Hello and Welcome

I'm Nick, a BACP registered counsellor based in Fishponds (BS16) and central Bristol (BS2). Please read on to find out more about me and how I can help you. Alternatively, give me a call or text on 07988 136267 or send an email to nick@tangata-counselling.co.uk to book sessions.

A Counsellor in Bristol For You

I can help you feel better about yourself. I am experienced in counselling many concerns that arise is today's busy world. These include but are not limited to social anxiety, bereavement, depression, relationship issues or general low self-esteem. If any of this resonates or you need to improve your confidence, then contact me. My Bristol based counselling practice runs from two easily accessible locations - Fishponds and central Bristol.

Your counselling sessions with me allow you the time to be heard and understood. You may discuss whatever is on your mind, no matter how big or small it appears. Together we can understand and reflect giving you the opportunity to choose different thoughts or actions. Working with me you are giving yourself the best chance to achieve your aspirations.

I am a registered member (MBACP) of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and work to their Ethical Framework. This means that I will always put your best interests first and foremost - you can check my membership here. I am also fully DBS checked.

Relational

Our relationship and trust in each other are at the core of the bond we will develop during counselling. This will naturally develop at a comfortable pace through respect for each other. I will hold you in the highest regard and your commitment to the process is important. You will have the opportunity to discuss your needs from low self-esteem, social anxiety or depression. I also have experience helping people with bereavement, relationship difficulties, general sadness, additions and family issues, amongst many others.

Integrative

I will work with you integratively. This means I use a core theory but will incorporate skills from other approaches as appropriate. To quote a few buzz-words, I work in a person-centred manner, integrating CBT, solution-focused and transactional analysis, amongst others.

Creative

An alternative to talking-based counselling are a variety of creative techniques. If appropriate, my training in creative writing or sand play can provide the opportunity for deeper levels of understanding. My BS16 counselling room has the equipment, so we will arrange sessions here if this is something you would like to try.

Latest Blog Posts

Balance in Mental Health – The Elixir of Life?

Working Out the Balance in Mental Health

In so much of the work I do as a counsellor, I find that one word comes up time and time again. It’s a simple word but one with incredible meaning and a number of different applications. Balance. It might make you think of riding a bicycle, walking on uneven ground or a ballerina. Of course, these are all relevant but balance in mental health and counselling has many applications.

Balance in mental health - like walking a tightrope.

With clients, I often talk about the tightrope of mental health. By that I infer that the client is walking the tightrope holding one of those long poles to aid balance. On the end of the stick are two buckets, one containing things that replenish their mental health. An example of this would be self-care. On the other end are the things that deplete their mental health, for example doing things to help others. It is often the case that one bucket is heavier than the other – you guessed it – mostly the depleting one. Subsequently, life has become difficult to manage. This visual image alone can be enough to highlight the importance of balance.

Understanding Why Life is Hard

When people forget or cannot find the time to replenish themselves, they can lose sight of what is healthy and good. Whilst specific activities are very unique to the individual, there are often patterns and generalisations that help. For example, being outside doing something is gathering increasing evidence. Our eyes are designed (evolved!) to be more sensitive to shades of green than any other colour. As supported here, the time doesn’t need to be great, just time outside!

Recovering the Balance

Exercise and a healthy diet are other generalisations. I believe in having a balance between mental and physical exercise in order to promote good sleep. Furthermore, a healthy diet does change the way our minds operate and our bodies function. For inspiration watch this video. Time travelling back a few decades in my life, I am reminded of my mother saying ‘everything in moderation’. Now I understand what she meant and see how it fits with a balance in mental health.

If this post resonates with you in any way, please get in touch to find out about counselling sessions in Bristol. I work at a pace to suit you and aim to recover lost balances through a trusting, open relationship. Contact me here.

Teacher’s Mental Health: Many Do Not Plan To Stay in the Profession

New Teachers are Struggling

A recent study by Leeds Beckett University suggested that less than half of new teachers had definite plans to stay in the profession. Surprisingly, they had come to this conclusion after only a year in their new jobs. Given the time and money they have invested, their experiences must have been quite bad! As a result, new teacher’s mental health declines rapidly.

