My Summer Experience Internship…

Last year when the pandemic hit I was worried about the opportunities that would be out there for students like me. I found myself with a lot of free time with nothing to do. So I went out in search of some experience that I could add to my skill set.  

Amongst all the chaos of our ‘new normal’ I applied for a summer internship at Relate Bradford. It was safe to say this was a new experience for both Relate Bradford and I, as we were all adjusting to our new workplaces at home. I started my internship during the lockdown period and worked from home on tasks set to me by the CEO and my supervisor. I also had the chance to work on projects I was interested in so I was very involved. I worked on administrative responsibilities and even produced a new volunteer handbook amongst other tasks. As I began working at Relate I learnt so much about mental health, working relationships and just my colleagues in general. I was proud to be a part of a charity that was set on driving real change and helping people to become happier individuals in society. 

Although I was an intern I always felt like a valued member of the team, and was able to become an asset to Relate Bradford by helping them with the knowledge I already had but also learning from everyone around me. I was able to excel at Relate Bradford because of the support and encouragement from everyone. In fact I did so well that I was asked to stay on as a volunteer. Which I gladly accepted. It was a pleasure working at Relate Bradford, going forward I cant wait to see what will happen next.  


Human Resources Management (HRM) at the University of Bradford

Becky’s Blog – Anxiety…

Anxiety is a reflection of our self-esteem 

As an aspiring therapist in my final year of training, and someone who had relied on anti-depressants (for anxiety) for over thirteen years, I was harshly awoken by my mother-in-law who finally sought me to do something about it.  

“How can you help people overcome their problems, if you can’t address your own,” she said to me.  

Was she right? After all these years of blissfully sailing through my calm stress free life was it finally time to come off my anti-depressants? 

My mantra had always been, “life’s too short to worry all the time.” 

So if I had found something that takes that away, surely it was a no brainer’? 

The problem was I was starting to see more and more clients who were struggling with anxiety and I couldn’t promote the anti-depressants – so I needed to get to the root cause of what anxiety really was before I could help other people address their own.  

After reducing my pills from 20mg every day to every other day, it was a fairly calm start. A few days where I would break down and cry or shout at my husband for not making the bed right but nothing too major that affected my day to day life.  

Finally when we were away on holiday for ten nights, I decided that this would be the time where I would finally come off them for good. I had reduced them to every three days for some time now, so really they were having little effect anyway.  

For weeks, I barely noticed a difference. But then all of a sudden bursts of anger would overcome me and emotions would over whelm me and I would cry nonstop for hours.  

Was this my body finally adjusting and getting back to the old me?  

I had forgotten just how sensitive of a person I used to be and just watching a sad advert these days can make me well up.  

That’s when the penny finally dropped. 

Anti-depressants don’t cure anxiety, they mask the problem. They numb your emotions and senses so you care less about what’s going on in the world around you.  

I had heard so many times how anxiety was a chemical imbalance or something you can’t control and even talking to the doctors to try and get a straight answer as to what anxiety really was, was proving pointless.  

The older generation of doctors would almost dismissed mental health and the younger GP’s promoted the anti-depressants.  

It was obvious (now that I look back) that they don’t want to tell people the truth.  

The real problem lies within.  

When I look back to when my anxiety began at 21 years old, I had just secured an insurance job and was living at home with my parents and 5 siblings.  

I shared a room with my sister and knew that we were both too old and too different to be able to share this cramped life style.  

Deep down I knew I wasn’t happy, but I was filled with fear of moving out of home by myself. I didn’t feel ready to fly the nest. I began to imagine the worst case scenario of every situation I was faced with.  

I also began to develop a habit of touching my head every time a bad thought entered it (i.e. touching wood).  I kept thinking if I didn’t do this – I would jinx myself and others.  

As I grew older my anxiety got worse. I began to worry about how my old school friends would view me or potential boyfriends I would meet if I told them I still lived at home with my parents.  

Eventually everything I did became a concern about how other people would view me.  

I never went to university and therefore I am not intelligent enough.  

My job wasn’t exciting enough and doesn’t pay enough.  

That man I met on Saturday night wasn’t good looking enough.  

I also constantly thought the grass was always greener elsewhere and would just envy people who were away traveling the world.  

Everything about being in your twenties is about image and how other people view you.  

My self-esteem was rock bottom but no-one told me how to fix this. Despite countless doctors’ appointments, I was just prescribed anti-depressants over and over again until eventually I caved. 

I took them because the over thinking and self-loathing got the better of me.  

Within a week I was a different person. Skipping to work I felt so happy, free from caring about other people’s opinions and free from obsessively trying to control every aspect of my life.  

For thirteen years this carried on until the strong words from my mother in law awoke me up to the harsh reality. I wasn’t cured from my anxiety problem I was just masking it. And now here I was trying to emphasise with people who were in the same position I was thirteen years ago.  

