We're live!
Oct. 27, 2021

Let's Talk Therapy

Let's Talk Therapy

I am so happy to be sharing my premiere episode of The Point of U!
I had the pleasure of sitting down with psychotherapist and Director of Azalea Therapy Judy Harrison who has over 25 years experience working in both public sector as well as private.
We discuss the variety of therapies such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), psychotherapy and counselling. We also talk in depth about mindfulness which having spoken with Judy is something I personally think everyone should try.
And last but not least our discussion turns towards dreams and their inherent meaning; so definitely check out what this episode has to offer, I hope it resonates with you as much as it did with me.

Judy Harrison can be contacted  via her website https://www.azaleatherapy.com and through
Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/judy-harrison-48975246?lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_profile_view_base_contact_details%3BeTeim41gT%2FSbFCIQseKtBg%3D%3D.

Episode Takeaways
https://headliner.ai/lets-talk-therapy-24102021-20-mp3/

Transcript

Powered by Backstage


Let's Talk Therapy - 

-46:15



Mute


Uyi Agbontaen

Hey, guys.

Uyi Agbontaen

Welcome to the Premier episode of The Point of View. I'm super proud to be launching this show in today's episode. I'm speaking with psychotherapist Judy Harrison. Judy is the director of Azalea Therapy. We have an amazing chat about mental health therapy and mindfulness. I really hope you enjoy the episode.

Judy Harrison

I'm good. Yes, very good.

Uyi Agbontaen

Excellent. Excellent. Everybody hears about psychotherapy and psychotherapist and therapist, but I don't know if everybody knows exactly what it means to go through therapy. So what exactly is it?

Judy Harrison

Okay. Well, there are different levels of therapy. If you go for psychotherapy, it's a more in depth study of who you are and who you want to be. So it will go back in your past. Look at your childhood if you have trauma. So it's probably a deeper process and it's for longer. Counseling tends to be shorter, more focused on one issue. Therapy is a bit more. It's a wider perspective.

Uyi Agbontaen

Okay. So my kind of typical view of therapy is like the kind of thing you see in a film or a TV show.

Judy Harrison

That's terrible.

Uyi Agbontaen

The therapist is making notes with some glasses on, and they're like, lying down. Is that far from reality?

Judy Harrison

Okay. Well.

Judy Harrison

If you work as an analyst, psychoanalytical therapy, it's a broad Church, and people work very differently. Working with people lying down on a couch is how an analyst would work. Like a Freudian. I don't work like that. Clients would sit opposite me. Sometimes they might lie down if we were doing some body work or some breathing or mindfulness, but usually they would sit. We might get up and walk around. But the couch is a very traditional psychoanalytical therapy. And an analyst works in a very particular way. An analyst would literally interpret your behavior. So if you said, for example, when I meet this person, I feel like I'm six years old. They would say, Well, that's because there's a transference enactment. That person reminds you of your mother. So you regress back to being a child, so they will tell you what your experience is. Whereas in other forms of therapy, the client will reach that conclusion, though you'll help them. But you won't give them the answer. If you did something like CBT therapy again, that would be very different. That would be very focused. So say, for example, you had anxiety and you saw a CBT therapist. The CBT therapist would help you manage the anxiety, the symptoms. But they wouldn't tell you you wouldn't work on the cause of the anxiety. If you had therapy psychotherapy, you would do both. So that's the difference.

Uyi Agbontaen

So cognitive behavioral therapy. Cbt.

Judy Harrison

Yeah. So if you were anxious, if it was anxiety, they would help manage the anxiety. But they wouldn't work on what had caused the anxiety. So you wouldn't do anything about your family or your past. It would be very much you get homework, breathing techniques, exercises to do. And essentially, it's about changing your thinking. If you change the way that you think you feel differently and then you behave differently, that's really how it works.

Uyi Agbontaen

And then you talk about mindfulness. So that's something that today, especially with social media. Everybody is mindfulness, right? But what exactly is mindfulness? How would you define it?

Judy Harrison

It's a form of meditation. But when you meditate, if you do something like transcendental meditation, you want to move away from where you are. You want to go to a higher place in mindfulness. It's the opposite. It's very present focused. So you bring to the process what you're feeling. So you don't deny your feelings, you stay with them. And you use mindfulness techniques to explore the feelings and to understand them and to connect with them. And a lot of mindfulness is about breathing, because when you get more control over your breathing that calms your body down, your brain calms down. So it has a dramatic effect on the person.

Uyi Agbontaen

One of my friends was exploring the Wim HOF method.

