An Exciting Opportunity Beckons…

Helping people Relate since 1948! 

Chair of Trustees

Due to the impending retirement of the current Chair of Trustees we are looking for a passionate and committed individual to join the board and take on the role of Chair which, along with all our trustees, is a voluntary unpaid (except for out of pocket expenses) position. 

Relate Bradford & Leeds is a registered charity with over 70 years’ experience in providing specialist relationship support to people across the Bradford district and, since 2019, Leeds.  

We are part of the National Relate Federation, however, each Relate Centre is independent and responsible for its own income generation and fundraising.

Relate is the country’s largest supplier of relationship support.  

Our office is based near to Bradford city centre with a team of 18 members of staff, a number of volunteers and a board of 10 trustees. 

The trustees are an active and diverse team with complementary skills, which enables us to provide comprehensive leadership to the organisation. 

If you are interested, believe you have the appropriate personality and experience to meet the demands of the position and would like to know more, please email Tina Butler CEO, at tina.butler@relatebradford.com for an information pack or download the documents below.

We look forward to hearing from you. 

Helping people Relate since 1948! 

How to cope with grief during your first Easter alone

Whether you celebrate Easter or not, it’s hard to deny that this time of year signifies re-birth and new life for many.

Whether you celebrate Easter or not, it’s hard to deny that this time of year signifies re-birth and new life for many. This year however, almost a month on from the UK’s National Day of Reflection, where we all took time to think of everyone and everything we have lost to the pandemic, it may be unthinkable to buy into the Springtime festivities.

Sometimes we wonder if we will ever get over our loss, or if the loss we are grieving is even justifiable; here are some things to try remembering when the wave hits;

Everyone experiences loss in their own way. There is no definitive timeline, structure or formula for grief. There are some great theories, such as the ‘Fried Egg’ analogy, which articulates how the loss stays with us but our lives become full again over time. Although how you move through, around, over, under and any which other way you navigate this emotion is unique to you and your frame of reference.

Honour your emotion, or it will bite you in the butt! Emotions are our internal GPS, which signal to us that we are heading in the wrong (or right) direction. When we feel grief, sadness, emptiness and other such emotions, we tend to find them uncomfortable and unwelcome. It can be so tempting to push them away, only to find your GPS has taken you off the edge of cliff further into your journey! Give these emotions some attention, even if for a few moments. Ask these emotions what the problem is and what they need, as though you were caring for a loved one. Keep listening and attending to these uncomfortable emotions and try to see them as messages to keep your GPS on the right track, as you navigate your way through a difficult period.

Identify and plan for your triggers. Big life events, anniversaries and celebrations such as Easter can be an especially triggering time. This can be due to the emotions tied up in the memories of the person or thing that is no longer in our lives. Be realistic about expectations of how you might cope during these times, and plan some self-care around events that are unavoidable, but intensely emotional for you. When we are using our Amygdala or our ‘emotional brain’, our frontal lobes, which are responsible for rational thinking, are shut off, which can make it difficult for us to think clearly, or put any of our self-care intentions into action. Have a go-to list of things, activities or people that will bring comfort or support during this time. Write them down and keep them close by when you feel you may struggle to recall them.

If the loss you are grieving is a death, despite the infamous Kubler-Ross theory where eventually you arrive at acceptance, you don’t have to pressure yourself into gaining closure if this doesn’t feel right for you. When will it ever be okay that this person is no longer with you? The answer may be never if it was someone who you were close to, loved dearly or was a big part of your life. Shift your focus to think about how your emotional relationship with this person lives on, in your thoughts, decisions, imaginary conversations, ‘What would my friend say now?’, and actions. Create new memories that symbolise this change, not ending, of how you experience the emotions of this relationship; after all they are still present for you. Think of things that are meaningful, things that you had planned to do or things you would’ve loved to show them and put these intentions into action.

Grief an be a very unpredictable experience, you may feel fine one day and in despair the next, this is normal. Allow your feelings to just ‘be’ and stay curious about what you are feeling emotionally, physically and mentally. Over time, the grief will still be there but you will learn how to work with it so it is not as disruptive and traumatic, particularly by implementing some of the ideas above.

