Category Archives: Counsellor’s Advice

Circle of Security

With the Circle of Security program having been established for over 50 years, its success perhaps can be attributed to its gentle and natural parenting approach.  The focus is different to other parenting programmes in that it focuses on the needs of the child and the reason behind the behaviour rather than disciplining the child or ignoring the child.  It is founded in the areas of attachment parenting and aims to enhance the security between a parent and a child.

I am asked quite often what the Circle of Security is, and it can be summed up by looking at the relationship between parent and child as a circle.  On the top of the circle is the child’s need to explore.  At the bottom of the circle is the child’s need to be protected.  The parent is at both the top and the bottom of the circle, guiding the child out to explore and allowing the child to come back in when they feel scared or need comforting.

The program helps parents see the different needs that come with the reaction of your child.  For example, your child may be having a tantrum but is this because they are frustrated with a toy or is it because they are afraid?  Rather than jump to discipline with a time out or with One Two Three Magic, the Circle of Security program aims to find out the reason behind this tantrum and what the child needs.  The way you react to them will depend on the reasons behind their behaviour.  For example, if your son hits his sister, is it because he is being purposely mean or is it because he is upset and needs your reassurance for something?  If it is the former then discipline may be in order but if it is the latter, then your child will learn how to organize these feelings by talking to him about it and letting him know that you are there.

Another element that the Circle of Security program addresses is the need for a parent to help a child identify their feelings.  The program encourages that a child should be allowed to be angry, upset or sad but that a parent should be there and help them understand why they are experiencing this rather than trying to repress these emotions.

The COS program focuses on the idea that helping a child through interactive play, attention and learning to understand the different cues that your child gives you, will help strengthen the relationship and eventually will lead to a child that feels confident and secure to explore on his own, knowing that you will always be there.

So, how do you ascertain if this program is right for you?  If your parenting style swings toward a more attachment bases parenting – then Circle of Security will be a perfect fit for you.  The Circle of Security program recognises that you cannot always do what the child wants or what he needs, especially as this can lead to dangerous situations.  COS advises parents to always take charge when necessary and to be wiser, bigger, stronger and kind as much as you possibly can whilst remembering that “Good Enough” parenting is more reasonable than parenting with guilt.

You can find more information at:

Wayne Dyer – A Tribute

The following was written by one of our counsellors, Sara, as a tribute to Dr Wayne Dyer who passed away on August 29, 2015.

Wayne Walter Dyer (May 10, 1940 – August 29, 2015) was an American self-help author and motivational speaker. His first book Your Erroneous Zones (1976) is one of the best-selling books of all time, with an estimated 35 million copies sold. Dr Wayne Dyer has been influential in my life and among my most loved of over 35 books he has authored are:

  • Pulling Your Own Strings
  • Everyday Wisdom
  • The Power of Intention
  • Your Sacred Self
  • Real Magic
  • You’ll See it When You Believe It
  • There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem.

Rest in Peace Dr Dyer.

Below is a taste of his fantastic work, a beautiful quote, and 11 life lessons we can learn from Dr Wayne Dyer from


“Heaven on Earth is a choice you must make, not a place you must find.” – Wayne W. Dyer


“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”

“When you abandon making choices, you enter the vast world of excuses.”

“Your reputation is in the hands of others. That’s what the reputation is. You can’t control that. The only thing you can control is your character.”

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”

“You must become the producer, director and actor in the unfolding story of your life.”

“A non-doer is very often a critic- that is, someone who sits back and watches doers, and then waxes philosophically about how the doers are doing. It’s easy to be a critic, but being a doer requires effort, risk, and change.”


“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”

“The more you see yourself as what you’d like to become, and act as if what you want is already there, the more you’ll activate those dormant forces that will collaborate to transform your dream into your reality.”

“You’ll see it when you believe it.”

“Not only do you become what you think about, but the world also becomes what you think about. Those who think that the world is a dark place are blind to the light that might illuminate their lives. Those who see the light of the world view the dark spots as merely potential light.”


“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.”

“Practice being the kind of person you wish to attract.”

“My goal is not to be better than anyone else, but to be better than I used to be.”


“Here is an affirmation for today: I feel passionately about my life, and this passion fills me with excitement and energy!”

“Once you believe in yourself and see your soul as divine and precious, you’ll automatically be converted to a being who can create miracles.”

“With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.”

“By believing passionately in something that does not yet exist we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”


“Begin with the end in mind. Start with the end outcome and work backwards to make your dream possible.”

“Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.”

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”

“Don’t die with the music still in you.”


“Upon awakening, let the words Thank You flow from your lips, for this will remind you to begin your day with gratitude and compassion.”

