Our Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries


15th October 2018

What is loss and how does it affect someone?


Loss is an integral part of life, we all experience it and will continue to do so from birth until death. As babies we may lose our favourite teddy and experience ‘grief’, this is shown by crying unconsolably until another teddy appears, or we are distracted by something else entirely. Our attachment then shifts to our new toy and the old teddy is forgotten.


A loss ‘event’ requires that some part of the individual be left behind and grieved for before the process of transition ad rebuilding can occur. With a baby losing a teddy, the grief is short lived. As we get older and attachments become deeper, the grief process and subsequent process of transition takes longer to resolve.


Loss is defined as “the state of being deprived of or being without something one has had, or a detriment or disadvantage from failure to keep, have or get “– that’s quite a mouthful and doesn’t exactly role of the tongue but there isn’t really an easier way to say it.


An older child may have a stronger and longer visible reaction to the loss of a favourite toy i.e. the grieving process lasts longer. The child feels the loss on a deeper level and so the process of adjusting to life without the toy takes longer and any replacement may take longer to grow attached to.


As we get older, possessions may hold even more meaning for us. Their importance can be measured on many levels. Some possessions may have been part of a family for generations connecting that person to his/her past and the family heritage. A good example of this would be selling a childhood home which could represent the loss of connection to childhood. Fire and theft and often deprive people of treasured possessions that have immeasurable significance. Each loss will be grieved over before adjustment and eventual transition to a new reality/life without that possession takes place.


Relationship losses can occur because of death, illness, divorce, separation, abandonment, rejection or abuse within what was expected to be a trusting relationship. Any change in a relationship as we once knew it, perceived it to be, or experienced it, constitutes a relationship loss. This loss may result in losing an integral part of and sense of who we are, especially if we have invested a big part of ourselves in it. Imagine a divorce after 30 years of marriage. Being ‘married’ is part of who we are. We need to rediscover our sense of self. The grief process involves letting go of a former object, person or sense of identity, grieving the loss of that item, person or part of you which is gone forever, and rebuilding a new life without that object or person or creating a new identity. This grief process will be experienced from long term illness, physical change e.g. loss of legs or facial disfigurement, impairment or even professional burnout. The loss of hopes and dreams, the experience of disappointment, or any major change in personal circumstances result in a grieving process.


As we age we may grieve the loss of childhood, of innocence and of our perception of how easy life was back then. Memory may add a rose-tinted view of our past ages, nevertheless, we can experience grief for our perceived losses.


As we reach old age, and often before our losses are compounded. It’s important to remember that this is the natural order of things. We will almost certainly have lost parents, and may have lost friends, siblings, partners, maybe even a child. We may feel we no longer have a useful purpose, or we are needed as children grow up and get lives of their own. But we do. We are all important and have value. Life is always worth living.


Sometimes we all need a little help dealing with losses in life no matter how small. The effects of loss and so change are specific to each individual and even apparently small losses can have a huge affect often depending on other factors such as other related losses or past experience of loss. Remember, if we lose anything we grieve. It doesn’t have to be a person, a possession or relationship, it can be something else. It could be losing a job and maybe not getting another. A loss of self- respect or the essence of what we feel makes us a person e.g. the family breadwinner. As women become mothers so the role of motherhood defines them but what of the person who loved long distance running or partying all night. Or, the person who decided to spend a whole day in bed just because they could or booked last minute holidays without a second thought. Suddenly it feels that person is gone, and the new role may be wonderful but at the same time frightening and the sense of loss of control over life can be overwhelming. Some will happily embrace the changes and move forward with excitement. Others will need a little help to adjust to the change. This can be described as post- natal depression but it’s not just hormonal changes, it’s a grieving process for the old life, the old self.


Once the adjustment to parenthood has been made and embraced and the new identity accepted so it changes again as children grow up and leave and start to live their own lives. The parent is no longer needed for day to day care and needs to redefine their roles in life. Maybe trying to discover the self before children and embrace their restored freedom.


For a man or women who has worked for 20 years or more in a certain role, to suddenly be made redundant or have to retire due to ill health or simply retire because it’s time, this can be a loss that will be grieved over as they come to terms with their new identity and role.


Counselling can help people come to terms with change and losses in their lives whether real or perceived and help them deal with the changes that loss brings so helping them begin a new chapter in their lives.


It’s always good to talk.  

Reaction or response..?


4th March 2019


Do you find yourself shouting more than you’d like? Temper frayed? Is anger an issue?

So, there you are driving to work. The car in front is driving at what feels like 15 miles an hour in a 40 zone and you find yourself chewing your steering wheel and wanting to scream… Sound familiar?