I guess the good thing about training to be a therapist whilst coming off anti-depressants was all the information we continue to learn within the classroom and from the clients and supervisors we see on a regular basis. We are also made to go and see a qualified therapist of our own so we can fully appreciate and understand how it feels to be in the client’s position.  

I always believed I was quite a grounded person, mature and also quite self-aware, however, I never realised just how badly I spoke to myself, how much I criticised and put myself down on a daily basis. That’s when I began to realise just how low my self-esteem really was, and how I had no confidence in myself or my abilities.  

Now my body was free from the anti-depressants, familiar patterns started resurfacing just as they were thirteen years ago. I started over analysing the way people spoke to me. We’re they angry with me? Had I said something offensive the day before at the school gates for example. I would chatter my teeth to the conversations I would play over and over in my head. I felt lost without my pills and so many times I contemplated about going back to them.  

I didn’t however, because something inside of me really wanted to get to the root cause of anxiety and improve it without medication.  

As the months passed by and the training and therapy I was receiving became more in-depth, I began to look deeper into my childhood and why I had such a low opinion of myself.   

What we fail to realise is that throughout our lives significant others will criticise us, belittle us and generally make us feel worthless about ourselves. This could be our parents, teachers, older siblings or other kids in the playground. Where ever these messages come from , they stay with us as we grow into adult hood and we continue telling ourselves these messages until we realise we have the power to break the cycle.  

People with higher self-esteem care less about other people’s opinions, so if I really wanted to overcome my obsessive thinking, over analysing and self-loathing -all I needed to do was work on my self- esteem.  

But how do you work on your self-esteem? 

Well here are some techniques and tips I have learned to help my self-esteem soar within just a few weeks. 

The first thing to remember despite what countless people may tell you is that you don’t have an anxiety problem. What you have are habits! 

For example; everyone is addicted to something –even if this is cleaning obsessively or exercising.  

These are habits that we have adopted along the way to help us feel safe, protected and in control of our lives.  

What’s important to remember (above all else) is that habits can be broken!  

Never forget that.  

It’s takes around 30 days to break a habit so it’s important to remember that it’s a gradual and repeated process that we must keep up every day until our brain finally adjusts to our new way of thinking.  

For example; if we continue to tell ourselves on a daily basis that we are fat, ugly and useless, our mind believes these messages and stores these messages in our brains just like a computer.  

So the first thing I started to do was change the messages I was repeating to myself every day.  

For example; as I previously mentioned – I would touch my head when I had a bad thought.  

Next time this happened however, I didn’t touch my head.  

At first I felt overwhelmed with anxiety but I started to tell myself that regardless of whether I touched my head or not  –  we cannot control what happens in the world so if something bad does happen,  it is not my fault and is out of my control.  

What you will usually find is that after 5 – 10 seconds, the anxiety starts to feel less and less.  

It’s the first 5-10 seconds of not doing your habit that feels intense but this lessens as we continue practicing our new thought process.   

When it comes to the negative self-talk and the critical comments we tell ourselves, it’s sometimes best to start off slowly.  

For example; I tell myself every day that I am a wonderful person and I love and value myself. 

However, when I tried to teach some family members this technique, some of them couldn’t even look at themselves in the mirror to utter the words.  

So maybe just starting with, “I like myself.” 


“I value and accept myself,” are great places to start.  

Eventually moving it up a notch when you feel more positive about yourself.  

i.e. I am beautiful or I am the perfect weight for me. 

What you will eventually see if you practice this technique every day is that the messages in your brain will eventually change and you will naturally begin to give yourself more positive messages.  

You basically adopt a new habit – but a much more positive one! 

My famous saying that I would tell myself especially before an interview or a presentation was, “I can’t do this.” 

But telling yourself this doesn’t help you overcome your fear.  

Our brains are developed to protect us, and therefore, if we tell ourselves we cannot do something; our brain will think we are in danger, and will set out to protect us.  

By changing the messages we give ourselves, we change the way we view and treat ourselves going forwards. This will then reflect on how other people treat us.  

If we value and love ourselves, other people will too.  

A second technique I embraced when overcoming my anxiety was breathing.  

Never under estimate the power of breathing!  

When we are anxious we forget to breathe properly and our bodies go into flight or fight mode.  

Our heart pumps faster and our minds race faster. 

I started watching you tube ‘meditation’ videos every time I felt like I was over thinking or over analysing a situation. Meditation videos always start by telling you to take big deep breaths. In through the nose and hold for 5 seconds and out through the mouth for five seconds.  

I would watch these videos for literally two minutes and just the breathing alone would be enough to adjust my mind and calm my irrational thinking down.  

I practiced this breathing technique every day for weeks (whenever I was overthinking) – in the car on the way to work or in bed at night when I was struggling to sleep. Eventually my brain could see that there was no danger and naturally learnt to calm itself down. I hardly ever have to use this technique anymore.  

