with Esther Perel.
After The Storm from The Moth Podcast 9th Ward Burnell Cotlon

Images
Cover photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash
1st inlay photo by Daniel Fazio on Unsplash
2nd inlay photo provided by @therapy_with_kae

Conspiracy Theory: CoViD19

Weather
The reason I am attempting to write a counter conspiracy is for a counselling client (PK) who summed up the mælström that is the pandemic. Wherever one may have been in the last 2-3 months, in all of the countries around the globe, one word has possibly been used billions of times more than almost all others: CoViD19.

More
The meaning of the word CoViD19 is an amalgam for the Corona Virus Disease 2019. There have been other Corona Viruses which this one has become the most famous currently. There was H1N1 and SARs that are also well known to have had deadly effects on us humans.

Past responses
In my last piece of writing, I attempted to show what a millennia of learning has taught us. What do we do in the face an of overwhelming threat? We share knowledge to defeat said threats. With this virus – sharing unverified information can have a large downward spiralling affect.

Valuable
Sharing viable information from reliable and trustworthy sources serves to contain and uplift those that we care about. Putting forward concerning or hopeless material can put even more stress and strain on already overwhelmed biological systems. The effect: more illness and disease and possibly death. Various communities have been hit disastrously by COVID19. Globally – China, Italy, Spain the UK and then the US, have been affected grossly with high infection rates and death tolls.

Guardians
African Americans, African Caribbeans, Black British and Asian British people appear to be experiencing the illness at a considerably higher rate than the general population. Within these communities the disease has spread very quickly: see the Guardian article below. Some time could be spent reviewing incident rates, skewed figures and total numbers observing underlying health difficulties.

You at the Front
African and Asian communities, here in the UK are often frontline workers i.e. Doctors, Nurses, Public Transport operatives, grocery shop employees, refuse and garbage disposal operatives, cleaners, janitors, security guards, delivery agents, postal workers, packers and sorters.
Who come into frequent contact with the disease from a wide array of sources. Often frontline workers are without the appropriate equipment, training or guidance. Simply doing their jobs without due protection.

How did this come to pass?

Responsibility
These women and men as brave as they are, perhaps, are as wary of the set of circumstances we all face but may have little option but to continue to support themselves, their employers, employees, their families, their communities.
Why? Because they care?
Yes, and there maybe a simpler more human reason. If they aren’t able to fill the unforgiving task, who will? If they don’t, will frontline workers be able to stop working if they are the main earner in their household? If family in countries of their origin are in need of the stipend they are able to send each month can frontline workers easily walk away from their frontline roles?

Unknowing Unseen
Perhaps just before we are about to click send on the latest conspiracy theory: showing how this latest crises caused by the Nameless Them will be our undoing. Maybe we should think of others who are fighting for a larger ideal. Rather than the 2 or 3 minutes of edutainment that the video has provided us with. Maybe we can think how is this information going to serve another? Spending time with the idea of – “if I cannot verify or make good use of this too hot to handle information, should I send it?”

Accountability
I am not saying do not send info that you feel can be useful for others. What I am asking is that we make a considered effort to pause and think of others more. Because if what is sent causes another to feel progressively worse and hopeless – do they deserve that? For another to carry the burden of a future that looks as bleak and as unpromising as their not too distant past has been?

Dual Responses
For communities suffering with co-morbid presentations of hypertension, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, poverty, racism, homophobia, sexism, mental illness, personality disorders, substance misuse and pasts affected by the criminal justice system – would adding another straw to an already overworked overburdened back be a compassionate wise or empathic response?

Holding a candle

Light in Dark Spaces
Aim always for kindness I have been told. Always! Aim for lessening the load of others and bearing some of the weight they carry.

Do not click send without forethought.

If the South African term Ubuntu (I am: Because You Are) is used as a guide, CoViD19 could be used as a tool to look to a greater good for all.