What about that women or man at work that spends their time nit picking over your every move to the extent that you feel the urge to grab them around the throat and just keep squeezing…. Is this ringing a bell?

A stress reaction is when we act automatically to a situation and we’re not fully aware of what we’re doing. It’s the knee jerk response.

When anyone “reacts” its automatically defensive. You’re immediately at a disadvantage and your emotions run riot unchecked. All sense of reason goes out of the window (you can let go of that throat now..)

So, try “responding” instead. Responding requires your brain to be calm. When your knee jerk anger kicks In, just pause and reflect on what your next move should be. The pause need only be a few seconds or as long as you need for reason to kick in.

In an emergency situation, just take a breath.

It’s easy to give advice here – notice what your triggers are and consider what will happen if you lose your rag - sometimes we are taken completely by surprise.

Try removing yourself from a situation – very often not possible.

The best advice I can give is to breath deeply. This sounds too easy you say! Taking a few deep breaths actively reduces stress by reducing our physical reaction i.e. the fight or fight response so adrenaline doesn’t kick in so hard. This in turn gives our frontal lobe, the part of the brain helping us communicate and consider options time to produce a thoughtful response. So.. altogether now… deep breath and RELAX


1st October 2018

Why choose hypnotherapy when the fees are twice as much as a counsellor?


Well, it’s because of what you receive, as a client, during therapy. It isn’t a talk therapy so you don’t do the majority of the talking with a little guidance from the Counsellor. You receive structured, bespoke therapy tailored uniquely to you and what YOU need. It could be weight loss, stopping smoking, a reduction in anxiety and stress, passing that exam, passing your driving test or maybe losing that phobia that has been followed you all your life. The list is endless.


So, what does it entail? The initial consultation is about talking, taking a detailed case history and understanding exactly what you require from treatment. Sometimes guidance is needed. It may be that someone comes along and says “I want a new job! So, I want to be more confident in interviews”. Yes, if you had a job interview lined up you could be provided with a bespoke script taking you through the process and so giving you confidence to go in there and knock them dead, but, what if you haven’t got that far yet? What if you lack the confidence to fill in an application, you wonder, are you good enough for the job? Could you do it? suppose you couldn’t? you’ll never get it, you’re rubbish, just stay were you are and be grateful… often these are the thoughts that go around in a person’s head before they even start. This is what needs to be worked on. Self-esteem is the starting point. Reduction in anxiety, building confidence, these all follow from that starting point.


Maybe you want to get fit. You have always fancied swimming but in truth when you get into the water you panic if your head goes under and your flail around until you cannot handle it anymore and get out. This isn’t a confidence issue, it’s about removing the fear of the water. You can have phobias and fears eliminated so you are finally free and able to move on with your life.


That’s the talky bit over now. You will both have a clear goal in mind. The goal much be realistic and achievable. If you announce that you want to lose 4 stone and drop 2 dress sizes in 4 weeks, that is not going to happen.


This is when the therapist really goes to work. They will devise a treatment plan for you. It maybe you will only need one or a couple of sessions, you may need longer depending on your issues and goals. They may vary depending on what happens during each session but nevertheless there is a clear goal in mind and you will be able to see the progress made as you move nearer to where you want to be. During the therapy sessions the therapist will induce trance, and deliver a bespoke script written for you personally and will be talking and concentrating for anything up to an hour while you remain comfortably seated with your eyes closed.


Hypnotherapy works faster and more precisely than other therapies by providing the unconscious mind with subliminal guidance. The subconscious is responsible for holding all your deep-rooted fears and beliefs about you as a person and your capabilities. Thus, your subconscious must be reprogrammed, and hypnotherapy will do this.


So, in conclusion, treatment is faster and more specific and gets to the root of the problem, fixes it and lets you live your life as you want to.


Give it a go, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  


15th March 2019

 Procrastinate... Moi?


So, it’s 15 minutes before the deadline for a task to be finished. You’re sweating trying to get it done in time. You’ve had it in your To-Do List for over 2 weeks and done nothing! What went wrong?


Hmmm, let’s see now…what about the re-diarising for the next day (every day), what about the time spent on social media, reading emails several times, or suddenly finding cleaning out your desk draws to be unbelievably important. Sound familiar? Research says 95% of us procrastinate to some degree, so don’t worry you’re not alone. So, is procrastination laziness? – no, they are very different. Procrastination is an active process – you choose to do something else instead. Whereas laziness suggests apathy, inactivity and an unwillingness to act. Procrastination involves ignoring an unpleasant, time consuming or difficult task in favour of one more enjoyable or easier.