Other ways in which we can help our self-esteem grow (as well as being nicer to ourselves) is to enhance your life in any way you possibly can.  

For example; surround yourself with positive people and let go of negative people that drain your energy.  

Read more and educate yourself more.  

I used to think I was never one with words or good in a debate – however the more you read, the more you expand your vocabulary.   

Exercise more (Just walking or even housework). 

Drink more water and herbal teas (your skin will glow). 

Join courses and groups (follow whatever energises you because this is where your true passion lies). 

I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life until I went back to college aged 25 to study English (A Levels). I chose English because I was good at it in high school and it led me to eventually become a counsellor.  

Follow whatever you are naturally good at and just watch where it leads you.  


Student Counsellor

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of Relate Bradford.

Becky’s Blog…

Stop saying you don’t need therapy – everyone does!   

I was born in the 80s, a generation where crying was shameful, and most men did not express a lot of emotion.  

The problem was I was a sensitive child, so crying came very naturally to me, and I distinctly remember coming home from school one day, and  explaining to my mum how my teacher had shouted at me for talking in class.   

Instead of consoling me, the first words that came out of her mouth were, “did you get upset?” 

I stumbled over my words as I could sense her frustration, but eventually admitted that I did.  

The look of disappointment on her face was one that stayed with me for many years after that.  

Don’t get me wrong I don’t blame my mum for wanting her daughter to have a tougher exterior; I’ve had enough therapy now to understand that if the 80’s were a silent generation, just imagine what the 60’s were like!   

“If we spend our time blaming others – we just stay stuck in victim patterns. 

This is exactly what she had been taught by the society and generation she grew up in, and therefore she didn’t know any different.  

In short – she was raising me the best and only way she knew how! 

The only reason I grasped an understanding of this and can now feel complete empathy towards my mum is because I went to therapy! 

This very understanding has then enabled me to bring up my very sensitive son in a completely different way.  

You see, if we don’t get to the root cause of why we behave in certain ways, then we just repeat the same patterns as we go into adult hood, and raise children of our own.  

Now a therapist myself, I have lost count of the times I have heard people tell me that they don’t need therapy, and they believe it’s only for people who are having some kind of emotional and mental breakdown.  

But how do you think those people got to that mental state in the first place?  

Here are some reasons;  

  1. By being shut down by others (throughout their lives) and not being allowed an opinion, or to make their own decisions.  
  1. Not talking things through to allow their brain to process why other people have hurt them, controlled them, criticised them, etc.  
  1. By suppressing all of their feelings and emotions every time they ever felt angry, sad, or confused.  
  1. By not crying and breaking down when they just needed to let it all out.  
  1. By not releasing all of that built up frustration, anger, resentment, that they have buried deep inside their bodies for so many years.  

Imagine your mind is like a backpack.  

Now imagine filling up that backpack with lots and lots of rocks.  

Eventually you have to take out some of those rocks to be able to carry on, without collapsing with complete exhaustion right?  

Well our minds are just like the backpack, and get so clogged up with thoughts, that as the years tick by, if we don’t release some of those thoughts, everything becomes so jumbled up, and confusing that we are just heading for an emotional and mental breakdown ourselves!  

Throughout our lifetime, we come into contact with so many people, and many of those people will leave a scar (i.e. by criticising us, controlling us, judging us, belittling us etc). 

These people can be our parents, school teachers, other kids in the playground, work boss/superior (the list goes on) 

But Instead of allowing our brains to process why they have acted this way… 

(i.e. because we are children and we don’t know any better, or because we have low self-esteem and don’t believe our points are valid). 

…we bury all the hurt – and believe what they say is true.  

The anger and resentment however, still festers – just waiting for a time when it can all come back up again. 

This may be triggered by a traumatic event (i.e. a bereavement) and may cause us to have panic attacks, anger outbursts, anxiety or deep depression.   

Over the years, I have had a number of clients come to see me who have never been taught to express their emotions.  

One client turned up with a walking stick because the pain of not expressing emotion was now coming out physically and taking its toll on her body.  

Another client told me how he would talk to himself or would sit in the dark at home just staring at the tv, not realising he hadn’t turned it on.   

Now I’m not saying it’s an easy process.  

How can you begin to do something you have never been taught to do?  

I know many of you may also feel that talking to your loved ones is all the therapy you need, however friends and family have so many different opinions, judgements, and biases on a situation, that we often end up even more confused than when we started.  

Also if you put yourself in this situation, (and it was your friend coming to you for help) many of us, (if not all of us), will go into some kind of ‘rescue mode’, and instead of just listening, we will tell them exactly how to handle the situation and what we would do if we were them.  

As much as our intentions are good, we are actually hindering a person by doing this.   

For example; by rescuing a person, we are taking away their power, and the ability for them to realise that they can cope on their own.   

“We draw our strength from rescuing other people because it makes us feel wanted and needed, and therefore we are actually just doing it for ourselves. 

