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,
Two inquests are currently dominating the news – reminding us that traumas leave an unpredictable legacy. It is impossible to know exactly how people will be affected by a trauma – and it is impossible to know exactly when its effects might emerge.
In the case of the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005, the inquest highlighted resentments and misunderstandings between specialists – ambulance, police and firefighting staff all had expectations of each other that went unfulfilled, leaving them all feeling blamed for others’ shortcomings. And it made those specialists relive their experiences – bringing some to tears in the witness stand.
As for the death of barrister Mark Saunders, killed in a siege in May 2008, a specialist firearms police officer is accused of playing a game with the evidence he gave at the inquest in September 2009.
What both these situations show is that it is important not just to support people’s mental and emotional health years after they have experienced a trauma; it is also important to help them develop resilience before they experience a trauma including by recognising when they might be vulnerable to pressures and stress, how those vulnerabilities might emerge, and when and how to seek help.
While it might not have been possible to predict a random bombing, it is possible to predict that police, firefighters, paramedics and ambulance staff will face traumas of some sort – and that they will react differently to them. With specialists such as firearms officers, it is possible to predict that some will behave oddly before, during or after a trauma, perhaps as a way of managing their anxieties, the overwhelming nature of their responsibilities, or the difficult decisions they had to make while under pressure.
It is not for us to pass judgement on the way the people involved in these two high-profile cases behaved during their traumas or afterwards – or to imply whether they are innocent or guilty. What we can say is that the way they behaved is entirely predictable, in an unpredictable kind of way, and that organisations can help their staff face, manage and recover from a trauma – if they take professional advice including from mental health specialists.
05/11/2010 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Counselling, CBT,
Today is Stress Awareness Day and MIND (a leading mental health charity) has just released research showing that millions of people take sickies to cope with stress at work – and that they lie to their bosses about the reasons for those sickies. I suspect that most of us have been in this position at some stage during our working life.
Taking a day off might help to some degree – giving you a chance to wind down, or up, or both, whichever is right for you – but it doesn’t solve the problem for the long term. The same pressures will continue; it takes corporate, not individual, action to change the level of stress at work.
For many organisations, facing up to the fact that stress is an issue can be hugely counter-cultural and intimidating. It is often the case that the people creating stress for others are under stress themselves – and they can be as reluctant to be honest about this to their bosses, as their staff are about being honest to them. The merry-go-round of stress goes merrily round with people at every level unable to stop and get off.
It doesn’t have to be like this. While a certain degree of stress is good for each of us – it drives us on, inspires us, encourages achievement, helps us aim high – an unmanageable level of stress can adversely affect individual and corporate performance. At the very least, it increases the number of sickies we take.
More and more organisations realise that they need policies to manage stress in the workplace. Some policies might be relatively easy to introduce (reducing noise, for example) but others require greater corporate effort (training leaders to recognise stress in themselves and others, and how to minimise or overcome it). Getting outside help, including to formulate and implement those policies, is one way for business leaders to reduce their own stress (delegating is an important stress-reliever) as well as the stress their staff feel – so everyone can concentrate on their own, and the business’s, success.
How did you cope on Stress Awareness Day?
03/11/2010 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Counselling, CBT,
Therapy isn’t everyone’s first choice of treatment. For some, taking prescription medication is more attractive. Others try both. Interestingly, a recent American study showed that the most effective treatment was to … give people a choice.
In a study of 1,000 people, about half were allowed to choose from a talking therapy, drug treatment or both. The other half continued with the treatment recommended by their doctor. A year later, almost two thirds (64 per cent) of the people offered a choice recorded an improvement whereas less than half (45 per cent) of those who had followed their original treatment did so.
For those who had a choice, talking therapy came top – one in three (34 per cent) chose therapy only and more than half (57 per cent) opted for therapy and drug treatment together. Less than one in 10 (nine per cent) chose drug treatment on its own.
If we think you would benefit from prescribed medication we will, of course, suggest you talk to your GP. Meanwhile, the fact that we offer so many therapies means we offer our clients a choice. In many cases, we take this a step further and work holistically, recommending a blend of therapies so every client is offered the most suitable treatment for them in their situation.
Having a choice – being involved in the decision-making process – usually means clients are more engaged in their treatment which is more likely to prove successful.
07/07/2010 | Posted in Psychotherapy,
Counselling and psychotherapy are associated with traumatic events, but when someone thinks of examples of where it might be used they often think of dramatic happenings such as returning from war or witnessing a murder.
