by sylviahillman | Oct 30, 2020 | Uncategorized
Many trans people who come out have understandable concerns and questions about how this will impact on their romantic relationships, either current or future.
In my experience, it is often the impact on the romantic relationship that is more traumatic for the trans person than the process of identifying as trans or in coming out. But, the experience is unique to each couple and needs to be managed in a safe space, where feelings can be discussed openly and safely.
Sometimes, this can be managed by the couple themselves without any external help. But couples can often benefit from having a therapist who is experienced with working with gender-related relationship issues to help them explore their feelings and understand what this means for the relationship.
The option to transition is something that often the trans person wants to explore. If the couple affected are older and/or have been together for a long time then it may well be that the relationship can accommodate the transition. Especially if the sexual side of the relationship has already waned, it may be that companionship is the primary reward of the relationship and this can often continue.
But, for other couples, this will not be so easy. The impact for their sexual relationship, for attraction and the future of the relationship needs to be explored and understood, so that the couple can come to a decision about the future of their relationship.
In many cases, the trans person will experience a shift in their sexuality when they transition and this can have far-reaching implications for an existing relationship. It is not uncommon for a heterosexual trans person to stay heterosexual when they transition and, thus, they become attracted to the opposite sex. So, in these situations, the choice to transition may signal the end of an existing relationship, unless a mutually agreeable way of moving forward can be found by the couple.
Often, there are long-held fantasies of a sexual relationship with a partner of the opposite sex (i.e. a trans woman would now want to experience a heterosexual relationship with a man where she was previously attracted to women when in her male body). Or else it may be that previously heterosexual trans people find themself still attracted to the same gender once they have transitioned and, thus, would subsequently experience themselves as gay. And a trans person who is bisexual may or may not continue to be bisexual after transitioning.
There is a lot here for a couple to negotiate as one partner considers or explores the implication of coming out and/or transitioning. Often the trans partner is torn between the longing to hold on to their relationship, suffering extreme grief as it appears to be slipping away. And yet, it is also understandable and usual that they will want to open up an exploration of who they are and what this means for their identity.
The partner of the trans person will have a whole range of feelings about how this impacts them and will often fear hurting their partner if they say how they feel. Couples must be able to talk honestly and openly with each other about what this means for them as individuals and for the relationship they’ve had.
Some couples can work through these issues themselves without outside help, but often a safe and non-judgmental counselling space can provide both partners with the opportunity to explore their thoughts and feelings about the relationship moving forward. Sometimes the decision is made without much consultation, where the partner of the trans person decides they cannot continue and so the relationship ends, or vice versa. This can be a devastating experience for the partner and the feelings of loss can be deep and acute. Again, good support from friends, family or a counsellor is invaluable and often essential here.
If the relationship ends, then the hope for both partners would often be to move forward and experience new relationships. To optimise the chances of this happening, it can be important to make space to process the feelings that come up as a result of the relationship ending. Depression and suicidal thoughts are sadly extremely common in the amongst trans individuals, so I would really encourage anyone finding themselves in this situation to seek help, either through a support group or through counselling.
Below are a few national organisations, but there are many more local support groups.
- The Beaumont Society: A national self-help body run by and for the transgender community.
- Depend: A voluntary organisation who provide support, advice and information for anyone who knows or is related to, an adult trans person.
- Mermaids: Supporting trans and gender-diverse children, young people, and their families.
by sylviahillman | Oct 22, 2020 | Uncategorized
Some Helpful tools for you to choose depending on your learning style. There is something to watch, read or listen at this challenging time : COVID 19
· ‘The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook- A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner
Strength, and Thrive’ Kristin Neff & Christopher K Germer
- If you NEED to talk TRY: Samaritans: 116 123 & Breathing Space 0800 838 587
· Mindshift – Coping with Anxiety
· Panic Attack Aid
· Moodkit -Mood improvement tools
Nutrition- ‘The gut is the new brain- feed it well and it will feed you well’. Dr Marlyn Glenville. (2013)
Amelia Freer is a qualified nutritional therapist and author of several cookery books (http://ameliafreer.com/recipeposts)
Joe Wicks, also known as the Body Coach, is a nutritional coach and exercise expert https://www.thebodycoach.com/blog/cats/recipes – ‘ Also tune into his Youtube & Instagram, for exercise. Fit body – fit mind
Deliciously Ella, created by Ella Woodward, focuses on plant-based recipes (https://deliciouslyella.com/category/recipes/)
by sylviahillman | Oct 22, 2020 | Uncategorized
The nights are drawing in, the temperature’s dropped and the brighter days of summer are well and truly behind us.