They will then constantly rely on other people’s opinions to guide them through life, and never truly believe that they have the resources (within them) to sort it out themselves.  

“For real change to happen, it must come from within. 

A therapist however, has been trained to understand that we are the best experts on ourselves, and nobody knows our back story like we do.  

“All the answers you will ever need are within you right now.” 

When we start talking in a space that feels safe and non-judgmental – all your problems will start to unravel and it will soon become clear as to what the real issue is.  

A therapist is also taught to go underneath the presenting issue (i.e. money worries, relationship breakdown, childhood issues) and look for the root cause of our problems – (i.e. which is often low self-esteem).  

Once we work on the root cause of our problems, we won’t keep repeating the same patterns of behaviour – because we will now understand the reasons why we keep on hurting and punishing ourselves.  

I recently had a client whose mum had passed away somewhat ten years ago now, but he had pushed his grief aside and carried on with his life the best and only way he knew how.  

The problem was he could only suppress his grief for so long, before it reared its ugly head once more.  

He began to tell me how he struggled with the guilt and the shame he now felt towards himself because he felt that he was never there for her.  

She struggled with a terminal illness for over two years but he would go out drinking with his friends instead of visiting her in hospital.  

For so long he pushed his feelings and emotions aside, but now that he had children of his own, he had a different perspective on life, and was becoming anxious, depressed and withdrawn. 

“What would she say to you right now if she were here,” I asked him…  

As things started to unravel, he told me how his mum had also brought him up to show little emotion and how everything was swept under the carpet and never spoken about.  

“Big boys don’t cry,” she would say to him every time he had tears in his eyes.  

A common theme I knew only too well.  

The more and more he spoke (out loud in a space that felt safe and non-judgmental); the more he began to come to his own conclusions.  

He had continuously been blaming himself for something he had never been taught to do… 

For example: Visiting her in hospital, buying her gifts, talking about how she was feeling…  

All of these things involved emotion, but for 26 years, he had been taught to suppress all of his feelings and emotions, and now he was racked with guilt, shame and fear.  

“She would tell me that she understood and that I shouldn’t feel guilty anymore, because I didn’t know any different,” he said. 

After just 6 sessions of therapy he walked out a different man.  

Now that he had a clearer picture of why he behaved the way he did, he was facing his future with a different set of beliefs that his own children would now benefit from.  

Going on a journey of self-discovery is one of the most exhilarating experiences you could possibly do with your life, and the only way you will ever find true happiness.  

This all starts with going for a counselling session and figuring out who you are, and what you want, and not relying on other people to guide you through life. 

Once we have that self-belief – we become unstoppable! 


Student Counsellor

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of Relate Bradford.

Becky’s Blog on Grief…

When it comes to Grief, let the pain come.

For the past two years I have been working as a volunteer for Cruse Bereavement as part of my Level 4 Counselling Diploma.  

Having also lost my mum (in my twenties), I have also experienced the long and painful journey of grief first hand.  

I have always been someone who wears their heart on their sleeve, and find it incredibly hard to keep my feelings and emotions inside, so when a client tells me that they are struggling with their grief, the first thing I ask them is…  

“What is their support network like outside of counselling?”

I then start to see a familiar pattern arise, as I am met with similar responses.

“I don’t want to burden people with my problems.”

“They don’t understand and just want to put a positive spin on things.” 

“They tell me I should be over it by now.” 

“I must not cry in front of the kids.” 

Death is such a taboo subject in our society, and some people will even go to great lengths to avoid someone who is grieving because they don’t know what to say or how to act around them. They may even feel a sense of responsibility to try and make that person feel better.

I make no exception to this.  

Before I worked as a counsellor, I had a friend who lost her baby (at 22 weeks pregnant).  

Even though I had suffered bereavement myself, I was so afraid to go round and see her.  

I was scared I wouldn’t know what to say, or I would just blurt out something stupid to try and make her feel better, and she would shout at me for being so insensitive.  

Eventually, I did pluck up the courage to go round and we cried together and looked at the photos of her beautiful baby boy (together).  

I didn’t need to say anything because just being there was enough

Thankfully I have now learnt through my training at Cruse, that the best and only thing we need to do for the bereaved is to just be with them.  

No Advice.  

No Afterlife Stories.  

No Positive Quotes or Mantras.  

Just look them in the eyes and show them you are listening.  

You may think that this isn’t enough, or it doesn’t feel like you are doing anything, but by listening, you are allowing that person to process their shock, their anger, their guilt, and even the painful images (they may have had to of witnessed in the final few weeks – leading up to their loved ones death).  

If a person doesn’t feel listened to, or if they have been shut down most of their life, (by other people such as their parents or other authority figures) then they may learn to suppress their emotions, and this could eventually manifest into anxiety or depression.  

“If we feel we were not helped in life – it’s because we were not listened to.” 


What many people don’t realise when it comes to grief (and something I tell anyone that is struggling to express their emotions) is that –  

Crying and breaking down is the recovery. 

