Counsellor registered with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. (BACP)
Certified Mental Health First Aider with MHFA England
Peter is a Counsellor registered with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. (BACP)
Covid-19 Psychological First Aider (PFA) – Public Health England
Wirral born and bred, much of Pete’s career has been spent in the voluntary/charitable sector. He has held substantial management posts in the fields of homelessness, serious offending, corporate management and mental health, and holds a university level qualification in managing not for profit organisations.
Additionally, Pete is a qualified counsellor, using both person centred and psychodynamic strategies and interventions, and has worked with many diverse and complex individuals from street homeless individuals, perpetrators and victims of crime, to professional people in both the public and private sectors. Pete is an active and practicing member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. (BACP), and adheres to their Ethical Framework
His philosophy is that everyone encounters up’s and down’s in life; all of us experience trauma or vicarious trauma, and that all of us have a right to be treated with dignity and respect whatever our circumstances. He recognises that every counselling client is on their own journey as they navigate their way throughout life, and that our physical and mental health is inextricably linked.
Any of us can suffer some form of mental health deterioration at any time, whether triggered by current circumstances, or historic and painful events re-surfacing, that can threaten our very existence, and perhaps impact on others around us. He also recognises that mental health issues are a significant issue within the criminal justice system. His working experiences have also included working with sectioning’s, suicide ideation, self harm and addictions.
He says “I strive for innovative practice, and believe that giving someone time to talk, and make sense of their life in a calm and welcoming environment, can assist them to see themselves, their life, and their future does have meaning, and validation. Being a man is more than simply about being “macho “ ; men often bottle things up, choosing to internalise their individual demons, without realising help, and support is available for them; this is where Journeymen have a significant and unique role to play in Wirral society.”
Additionally, Pete is well travelled, and understands the value of cultural diversity within society; he has twice spent time living with a local family in Nairobi, Kenya.
Here at JourneyMEN we are very proud of our private counselling room that is fully booked Monday to Friday.
This is a private and safe environment for our men and their families.
Watch this space for upcoming blogs from Peter
Peter Davies (MBACP) qualified counsellor; accredited by APT
Time goes so quickly; what was important to us only a few short weeks ago, in terms of the festive period has evaporated so rapidly and perhaps mostly forgotten as we moved apace into a new year.
Yet even before the customary 12th night, the marketing world around us, was planting fresh seeds in our heads and our finances….spring fashions, foreign holidays advertised everywhere and hot cross buns, crème eggs on the supermarket shelves, perhaps not that far away from the discounted Christmas cards and wrapping paper …however much we, as individuals think we are not influenced by such things all around us, the reality is that we are, and can serve to persuade we want something, whether or not we actually
Cognitively and mentally, we absorb so many influences that try to influence our own personal worlds’ our thoughts, our actions etc both consciously and sub-consciously, for good or not so good.
We all have our personal likes and dislikes and we all of us have our unconscious biases too about every aspect of our lives, sometimes irrationally or emotionally. These are all part of human behaviours, and however self-aware we believe we are as individuals; we can’t help but have them. Can you think of any that YOU have ...a particular food perhaps, or a type of music you wouldn’t ever contemplate listening too; maybe someone regularly on the tv, you tell yourself you don’t like, yet in reality if you ever met them, you might surprise yourself and find you actually do like and have things in common with them. I have my own; you will have yours’s too.
More widely here are some examples you might have in your working life, or your personal life…
Belief bias – if a conclusion supports your existing beliefs, you’ll rationalise anything that supports it. We can find it difficult to consider the true merits of an argument or discussion.
We automatically favour and defend our ideas without ever really questioning them.
Self-serving bias – you believe your failures are due to external factors, yet your successes are something you are personally responsible for. When judging others, remember some of us enjoy advantages, privileges, and luck that others do not. It’s very easy to tell ourselves we “deserve” these things, at the expense of others, who, for example we may feel superior too, or instinctly discriminate against
(the) Curse of knowledge. Once you understand something, you presume it’s obvious to others. We build complex networks of understanding yet forget how difficult and intricate the road to our available knowledge actually is.