Pandemics do not need to separate but throw us all under the same sky fighting a microscopic monster together. Would that not be a better conspiracy to spread?

Resources

P Diddy State of Emergency – A plan of action
The Stoop Podcast – Together and Apart
The Guardian – CoViD19 affecting Black Communities
Pod Save The World – How a Virus Can Threaten Democracy There are many relevant view points incorporated into this episode including David Lammy discussing Corona Virus and his new book!

Images
Cover photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash
1st Inlay photo by Alfons Morales on Unsplash
2nd Inlay photo by Eyasu Etsub on Unsplash

CoViD19: A Conspiracy?

Managing the anxiety of COVID19 and the surrounding conspiracy theories that go along with the outbreak, the spread, and the intentionality of the disease has been both amazing and tiring. I realise that this blog has the potential to sail close to a conspiracy. I will watch my tone as I explain my thinking.

Bare with me.

Stupefying
Amazing in that we want to make meaning from the amount of emails, WhatsApp shares, Twitter updates, Facebook Posts, News feeds and radio bulletins. Some information can be useful and thought provoking. Some information perhaps…

Exhaust
The tiring part for me is the conspiracy theories and secret society imaginings. Sent my way by well-meaning friends and family. The aim of the sender to receiver (me) is to inform and provide some good or useful information. Sometimes…

Foil Hats as seen first: Gumball

Alarm
The effect of sharing conspiracy, is that when in a state of concern or panic the person who receives this information isn’t calmed or soothed. The oppoite effect is achieved. The receiver has a number of choices with this fear engendering information. They can either share it, or keep it to themselves. The want to be helpful in a seemingly helpless situation: CoViD19, can override an inbuilt system of holding onto suspicious unhelpful or slanderous material.

Critical Awareness
Using the ability to be suspicious/cautious of the intent of the information could be useful. Helping to begin a process of distancing ourselves from a heightened fear response. By engaging the human part of the brain (see Chimp Paradox) and keeping our minds thinking (pre-frontal cortex), potentially is the desired goal! Jumping to conclusions, or *scud assessments could be unhelpful in maintaining our equilibrium or anyone else’s.

Panicked Pattern
First the unasked for idea or information arrives. On viewing of the sensory overwhelming video, our bodies react. The body is flooded by a cortisol response. We do not need to be aware/conscious of the response but our blood stream becomes a souped up system. Ready for Fight, Flight, Freeze or Friend. The response is automatic. Our heart rate may quicken, we might lose our appetite, we may find concentration on other topics evaporate. We simply want to act. Simply act we often do.

Confusion
There is an interesting case that happened with laughter in the 60s. The event spanned months and started in a school in Tanzania. An incident caused a pupil in school to laugh uproariously which sparked a contagion that affected a community. I have walked and talked with clients who when realising the enormity of their situation have become both extremely upset and uproariously giddy with laughter. The event is called a psychogenic illness.

Wildfire
There may have been times when something like a confused response happens in the face of a significant life changing event. A joke, a youtube video is as ludicrous or upsetting as it is funny and witnessing the scene causes the viewer, to be swept up with the happy confused state. In these moments laughing without a care, with tears streaming and mouths agape can be cathartic. Relieving a pressure build up. The passing of joy can consume us. Hilarity can bring us face to face with our humanity.

An simulation of the virus

World Wide Worries
The opposite affect can also be true when we have a concern. We seek truth and facts in all the right and appropriate spaces, and also in all the wrong places. News feeds. News cycles. Social media. The spinning and circulating of an ever growing concern. On this occasion it happens to be a global pandemic. Covid19 has consumed all hours and all days in an endless stream of updates, worries and many deaths. What then happens is when seeking truth, the material is passed forward. Asking friends if they have also seen or heard?

