An Interview on Emotional Intelligence with Anna Maplesden BACP


SUMMARY KEYWORDS

emotions, work, reacting, child, counsellor, emotional intelligence, experience, love, client, respond, feel, private practice, part, anna, draw, stomp, imagining, integrative, mindfulness, counselling

SPEAKERS

Anna, Chloe

CM

Chloe Mepham BSc

0:03

Hello. In today's episode, I'm joined by a connection of mine who performs fascinating work. Anna Maplesden BACP. Why don't you tell us a bit about yourself for the audience?

AM

Anna Maplesden BACP

0:16

Hi, Chloe. Yes, I'm Anna. I'm a counsellor, and accredited with a BACP bridge association of counsellors and psychotherapists. I work in private practice. And I've been working now as a counsellor for about 10 years plus, so about 12 years, I think.

CM

Chloe Mepham BSc

0:38

Fantastic. Thank you, Anna. And what have you been working on recently?

AM

Anna Maplesden BACP

0:43

Well, I've been developing my business for about the last year. So I run a private practice. And I'm a specialist provider for a number of blue light organisations in Kent. So the emergency services that's really my specialism. And that's what I've been working on for the last couple of years. But I also work with corporate companies and charities to develop wellbeing programmes. And that's like group based interventions, covering stress, mindfulness, things like that teaching people relaxation techniques. So I like to do a bit private practice. And I like to do some project work as well, at the same time.

CM

Chloe Mepham BSc

1:26

Wow. Sounds like you've got a lot going on there. And what is your experience of emotional intelligence?

AM

Anna Maplesden BACP

1:35

Well, I was giving this a lot of thought, and I thought one of the common denominators is that one of the common experiences is that clients often find emotions, incredibly confusing, very baffling, and quite complicated. And yeah, emotions are part of being human, we can't possibly deny that part to ourselves that often reacts in a variety of situations. And of course, each of us have different tolerances around our emotions. So for me, I think I look at emotions fundamentally as a piece of information. But the critical parts of that is that piece of information might not actually be a fact. So I think knowing ourselves at a slightly deeper level means that we're going to be kind of curious about our emotions. And then if we're curious, then we can work out maybe how better to respond.

CM

Chloe Mepham BSc

2:32

Yeah. And responding, rather than reacting off that emotion is so important, isn't it? Yeah, yeah. So what principles do you use in your work?

AM

Anna Maplesden BACP

2:43

Well, a good few years ago now I did an integrative counselling degree and the theories that I feel really aligned to our cognitive behavioural therapy. I think that's fantastic. And I'm also drawn always to psychodynamic which kind of has a little peek at the past. And I love person centred. So the idea that actually been listened to being valued as a human being that can be very transforming. It's not often how we experience others when we have problems. So I also love mindfulness, mindfulness practice. And most recently, I've been studying EMDR, which is eye movement, desensitisation and reprocessing. And that really helps me with my trauma informed approach. So it's, it's quite an integrative mix, and it fits. But I think the beauty of what I offer is that I can tailor how I support clients according to their needs, which is really useful and kind of not stuck with one way of working.

CM

Chloe Mepham BSc

3:55

Yeah, it's so useful to have all those different areas to draw from, you've got a lot of knowledge and experience. So it's quite a lot going on there isn't it? Yeah. So what do you believe is the most effective way to increase Emotional Intelligence?

AM

Anna Maplesden BACP

4:12

Well, I don't know about you, Chloe. But I find trying to explain emotional intelligence and trying to give people the skills to do that, I think it's really hard. And it also depends on the amounts of stress that are obviously pushing our buttons. Sure, but what I found it doesn't matter whether I'm talking to an employee or whether I'm talking to a senior leader, or a sort of very stereotypical sort of emergency service worker who's like a hero, you know. I find that the best way to explain this is imagining that that emotional part of ourselves is like a child, an inner child. And sometimes it helps because it can get so confusing in there sometimes It helps to draw that part of ourselves out. Because I also believe that there's many parts to us. And the emotional part is just one part. But drawing that child out and imagining that child reflecting those emotions to us. So imagine that really frustrated child, and the child had their arms kind of crossed, and they were stomping their feet, and they're feeling really angry. What I tried to do is encourage the client to think what that child would need, what kind of supportive words, what kind of nurturing and loving gestures, what we wouldn't do, which is what often we do, I think, is say something like, Don't be stupid, you know, you signed up for this, this is your fault, we wouldn't be so unkind to do that to a child, or I'd hope not. And in that way, the client gets a chance to draw it out to try and learn a different way to respond. But then that becomes sort of a new way of responding to emotions internally. And I find that much more effective than just talking about emotions and getting people just to simply release emotions. People can identify how they feel, even if they use quite simple vocabulary, but the bit that they're always missing is how to respond rather than react. So the frustrated child might just stomp off, might reject, might go and have a favourite drink, you know. So if you think about adult behaviours might just go have a glass of wine, we might shout at someone, we might throw a computer across the desk. So what I'm trying to do is encourage them to respond in a different way, and maybe to break automatic patterns.