Judy Harrison

Oh, Wim HOF.

Uyi Agbontaen

Yes. And he said, oh, you got to kind of learn about breathing. And I read this book. And one of the things you also wrote in is that people never think about how they breathe. No, they just breathe. It's not like a conscious effort.

Judy Harrison

Well, breathing is essential for mindfulness because you teach people to focus on their breathing. And when you breathe differently or when you connect to your breathing, it has an automatic calming effect. So if someone's very tense, it relaxes them. If someone's very anxious, it reduces their anxiety. If someone is depressed, it starts to get them more into their body so that they become more alive. And breathing is the key. It really is. I see people transformed through their breathing. Some of my clients work in very high powered jobs, very stressed. So breathing is a way for them just to calm down, focus and be in the present. Because often people that are very focused on the future or they're thinking about the past, but they're not connected to the present. So it's really a good way for people to connect to the present. And that gives you a very different answer.

Uyi Agbontaen

Quit don't quit noodles, don't noodles. You are too concerned with what was and what will be is a saying. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called present.

Uyi Agbontaen

Breathing and meditation. Feelings.

Judy Harrison

They are linked mindfulness and breathing. Yeah, they are linked. Meditation could be more specific. It depends on the type of meditation that you do. I mentioned transcendental meditation. That's about taking yourself to a higher place and getting into a more spiritual part of yourself, whereas mindfulness is the opposite. It's about staying in the here and now staying with what is so they are very different meditation. You might focus on a particular thing, anxiety or just awareness of who you are. It would probably be more focused and more directed.

Uyi Agbontaen

How does someone know if they need to go for some therapy or counseling?

Judy Harrison

Okay. If there's something in their life that's making it really difficult and they really feel that their life's shutting down or so say, for example, someone who's very sociable all of a sudden they find they don't want to go out. They don't want to mix with people. They stop washing, they stopped caring about themselves. So in that sense, if there's a change in your life, a significant change, that's often a point when people reach out for therapy.

Uyi Agbontaen

What kind of things normally cause that type of change?

Judy Harrison

A relationship breakdown. Perhaps if someone goes through a divorce and their life has to be reassessed, they have to move. They don't have the same financial income that they had. They have to move away. They have to get a job, they have to reformat their life. So therapy can be a way to do that. And often people don't want to burden their friends or their family because their family will just tell them what they want to hear, and so will their friends. Whereas in therapy, they'll explore more options.

Uyi Agbontaen

When someone goes to see a therapist, how do you know how long the person is going to spend with you? How do you know when this person is ready to kind of go off on their own?

Judy Harrison

Often, how I work. I would usually say to the client, we'll do six sessions, and after three, we'll do a review to see how it's going, because I'm a relational therapist. Interestingly. Recently, I was working with a guy in Bulgaria, and we did about eight sessions and he started to have a very he said, I don't know why I feel really negatively towards you. There was something about a mannerism that I did that reminded him of one of his family that he really didn't get on with. So I wasn't the right person to work with him. So the reviews are really important. And also I think people can feel well Where's the therapy going. People have to see that they're making progress. So the review is a really good way to do that. And often people will do a block of therapy for one issue. They'll take a break and they might come back or some people, they make one journey. They make the commitment to work and they get so interested in it. They start to understand what makes them do particular behaviors, that they stay in therapy and working with an army officer who had very negative experiences of therapy. And we've been working together now for a year. And every time we do a little bit of work, and he gets a bit more understanding about himself, he says, I want to go on now. I want to do a bit more. So it depends, really. It's different for everyone.

Uyi Agbontaen

At what point with him did he realize actually this is a positive thing.

Judy Harrison

Well, because he started to see that he can behave differently in his intimate and personal relationships. He found before he was often in conflict with people, ended a lot of relationships, whereas now his relationships are more enduring because he's doing something different.

Uyi Agbontaen

Obviously, you meet different personality types of people. And then you also get people who always get into conflict for some reason. Yes. And they're like, I don't know why every single time I get into this conflict with someone in my mind, it's like if you're constantly getting into conflict, then maybe the issue might be you rather than everything externally.

Judy Harrison

But that person has to understand. They have to. I see it as sort of three stages. So it starts with awareness. So the person starts to see that they're the common factor here in the conflict. Well, eventually, if that through therapy, you would hope that the person would think, actually, there must be something I'm doing because the same thing keeps happening. Then they acknowledge that they do something in the relationship and then you move it into action. Okay. Well, what could you do differently when you shout at people? Does that help your friend? Well, no, not really. So if you didn't shout at people, so you go through the different options and try and move the person on. If they want to move on, you don't dictate to the person. It's about giving them an awareness of different choices and possibilities.

