The news that Wimbledon High School for Girls, one of the country’s top independent schools, is holding a Failure Week brings neatly into focus what many of us feel about failure. It has a knack of hanging around in our minds far more than do our successes. And many of us see failure only in negative terms
Yet, without failure as a comparison, how would we know what success was? And if we didn’t, as the school suggests we should, take calculated risks would we spend our lives wishing we had done differently, hearing that persistent internal refrain “if only” echoing in our ears?
Building resilience – which includes developing a way of managing our feelings about failure – is an essential life skill. Everyone is likely to face numerous setbacks and knocks in their personal and professional lives – in families, amongst friends or in business relationships – which affect not only those relationships but also their behaviour, self-esteem and confidence. Their feelings about failure might also cause anxiety, worry or depression; it might increase their fears; or lead to irritability, mood swings or insomnia.
What would happen, though, if you were to reframe failure, or setbacks, as feedback? You tried something; it didn’t go as hoped; the result was that you learned why it didn’t work – gaining valuable insights that can guide you towards approaching challenges differently. Looking at some simple examples:
- at school: not passing an exam also indicates what you are better at or that one way of revising is better than another;
- at home: not achieving everything on your weekend to-do list could be a sign that some things are unimportant and should rightfully be dropped;
- at work: not winning new business or losing a client provides a chance to identify strengths, show where training would reduce weaknesses, improve internal processes, or build dynamic teams.
As the headmistress of Wimbledon High School says, it is “acceptable, and completely normal, not to succeed at times in life”. She wants to encourage her pupils to be courageous and learn the positives that come from failures.
We agree. Many people define themselves by their perceived failures rather than viewing them simply as part of life’s learning or refining process. By actively encouraging people to see their failures differently, whether at school, at home or at work, they might be able to expand their capacity for growth and resilience instead of being limiting by the negatives.
If you would like to learn how to build resilience, through counselling or therapy, so you can face failure from a different viewpoint, do get in touch.
08/02/2012 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Counselling, CBT,
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,
To many people, the term “counselling” is a catch-all phrase, a generality that encompasses all the talking therapies without singling out any one form of therapy. This is not necessarily wrong – but counselling is also a talking therapy in its own right.
Many people have innate counselling skills – good friends, for example, who have a knack for listening to what you are saying, posing questions about what you have said and giving you a chance to consider your own thoughts. And so it is with a professionally-trained counsellor, with the essential element of being dispassionate, standing apart from what you are saying and posing more-searching questions without fear of risking a friendship or damaging a long-standing relationship.
A trained counsellor will also not give advice – many friends can’t resist doing so – although a professional counsellor is likely to suggest courses of action for you to consider and might also recommend exercises for you to do between sessions. Professional counsellors will also guarantee you time in private – so you can speak openly – as well as confidentiality – there is no chance of gossip between friends. The structure of formal sessions with a professional is also more beneficial than ad-hoc chats.
For many therapists, straightforward counselling is one of the first therapies they study. They then go on, as have our therapists, to study other forms of counselling, expanding their skills to provide a broader range of services. In our case, we offer a blend of therapies to suit each client, always first discussing options with the client before agreeing an approach.
This holistic approach is called integrative counselling.
Counselling helps people deal with and overcome challenging emotional experiences such as depression, relationship difficulties, redundancy, bereavement, low self-esteem, eating disorders, the rollercoaster that is parenthood, stress – anything that affects your emotional well-being.
In addition to counselling, the therapies we provide at our London therapy rooms are: cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR), emotional freedom technique (EFT), existential counselling, Gestalt therapy, humanistic psychotherapy, hypno-birthing, hypnotherapy, integrative counselling, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), person-centred counselling, psychotherapy, psychoanalytical therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and sensorimotor psychotherapy.
There is more information about each of these therapies on the What we do section of our website.
If you would like to explore whether counselling for depression, or any other emotionally challenging issue, would be right for you – and which form of counselling is likely to have the greatest effect, do get in touch. We provide counselling in London in two locations : Twickenham and central London (on Oxford Street).
16/05/2011 | Posted in Counselling,
With employment news hitting the headlines again it is appropriate to reflect on how people are affected when their jobs are at risk or when relationships – usually between those in charge and those who work for them – break down.
- Today, the army has told 38 people their jobs will end in 12
months’ time – and it has done so by email. The army’s assistant general chief
of staff and the government have apologised for the unacceptable way in which
they broke the news to the long-serving soldiers.