CM

Chloe Mepham BSc

6:45

And so important, I think, you know, to be able to take that break and respond thoughtfully rather than just react. Yeah, yeah. So what do you believe are the benefits of this method?

AM

Anna Maplesden BACP

6:59

I think it gives you a chance to reduce the confusion and kind of externalise slightly. So I'm going off track here a bit. But with for example, with child therapy, the therapist will use things like puppets and drawings, so that it's not too not as painful so that you see that distance about your experience, because what we're trying to encourage really is a bit of perspective, I guess, because automatic reacting is without mindfulness, it's without awareness, it might be something that you've always done that you never notice. So I think creating that moment to pause creating some perspective, and let's not forget that emotions, really bring online our kind of fight flight response in the body. So if we're feeling really angry, the amygdala is kind of really overactive. And what we're trying to do is bring online, maybe more of the prefrontal cortex, so that is the calm and rational, responsive part of the brain. And if you're constantly stressed, you're constantly reacting, you have no clue about these emotions, then a child says that your body is kind of hyper aroused, and you just don't think, you're operating in a very mindless way. So that's how I think about sort of emotional intelligence or building the skills towards emotional intelligence. And that's why I found in my practice with clients, they can really relate to that. And they find that an easier way to create a pause and create some perspective. And then we learn how to respond to that emotion, rather than letting our angry child just walk around throwing things shouting, you know, because that's when other problems come along, you know, we can prejudice ourselves or we can cause distance in relationships. You know, for anyone that's thrown anything, we end up breaking something, we can hurt people, you know, so we have to be really careful with our emotions. It's not just about our own experience either.

CM

Chloe Mepham BSc

9:13

So, yeah, yeah, they can be very tricky things to manage emotions. Yeah. So what's coming up for you next this year?

AM

Anna Maplesden BACP

9:23

Well, I love writing I love being busy. And I have realised that I want to build my business now, so I want to take on more of the well being related work and the training and the courses. And I have been asked by a national charity to develop an intervention for a group who needs support with transitions and growth and change. And the one thing I love is challenge so I don't have that as a product but what I will do is go away and start writing that and doing my research And I know that from your work as well, you know the power of that group experience peer support, people actually seeing something in someone else that they can relate to. So I love that work. I love working one to one, but it is really satisfying working with groups. So I plan to kind of built my business more in that way. And I think corporate clients often struggle with finding tailored interventions. There's lots of companies out there who have off the shelf packages that they just repeat. And I quite like the idea of building that relationship with a corporate client, really understanding what the need is, the pain points, and then working with them to do something that they they feel is a value and really supports their employees. So that is the kind of project work I'm going to be looking at for the rest of this year. And then I want to take that online so that people could go online, and anyone could benefit from the work I've done as well.

CM

Chloe Mepham BSc

10:59

Oh, fantastic. Sounds amazing. And it is a great time of transition and change all over the place at the moment. So that'll be highly in demand. Please do let me know so I can update the audience on how you get on with that. That sounds like a fascinating project. And thank you ever so much for joining me today. Anna, it's been a pleasure to have you on the show.

AM

Anna Maplesden BACP

11:24

Thank you. Thank you so much. Thanks for inviting me and thank you for getting me to talk about things I love. And you know, maybe that might reduce some of the stigma of what goes on in the counselling room. There's really easy ways to understand these things and you know, get a little bit of support as well. So, yeah, hope that helps.

CM

Chloe Mepham BSc

11:43

Fantastic. Well, thanks ever so much for joining us. And thanks everyone else for listening

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