Uyi Agbontaen

Some people are completely open. They just tell you the whole life story, but I think most people aren't open. So how do you get people to open up?

Judy Harrison

Well, in the first meeting that I have with people, I say to them, I'm going to ask you some really difficult questions. Now, it's important that you answer these questions because I need to have as much information as I can. If I'm going to work with you and generally, generally, that's enough. I do ask. I ask people, what was your first sexual experience? Do you take drugs? What's your relationship with alcohol? So you go through quite a lot of different what's your relationship with your family, with your partner. So you do ask quite searching questions. But again, you're testing whether or not they're ready to come into therapy by their responses to those questions. Very rarely have I had a client that said, I'm not answering that question. It's about creating the dynamic with the other person so that they feel comfortable or exploring what's stopping them. Being able to answer that question, there has to be an engagement. The client has to want to. For example, if someone doesn't want to talk about anything, it's going to be very difficult to do therapy.

Speaker D

Why did you lie to your daughter?

Speaker E

So I wouldn't have to come here.

Speaker D

Why didn't you want to come here?

Speaker E

Because I don't respect therapy because I'm a scientist because I invent transform, create and destroy for a living. And when I don't like something about the world, I change it. And I don't think going to a rented office in a strip mall to listen to some agents of averageness explain which words mean, which feelings has ever helped anyone do anything. I think it's helped a lot of people get comfortable and stop panicking, which is a state of mind we value and the animals we eat, but not something I want for myself. I'm not a cow. I'm a pickle when I feel like it. So you asked, Rick.

Speaker D

The only connection between your unquestionable intelligence and the sickness destroying your family is that everyone in your family you included use intelligence to justify sickness. You seem to alternate between viewing your own mind as an unstoppable force and as an inescapable curse. And I think it's because the only truly unapproachable concept for you is that it's your mind within your control. You chose to come here. You chose to talk to belittle my vocation, just as you chose to become a pickle. You are the master of your universe. And yet you are dripping with rat blood and feces, your enormous mind literally vegetating by your own hand. I have no doubt that you would be bored senseless by therapy. The same way I'm bored when I brush my teeth and wipe my ass. Because the thing about repairing, maintaining and cleaning is it's not an adventure. There's no way to do it so wrong. You might die. It's just work. And the bottom line is, some people are okay going to work.

Judy Harrison

And.

Speaker D

Some people would rather die. Each of us gets to choose. That's our time.

Judy Harrison

When I work with addiction clients, often men and women are sent. The courts send them. They have to come for therapy as part of their rehab. So they come with a lot of resistance, so you have to get their buy in or otherwise. It doesn't work. But generally, I found that they do want to do therapy when they can see that it's relevant to them. And when they start to understand, particularly patterns of domestic violence, when people start to realize, Well, I don't have to do that. I could do something differently. Well, it's a massive awakening for them about how they can do their life differently.

Uyi Agbontaen

I think a lot of people think that they can't change their life.

Judy Harrison

Yeah, I think they do. People think, Well, this is me. This is how I am. I can't change. But I mean the reality neuroscience. If you look at any piece of neuroscience, it says you can. You can make new neural pathways any time in your life. It's not age specific. I work with a 93 year old and he's changing his life. I work with people in their 20s that change their life and every other age range. So it can be done. But it's whether or not you want to do it, and you make the commitment do you find there's.

Uyi Agbontaen

Like, a typical age of people who come for therapy?

Judy Harrison

That's a really interesting question. When I started this work, the majority of my clients were women. And now it's the opposite. The majority are men, particularly young men come into therapy around 27, 28. It's almost before they get to 30. They want to have something sorted out or they know that there's something in their life that's stopping them achieving something that they want to achieve. So I'd say that's sort of an age where people come into their particularly young men.

Uyi Agbontaen

I think before there was this kind of stereotype that a man has to be strong or stoic. You see, even today, everyone's talking about stoicism. But that's not necessarily the case.

Judy Harrison

No. And if you look at the male suicide rate, we've got very high 24 to 45, really high male suicide rates in the UK, we've got the highest rate of selfharm in Europe. So something's not right. And a lot of men, I think there's a sort of conflict, isn't there the social media saying, you have to be, I don't know, like Love Island, that kind of body type. And if you're not like that, how do you fit in? And if you are emotional as a man, is that okay? So therapy is a way to explore all that? Yeah.