- This week, the RAF announced that about 50 of its trainee
pilots could face redundancy and that it will not take any new students next
year, ending the careers of people whose hopes seemed built on strong
foundations, and disappointing others who had seen a positive future.
- Throughout this month, widespread media coverage has been
given to the fact that the future of our libraries is at risk, potentially
putting thousands of librarians out of work.
- And, again this month, the long-running dispute at British
Airways filled more column inches when its recent ballot was declared unlawful,
creating more uncertainties for cabin crew whose jobs are under threat.
These high profile cases have attracted sympathy from the public; there is a collective understanding of the disappointment, frustrations and irritations those affected must feel. But, for most people whose jobs are unsatisfactory or at risk, or whose relationships at work have deteriorated, there is no guarantee of understanding from anyone; their bosses, colleagues, family, friends might be too preoccupied by their own work or home lives to provide support.
At work, the highs and lows reverse: when morale dips and motivation wanes, production falls and absenteeism rises. Diffidence increases, tensions heighten, commitment slumps. Managers might not be equipped to manage these new situations or ask for help; respect for them dissipates; their achievements come under closer scrutiny – they, too, struggle to keep up the pace.
The private lives of the people whose jobs are at risk might also fall apart creating tensions, conflict, stress, a withdrawal from normal life and perhaps a drift into risky behaviour.
Professional advice – coaching, counselling, mentoring, mediation, training – can help individuals, individually or in teams, by building confidence, inspiring people, reducing conflict. It can also create a business shift – providing strategic advice on workplace policies, building skills for handling difficult situations or people, devising policies and practices that engender focus, build confidence, strengthen leadership and reshape the corporate culture.
In all four examples highlighted above, professional support and advice could create huge positive shifts for the people - and for the organisations - involved.
15/02/2011 | Posted in Mediation, Counselling,
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,
The world is in awe of the way in which the Chilean government, the mining company, the miners and their families (and, for that matter, the world’s media) have handled this staggeringly unusual crisis. It would be wrong to be complacent while the rescue operation continues but it would be wrong, also, to focus only on the miners' release and the immediate aftermath. The miners who are already above ground are now in medical care; checking their physical health is a priority of course.
So is managing their mental health and the Chilean government has already said it will do all it can to support the miners for the long term which must include understanding and treating their psychological reactions.
What about others? Everyone closely involved in the operation could be affected by this internationally-followed crisis – the rescuers who travel down the mine to assess the health and welfare of the miners before they are transported above ground; the people deciding who should be rescued first, last and in between; the people who built and tested the rescue pod or who created and lined the shaft; the families waiting, uncertain whether the crisis would end in tragedy or joy; wives, partners, mistresses (as reported by the media), children, parents who find their husband, lover, father, child has changed having lived for so long with uncertainty, underground; the head of the mining company; the media observing it all; even the president of Chile. All could be affected by this incident, and in unpredictable ways – or not affected at all and be accused of callousness or indifference. That’s the effect of trauma.
Even the word trauma conjures up dramatic incidents, but a trauma cannot be measured on any scale other than the one by which the person affected measures it. Something others perceive as trivial or inconsequential could have a massive impact for the person experiencing it. No one else should be your judge and jury; if you feel you have experienced a trauma, you’ve experienced a trauma. And that means you could be struggling with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The effect of trauma can come and go, be ever-present, last for life, or disappear soon after it emerged. The good news is that much more is known, now, about PTSD and the way it can be treated. One particularly effective treatment, recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), is EMDR (to continue with the acronyms – this one stands for eye movement desensitisation reprocessing). The effect of EMDR is thought to be similar to REM sleep, during which the brain makes sense of the day’s events, reprocessing the memory and releasing problem emotions and associations.
EMDR could help the Chilean miners and others associated with them, just as it could help anyone who has experienced a trauma, whether the cause of the trauma was obviously dramatic to a wide-eyed world or invisible to everyone but you. The point is to seek help, not suffer in silence believing you ought not to be affected.
13/10/2010 | Posted in EMDR,
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,
Recent studies have revealed that between one in six and one in three people in the UK consults their GP about what turns out to be medically unexplained symptoms – symptoms that are either not related to an illness or are unusually exaggerated for that illness. The majority of those symptoms has a psychological foundation, though the cause can often be missed.
Take, for example, the case of a woman (let’s call her Sarah) who comforted her aunt through her last days and was with her when she died. Several months later, Sarah began to feel out of sorts. She slept badly, largely because she repeatedly woke to find her left arm a leaden weight, cold and without feeling but causing pain including inside her chest. Worried, she imagined this was a sign of a heart problem and booked an appointment with her GP.
