Welcome to The Leeds University Student Counselling Centre's Online Resource Room. Detailed below are a series of links which will provide you will reliable and detailed information about a variety of mental health issues and resources.
click here for PDF & MP3 files on abuse
and here for PDF & MP3 files on alcohol & you
click here for Alcohol Services in Leeds
click here for pdf & MP3 files on Controlling Anger
aspire is a specialist service for people aged 14-35 who are or may be experiencing psychosis. Research shows that the earlier an intervention is made the better the long term outcome. If you are concerned about yourself or a friend you can find out more here:
click here for a PDF & MP3 files on Bereavement
If you have the misfortune of becoming unwell, we recommend that it is helpful to already be signed up with a doctor, so all you need to do is make an appointment. Leeds Student Medical Practice offers services to students living in the LS1-LS7 postcode areas. To contact LSMP click on the link below.
For people preferring to use other doctors in or beyond these areas, click on the link below, select 'doctors' in the box marked 'Find NHS service' and input your full post code and you will be given a list of all the practices in your area.
click here for a downloadable set of Headstart Cards Headstarts 2009 (pdf reader) or if you just want a single card click on any or all of the following:
click here for PDF & MP3 files on health anxiety
There is a Meditation Group in Room 6 upstairs in The Students' Union between 12 and 1.30 pm every thursday throughout the year (from late september to late august). The groups is run by James Taylor who is a Psychotherapist and Meditation teacher employed by the Student Counselling Centre. For more information you can download this PDF.
Other groups available to students include a group between 4.14 and 5pm in Hall at the Sports Centre in term time and for the Students Union based group go to:
if you scroll down to 'meditation practices' below you will find an MP3 file called 'The Mindfulness of Breathing' which is the classic mindfulness meditation practice.
if you scroll down to 'meditation practices' below you will find an MP3 file called 'The Meditation of Loving Kindness' which is a very helpful practice for developing love, comassion and kindness for ourselves and others.
you can either play any of the free MP3 files below by simply clicking on the link - however, if you prefer, you can right click the link, click 'save target as' and then download them onto your computer or MP3 player. If you have any problems with the practices or need to think anything through, please come to the meditation group.
if you only have a short time to calm yourself in the middle of a busy day click here for a downloadable brief relaxation file - 8 Minutes to Calm
preparing for meditation
It is helpful to prepare for meditation if you want your practice to be effective. It is helpful to do some movement work before you begin, making sure that at very least you have moved your hips, shoulders and spine and maybe done a little stretching. Traditionally yoga is preparatory to meditation and is used to pave the way to practice. Even if you can only do a few moments of movement work and stretching it is very helpful. After you have done this, try standing in tadasana - this posture simply involves standing upright, with your knees slightly bent (not locked), your feet hip width apart and facing forwards, and you arms hanging by your side. You also need to tuck your chin in a little so you can feel the back of your neck stretch slightly. From this posture you can then perform Energetic and Emotional allignment practices.
If you either just want to relax or you want to prepare for a meditation practice, these files below may be helpful.
click here fore a downloadable - Makrasana Makrasana is a yoga posture known as 'The Crocodile'. It is a superb posture for managing anger or the fearfulness that sometimes underlies anger. If you get angry often practice this file at least once per day and whenever you are angry and see what happens!
It is also a very useful preparation both for a relaxation or for meditation and can be practiced for variable lengths of time which means you can easily fit it into a busy day.
click here for a downloadable - Energy Gathering Relaxation
click here for a downloadable deep relaxation file - Deep Relaxation - Waves of Peace
click here for a downloadable deep relaxation file - Deep Relaxation - Inner Space
click here for a downloadable deep relaxation file - Deep Relaxation in Memory of Gyatri
click here for a downloadable dissolving the body file - Dissolving the Body This practice makes for a lovely relaxation and can be particularly helpful when we are trying to manage physical pain. It is worth practicing before trying 'Pendulating' (see below) which is a pattern of breath also very helpful for managing physical pain.
energy block release
energy block release practices are key to the Dru yoga and meditation system. There are numerous practices which are ideally learnt face to face with a teacher. This sequence is performed lying down and combines energy block release with deep relaxation and visualisation. This is a very nice practice to perform if you are feeling fearful or insecure in your world or relationships. It has proved very popular in our group sessions so I have made a version for you to use at home. Click here for a downloadable EBR7 file - Energy Block Release 7
breathwork or pranayama
the foundations of any sound meditation practice are you posture and your breath. If you are breathing badly or inefficiently you will often end up amplifying many of the problems you tried meditating to prevent! The practice of Three Level or Deep Yogic breath remedies this. However inorder to achieve a Deep Yogic breath we first need to learn how to do Abdominal breath. Try working through these three files. The first two are practiced lying down and develop the Abdominal and Deep Yogic Breath respectively in this position. in the third, the Deep Yogic Breath is practiced upright. Make sure you have spent time with the first and mastered it before you rush onto the second or the third. Remember, when you are doing these practices to ensure that you are not straining! If you strain your system you are undermining the purpose of the exercise and it will not work! Click here for a downloadable file to develop The Abdominal Breath. Click here to download Deep Yogic Breath Lying and click here for Deep Yogic Breath Sitting.
