16 Days of Action to Stop Violence Against Women

Go Orange as part of the 16 Days of Action! From 25 November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – to 10 December, Human Rights Day – the 16 Days of Action against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to make a stand to end violence against women and girls around the world. 

For more information you can also visit:

UN Women: http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action/16-days-of-activism

What is Consent? https://www.disrespectnobody.co.uk/consent/what-is-consent/

16 Days of Action: http://16daysofaction.co.uk

Men can also show their support in many ways including taking part in White Ribbon Day on 25th November. For more information visit https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/shop/

Worldwide, 1 in 3 Women have experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. Source: http://interactive.unwomen.org/multimedia/infographic/violenceagainstwomen/en/index.html#intimate-3

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse, the National DA Helpline is 0808 2000 247

Women are rising, people are listening – so what happens next?

Authors note: This article contains information about sexual assault. 

With recent events unfolding in Hollywood, women are rising under the hashtag #MeToo and having their voices heard for the first time in a very long time.

The world is beginning to appreciate the sheer scale of sexism and misogyny in the 21st Century (which Laura Bates had already evidenced in her book ‘Everyday Sexism’).

Importantly, people – men and women – are listening to each other; what’s being said is literally changing lives, and creating a new platform for equality. 

It’s an amazing shift. I’ve written before that it’s a wonderful time to be alive as woman.  So what happens next? Is there potential to steward this movement, keep it alive and moving in the right direction?

The World will be saved by the Western Woman.  The Dalai Lama

Maybe it’s starts with continuing to hold space for each other.  I don’t just mean women; men are coming forward to talk about their own experiences of being abused, as well as supporting women who are sharing.   It presents an opportunity to unify so that we are all being heard and taking positive action to support each other’s equal human rights.

One clear message is to stay focused on those being held to account. When a perpetrator comes under the spotlight, there is a tendency to turn our attention towards the victims/survivors – who they were, and understanding what happened.  The #MeToo hashtag has seen overwhelming support of women who felt able to share their experiences of sexism, harassment and sexual assault.

But because of this, the pendulum can swing away from the perpetrators and on to the victims. This can happen negatively, with some judging women as if they were somehow to blame. Of course, that’s not true.

Here are some statistics you might already know:

Trigger warning ⚠️  Information about sexual assault:

• Approximately 88,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales every year. This is increasing ( ^ 19% on the previous year).

• That works out at about 11 rapes (of adults) every hour (or roughly every six minutes).

• The majority of women are raped by someone they know. Many in their own home. And on a regular basis by their partner.

• Rape is not about sexual gratification. It’s about control and humiliation.

• Only 15% of women who are raped will report it to police. Much of this is most likely due to society’s view that she somehow brought it on herself.

• A person who has been raped is NOT to blame. Ever. If we spoke to rapists the way we speak to women about “rape prevention” it would look like the (deliberately ironic) list of suggestions in the image below. What a woman wears or how much she has had to drink, is not an invitation to rape.

Information source: Home Office

Harvey Weinstein won’t always be in the news. But as long as information about sexual assault and harassment is currently in the spotlight, it’s important we keep our energy focused on the perpetrators taking responsibility for their actions, and on supporting the victims/survivors.

It’s also essential that we support any decision for victims to come forward, whilst respecting those who feel they can’t at this time.

If you or someone you know has been affected, you can search Sexual Assault Referral Centre to receive free and confidential information or contact agencies like Victim Support and Refuge. You don’t have to have reported it to the police to make contact with these services.

Keep the conversation going.

Copyright Delphi Ellis

Spiritual Activism : why love doesn’t mean you have to like someone

Someone I’ve known for a long time was recently accused of ‘preaching’ because he asked a community to remain calm, kind and peaceful during a spree of vandalism in the neighbourhood.d

No one was hurt during these incidents, and it transpired that young children were responsible. Despite their young age, several residents in the community said that, if the children were caught, neighbours would (and I quote) “break their legs” for the damage they caused.