Tests showed no signs of a heart condition but a few questions revealed that Sarah had been unexpectedly affected by her aunt’s death – and she recalled that her aunt had died, from lung cancer, while lying on her left side with Sarah holding her left hand. The GP was reluctant to prescribe sleeping pills – sleeplessness was not the symptom that needed treatment. Instead, he referred Sarah to a psychotherapist where she talked through her aunt’s death and other stresses; the symptoms ceased.
Medically unexplained symptoms can affect all parts of the body and in various ways. About a third of them are musculoskeletal (including but not only back pain), roughly a fifth are abdominal (such as digestive problems), a smaller proportion has ear, nose or throat problems, others experience fatigue, dizziness or simply don’t feel right. Some symptoms can be extreme, such as paralysis or blindness; others are less severe.
Common experiences include people with depression who feel pain more intensely and people with asthma whose asthmatic attacks increase when they are under stress – but there are no hard and fast rules; symptoms and their severity vary from person to person.
We don’t know how the mind, brain or body turns the psychological into the physical; the fact is that it does – and we’ve known this for millennia. The solution is to consider whether the symptoms might be triggered by an underlying emotional cause and, if so, to seek psychological support. [Source: Therapy Today]
01/09/2010 | 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,
Despite the way hypnosis is often portrayed in the media, on films and television, hypnotherapy is a real tool to help people overcome real issues in everyday life - issues such as weight loss, overcoming phobias and quitting bad habits like smoking and nail biting.
Hypnotherapy is also particularly useful for healing. In no way is it suggested that hypnotherapy should be used instead of conventional medicine and treatments, but it is a valuable alternative treatment that can work alongside conventional medicine. And it is now available on the NHS.
Hypnotherapy can be used to overcome emotional problems and mental blocks. It is often said that laughter is the best medicine and that being stressed does not help anybody. Using hypnosis simply as a relaxation and visualisation tool helps to relieve stress and that can allow conventional medicine and treatment to work twice as effectively.
Contrary to popular opinion, people do experience the feeling of hypnosis; they don’t black out or forget everything that was said. It is relaxing and helps the unconscious part of a person to work in coordination with the conscious part and stop us battling with ourselves. In this way, hypnosis allows the healing process to take place.
27/05/2009 | Posted in Hypnotherapy,
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,
The singer and actress Mandy Moore was reportedly so nervous when she released her new album, Amanda Leigh, that she decided to seek help from a hypnotherapist to help overcome the mental tension she was feeling. Last weekend on Sunday 26th April, Mandy Moore also held a special concert in Los Angeles for 300 fans to mark the release of the album. Before taking to the stage, Mandy underwent hypnosis to overcome her nerves.
Stress management is something that we all have to cope with in some way or another, whether it is through stress of special occasions like Mandy, family problems, issues at work or with finances or anything else. Hypnosis can help people to take time out and relax.
If stress management is something you feel you might need help with every now and then, a good hypnotherapist will be able to teach you some self-hypnosis techniques to help you relax and manage your stress yourself. We don’t all release new albums and have to take to the stage like Mandy Moore, but our modern day lives means we all have our own levels of stress to cope with.
01/05/2009 | Posted in Hypnotherapy,
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,
Many people have become much more interested in the idea of using hypnotherapy for weight loss after the media and hype surrounding Lily Allen’s recent weight loss using a hypnotherapist. The singer dropped two dress sizes and said that thanks to hypnotherapy she had found all the motivation she needed to get to the gym, enjoy her workouts and avoid the foods that had previously been her downfall. So can hypnosis really work to help people lose weight and how?
Hypnosis works in many instances for weight loss because losing weight is not just about stopping eating. Many who suffer from being overweight are overeating for emotional reasons. For example, many eat because they feel stressed, have low self-esteem or use it as a coping mechanism. Hypnotherapists help people to replace these negative thoughts and negative cycles with healthier ones, which help us to make healthier food choices. New, positive processes are established that reinforce feeling good about oneself, such as going to the gym or coping in other ways - taking a long bath or reading a good book. In this way, people lose weight not because the hypnosis did anything to them physically, but it stopped the emotional need to overeat.
24/02/2009 | Posted in Hypnotherapy,
Many people are suffering from stress, feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. It is possible that these feelings are being felt more profoundly because of the current economic crisis. When we feel this way, it is possible to feel that life is passing us by.