Another breathing practice wich is excellent for calming and balancing our systems is Alternative Nostril Breathing. You only need practice this for 5-10 minutes to really feel a difference. When you have developed the Abdominal and Deep Yogic breaths, try the dowloadable Alternative Nostril Breathing practice.
Pendulating is a breathwork practice that is very helpful in the management of physical pain and is also a practice helpful in developing your concentration.
A lovely breath to practice, perhaps following the Energy Gathering Relaxation practice above is the Vitalising Breath. This is a lovely way to increase your energy.
concentration & contemplation
click here for a downloadable file to guide you through a Trataka or candle gazing practice. This is a traditional yogic practice which when done regularly will help you develop your capacity for concentration. To meditate well we first need to be able to relax and to concentrate so it may be helpful to work through theRelaxation and Concentration resources here before you try any of the meditation practices.
another way of improving your concentration is to gaze (not stare) at the second hand of a clock and notice how long it takes before a thought comes into your mind to distract you from your concentration. If you go to this link, you will find a full screen sized clock which you can work with:
Wait until the second hand comes to 12 o'clock and then note how long you were able to maintain your attention on the second hand until you were distracted. Practice this exercise daily - your aim is to triple your attention span in 2 weeks. From thee is will become quite easy for you to move quite quickly to holding your attention for several minutes.
if you prefer, take an object like a pin or a flower and observe it with your complete attention for a few minutes - without letting anything else enter your mind. Notice everything you can about it. Then close your eyes and allow the image of the pin or the flower to come to mind. See it in as much detail as you can. Just like the clock exercise above, if you do this daily for a couple of week - 5- 10 minutes per day would be fine - you should be able to greatly increase your capacity to hold the object in mind and you will have improved your concentration.
if music is more your thing - listen to a piece of music and then mentally reproduce it for yourself as accurately as possible, noticing how long you can keep going before you become distracted.
another practice which combines relaxation and concentration is the Body Asleep, Mind Awake practice. This is a body awareness practice which enables relaxation by maintaining your attention.
A way of making something abstract like the fabled 'positive thinking' into a practice that is useable is to focus on something which has positive associations. you might therefore like to try this Contemplation of Joy practice. As with anything thats 'worth it', practice will help develop this! So, even if you have an intention, always be prepared to accept what comes up in your practice. When your capacity ofr acceptance increases so does your capacity for joy!
The Sitting Quietly Meditation is on the borders of concentration practice and meditation. It is brief and a really good place to start your meditation practice. Try working regularly with this meditation until you can consistenly stay focused for 15 minutes at a time. When you can manage this, it's time to move on! click here for the downloadable Sitting Quietly Meditation
The Dissolving Stress Meditation takes you through some thoughts about breath and posture and then elaborates on the 8 minutes to Calm Meditation above. if you have a little more time, this is the one to work through!
click here for a downloadable dissolving stress meditation file - Dissolving Stress Meditation
The Getting Grounded Meditation is a great practice for really calming ourselves and contacting the capacity to experience harmony, safety and security that we all have within ourselves if we turn to it. On rainy days we cannot always experience the sun's presence, but it is there, if we turn our attention to it. This meditation is like enabling our capacity for that!
The Blue Mist Meditation begins with a Dynamic Energy Release Practice to prepare you for your practice. The Blue Mist Meditation is a great practice to help you set aside the feelings, thoughts, patterns and sensations that can sometimes get in our way when we are trying to seek calm within ourselves or be able to concentrate on what we need to attend to today.
click here for a downloadable Blue Mist Meditation practice.
The Mindfulness of Breathing is a meditation practice which helps produce focus and calm in the practitioner. In this sense it can be used both as a concentration and as a meditation practice. It reminds us how hard it can be to do a simple thing like focusing on our breath but gives us a method through which we can onserve the coming and going of our thoughts, emotions and sensations. The close observation of these transient events within us enables us to reconsider the status we accord them; it helps us realise that we are more than our thoughts and that we have to work to calm what Buddhists refer to as our 'monkey mind' - the part of us that is as restless and busy as a troop of monkeys! Practice this with an attitude of patient inquiry and don't be surprised if you don't get to far to begin with!
click here for a downloadable Mindfulness of Breathing practice.