Bystander effect. In an emergency situation, you presume someone else is going to do something about it. Haven’t we all been there? I know I have. We can experience a sense of shock, or even a sense of “if something goes wrong here, I don’t want it to be my fault...let someone else take the blame.” The next time you are in an emergency situation, be the one who calls for help, or takes action
Halo effect. How much you like someone, or how attractive you find them, influences your other judgements of them, perhaps allowing you to “justify” to yourself, other things about them that are less comfortable – e.g., for example if they are manipulative, or a compulsive liar.
Declinism. You remember the past, as being better than it actually was, yet expect the future to be worse than it may likely be. Instead of relying on nostalgia, use measurable criteria to form judgements about the future such as research evidence, e.g. - life expectancy, medical advances, and technology, societal changes, market research etc. We can never know what the days’ weeks, months etc to come hold but we constantly think about the future and need to do so responsibly for future generations, our environment etc.
Sunk cost fallacy – emotionally, financially etc we all “invest” in people and things that when they go wrong, it hurts to let go of, even though we know for our own good we have to – think of a job that goes stale because (say) the management culture has changed – even if we know we are un-happy, we stay put because it pays’ well and don’t want to step out of our comfort zone.
Groupthink – you let the social or work dynamics of a group situation override and persuade you of the best outcome...against your own judgement or wishes. Whether we are in a work, family or gathering inwardly we might be dis-agreeing with what’s being said or proposed without feeling comfortable enough to say so, yet every shade of opinion should be considered and respected.
In your own world think of your own unconscious biases, perhaps against a particular disability, client group – mental or physical- you are ignorant about but choose to stay so however difficult it might be for the individual living nearby who’s life may be dominated by it 24/7 – Tourette's for example or, autism, HIV and epilepsy. Marginalised client or societal groups can attract more bias, than other subjects we are more open too.
Or consider about how you might be influenced – positively or negatively by someone’s income, or where they live and how you judge them. But perhaps also think about how, somehow you can challenge yourself about your biases or irrationalities for your own good, or to gently influence others. Consider why, for example in law and employment terms employment terms we have 9 protected characteristics protecting particular societal groups, in order that there is no bias, yet equality towards the individuals and groups concerned, enriching society as a whole.
I hope these issues provides food for thought...and perhaps even ask yourself is there anyone perhaps biased against you, your organisation, your philosophies etc. Are you comfortable even within your own skin and self-love/liking to live with that ? I would hope that you are.
Finally, as we enter “The Year of the Tiger”, remember this is a symbol of strength, courage and tenacity...all of which we need in our daily lives, as we navigate the world, issues and people around us.
Counselling Corner Blog
17th December 2021
“And so this is Christmas, and what have you done….?”
John Lennon’s words of 50 years ago suggest that at this time of year, we reflect on what the year drawing to an end, has meant to us, as individuals and in the context of our own worlds, and the world which we inhabit.
For JourneyMEN it’s been a busy and full year ; one of consolidation and of growth in terms of service provision – our cornerstone services – weekly walk and talks, fishing trips, and the counselling service all continue to flourish and each are stand alone services to our registered service users. We’ve built on these foundations, too with a weekly “chit and chat” session, weekly walking football sessions, and our ever popular canal boat trips.
We’ve also held (physical) pain management classes, weekly group zoom meetings during lockdowns. All of that is in addition to regular daily interactions between us and our service users on a daily basis, including our telephone on call service at weekends, and throughout all bank holidays, (including Christmas and New Year). We are also running a fishing trip on Christmas Day, as we did last year.
Mental Health problems more generally unfortunately also continue to flourish across all of society, and have a higher profile perhaps than ever before; for a celebrity of whatever genre it almost seems like a “badge of honour” to publicise their own mental health struggles, either in the past or present as encouragement to others.
There is little doubt that the global pandemic caused by Coronavirus has impacted on the mental health of just about everyone in one way or another, - whether we’ve had it ourselves, been anxious about vulnerable family members, and for so many, being bereaved by it. It’s brought other senses of loss to our lives in not being able to see those we love, or our abilities to travel far and wide, which not so long ago where so straight forward, and which we all took for granted,
Other societal problems such as homelessness and suicide ideation seem impossible to eradicate, and unfortunately flourish in their own ways, each with their own myths to the majority of us, who don’t see these things occur in own lives or families, as though they exist on the margins of society.
