Celebrity chef Anthony Worrall Thompson’s arrest, then caution, about shoplifting from his local Tesco has already increased levels of awareness about the complex reasons why people steal.
In his statement, posted on his website he says he will seek treatment and, in his candid interview with the Daily Express, he says he knows there is more to this than a simple act of petty theft. On one occasion, he says, he “paid £180 for three crates of champagne and at the same time nicked £4 of stuff. How ridiculous and how stupid.”
It isn’t ridiculous or stupid. Many people with mental health problems act in a way that puts at risk, or destroys, aspects of their lives that are well-established and seem to be going well: careers or businesses, personal or professional reputations, personal or professional relationships.
These acts of self-sabotage might seem to be trivial; they could be extreme. It doesn’t matter. As Anthony Worrall Thompson’s situation shows, a small theft can be as devastating as engaging in massive fraud. Nor is it important what those acts are: turning up drunk at work, getting into too much debt, missing deadlines, repeated absenteeism, having affairs, and so on. The common factor is that they jeopardise apparently stable and successful situations.
It is the catalysts that are important, the underlying reasons for taking the risk.
Anthony Worrall Thompson has said that he has tried hard to think about why he acted as he did but is unable to come up with a reason. He recognises that self-analysis isn’t working and he is already seeking professional help.
The first step of any form of therapeutic treatment is to find out more about the underlying reasons, asking what the client feels about his or her life in general – and, in particular, what he or she felt just before taking the risky act – to find out if there were any specific areas of insecurity or dissatisfaction that triggered the behaviour.
Shoplifting is rarely as simple as a desperate need to relieve poverty. Its cause is usually highly complex – which is why retailers and police are sensitive in their approach, at least at the first stage.
If you are struggling with self-sabotage and would like therapeutic help, do get in touch. We have therapy rooms in Twickenham, Middlesex, and central London and can be flexible on dates and times. Visit our website to learn more about how we work and the therapies we offer.
10/01/2012 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Counselling,
The massacre in Norway raises many points about mental health, bereavement, grief and trauma.
Let’s look first at Anders Behring Breivik whose actions resulted in 76 people being killed or, as we write this, unaccounted for. While it might have been legally judicious for his lawyer to label Breivik “insane”, using that word says more about prejudice than it does about understanding mental health.
When people retreat from the norm – behaving anti-socially, whether by withdrawing from others or behaving inhumanely towards themselves or others – it is often because they feel out of kilter with the world, or misunderstood by it, or because they cannot manage their emotions. This is not a defence of Breivik’s behavour (clearly extreme and exceptional) but it is an example of what can happen if mental illnesses are not recognised, diagnosed or treated.
While the majority of our clients are well-informed and self-aware, mental illness remains a taboo. Talking about mental health issues with partners, family, friends – or with colleagues at work – is not something everyone has the chance or inclination to do. Keeping concerns private does not often lead to extremes of behaviour – but it can cause significant shifts in behaviour or personality, turning people in on themselves. And that could lead to self-harm, eating disorders, mis-using drugs or alcohol, an over-reliance on smoking; it could cause anxiety, panic, stress, phobias, sleep issues. It can also affect behaviour and performance at work and relationships. Anyone feeling they do not fit in, that others are against them, or that they cannot cope deserves support and encouragement. Yet, as our human instinct is often to shy away from exposing what we think of as private weaknesses or inadequacies, support is often hard to seek.
The Norwegian tragedy also shows how others can be affected, directly or indirectly.
We’ve heard about the guilt that some survivors of the incident feel – that they escaped his attention or were just of out range so they lived but others didn’t. There is anger at the police – for taking what the public considered too long to respond to the incident, and for not having the right means to get their fast. Many who witnessed the incident were immediately traumatised and may remain affected by the trauma for some time. Some parents felt relief on learning their child was safe, but their relief was tinged with sadness at others’ loss. We saw the tearful response of the King and Queen of Norway at the memorial service, shocked and saddened by the individual deaths and by what was the country’s biggest loss of life since the second world war. And we noted the stunned expression on the Norwegian prime minister’s face as he took control of the incident, balancing his emotions with his responsibilities to set a lead for the country and protect its reputation as a tourist destination.
Paramedics who reached the scene described the people they found as traumatised. Those paramedics are likely to have built up resilience that helps them manage their reactions to traumatic incidents but they might need continuing support to maintain that resilience.
And we’ve experienced our own reactions, at a distance from the incident, trying to make sense of it from our perspectives, with many of us reliving grief at lives lost years ago or recently.
All of these reactions are normal – grief is a complex emotion even when a death or loss occurs naturally and is expected. Sometimes it takes an extreme act for people to notice the extent of their own or others’ mental distress – and to give themselves permission to seek help to overcome it.