But giving into this impulse can have serious consequences – feelings of guilt or shame, reduced productivity and missing out on achieving our goals so leading to demotivation and self-doubt. For some, it’s more than a bad habit it’s a sign of a serious underlying health issue, for example ADHD, OCD, anxiety and depression. Or it can be the cause of serious stress and illness. Counselling and/or Hypnotherapy can help in many ways to break the habit.


So, how do we overcome it? Well, the first thing to do is recognise that you do it. Now it might be that you’ve had to change your work priorities for a good reason, or briefly delaying doing something, which we all do from time to time. This isn’t procrastinating. But, if you start to put things off indefinitely, or switch focus because you’re actively avoiding doing something, then you probably are.


 Do any of these remind you or you?

• Re-reading emails – unsure what to do with them

• Leaving important tasks in your To-Do List indefinitely

• Start something important then suddenly decide you need a coffee and disappear for awhile

• Or want to be in the “right mood” or for the “right time” to start a task


If you tick several of the above, it looks like you are procrastinating.


So, why? You need to know the answer to this before you can deal with it. Is the task boring or unpleasant? Maybe get it out of the way first thing and move onto more fun things. Are you badly organised? Organised people are successful because they use prioritized To-Do Lists and stick to them. Even if you are organised you can still feel overwhelmed by a task. Do you have doubts about your ability? Or worry about failing? Sometimes we even worry about success – will this lead to more work being piled upon us? Perfectionists often procrastinate rather than run the risk of doing something less than perfect. Poor decision making often leads to procrastination – if you can’t decide what to do, put off taking action at all in case you make the wrong decision.


So, what can you do to fix it?  Procrastination is a deeply ingrained pattern of behaviour or a habit. Habits only stop being a habit when you stop doing it. So, here’s some tips on how the break the habit -


1. Forgive yourself for doing it in the past. Today is the start of your future and breaking old habits. This helps motivation and positive thinking.


2. Commit to the task. Focus on doing it, not avoiding it. Write down the order you need to do them in and work down the list. Don’t skip or avoid tasks.


3. Reward yourself. A coffee, cake or a quick scan of Facebook, whatever works for you. But only when the task is completed.


4. Minimise distractions. Turn of social media, don’t sit near a TV or anywhere there is likely to be a distraction. Or near people that are likely to distract you (think of the chatty friend in the office).


5. Tackle tasks when they arise, don’t put them to the bottom of the pile.


6. Change your thinking to I CHOOSE TO rather than I HAVE TO – this implies control and empowerment over your workload.


7. Get the worst tasks done first thing. Get it out of the way and feel more positive and pleased with yourself for the rest of the day.


Remember, some people work better under pressure, are you one of them? Active procrastination i.e. deliberately delaying starting something, can make you feel more focused and motivated. But make sure you don’t put yourself under too much pressure regularly because that will lead to stress and anxiety and if this is a long-term strategy it could give rise to some nasty mental and physical health problems including an increased risk of suffering a stroke or having a heart attack.


Hypnotherapy can help by dealing with self-esteem and self -confidence issues, relieving stress and anxiety by actively breaking the habit through the delivery of suggestions designed to help with focus, motivation and determination. Don’t let procrastination damage your career, your relationships and your health. Your worth more than that.


1st October 2018

Why choose hypnotherapy when the fees are twice as much as a counsellor?


Well, it’s because of what you receive, as a client, during therapy. It isn’t a talk therapy so you don’t do the majority of the talking with a little guidance from the Counsellor. You receive structured, bespoke therapy tailored uniquely to you and what YOU need. It could be weight loss, stopping smoking, a reduction in anxiety and stress, passing that exam, passing your driving test or maybe losing that phobia that has been followed you all your life. The list is endless.


So, what does it entail? The initial consultation is about talking, taking a detailed case history and understanding exactly what you require from treatment. Sometimes guidance is needed. It may be that someone comes along and says “I want a new job! So, I want to be more confident in interviews”. Yes, if you had a job interview lined up you could be provided with a bespoke script taking you through the process and so giving you confidence to go in there and knock them dead, but, what if you haven’t got that far yet? What if you lack the confidence to fill in an application, you wonder, are you good enough for the job? Could you do it? suppose you couldn’t? you’ll never get it, you’re rubbish, just stay were you are and be grateful… often these are the thoughts that go around in a person’s head before they even start. This is what needs to be worked on. Self-esteem is the starting point. Reduction in anxiety, building confidence, these all follow from that starting point.