It’s typically the time of year when people may start to feel low; as the shorter days and gloomy weather takes a toll on their mental health and wellbeing.
It can leave people feeling depressed, demotivated, withdrawn and isolated. Some may have the winter blues, while for others it can seriously impact on their lives if they have seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder, known as SAD.
And this year has an added factor to complicate things – with the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic and the related restrictions and the consequences all of this may have on our feelings, relationships and day to day lives.
A professional counsellor can help you explore and understand how you’re feeling and support you to find ways to cope with this and move on that work for you.
You can find a counsellor of psychotherapist to help you by searching our Therapist Directory.
And some of our members have shared some tips and strategies that may help you if as we head into an uncertain winter.
Keep to a routine
Our member Rebecca Vivash describes how keeping to a routine, if possible, will help you feel that you have some control over your day.
She suggests timetabling self-care into your week – and also scheduling in something to look forward to.
She adds: “however small it may seem, having positive anticipation can be motivating and give you something to work towards, which is empowering and a mood booster in itself.”
Get outside and keep moving
A walk in the fresh air can be a huge help to some people.
Lina Mookerjee says: “During the winter, keeping moving is vital especially when we are stressed. A daily 30-minute walk in daylight is key to maintain your adequate Vitamin D and encourages endorphin release which elevates your mood.”
Look after your breathing
Lina describes how your breathing is an area you can do something about if you’re feeling low or stressed.
She adds: “When stressed, shallow breathing is present and can make you feel more stressed. Taking longer, deeper and slower breaths will change your oxygen levels and help you feel more energised, present and centred.”
Think outside of your current situation
Our member Emma Brand describes how she uses an approach called the ‘Magic 5’ with her clients.
She explains: “When we feel stuck in a feeling in the present it can be hard to look ahead and refocus our feelings and emotions. I will offer a client, how would they feel about this in 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks and 5 months. This has enabled the client to think outside of the situation and explore how they make feel about this in the future – giving them time in a safe space to consider options and how these may work for them.”
Remember you have choices
Lina echoes the idea of thinking about the choices and options you have.
“When we feel anxious or low, we can often feel entrapped with fewer options. Always remind yourself that you have personal power and agency through the ability to choose. Give yourself permission to find out your options are and to make your choices based on what’s good for you and your wellbeing.”
Go with the flow
Indira Chima explains how living with uncertainty means we may feel we’re unable to make any firm plans.
She suggests: “If we can find a way to go with the flow, it will help us to stay afloat. So not just having Plan A but B and C as well and as many as it takes until we find one that helps us feel more in control of a situation that is out of our control.”
Use your senses
Emma says: “I have worked with clients on how they can use their senses to challenge and re-frame their feelings towards winter and feeling low in mood.
“For example, what smells the client may find calming, or remind them of the seasons. I also worked with a client who through recalling a winter meal they enjoyed cooking; brought back some comforting emotions. We were able to explore and underpin the feelings of the meal, the recipe and the cooking process, of which the client could adapt and take forward themselves.”
Notice your triggers for low mood
“Keep a feelings journal – writing or even drawing how you feel will help you to notice any patterns and triggers for low mood,” says Rebecca. “It can be empowering to have an insight into why you feel the way you do and will help you to create a sense of control in your world. Mindful noticing of where you hold tension in your body can also give clues as to how you are feeling.”
“Plan how you will continue to connect with friends and family,” encouraged Rebecca.
“Covid-19 has forced us to adjust the way we communicate but it can be difficult to find the motivation to keep in touch if you are feeling low. If you can make a plan to stay connected, it will help to alleviate feelings of isolation.”
Talk to a professional
If how you’re feeling is affecting your day to day life, then it may be time to seek support from a professional counsellor or psychotherapist.
Emma explains: “Therapists support clients to explore their feelings of uncertainty without judgement in an empathic space. Although this is an anxious time for many, there is a sense of community and that the client is not alone in this. I will often explore with the client that we are both on this journey together and I am there with them every step of the way.”
by sylviahillman | May 1, 2020 | Uncategorized
by sylviahillman | Apr 27, 2020 | Uncategorized