Nicole Marais Psychotherapy - Counselling - Coaching

COVID19/BLOG/BOOK - Participation

Covid19 - Existential Crisis

In these times of Covid19 and self isolation - I have been paying attention to what people are saying and how they are saying it - especially in relation to having to be with themselves.

Covid19 seems to be promoting something else. An Existential Crisis.

There seems to be a sense of loss...”I don’t know what to do with myself”, “I’ve watched all the movies I wanted” “cleaned the house” “I’m now repeating myself”....

Forced isolation - ‘Solitary Confinement’ in prisons, ‘House Arrest’ in other situations are used as forms of punishment. This triggers the ‘sympathetic arousal’ (fight/flight/freeze/avoid/deflate/collapse/implode) raising the stress hormones: in particular cortisol.

We can feel frightened, disempowered and many other feelings which ‘minimise’ us. We can feel lost leading to other feelings such as ‘hopelessness’ or indeed anger to get some sense of power or control back.

This can lead to realising ‘I’m okay when I have something to do’ .... we’ve been encouraged to be Human Doings rather than Human Beings.

I know who I am when I’m doing this / that/ the other.....

To Be a Human Being transcends Human Doing.

Another way to ‘spend time’ could be to self reflect ; to resolve those inner conflicts which lead us to repeating patterns of behaviour which do not serve ourselves/others/the world ... well.

Why do I behave like this? Is it still relevant in my life?

This could be a time to reflect on ‘Who Am I’ rather than ‘What do I do’....

Full circle;

Human Doing is important. Human Being can bring a joyous focus and crystallise a way forward for Human Doing.

When we reflect deeply a Peak Experience can be encouraged. This is an experience which can be momentary .... a matter of minutes or seconds ... which can lead to a powerful lifetime transformation.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to use

Self Isolation


Self Connection.

A time to revisit who we are , revisit our dreams and see how we can manifest them.

May your time be fruitful and full of loving kindness.

I am writing a book and looking for people to complete a questionnaire as well as people to interview.

In the early part of the 2000's I investigated “What is loneliness and does it have meaning?”. It was such a fascinating topic that I turned it into Masters in 2007.

I have been continuing with my research and investigations into this rich experience. My research has shown that it can be a taboo subject, littered with fear and shame. Now, I want to break down those barriers in society to encourage facing this phenomenon with courage and to learn to grow from it.

Briefly, my Masters investigated the concepts of Lonely from Self, Lonely from Others and Lonely from the Universe. It looked at and went beyond circumstantial loneliness such as bereavement, changing location, ending a relationship and so on into the realms of an internal loneliness, emptiness, void, isolation regardless of what was happening in a persons life externally. It also looked at how loneliness has shaped people and how they relate to themselves within; how they relate / connect with others and how they relate to the Universe (God, Creator or how they define that or not). It looked at how a persons relationship with loneliness determined their thoughts, feelings, behaviours.... their life choices.

I interviewed many people. All names and specific demographic information which would identify people was removed unless they wanted their identity to be shown. This would be the same for the book.

The interview sessions will last approximately an hour with a prescribed set of questions. They will not be a therapy session. Questionnaires will be emailed to people and they can either return them via email or post them if they want to remain anonymous. This is explained in more detail on the form.

For those who would like to participate in the research without being interviewed. Please see the questionnaire under the tab 'Client Hub'.

If you would like to discuss further please message me.


This following is a series of writings inspired by questions that arise from clients and many others.

Personal Development

Personal Development or investment in Mental Health can be hard to explain sometimes. It can be viewed as a ‘luxury’… the last thing that somebody can justify spending money on. It’s not tangible. If there’s a water leak in your home, you call the plumber and it’s fixed. It’s understandable and you see the immediate results. You can tell people about it and they ‘get it’.

If a person is having personal challenges they may initially hope that the challenges will ‘go away’ or ‘time will heal’ whatever it is. They can believe they haven’t got the time, the space, or the resources to do anything about them. However, if the challenges continue and are not looked at, before the person knows it, they’re in a continuous downward spiral, not knowing which way is up. It could be repeat patterns of behaviour, a series of relationship breakdowns, problems at work, feeling ‘out of sorts’ and not knowing why, sadness, feeling lost, at a cross-roads and not know which way to turn….and…and…and…

That’s when investment in yourself is needed. Personal Development can be a rewarding and life changing experience. As I have mentioned elsewhere on this website, investment in yourself is a serious business. It’s about making fundamental changes in the way you think, feel, behave and live your life. Also, how you relate to others and the world.

Significant changes require hard work and commitment…and the rewards can be huge. Although the journey can be a struggle at times, this is often balanced with transformational insights, joy, happiness, laughter, self-empowerment and getting the life you want.


What are they?...

They’re the stuff of life…the time you start and finish work…that’s a boundary. The Terms and Conditions in any contract you sign…those are boundaries. The time you put your kids to bed is a boundary. The time you book a holiday… another boundary.

Those are a few of the more obvious external boundaries.

Then there are the internal boundaries. Simply put; thoughts, words, feelings, behaviour that we feel comfortable and uncomfortable with. How we think and feel about ourselves leads to how we treat ourselves and how we allow others to treat us. We give unconscious signals (signals which we are not aware of) all the time to others about ourselves. For example; if a person speaks to us rudely and we feel uncomfortable and have an internal dialogue which prevents us from saying something for example, ‘I can’t say anything because…(and there could be a multitude of reasons)’, this can give a signal to the other person that we accept their treatment of us. Now, that is not to say we are responsible for other people’s behaviour, we are not. As adults we are responsible for communicating in a clear and kind manner what is acceptable to us. Kind does not mean ‘apologetic’ – it means respectful to yourself and others.

When we soothe our internal world, we can listen to ourselves on a deeper level and find out what our boundaries are. We can contain that craving, that outburst, that ‘whatever it is’ and we can let our truth flow in a respectful way. The more we know ourselves, the more we know our boundaries, both internal and external, the more likely it is that we will get our wants and needs met as well as expand our lives.


I’m frequently asked why this is so important as people ‘run late’ or are very early– it’s part of life. This comes back to boundaries. It’s about respecting your own time and another’s. It’s about being in charge of your life, empowering yourself and how you use your time.

Reflect on how you use your time. When you’re booking that holiday how do you feel if you’re at the airport and your flight is delayed which means you get a shorter time at your destination? Or you’re delayed coming home which means you get stuck at the airport and that has a ‘knock-on’ effect when you get back. How do you feel if you’re waiting for someone to go to the theatre with and you miss the opening curtain because of lateness? If you've left enough time to get to your destination and it’s a ‘one-off’ due to the tube being stuck in the tunnel with no signal, that’s exceptional. If it’s a pattern, how do you relate to yourself and life? Frequently on the ‘backfoot’?

If you’re always very early are you anxious about upsetting someone? Do you trust yourself to be on-time? Do you trust in life? Do you trust others?

It’s about personal empowerment.

Being in charge of your life is all about personal empowerment which is different to trying to control yourself, others, or your environment. There is trust in yourself, the people you choose to be with and where you choose to go. Knowing yourself, so that when something unexpected happens you may wobble a little and then get back on track with ease.

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