Some of those myths deserve to be de-bunked and put to bed from the ignorance that can surround these very human issues so they don’t proliferate.
Where homelessness is concerned it is wholly wrong to assume that “they” (homeless people) are un-educated / lack skills/ are lazy etc… another homeless myth is that you somehow automatically have a mental health problem or are an addict of one sort or another to become homeless.
None of that is true or factual
I worked for a homeless charity in Liverpool, for almost 10 years. I can recall amongst the multitude of people I worked with an accountant, for example who lost everything (due to a relationship breakdown) and was in a hostel I managed.
Someone else who passed thru our doors had had a successful printing company, employing a good number of people before bankruptcy enveloped them as trends changed.
And yet another had been a prison officer who had subsequently been on the other side of the criminal justice system and lost everything.
There are factors within social and private landlord sectors, that ultimately lead to homelessness nationwide, too.
Suicide / suicidal behaviours have there own myths – for example
“Suicide is a by product of mental illness..”
You don’t have to suffering from a mental health problem (or depression) to consider or act on suicide ideation.
“If you’re contemplating suicide, you want to die…”
Seriously feeling suicidal can be more about wanting to be free of (mental) pain or anguish, rather than of wanting to die. What’s more people can under-estimate how psychically hard it is to kill yourself, or of potential physical health problems as a direct result of attempting suicide.
“Suicide is caused by a single factor”
Factors towards suicide can be biological; psychological; clinical; social; or cultural.
How can you explain a high national suicide rate, such as South Korea or Russia, with substantially lower national rates in Venezuela or the Philippines? Single factors might actually be a final trigger but not the only risk factor.
Whether politician, societal analyst, clinician, councillor, or indeed counsellor, none of us has all the answers to these issues, yet we all, as individuals have a role to play influencing these things.
If you have concerns that someone in your life might be contemplating suicide or is more than simply feeling low, don’t be afraid to ask them gently and see if will open up to your concerns. And, take time to give a street homeless person a sandwich (rather than money) and ask them what their story is.
As we look ahead to 2022 we don’t know yet what it holds, yet we all of us have hope and want to believe that in whatever ways we are seeking – health wise, domestically, financially etc, our individual lives will improve. And even in the smallest of ways we each possess the capacity to ponder how we can influence the world around us too, in simple courtesies, in effective communication, in recycling more or whatever other ways you can think of.
For all of us here at JourneyMEN, we are looking to continue to seek innovative ways of service provision in 2022, and build on our human, financial and creative resources with the service users, professionals, funders, and networks we encounter on every single working day. Whatever your plans and aspirations these coming weeks and New Year ahead, we wish everyone a healthy and restful time before starting anew in January
“You’ll Never Walk Alone”
APT Accredited – Complex Trauma/PTSD
Peter Davies – email@example.com
Qualified Counsellor – APT Accredited – Complex Trauma/PTSD
Here we are already, halfway through the third quarter of the financial year, and for many managers, across the land, throughout the social care, third sector, and health sectors, a time to start doing initial draft budgets for the 2022/23 financial year, factoring in so many different things – past costs, inflation, the imponderables and contingencies to be factored in, together with staff establishment costs and everything else. Never an easy task – particularly if funding regimes, tenders etc are becoming increasingly fraught and competitive, and of course unsure of the direction Covid might take, together with Government constraints and legislation to be considered.
Drafting/changing those budgets several times before finally being passed by boards, Directors etc is an onerous, stressful task requiring patience, know-how and diligence. Definitely something to be mindful of your self care about if this resonates with you
Yet, factoring in innovative practice, and considering future trends is also important, and easily over-looked by the daily grind and a full diary
Where mental health is concerned, funding can rarely ever be enough, and looking at medium long term future trends, demographs etc is therefore essential and considering how they might impact on your organisation, and thus on to service users – present, or future
Some of the research trends within this field considered by the World Economic Forum with an eye to future economics include:
· Novel drug treatments for treatment-resistant depression - depression affects more than 264 million people globally (of all ages) ; yet approximately 1/3 of those people do not respond to two or more standard anti-depressants
Therapists the world over undoubtedly see the consequences of the dependence of anti-depo's whereby they can and do become a crutch, and addiction, yet don’t always touch the root causes of an individual's depression or situation. And yes, many people do say conventional anti-depressants don’t work for them.