My friend insisted the police should be notified of the vandalism, and called for measured action amongst the residents. He reminded them there was more to what happened than just kids running riot.  He maintained there must be a reason children would behave this way, and it was the cause that needed to be addressed, not just the actions.

He wasn’t saying the children’s actions shouldn’t be understood, and it’s important the children were spoken with appreciate why they did what they did.   But, he emphasised, “teaching them a lesson” could not – and would not – involve any form of abuse, and anyone suggesting violence as a solution would be reported.

Needless to say, my friend was surprised that his good intentions had been received so negatively. We wondered how a society would perceive his plight to protect the children from being “lynched” (their words) and interpreted his stance as a sign of weakness, interference and, as one woman put it, “silliness”. The residents  maintained they were right, and that my friend was wrong.

In the wake of the incidents in Charlottesville, and the powerful speech given by Susan Bro in the video below, I was reminded of our duty to challenge wrongful behaviour.  Bro is the mother of Heather Heyer who was murdered during those protests.  She appealed to us that we should explicitly call into question those who insist on creating a divide.

Is it possible to understand behaviour peacefully, and open dialogue with people whose actions and beliefs are directly opposite to our own values? Can we – and should we – truly love someone who causes hurt, or whose opinions are so far removed from our own; who won’t even contemplate that there is another point of view?

As part of my work, I raise awareness of issues which predominantly affect the mental health of women, including those escaping Domestic Abuse.  It’s a challenge for anyone – including me – to feel compassion for those who wilfully and often severely harm another.  As someone who also follows a Buddhist way of life, I have battled with the concept that I must show kindness to all, even those who behave so badly. Don’t I have to like everyone? As it turns out, no I don’t.

I was heartened  to read this article in Lions Roar about spiritual activism, which explains how love doesn’t mean you have to like someone.

In the article, both Sharon Salzberg and Revd. angel Kyodo williams recognise that we naturally resist the idea of loving someone, especially if they’re the cause of our pain.

The suggestion that we should show compassion to someone unkind may seem ridiculous under those circumstances, and it feels almost intuitive to fight that idea.

I’ve seen this resistance for myself. When I have tried to encourage a more compassionate and loving approach in others, when they only see the bad in people around them, I’ve been told I’m the one who is wrong. 

I’ve been told emphatically that power is what’s needed, and that the definition of power is to ‘show them who’s boss’.  I still maintain it’s not.

“Facing the reality of this suffering, we remember that peacefulness does not mean passiveness and non-attachment does not mean non-engagement.”  Lions Roar

Naturally, there is an aversion to loving someone when we really don’t agree with what they say, they have hurt us deeply, and we really don’t like them at all. And the article cited explains that’s absolutely fine.

What matters – and only if the time feels right – is to consider that a person who has caused pain didn’t reach that point without a lifetime of experiences.  This is not to excuse their hurtful behaviour (although many see it that way, or struggle with the concept), but to be free of our own suffering, we must acknowledge someone isn’t born to hurt – they’re taught. In the same way, we can consider the possibility that in order for us to be okay, we don’t have to forgive anyone if it doesn’t feel like it would help.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. ~ Nelson Mandela

For whatever reason, circumstances brought them to a place where they chose different, unhealthier, coping mechanisms and behaviours to your own. There is a cause to their negative behaviour which ultimately only they can address and be responsible for.

It doesn’t mean we endorse, support, collude, encourage, allow, or live alongside harmful behaviour.  A person must be held accountable for the poor, dangerous and devastating choices they make, and the consequences they have.  It also doesn’t suggest we make it our job to ‘fix’ the person we believe is ‘wrong’, or that we get to decide what their ‘punishment’ is. As Elizabeth Gilbert once quoted, we can love everyone but some we must love from a safe distance.

This is where spiritual activism comes in.

Spiritual activism is a commitment to safely educating – if we choose – about accountability, connection and empathy (amongst other things) through peaceful and compassionate actions, including dialogue.

That doesn’t mean it’s passive. It doesn’t mean it involves sitting back and letting the world implode. What it does mean is challenging harmful behaviour, whilst realising there is a much bigger picture. It’s about recognising that you don’t have to pick a side and then blindly stick to it.

