Self Esteem (low)

Where does low self esteem come from?  (see full article on self esteem)

If a child lives with encouragement they learn how to be confident. If a child lives with criticism, they can become anxious and shy. If you have been ridiculed or ignored in your formative years, you can easily end up feeling shy and unimportant, with low self esteem. Equally you can develop a facade of confidence when underneath you may feel constantly fragile.

As parents we do the best we can, but if we weren’t dealt the cards ourselves such as value, praise, love, worth and patience, it’s hard to pass them on. If your parents, who will have done/be doing their best, were brought up in a limited, low self esteem environment, they will pass on what they learnt. They may not realise the damage they suffered or the damage they are passing on.  full article.

Contact us to see a therapist

Danielle’s Diary of beginning therapy

A blog describing one person’s experience of the first six sessions of counselling.

First step – Making an appointment.

Just made my first appt with the counsellor. She seemed OK on the phone. We didn’t really talk about my issues, more the practicalities. Next Tuesday 11am. Still not sure… may change my mind.

First arrival

So…didn’t change my mind …arrived and managed to find the waiting room the counsellor told me about. Turned up a bit early as I was nervous about whether I’d get here on time, (did take a wrong turn). Feeling anxious but don’t want to let it show. Not sure what to expect. I want help, but really hope therapist is OK, otherwise I’ll clam up.

Session 1

Therapist collected me and seemed pleasant enough. We both were more relaxed once we got in the room & I found myself doing all the talking…which I wasn’t expecting. She went through how it all worked and I didn’t have the feeling that she was going to make me stay if I didn’t want to. In fact she seemed to think I was in charge which was a bit of a relief if I’m honest. I was worried that I would be sucked into something I didn’t want. She seemed to gently help me focus on the problem I’d brought and next thing I was in tears, which I hadn’t expected either. By the end of the session I felt I’d spoken more freely than I ever have done, and that helped me make sense of things. Said I’d like to come back for more. But I might still change my mind, as usual.

Session 2

Didn’t change my mind – in fact felt a bit more relaxed this time and was even looking forward to it. Feels like a space just for me, which is novel.

Session 3

I’d like to know more about my therapist – like has she got children, how old is she, is she in a relationship. Can’t imagine asking her any of that though.

Session 4

We talked about how the sessions were going and whether or not I was happy /interested in continuing. I said I was as I felt it had been helpful to say things out loud that usually go round and round my head, leaving me with a headache. What I didn’t say though was that I thought things in my life should have changed by now. But I’m always a bit impatient so I reckon I can give it a go for a few more.

Session 5

There was one bit today where I felt a bit irritated when she seemed to have a reaction when I was telling her about how close we all were as a family. Didn’t like to tell her that though. and then felt irritated with myself as a result.

Session 6

Really surprised I turned up for this one – was feeling more and more irritated about the family thing from last week, so sat down in a bad mood.. She said she had a sense that something was going on for me. I thought too right, but I didn’t know how to tell her what it was. In fact what I really thought was look I’m paying you to sort me out so you should know what’s going on . had 15 minutes to go (I like to keep an eye on the time) when she just said something out of the blue like ‘I wonder what would help you tell me what’s really going on for you today?’ well that was all I needed really to tell her because it felt like she was really focussed on me.. So I told her and it felt awkward but afterwards I felt like a weight had lifted. And actually I realised that though we are a close family – sometimes that’s good for me and sometimes it’s not.

Session 7

Have been thinking about me and my parents during the week. I’m beginning to see that maybe I’m too close to my mum especially sometimes. I wonder how much I do what I want rather than what my mum thinks is best. I mean I’m 26 but so far I don’t feel I’ve really taken any control over my own life. Like I really wanted to do art at college but my mum said I’d be better off getting a job, so that’s why I’m in a ‘steady’ office job rather than doing some creative. When my counsellor asked me how that was for me I suddenly felt really sad…Haven’t ever told my mum how I feel .