· The increased use of social media to spot trends and prevent self-harm. Social media can be both a source for good and bad. On the one hand, studies are showing how language patterns and images can predict mental health conditions for individuals, and also provide analysis of mental health trends throughout populations. The not so good parts of social media where mental health is concerned is that it can sometimes be a case of “quantity over quality” where mental health information (or dis-information) is concerned.
· Predictive analytics to guide and inform mental health policies. The huge impacts of Covid is showing we need to be forward thinking, rather than backward looking where mental health is concerned. Simulated trajectories of psychological distress are looking at mental health waiting times, hospital presentations and suicides over the next 5 years. These are helping identify timely yet effective and substantial investments in both mental health and suicide prevention, and inherent within that is the impact on both financial and human resources.
For those of us working on the front line, day by day within mental health we all know the societal, economic and health impacts that covid is bringing to everyday life, and thus recognise that we can’t stand still within our work, practice, policies and financial planning via our annual budget planning.
Some of the innovations highlighted above may appear relatively distant, or beyond our scope of vision yet don’t need much imagination to see how our working landscape can change and evolve by seeking creative solutions.
Whether you are in the midst of spreadsheets, financial calculations etc on budgets etc right now, or whether you are considering what subtle changes you can make that may improve your own mental health take time to ponder how you can “think outside of the box”, whether to benefit mankind, or whether simply to benefit yourself, and others within your life.
Counselling Corner Blog – 10.10.2021
Counselling Corner BlogPeter Davies – Qualified CounsellorAPT Accredited – Complex Trauma/PTSD firstname.lastname@example.org
There is an odd, albeit one off juxtaposition this week, with the annual date of “World Suicide Prevention Day” on September 10th, followed the following day by the 20th anniversary of the events of “9/11” over in the U.S.A. in particular the bringing down of the two World Trade Centre towers in New York, with major loss of life, and a deep psychological scar that remains across America and beyond.
Many of us, (myself included), can remember where we were that day as we watched the tragedy quite literally play out live in front of us on our tv screens.
There is still debate over whether those workers trapped in the twin towers should simply be considered “jumpers” (not a very dignified term) or whether they were in fact people
As you might imagine, rates of PTSD rose dramatically in the months post 9/11 within New York City (as did physical conditions such as breathing difficulties etc) but the suicide rate within the city did not rise, in fact, instead, in the 4 years after the terrorist atrocities. PTSD symptoms and psychological conditions remained high 5/6 years post 9/11.
If you look at major, mass event tragedies through the years human resilience carries through and intensifies in the wake of those events:
Aberfan disaster (1966) Whilst the death toll of the Aberfan disaster killed 144 people (116 of them children), there is no evidence that suicide rates in the area increased in the area. Children returned to school two weeks later and a later study showed those children who survived remained well adjusted. Much of that had to do with how the town pulled together in the aftermath, although PTSD did occur, individually and collectively. The quiet
dignity of the area ensured they remained strong, silent, and robust.
Hillsborough (1989) 97 people died as a direct result of this and in the years that followed there is at least one suicide attributed to the event; whilst the families themselves have endured physical and cognitive consequences. But again, the resilience of those affected and the emotional scar all of Merseyside still feels as a consequence of that event remains
staunchly in place. This is despite the many twists and turns since, whilst “closure” in any sense has been hard to manifest itself, not least because of the understandable lack of accountability from anyone for it.
Bataclan (2015), France. One man is known to committed suicide as a direct result of those events; he was a survivor of it and his death coincided with the 2nd anniversary
He was being monitored by a psychiatrist and psychologist because of his mental health,
and a local Paris charity notes that “the psychological trauma is profound and long lasting...”