Just as you can change your mind about how you vote, you can decide what causes or campaigns you support.  It’s not self-righteous judgement or “preaching” to encourage a peaceful world to live in for all of us. It’s not ‘negative’ to address someone’s hateful behaviour towards another human being, if you challenge it in a positive way with good intentions.  And that every action has a consequence.

“Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.”
~ Maya Angelou, poet and activist

It’s about treating the cause of a problem, rather than managing the symptoms, compassionately.

As Sharon Salzberg reminds us, “The Buddha told a king, “You should be just, you should be fair, and you should be generous.” But the king forgot to be generous and so people started going hungry and they started stealing. Then the Buddha said to the king, “The point is not to start making laws against theft. The point is to look at why people are hungry.”

So in the case of Charlottesville, Paris, Manchester, Barcelona, Syria and all the other places around the world where we have seen death and devastating destruction we, as compassionate humans, have to ask why these events keep happening, rather than just treat the symptoms they create.

In the case of my friend, he had a valid point.  It turned out that the children responsible for the recent vandalism were ‘acting out’ because their father was struggling with poor mental health and had turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism. He and the children are now being supported through various agencies.

There is nothing “silly” about reaching out to people in an effort to understand their pain, as long as we maintain healthy, safe boundaries and a compassionate approach to the solutions available. And, of course, those individuals must take responsibility for the damage they’ve caused.   In the case of children, leading by positive example and teaching them the value of empathy (how would they feel if, as an adult, someone damages their property?), is one place to start.  It makes forgiveness possible.

If someone behaves ‘badly’ we can find a way to articulate that without matching hate with hate, and starting the cycle of revenge. We can recognise the cause of their behaviour without making it our problem. If we want to offer help or be there during their recovery we can, but sometimes just showing someone there is another way can be useful.  Remember though, only they can transform and heal their life by wanting better for themselves and others.

What if we opened a meaningful and peaceful dialogue, where we choose being kind over being right, and our goal is a peaceful outcome for everyone.  As Waylon Lewis says, let’s disagree agreeably.

One person can change the world, by giving people hope, so if you want to change the world…step up when the times are the toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the down-trodden, and never, ever give up… if you do these things, the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a far better world than the one we have today, and what started here will indeed have changed the world for the better. ~ William H. McRaven


If you or someone you know may be – or thinks they are – in an abusive relationship, organisations like Refuge can help.  You can call their freephone helpline 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247. 

Copyright Delphi Ellis, updated 2021

Dreams and Sleep

Dreams have been described as “the window in to our soul”, but is there any value in exploring them? The short answer is most definitely “yes”.

Research shows that talking about a dream for approximately an hour “can result in “aha” moments for people”.  We also know that during the pandemic, according to the Lyon Neuroscience Centre, dream recall increased by up to 35%.

I have been fascinated by dreams all my life, and have worked professionally as a TV “Dream Expert” in the media.  As a therapist many of my clients have found it helpful to explore what their dreams and nightmares mean.

Available to Order on Amazon

Book Release

My new book – Answers in the Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal looks at not only why we might be awake at night and what can help, but explores how our dreams can provide insights in to what’s really on our mind.

It provides tips on interpreting your own dreams, as well as top tips for more refreshing sleep – even if you work shifts.

It’s now available to order on Amazon.  

© Copyright Delphi Ellis 2006 – 2021

Online Resources and Shop

Available on Amazon

Book Release!

My new book Answers in the Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal aims to join the dots between our sleep, dreams and our mental health; specifically, how grief shows up even if no one has died.

It explores some of the big myths of sleep, offers a Sleep Cycle Repair Kit including mindfulness activities and top tips on how to decode your own dreams. You can visit the dedicated website here or order on Amazon.

On this page, you can find out more information about the professional services I provide.

PLEASE NOTE: My counselling waiting list is currently at capacity and I am not taking any new clients at this time. For useful links to organisations that may be able to help, click here. Events – including workshops and classes – are running as normal, and available online (see below). For details of forthcoming events, click here.