Session 8

Had a bit of a light bulb moment during the week. I was thinking about not telling my mum how I really felt and why wouldn’t I do that And then I was rereading this diary and noticed all the other times I haven’t said what I’m thinking to the counsellor. And also how I hadn’t ever told even my best friend about how miserable I was feeling. And I thought how close really am I to anybody? I shared this with my counsellor and she said maybe could I give her an example of things I wanted to say to her but hadn’t. So I told her about how annoyed I was when she seemed to be questioning my family stuff. And we actually had a good chat about it. At the end she said maybe this was something we could look at again next week.

We hope you found this helpful. This client was very happy for this to be shared on our web-site as it helped them in writing it and they hoped it may help others reading it. We didn’t use her own name to protect her identity.

If you found it helpful feel free to share it with others, who might appreciate it.

Sex Therapy

Many people go through phases where they are unhappy with their sexual relationship.

Your sex therapist is trained & experienced in working with couple relationships and can work with you either as an individual or a couple.  He or she will also be a trained and qualified psychosexual therapist who will listen sensitively to your description of your problem to ensure the treatment plan meets your needs.

The therapy sessions involve talking & you will be given homework to do in the privacy of your home.

Some examples of difficulties that can arise are:

  • Loss of desire
  • Pain during sex
  • Anxiety
  • Premature ejaculation
  • No erection or loss of erection
  • Difficulty reaching orgasm
  • Vaginal soreness etc

Sexual difficulties can arise either for psychological reasons (eg stress, effects of loss, personal or relational difficulties) or physical reasons (eg illness, the effects of medication, disability) or a combination of both. A psychosexual therapist is experienced in supporting people whatever their issues.

Sex therapy can help you to overcome the difficulties you are experiencing through talking openly and frankly about your needs and desires, and help you to explore and understand the reasons behind the problem, either as a couple or an individual.

The sessions last 1 hour and are generally weekly, but this is flexible in order to meet the needs of the client.

To find out more or book an appointment please contact us.

For directions click here.



Eating Addictions

Sharon Osborne talks openly about her emotional issues including the need to get up in the middle of a meal and go and make herself sick after eating a lot. That’s called bulimia and has little to do with food and a lot to do with trying to find some emotional comfort through eating and then purging the guilt by being sick. We all call on things to reduce our emotional discomfort, like a drink or a drug or a gamble etc etc. However, when the taster doesn’t prove to be enough we take some more, until we become reliant on it to keep us sane. Behold it has morphed into an addiction before we notice.

These are all the symptoms not the cause. The cause is the initial bad feeling. Maybe we were disrespected, ignored, or treated poorly and the trauma and abuse left a very nasty taste we couldn’t get rid of, except by our helpful substance – whatever that might be.

Interrupt the addiction – easy … you’re joking. It’s never easy but with good support it’s the chance to reclaim your life by re-finding what you lost. Working with the cause, not just trying to take away your comforter. This provides the opportunity to reclaim a zest for life as you find your own way out, clearing the distorting negatives in your life that you start to believe are the truth. They’re a distortion from someone else’s needs, not the truth at all.

In counselling you will get respected, listened to and treated well, so you start to value yourself again. We will support you to build up a good feeling about yourself, which is a great way to start the rest of your life.

Click here for more information about how counselling can help.

See the full article here.  

To speak to one of our team and make an appointment, call us on 0121 429 1758 or email:  If you would prefer us to call you, please click here to request a callback.  See all contact details here.

Depression Blog


Depression is weird as it’s often a result of a past experience that we’ve either forgotten about or avoid like the plague! So the first step is to track down the cause, with a therapist who is the emotional equivalent of a Red Indian tracker. Therapy helps us uncover the cause and deal with it. More details.

