I was a therapy-sceptic, always had been, thought I always would be. What on earth is the point of dredging stuff up so it can sit bleeding in full sight instead of staying where it should be-hidden??! And anyway, Christians shouldn’t need therapy, should they? God would take my hand and lead me through a lovely flower-filled valley to a place of healing and hope, without the need to change how I think or act, wouldn’t He??! (Thinking of flower-filled valleys if you like allegorical tales read Hannah Hurnard’s ‘Hind’s Feet on High Places’-very powerful and only £1.19 on Kindle)
But I went, and just in case there are any other therapy-sceptics out there I’m going to talk a little about what I learnt.
Fundamentally I learnt that being listened to, REALLY listened to, without agenda, can be life-changing. For me it brought perspective and understanding, it taught me to be kinder to myself, it challenged beliefs I had about myself. If you’ve been reading since the beginning you might remember I talked about feeling that I was a disappointment, a failure, an emotional mess. I’d started to understand that I was performance orientated and quite obsessively perfectionist. These were big drivers as to how I saw and reacted to the world.
Counselling helped me to start to make sense of my life’s experience, my personality, my giftings.
It reminded me of my innate creativity and the importance of that creativity having an outlet, an expression, somewhere in my life, for me to be healthy.
It taught me that learned patterns of thinking can be altered (this takes work, hard work, and recently some of the changes in my thinking have been greatly challenged and old patterns have re-emerged. This is SCARY. But I have begun to recognise the old patterns, and that is a massive part of the battle. Wise friends are really good to have around to support at these times, but ultimately you are alone with your head for a large part of the day and night so YOU need to be able to recognise when you’re going off-course and know what to do.)
It taught me that mindfulness meditation is restorative, and when practised regularly can help you to ‘stay in the moment’ and appreciate the present, rather than living in the past (regret, failure, pain,anger,hurt) or in the future (fear and anxiety).
It taught me that I was at more complicated than I had thought!
So after reading these little ‘niblits’ you can tell I was converted and with the passion of the newly converted I signed up to start year 1 of counselling training.
But I was still physically sick…..
It really must be time for those appetite-suppressing choc-coconut treats!
Here’s a link to an article about the benefits of coconut oil ( obviously the meat, dessicated or fresh, milk and cream all contain oil too- but not coconut water which contains a lot of natural sugars). The article aims to be evidence-based so follow some of the links and read the research if you have time. http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil
There are zillions of recipes on the Internet for this type of snack but this is my version. You can add any dried fruit, nut, seed, to ring the changes, leave out the cocoa, add lemon, roll in cocoa or coconut or chopped nuts( the treats not you-oh, ok why not?!)
They keep well in the fridge for several weeks and because they don’t contain the addictive fat/sugar combo of our traditional chocolate confectionary I find I can eat one and leave the rest for another day!
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder(or cocoa powder)
100g unsweetened desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons almond butter(or any other nut or seed butter)
4-5 tablespoons coconut oil(or a mixture of coconut oil and coconut butter) melted
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp coconut palm sugar
50g raw cacao nibs(or 85% dark chocolate chopped finely)
Mix ingredients together until you can press together into balls. Add a little more nut butter if the mixture is too dry. Form 12 balls and refrigerate until set.
If if you like the chocolate coconut combo try these low carb snacks-my favourite! http://thenourishedcaveman.com/coconut-chcocolate-bars-low-carb-snacks
If you don’t want to make your own chocolate coating melt a bar of 85% cocoa solid dark chocolate to use instead and if, like me, you’re not a fan of sweeteners use a little finely ground coconut palm sugar(the bar centres will not be so white though and won’t remind you of Bounty Bars quite so much!). You won’t need much sugar(maybe 1 tablespoon and the recipe makes about 12 mini bars) as the coconut is naturally ‘sweet’…. I freeze the coconut mixture in a block then cut into 12 bars and coat a few to have in the fridge and leave the rest in the freezer. Self-limiting consumption! And why I use coconut palm sugar