Corona Virus Disease 2019: CoViD19
The latest news about the deadly virus takes its discomforting place in our psyche’s. There stored the fear wreaks havoc with our natural defences: positive psychology, family ties and connections, friends, community, religious and philosophical gatherings, eating habits, work patterns, school and education, financial planning – all affected. The invitation is that we hold to this new reality like a raft in a storm, hoping it will bring us safely to shore. Can this vessel, with scant resources and ill meaning to humanity offer us sanctity?

Do or Do Not
Unlike the psychogenic laughing bug. Once caught the hysteria and hyperbolic concepts are passed along, they do little to make us feel better. Sharing, seals in the yuck with cortisol and adrenaline running the show.

What could help would be, to mentally walk away from the information and critique it. Rather than be pulled into a belief that all of the thinking, neg vid sharing, hand washing, policy making will deliver us from the disease.

Stay with the Known Knowns: Our world will change. It always has. What act will you perform to support yourself and others in the face of the pandemic?

Resources
Fear is Contagious – T.E.D. Talks
This American Life — One Last Thing
Ear Hustle – Us and Them
This is Money – How Bad…
Unlocking Us – Brené Brown and Alicia Keys

Images
Cover photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash
1st Inlay photo by Tom Radetzki on Unsplash
2nd Inlay photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

This piece was inspired by a conversation with a counselling client PK. Thank you!

Deeped It: Bonus

Insistence 6

Reward
The general reward in life is to get to a better end.

For our lives to have made it out of the dark times. To have found a piece of peace. The peace offering light, laughter, a sense of community and belonging, along with a sense of purpose.

Farther Along
The aim for me with the mini-series of blogs was to invite you to shift ideas along. For me, the topics of Substance, Resilience, Resistance and Persistence introduce a 5th component: Insistence.

Celebrating

Clear Eyes
Insistence is to ask with energy, that something should be done, given, offered, delivered. Insistence is the firm belief that something next is to follow and will soon arrive only when one asks.

Fair
Writing these thoughts out has been fun and a challenge. The mini-series has helped to smooth over a time of constant worry. COVID19 continues to ravage the world as we know it. Being set a task without borders has felt liberating on a number of levels. It is fair to say that writing 500 – 600 words at a time is both a stretch and a reward. My pieces are usually twice as long! Fleshing out these ideas in a brief format has helped me to understand these 4 concepts at a more fundamental level. The 5th – Insight – came as a slight continuation and as a gentle conclusion.

Ask
If you have read the previous 5 blogs and have thoughts about their construct, content and conveyance of information can I kindly insist that you complete the attached Survey Monkey Questionnaire?
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/R8QWZGG

Thank you in advance for your comments and reading of last week’s writing. Comments always welcome.

Images
Cover photo by Brandi Redd on Unsplash
Inlay photo by Jens Johnsson on Unsplash

Intro, Substance, Resilience, Resistance, Persistance

Made it from the bottom

Deeping It: Persistence 5

This blog summarises the experiences of being persistent. The costs and some of the benefits of being able to stick with it.

noun: persistence
the fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
“Cardiff’s persistence was rewarded with a try”

Similar: perseverance, tenacity, determination, resolve, resolution, resoluteness, staying power, purposefulness, firmness of purpose, patience, endurance, application, diligence, sedulousness, dedication, commitment, doggedness, persistency, pertinacity, assiduity, assiduousness, steadfastness, tirelessness, indefatigability, stamina, intransigence, obstinacy, Sitzfleisch, stickability, stick-to-it-iveness, continuance, perseveration

the continued or prolonged existence of something.
“the persistence of huge environmental problems”

Peck Peck Peck
When I think about persistence I think about someone who is not giving up on their mission. Whatever their mission might be. Not stopping to seek guidance or support from anyone. Feeling and believing that their mission in life has to be completed at all costs. A number of important individuals come to mind when I think about persistency. My 3 sisters, my wife, a number of friends and people I have worked with who have this drive for fulfilment and will not stop until their goals are met.