If you are feeling a prolonged feeling of grief, despair, hopelessness or any other kind of low mood or your health and daily functioning is being impacted in a harmful way, such as unhealthy coping mechanisms, please consult your G.P who will be able to direct you to an appropriate service for specialist support.

Faye Keenan MBACP, Relationship Therapist, Relate Bradford

References and helpful reading –

Fried Egg Theory, https://www.funeralguide.co.uk/help-resources/bereavement-support/the-grieving-process/tonkins-model-of-grief

Kubler Ross, 7 Stages of Grief pdf – https://www.therapistaid.com/worksheets/stages-of-grief-education.pdf

If you are struggling with the end of a relationship, Relate Bradford and Leeds can provide subsidised and, in some cases, fully funded sessions for those living in the Leeds/Bradford area. You can find out more about the service by visiting relatebradford.org. If you are not in this area, contact your G.P who will be able to direct you to a suitable service.

How to release relationship pressure when children come along

Becky, one of our Relate Bradford counsellors, shares her personal experience and tips for marriage after a baby.

When I look back to when I first discovered I was pregnant, my husband and I were overjoyed, but deep down, I could sense my husband fear that he was soon to become second best to the baby.

You see, my husband has two older children from a previous marriage so he had prior knowledge to how hard it can be to sustain a loving and strong relationship when children are involved.

I was determined it would be different this time around though, and I would not let the baby affect our relationship.

Of course, that was not the reality of the situation….

Once our baby boy was born, I went into super mum, organisation mode, and always had to be two steps ahead of my game (I.e. attending to the baby, cleaning the house, cooking the dinner, working part time…. etc.).

I wanted to prove to everyone that I had everything in order – and I wanted to do it all with a smile of my face!

My husband moved further and further down my list of priorities.

To make him happy, I told him to go out with his friends, attend as many football matches and drinking sessions down the pub as he wanted (something he hadn’t done for so many years).

I thought I was being a relaxed wife, but behind closed doors, the cracks in our marriage were beginning to show.

Fast forward a few years and we had lost that connection we once had, I’m not even sure we liked each other half the time.

Everything just ran on auto pilot and once our little boy started having sleep overs and had more of an interest in seeing his friends at the weekend instead of days out with us – the reality of what our relationship had become really hit me.

I was constantly being taken for granted.

But who was I to complain – I helped to create this mess we were in!

He on the other hand felt unloved, unwanted, and rejected – so just went about his daily life thinking about himself!

That’s when the penny finally dropped… I was trying so hard not to be a nagging wife, but had gone completely the other way and had implemented no boundaries whatsoever.

With no boundaries there is no respect, and with no respect, there’s no love

There had to be a healthy middle ground where we both felt happy and content – and I was determined to find it!

Fast forward another few years (our son is now 7), and I’d like to think we are in a pretty good place.

It certainly hasn’t come over night – and it’s taken us a good year or two to finally feel strong and united as a couple again.

But it was worth the journey – and we have both learned so much and appreciate each other so much more now.

So how did we get here……… Well…. It’s all about the small steps!

Don’t run before you can walk

If I had my time over again, or I could give any advice to the new mothers out there – these are the three main points I would tell them.

Never stop having date nights

(just once a month or every two weeks if you can)

This is so important because, this is where you finally get to be just you two again, and to fully communicate without the kids being around.

Looking back, we should have never stopped having date nights, but I told myself that our relationship was fine, refusing to acknowledge the cracks that were beginning to surface.

The reality is, if you constantly choose the kids over your relationship, your relationship will suffer, and once the kids are grown up, you may not even know where to begin to find some kind of connection again – so choose to part ways.

Try and catch it early – don’t push the problems aside, hoping they will just get better on their own….. NEWS FLASH – they never do!

Never lose yourself in parenthood.

Have the difficult conversations

I know I know it’s scary – you are worried that they will react badly, so you convince yourself it’s better to just keep the peace and not say anything at all.