Uyi Agbontaen

When I was a kid, there was no social media. Obviously, there was the TV and magazines. I guess that was the social media of his day. But now you have social media literally in the grasp of your hand. And you talk about addiction. And when people normally think of addiction, they think of alcohol, when they think of drugs and cigarettes. But I think I'm probably addicted to my phone. I don't have my phone with my phone. What other kinds of addiction can people encounter workaholic?

Judy Harrison

I work with clients that work over 100 hours a week that take no breaks. They sleep about 3 hours a night.

Uyi Agbontaen

It's interesting you said that because in my mind, people wouldn't think of being a workaholic as an addiction. They're driven as a drive.

Judy Harrison

It is an addiction. I mean, anything can become an addiction. Video games, social media could become an addiction.

Uyi Agbontaen

There's been interesting documentaries about the way these companies have set up their platforms to make people want to continue using.

Speaker C

A lot of people think Google's, just a search box and Facebook's just a place to see what my friends are doing. What they don't realize is there's an entire teams of engineers whose job is to use your psychology against you.

Uyi Agbontaen

I was the co inventor of the Facebook Like button.

Speaker C

I was the President of Pinterest, Google, Twitter, Instagram. There were meaningful changes happening around the world because of these platforms. I think we were naive about the flip side of that coin. You get rewarded by parts, likes, thumbs up, and we conflate that with value, and we conflate it with truth, a whole generation is more anxious, more depressed. I always felt like fundamentally was the force for good.

Judy Harrison

It's the compulsion to do the behavior that's what generates the addiction that you can't stop. So it's something about your reward system in your brain that you have. You crave this thing, and the more you do it, the more you need to do it. Is that something crazy?

Uyi Agbontaen

You do something that you get a reward for, and you get like this dopamine release and you feel rewarded. And then your body's reaction to the dopamine gets a little dulled each time you get that hit. So it wants more.

Judy Harrison

You have to do more to get more to get the same effect.

Uyi Agbontaen

How do you cycle back?

Judy Harrison

Well, the initial thing is that you have to think of other ways to increase your dopamine. Some people do it through Medicare. People do what we call a combination approach. So you might take medication, which increases your dopamine levels, and then you do things that also increase things like exercise is really good. That's a key one, actually exercise and your motivation to do things. I think things like Facebook. People have to be the perfect family. And if you're not in the perfect family, if you know that your relationship isn't working, there's the fantasy of Facebook. And I'm sure I'm not deriding Facebook. I think Facebook has a very positive function as well. It brings a lot of people together, groups together. But I think people do feel a pressure to be a particular way. And if that's not the reality, then the fantasy and the reality is it creates a conflict and attention.

Uyi Agbontaen

Yeah, I'm curious. I have two kids. I have two young children. And so now they've never had a world where there's not been a Facebook or been an Instagram or YouTube. And so they are very much engaged with that world. That is their reality. They're young. They don't understand one's, six, one's, four. But the six year old ask questions. That's not reality to my daughter. But I don't get that. Oh, this isn't real because it's constantly what they see. So I guess it would be interesting to see how in the future these young people grow up to be adults and what their perspective or their interactions are in life compared to mine where we didn't have that?

Judy Harrison

Yeah. I think that would be a really interesting piece of research. I mean, already there's lots of research about how well, with things like eating disorders, body dysmorphia, all those sort of issues have been heightened through social media. I worked with a guy that was a former Mr. Universe who hated his body. He had this people saying, oh, you're perfect. And he felt, no, I'm not. I don't feel that.

Uyi Agbontaen

I had a conversation with someone the other day about what it takes to be number one, right? What it takes to be the number one. You're the best just happened. And recently they've been talking about mental health and the athletes. What's the line between performing a highly in an endeavor in a field and becoming obsessive to the point where it's detrimental?

Judy Harrison

I think when people get to that place of perfection, they're always going to be disappointed in where they are. It's about pulling yourself back from because perfection is a fantasy. We can't be perfect. And I think that's what happens that creates that fosters and fuels that obsession. I have worked with athletes and sports people where the work is to pull them back from that perfectionism because they can't attain it, and they end up feeling well, resentful, angry. And then they go into quite self destructive behavior.

Uyi Agbontaen

It's a tricky one because I guess especially it's more noticeable in sport because you can compare performance.

Speaker C

Yes, different.