If you look at war/war like situations, more people died from suicide/mental health issues in the years after the Good Friday Agreement was signed in Northern Ireland, than during the years of the Troubles that led to it.
Emile Durkheimian (1960) suggested that from his research suicide decreased as a direct result of war, but that war “stimulates partisan and patriotism” and yet results in “stronger integration of society”
The patterns that largely emerge from mass tragedies is that whilst psychological and mental trauma and issues continues quietly, privately and individually, yet communities
re-build, strengthen and thrive…. yet never forget, and mostly without a sudden rise in people feeling a need to take their own lives yet suffer (often) in silence.
This perhaps says much about the endurance of the human spirit, regardless of what we may face and endure.
JourneyMEN are recognising World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th by holding a quiet, and reflective event in Hamilton Square Gardens from 1300-1330 hours. This will include a minute’s silence. All are welcome, as you perhaps remember those you have loved and lost, regardless of circumstances
Where Hillsborough is concerned, I would personally recommend Phil Scraton’s book “The Truth” for further reading.
JourneyMEN - Working Together For Our Men
Counselling Corner Blog – 03.08.2021
Counselling Corner Blog
Peter Davies – Qualified Counsellor
APT Accredited – Complex Trauma/PTSD
All of us here at JourneyMEN recognise how mental health issues have no societal or family structure boundaries, and that more often than not, someone’s mental issue, is not an isolated part of an individual’s life ; other factors and circumstances arise that are part of a wider picture – for example – a relationship breakdown ; insecure or none existent employment ; past trauma ; military service or other causes of PTSD; a past or present criminal conviction, or current involvement within the CJS (Criminal Justice System)
The links between male mental health, crime, and imprisonment are well known. A recent report by the IOPC* covering the period 2020/21 showed that 19 people (17 men, 2 women) died in police custody. 17 of those were white, 2 were other ethnicities. But of those 19 people, 12 were identified as having mental health concerns, including depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, psychosis and self-harm or suicidal tendencies. A further 2 people had been detained under the mental health act.
The same report notes that of 54 apparent suicides following police custody (49 men, 5 women) 38 of those people had known mental health concerns including emotional personality disorders ; bipolar, depression and previous thoughts of suicide ideation or self-harm
We must remember the 73 people above, will have had families, friends etc who will have been affected by their deaths, with a potential for life affecting trauma, and further mental health problems.
JourneyMEN are acutely aware of these issues, and the ramifications they create, and myself and my colleagues actively work, and are seeking further initiatives in these joint areas of offending/reducing recidivism with appropriate partner agencies and improving individual mental health quality of life and support, one to one support whether via counselling or outdoor activities.
The recent easing of lockdown restrictions and the summer weather are also serving are also assisting our work, and we are running several boat trips in the coming weeks for our service users and some family members. These are much anticipated and are a mixture of fun, escapism and the shared experience of mental health, and often an increase of hope for the future, and improved self-esteem. Covid anxieties are still a fact of life for many people, including some of our service users, and of our endeavours here helps to lessen that.
Reference : IOPC*/OPCC – Independent Office for Police Conduct / Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Merseyside
JourneyMEN – Working Together For Our Men
Counselling Corner Blog – 14.06.2021
This week is designated as being “Men’s Health Week” (14-20 June) and it seems an opportune time to consider the links between Men’s physical health and mental health.
The two things can be completely separate (for anyone, regardless of gender or self-identification) – but they can also be inter-linked, or impact on one another, and in either direction.
As a counsellor, I often see this, and it is true of some JourneyMEN service users. How does this work in practice ?
One example may be a man who lives with constant and chronic pain (from arthritis for example or any other condition). If you are living under those circumstances it can impact on your life in all sorts of way that you might not automatically imagine – if for example it affects your diet ; your sleep pattern ; your ability to work or function on any sort of daily basis ; your ability to walk etc. Almost imperceptibly, over time those things can lead to depression, self-doubt, isolation...and suddenly before you know it you start limiting your life, avoiding others because of the amount of pain you’re in. or because your mobility has lessened...and you’re mental health has deteriorated – even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself as your world suddenly looks smaller.
