I am a fortunate to be a member of the Rowan House community, all the staff and therapists at Rowan House are committed to supporting you on your wellbeing journey. Being a member of such a dedicated community is both humbling and affirming. As a ‘one-man-band’ psychotherapist it can be a professionally lonely experience, compounded still further by the 18 months we have all had to traverse, so in accepting I am a small part of a larger community, I am empowered to commit to action, for myself and my clients, as we all traverse out of lockdown and return to normal.

What does community spirit mean to you? Community spirit is that innate connection we all seek to something larger than ourselves. Social connectivity, aka relationships, is fundamental in meeting our psychological needs. Relationships connect us to the community in which we live, unite rather than divide and provide an environment in which to flourish. Social connection is the essential vehicle to becoming part of a tribe, a tribe that shares our values, that sustains us throughout the ‘good and the bad’ and remains an enduring source of comfort and validation for our life.

Research tells us that social connectivity is an essential component of good mental health. With the third milestone of Governments roadmap being met we can now look forward to June 21st and things returning to normal. If this societal expectation being placed on you is causing you concern, an increased sense of frustration, fear or sadness; you are not alone.

The isolation, that inevitably came with lockdown, necessitated many of us to shut down our social connections as we could no longer rely on them as our community retreated further from view. This, neurologically, was an essential survival mechanism many will have adopted however the question now presents – do you want to socially re-connect?

This is a primary question that when answered honestly to yourself indicates where you reside on a wellbeing scale. Try doing this for yourself – on a scale of 1-10, 10 being ‘bubbling over with excitement’ to 1 unable to leave your house when you consider how much you want to socially re-connect? Scaling is a useful and simple way to take your ‘emotional pulse’. You can ask yourself any number of benchmarking questions. These questions provide you with a platform for acceptance and commitment to action.

• ‘How happy are you?’ 1 being sad all the time 10 being the best day you ever had!
• “How motivated are you?’ 1 being can’t get out of bed 10 being the most fulfilled you’ve ever been
• ‘How angry are you? 1 being overwhelming rage 10 being able to rationalise the cause of the frustration.

If when you conduct this exercise for yourself you score 1-4, know that this is the first step to acceptance, acceptance of where you sit at that moment in time. This score is not permanent it is your current wellbeing ‘balance’, in accepting the current situation you are more empowered to commit to action and do something about it. This is how we foster agency in our lives, for we must know where we are starting from. If you scale yourself 1-4 it is a strong indicator that feelings are too often overwhelming and consequently identifying solutions to move from a 3-5 can be challenging. That said it gives you a baseline and a baseline provide us with evidence of progress.

Please accept that in no way does this process negate the very real lived experience that scales you 1-4 however, there are things that can be done to redress the momentum and start to move up the scale and back to that best version of yourself. If you are a 3 the next question to ask yourself is what do you need to do [now] to move from a 3-3.5, what will be different for you when you want to social connect a bit more? By committing to action you can train your mind to notice, savour and value that a small step, regardless of whether it is 0.1 or 1, any movement to the positive is to be noticed, savoured and valued.

With application and, for some, therapeutic help, solutions that are right for you can be identified and in doing so, a positive mindset can be fostered, manifesting as an ability to accept and commit to action.

Rowan House has a dedicated community of therapists for you to choose from offering a diverse range of treatments and therapies committed to helping you be that best version of you.

In engaging with the Rowan House community, you too can become part of something bigger than yourself, for you will no longer be facing these challenges alone you will have accepted and committed to action. In accepting that help would help, you have been brave enough to accept that at this moment in time you cannot do it alone and in retaining a member of the Rowan House wellbeing community you have committed to action.

Each therapist will explain how they work individually, but it remains your decision. A decision to engage is representative of your acceptance and commitment to action, an action that will return you to that better version of yourself.

With Rowan House opening back up as of May 17th, this is a fantastic opportunity to re-connect with our wellbeing community. Ask yourself what do you want to be different as you approach June 21st? Look to reach out to any one of our therapists to decide which is right for you and in so doing, begin fostering a positive therapeutic relationship that makes that difference to the quality of your life and those important to you.

Brett Rennolds is a qualified psychotherapist DSFH, HPD, MNCH NCH Supervisor and registered with the Complimentary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).  Brett specialises in a solution-focused approach, complimented by the principles of CBT, ACT, mental health first aid and hypnotherapy.  He continues to provide therapy online, via an encrypted platform.  For more information please visit his website.

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