How?
It is possible that the question is phrased incorrectly. Perhaps the question should be about the why of being persistent rather than the how to be persistent. For some, the drive to continue comes from a question they are seeking answers for. Others are guided, scolded, rewarded for being consistent and persistent. The outcome for someone who is persistent is that an achievement is made. They arrive at the goal they had worked to achieve.

Internally Motivated
Persisting with Energy

Where?
The drive to be persistent I feel is inherited from a range of sources that can include parents, siblings, school and education, noticing injustices, wanting to see a world where your ideas are seen understood and accessed. Others are born persistent and their drive to achieve was inbuilt from the moment they could crawl or walk.

Looks Like?
Being persistent can be a pain for others to experience. But being knocked back. Shut down and disillusioned, doesn’t stop the desire to benefit others and the will to be persistent. I think of Malcolm X when I think about persistence. His persistence, work ethic and commitment to the cause of uplifting a generation of people was extraordinary. Malcolm and the Nation of Islam gave many people hope. Others much to fear. But the vision of achievement and success of wanting African Americans to emancipate themselves from mental slavery was inspiring for many.

Better Futures
Having a vision is a thing that supports someone’s development and commitment to being persistent. I have 2 visions.
The first is to help make psychology both interesting and accessible for the young. A tool that can be used to improve an individuals or many people’s lives.
The 2nd vision arrives in 2 parts. Part a) is to help make the lives of incarcerated peoples visible. Part b) of this vision is to support those serving sentences in prison to develop a fuller understanding of the lives they had lead. The life they are living whilst in prison and what life they can continue once they leave prison.

So
What steps are you going to take if you want to be persistent? How are you going to maintain your energy, commitment, interest and enthusiasm for your cause? What will it mean to achieve your goal? What will happen if you do not?

Resources
Denzel Washington Acceptance Speech
Malcolm X – The Autobiography Alex Haley
Unlocking Us – Brené Brown with Tarana Burke

Images
Cover photo by Boris Stefanik on Unsplash
Inlay photo by Yingchou Han on Unsplash
Intro, Substance, Resilience, Resistance, Insistence

Deeping It: Substance 2

When I initially think of substance, two conflicting ideas present themselves. One is positive. The other invites risk. Below I will explain my thinking.

Substance Definition
noun
A particular matter tube with uniform properties. “a steel tube coated with a waxy substance”

Similar: Material, Matter, Stuff, Medium, Fabric.

The real physical matter of which a person or thing consists and which has a tangible solid presence. “proteins compose much of the actual substance of the body”

Substances
The other definition is related to substance misuse or substance abuse: Loosely this relates to using various forms of intoxicating elements that cause people to feel differently about oneself or life experiences. The abuse happens when someone uses a substance regularly to feel better. Their using of a substance can be reasonably controlled. When a substance like alcohol is used a part of the brain can stop working properly for a time. Hormones called serotonin and dopamine are released which can make someone feel good. The length of time they feel good for can last for a few moments or a number of hours.

Having Substance
When a person is said to have substance that person usually is: Safe, Honest, Good to be around, Solid, Fair in nature, Level headed, Trustworthy, Charitable, Kind, sort of Golden. They appear to be well liked and have a good circle of friends around them. They stick to their morals and can stand up for what they believe is right. This person of substance can be stubborn and get in the way of other people’s ideas of having fun. They may be left in their own company but seem to accept that others don’t see things their way. They can also admit when they have got it wrong, and not become bitter with people in their close circle.

Having Substance
Jumping into It

Beginning
The person who has substance comes from a range of backgrounds that could include poor, refugee, from lower classes, or from wealthy families. In some instances their character is honed from adversities/tough experiences. Others find their substance going against their families wishes. They may become ostracised/divorced from their family of origin. For many people going through tough times that person can break. For a person of substance the breaking is what is needed to arrive at what they now know, and want to share with the rest of the world. Breaking down can lead to break through.