However, trauma can come from smaller incidents too. During a robbery at the Bookers Cash and Carry in Wrexham earlier this month, two members of staff on duty were threatened by the criminals. Although nobody was hurt during the ordeal, events such as this can be alarming for anybody. All staff members at the Felin Puleston Booker site have been offered counselling by the company. One patient from the site was taken to nearby Maelor Hospital with symptoms of shock. A Booker spokeswoman said:
"We take matters of security very seriously and are fully co-operating with the police who are now investigating the incident. No colleagues were hurt and all have been offered counselling."Psychotherapy and counselling are often used in matters such as this and the earlier the better. Sometimes clients do not even realise how they have been affected until months, or even years, later so it is better to be safe than sorry and take time out to examine how you might feel.
23/05/2009 | Posted in Counselling, Psychotherapy,
According to an article in the Express & Star, figures released to them under the Freedom of Information Act have shown that almost 1,000 police staff members in the West Midlands alone have had to take time off work citing stress as the cause in the last three years - with over half of these being front line officers.
Post-traumatic stress is something that perhaps we may expect our police force to suffer, given the things they have to see and do in their day-to-day work life. But other reasons given include depression and anxiety. The figures are from April 2006 to March 2009 and included 959 police force staff from the West Midlands police force, ranging from constables to operations centre offices and telephone operators. West Midlands police explained some of these absences were for external reasons, such as bereavement, and they have a counselling section to help staff.
A retired police superintendent John Mellor, aged 80, told the paper that counselling and psychotherapy didn’t happen in his day. He said:
“I understand that modern police officers like those in my day suffer from stress and it seems everything these days seems to be done to assist them. Back then when officers got sent to incidents such as murders or bad road accidents, which could be causes of stress, they didn’t seem to notice it.”As a nation, it seems we suffer from stress and related depression much more, perhaps because of the expectations of the society we live in and perhaps because of the publicity surrounding murders and bad road accidents we are more aware of the number. With therapies such as hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and psychotherapy, a greater awareness of our feelings and early intervention, we can use the tools therapists have nowadays to help combat our problems.
22/05/2009 | Posted in CBT, Counselling, Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy,
Whether or not psychotherapy and counselling can save a marriage from the brink of divorce is a question that many people tend to ask before making an appointment to see a therapist. According to one article in The Times earlier this month, the answer is yes.
The couple featured in the article were at the point of seeking a divorce. The wife had had an affair that she had ended and wanted to work through their problems but, naturally, mistrust had crept into the relationship. Over six weeks, the couple met with a therapist to discuss issues within their relationship, how to work out their problems and, 18 months later, the couple are happily together.
Asking for outside help can seem difficult for many couples and families, as you are involving a third party in what may be a private and emotional matter for each person. However, as this feature showed, sometimes counselling or psychotherapy can help to understand and survive something that may seem impossible to overcome. When it comes to the point of divorce, this is the make or break crunch point for a couple. If they really want to try to work things through, then there is often little to lose by trying counselling and, if it creates a stronger marriage, then surely it is worth the effort.
13/05/2009 | Posted in Counselling, Psychotherapy,
Most people have a fear of one thing or another. And a certain level of fear is perfectly healthy. However, when that fear starts to interfere with day-to-day life, or prevent someone from living a normal life, then that fear is generally known as a phobia.
Hypnotherapy is a very swift way of helping people manage their phobias - often in as little as just one session. And hypnotherapists see many people every week for a fear of one sort or another. The most common fear in the UK is of spiders (otherwise known as arachnophobia) but other common phobias include a fear of heights, needles, dogs or insects.
A few of the treatments available to cure phobias include counselling, hypnosis and psychotherapy. If you were to ask any therapist (whether psychotherapist, hypnotherapist or counsellor) most would say that they see more women than they do men. Is it possible that men are more embarrassed or afraid of being seen to be afraid that they are of their phobia? Or is it that men are less afraid of anything than women are?
Perhaps we will never know, but one thing is certain; phobias are nothing to be embarrassed about, whether you are man or woman. So, if there is a chance of curing a phobia in just one session and your phobia is impacting on your life, then you should make an appointment with a therapist.
09/05/2009 | Posted in Counselling, Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy,
In the area of counselling and psychotherapy, there are around a hundred different codes of practice and complaints procedures in the UK. In recent years, there have been many attempts at working towards a central process for handling complaints but this was derailed last year, effectively ending the final goal of a national register for therapists. The vast majority of psychotherapists are genuine, however, the one or two bad eggs receive much publicity in the media and naturally give cause for concern to many clients who need counselling or psychotherapy services. So it is important to make sure that you feel comfortable with your psychotherapist and know what to look for. Here are a few pointers to watch out for:
- your psychotherapist or counsellor should welcome any questions and answer them openly and honestly.