If this traumatic incident has triggered difficult emotions, changed behaviours, or reopened issues you thought were under control, do get in touch with us for professional, therapeutic support. We offer a range of therapies including EMDR (recognised by NICE as particularly effective for recovering from trauma), CBT, hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and counselling - and often recommend a blend of therapies so each person receives the form of therapy that is best for them.
29/07/2011 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Psychodynamic therapy, Psychoanalytical therapy, Person-centred counselling, NLP, Integrative counselling, Hypnotherapy, Humanistic psychotherapy, Gestalt therapy, Existential counselling, EMDR, EFT, Counselling, CBT, Sensorimotor psychotherapy,
So, Tony Blair has published his memoirs and confessed that he fell into the habit of using alcohol to support him through the stresses of being prime minister. The revelation immediately generated a debate, among journalists and the public, about whether this was anything worth writing about – many of us think nothing of drinking a whisky or G&T followed by a couple of glasses (or half a bottle) of wine each evening.
As Mr Blair said, it was at the upper limit of what is considered appropriate but an interesting question is whether he underestimated his alcohol intake – just as many of us do when asked by our GP or in surveys.
The difficulty, in a nation where drinking is so much a part of our culture, is that it is very easy to kid ourselves that we can handle what we drink and that what we drink is not too much. I am not implying that Tony Blair was pulling the wool over our eyes or his own; he defined his alcohol intake as “not excessively excessive” and we have to take that at face value.
But what made his confession so interesting was that he recognised his drinking had become a prop. For many, this objectivity is not possible. We drink (or turn to drugs, eating, self-harm) to cover up, disguise or distract us from difficult emotions – without being aware that that is what we are doing.
The first stage on the road to recovery is to discover and unravel those feelings so we can learn how to manage and respond to them. And many of us need not a quick-fix prop but professional support to plan the best route for the journey through our complicated, 21st century lives.
03/09/2010 | Posted in Psychotherapy,
As news breaks of the death of another British soldier in Afghanistan, it is worth thinking not only of the impact of his death on his family, friends and colleagues but also of the long-term effects of the stress of combat on the troops who make it back home alive.
A recent report, published in The Lancet and summarised in Therapy Today, revealed that today’s troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq have a 22 per cent higher risk of alcohol mis-use than other servicemen and women. The greatest problems were among those serving in combat roles.
Alcohol mis-use is one of many potential effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Whilst the causes of PTSD among our forces are obvious, they are not always so in civilian life where it can be triggered by any event that causes psychological trauma – and that can vary from person to person. For some, it might be neglect, abuse, assault or witnessing a violent death such as suicide; for others, simply hearing about a traumatic event can lead to PTSD.
The good news is that several therapies have proved to be highly effective in treating PTSD including psychotherapy, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitising and Reprocessing).
If you know someone who appears to be mis-using alcohol, or other substances, be aware that it could be their way of coping with the emotional chaos of a traumatic event – and an expression of PTSD. The first step is to recognise that alcohol mis-use is a symptom – not a cause – and that it can be treated.
07/07/2010 | Posted in Psychotherapy, EMDR, CBT,
Alcoholism is a fast rising problem in the UK - as the culture of binge drinking seems not to be reducing, despite the government's efforts to tackle the problem.
Alcholics affect not only their own lives but also the lives of their friends, family and others around them. Factors contributing to the problem of alcoholism include a person's personality and character traits, suffering from depression and loneliness, shyness and also inheritance. People born to alcoholic parents are reportedly much more likely to suffer from alcoholism themselves than are adopted children. Being raised in a broken home and the early years, including teenage years, has a huge impact on whether or not a child is likely to suffer.
Psychotherapy is part of the government's plans to tackle depression and anxiety, and is also a method to help people cope and recover from alcoholism. Talking therapies, like CBT and psychotherapy, encourage the patient to look at how they can resolve their problem rather than how they came to suffer from it. Hypnotherapy has also proven successful in helping people to challenge and change their relationship with drink. In helping to understand and combat this rising issue, the profile of psychotherapy is being increased.
23/03/2009 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, CBT,
Queen of the catwalk, Agyness Deyn, has told the media that she is trying hypnotherapy in an effort to quit smoking for good. The 26 year old model, whose real name is Laura Hollins, has said that she is really determined to give up smoking because, as she put it:
"I feel like I'm playing mind games with nicotine. It's like being in a bad relationship."
It is always good to see stars and celebrities setting a good example for those who admire them, by quitting smoking and other bad habits, as the younger generation will follow the example they set.
Hypnotherapy is known to be particularly effective and has been made famous particularly by its success rate with smoking cessation. Just one or two sessions can be enough to help a lifelong smoker quit smoking forever without a backward glance. The only pre-requisite is for the client genuinely to want to quit their bad habit. Hypnosis can help with many other bad habits too, such as unhealthy eating habits, binge drinking, nail biting and many other issues. It is important to seek help from a qualified hypnotherapist who you feel comfortable with.