Light Shine
For someone who is of substance they appear to emit a glow, a deep sense of knowing that is as comforting as it is attractive. We often find ourselves pulled in to their gravity of being – much like a star – a hole in space. Possibly they were not always the way they seem now. We may not have been there as they battled with unseen demons, emotions, thoughts or personal tragedies. But the who they are now, we find captivates our imagination and invites us, also to be more.

Resources
How to Fail with Elizabeth Day and Mo Gawdat
Have You Heard George’s Podcast ep 9

Images
Cover photo by Conrad Ziebland on Unsplash
Inlay photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash
Intro, Resilience, Resistance, Persistence, Insistence

Intro to Deeping/Deepening It: Substance, Resilience, Resistance, and Persistence 1

A good friend asked me to write something for young people. She WhatsApp’ed – ‘Hi Michael, some words which last year I was playing around with, in regards to much but, our young. Is there something you might be able to say with them? Substance, Resilience, Resistance and Persistence.’

Er…
The first words that came to me was I don’t think I have ever been commissioned to write for a specific group of people on a blog before. Come to think about it some more, there was the lecture series at Greenwich University. I developed and delivered 6 lectures for their under grad psychology and counselling students in 2018. But a blog I have not specifically been asked to write before. So here goes…

A working week
This request I feel is something else. I haven’t been prescribed length, style or a content delivery method by my friend. These pieces have been left for me to choose which directions I go.

What I can say about what will happen is, I will write a series of roughly 500-600 word *synopsi. These *synopsi will cover each topic over a 5-day period in a quasi-tutorial of my thinking. The intention is to make the information impactful.

A short anonymous questionnaire will be added to the last topic: Insistence and will insist you to complete. There will be a call for a change of perspectives. For long held opinions to be uprooted and chance to experience life differently, perhaps.

George’s
If you are late to the party of ‘Have You Heard George’s Podcast’, I would say stop here and listen to the first 3 episodes. Why? Well apart from every episode being absolute line for line brilliance. And they are. George’s podcasts series is a perfect example of the 4 words I have been invited to speak/write about.

Substance:
Throughout the series of podcasts George talks about his experiences growing up and seeing his neighbourhood turn. Throughout each episode George gives an insight to his beginnings and about his family. He speaks about his home, his country of origin, music and becoming the man he is as a result of what he has seen and lived through.

Considering it all. What lies ahead. MichaelForfiehCounselling
Deeping It

Resilience:
At one point in his life George was to become a rapper and turned away from this path to do something (different) more. The knock back gave him a push to travel somewhere other than his friends and contemporaries had. He learned to believe in himself and how amazing his journey has been. *Inspirator.

Resistance:
I played part 16 of George’s podcast to my family, on one of the 1st Lockdown weekends here in London. They didn’t get it. George used the metaphors of the internal workings of his mind to help explain his creative processes. His rhyme and meter were used by differing voices to explain what they were doing in George’s head.

My wife (Dr CW) thought that George was having a schizophrenic episode. Their voices were of the streets. Using patois and London street *slanguage to explain their position within George’s mind. This episode was wild. What George illustrates over and over is how determined he is to see his vision exist and help others to have their realities exist too.

Lastly Persistence:
In one episode of the podcast series George speaks about leaving his area and moving to go to a private school on a full scholarship. He explains that he doesn’t want to go. But his parents and the school he is going to recognise his potential, fully.

George eventually sees the error in his pre-judgement. He becomes an agent in wanting to remain aspiring rather than simply achieving. There are knocks but he makes his journey beyond North London to a Russel Group University. To become…

Renew/Review/Rethink?
My intention for this mini-series of blogs; is for you to find something useful within these words. That the mini series of blogs, titled Deeping It, at least invite you to rethink elements of life and make appropriate plans to suit.

Resources
Have You Heard George’s Podcast  look for episode 1
Tom Bilyeux Impact Theory ep 162
TED Radio Hour Comfort Zone

Images
Cover photo by Jadon Barnes on Unsplash
Inlaid photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash
Substance, Resilience, Resistance, Persistence, Insistence