But this is exactly how resentment starts!

And the thing to remember about resentment is that it festers and will sit and reside within your body.

Over time, the resentment will then affect the intimacy between you.

If you have something to say or you feel hurt in some way by something your partner has said or done – it is so important that you speak up and release it.

Women need to communicate and feel listened to, in order to feel loved.

Men need the physical touch in order to feel loved.

One will not work without the other. 

What I found is… when I sat down to have the difficult conversations (i.e. I felt that he wasn’t doing enough around the house for example) – it’s best to always start a conversation with “I feel”

If you keep it in first person it will never be offensive

Also, acknowledge your part in it all– don’t just shift the blame onto the other person.

Make sure the kids are not about when you have these conversations and try to sit down and discuss it properly (i.e. not just shouting at each other across the room for example).

I found that the more and more we did this – the less stressed and tactile we became with each other.

Keep confronting your fears and eventually they will disappear

We began to let our barriers down, and he finally understood how important it was for me to be able to communicate my anxieties to him without being shut down or being told I’m “over sensitive”.

Also explaining to your partner that you just need them to listen, they don’t need to rescue you or give you solutions or advice.

My husband would often feel like he had to come up with all the answers and that just put more pressure on him.

All I needed was for him to be the sounding board.

Don’t try and do it all

Make sure he is involved no matter how much you are both struggling at first.

I remember when we first had our son, every single time I would get in the bath or lay my head down for half an hour’s sleep- our son would always start crying.

This was brought on by my husband’s anxiety and fears that I wasn’t there to help him, so I would automatically jump up from my rest and rush to the baby.

Try not to do this…. He must learn to figure it out for himself.

True happiness in life comes from knowing we can stand on our own two feet and work things out for ourselves

If we try and take the responsibility away from another person they will never learn to cope on their own!

If you’d like to talk to our clinical team about your experiences and gain support with the relationship issues you are facing, please contact us on information@relatebradford.com to refer yourself for an initial assessment.

Coping with bereavement this Mother’s Day

News release

Sadly, a large number of people are about to experience their first Mother’s Day since losing their mum, many to Covid-19.  With this in mind, counsellors at Relate Bradford & Leeds have put together some advice for those grieving on Mother’s Day.

Tina Butler, CEO said: “Losing a parent is a terrible thing to go through at any time, but when numbers allowed at funerals are restricted and you’re unable to see family and friends for support or a hug, it adds a whole new and unwanted dimension to the grieving process.”

“If you’re experiencing your first Mother’s Day without your mum this year, it’s likely to bring back memories of happier times which could be painful to deal with. This is understandable and it’s important to put yourself first: perhaps you’d like to do something to remember your mum or maybe you aren’t ready. Do whatever’s right for you and don’t be afraid to reach out for support should you need it.”

Relate’s advice for coping with your first Mother’s Day after bereavement

Treat yourself with kindness. Think of how you would treat a really good friend in this situation.  You would probably want to look after them and be very caring – you should try to do this for yourself, too.

Do what feels right for you. You may feel like having a quiet day and curling up on the sofa, or you may want to do something specific to remember your mum. Maybe you want to do something active or creative to distract yourself. Go with whatever feels right.  

Know it’s common to experience a range of different feelings. You may have been doing ok and feel you were coming to terms with your loss but suddenly feel extremely sad when you realise what day it is. Perhaps you will have moments of joy and laughter as you remember your mum or other moments where you feel irritable. You may experience anger or guilt. All of this is normal.

Find creative ways to connect. If you feel you would like to be with others but can’t due to restrictions, think about what you can arrange online to remember your mum together.  For example, could you create an online memory book or organise a video call where you share memories? You might want to share something about your feelings on social media, but if seeing other people’s posts about their Mother’s Day experiences is likely to trigger you then step away from your phone and find another way.

Seek support if you need it. A counsellor can help to work through painful feelings and provide a safe space to work through your grief. There are a number of options that may work for you including webcam, phone or email counselling, or a 30 minute WebChat session. Find out more at relate.org.uk.