Uyi Agbontaen

When you're talking about beauty, it's hard to compare. But sport you can. Everybody who wants to be 100 meters sprinter, they think they're thinking, Well, I need to do more than the next person. My stride needs to be better. I need to be spending more time in the gym. So it's a tricky thing because in the one hand, you recognize that that person wants to be the best, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But then being the best might harm you in other ways.

Judy Harrison

It's about a balance. And I think sometimes you have to accept that this is the best that you can do, and you've attained that and be okay with that. And I think that's quite difficult for a lot of people.

Uyi Agbontaen

With all the noise going on in the background, you can do better. You can do more.

Judy Harrison

People develop something called an inequity, and the inequity will have two sides to it. One side will be you're not good enough, and the other side will say, and you've got to work harder. And if you put those two things together, it's a recipe for selfdestruction because you're never going to be happy with what you achieve. I think you have to acknowledge both sides. If you ignore them, they get stronger. The voices get stronger. And often it's about identifying. Where does that inequity come from? Sometimes it's a punitive parent or a teacher, someone significant in their history. And once people can understand that, then they can begin to let go of the I mean, we have to have critical faculties. Otherwise we wouldn't achieve anything. But again, it's about attaining that balance so that you're not so driven that you can't relax that you're always striving to be better.

Uyi Agbontaen

Do you think deep down, people always know where the root of that issue comes from?

Judy Harrison

I think they do. Once they start to explore. Usually they can identify who that voice is. People want to be. They want to be seen as good by their parents. And often that's quite hard to work with that. If that's not going to happen.

Uyi Agbontaen

Talking about trauma because you deal with trauma recently. I remember we had a conversation before, and I said there was someone who I knew who recently passed away into their life. And it was one of these situations where it shocked everybody because nobody expected it. They couldn't see it. This person was clearly distressed. What are the signs?

Judy Harrison

Sometimes people will say they'll start to be more reflective about the relationship that they have with you. They'll talk about the past. Or do you remember when we did this? They might be more emotional saying about how much they love you, how much they value you. And often they get all their affairs in order. And before someone makes a decision to end their life, they'll often seem happier because they've made the decision to end their life so that weight is lifted from them. We're talking about emotional pain, that deep pain that people carry. And it's so overwhelming that at that moment, suicide seems like the only option. I don't know if you know about this woman. She lives near a bridge in Wales and what she did, she thought, Well, what can I do? She kept reading about people that were ending their life. So she left notes on the bridge and it saved. The police came and they said, Well, you've saved 40, 50 people's lives. They read the note, and it was just reading that note made them change their mind.

Uyi Agbontaen

I never heard that story.

Judy Harrison

It's very difficult. I mean, all you can do is keep checking out with people and ask them to be honest with you. And they may or may not. And at the end of the day, I wouldn't want any of my clients to end their life. But at the end of the day, they make that choice. I would always say to someone, look, if you really feel like you can't go on, call me. Maybe we can talk. Maybe there's something I can do. But I also know that maybe there isn't. And for that person at that moment, that feels like the only choice.

Uyi Agbontaen

What about the loss of losing someone? When someone close to you passes away? People experience in very different ways.

Judy Harrison

It's interesting that you say that I'm actually doing a piece of research on bereavement and addiction. And it's very clear that people that have lost a significant person in their life early on a parent or a sibling. There's a link with addiction if it happens early, if it happens early in childhood, and it really is often because they haven't dealt with the Bereavement, people say things like, well, it's six months on now. You should be over it. So they don't feel then that they've got the right degree. Ten years on, and often, particularly men come into therapy for Bereavement when the bereavement is a long time ago, and they realized that they never dealt with the initial bereavement, and now it's starting to impact on their life negatively. So they come into therapy. And I think it does seem that women are more able to express their feelings in relation to grief, whereas for men, it's still quite difficult.

Uyi Agbontaen

Is it okay to grieve ten years after someone passes away?

Judy Harrison

Well, I think you have to if that bereavement is impacting on your life and it's stopping you moving forward in your life, then you have to. I worked with a man who phoned me and he said, I don't know what's wrong with me. I had this bereavement ten years ago, and now I can't get out of bed. Is it connected? And I said to him, I think it is. And it was his body. He was holding so much grief, his body literally gave up. There was a direct link. And he made the connection himself. Yeah.

Uyi Agbontaen

Deep down, he knew he knew.

Judy Harrison

So I think there's a lot of expectation that people are expected to get over things quickly. And as you said, it's different for everyone. I can work with four or five different members of a family that have all had the same bereavement, and their responses will all be very different. It's a journey. Bereavement and grief. I call it a grief journey. And clients are ready to you can't do it straight away. You have to wait at least six months after the bereavement before you can start the work. And if a bereavement is sudden and unexpected or in traumatic circumstances of suicide and murder, then the impact will be greater.