Maybe you want to get fit. You have always fancied swimming but in truth when you get into the water you panic if your head goes under and your flail around until you cannot handle it anymore and get out. This isn’t a confidence issue, it’s about removing the fear of the water. You can have phobias and fears eliminated so you are finally free and able to move on with your life.


That’s the talky bit over now. You will both have a clear goal in mind. The goal much be realistic and achievable. If you announce that you want to lose 4 stone and drop 2 dress sizes in 4 weeks, that is not going to happen.


This is when the therapist really goes to work. They will devise a treatment plan for you. It maybe you will only need one or a couple of sessions, you may need longer depending on your issues and goals. They may vary depending on what happens during each session but nevertheless there is a clear goal in mind and you will be able to see the progress made as you move nearer to where you want to be. During the therapy sessions the therapist will induce trance, and deliver a bespoke script written for you personally and will be talking and concentrating for anything up to an hour while you remain comfortably seated with your eyes closed.


Hypnotherapy works faster and more precisely than other therapies by providing the unconscious mind with subliminal guidance. The subconscious is responsible for holding all your deep-rooted fears and beliefs about you as a person and your capabilities. Thus, your subconscious must be reprogrammed, and hypnotherapy will do this.


So, in conclusion, treatment is faster and more specific and gets to the root of the problem, fixes it and lets you live your life as you want to.


Give it a go, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  


19th April 2019

What's so special about counselling for grief ?


Counselling for grief isn’t about soothing a client or helping them mask the pain. This can be a trap that many well-meaning individuals including mental health professionals fall into, I’ve fallen into it myself in truth. The pain needs to be experienced, processed and dealt with fully to move on with life and to process acceptance of the loss, no matter how painful.


Nobody wants to see anyone in pain if they can help it. The urge to sooth takes over, particularly with children. The “let’s not talk about it or they’ll be reminded and get upset” mentality kicks in. Or distraction, that’s another often used ploy “let’s keep him/her so busy that they haven’t got chance to think about it”. Let’s face it, we use the same techniques on ourselves for anything we want to avoid thinking about – let’s keep BUSY BUSY BUSY so there is no time to think!


The problem with these well-meaning techniques it that they just repress the natural grief process we all need to go through. Grief counselling is designed to help client’s experience the pain in order to heal.


My last blog talked about Hypno-counselling, unresolved grief is a prime example of the sort of deep-rooted problem that can manifest in depression, anxiety, panic disorder or anger at a later date. Hypnotherapy or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) designed to target the symptoms of these presenting problems alone will struggle to cure the problem permanently until the unresolved grief is dealt with. I should add at this point that CBT and Hypnotherapy are highly effective in dealing with such presenting issues in the absence of deep- rooted, unresolved trauma. When such treatment fails to resolve symptoms, that is the point when a closer look at the client’s history is vital to ensure effective treatment.    

Does this blog make you think about your own life and experiences? Do you feel that this is an area that whilst you might not want to think about, you realise you need to?  Contact me, let's talk. 


9th May 2019

Having a bad day?


Are you a glass half empty or glass half full kind of person? If you’re expecting a bad day then there’s a good chance, you’ll get one. So, you need to change the glass half empty mentality to the glass half full.


Brush a bad experience off as just that and move on with your day you really will feel better for being more positive.


If your sat inside feeling stressed and over thinking things take every opportunity you have to get outside and into nature. Its been proven to revitalise you and make you feel happier. Smells such as lavender or pine trees can reduce stress levels and increase relaxation. Simply breathing fresh air increases the energy levels in most people.


Stop the negative thought cycle. Some negative thoughts are natural but going over and over them in your mind can lead to increased feelings of depression and anxiety. Actively challenge them and question whether they are factually correct – look at them from an outsider’s perspective. For example, is burning dinner a real sign you’re an idiot or can’t cope? Or, should you give yourself more time to cook without trying to do 100 other things at once such as the kids homework, washing and hoovering and squeezing in an online shop. Be kind to yourself – pick easier things to cook when your busy during the week and save more complicated dishes that take longer and need more attention until you have more time.


Reflect on what you’ve achieved recently Our brains naturally focus on our failings rather than our triumphs. So, take a few moments to note the good things that have happened and that you’ve achieved. Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back!


Set realistic expectations Don’t plan to survive all day on a lettuce leaf and a tomato when you’re going to be starving by 9.30 and chewing on a table leg – be kind to yourself. Take a health lunch with some sweet snacks to keep you going such as fresh strawberries or dark chocolate when you feel you need a boost.