Freddy Flintoff, the England, cricket captain found himself self medicating by drinking too heavily during the cricket world cup, as he had no idea why he was feeling so down. He wanted to sit by himself while the others wanted to celebrate their successes. `I just needed the doctor to tell me what was wrong, but nobody told me it was depression.` Winston Churchill used to describe his depression as `his black dog` and would try and self-medicate by whisky and cigars and keep quiet about it. He even attended a his cabinet meeting when he was part paralysed after a stroke without his cabinet noticing. It is crucial to be able to talk about what you are experiencing to somebody. Isolation makes it worse even though all you want to do is sit in a corner by yourself.

Here are some famous people who have experienced depression similar to you and have used therapy to help them deal with it. Many of us will suffer with depression at some point in our lives. Some people have used medication to calm the symptons, while they learn to understand and attend to the causes of the depression in therapy. Some like actress & model Pauline Porizkova tried anti-depressants, but were very keen to come off them.

For therapy to help with depression phone 0121 429 1758 or email on

Queen’s Honour for local practitioner

WE ARE THRILLED THAT KATHRYN LIVINGSTONE from the West Midlands, has been awarded the Queen’s BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL in the New Years Honours list for services to people with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder – that used to be called Multiple Personality).

At Birmingham Counselling & Psychotherapy Centre we have therapists who support and work with DID. We also provide a regular peer support group for therapists who work with DID clients, as well as their usual therapeutic supervision. DID is one of the more complex difficulties to work with but it is better supported and more understood than ever before because of people like Kathryn. This makes the honour to Kathryn for her work in this field all the more special.

Kathryn founded First Person Plural (FPP – a grassroots organisation dedicated to supporting persons with DID and based in Wolverhampton). For those of us familiar with her work and been trained by Kathryn, she herself manages a very complex, often challenging life with DID and this prestigious recognition could not go to anyone more deserving.

Kathryn has worked tirelessly, for over 20 years, for those whose lives have been affected by DID – survivors, supporters, family members and colleagues. Many clinicians working with persons with DID have benefitted tremendously from attending her trainings.

Kathryn passionately believes in the contribution people with lived experience have in training and awareness raising and her pioneering work in this area remains an integral part of her contribution – as demonstrated by her invaluable involvement in FPP’s two training DVDs.  Since the news of her honour has become public, she has received many congratulatory e-mails touching her deeply, especially those from survivors whose lives she has been a part of when they were at their most desperate; her tenacity has reminded them that things can change and to hang in there. Those of us living in the UK know how fortunate we are to have her working so professionally to get DID the recognition it so much needs.

The above comments are also drawn from something put up on the ESTD (European Society for Trauma & Dissocation). web site, honouring Kathryn’s award.

For anyone who would like support for DID in Birmingham contact us on 0121 429 1758 or at

For those in other places in the UK you can contact:

FPP, (First Person Plural)

ESTD (European Society for Dissociation & Trauma)    www.estd.

PODS (Positive Outcomes for Dissociative Survivors)

How to Cope With Bereavement & Loss

The loss of someone you love or something that was important to you can be very upsetting and sometimes feel overwhelming. A natural grieving process is important for any kind bereavement and will remain unfinished until addressed.

Some of us have difficulty staying in touch with upsettling emotions around bereavement and can then try and suppress the painful feelings. The grieving process will remain unfinished and the uncomfortable feelings can then surface at other times with intensity and often much confusion, causing difficulty in relationships at home and work. Counselling can be used to help with this process.    

Grieving is a natural process we go through in response to bereavement or losses of many kinds, eg. death, loss of a job, relationship breakdown, life events again and any significant changes. When we are in the middle of painful grief, we can feel that it will never end. Saying goodbye or letting go, can be an rich process of valuing and honouring the loss and enabling you to move forward, with support.

Read the full article on Bereavement & Loss.

For comments that previous clients addressing bereavement have arrived with, click here.

