Crisis & Local Resources
Mental Health Rapid Response Service - Brighton and Hove’s NHS 24/7 urgent response service for anyone in a mental health crisis and feeling at risk of harming themselves or others (0300 304 0078)
Samaritans - national 24/7 listening and emotional support service (116 123)
Stay Alive - app for those at risk of suicide or supporting someone else who might be
Mind Out - Brighton’s mental health support service for LGBTQ+ people, including advice and information, advocacy, peer support groups and mentoring
Survivors' Network – support for survivors of sexual violence in Sussex
Rise - support for survivors of domestic abuse in East Sussex, including practical and emotional support
Change Grow Live – Drug and alcohol use support service for people in Brighton and Hove
Sex Worker Outreach Project - advice and support for sex workers in Sussex
Relaxation and Grounding Exercises
Relaxing your body and breathing fully can help you out of a fight/flight/freeze response and activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which will allow you to better tolerate distressing feelings. Try one of the exercises in this link to practice relaxing.
Grounding yourself using your senses can help you come back to your body and the present moment when you're feeling anxious, disassociated or in a trauma flashback. Try out the sensory techniques in this link to focus and ground yourself.
Sometimes I use worksheets in sessions to support clients to identify and examine thoughts and feelings - below you can find downloadable copies of these.
Feelings Wheel - for help with identifying feelings
Thought Record – for recording thoughts and feelings
Socratic Questions – for challenging negative thoughts
Decatastrophising – for challenging catastrophic thoughts
Cognitive Distortions – for identifying unhelpful thinking patterns
Tolerating Uncertainty - for practising being with not knowing
Books, Zines, Podcasts etc.
Here you’ll find a list of books and other resources that I've found useful for thinking about relationships, sex, trauma, mental health etc.
The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk – a great book for understanding the impact of trauma on the body
Healing Sex: A Mind-body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma by Staci Haines – a really useful workbook for exploring sexuality after trauma and managing triggers around sex
Needing to Know for Sure: A CBT-Based Guide to Overcoming Compulsive Checking and Reassurance Seeking by Martin N Seif and Sally M Winston – a practical guide for understanding and managing uncertainty-based anxiety
Just Eat It: How Intuitive Eating Can Help You Get Your Shit Together Around Food by Laura Thomas – a book exploring alternatives to dieting and ways to shift your thinking around food and weight
Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain by Sue Gerhardt – a great book for understanding the impact of early childhood on later life
Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence by Judith Lewis Herman – one of the first books to discuss trauma in the context of abuse and interpersonal relationships
Rewriting the Rules: An Anti Self-Help Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships by Meg-John Barker – this book unpacks and challenges lots of commonly held ideas about sex and relationships to help you decide if they are right for you
Life Isn't Binary: On Being Both, Beyond, and In-Between by Alex Iantaffi and Meg-John Barker – this book questions our tendency to look at things in binary terms, so is really useful for anyone that tends towards black/white or all/nothing thinking
How to Understand Your Gender: A Practical Guide for Exploring Who You Are by Alex Iantaffi and Meg-John Barker – an easy, comprehensive guide to exploring gender identity
Enjoy Sex (How, When and If You Want To): A Practical and Inclusive Guide by Meg-John Barker and Justin Hancock – a brilliant book for reflecting on your relationship to sex
What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl's Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety by Jaclyn Friedman – a workbook for exploring sexuality aimed at teenage girls but useful for all ages and genders
Ecstasy is Necessary: A Practical Guide by Barbara Carrellas – a great introduction to embodiment and connecting with your sexual, sensual and joyful self
The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert – this book explores the benefits of self-compassion and kindness for mental health
Laziness Does Not Exist by Devon Price - a look into the ideas of laziness and productivity and how these can affect our minds and bodies
Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Non-Monogamy by Jessica Fern - this is a easy to understand introduction to theories of how our learned patterns of attaching to other people can affect our relationships, with a focus on building emotional security in non-monogamous relationships
Clementine Morrigan’s Trauma-Informed Polyamory workshop - this downloadable workshop explores how we manage distress in relationships. While its focused on people in polyamorous relationships I think it could be useful for people in all kinds of relationships
Captain Awkward - An advice column that often discusses creating and maintaining boundaries, including practical scripts for doing this with partners, friends and family
Ask Kai: Advice for the Apocalypse - A compassionate, trauma-informed advice column by therapist and writer Kai Cheng Thom answering questions about relationships, especially within queer communities
Meg-John & Justin - an interesting podcast about sex, relationships and mental health with a sex educator and a psychologist, plus useful zines to help you think about and communicate what you want in sex and relationships
Rewriting the Rules - zines on mental health topics