Denying yourself any fun activities or diversions will just make you miserable. It’s impossible to concentrate all day without a break. 15 mins on Facebook or reading a good book at lunchtime might be just what you need. Preferably in the sun enjoying the fresh air.


If you remember nothing else from this, try to -

- Be kind to yourself

- Stay positive

- If something does go wrong brush it off and move on.


And lastly, SMILE 😊


7th June 2019

Do you have stressed teenagers? 


Having two daughters of my own, one of which is soon to be 15, I’ve plenty of experience at being the parent of “stressed out” girls. Figures show that 31% of girls experience symptoms of anxiety compared to only 13% in boys. This helps explains why my 19-year-old son appears to be that laid back he’s nearly horizontal.


I confess that I thought social media was right up there as being a principle cause but research by the University of Oxford has found that it was responsible for only a tiny fraction of teenagers’ unhappiness. Social media seems to only amplify what is already happening in their lives.


As I’ve already said, some stress and anxiety in our lives is a good thing and is important, it’s what gets us out of bed and motivated. But too much is really bad for us. Take a look at my Stress and Anxiety page to get the full picture of what happens physiologically when stressed and the damage caused when stress goes too far and becomes “chronic”. The definition of chronic being – persistent, long-standing, and long term.


Some anxiety, sadness stress and loss are all part of life and looking for a totally stress free, calm and perfect existence is not going to happen. It is dealing with the natural flow of human emotions that is the key.


So, when dealing with your children, or young adults, showing them how to manage this natural flow of emotions is key. From a parental point of view, if your child is upset and stressed out, this makes us upset and stressed out. We want to make it better. We say “it’ll be ok”, “don’t worry” or we try and make it go away for them by giving them a sick note when they have a test coming up they haven’t prepared for or we comfort them by rushing out and buying something nice, this could range from an ice-cream to an iPhone! This isn’t the answer.


First, we must be calm and steady and help them to realise that whatever the problem is can be managed. So, how do we do this?

1. Show understanding, not simply reassurance Don’t say not to worry, this isn’t addressing the problem and means nothing. Sound like you’re taking their problem seriously and accepting it is important to them. Try saying “Ok, I can see this is a big deal, but we can work through it”.


2. What’s the worst that can happen? So, what is the worst that can happen? and if that happens then what? For example – “my friend has read my snap chat (or whatever) and hasn’t replied!”.

Try saying “Ok, so what will this mean?”

“Well, we’re supposed to be walking to school together and now I’ll have to walk alone”

“Would it be that bad to walk alone?”

“Yes!”

“Do you have anyone else you can ask?”

“Maybe ..”

“Well why not try?”

And so, the conversation will continue, try giving them options, make them think and work out a solution themselves. This is teaching how to manage a situation and problem solve. This is a very basic example, but you get the drift. Saying “so what, it’s not the end of the world” dismissively is not going to help because in that moment, for them, it really does feel like the end of the world.

See things from their prospective with empathy.


3. Don’t let them avoid the stressful situation Don’t feel tempted to write a sick note. Avoiding a perceived threat, whilst sorting that immediate problem out doesn’t provide any skills for avoiding another situation. Remember, teaching how to deal not avoid is the key.


4. Teach them social media isn’t always real What someone puts on social media isn’t always the truth and let’s face it, we all know someone who post glowing reports about how great their life is and how wonderful their kids are, job, partner etc but you know for a fact that most of it isn’t true or their life is being viewed through rose tinted glasses. With celebs posts they are looking for interest, followers and intrigue, not necessarily in that order. Teach them to take a step back and understand this. Take what they like from what they see but ignore or be sceptical about other stuff.


5. Explain a little about how stress feels and that it can be a good thing  If they realise that a racing heart, sweating etc is normal then it makes it less frightening. So, the stressful situation itself is less frightening. Depending on their age, you could even say that some stress is good and point that it is what gets them out of bed and doing rather than sitting around worrying. A good example would be exam stress i.e. it motivates them to revise when they would otherwise be watching Love Island. Point out that exams are a positive, it shows where they are at academically and proves they are learning and is great training for the future.


6. Get them to take some time out If worrying about exams and cramming all the time, get them to take some time out, relax, take a bath or watch an hour of their favourite program. Make sure they get enough sleep and encourage them to take control of this themselves. Try and teach them that having perfect results, perfect appearance and perfect friends isn’t sustainable and isn’t necessary. We all have days when we know we should be doing stuff, but we don’t. Accept this and be positive. “Ok, today I’m doing something for me but tomorrow I will get up and get stuck in” 


Being a parent can be the hardest job in the world, so remember to apply all the above to yourself too and remember, we don't always get it right either.