Piero Dell'Anno BA. MA. PgDip. Dip. MSc Counselling and Psychotherapy in West Hampstead and Central London

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Thoughts are real but they are not the truth

At times, life can be challenging and the difficulties we face may seem insurmountable. Sometimes those difficulties are rooted in the past, in our relationship with our parents or caregivers, or in events that have unexpectedly altered the course of our life. We might be critical of ourselves and believe we should already have overcome these experiences.

Unfinished matters from the past can have a negative impact on many areas of life, including relationships with family and friends and our working lives.It can be difficult to recognise and understand how the past is damaging our present. Unresolved issues can manifest themselves in the present as anxiety, depression, jealousy, panic attacks and other physical symptoms. We each develop a strategy for coping, derived from what is possible at the time with the available resources. Just as plants somehow adapt to grow despite a shortage of light, water and oxygen, we cope by adopting certain patterns of behaviour, which we then tend to repeat until they become fixed. Even if we recognise these behaviours, and want to change the ones that now work less well for us, change may seem impossible.

I encourage my clients to explore and make connections between the unfinished past and the present, and the impact of the former on the latter. I help clients to become more compassionate towards themselves, and to recognise that patterns of behaviour they adopted in the past were appropriate at that time, given the resources available to them then. It is only later that such behaviours may appear inappropriate and in need of change. Making these connections helps clients to discover for themselves new opportunities and new ways of being, in the present and future.

Too often, terms such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks and relationship difficulties are used as if referring to a physical illness and/or to something fixed and unchangeable. I believe they are, in fact, ways of adapting and of being which we have chosen so as to protect and support ourselves.

In my clinical practice, my ethos is to support my clients in a nonjudgmental way, helping them to discover that we can achieve well-being by drawing on our inner resources and those available in the wider environment. A new way of seeing can be the start of a new way of being.

I am from an Italian background. London is now my home. I have lived and studied in many countries, and appreciate and enjoy learning from the diversity I have experienced. I am curious about the power of our inner voice to navigate us through life, and about our potential to learn self-compassion so as to be kinder to ourselves in coping with life’s challenges.

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