Self-esteem is part of feeling self-confident and, when we lack in self-esteem or self-confidence, it can be hard to look for ways to help without thinking of years of drugs or psychotherapy. Hypnosis offers one alternative to these solutions.
Hypnotherapy has long been associated with helping people to increase their self-confidence, and consequently their self-esteem. Relaxing with hypnosis can help us get away from our day-to-day troubles and help with stress management. Hypnotherapy is notorious for being a quick therapy, partly because the hypnotherapist helps the client to change the way they think or feel themselves. The results all come from the client; the hypnotherapist simply helps them to find their own way.
When stress management becomes an issue, or someone is suffering from low self-esteem or a lack of confidence, there is no reason why just one or two sessions of hypnotherapy cannot help a person to turn their life around.
10/02/2009 | Posted in Hypnotherapy,
Psoriasis is a stress-related problem. For many people it means red, scaly skin that can bleed easily. This skin condition is often found in the knee, elbows, back and trunk areas of the body and the toe and fingernails are often prone to pitting. It can affect almost anyone. The cause is unknown but it is thought that genetics do play a role; sufferers of arthritis are also often prone to getting it.
The problem varies wildly in its severity from one person to another and, in very rare cases, can be life threatening if huge areas of skin are open to infection. For some sufferers, other factors aside from stress are known to make the condition worse such as injury, cold weather and a low immune system. Where stress is a large factor, regular hypnotherapy can reduce the stress levels. Hypnotherapists will also often teach self-hypnosis so the patient can practice regularly at home for themselves.
04/02/2009 | Posted in Hypnotherapy,
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,
To understand how hypnosis and hypnotherapy can help people with physical issues or problems it is important first to consider how our emotions affect us. Every single person on this planet experiences emotions and has what is called a mind-body connection. Emotions come from our brain and our brain is active in creating our emotions. If the brain is working and active, then so is our nervous system so, when you feel an emotion, the nervous system is affected in some way. It follows, therefore, that the rest of your physical body is also affected as the nervous system controls our body.
Some emotions, like laughter and joy, have a positive effect on our body. Others, like jealousy and anger, have a negative effect. These emotions can positively and negatively affect our immune system and other aspects of our physical health. Think about when you get stressed; how does your body react? Some people experience skin problems like acne, others experience a tension in the neck or back - these are physical reactions to an emotion. Although the body is quite resilient, it can only take so much.
As hypnotherapy works on the subconscious level and on our emotions, it can help to negate the negative effects of our emotions on the body and help us with physical problems caused, or exacerbated by, our mind and emotions. A hypnotherapist simply helps you to help yourself.
12/12/2008 | Posted in Hypnotherapy,
For many women, the menopause is a particularly difficult phase of life. Some turn to hypnotherapy to relieve symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, hot flushes, stress and more.
It works because hypnosis helps people put mind over matter. Because the mind is capable of telling the body how it should and should not feel, it can help alleviate symptoms.
For example, in the case of hot flushes, oestrogen has been proven to play a part in setting the temperature of the body in the brain. So, when oestrogen levels are low, the brain believes the body is getting hot and starts to cool the body down through sweating and releasing that heat. As hot flushes are just a small malfunction in the brain, hypnosis can help train the mind to influence the body to cool down the hot flush.
As reported recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, a group of 51 women took part in a trial. For the 26 (half the group) who received hypnotherapy, they had a 68 per cent decrease in hot flushes and most of them also foundthey had fewer uncomfortable side effects f(such as loss of sleep and difficulties in social interaction). The study's lead investigator, Gary Elkins, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor, said:
"This study validates that this type of treatment is effective in decreasing hot flushes. There is a real need to study emerging mind-body interactions to treating these ailments because many times, medications are not an option".
After the success of this research, the researchers now intend to recruit 190 post-menopausal women to take part in a five year study so that they can analyse the physiological response to hypnosis.
23/11/2008 | Posted in Hypnotherapy,
Every pregnant woman wants a comfortable birth, swift recovery and a healthy baby - and many consider hypno-birthing. Here are the main ways that hypno-birthing can help with childbirth:
- relaxation – hypnotherapy will help the woman to relax and this gives greater bloodflow to the womb which helps birth.
- overcome fear – pregnant women hear a lot of horror stories about what can happen and this can cause increasing anxiety. Fear can really change a birth as it causes tension, restricts blood flow and hence increases pain; so hypnosis can help a woman to stop being so fearful and have a more natural birth.
- relaxes the baby – if mum is relaxed so is baby; on the other side of the coin, a tense mother releases adrenalin and hormones into her blood stream which distresses the baby - and, if the baby is distressed, medical staff are more likely to intervene.