A happy new teacher with good mental health - in the minority?

This article by the Independent newspaper expands on some of the reasons behind this worrying statistic. Anxiety or panic attacks seem to be the most commonly reported symptoms. Depression and late night self-medication of alcohol are rarer. However, given the relatively small size of the study I imagine the national figures would be very concerning.

The Responsibility of the Next Generation

Why are the people that have taken it upon themselves to follow a career developing our next generation are so badly supported? In Bristol and South Gloucestershire, teachers can choose to receive short-term counselling through the council. This is a good initiative, however managing anxiety and panic attacks can be a longer term process. Furthermore, depression tends to come in cycles and can be very difficult to shake off.

In other areas of the country, teacher’s mental health is supported by regular counsellor visits to schools. This is a time in which any teacher can confidentially speak to someone. Normally once a month, this concept of regular drop-in sessions is inspirational. Results speak for themselves with these schools often seen to maintain consistently high Ofsted ratings.

Proactive Options

New teachers struggle with mental health issues in the absence of a professional support network. Of course, by researching online one can find a plethora of information. Much of this advice is valid and generally suitable. For example, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is successful in combating symptoms of anxiety. However, this should be facilitated by a trained professional.

Mindfulness can often provide good results. This can be as simple as concentrating on yourself for a couple of minutes several times a day. It’s a bit like retraining yourself or learning a new skill. In other words it takes a bit of practice. However, the rewards of learning to be more grounded and present in the ‘here and now’ hold great potential. The grip of anxiety is reduced by spending less time concerned with the future.

Mindfulness can be learnt individually or with the help of a professional counsellor. Please contact me if you would like more information or to arrange well priced sessions to work on these or similar issues.

Social Media and Teenage Suicide

How Social Media and Teenage Suicide are Linked

Previously, I have written about the use of screens. My concern is how they can negatively influence the mental health of all of us, especially teenagers. Recently, it has been revealed that this is becoming a matter of life and death. More specifically, how social media and teenage suicide are being linked.

Image of a meadow on a summer's day

Alarmingly, around 200 British schoolchildren take their own lives each year. At a rate of more than one every other day, I was shocked to read this on the BBC website in this article. Another stand-out piece of information from the BBC is as follows. Due to the private nature of mobile phone use, parents are not up-to-date with the online persona of their children. As such, the type of content they are viewing is unknown. The video on the above BBC web page makes the point that disturbing self-harm or suicidal content is still freely and easily available to all.

Therefore, in some cases parents and friends of suicidal teenagers have no idea of deteriorating mental health. One cannot begin to the imagine the shock of discovering a dead child. So what can be done? How can we understand social media and teenage suicide?

Ways to Approach the Problem

To me there seem to be a number of different corners to the problem to smooth off in order make some headway. Initial thoughts might be to blame the social media companies – we live in a blame culture after all! Yes, there is definitely much they can do to improve the way in which harmful material is so readily available. As an optimist, I am sure there is plenty of work behind the scenes but it needs to be quicker and more effective. With all of today’s technology, how is it that a 14 year old can access suicidal images? Unacceptable.

However, can a teenager’s mental health deteriorate that quickly that parents and friends have no idea? Despite the confusing whirlpool of hormones that swish frequently through a young person’s body, we must regularly keep maintaining contact. By that I mean face-to-face interaction – let them know we are available to listen. Try to understand. It might appear to fall on deaf ears or is received with a grunt but on some level it will go in. Furthermore, there are always ways to connect with a teenager. As unlikely as this may seem, each personality will have a unique way in. This could be a board game, eating pizza in the car on the way home or buying an ice cream on a snowy day.

Conclusion, with Extra Awareness

Finally, by reading this article you are now hopefully a little bit more aware of the potential issue. Just this information will likely start-up your radar for signs of problems at home. Furthermore, if things seem unmanageable it is important to address issues through an open, sensitive and non-judgmental discussion with your teenager.

More help is available through the BBC Action Line, the Samaritans or personal counselling, please get in touch here.