If we try and stop the crying, we are merely putting a plaster on top. 

The more we confront our grief, the more we move towards the acceptance stage.  

If expressing emotions is not something you are used to doing, then writing things down or saying it out loud to yourself (in the car on the way to work for example).  

Anything but keeping it in! 

Some even find that exercise helps. Many people will find that going for a long run will help bring out the tears.  

We must stop the stigma around crying,  

Crying is not a weakness. It is a strength! 

It is actually very healthy to cry and release the toxins and stress from our body.  

Explaining this to our children is also very useful. If they see mum and dad crying for example, they may feel a sense of panic – but explaining that this is perfectly normal and healthy will allow them to express their own emotions going forwards.  

The reason why counselling is so effective is not because a counsellor is telling you what to do (because you already have all the answers) – but because when we say things out loud, (in a space that feels safe and non-judgemental) our minds can make better sense of everything that seemed jumbled up and confusing.  

We can therefore process it better and figure out a way forwards.  

Many people struggle with the guilt they feel, and that maybe they could have done more.  

They also struggle with the final images of their loved one (especially if their loved one died from cancer).  

But the more we suppress these images and feelings of guilt and anger, the more they will linger.  

Many people will talk about the painful images just once or twice, and they will already start to notice a shift, as the images don’t seem so raw and distressing.  

It’s the same with the feelings of guilt. Say it out loud.  

Say whatever it is you feel guilty about.  

Allow yourself to feel that way but also learn to forgive yourself.  

We are all human after all. 

Life events lead up to how we deal with grief, and past events, childhood issues and even relationship struggles may resurface when we are grieving.  This is all completely normal.  

It’s important that we allow them to come forwards because if we keep suppressing our emotions, then we stay stuck (in life), unable to be truly present and happy.  

Grief will help us grow as a person.   

We become more resilient and are able to cope with other losses in the future.  

This blog was written by Becky, student counsellor.

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of Relate Bradford.

Becky’s Blog…

Going back to school in later life was the best thing I ever did!

Have you ever felt so unfulfilled in your life?

So confused and bored – thinking there must be more?

This is exactly how I felt over ten years ago when I decided to bite the bullet and go back to school.

I had worked in my office job for over five years at the time, and I didn’t hate it by any measure of a doubt – (I’m still working there part time over ten years later), but something didn’t feel right. It didn’t click and make me feel like I had a purpose.

I looked around for new job but I had no idea where to start or what I even wanted to do.

I felt so confused and anxious.

I then decided that Instead of looking for a new job, I would look at courses and groups – and when the next college open evening came round, I signed up for an English A Level Course.

I decided on English, purely because I liked it in high school.

One thing I have learnt since going on my (back to school) journey – is to always look at what you are naturally good at or what energises you in life.

It doesn’t have to be a subject that you took back in school; it can be anything – i.e. cooking, exercise, singing, dancing, gardening, reading, writing etc.

What I found is that when you follow what you are naturally good at or what energises you – your destined path will start to unravel, and everything will start to become clear, and click into place.

For example; The English course taught me how much I loved writing and what I loved writing about!

I.e. Real life – being open and honest about subjects that touch so many of us (anxiety, depression, grief etc.).

That’s when it finally clicked – I want to be a Counsellor!

I had always been in touch with my emotions; I was so sensitive as a child (and still am).

I have always loved those deep conversations you have with your friends over a glass of wine or over dinner.

Signing up for an English Course made me feel like my future had goals and something to aim for.

I finally had a purpose!

Since that course, with the exception of taking a few years off to have a child, and moving to a different city, I have now completed my Level 3 Counselling Skills Certificate, Level 4 Therapeutic Counselling Diploma, and I have just signed up for my Level 5 Relationship Diploma at Relate in the New Year (I want to specialise in relationships).

Going into my office job now (for a few days a week to pay the bills) feels like a relaxing break from all the exciting but challenging roles I take on throughout the rest of my working week.

For example; I have a number of clients I see every week at the two charities I volunteer for, I have essays and articles that I love to write in my spare time, and not to mention holding down a family and some well needed me time!

Our true passion in life doesn’t have to be paid work.

I know my new passion will eventually turn into my new career (at some point in the near future), but for now, I just love all the new people I get to meet on a weekly basis.

Also all the new information and training I receive – (when you are truly interested and passionate about something – our mind is like a sponge), and most importantly what I have learnt about myself – and the new, happy person I have become.

There is nothing more fulfilling in life than going on a journey of self-discovery and taking off the mask to become your true self.

This starts with deciding on what YOU want to do with the rest of your life, and where YOUR true interests lie – Not following someone else dreams and aspirations that may have previously been mapped out or decided for you.

“Go towards what you are most scared of because this is where you will learn the most about yourself.”

We are never too old!

Going back to school is one of the best things you could possibly do with your life.

