Articles by Hilda Burke

 

Don’t hate being single in the wedding season

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The problem with bucket lists

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Relationships: Why bringing out the worst in each other could actually be for the best

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Impossible to know what someone else is feeling

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Gut Feelings

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Apps no substitute for face-to-face

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Both camps are feeling a sense of exclusion

From Hilda Burke: Sir, I really enjoyed Kazuo Ishiguro’s measured and highly personal article ‘The remains of the UK’ (Life & Arts, July 2).

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Ishiguro refers to the feeling of ‘disenfranchisement’ experienced by Leave voters. As a psychotherapist, this sense of separateness/exclusion is the strongest emotion I’ve witnessed in my consulting room this past week.

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Taking control of our own destiny

What we’re seeing in society at large is a projection of collective shame, guilt and ultimately responsibility projected on to “the elite”, the media, those in power.

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If we stay in this place, we remain powerless and ultimately victims. It doesn’t have to be like this. I was inspired by one of my clients who, following events since the referendum, signed up to a political party, something she never considered before.

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How to have a successful digital detox this Spring

“Whether technology's effect is good or bad depends on the user. It's important that we shouldn't be slaves to technology; it should help us”. The Dalai Lama (once again) hits the nail on the head – it's not technology, smartphones, digital anything that's the problem, it's how we use it.

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The key first step for anyone considering a digital detox is to be honest and address the impact of spending too much time on our digital devices. As per any 'addiction' we're unlikely to succeed in conquering our vice without having the adequate motivation i.e. we need to see a potential pay-off or benefit for going to the effort of breaking a 'comfortable' pattern.

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Bullying: A cry for help?

Many of the clients I work with endured some form of bullying at school.

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All my clients who have experienced bullying can still vividly recount what was said to them by whom and are able to describe their bullies in fine detail – which is quite something when you consider that these incidents usually occurred several decades ago.

I also work with some clients who have been accused of bullying at some point whether at school or in the workplace. The shame and guilt they feel for this – often decades on – weighs very heavily on them. So, what turns a young person into a bully? Many of us, when we feel bad about ourselves, want to make others feel worse. This is why we’re more likely to make a snide remark when our hearts are broken, when we’ve been rejected.

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Procrastination and why we put stuff off

Procrastination, when it’s severe, is rarely just about getting something done or indeed not done! Of course, many of us put off dreaded daily chores – getting the laundry done, taking out the bins but the most serious type of procrastination is that which stops us getting on with our lives and achieving our goals.

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Take for example, someone who wants to change job yet “puts it off”. They know where they are is a dead end, they feel motivated yet are disempowered to update their CV, contact potential new employers. I see this in many of my clients.

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Is death the root of all anxiety?

Late last year, Erica Jong published a book called 'Fear of Dying'. I thought it interesting that Jong, whose 'Fear of Flying' tackled a lot of sexual taboos had now turned her attention to one of the last remaining taboos in our society – death. Around this time, a famous singer in the UK spoke about her anxiety around death in an interview, triggering much talk in the media about this hitherto undiscussed topic. Had death become 'the new sex'?

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Death anxiety, or to give its clinical name, Thanatophobia, is not unusual. Indeed, some level of it is hardwired into our DNA.

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Dating after divorce – preparing the new stage in your life

Psychotherapist Hilda Burke shares with EliteSingles her advice on putting the past behind you and starting a new chapter in your life.

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“Letting go of a marriage invariably involves forgiveness.How many of us beat ourselves up following a break-up about what we did/didn’t do, what we should have done etc? Many people who are going through a divorce may blame themselves for deciding to get married or even for having been in the relationship in the first place.”

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Whose success is it anyway?

Success and how to achieve it has had people scratching their heads and looking over the shoulders for millennia. Enter any book shop and I’d wager that at least half the books in the self-help section will feature some mention of ‘success’ on the cover. Actually, success seems to have become a pseudonym for ‘happiness’ and the words are often used interchangeably in our society. To be successful equates to feeling fulfilled, feeling content.