- you should feel safe and secure at all times.
- everything in your session should be absolutely private and confidential.
- a good therapist should never judge you. At no point should a psychotherapist or counsellor ever react negatively to you, only therapeutically.
- take into account the psychotherapist’s qualifications and feel free to check them with the examining body.
There are actually few psychotherapists or counsellors who abuse the system, but by following these pointers you should be able to feel confident about your choice of therapist.
30/04/2009 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Counselling,
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,
Under a new government plan, many people across the UK are to receive help to cope with the effects of the recession through psychotherapy and counselling. A new advice centre linked through doctors surgeries, NHS centres and the job centre is to refer people to qualified psychotherapists for help and treatment.
This move reportedly comes from the government's fear that many people will become mentally ill and therefore long term unemployable from too much worry and stress and therefore psychologically affected by the recession, putting a huge cost at the feet of the credit crunch.
Many people become depressed and anxious when they lose their job, and a new job is often the answer to this. However, the depression and anxiety itself can become a barrier to finding new employment.
At a time when two million people are out of work, psychotherapy could be the answer to helping people stay afloat and find their feet. Around six million adults are estimated to be suffering from depression or anxiety in the UK. Talking therapies, such as psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), are methods that encourage people to look at the solutions to their issues rather than examining the causes of the problems.
20/03/2009 | Posted in CBT, Psychotherapy,
In a recent article we talked about the research done at the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University. Researchers involved in the study concluded that around five hours of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) could cure insomnia for most people.
CBT used in this research is based on psychological interventions encouraging the sufferers of insomnia to break their cycle of worry to sleepless nights and return to their normal sleeping patterns. The CBT methods start with using basic notes on what can promote sleep, so helping the sufferers avoid things like taking short naps in the daytime because they felt tired and encouraging them to start waking and going to bed at the same each day and night.
The therapy also included changing the sufferer’s habits to avoid caffeine, exercise or eating close to bedtime and teaching the sufferer how to relax, such as focusing themselves at night to avoid going over their day to day worries and problems.
CBT is known as a talking therapy, much like counselling or psychotherapy, and many people can feel quite cynical about it. However, the results are difficult to deny. This study showed 70 per cent of sufferers benefited greatly, including those who had been on sleeping pills for 20 years or so.
09/03/2009 | Posted in CBT, Counselling, Psychotherapy,
Though many people worry that this question seems silly, it is a very common question from people considering treatments such as psychotherapy. If you were to speak to a counsellor, a psychotherapist or a hypnotherapist, they would all tell you that they often see people who do not know what the problem is.
A client might be a little depressed, upset or under the weather and be unable to pinpoint what is troubling them. But they know they are not happy with their life. A good therapist will be able to ask you questions, or use relaxation techniques such as hypnotherapy, to help you find the specifics yourself. If you are still concerned, try asking yourself the following questions before you visit a therapist for your first session:
- if you were briefly to describe your life, how would you describe it?
- how do these feelings affect your life and in particular, your home / work / social life?
- what thoughts stay with you? Occasionally, small niggles stay with us throughout our life and hold us back, preventing us from meeting our true potential.
- how long have you felt like this? Do you remember when it started and what was happening in your life at that time?
- what are you proud of in your life and what makes you feel good? This question is important as it is necessary to remember the positive aspects as well the negative.
By thinking about these questions first, it might help you and your therapist find the root of your issue more quickly - and give you something to start with. Whether you would prefer psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, CBT or any other treatment might depend on your preference - or you can seek advice on which would be best for you.
22/12/2008 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, CBT,
Couples therapy is usually viewed as being completely different from psychotherapy, because it is the relationship that is being focused upon, rather than the individual. However, the individuals within the couple cannot be overlooked. Psychology is often seen as a medical treatment, being used when somebody has a problem and so they are sick and need assistance. However, psychology should not be viewed purely as a medical system, because psychology deals with both problems and changes.
Couples counselling or couples therapy focuses on relationship troubles between two individuals, which inevitably involves both individual problems and relationship issues. For instance, when a couple argue constantly, then individually, they will be feeling anxious, depressed or angry, or a combination of these. This sort of behaviour can often be traced back to unconscious family issues. The process of couples counselling can a combination of counselling, psychology and mediation, making it particularly effective. With couples counselling, the therapist will help the couple pick out the problems in the relationship, help them to decide how they need to change and work towards making these changes. The therapist is helping the couple, and not either individual. Changes could include the interaction within the relationship, personal problems, communication, sharing responsibilities and choosing life goals.