I cannot express enough to all the people out there thinking about it, but talk themselves out of it…

Face the Fear and do it anyway!

You won’t regret it!

In all the classes I have taken – the ages range from people in their 20’s to people in their 70’s.

In my opinion, going back to school in later life is so much better because you are now following your own mind and your own interests.  

Also it’s not just about starting a new career or getting that degree to impress other people; it’s about doing something for you and becoming a whole new person in the process.

Going back to school changes you. It makes you feel happy, because it increases your self-worth, and your self-esteem.

Also you are surrounded by likeminded people. People who inspire you and make you feel anything is possible.

Don’t worry too much if you are still somewhat confused on where to start – even if you sign up for a course that doesn’t necessarily serve your needs, it will lead you onto the path that does.

It will enable you to gain an understanding of where your true strengths lie, and when fear is holding you back.

For example; I hated interviews and I hated speaking in front of a group of people – so I just told myself I wasn’t good at these things and never pushed myself out of my comfort zone.

The thing is you never get good at these things by just running away; they just need practice and patience.

In college I pushed myself to talk in front of the class because I wanted to overcome this fear.

At first my voice would shake and I felt so embarrassed, but every week I continued to push myself and eventually my voice stopped shaking and I found I could talk to the class and actually enjoy keeping a room full of people entertained.

The same goes with interviews, I wasn’t bad at them at all, I just needed to prepare myself with the questions and practice for ten minutes every day leading up to interview date.

We never lose – we either win or we learn!

Many of us out there are afraid of meeting new people and what other people may think of us, but I promise you everyone in the classroom feels the same, and after a few classes, all those worries will disappear.

In fact if I remember rightly, I’m pretty sure my sister had to walk me to the door of my very first college class because I was so afraid of walking into a classroom full of strangers.

But many of those strangers have now become my lifelong friends.

If we don’t face our fears, we just stand still in life, and this is when we start to feel bored and unsatisfied.

Now is the time to push yourself out of your comfort zone and become a whole new you – i.e. Join a choir, start a dance class, or simply go back to school and take an evening class.

There is nothing stopping you, apart from the voices in your head.

This blog was written by Becky, student counsellor.

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of Relate Bradford.

Becky’s Blog…

Low self-worth is at the root of all of our problems

For the past few years, I have been working as a counsellor for a number of different charities in West Yorkshire.

Since working as a therapist (and seeing many different clients of all different ages, gender, ethnicity, race etc.) I began to notice a familiar pattern arise with everyone I came into contact with (and in this I also include myself).

What I began to notice is that no matter what problems are presented to me (inside and outside the counselling room – the underlying issue will always come back down to one thing and one thing only…


Low self-worth!

In short – Low self-worth is at the root of all of our problems.

 (Even right down to the way we cope with grief).

And if you focus solely on building up your self-worth – your whole life will change!

I like to look at life like a boot camp – as the real test to our happiness and contentment (in life) is actually in how we respond to the daily challenges that are forced upon us, and in how we respond to other people.

For example; If you have low self-worth, you will respond and cope in a completely different way (to every situation), to someone who has high self-worth.  

In short – everything comes down to how we feel about ourselves and how we feel we come across to other people.

In this article, I will firstly explain, why we all suffer with low self-worth (at some point in our lives), and secondly how we can build up our own self-worth and live more in the present, instead of continuously living in the past, or trying to control our future.

When we first came into this world, we loved ourselves for who we were. We didn’t care if we had chubby little arms and legs, and our parents or care givers took hundreds of photos of us.

As we grew up however, significant others, such as our parents, siblings, teachers, other schoolkids in the playground, work place boss/superiors – (the list goes on), would control us, criticise us, belittle us, judge us, and (at times) make us feel worthless.

We then adopted these false beliefs as our own and eventually learn to become self-critical in a bid to shield ourselves away from other people’s comments.

(Alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, gambling, over eating etc., are also ways of beating ourselves up for not being perfect).

We become our harshest critic, and constantly tell ourselves to do better and strive for more, otherwise we are a failure.

“All humans have the same need – to feel like we are enough.”

Carl Rogers

What’s important to understand however, is that these voices that we are still hearing, and the messages that we replay in our heads (over and over) don’t belong to us, they belong to the people who made the comments in the first place.

i.e. Insecure people, who most likely hated themselves! 

“Every word that comes out of someone’s mouth belongs to them.”


The reason I know this to be true is because…

When a person has high self-worth, and is truly happy within their own skin, they will barely judge others at all.

They go through life only looking for the good in other people, and the silver lining in every situation they are faced with.

People with high self-worth will also only surround themselves with a small amount of friends who are genuine and trustworthy, because they value themselves too much to get caught up in other people’s drama and negativity (and learn to walk away).

They will also make quick decisions because they trust themselves enough to cope if things don’t work out the way they had hoped.

People who suffer with low self-worth are the opposite.