“Each experience in your life was absolutely necessary in order to have gotten you to the next place, and the next place, up to this very moment.”


“You’ll seldom experience regret for anything that you’ve done. It is what you haven’t done that will torment you. The message, therefore, is clear. Do it! Develop an appreciation for the present moment. Seize every second of your life and savor it.”

“I am realistic – I expect miracles.”

“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.”

“I have absolutely no limits on what I intent to create.”


“When you are able to shift your inner awareness to how you can serve others, and when you make this the central focus of your life, you will then be in a position to know true miracles in your progress toward prosperity.”

“When the choice is to be right or to be kind, always make the choice that brings peace”

“If you meet someone whose soul is not aligned with yours, send them love and move along.”

“Love is my gift to the world. I fill myself with love, and I send that love out into the world.”


“Heaven is a state of mind, not a location.”

“No one can create negativity or stress within you. Only you can do that by virtue of how you process your world.”

“What we think determines what happens to us, so if we want to change our lives, we need to stretch our minds.”

“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of the state of your mind.”

“You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, ‘I release the need for this in my life.”


“You are not stuck where you are unless you decide to be.”

“We are divine enough to ask and we are important enough to receive.”

“Remind yourself that you cannot fail at being yourself.”

“I am thankful to all those who said no. It’s because of them, I did it myself.”

“There’s no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love. There is only a scarcity of resolve to make it happen.”


“Make peace with silence, and remind yourself that it is in this space that you’ll come to remember your spirit. When you’re able to transcend an aversion to silence, you’ll also transcend many other miseries. And it is in this silence that the remembrance of God will be activated.”

“Embrace silence since meditation is the only way to truly come to know your Source. ”



            “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally” Jon Kabat-Zinn.


By becoming aware of our thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, from moment to moment, gives us the possibility of greater peace, freedom and choice. Increasing awareness through mindfulness allows us to respond to situations more consciously rather than reacting in conditioned and automatic ways. Core skills of mindfulness practice include:

Observing- observing your experience in a direct and sensual manner rather than analytically. It involves shifting attention away from thinking and to simply observing thoughts, feelings, sensations with a kind and gentle curiosity.

Describing- This aspect of mindfulness involves describing what you observe which can be applied to emotions as well as experiences. For example, rather than being fused or caught up with a thought or feeling you may describe the feeling as “heavy”,” tense”, or “constricted” and you may say “I’m having a thought or feeling about…”.

Participating Fully- This aspect of mindfulness involves trying to notice all aspects of your experience without excluding anything. This may be applied to external activities or internal experiences. This includes not trying to avoid unpleasant or undesirable aspects of your experience or emotions including negative feelings.

Being Non-Judgemental- being non-judgemental of  your experience is an important aspect of mindfulness. Therefore no attempt to categorise thoughts, feelings or experiences as good, bad, right or wrong is made. No attempt to avoid or control aspects of our experience is made, and instead, opening up a non-judgemental holding space and applying a gentle curiosity to all aspects of our experience is the goal.

Focusing on One Thing at a Time in the Present Moment- This aspect of mindfulness trains our wandering attention to return to the present moment time and time again and is a skill that is strengthened through practice. “Noticing” non-judgementally when your attention has drifted away from observing and sensing to analysing and thinking about our experience.  When this happens we just gently bring our attention back to the present moment and this is a natural part of developing the skill of mindfulness

When we take a mindfulness approach to our emotions, confidence develops in “sitting with”  difficult and painful emotions so that the urge to escape from or exclude aspects of our experience becomes less intense and we are no longer fearful of being overwhelmed by them.

In counselling sessions, evidence based mindfulness practices from therapies including Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy may focus on breathing, body scan exercises, and applying mindfulness to feelings that arise in session. After practicing mindfulness in counselling sessions, client’s have observed that when sitting mindfully with their feelings they tend to “evaporate” and “fade away”. This represents a healthy way of working with emotions through letting our thoughts, feelings and experiences emerge, take shape and release naturally, rather than suppressing, avoiding, or attempting to control them.

Another benefit of mindfulness is that it can be applied to everyday activities. Everyday activities such as breathing, preparing food, eating, washing dishes, walking, and driving can be opportunities to apply mindfulness. Approaching these activities with mindfulness, observing, describing, participating, being non-judgemental and attuning to the present moment experience leads to greater relaxation and self-regulation abilities, acceptance, and may eventually lead to Zen like states of peacefulness and calm.

(Counsellor Midland Women’s Health Care Place)

Ref:, “The Happiness Trap” Russ Harris 2007, “Mindfulness” Williams and Penman 2011.