25/10/2008 | Posted in Mediation, Psychotherapy,
Yesterday we wrote about the importance of the client’s role in therapy and their rapport with their therapist. This view is emphasised in a new book by Professor Mick Cooper, of the University of Strathclyde, called Essential Research Findings in Counselling and Psychotherapy: The Facts are Friendly. His work is also supported by a group of colleagues including Barry Duncan, a highly regarded American psychologist. In 2004, they stated that:
"clients, not therapists, make therapy work".
Professor Cooper’s advice to those who are considering visiting a therapist is summarised below:
- ask therapists for any thoughts about why you may be facing your difficulties and what they believe may be able to help you. If your own thoughts radically conflict, then you might find it difficult to establish a good rapport;
- consider a therapist to help you concentrate on your own strengths. For instance, if you believe you are good at understanding the reasons behind your own behaviour, then choose a therapist who can help you develop these skills rather than one who prefers to focus on emotions or on the behaviour itself;
- be sure that you work with a therapist who you like and who makes you feel respected. A good working relationship is an important factor in therapy, whether that is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or psychology.
After all, the best indicator of the outcome of your treatment is how much you can actively involve yourself and this is more likely with a good working relationship.
22/10/2008 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Counselling, CBT,
A new review of research, launched last week in Telford at the Annual Conference of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, challenges the idea that it is the therapist who plays the most important part in influencing treatment results. Professor Mick Cooper, from the University of Strathclyde, has written a book, Essential Research Findings in Counselling and Psychotherapy: The Facts are Friendly, which states that the most important factor is ... a motivated client.
Another indicator, according to Professor Cooper, is the relationship and rapport between the client and their therapist.
The government has recently committed £170 million over the next three years, in its Improving Access to Psychological Therapies initiative, which will be used on treatments including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Professor Cooper, of Strathclyde's Faculty of Education, said:
"Many clients will benefit from CBT but there is a danger in putting too much emphasis on the type of therapy that a therapist provides, rather than the therapist's ability to relate to his or her client in caring and understanding ways, and the needs and preferences of individual clients. Rather than moving towards a therapeutic 'monoculture', we need to be able to provide people with a range of therapies and therapists, so that they can choose the one that best suits them and build on their particular strengths".
21/10/2008 | Posted in CBT, Psychotherapy,
There are many people who dread this time of year. It is when people start to feel the effects of Season Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms include feeling depressed, hopeless, anxious, as though you have no energy, oversleeping, losing interest in otherwise favourite activities, weight gain and difficulty concentrating.
They only apply during the autumn and winter and tend to fade during warmer, sunny days.
A doctor can advise if your own symptoms are actually related to SAD and they might run tests to rule out other possibilities. However, there is no test to diagnose SAD.
For those who do suffer from SAD, the most effective treatment is an increased exposure to sunlight and many people purchase a light box, which imitates natural light. Another option that not everyone thinks of is psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT can help to pick out and change the thought processes that contribute to the symptoms. It is all about spotting negative thought processes and helping us to replace them with more positive thoughts.
SAD is a long-term illness. However, psychotherapy and CBT can often help sufferers to cope with it.
17/10/2008 | Posted in CBT, Psychotherapy,
IBS, otherwise known as irritable bowel syndrome, can cause serious problems for sufferers who want to get on with their daily life. It can give bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation or flatulence. Around 15 per cent of the UK population is affected, although only half tend to seek medical help.
As we accept more and more, the mind and body are intricately connected - and the gut even more so, as there are more nerve cells in our intestines than in our nervous system. IBS sufferers can testify that emotional upsets aggravate the condition and so learning to minimise stress can help them; emotional retraining can help to control it. Early studies from a small number of specialists have indicated that the mind-body approach is more effective than each singularly.
Psychotherapy and hypnotherapy have both been shown to contribute to controlling the condition and relieving the symptoms. In hypnotherapy, patients usually visualise their colon functioning properly. In cognitive behavioural therapy, or short term psychotherapy, patients can change their symptom-provoking thoughts, such as thinking that a certain situation will cause their symptoms to reappear or thinking that their colon will always cause them problems.
In a UK study of 204 patients, where over two thirds of patients were helped with hypnosis, 81 per cent maintained their improvements for up to six years afterwards. Stress reduction or relaxation techniques have proved just as helpful as avoiding certain foods.
05/09/2008 | Posted in CBT, Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy,
Earlier this month, there was much talk in the media about the government’s new proposals to regulate all talking therapies, including psychotherapy. This would not just be for NHS-funded therapies, but they propose to regulate every therapist in the UK. The government would like the Health Professionals Council to govern all therapies. Many professional bodies say it will be unworkable and are furious at the plans. The College of Psychoanalysts said:
“Under proposed new government guidelines, most forms of psychoanalysis could become illegal.”