- postnatal recovery – if mum is relaxed and blood flow is increased, then the blood flow will help tissue recovery and give a good milk supply; stress is known to restrict milk production so a mother who has had hypnotherapy has a headstart.
Hypno-birthing is becoming more popular with women having weekly sessions leading up to the birth.
06/11/2008 | Posted in Hypnotherapy, Hypno-birthing,
Everywhere we look at the moment, people are feeling the strain of everyday life. It might be family troubles, pressures at work or something completely different. But more and more therapists are seeing clients for anxiety or stress-related problems.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and hypnotherapy are both useful when it comes to handling stress. But here are a few tips to help you handle stress:
- a healthy lifestyle: there are not many of us who really have the time to fit in hours of exercise every week, but to adopt a healthier lifestyle means making small changes to our diet and our exercise levels, as well as getting enough sleep. This helps our bodies to cope with stress.
- avoid taking on any more: if you are feeling anxious or stressed, try to avoid taking on any more. All of us wish to please and do not want to let anyone down. However, this can only add to your stress so learn to say no without offending or upsetting anyone.
- take time out: it is important to find a little time to relax, even if it is only 10 minutes to chill with a cup of hot tea and a magazine. If you can, find time to meet up with friends for a cuppa; having a break will mean you are more productive afterwards and make you feel better. Laughing also helps boost your immune system, helping you cope with stress and anxiety
These are just a few general tips to help you. A therapist will be able to help you spot recurring patterns of behaviour and responses, helping you to prioritise things, look at your situation from a different point of view and learn how to cope.
27/10/2008 | Posted in Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, CBT,
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, has helped many people since its introduction to the public. The cognitive part means changing thinking patterns that have been supporting the person’s fears and the behavioural part helps people to react differently to anxiety-provoking or problematic situations. CBT helps people to confront the problem situation and to desensitise themselves so that they are no longer anxious.
For example, CBT can help those with a social phobia understand that they can get past their belief that others are judging or watching them. Those with a fear of germs or dirt are encouraged to get their hands dirty and wait a little while before washing them. The waiting period is gradually increased. Once they have done this a few times, the anxiety reduces. It can also help with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by asking the client to recall their traumatic memory in a safe environment, reducing the fear it brings. CBT therapists also teach relaxation methods and relieve anxiety. Often, it can take some time for a person to feel relaxed enough to encounter the situation or object and they may have to begin firstly through only tapes or pictures. To be effective, CBT must be tailored to the individual’s needs. It is drug free, there are no side effects and therapy often lasts about 12 weeks.
23/09/2008 | Posted in CBT,
As regular readers will know, hypnotherapy is a powerful tool using hypnosis for therapeutic purposes. But many people still associate hypnotherapy with stopping smoking and curing fears and that is it.
Hypnotherapy can be used for so many different things that the list is almost endless and hypnotherapists are finding new uses for it all the time. It can be used for almost any problem or situation where the body and the mind both come into play. Here are just a few of the issues that hypnotherapy has been used to help:
- sports – improving performance, anxiety, coaching, overcoming concentration problem, increasing focus, motivation;
- business – stress management, assertiveness, motivation and direction, problem solving and communication, public speaking, confidence;
- education – increasing concentration and focus, improving memory, exam nerves, study techniques;
- personal – increasing confidence or self-esteem, curing phobias and fears (whether of spiders, flying, heights, thunderstorms), anxiety and depression, insomnia, habits, addictions and other unwanted behaviour (nail biting, bedwetting, smoking, alcohol, drugs), sexual or relationship issues, eating disorders, shyness and blushing, pain management;
- health - chronic pain, hypno-birthing, IBS, snoring, dermatitis, asthma, nausea from pregnancy or chemotherapy.
Hypnotherapy promotes better health, well being and better life. For years, it was helped thousands of people in their every day lives.
22/09/2008 | Posted in Hypno-birthing,
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,
There are numerous benefits to learning how to relax in our modern world, constantly exposed to noise from mobile phones, television, computers and radio. Relaxation is not just about watching television, having some me-time, relaxing in the bath or going out for tea. it is about quietening our mind’s chatter and really feeling the silence for a short while. Hypnotherapy can help us relax, when the rest of our world is driving us on, bringing us long-term and short-term benefits:
- people who have lots to do in a single day usually find they are more laidback and can handle life easily and better than they had done.
- stepping back and taking some real time out for yourself allows you to de-stress; without such a high level of stress, life feels happier and healthier.
