Morency Blog Articles

Challenging your inner critic

Inner critic

Who is the inner critic?

The critic, the nag, the bully, the judge. Many people have an internal voice that criticises them. The inner critic might tell someone that they are not good enough, that they have ‘failed’, that they are unattractive or undermine achievements and progress. Some people’s inner critics might comment most during relationship struggles or during working hours. Some inner voices start their attacks with ‘You should…’ and focus on unrelenting high standards, some focus on inducing shame while others highlight weaknesses.

Read more >>Challenging your inner critic

Overcoming your quarter-life crisis

What is the quarter-life crisis?

Most people have heard of the mid-life crisis, with the stereotypical narrative of a man who starts a new relationship with a younger woman and buys a sportscar. The reality is far more complex and involves changing roles and identity struggles. Dr Julie Hannan at Morency specialises in Midlife issues and more information can be found at

People in the middle stage of their lives are not the only ones at a milestone though and many people in their early twenties find themselves with similar issues relating to identity and direction. This quarter-life crisis is currently common among millennials (those born in between the early-eighties and mid-nineties), especially those in their mid-twenties who may be finishing university or experiencing an emotional lull after the first few years in a job.

Read more >>Overcoming your quarter-life crisis

Talking about suicide

What are the risk factors for suicide?

Suicide is the leading cause of death in UK men under the age of 45 (BBC, 2018) and approximately four times as many men commit suicide compared to women. One of the theories behind this difference is how society accepts and expects women to talk about their feelings, while men are encouraged to ‘man up’. This highlights the importance of talking openly about emotions, mental health and suicide.

To help reduce suicide in the UK it would be helpful for everyone to be on the lookout for the following risk factors and open up the conversation about suicide. Risk factors for suicide include:

Read more >>Talking about suicide

Being assertive without appearing aggressive

What is assertive communication and how does it differ from aggressive communication?

Assertive and aggressive communication approaches are different ways people communicate their views to others. Assertiveness is the skill of putting views forward directly and confidently, while an aggressive approach can make other people feel threatened. The benefit of using assertive communication is achieving respect and being heard. Alternatively an aggressive approach tends to create rifts and mistrust between people.

Women historically have been encouraged to be meeker and milder than men and society often has a lower tolerance for aggressive women compared to aggressive men. This has possibly contributed to women struggling to assert themselves at home, work and in the wider community and to fall back on more ‘passive-aggressive’ relational styles. A passive-aggressive communication style includes avoidance of all confrontation and saying one thing while feeling another, for example, ‘I’m fine’ when they are angry or upset. While aggressive approaches disrespect the other person, ultimately passive-aggressive approaches disrespect your own needs over time.

Below are some tips for all genders on communicating assertively.

Read more >>Being assertive without appearing aggressive

Developing a growth mindset

What is a growth mindset?

Growth mindset was briefly mentioned in our previous blogs on compassion fatigue and resilience. Developing compassion for yourself and others includes the arts of forgiveness, growth mindedness and gratitude.

The terms growth mindset and fixed mindset were originally coined by Carl Dweck during the 1980’s (Dweck, 1986). A ‘fixed’ mindset is when somebody hgrowth mindsetas a fixed belief about their abilities. It can be either positively or negatively fixed, for example, someone might think ‘I’m good at cooking!’ or ‘I’m bad at maths’. The problem with these mindset statements is that if someone thinks they are naturally good or bad at something they are unlikely to try hard at it.

Alternatively, a ‘growth’ mindset links effort, not ingrained ability, to success. People with a growth mindset are likely to increase the effort they put in to achieve success. Most people have a mixture of growth and fixed mindsets for different activities.

Read more >>Developing a growth mindset

Could your IBS be related to anxiety?

What is IBS?

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is common gastrointestinal disorder affecting approximately 10-20% of the UK population at some point in our lives. The cause of IBS is not well known, and it is likely to be caused by multiple factors including physical and psychological symptoms. Symptoms of IBS include:

  • Cramps and pain in your stomach
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloating and swelling in your stomach
  • Gas or excessive wind
  • An urgent need to go to the toilet

Most people find that their IBS symptoms vary from day to day and are worse after eating.

Read more >>Could your IBS be related to anxiety?

Beating loneliness and building new relationships

Loneliness is a common problem within the UK and not one limited to older people. The Campaign to End Loneliness reports that at least half of adults aged 52 or over who have been widowed, divorced or are in ill health report feeling lonely. Other factors throughout our lifespan can contribute to loneliness such as children starting school or leaving home, relocating or being on a break from work due to parental leave or illness. For other people, work or household chores can be the reason for social isolation and loneliness (Enright, 2018). Friendships and social interactions are important and loneliness can have a significant impact upon emotional wellbeing.

Read more >>Beating loneliness and building new relationships

Emotional abuse

What is emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse is a persistent attempt to control another person using emotional reactions. The emotional abuser may see themselves as being insecure or as protecting their victim. They may not know that they are being abusive. Emotional abuse is not the occasional argument between partners, a difficult break-up or something once said that unintentionally hurt another person. Emotional abuse can occur between any two (or more) people, regardless of gender, including children, work colleagues, friends and family. This blog focuses upon emotional abuse within romantic or family relationships while our previous blog on bullying discusses similar experiences in the workplace or school. Emotional abuse can include, but is not limited to:

Read more >>Emotional abuse

Coping with bullying in adults and children

What is bullying?

Bullying is often considered a problem limited to childhood, yet adulthood bullying is also common. Bullying is an extremely painful to experience as is knowing that your child is being bullied.

It is important to note what bullying is as the term can sometimes be used for behaviours that, while unpleasant, are not true bullying. Such behaviours include occasional ‘micky taking’ or work / school based ‘jokes’. Alternatively, true bullying is:

  • Methodical targeting of the victim
  • Using intimidation
  • Attempting to undermine and degrade
  • Repeated
  • Using an imbalance of power, which can come from: popularity, managerial power, physical power or access to information about the victim

Bullying can be exclusively online as well as physical, verbal or passive-aggressive.

Read more >>Coping with bullying in adults and children

How to boost your workplace resilience

What is resilience?

Work is a large part of most people’s lives and frequently one of the most stressful. Our previous blogs on workplace mental health and compassion fatigue have highlighted the epidemic of workplace stress. Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from stress, failures and set-backs and is an essential part of coping with the demands of the modern workplace. Resilience is made up of work-related behaviours, attitudes and the support systems in place. Resilience in the workplace can be developed by learning new skills, however, it is also important to note that resilience only goes so far: it is also important to address the stressors at work, including a lack of managerial support, poor facilities or an unmanageable workload. Assertiveness skills may be important to address these issues and can be developed during therapy sessions at Morency.

Read more >>How to boost your workplace resilience