Uyi Agbontaen

What kind of coping mechanisms can people use to deal with it?

Judy Harrison

Well, I use a model that clients find quite helpful. It's two circles. And then you have an intersection where the two circles overlap. In one circle. You have what we call the grief circle. So that's the time that people spend grieving honoring the person that has died. And in the other circle is the going on with life circle. And I think to understand that you need to spend time in both circles. Most people say to me, that's really helpful because they don't feel it's okay to grieve. They think, oh, they've got to be in the going on with life circle, and it's unrealistic. And sometimes they'll become overwhelmed by something very quickly and think, oh, what's that about? And then they think I'm in that grief circle, and then they transition out of it back into life because they've got to get on with their job or whatever.

Uyi Agbontaen

And it's okay to have lapses where you go from one to the other.

Judy Harrison

Yeah. And that's the reality of grief. The initial models of grief were written by doctors. They were very formulaic that you did this. Then you went here, then you went here, then you went here and clients were saying, yeah, but that doesn't happen. I've been here. Then I went here. I've skipped a few stages. So we formulated this circular model.

Uyi Agbontaen

Which is more realistic the past two years has been a really strange year for everyone. Very strange, because the whole world has been turned upside down. We've had to isolate from people, and there's all these different restrictions. How has it changed for you and working with clients? Because historically, I guess you do a lot of face to face work. And now I'm guessing most of the time it would be in front of a screen.

Judy Harrison

Yeah, for me, because I've worked with clients that travel a lot. I'm used to working Skype Zoom. Those were mediums that I already was used to. But for a lot of therapists, they had to make the transition to go online. For me, it wasn't so bad, but it can be pretty intense when you're looking into a screen hour upon hour, and it's very difficult to in the room, you can sort of look away. Initially, there was a concern that we wouldn't be able to do the deep work that we do normally face to face, body language, the proximity of working together. But I haven't actually found that. I found that I've still done very profound work with clients. And also some clients have said to me they felt safer to be more vulnerable because they're in their own space and they're inviting me into their space. Things like bodywork and breathing have been more difficult because obviously, I need to see the top of the client just down to the waist.

Uyi Agbontaen

So you mentioned body work. What is body work?

Judy Harrison

Well, bodywork is just getting the client to understand that everything. I mean, it sounds obvious when you say it holistically, but how we think the nervous system responds to our thinking, the nervous system. We have something called the sympathetic nervous system when we're triggered into the fear fight flight response. And for clients to understand that if they're often in that place, hyper arousal, the impact that it has on them physically and emotionally. So it's about getting clients to understand that body, your body's giving you messages every minute of the day, your heart's giving you messages, your breath is giving you messages, listen to those messages. And then it opens up the possibility of doing something differently. I was working with a guy last night and he was saying he has a lot of conflict in his relationships. And he said, I've really been breathing. But he said, I noticed the resistance in my body because the body is used to doing it one way, and now he's doing it differently. But that experience and that awareness is fantastic, that he's got that awareness now that he can make a different choice, he's retraining himself. Yeah. And you retrain your brain and you retrain your body. So all the tension and the resistance that you have that will dissipate over time. When you make the new neural pathways, the different ways of thinking and being.

Uyi Agbontaen

When someone goes for a therapy session, how long does it typically last?

Judy Harrison

It's 50 minutes because we do a 50 minutes hour, because ten minutes. We always make notes on the clients. What's happened in the session just so that we can think about what's the best way to support this person.

Uyi Agbontaen

It's for the client to do the work and then you facilitate them. You facilitate them.

Judy Harrison

Generally, I would have a structure. If the client came with something that was urgent, then we'd work with that. But usually we've got a structure, but it's not like a Q and A. I don't say, well, what about this? And what about that? It would be more interactive than that. And it would be me feeding back to the client. If they said something, I'd remind them, maybe of something that we've worked on before joining up the different sessions so that it becomes more meaningful. A bit like a puzzle. That's my role to put the puzzle together, or to support the client, to see that X relates to Y relates to W in a way that they hadn't thought about that before.

Uyi Agbontaen

What's it like when you see the progress?