- hypnotherapy helps people to slow down generally and enjoy their life more, whilst still doing everything they used to; as a result life can become much easier and simpler.
17/08/2008 | Posted in Hypnotherapy,
Many business people recognise stress as their top complaint. But they do not necessarily realise how much stress can contribute to health problems until it is too late.
Although stress starts at work, it affects home life and other areas quite quickly. For example, it can interrupt normal sleeping patterns, cause weight loss or gain, and cause a lack of concentration. This can cause issues at home for the person's partner, children, family and friends.
Hypnotherapy is often used to relieve stress and many companies have seen success by incorporating hypnotherapy into their employees' routines and corporate benefits. Hypnosis helps, not just by relieving the stress but also by teaching the patient's mind how to deal with stress.
The physical problems we feel from stress are caused by a reaction in our mind. Sometimes a patient will have no conscious or concrete idea of why they are stressed. So the hypnotherapist can work with them on an unconscious level to help discover the reasons and how best to deal with them. It is not only a case of learning how to deal with new stress but also how to release the old stress of the past. Hypnotherapy can help people to do that.
06/08/2008 | Posted in Hypnotherapy,
Star of BBC's What Not To Wear programme, Lisa Butcher, started writing a new column in The Sun from July. In the column, Lisa talks about how she used cognitive hypnotherapy to help to boost her confidence when she first started working in front of the camera. Lisa said:
"When I started work on What Not To Wear at the BBC, the clothes I wore were important, but that was not enough to give me the confidence I needed. I discovered a solution in cognitive hypnotherapy/ neuro-linguistic programming... I went to two sessions and that was enough to build up my strengths and deal with my anxieties."Hypnotherapy is generally acknowledged as being more effective when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. As Lisa discovered, it is very effective and results can be achieved in very few sessions. Hypnotherapy is ideal for use with anxiety, confidence, stress or relaxation issues, insomnia, and many fears and phobias. As we have talked about in our earlier articles, many hypnotherapists offer a free consultation to give clients the opportunity to ask any questions they may have prior to a session.
01/08/2008 | Posted in NLP, Hypnotherapy, CBT,
Earlier this month, country music star Adam Harvey had his fans on the edge of their seats during his Australian tour. He and his support act, Catherine Britt, performed an unforgettable show in Melbourne, leaving everybody wanting more. Harvey took the centre stage, entertaining his audience from the moment he started singing, with the whole theatre singing and dancing along with him. Both singers joined together to perform the finale songs, ending the show on a high.
Afterwards, in an interview with the Star newspaper, many were surprised to hear that Harvey had, for many years, suffered from nerves which reached an unbearable peak when he started supporting artists like Gina Jeffreys and Kasey Chambers about 10 years ago. Harvey decided to go for hypnotherapy and said that, since then, he has not suffered from nerves at all. Harvey said:
"I enjoy being close to the audience. For a performer, it’s a relaxing feeling. I ended up having hypnotherapy and ever since then, I’ve never felt nervous."Since then, Harvey has gone on to become a six time Golden Guitar winner and nerves have not been a problem.
15/07/2008 | Posted in Hypnotherapy,
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a relatively quick form of treatment, often requiring only 10 to 15 weekly one hour sessions. The exact number of sessions depends on the person and the problem, as CBT requires active participation by the individual.
Many people are unsure what CBT does. It is a behaviour therapy, meaning that it aims to correct negative or unwanted patterns of behaviour or thought. Here is a list of the top uses for CBT:
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- anger management
- OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
14/07/2008 | Posted in 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,
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, otherwise known as CBT, is a form of psychotherapy most effective in a face to face consultation with a therapist. It is a form of counselling based upon individual assumptions, beliefs and behaviours and modifying those by developing new behaviour. The technique is easily adaptable to individual clients by identifying key areas, associated feelings and thoughts. It is commonly used in conjunction with relaxation methods and distraction techniques.
For this reason, it is an ideal therapy to combine with something like hypnotherapy. By doing this, the client gets the advantages of both therapies. Hypnotherapy, when combined with cognitive behavioural therapy, is incredibly effective and many clients feel the benefit after as little as just one single session. The use of hypnotherapy and CBT separately have both been shown to work very well with children and adolescents as well. CBT is commonly used for anxiety disorders, mood problems, trauma and post traumatic stress disorder. Cognitive behavioural therapy can also be used as a stand alone therapy if necessary.
11/06/2008 | Posted in Hypnotherapy, 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,