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Talk in the Bay

News by Angela Belassie

A TEN-fold increase in people seeking support for issues such as depression and anxiety has persuaded counselling experts in Cardiff to expand their services.

Talk in the Bay has opened an office in Bristol after seeing client numbers soar from 10 a week to nearly a hundred since it started five years ago.

Depression, anxiety disorders and relationship difficulties are the top reasons people seek their services.

And with the World Health Organisation (WHO) predicting depression will be the biggest health burden by 2030, numbers could be set to increase even more.

Allyson and Mandy-GT

Co-founder and partner Allyson Edmunds said: “The biggest issues for people to come to us for counselling are depression, anxiety disorders and relationship difficulties. Depression can affect someone’s ability to be fully functional in their job and maintain good quality relationships. 

“People attend therapy with a wide range of presenting issues such as anxiety, stress, low self-esteem/confidence, past or present trauma, grief and loss. All these issues may be related to an underlying depression.

“Depression plays a part in relationship issues in that it can cause communication difficulties, lack of sexual desire, anger, and possibly lead to affairs.

“But I think people are becoming much more accepting of seeking professional help, which is partly why the numbers are increasing, especially amongst the male population.

“There shouldn’t be a stigma attached to having therapy as everybody experiences difficulties in their lives. Sometimes we need help coping with difficult events.

“If people don’t get help it can lead to withdrawal, isolation and relationships may deteriorate. Trying to brush issues under the carpet can be unhealthy - it can also lead to the breakdown of families and, in extreme circumstances, suicide.”

The team of counsellors, psychotherapists and CBT Practitioners has increased from two to 18 to meet the demand.

Laura Gregory GTLaura Gregory, , owner of the Bristol office in Temple Quay and associate partner at Talk in the Bay, said: “The main reasons people to come to us for counselling are depression, anxiety disorders and relationship difficulties. Sometimes the issues are related and the underlying causes of depression and anxiety tend to be relationship issues, bereavement and work-related concerns.

“Depression can be like having a cloud hanging over your life. Depending on the level, it can affect your ability to function on a day-to-day basis. And if people don’t deal with it, there’s a risk it could get worse.

“Depression is about pushing things down, so it’s important to have someone to speak to so you can release that pressure. There shouldn’t be a stigma attached to having therapy as we all experience difficulties in our lives and sometimes we need help to cope with it.”

An Affordable Service is also available at both the Bristol and Cardiff sites. It has been set up to bridge the gap between long waiting lists – with the NHS or voluntary services - and expensive therapy.

Mandy Walsh, co-founder and partner, added: “We want to try and make counselling available to as many people as possible.

“Counselling can help people in many ways. Firstly, it helps people to know they are not alone with their difficulties. It can help them gain greater self-awareness and improve self-confidence.

“It can alleviate stress and enable people to feel more in control of their life choices. In turn, this can help people improve their relationships and lead more fulfilled and enjoyable lives.

 “We want everybody to be able to reap the benefits of counselling, which can greatly help people’s emotional wellbeing. We all know it’s important to look after our bodies, so why not our minds?”

Talk in the Bay has been based in Cardiff since September, 2008. Its services are now available at Friary in Temple Quay, Bristol.

An ode to Rinpoche (Tibetan Buddhist Lama)

 News by Angela Belassie

A BRISTOL woman has paid tribute to a Tibetan Buddhist lama she credits with changing her life.

Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche, who founded the first Buddhist monastery in the UK, was killed in South West China.

His cremation took place few months ago  – and Jackie Hawken is marking his death with 49 days of special prayers.

The mum-of-two from Henbury said: “I was informed of Rinpoche’s death the day it happened and sunk to my knees in shock.  He was a modest, solid, intelligent and compassionate man, who had a great influence on everybody he met.
Jackie with Akong Rinpoche -Buddhist Lama GT

“He was there for me at a low point in my life and I don’t think I could have got through it without him. I had come out of a very difficult relationship with a man with a personality disorder and told him I felt like I was dying.

“He said ‘let him sort his problems out himself. I want you to study Mindfulness instead’.  He put me on a path which has seen me go from strength to strength.”

Rinpoche, who was the co-founder of Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Scotland, was killed in Chengdu on October 8.

The 73-year-old’s nephew and driver were also killed and former British resident Tu Dan Gu Sha has been arrested.

Ms Hawken, from Woodgrove Road, met Rinpoche in 1992 when she visited Samye Ling Monastery with her children. She said: “I was struck by his big heart and loving attitude to my children.”

The former solicitor was so influenced by his teaching she became a Buddhist. She said she had Rinpoche’s blessing to teach Buddhism and Mindfulness, which is the practice of living in the present moment.

She also raised 2,500 towards building a Stupa for world peace at Samye Ling in 2000, trekking to Buddhhist sacred places in Nepal. On finishing, she was given a silver Stupa, a Tibetan symbol of an enlightened mind, to wear by Rinpoche.

Akong Rinpoche set up more than 100 health, education and cultural projects in Tibet, China, Nepal and Zimbabwe through his charity, ROKPA.

Ms Hawken said she and his other students have vowed to continue his work. She said: “A phone call to Samye Ling helped me to understand that self-pity for the loss of my very precious teacher, whom I trusted with my life, should be replaced by a determination to carry on his work.”

Photo: Jackie Hawken with the late Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche

About Talk in the Bay

Talk in the Bay has been based in Cardiff for five years and has now expanded to open an office in Bristol.

The business includes a team of psychotherapists and CBT Practitioners, specialising in short and long-term therapy.

The service is distinguished by its Affordable Service, which is held by different staff members to that of Talk in the Bay. It is part of their social conscience and is a niche in the market between long waiting lists (NHS and voluntary services) and private high paying services.

The business in Cardiff is headed by partners Mandy Walsh and Allyson Edmunds , three associate counsellors, five Affordable Talk counsellors and three counsellors in training. 

Laura Gregory heads the Bristol office and a team of five.

Talk in the Bay and its Affordable Services are part of a professional body, where there is the possibility for client redress. The staff are highly qualified and experienced and the ‘service is based in high quality consultation rooms, rather than at counsellors’ homes.

The team pride themselves on quality service, transparency and giving people a choice. They also get feedback from clients to continually improve the service.

They help people with a variety of issues, including the following:

  • Depression Counselling
  • Anxiety Counselling
  • Panic Attacks
  • Personal Crisis Counselling
  • Relationship Counselling
  • Addiction Counselling
  • Job related stress
  • Bereavement Counselling
  • Post Traumatic Stress
  • Eating Disorder Counselling
  • Physical, Sexual or Emotional Abuse Counselling
  • Phobia Counselling
  • Personality Disorder Counselling
  • Low Self Esteem Counselling
  • Anger Management
  • Stress Management
  • Self Development Counselling
  • Sex Therapy and Counselling
  • Weight Management Counselling
  • Hypnotherapy

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