04/03/2009 | Posted in Hypnotherapy,
Phobias are quite commonplace and, indeed, they affect approximately one in 10 people. However, most people hide their phobia rather than seek help to recover from their fear. In a recent article in the Surrey Comet, one 25 year old student avoids alcohol and always leaves a party early, because she has had a fear of vomit since she was aged five. Thanks to this phobia, she also refuses to eat out in case of food poisoning and will not go anywhere where somebody might throw up, such as the local pub. She told the paper:
“I realised I had the phobia after an incident at school. A child was sick, and then another was. I started to panic and they took me outside. I didn’t understand why I was so frightened. But every time from then on I would panic. I started to hyperventilate and sweat. I would feel I had to get out. Now I try to avoid social situations where people might be sick. Even seeing it on screen at a cinema can make me feel very nervous.”
This phobia has had a real effect on her life. The nameless student is too embarrassed to tell boyfriends and relationships do not last long because she is so closed. This story might sound surprising and yet it is not uncommon. A vomit phobia is not that unusual although, for the sufferer, it can feel like they are the only person in the world with this condition.
Therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or hypnotherapy have been known to cure phobias even as extreme as this in just one or two sessions, although sometimes a little longer is required for severe cases.
24/01/2009 | Posted in Hypnotherapy, CBT,
Website ReallyWorried.com shows the UK Worry Index, the resulting index devised from a survey of over 1400 people. According to this index, the global financial crisis means that the cost of living is now at the top of this UK's worries. The survey showed people are worrying more about money than they are about their health and drinking more than the previous year too, possibly in an effort to cope with worry.
Resorting to alcohol can breed more problems and this could be made worse as the survey showed 38 per cent bottle up their feelings. Talking about problems or looking at ways to change our patterns of thinking can really help and counsellors are finding that the credit crunch has meant an increase in the number of patients seeking help and solace from the stress.
Parents also worry their kids may become a victim of bullying. Youths aged from 16 to 24 worry the most as one in six apparently worries for around 12 hours a day. The worst day is Monday and after midnight is the time we worry the most.
Earlier this month The Sun quoted Phillip Hodson, a spokesperson for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, as saying:
“It is alarming to realise from this research just how many people in Britain are chronic worriers. Worry is the central component of all anxiety disorders and most depression. Worry is the paralysing emotion that leaves us like rabbits trapped staring into the headlights. And it’s not only in the mind. The physical side of worry triggers a range of other symptoms from tics to indigestion and from obsessions to insomnia. “While it’s true that "born worriers" may never be cured, it is a darn sight more difficult to keep on worrying once you share your concerns with others who may already have found some good answers and who make you turn your fears into a realistic story with a beginning, a middle and, hopefully, a happy ending.”Counselling, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and hypnotherapy are great therapies to help cope with the stress and worry so it is unsurprising that therapists are seeing more people for help with their day to day lives.
15/01/2009 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Counselling, CBT,
The different uses for hypnotherapy seem to be expanding every year, and we seem constantly to discover new ways of using hypnosis. Hypnosis as an alternative therapy is still new and not entirely understood, even by those who use it every day, because it deals with our minds. Our minds have always been an enigma even to ourselves, we still know so little about our unconscious mind.
The exposure of hypnotherapy seems to be increasing even more this year, as celebrities such as Chris Martin, Nicole Richie, Lily Allen and more have been hitting the headlines with hypnosis this year. People have also seen it in use on Celebrity Fat Club and Paul McKenna has now moved to LA to promote work over there.
Many people may be intrigued by hypnosis, but still wonder what it can do for them so here is a short selection:
- get rid of old habits: things like smoking, nailbiting, overeating, drinking, blushing or any other habit that we want to stop. With hypnosis, there are no drugs or side effects, just positive results;
- phobias: this isn't just creepy crawlies but also fear of dogs, needles, flying, dentists, claustrophobia, agoraphobia, water and many more;
- develop new habits: hypnosis can help you instill new habits like increasing confidence, motivation and public speaking as well as healthy eating, studying, networking, talking, even romance!
- pain management: this is a media-grabbing one. Hypnosis can be used to help stop pain, but is almost too effective. It has even been used in surgery or childbirth as an alternative to anaesthesia. It is very important to seek medical advice before using hypnosis to remove pain as pain shouldn't be removed without ensuring if there is a physical problem that needs resolving first.
Another benefit of hypnosis is that you can use self-hypnosis to reinforce benefits yourself, ask your hypnotherapist to teach you.
12/08/2008 | Posted in Hypnotherapy,