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Many of us blindly accept the societal norm of success – an attractive partner, children, a good career, wealth and two cars in the garage. But whose idea of ‘success’ is this? Surely, we cannot all have the same criteria for success, yet that’s the way it’s presented to us through advertising, the media, the education system.

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How to make a long distance relationship work: The three key rules to follow

EliteSingles asked psychotherapist Hilda Burke for her tips on how to make a long distance relationship work.

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Live your life as fully as you can where you are and try to be in the moment. Wishing the time away and putting your life on hold until you next see your beloved will only lead to resentment… When times get tough remember how wonderful it is to have someone you love and how the fact that you are missing them just goes to prove that.

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How to stop comparing yourself to others and their relationships

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Are you constantly comparing yourself to other people's relationships or dating styles? Psychotherapist Hilda Burke shares with EliteSingles advice on why and how to stop.

One of biggest the threats to our well-being is comparing ourselves to others. Whether it's our waist size, our home, our job, our level of core strength, it's a corrosive yet powerful drive for us to want to measure ourselves (sometimes literally!) against our friends, siblings, and colleagues. With the huge increase in use of social media, it has become all too easy to compare our lot with that of our 387 'friends'.

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Back to school – back to self

The arrival of September heralds the definitive end of summer. Memories of a return to school, new uniforms and pencil cases and, for many, an accompanying feeling of dread abide. For most of us our school days are long done but still the feeling of the end of good times and a return to the grind persists at this time of the year.

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Summer is full of pleasant distractions – picnics, holidays, barbeque parties and long lazy days. But as the nights get longer, we inevitably become a bit more introspective. Autumn for many marks the start of a new term, turning a fresh leaf, a completely blank copy book and pristine textbooks. If we were to take the same fresh approach to ourselves, what would it feel like? What would we like to learn?

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Heartbreak and how to survive it

We all want to avoid the pain of a break-up, numb it and forget it as swiftly as possible. But what if there was something to be gained from the pain of a break-up? Something we would be cheating ourselves out of by avoiding it? Can we really know joy without ever having experienced pain? Happiness without sadness and, indeed, love without heartbreak? I think not.

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‘Be honest with yourself – People adopt many different strategies following a break-up – sedation via drink/drugs, oblivion via a new lover, or denial that their ex ever meant that much to do them, hoping that they will convince themselves that they never really loved them anyway.

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Finding love after loss

By Hilda Burke

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Moving on from losing a partner is one of the hardest things to deal with. As psychotherapist Hilda Burke explains, everyone's experience is different and there are no hard rules about when to move on.

That said, the right advice can definitely help you along the way. For widows and widowers looking to date again, here are some things to consider when taking the first step.

When a relationship ends, many of us liken the experience to a bereavement. Indeed, the process of grieving and gradual recovery can follow a similar pattern to that of bereavement. So when a partner dies, the grieving is not only for our beloved but also for the relationship itself. It’s a double loss.

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A true expression of love for canines

From Ms Hilda Burke

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Sir, On a short flight from Heathrow to Dublin on Saturday, I read Katie Roiphe’s “Top Dogs” article in the FT Weekend (July 12). Ms Roiphe’s article is the latest in a long stream of articles I have read chronicling canine excess.

While finding the article very entertaining, I disagree strongly with her premise that “this dog stuff” is merely a means of reflecting back “our own glory”. Were she a dog owner, Ms Roiphe would know how a canine welcome at the end of a long day (vigorously wagging tail, excited whimper, nuzzle on the leg) is one of life’s treasures and for many their first experience of unconditional love.

For this, many dog owners feel massively indebted and may even wish to express this gratitude in extravagant gifts, lodgings and canine care.

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How to deal with heartbreak

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The question of how to deal with heartbreak has sustained many industries through the ages – from witch doctoring to psychotherapy, vintners to self-help gurus. We all want to avoid the pain of a break up, numb it and forget it as swiftly as possible.

But what if there was something to be gained from the pain of a break-up? Something we would be cheating ourselves out of by avoiding it? Can we really know joy without ever having experienced pain? Happiness without sadness and, indeed, love without heartbreak?

I think not.

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