Therapy-space Cambridge Counselling & Psychotherapy with Duncan E. Stafford

Blog. ThinkingBrainBlog

The right to choose more than black and white

You can follow this blog at therapy place blog

26 April 2016

Recently, I had a long and exhilarating conversation with a male colleague who had sought to challenge some black and white (binary thinking) by making a particular job application. We spoke the day after his application had been turned down on the grounds of occupational requirement – this is a circumstance where it is lawful to be treated differently due to your sex.*

One of the reasons it became such a meaningful conversation is that the failed application appeared to raise so much detail about the way humans get locked into simplistic or binary thinking. Take, for instance, the complex sociopolitical situation the UK has become embroiled in since Brexit first reared its head. You don’t have to look too hard to have seen numerous examples from both the ‘in’ and ‘out’ camps of over-simplification and binary thinking. Such debates perhaps underline that the world is a complex place but that our actual ability to cope with these complexities is limited. Maybe it’s best to see that, in seeking simple solutions, we largely ignore or hide the complexities.

After my conversation with my colleague I was left to consider something I have lived with the whole of my psychotherapeutic career – the fact that women who you might expect to want to work with another women often choose to come and work with a man instead.

Simple and binary thinking might lead you to imagine that a woman who has lived in a coercive or abusive relationship with a man would only want to work with a woman. Similarly, if you are female and have been raped by a man, then it might be expected that you would only work with a woman. However, as we have already discussed, the reality is that the real world is more complex. While it might be that many women feel far more comfortable working with a female therapist, some women make different choices. Some women – especially those who have also suffered at the hands of other women – actually need to work with a male therapist. It might be that to work in a safe, secure space with a trained, registered and accredited male therapist can offer certain women the opportunity to begin to work towards trusting men again.

On numerous occasions during my career, I am glad to have been prepared and able to offer to be a trusted man in the repair work women have undertaken. I just wish that all therapeutic and support organisations would consider getting their palettes out, mix the black and white, and do some ‘grey’ thinking by offering the opportunity for women who need it their choice of gender for their recovery.

*www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/sex-discrimination



Blog. BlogLearn

Everything has still to be learned

14 March 2017

On a wall in my consulting room is stenciled, in 2-inch high letters, a quote from C G Jung: 'Let no day pass without humbly remembering that everything has still to be learned.' Read more at therapy place blog

You can read more blog posts by visiting the therapy place blog


Blog. BlogFirstSession

On beginning to change your life: the first session

14 February 2017

‘Signing up’ for counselling/psychotherapy can be a big move. It may even turn your life around in ways you hadn’t thought of. Read more at therapy place blog



Blog. BLOGBlueMonday

Blue Monday, acceptance and the ‘good enough’ New Year’s Resolution

10 January 2017

For a moment, I’m not thinking about why, for so many people, things might get so rotten early in the year. Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. Bloghomes

Where we live: family, home and not making assumptions

30 Nov 2016

The situation in which people live is a common subject that comes up in therapy. There are students new to... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. AutumnBlog

The mood forecast for the autumn

26 October 2016

As the temperature and light levels drop at this time of year, so each day rapidly shortens. Falling leaves unequivocally announce autumn and the inescapable ‘decline’ towards winter... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. CouplesBlog

Effective solutions for failing relationships

27 September 2016

It is never comfortable to feel that one is failing at something in life. When it comes to a relationship failing, we can all bring out pretty special defence systems that keep us away from this recognition... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. Awaitingblog

Suffering from creative constipation …?

31 August 2016

I’m not quite certain if I first heard, read or spontaneously thought of the phrase ‘creative constipation’, but over the years I’ve made it my own... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. Blogfind200

Just call me …

30 July 2016

“Yes you’re right,” says Jessica, as we begin to talk for the first time about the process of therapy. “The only clues I’ve got,” she says, “are from TV sit coms and films.”... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. Belongingblog

The transient existence of meaning and belonging

29 June 2016

The midsummer light has finally faded around the edges of the blinds and I am sat within 3 metres of two of the most beautiful voices imaginable... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. Numbers

Living life by numbers … and the midlife crisis

7 May 2016

Conveniently, for lovers of statistics, the Canadian-born psychologist and social analyst Elliot Jaques – who coined the term “midlife crisis”* – died at the age of 86... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. blogjam

What are you living for now

5 April 2016

It is a gloriously sunny spring afternoon and all I can see, as I walk away from the city centre of Cambridge, is an unending line of traffic queuing to make its way to an impossibly small number of parking spaces... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. Stitchblog

A stitch in time …

29 March 2016

In total, with two different therapists I spent 8-and-a-half-years in therapy. For 5-and-a-half-years I even went twice a week... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. StrayBlog

When someone strays

29 February 2016

Most people – whether through experience or empathy – can understand the range of feelings that go through someone’s mind and body when they discover their partner has, or is currently having, an affair... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. Calnderblog

On breaking resolutions and getting things fixed

19 January 2016

Blue Monday – apparently the most depressing day of the year – has now passed and, according to many reports, three-quarters of those who made New Year’s resolutions... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. Attachblog

On being ignored, forgotten or abandoned

1 December 2015

From my window seat, I was enjoying watching the early Saturday coffee addicts flock into the café for their various flat whites, cappuccinos and espressos... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. CryingBlog

Crying has an upside – for men and women alike

9 November 2015

It’s 8am on a cold early November morning and I’m not expecting to cry any time soon... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. Curveblog

Men: porn, relationships and the respectful gaze?

31 October 2015

As part of my wide-ranging work as a therapist, I engage in conversations with men who have issues with pornography and sexual addictions... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. Dreamblogsmall

When to dwell on things

20 August 2015

Rumination (the process of repetitive thoughts often but not always about a negative situation) is a common, if not universal human process... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. blogcouple200

When the sex goes bad, make the talking good

1 July 2015

Sadly, lots of people don’t feel very satisfied with what happens in their sex lives, and there are many reasons why it can go wrong... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. Blogfind200

Finding a good therapist

2 June 2015

I remember reading Canadian educationalist Allen Tough’s pioneering thoughts in the area of self-directed growth in adults and being inspired ... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. BlogCouples

Cheaper than a divorce

1 May 2015

Some of the ills of today’s multi-media, socially networked life are that expectations of things can be unrealistically high. From rom-coms to choosing... Read more at therapy place blog


Blog. BlogSuicide

Suicide rates: can you get the men in your life talking?

22 April 2015

Seven years ago I wrote on my men’s page for this site that ‘thankfully, (with the exception of 2008) in the UK male suicide rates have been falling since 1998’... Read more at therapy place blog


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