As Lord Alderdice (the NHS psychiatrist who introduced the private member's bill for state regulation back in 2001) put it, any prescriptive code of skills or techniques is unlikely to be appropriate as the relationship between the 100,000 therapists in Britain and their clients is unique. Few therapists agree on anything, but one thing that is usually agreed upon is that one form of treatment is rarely correct and should be ‘imposed’. The reasons for looking into regulation are fair enough. Most therapists, including psychotherapists, take a complaint to their governing body seriously, however, many consumers are unsure of to whom they should complain if they have a query. It is certainly more difficult to regulate psychotherapy than other therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) where it is a quick therapy, easy to teach and easy to evaluate (you are either cured of a phobia or not). Psychotherapy is much more difficult to regulate. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy believes regulation in today’s society is essential.
“But,” says Philip Hodson, its chief spokesman, “we have been told that it will be regulated by the HPC and if that is the price of regulation then so be it. I understand the disquiet of therapists, but there are some who argue that there should never be regulation of talking therapists. It is as if we are some kind of super-profession, fit to be our own judge and jury.”
20/08/2008 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Psychoanalytical therapy, Counselling, CBT,
Depression is more common than you might think, however, it is also often misdiagnosed when people feel down or are going through a tough period in their lives. Here is a list of common depression symptoms. Many people do not experience them all but if you have a few of these it might be worth seeking some help. Depression does not always mean treatment through medication. Often, other therapies can also help, such as psychotherapy, CBT or hypnotherapy.
- Low mood almost all day, every day
- Loss of interest or enjoyment in activities you normally like
- Feeling weepy, bursting into tears uncontrollably
- Feeling guilty, worthless or useless a lot of the time
- Lack of motivation, even for the simple thing sin life
- Lack of concentration, even to watch tv, read or work
- Lack of sleep or waking up early and unable to get back to sleep
- Lack of energy, always tired
- Going off sex and affection
- Poor appetite resulting in weight loss
- Too much appetite resulting in weight gain
- Often irritable, restless and agitated
- Symptoms are generally worse in the mornings
- Physical symptoms such as more frequent headaches, chest pain or general aches
- Preoccupation with death or suicide, thinking about it a lot
18/07/2008 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, CBT,
An article in the Daily Mail last week talked about how using the wrong drugs could actually be causing depression rather than helping it. There has been some concern in the media recently that family doctors diagnose depression too easily - for example when we feel tired and find it hard to get out of bed in the morning.
According to a new book by Professor Jane Plant, a London University College scientist, called Beating Stress, Anxiety and Depression, many of the two million people in the UK who take antidepressants are actually misdiagnosed.
"A study by an American psychiatrist found that more than 10 per cent of patients diagnosed with mental illness are actually suffering from an underlying physical condition, such as a heart murmur or a mineral deficiency such as calcium or magnesium that causes depression-like symptoms," says Professor Plant.
Many believe that, within the NHS, there is too much emphasis on a one size fits all approach and feel that other methods should be taken into consideration, such as using alternatives where possible: counselling, psychotherapy and other forms of stress management.
For example, many people suffering from anxiety react well to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as this looks at their existing patterns of behaviours and triggers and trains them to react and think differently, so they can avoid anxiety at different situations. CBT is often combined with relaxation therapies, such as hypnotherapy, to make it even more effective. It's also a relatively quick therapy and there is no need for drugs.
However, even the alternative treatments should be considered for individual cases. For example, CBT would not be as helpful for someone with post-natal depression as this is considered a hormonal issue and is best treated by support, counselling or psychotherapy where needed. We live in a nation where we are sometimes too hasty to turn to drugs, our doctors are overworked and alternative treatments and therapies are often still overlooked by many.
16/06/2008 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Counselling, CBT,
Yesterday, one of the UK's top psychiatrists told the Belfast High Court that the families of the victims of the Omagh tragedy had received inappropriate treatment. This is week six of the trial and Dr Nicholas Cooling, a psychotherapist and psychiatrist of more than 25 years, suggested to the court that, had the right treatment been available, many of these families would have been able to move on.
Dr Cooling said that many of them suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and chronic depression and the counselling that they had received had not been beneficial. Dr Cooling recommended that therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy with psychotherapy would have been much better than the counselling they had received.
"Unfortunately the help available was not effective. None of these people had any effective psychotherapy intervention," he told the court.Psychotherapy can be extremely effective when dealing with deep issues, in particular where distress is being caused from past situations including traumas.
06/06/2008 | Posted in CBT, Psychotherapy,