Judy Harrison

It's amazing when you see people transform through the work. It really is an amazing experience, people. But I worked with a client who couldn't go out. She'd got agrophobia. She wanted to get a job. So we worked on building her self support. She could go out to the lamppost, then further building that up. And she's just got an amazing job. Amazing transformation. Yeah. I mean, she wanted to do the work. It was difficult. She was quite resistant at first, because it was quite frightening. A lot of the work is about creating safety for the client so that they feel safe enough for you to do the work. If they don't feel safe enough, you won't be able to work.

Uyi Agbontaen

What's the homework you give people?

Judy Harrison

I might say to someone, it's interesting. We've started to talk about your anger. It might be helpful just to write down some thoughts about your anger. Bring it next session. So that might be journaling homework, because when we take something that's in our head and we write about it, well, for a start, it lessens the charge that it has, and the client gets a clarity about it that they don't have when it's in their head and then discussing it again, it widens out their awareness and understanding of it. So I might give people a client something like that, a piece of writing to do. I might give them a breath practice to do a short breath practice. Sometimes I might give clients something called a gratitude practice where people start to really, if someone is very negative so that they start to focus on three things that are good in their life. And it might be looking out the window and seeing the sun. It might be when their child comes home with a painting from school. But whatever it is, it's just to move that mindset from negativity into a more positive place. So I might give something like that.

Uyi Agbontaen

As you said before, people are thinking about the future, and they're thinking about the past, but they're not thinking about the present, staying present.

Judy Harrison

And it gives you a very different experience. If you do things that you don't notice that you wouldn't notice if you're so future focused or past focused that you start to notice. And also, when I work with couples to have that presence in their relationship, I'm working with a guy now. He said his partner always says, oh, when you come home from work, you're never present. I can be speaking to you. And I can see that you're miles away. I've given him an exercise to do so he can be present. And he said, It's amazing, because now he does this little exercise his wife can see he's doing it. So she knows that this is his commitment to the relationship. And it's three minutes.

Uyi Agbontaen

The couple thing is a tricky one, I imagine, because there's two sides to a story, right?

Judy Harrison

Yeah.

Uyi Agbontaen

There's version A, there's version B and version C is the truth somewhere.

Judy Harrison

Yeah.

Judy Harrison

Often with couples. When I work with couples, it's about them really listening to each other. So I give them an exercise where they have to speak for five minutes about the relationship, something that they would like to change in the relationship, how they feel about the relationship. And then I ask the partner to feedback what they've said. And it's amazing how often they say, I can't remember anything. Okay. So you don't actually listen.

Uyi Agbontaen

Typically, one side, he says that I'm guessing the man not necessarily. No.

Judy Harrison

The baddies and the women are fantastic. It can be either way.

Uyi Agbontaen

But.

Judy Harrison

It'S a really interesting exercise to do because they both say, oh, my God, we're just not listening to each other. Yeah.

Uyi Agbontaen

For the most part, things have been great with us, but she doesn't really understand me.

Judy Harrison

So there's an emotional disconnect.

Judy Harrison

No.

Uyi Agbontaen

I mean, she literally doesn't understand English.

Judy Harrison

Do you think I see that definitely complicates things.

Uyi Agbontaen

At first, it was exciting and a lot of fun, but now I don't know, language barriers really starting to take a toll, I think.

Judy Harrison

And it's a big light bulb moment, isn't it?

Uyi Agbontaen

When you realize it's something that we take for granted that when we are communicating, we're often just we're giving our point of view. But we're not listening to the other person in general, let alone in our close relationships. Your thoughts and your mind is working at a certain pace way faster than the words that come in out of your mouth or the other person's mouth. So it's easy to kind of listen but not even hear what the person says.

Judy Harrison

So the breath work and the breathing sometimes slows that down. So it's about promoting a more intimate experience in the relationship. And slowing down is a way to do that. So I give people a couple a little exercise to do. And then they'll come back the next week and say, oh, we did that exercise. And I could say everything that he said, and she will say, I heard everything. So it can be quite positive.

Uyi Agbontaen

Do you do work on dreams?

Judy Harrison

I work a lot with dreams.

Uyi Agbontaen

Dreams always fascinate me. What do dreams mean to people?

Judy Harrison

Well, different therapists have different takes on dreams. Part of my training was a gestalt training. And in Gestalt, we believe gestaltis believe that their messages for the dreamer. So everything in the dream is about you. So when I work with a dream, if I was an analyst and I worked with a dream, I would just interpret the dream. I'd say, when that happened in the dream, it meant that when I work with a dream, I get the client to tell the dream as if it's happening now. And then I ask them, which part of the dream are you drawn to? Which thing in the dream? And it can be the dog that was sitting under the gate. It might be the gate. And then we work with that. And it's amazing. Dreams are, I believe, subconscious messages for the dreamer so that there might be something that we can't deal with in our waking life. So it comes into our life when we're asleep.