My services offer an integrated, holistic and tailored approach to help you find your way forward, and positively maintain and manage your mental health.  (If you’d like to know more about me first, click here).

Digital Products

52 Weeks of Mindfulness” – a carefully crafted eGuide providing 52 suggested activities to bring more mindfulness in to every day life. Available in .pdf format. Price: £4.99.

Services include:

  • Workshops and Classes – including Mindfulness, Workplace Well-being, Mindful Leadership, Cultivating a Resilient Mindset, Mental Health Awareness, Sleep and Dreams, Stress and Anxiety Management, Peer Support, and Understanding Grief. Workshops can be tailored upon request from one hour to three hours. These are available online via Zoom. Teams and Google Meet; please ask for details.
  • Counselling – This approach may be helpful for anyone who wants help with depression, anxiety and stress management, or who has suffered a loss, bereavement or life changing experience. I work in an integrated, ‘person-centred’ way, which means I put clients at the heart of what I do, incorporating a number of different models and methods including CBT and Mindfulness. Prices start from £25; the first session (an initial consultation) is usually free. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, appointments are available via Zoom, or Google Meet. PLEASE NOTE: My counselling waiting list is currently at capacity and I am not taking any new clients at this time. For useful links to organisations that may be able to help, click here. Events – including workshops and classes – are running as normal, and available online (see below).
  • PR and Media appearances – for PR and media requests you can use the form below to get in touch. Click here to read about my TV and radio appearances.

Please note: Due to the number of requests I receive to interpret dreams free of charge, I’m unable to respond to each message individually. Please don’t use this form to request a dream interpretation.

Terms and conditions apply, see relevant pack for details.  Please note that packs can be withdrawn at any time, services are subject to availability.

© Copyright Delphi Ellis

Women’s Wisdom: Defining your Legacy

Your legacy is every life you’ve touched.” ~ Maya Angelou

When Oprah Winfrey built a school in Africa she believed this was her moment. In conversation with her good friend, Maya Angelou, Oprah told her this school was her legacy.

Maya replied “You have no idea what your legacy is”. Oprah replied shyly, “I know, I know…but I need to think of this as my legacy”, to which Maya responded warmly, “Your legacy is every life you’ve touched”.

As women, we are so busy that we lose contact with the impact we have on the world. Many of us have a calling, to be in service to others, without realising the positive difference we are already making to those around us; friends, colleagues and family.  Acts of kindness, gestures of generosity, and compassion towards those we see in need.

This week’s Women’s Wisdom is to recognise your achievements for being there for others. Reward yourself for the kindnesses you have shown, and spend time defining your legacy. What message are you leaving the world, and future generations, through your words and actions now? Be kind to yourself and consider all that you already do, to be there for others.

Watch Oprah tell the story where Maya revealed this insight.

Copyright Delphi Ellis

Women’s Wisdom – Look challenges in the eye 

An empowered woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink“. ~ Source unknown. 

We have learned to resist. 




We push it away.  We have no time for it. We find it hard to sit in discomfort. It’s not, well…natural to do that. So we push it down, instead of out. 
What that means is that it sits inside us. Instead of meeting it, confronting it, it festers. It gets uncomfortable. And that, creates more pain. 

Set the intention to look the challenge in the eye. Find a way to deal with it, find your voice, build your negotiation skills, and meet it head on. Ask for help, reach out to people who can meet you half way, seek assistance from those “in the know”. And when you do, remember then you’ll be ready for anything. 

Copyright Delphi Ellis

Authenticity: Giving Yourself Permission to Be Quiet in a Noisy World

At a recent TEDx conference, Abbie Hutty, an inspiring, self-confessed Space Geek (and engineer involved in the development of the Mars Rover), said the key to being an effective role model is having the confidence to be authentic. That confidence doesn’t mean putting on a show for the sake of it. And that when your confidence is a façade you can alienate the very people you want to inspire.    

She described how as an introvert, although she can stand on a stage in front of hundreds of people, that in order to inspire a future generation of engineers (who statistically are usually introverts) it wouldn’t be helpful – or authentic – to pretend she was naturally confident. 