Ways we can help

Each person will have their own way of dealing with their Loss or Bereavement and at BCPC we can help you do that. We offer a safe, non-judgmental setting where you are able to work one-to-one with a therapist to explore the process you are going through.

If you would like to work with an experienced therapist in a safe and confidential place contact us here.  If you would prefer us to call you back please put you contact details here.


Mental & Emotional Dis-ease

– does it really effect that many of us?

Mental illness is the leading cause of sickness and absence from work according to the Mental Health Foundation. Every year in the UK 70 million workdays are lost due to mental illness; including anxiety, depression and stress related conditions.

There is more in the news about mental health, which means it is more acknowledged and talked about, which is great. Unfortunately the understanding, resources and support needed to support people and work effectively with them is lagging way behind what is needed.

The number of people who are affected by mental health is rising. In 1990, 416 million people suffered from depression or anxiety worldwide – these numbers rose to 615 million in 2013 (World Health Organisation, 2016).

Mental illness is extremely common and exists in different forms, each of which can have an adverse effect on your well-being.

Current figures state that each year in Britain an estimated one in four adults will experience at least one diagnoseable mental health problem, though only 230 of every 300 who need help will actually visit their GP.

At BCPC a counsellor will respond to your enquiry within 24 hours and provide you with an initial session within a week, if that is what you need and want contact us here.

Counselling for Depression

Where does Depression come from?

Depression is extremely common and is thought to affect one in ten of us in our lifetime. Whilst the despair that depression can cause cannot be underestimated, it is important to understand that anyone can be affected and that most people respond well to treatment.

Depression may be triggered by recent or past traumas or significant life changes such as relationship breakdowns or a bereavement. Usually something that has been difficult to deal with or just avoided.

Can Depression be treated?

If you suffer with depression it may feel like you will feel this way forever, however with support and treatment most people are able to make a full recovery. At BCPC, we have a number of therapists experienced in treating depression.

Who else has suffered from Depression?

Too many to mention, but here are some examples of successful people who have talked openly about their own struggles with depression and how they have used therapy to help them address it. They include Bruce Springsteen, Will Young, Hugh Laurie, Brad Pitt, Damon Hill (world champion racing driver), Leon McKenzie (Premier league footballer turned boxer) etc etc.

Does Depression require medication?

This depends on how severely depressed you are. Medication can sometimes help to settle the symptoms while you address the underlying process through counselling. Therapy can be extremely effective in treating depression by helping to identify the causes and manage the symptoms. If you have broken your wrist by putting your hand out when you fell over, you may have a plaster cast put on to help the healing, while you get mentally clear about avoiding doing the same next time. Therapy clarifies the causes and focus for healing while medication can act like a walking stick while getting better.

Where can I get Help ?

To speak to one of our team and make an appointment, call us on 0121 429 1758 or email: If you would prefer us to call you, click on call back on top left of any main web page. See all contact details here.

Inspiring Poem

Below is the `Guy in a Glass poem that challenges us about how we live our life.

It was read to the English rugby team in Australia last June before they beat the hosts & won the series for the FIRST TIME EVER.  The poem was seen as being an inspiring contribution to that.

This was because it connected with the emotions of the players rather than a more thoughtful, intellectual approach that is often used. Being able to access our feelings can sometimes be difficult but counselling can support you to access them and find answers that defy a more thinking & analytic approach!  


`Guy in The Glass` by Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr     `guy` can be man or woman..

When you get what you want in your struggle for self  

And the world makes you king for a day 

Then go to the mirror and look at yourself 

And see what that guy has to say. 


For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife 

Who judgement upon you must pass 

The feller whose verdict counts most in your life 

Is the guy staring back from the glass. 


He’s the feller to please, never mind all the rest 

For he’s with you clear up to the end 

And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test 

If the guy in the glass is your friend. 


You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years  

And get pats on the back as you pass 

But your final reward will be heartache and tears 

If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.  


If you would like to try some counselling to help you feel good looking in the mirror, contact us here.