They will struggle to make decisions, because they are constantly worried about the repercussions (i.e. if they are perceived to have made the wrong one).

They will also feel guilty, and rely on other people’s opinions to guide them through life.

They will also judge others and thrive on drama and negativity.

So if you are someone who is judgemental of others, or if you find yourself caught up in a lot of drama and chaos in your life,

If you are someone who struggles to make decisions or fears missing out – then please read on…

Having been on the self-discovery journey for a number of years now, I have captured what I believe to be the most important tips and techniques (that you will need) to completely transform your self-worth for good.

How to overcome low self-worth.

Going on a journey of self-discovery is one of the most exhilarating experiences you could possibly do with your life, and the only way, you will ever find true happiness.

“We need to know ourselves inside out in order to make changes.”


1. Start by taking off the mask and owning up to your fears and insecurities.

Don’t be afraid of judgement – people who criticise or judge other people, are really just talking to themselves.

“Everything we see in another person is just a reflection of us.”


(Please remember however – do not play the victim).

If you have made a mistake, hold your hands up – don’t look to blame other people.

“Genuine people are actually more likeable and therefore more attractive to others.”


This is important, because if we spend our time blaming the people we perceive to have done us wrong – then we stay stuck in victim patterns, and constantly live in the past.

Talk about the people who have wronged you (preferably with a therapist) and get all the anger and resentment out of your body…

Writing things down can also help to release old, suppressed, feelings and emotions.

Once you feel the weight being lifted off your shoulders, learn to forgive others.

(If you are finding this hard, please bear this in mind – if these people were happy, they would not have wronged you in the first place. These people are already suffering on the inside – more than you could possibly know, so seeking revenge is not necessary.)

 “If you can’t change something, change your mind-set.”


2. Work on making the inner child feel safe.

One thing to be aware of when going on a journey of self-discovery is that old feelings and memories will resurface.

For example; childhood memories.

This is all completely normal.

Don’t be afraid – let the childhood memories come.

“If you can’t get close to other people, it’s because you don’t know how to be close to your inner child.”

Louise Hay

One way to really face this fear is to find an old photo of yourself as a child and look to see what feelings come up for you.

Many people will push these feelings away as this may bring up a lot of guilt, shame, resentment, fear, panic.

Try not to be afraid of the sensations, accept them, and allow them to come.

 Feel the fear, don’t fight it – and it will go away.

(i.e. take slow deep breaths and reassure your mind and body that you are safe).

Now imagine hugging yourself as a child and reassuring your younger self that you are safe and loved.

Now imagine (yourself as the adult) forgiving your younger self and apologising for being so hard on them all of your life.

Now do this again but imagine yourself as a teenager, and repeat the process.

This may sound silly or embarrassing but I promise you – it’s life changing!

“Connecting with your inner child is the only way to heal old wounds from the past.”

Louise Hay

In some cases, if we suffered a particularly traumatic event, we can stay stuck in that period of our life, until we talk about it and allow our brain to process it properly.

If you feel that some of the memories are too traumatic to face on your own, book yourself in for some counselling sessions.

Don’t be afraid of the stigma attached to therapy – judgement is just fear.

And in my opinion – Everyone Needs Therapy!

Therapy is so effective because you are talking to someone who is non-judgemental and is really listening to what you have to say.

You won’t get that kind of attention from family and friends because everyone wants to pass on their opinions. You may even end up more confused.

A therapist knows that we are the best experts on ourselves, and once we start talking (out loud) in a space that feels safe and non-judgemental, all the answers that we will ever need will start to become clear.

If you have tried therapy before and didn’t feel that it was right for you – it may have just been the connection and rapport with the therapist.

Always try another therapist – because the relationship you have with the therapist is the most important aspect of therapy success.

Not one therapist fits all. 

3. Self-love

As Humans, we love what is familiar, and are programmed to love routine because it makes us feel safe.

We often fear change

Also everything we do is learnt behaviour, and is often learned within the home.

Therefore, if our parents panicked when faced with a challenging life event, then it is likely that we respond in the same way.

If our parents or caregivers worried about their weight or were negative and self-critical, then it is likely that we will follow suit, because we haven’t been taught any different.


We have the power to break the cycle.

This is important to remember because everything we do is just a habit – and habits can always be broken.

Breaking a habit however, takes time (i.e. small steps everyday), patience and consistency.

Here are some tips to really help to get you started with changing your mind-set…..

Don’t scare yourself.

If we are constantly reading online newspapers, watching the 10 o’clock news, or scrolling through social media sites (just before bed) – that are filled with negative and frightening stories, is it any wonder that we are constantly living in fear?

There is nothing worse than lying in bed at night trying to go to sleep, when all those awful thoughts come to the surface.

This causes the panic and anxiety to rise within our bodies, and then we are caught in a cycle of fear, adrenalin, fear.

What is so important to remember is that our mind responds to the words and pictures in our head, so if we spend all of our time filing it with fear and negative words and pictures, then this is how we will live our life.