In fact, she was terrified.  This, she said, is why it’s so important to be real when trying to engage like-minded people.  If you pretend to be something you’re not, you won’t attract people like you. 

Your vibe attracts your tribe. 

There is an overwhelming expectation these days that we should all be extroverts. Loud, full of energy, standing at the front, ready for anything. 

If that’s your default setting, that’s absolutely fine.  For those that aren’t naturally built that way – but there is an expectation to behave that way – it’s exhausting.  (And incidentally how noisy a person is, isn’t a measure of how confident they are). 

I came across the acceptance of introversion in a book by Susan Cain called Quiet. Her book recognises that introversion is just as valid as extroversion, and that for some people (about 50% of the population) sitting quietly, reading a book under a tree is preferable than going to a live concert attended by 10,000 people. And I get it. It’s no coincidence that a lot of the work I do (like Mindfulness) involves peace and quiet.

That doesn’t mean introverts don’t like people (they generally do) but it does mean they don’t want to mislead anyone – and shouldn’t have to – by pretending they are feeling, being or doing something they’re not. 

Abbie described how being ordinary is okay, that being real is what makes us authentic and that being perfect isn’t what helps us succeed. In fact, she argues that pushing the limits of these things is the very thing that pushes results – and people – away.  

It’s okay to be quiet. 

What does authenticity mean to you?

Copyright Delphi Ellis

Women’s Wisdom – Tuning in to What We Need and What We Know

Women know. They just know. And even when you think they don’t know: they know. 

If you follow me on my Helping You Sparkle™ website which promotes positive mental health, you’ll know I already post Monday Mojo – feel-good motivation for the week ahead.  Monday Mojo offers the opportunity for anyone to set a weekly intention which can help focus their attention on something that will help them move towards their goal, even if it’s taking time to rest.

Women’s Wisdom will provide quotes, thoughts or reminders that we can tune in to what we need and what we know – encouraging positive health and wellbeing for women.

Our illnesses are designed to stop us in our tracks, make us rest, and bring our attention back to the things that are really important and that give our lives meaning and joy…

Dr Christine Northrup

As women, we know what it’s like to try to be all things to all people. To try and keep going, whilst keeping everyone happy and wearing a smile.  But this approach can create conflict in the end, especially when we realise our own needs aren’t being met – and haven’t been for some time. It can also mean we lose our sense of self, e.g. who we are, what we want and what we enjoy, and become unsynchronised, if not forget, our innate wisdom which keeps us well.

These posts (and related services) will tackle issues which predominantly affect women’s mental health, as well as focusing on topics which can improve and enhance a sense of wellbeing – things like tuning in to different cycles which can influence how we feel.  The purpose: to enable an authentic sense of what it really means to be a woman, to feel worthy and well, with a right to be heard in a 21st century world that won’t slow down.

Join me on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe for weekly Women’s Wisdom direct to your inbox every Wednesday – positive messages for empathic, awakening women – to motivate and inspire.

#womenswisdom #womensworth #wonderwomen #womenshealth

Copyright Delphi Ellis

It’s Time to Change: why we need a new approach to Mental Health 

I have worked, in one form or another, as a mental health professional for 15 years, focusing on supporting people who want to understand and make a positive difference on the subject. 

I’ve worked with local and national charities, sat on area management committees, and attended service user councils which tried to decide the future of services based on the money they had available.  

I’ve delivered training on mental health and bereavement awareness to private and corporate clients. I’ve worked in telephone and face-to-face support with grieving clients bereaved by murder and suicide, and I’ve attended Coroner’s Court supporting those distraught and vulnerable people through a process no one ever chose to experience. 

I provide talking therapies and wellbeing training to clients, who have taken positive steps to improve their mental health. I’ve facilitated all-day training and micro-sessions to volunteers and large organisations who see the benefit of promoting mental health and wellness in the work place and community. Every one of those people saw the benefits of understanding themselves and other people’s mental health better.  

For some clients events often beyond their control, created terrifying, dark or seemingly unmanageable emotions, which may have led to choices that didn’t work for them, circumstances which escalated their problems, and in some cases drastic measures which finally enabled the help they needed.  

