Agony Aunt

Patricia Marie, MBACP qualified counsellor is a member of The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, practising in Harley Street, Essex and Scotland. She has many years experience of dealing with domestic violence, relationship problems, bereavement, depression, addictions, post traumatic stress and many other emotional issues. If you have a dilemma, please email

Prayers for Paris

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 20 November 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

I have been horrified at the catastrophe in Paris this weekend, particularly as my son is shortly due to fly out there in a few weeks on a work experience project.  I am scared witless that another atrocity could occur whilst he is there, although I do realise it is just as likely that such a barbaric act could be carried out in this country, particularly in London, where I live.

How is it possible for us all to go about our normal lives without being affected? I worry about journeys I need to make on the underground, and even about going to a well attended restaurant now!

I don't know how to put this tragedy aside in my mind.

Patricia Marie says...

The stark reality of the Paris attack has brought about an international outpouring of utter shock and grief, both for personal loss, the loss of others, and almost for our own safety.  The aftermath of events such as this can cause heightened anxiety, and we would be wise to place limitations on our exposure to the media reports, and do our best to continue our daily routines to install a sense of normality.

 Theresa May, the Home Secretary, reassured us by saying "Our law enforcement and intelligence agencies are working day and night to keep the people of this country safe and secure".  She added that those who attacked Paris "represent no one, and will fail to divide free countries such as Britain and France.  France grieves, but she does not grieve alone. People of all faiths, all nationalities and all backgrounds around the world are with you, and together we will defeat them."

 I cannot echo this bold sentiment enough, and hope you feel calmed and uplifted by this powerful, heartfelt message.

  Understandably, recent events have left you feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed.  Perhaps you could offer some positive advice to your son about keeping himself safe. Children of all ages look to their parents for guidance, so also remind him that these fanatics cannot stop any of us from living our lives. Reassuring him will make you feel more in control and help detract from your fears. 

Adults as well as children require a sense of community and belonging, to help us feel protected.  Don’t worry alone. Talk about your fears and concerns with your family and friends. It’s the love and support from our relationships which hold us safely in this world.

 Despite how devastating this act was, if we could all just try to put things into perspective, we would realise these tragedies do very rarely happen.   Finally and thankfully, take comfort in the fact that history has proven, good will always triumph over evil.

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