The Meditation on Loving Kindness is otherwise known at the 'Metta Bhavna' the former word meaning 'loving kindness' and the latter meaning 'the practice of...'. Buddhism has traditionally measured our spiritual growth simply by how kind we have become and this is a wonderful meditation for cultivation these universally helpful qualities! This practice is introduced with an anuloma breath practice which is very calming and works as a good preparation.
click here for a downloadable Meditation on Loving Kindness practice.
walking in nature is another way to practice meditation. As you walk, concentrate on you walking rhythm and your breathing. Walk at a pace that allows your breath to become regular as you begin to focus on the quality of your steps and your contact with the earth. Allow yourself to get into a relaxed space with a spring in your step so your whole body can become charged with the power of your walk. Allow your gaze to rest on what is around you but do not stare at it. Every now and then stop and contemplate your surroundings. If you are familiar with Sama Vritti breath ( breathing in for 4, holding for 4, breathing out for 4 and holding for 4) begin to allow this breath to develop as you walk, eventually allowing this to turn into anuloma breath, (4, 6, 4, 4). Please note! You should not retain either the inhalation or the exhalation if you high or low blood pressure, glaucoma, are pregnant or think you may be pregnant. If any of these apply to you, as you walk, just concentrate on breathing evenly in and our for a count of 4.
click here for PDF & MP3 files on Hearing Voices
psychoanalytic and psychodynamic modalities
Psychoanalysis originated in the work of Sigmund Freud and is now over 100 years old. Since Freud's time it's theory and practice have developed extensively such that there are 'Freudians' alongside 'Kleinians' and 'Independents' at the Institute of Psychoanalysis today. All three groups are interested in the dynamic relationship between our conscious and unconscious functioning and psychoanalysis typically occurs 3-5 times per week. However, psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapies do occur once per week and the majority of clients of this modality choose to work once per week.
Analytical Psychology emerged out of the arguments and eventual split in 1913 between Freud and Carl Jung. While analytical psychology typically takes place with a frequency similar to that of psychoanalysis and shares its concern with the dynamic relations between our conscious and unconscious functioning, Jungian understandings of the nature of unconscious functioning and of libido differ to those of psychoanalysis.
Person-Centred Counselling emerged from the work of Carl Rogers as both and alternative to and a critique of psychoanalysis. For Rogers, the client was the key authority on their own well being and development which would be best enabled in a relationship where, his 'core conditions' of empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard existed. Person Centred counsellors aspire to be non-judgemental and authentic in their practice. It typically takes place at a frequency of once weekly.
Transactional Analysis originated in the social psychology of Eric Berne who was, like others of his generation, disenchanted with psychoanalysis. As it has evolved it has been used not only for therapy but as a tool for education and organisational development. It famously explores the relationship between the 'OK' and 'Not-OK' adult, parent and child 'ego states' observing both the functional and dysfunctional patterns between them. Transactional analysts integrated technique from both the psychodynamic and person centred traditions to do their work attempting to resolve problems in the here and now of the session.
Existential Counselling and Psychotherapy are very interested in the nature of being a person in the world rather than the personal and pathological constructs that are emphasised in other modalities. The client's sense meaning and values are explored in the context of their lives and they are assisted in thinking about what it is for them to live authentically, pursuant of their own values and priorities. This project is particularly mindful of the inevitability of death and the transient nature of life.
cognitive & cognitive behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy focuses on our patterns of thought and aims to correct the ways in which our thinking distorts reality. The focus is upon the distortions that appear to be causing a person distress. The therapist and client aim to work collaboratively to test out the client's perceptions of reality and on ways to alter perceptions causing distress. This modality typically takes place over 8-20 sessions and is very popular amongst clinical psychologists, not least because it lends itself easily to empirical evaluation.
Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy is rooted in the belief that we are prone to developing irrational beliefs and behaviours that stand in the way of us achieving fulfilment in our lives. REBT focuses on exploring the beliefs we live by, their origins and their consequences to our senses of personal satisfaction and well being. It emphasises the same core conditions of person centred therapy aiming to enable clients to adopt a more flexible world view.
see meditation section above
click here for PDF & MP3 files on Obsessions and Compulsions
click here for a PDF & MP3 files on Panic
click here for a PDF & MP3 files on Post Traumatic Stress
click here for PDF & MP3 files addressing prison issues
or click here for a downloadable relaxation file - Relaxation
or click here to download a helpful list of self-help books - Download Word Document
click here for a PDF & MP3 files on Shyness and Social Anxiety
click here for a book list on help with self esteem & self-confidence
click here for a downloadable PDF & MP3 files on Sleep Problems
click here for PDF & MP3 files on Stress