To find out more about how Relate Bradford & Leeds can support you, please visit our website: https://relatebradford.org/ or email us at: information@relatebradford.com

-ENDS-

For all media enquiries contact hayley.watson@relatebradford.com

Notes to editors:

  • Relate Bradford is an independent charity, federated to Relate National
  • Relate champions the importance of strong and healthy relationships for all as the basis of a thriving society.
  • Relate provides impartial and non-judgmental support for people of all ages, gender identities and sexual orientations at all stages of couple, family and social relationships.

New Beginnings in Sight – Relationship Roadmap?

With Boris having revealed his roadmap out of lockdown, many people will be starting to imagine new beginnings in the year ahead.

Living with the fear and uncertainty of COVID-19 long term, means more people are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing.

People who are depressed can find that their relationships suffer, and equally problems with relationships can sometimes lead to depression or anxiety.

Relate Bradford can help you to work towards happier relationships as you work towards your new beginning.

Relate Bradford has delivered services remotely since last March and can help you via telephone or online, whilst they work towards a safe return to ‘in the room’ support for those who need it.

Clients have reported how effective and convenient they have found these remote sessions and for those nervous about attending counselling, the remote nature has made it less intimidating to start therapy.

Relate Bradford offers a space to explore difficulties and work out the best way forward in a safe and supportive environment. As Relationship experts they can support people with past, present and future relationships through a variety of specialties:

  • Couples Therapy for Depression – suitable where one or both partners is suffering low mood/anxiety 
  • Psychosexual Therapy – helping couples to improve physical intimacy where difficulties may be of a physical or emotional nature 
  • Relationship Counselling – A couple or individual can gain support with a current or past relationship issue which is causing them concerns. 
  • Children and Young People’s Counselling – For any young person who’s having problems. Whether it’s depression and mental health concerns or issues with parents or people at school. 
  • Family Counselling – All families are unique and have unique problems and counsellors are specially trained to work with families to help resolve difficulties, and improve communication. 

Contact information@relatebradford.com to see if you may be eligible for help.

Some fully funded/ ‘free’ sessions available NOW.

Hayley, Head of Service Delivery and Development

Exciting Opportunity…

Chair of Trustees

Due to the impending retirement of the current Chair of Trustees, we are looking for a passionate and committed individual to join the board and take on the role of Chair which, along with all our trustees, is a voluntary unpaid (except for expenses) position.

Relate Bradford & Leeds is a registered charity with over 70 years’ experience in providing specialist relationship support to people across the Bradford district and, since 2019, Leeds.

We are part of the National Relate Federation, however, each Relate Centre is independent and responsible for its own income generation and fundraising. Relate is the country’s largest supplier of relationship support.

Our office is based near to Bradford city centre with a team of 18 members of staff, a number of volunteers and a board of 10 trustees.

The trustees are an active and diverse group with complementary skills which enables us to provide comprehensive leadership to the organisation.

If you are interested, believe you have the appropriate personality and experience to meet the demands of the position and would like to know more please email Tina Butler, CEO at tina.butler@relatebradford.com or please download the information pack below.

Approximate Time commitment 

Six board meetings per year plus national meetings

Annual General Meeting – yearly

Overall commitment on top of set meetings: 7 – 12 hours a month

Term is three years and may be extended further

We look forward to hearing from you.

The closing date for expressions of interest is 30th March 2021

Helping people Relate since 1948!

Children’s Mental Health Week 2021…

Next week is Children’s Mental Health Week 2021, and we believe now more than ever, how important it is to help our young people speak about how they’re feeling.

During the week, we’ll be sharing some professional and personal tips that we hope will help you if you are a young person, or if you are supporting a young person, be it as a parent, friend, guardian, teacher or one of the many other relationships they may have in their lives.

If you are concerned about the mental or emotional wellbeing of yourself or another young person or child please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team on 01274 726096, where we will be able to give you info about our Children and Young People’s Counselling Service. In many cases we are able to offer sessions for free.

We would love to hear any helpful tips you may have to share with others, so please feel free to post.

Faye, Counsellor at Relate Bradford