Everyone I have ever worked with therapeutically – without exception – is an important individual with a right to be heard.  In many cases, they were trying their absolute best to keep everyone else happy, whilst putting their own physical and mental health at the bottom of their own priority list.  

My clients just want help: to see the wood for the trees, to find hope of a better life, to get even an hour’s sleep, a moment’s peace, or a short period of respite from this noisy world that won’t slow down.  They don’t mind paying for it although for as long as they’re available I also signpost to free services, just so people know that free help is out there.  Currently. 

My clients could never be described as “selfish” or “scroungers”.  No one was looking for sympathy.  No one was a “nutter”.  And yet this seems to be the culture we’ve adopted around Mental Health. 

Insanity is not what you think it is. 

Insanity is living in a society which still treats people with poor mental health as outcasts. It’s the assumption that “it can’t happen to me” (it can), that everyone who has depression is a drug-addict (no that’s not true), and that everyone who tries to kill themselves is an attention-seeker (some people do believe that, but that’s absolutely not the case). Insanity is the belief that people with schizophrenia are dangerous, when statistically they are more likely to be a victim of crime.

Insanity is having to wait 3-6 months (if not longer) for professional help, when the person who has finally plucked up the courage to ask for it desperately needs it now. 

As Ruby Etc so beautiful drew in this image of the mental health support system, insanity is the fact that in this country you have to be the “correct amount of mad” to get help. If you’re not “mad enough”, there’s no support and if you’re “too mad” there’s nothing more they can do.  

Insanity is having to wait 3-6 months (if not longer) for professional help, when the person who has finally plucked up the courage to ask for it desperately needs it now.  

It is the fact that, according to the Mental Health Foundation, only 13% of people report living with high levels of mental health in the UK. That suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 45, and that 61 million prescriptions for anti-depressants were written in the UK last year. 

It is also the fact that the country’s mental health is deteriorating rapidly and yet vital services are being pulled away from clients who have no where else to go, due to “lack of funding”. Insanity is that for every £1 the government contributes towards Cancer Research (and which the public add another £2.75), only a third of a penny (yes, less than 1p) goes on mental health.

Charities are being forced to become businesses to ensure they can continue to help the very people they were established to support. They can’t rely on funding from government or local authorities anymore. As well as providing an essential service, they have to find money through incessant fundraising, apply for grants via lengthy bidding processes, attend “reassurance” meetings which measure “outcomes”, and then fight for it all again months later.  They even have to battle against each other for votes in competitions for tiny sums of money so they can keep helping. 

It’s exhausting. 

And more than anything else, it’s not working.

Service users are being lost in these processes.  

Whilst many charities aim to keep their clients at the heart of what they do, they are becoming bogged down in bureaucratic processes which take the focus away from the very reason they were established in the first place.  And the irony is, if these charities didn’t exist – in many cases with professionally trained volunteers providing core services by giving their time for free – the cost to the government to deliver these services with paid staff, would be astronomical and overwhelming. Where would they get the money from then?

The focus needs to change. 

There needs to be a shift in how services are funded – and measured – at both a national and local level.   Mental Health is not a start point and an end point – it is a continuum, a complex nature of movement with a myriad of changes based on any number of factors in any given day, month or year. 

And society’s view of mental health needs to change.  Charities like Mind, Rethink, the Mental Health Foundation, Heads Together, Time to Change, Calm Zone, Samaritans, Young Minds, Combat Stress, Cruse Bereavement Care and many more are working tirelessly to do just that. 

Can you help?  Here are some ideas:

1) Offering your time as a volunteer is a great way to raise awareness. I also encourage clients I’ve worked with to use their experiences to become a champion for Mental Health and keep the conversations going with friends and family. It’s ok to say. 

2) Raising awareness locally by holding an open day, coffee morning or event in aid of your chosen charity will ensure services can continue.  

3) And making sure, whichever way you vote, that the manifesto includes education and support for positive mental health. 

Thank you for reading. 

The views expressed are my own and not necessarily those of organisations I have worked with. 

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