THE SPARK BLOG

How to help a child deal with parental separation and divorce

As a counselling and support charity, The Spark often works with couples trying to avoid parental separation. Sometimes, however, it is best for everyone involved that a relationship comes to an end. From time to time our counsellors are involved in helping couples...

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Shielding children from struggles can harm their resilience

When humans become parents they develop many natural instincts. One of which is shielding children from struggles. In the earliest weeks and months of life, it is a purely physical function to protect from hunger, a lack of companionship and the cold. As the child...

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Managing challenging behaviour in children

Managing challenging behaviour is one of the biggest challenges any parent will face. From toddler tantrums to pre-teen arguments over clothes and mobile phones, no parent or carer ever gets a free pass. Maintaining safe boundaries for your child while instilling...

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How to detox the negative body image triggers in your life

Negative body image triggers are seemingly inescapable. Beautiful bodies that are sculpted to perfection invade our smartphones, TV screens, magazines and more every hour of every day. This can leave many of us feeling oversized, inadequate and unhappy in our own...

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Body image and social media: a toxic mix?

Imagine for a moment a smartphone app. The capabilities of this app are astonishing. After using it for a few weeks it has the power to give you body image issues. Would you download it? Probably not. What if I told you this app is so effective that it can convince...

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Starting secondary school – tips for young people

Starting secondary school is a big step for young people. The transition from primary school to high school can be a breeze for some, a challenge for others and somewhere in between for most pre-teens. As thoughts turn to Primary 7’s beginning the move to high school...

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Precious scars and the Japanese art of Kintsugi

This will probably be a familiar refrain to many of you: ‘Everything will be okay as long as I smile, think positively and forgive people who have done me wrong.’ Life can be very unfair and, when it is, suggestions to simply walk ‘on the sunny side of the street’...

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Music and mental ill-health: how influential is a song?

We are what we eat. That is the simple truth that has launched a thousand cookbooks. Eat unhealthily, expect to be unhealthy. Slowly we are starting to realise that the same applies to our minds and mental ill-health. We are what we consume and what we consume...

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Try making a relationship resolution this year

Here’s a question that came to mind on Hogmanay: why do we rarely make New Year resolutions about our relationships? Typically we opt for an act of self-improvement like eating better, exercising more, quitting smoking or spending more time reading books that will...

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The Spark opens new Edinburgh counselling centre

To meet a growing demand for counselling services in Edinburgh, The Spark is set to open a new location in the city this month. Complementing their 13 locations across Scotland, the country's leading counselling provider will open The Spark Counselling Edinburgh this...

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12 plays of Christmas – part 4

It’s the fourth and final part of our Christmas playlist, ‘The Twelve Plays of Christmas’. Christmas is only days away, Santa is readying his sleigh and lists of presents (demands?) are being ticked off. Which means it is a good time to remember that Christmas can be...

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12 plays of Christmas – part 3

Welcome to the 3rd part of our series exploring the lessons that can be learned from well-known (and some not-so-well-known) Christmas tracks.  Today we are looking at relationships during the festive period and ways to keep them in good shape.  Shane McGowan and...

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12 plays of Christmas – part 2

What is the real meaning of Christmas?  In the second of our #12PlaysofChristmas series we are highlighting a couple of tracks that remind us that Christmas can be about more than consumerism and overindulgence. Band Aid, 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' For those of a...

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12 plays of Christmas – part 1

It’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas (to paraphrase the song). To help get you in the mood we’re doing a playlist of well-known festive hits. Plus one or two Christmas-related tracks that may have passed you by. If you have checked out our #SongsForSoundMinds...

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An attitude of gratitude at Thanksgiving

Cultivating an ‘attitude of gratitude’ in the era of Brexit and austerity might seem near impossible. How do we say thank you or count our blessings when the world around us seems completely chaotic? In many respects, you would be right about the challenge of being...

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How to cope with the winter blues – part 3

In the final part of The Spark's 'How to cope with the winter blues' series, we're offering a few more tips on keeping your mood up when the sun is going down. You can catch up with part 1 and part 2 where we looked at how a 'sexy raincoat', not being Gordon Gekko and...

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How to cope with the winter blues – part 2

Welcome to part 2 of The Spark's 'How to cope with the winter blues' series offering our tips on ways to defeat the winter blues. Catch up on part 1 of 'How to cope with the winter blues' where we looked at how embracing the winter season, taking up a new indoor...

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How to cope with the winter blues – part 1

When the days start getting shorter and the nights longer, many people start to feel their mood drop. Unlike Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – a form of clinical depression – the ‘winter blues’ is a general term for the feelings of sadness and lethargy we can all...

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How to Be Happy – part 4

Why does being happy – at times – feel like such hard work? Instead of an easy path to a relaxed and consistent glow of contentment, it often feels like pushing a boulder up a hill; a brief moment of satisfaction at the peak before it rolls back down the other side...

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Student counselling services under pressure

As universities and colleges prepare for the start of the new term, one major talking point continues to dominate the headlines: mental health support for students. Prior to the summer break, research laid bare the extent of the challenges facing further education...

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