A different example could be of a man who is suddenly diagnosed with diabetes...or a serious heart condition….or cancer….or….?....any of these cause you to take a different picture of yourself ; can lead to fears ; impact upon things in life you used to take for granted and suddenly can’t….and you start thinking about things...you’re future perhaps ; how you’re changed circumstances may affect your closest relationships and suddenly you realise it might help to talk to someone – outside of your life – that may understand the way you feel ; may be able to help you adapt to new circumstances….that may renew your hope in yourself, and enable you to realise you are not as alone as you perhaps thought, or indeed that things don’t look so bleak after all.
For older people too, as their health – physical or mental – becomes frailer or something happens that re-defines your life happens – a fall; a downsizing from a much loved home….old friends dying, mental health can deteriorate. Many of us will endure a cataclysmic event in older life that changes the shape of our lives forever that has the potential to become life shortening where talking can help us re-adjust to a forced way of life.
Which is where – in any of the above situations, or countless other’s JourneyMEN can help by helping men to realise they are not alone, and there are a variety of ways we can help.
Less so than women, men don’t like to give a voice to their problems, or indeed even acknowledge a problem exists. Have a look around you ; is there anyone in your life -neighbour ; friend, colleague ; acquaintance who perhaps fits in to changed circumstances, mentally, cognitively or physically, and who needs encouragement to seek support, however difficult or awkward taking that first step to seek help can be.
Last week was “Carers Week” – and let’s not forget too the many carers of both genders and all ages, who care for someone 24/7, at the expense of sacrifices in their own lives – including a detrimental change in their own health – physical or mental.
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
For all of us here at JourneyMEN Mental Health Awareness week, personifies all of the work that we do, whether fishing, daily case work, our weekly walk and talks (now so popular we run two of them) and our counselling service. We see a diverse range of men, young, and not so young, some with complex issues and life histories.
In the wider sense where mental health awareness week is concerned, have a look around you amongst family, friends, acquaintances colleagues etc, and think about whether their mental health and wellbeing is in good shape or not? We tend to forget, that whether you are an extrovert or introvert personality type, any of us can hide any sense of distress, anxiety, low mood etc from those around us and often suffer in silence, and perhaps loneliness.
Ask yourself too, if someone within your life, appears to be not quite themselves, what the underlying reasons may be to - a family worry or issue ; a change in work practices, culture or management changes that prove un-settling etc an un-healthy balance of our work/life structure...these are all familiar issues many of us go through at some point, that can trigger or impact our mental health.
Sometimes a friendly or re-assuring word, perhaps over a cuppa can assist in encouraging someone to simply "open up" and let someone in on their angst.
Men in particular don't always find it easy or straight forward to articulate that there is something amiss, and this can lead to friction, tension and dis-harmony within important relationships.
So our message for Mental Health Awareness Week is simply to TALK (or communicate in other ways) to find mental health solutions ; it can take courage, but I would suggest it's worthwhile in the end.
YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE
Here at JourneyMEN, we are mindful the combined events of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh's death, together with the 32nd anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, may, each, or together may result in people reflecting upon the losses of loved ones in our own lives, whether recent, or in the past. We are also conscious of the impact the COVID pandemic has wrecked on so many local families this past year, too.
Grief is a very personal issue ; there are no rights or wrongs with it ; nor does it have any time limit, and a wistfulness can remain, or resurrect for any of us, when we remember those we have lost regardless of triggers, such as the current media focus on death and grief.
Men in general often can have a misguided "macho" response to grief, often bottling our feelings up, without an outlet, particularly, if we feel we need to be "there" and strong for other family members
As a staff team, we recognise that dormant or un-resolved grief can come back and visit any of us, at any time. We hope whether through support or our counselling service, the men of the Wirral know they need not feel alone with any grief issues that may be causing them distress, anguish or trauma at this time, and are always hear to provide a listening ear if a painful response to individual or collective grief is currently resurfacing.
YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE
Peter's counselling service is by appointment only but he can be contacted via the below email.
Email - Peter@journeymencic.com