Try and watch light hearted programmes before bed (or a light hearted book or magazine).

“Every time a thought pops into your head that doesn’t serve you, replace it with one that does.”

Mel Robins

At night time, as you lay in bed, if you can feel all of that anxiety rising –take ten deep breaths (in through the nose and hold for 5 seconds and out through the mouth slowly) and repeat to yourself, “I am safe.”

 When we are anxious – we forget how to breathe properly.

When your mind and body can see that there is no danger – it will eventually learn to calm its self-down, and you won’t need to do this exercise quite so much.

Meditation videos are also good to listen to before bed.

Please remember, doing something once will not retrain your brain…

If you are really serious about changing – consistency is the key.

Be kind and patient with yourself.

Stop criticizing yourself and start praising yourself!

I understand this is hard; you have spent a lifetime calling yourself all the negative names under the sun but the thing is…

Your mind doesn’t know who is giving you the compliment and it doesn’t care, so give yourself the compliment.

Start by standing in front of the mirror and look at yourself – repeat out loud or in your head…

‘I love and value myself.’

‘I am a wonderful and kind person.’

By doing this on a daily basis – (just for a few minutes), we retrain our brain to receive positive messages about ourselves, and then in turn, our brain will eventually start to believe them.

Instead of looking for all the things you dislike about yourself, learn to love your negatives.

When you feel that panic and anxiety rise within your body (i.e. when you look in the mirror) and you go to insult yourself – tell your brain something different this time.

i.e. I love my body shape and my curves (one of mine).

I know this is hard and we don’t feel like it sometimes – but what’s the alternative?

To spend the rest of your life hating yourself?

Habits take time to break – but once they are broken, we have a whole new perspective on life.

We must remember that only we can meet all of our needs…

Don’t rely on someone else to fulfil you and make you feel valued.

It’s not someone else’s job to validate us.

Let go of the negative people in your life.

If you find yourself surrounded by people who constantly make you feel on edge, or anxious when you are with them – and when you come home (from an evening out etc.), you are second guessing yourself and replaying conversations over and over in your head, please pay close attention to the company you are keeping…..

“We are a reflection of the 5 main people around us.”

Mel Robins

If you surround yourself with people who attract a lot of drama and negativity, and they love nothing more than to gossip about other people, then this will have a massive impact on your mental health.

You will never be able to please these types of people – so stop trying.

These types of people dislike themselves so much – that all they know how to do is to attack others.

Until they are ready to face up to this and make changes of their own – distance is the key, to maintaining your own sanity.

It you struggle with the guilt of walking away or letting people down

Practice saying no – you may feel anxious at first but the more you do this, the easier it gets.

When people can see that manipulating you doesn’t work, they will stop doing it.

People will only control you as long as you allow them to.

And lastly


Every morning I wake up – I look around and state at least 5 things that I am grateful for.

This can be anything from my morning coffee (I love coffee) – to my wonderful family and home that I live in.

As well as getting into a habit of being kinder to ourselves –  try and get into a habit of seeing all the positives you have in your life right now.

Focus on the things you do have – not the things you don’t have.

Again it’s retraining your brain to see the positives in your life, instead of always looking for the negatives or things that might go wrong.

For example; when things don’t work out the way you had hoped (i.e. you don’t get the job, you get caught in traffic, get a speeding ticket for example) – try not to fly of the handle (so to speak) and then go into victim mode (i.e. I can’t believe this has happened to me)…

Instead try to look at what you have learnt from the situation –

These daily challenges are forced upon all of us and are trying to teach you something…

They help us grow as people.

“We never lose, we either win or we learn.”

Nelson Mandela

This blog was written by Becky, student counsellor.

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of Relate Bradford.

Charlotte’s Work Experience Placement at Relate Bradford

My time at Relate Bradford…

My time at Relate has opened me up to the different type of work they do here and what working is actually all about. I have realised that my idea of counselling was very different to what counselling here at relate was all about.

I couldn’t be happier that I have met such lovely staff whilst been here and they have made me feel welcome since the minute I walked in.

Whilst been here at relate I have experienced some of the many tasks that the receptionist staff have to do here and I have done research towards linking companies that work with relate and been involved in meetings with staff who are helping build connections with the company. I am glad that I have been able to be involved with different tasks at relate and been shown the different type of work that they do here.

I would feel comfortable with accessing the services at relate Bradford as all the staff I have met have been an absolute pleasure to be around.

I also got the experience of speaking with a counsellor supervisor who talked to me in depth about the different types of counselling here and I got to ask questions so I could find out any information that I wanted to know. This was very helpful for me as I am interested in studying subjects that link with the work they do here so this give me some idea of the actual work I wanted to go into.

I think my time here at relate has helped me with what I would like to do as a career but also to see what working in the real world is actually like. I have enjoyed my time here at relate.

Queensbury Academy, Bradford