Uyi Agbontaen

What about recurring dreams, then? Is that the same thing if it's a recurring dream?

Judy Harrison

Yeah.

Judy Harrison

There's a message there. So I work with nightmares. So we would do something called nightmare rescripting where we rescued the nightmare. So it has a better ending. So it breaks down the impact of the nightmare on the dreamer. Fascinating. I worked with an artist in Australia and he would draw his dreams and we would work with them very, very lucid dreams. Yeah. Really interesting to work with.

Uyi Agbontaen

It's so hard to remember. That's the most annoying thing.

Judy Harrison

Sometimes I get clients to do what I call a dream diary. So when they're having after the dream, they just write down the bare bones of the dreams and bring it, and then we explore it.

Uyi Agbontaen

You remember, like you have the dream, you wake up and like, wow, amazing dream. And then 2 hours later, you're like, what happened in the dream? I can't remember.

Judy Harrison

But sometimes when you start to talk about the dream in therapy, it will come back. It's amazing how bits come back.

Uyi Agbontaen

So, you know, when you meet people in dreams, like you see someone in your dream that you've not met before. Is it someone you actually met past them in the street, or is it just something your mind is just completely made up?

Judy Harrison

No, it's part of you. So it's to do with you. So it might be, for example, you met someone who was really nasty aggressive. It might be that part of you, a disowned part of you that you meet in the dream. I had a client recently, his father just died and he jumped. His father came back and his father was a Knight. But his father was evil in the dream, and he had to kill him because he had to save humanity. So he killed his father in the dream. And when we explored the dream, it was about this quality that his father had that he really didn't like that. He thinks he's got. And that's a concern for me.

Uyi Agbontaen

So it was really interesting piece of work to uncover that it's always fascinating stories and people experiencing the same types of dreams. I'm trying to run away, but I can't run away fast enough. The dream of flying or falling in is fascinating. I don't know if you heard some of those stories where the man who invented the sewing machine, he had a dream that he was being harpooned with Spears and in the sphere had, like, a little loop. And that was the loop that made so much. Absolutely.

Judy Harrison

Yeah.

Uyi Agbontaen

It's crazy.

Judy Harrison

Yeah. Dreams are often about creativity and bringing forward ideas, but if you can capture it, that's the key, isn't it?

Uyi Agbontaen

If you can.

Judy Harrison

Yeah, if you can. I mean, it's not what people do, but often clients bring dreams. And if they dream a lot, that's something I would work with.

Uyi Agbontaen

I found when we had the initial part of the lockdown, there's so much downtime because people are going to work. And so I was sleeping longer. When I was sleeping longer, I was dreaming. I had some really weird I remember now, but I just remember I'm dreaming a lot more sleeping longer. Whereas when life almost gets back to normal, it's fast paced. You don't necessarily dream because you're not getting as much sleep.

Judy Harrison

Yes, dreams are an amazing window into who we are and what we think about.

Uyi Agbontaen

We've done just about an hour to close it. If there was something that you could tell people about therapy, what would you tell them?

Judy Harrison

Well, I would tell them to take the plunge and see what happens. But find the right find someone that you feel comfortable with. Find someone that you feel that you can be open and honest with them, because at the end of the day, if you're not open and honest, it's yourself that you're lying to because the therapist will know it's about the relationship between the therapist and the client. That's what supports the work.

Uyi Agbontaen

Good message to end on. Where can people find you if they want to reach out?

Judy Harrison

I have a website. My website is called Azalea Therapy Services.

Uyi Agbontaen

How do you spell that?

Judy Harrison

Azalea like the flower. It's very exotic and it needs a lot of work. So it's a bit like therapy. Really?

Judy Harrison

Okay.

Judy Harrison

So Azalea is A-Z-A-L-E. Azaleiatherapyservices. Co. Uk I'm on LinkedIn. They can read my profile on LinkedIn, which details all my experience. I have a couple of therapists that work for me.

Uyi Agbontaen

Okay, so they can reach out to your website and LinkedIn is a good option as well.

Judy Harrison

Yeah. Often clients want to know my background. I'm on UKCP. It gives you a little update of what my experience and my qualifications are and the BACP I'm registered with all the professional bodies.

Uyi Agbontaen

Thank you, Judy. It's been good. So that's it. Thank you for listening in. See the show notes the details about my guests and check out the next episode coming up to you in two weeks. Time.