How I can help

How counselling and therapy can help you to deal with difficult issues and concerns....

Some of the issues I can help with include...

  • difficulties with family and personal relationships
  • feelings of confusion
  • low self esteem
  • sexuality
  • eating disorders
  • coping with change
  • attachment issues

 

 

 

 

 


Counselling and Psychotherapy is an effective way to help understand your concerns and deal with issues in healthy ways. These are some of the areas that Counselling and Therapy can be effective in...

Depression

It is thought that depression can affect one in six people over a lifetime. It can take many different forms varying from the everyday feelings of sadness that we all experience at one time or another to full blown clinical depression which can lead to feelings that life is worthless and can eventually lead to suicide. There are also more specific types of depressive disorders such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Bi-Polar disorder (Manic Depression) and Post-Natal depression.

When a person is suffering from depression it can be extremely hard for their friends or loved ones to appreciate that they are not in control of their emotions. It is not simply a case that he or she can be told to "snap out of it" and make themselves feel happy or valued. Depression can affect any person at any age although it would appear that more women are affected than men.

However, this might be explained by women finding it easier to express their feelings than men or in cultural terms in that men are more likely to find it unacceptable to admit to feelings of unhappiness or of needing help. Typically, depression manifests itself with a bewildering variety of symptoms but feeling anxious, restless, waking up early, frequent inexplicable crying, lack of sexual interest, feelings of helplessness and low self esteem, self harm and suicidal thoughts are some of the more frequent feelings that a depressed person might have.

Sometimes depression may have an obvious cause, such as a bereavement and sometimes it may just come out of the blue. There are no clear reasons for it although it is thought that Bi-polar disorder may have a genetic cause but this is still unproven and depression generally may be linked to an under active thyroid. It is most likely that a combination of our innate personalities and the environment when we were growing up are the main contributory factors to whether we will experience depression in later life.

Anxiety

The group of anxiety disorders include general anxiety (or what is known as "free floating anxiety"), panic, post-traumatic stress, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

It may affect your social life by making it too nerve wracking to attend social occasions, it may affect your job when you have to attend meetings or give presentations or it may manifest itself in other situations such as being too scared to fly so that you are unable to go on foreign holidays or, in more extreme cases, even leaving the house.

It is possibly best to think of it as a normal response which has become too extreme or got out of control. For instance, it is not uncommon for any of us to double check that we have turned the lights off before we go out.

For an obsessive-compulsive person, however, the anxiety that the lights have not been turned off may be so overwhelming that it is almost impossible to leave the house at all.

Anxiety can affect us physically as well as emotionally. We might break out in a sweat, experience pains in different parts of our body, even think that we are dying. We might also feel very helpless and be constantly worried that something awful is going to happen or be constantly irritable and watching for an imagined dreaded event. This can have long term effects on health and cause problems associated with increased blood pressure and a lowering of resistance to illness.

The causes of anxiety are most likely to be found in a mixture of upbringing, personality and current life circumstances. It may be a "learned response" in that in the family there was always a feeling that the outside world was a threatening place or the individual concerned may never have developed a sense of personal autonomy and security.

Bereavement

The death of a loved person is one of the most distressing although also one of the most natural experiences we will all have to go through.

The process that we use to deal with the inevitably distressing feelings brought up by bereavement is known as mourning.

There are well recognised stages that a person goes through in the natural course of mourning, they are, shock, disbelief, guilt, anger, resignation and acceptance. If these stages are successfully navigated a person will be able to come to terms with the bereavement and move on in their life.

However, when the process of mourning becomes "stuck" or if the circumstances are particularly traumatic, as in the death of a child, a suicide or an unexpected bereavement a person may experience feelings of depression which, rather than following the normal course of mourning, become stuck and feel impossible to get out of. Alternatively, a person may deny any feelings of grief and become manic or emotionless as a way of fending off the intolerable feelings of pain elicited by the death.

It is also not unusual for some sense of relief to be felt if the death is as a result of a long illness but there may also be a sense of guilt associated with those feelings.

People react in very different ways to bereavement and a lot will depend on their early experiences and the circumstances in which the person died. It is very important to be able to express grief and a supportive and loving network of family and friends will help the bereaved person to come to terms with their loss and move on.

anger

Anger is an appropriate emotion when we feel threatened or in danger. It is part of the "fight - flight" response system that has developed over millions of years. However, it can also be responsible for such things as the breakdown of relationships, depression, digestive and circulatory problems and, in extreme cases, destructive violence directed at others as well as oneself.

It is almost always a sign that something else is wrong and anger becomes the only outlet available to express uncontainable emotions. Anger is often triggered within relationships because that is where we feel most vulnerable and can result in domestic abuse and violence. It is particularly destructive when children have to witness it and it is very common for adults who are unable to control their own anger to have witnessed uncontrollable anger and violence between their parents. It can also manifest as "passive aggression" where anger is bottled up and expressed through emotional disengagement leading the partner to become the "angry one".

There are techniques to try to control anger (the traditional "counting to 10" for instance). But these do not address the root causes which almost inevitably lie in the actions and relationships between parents and children which have either taught the child that anger and violence are acceptable or are so frightening that it is impossible for the child to regulate his or her own emotional states. This leads the future adult to be unable to control his or her own anger when triggered by events or situations that arouse the "flight-fight" system.

It is the task of the therapist to help you understand these emotions and help you to develop ways of self-regulating when faced with events that trigger angry, destructive responses. I will work with you to get insight into the causes of your anger and why they are triggered by particular events or situations. This can allow you to be more aware when things are getting out of control and help you to find more appropriate and less destructive ways of relating and acting.

Stress

Stress happens to all of us throughout life. But why are some people better able to cope than others and what can be done about it?

In manageable amounts, stress can be beneficial, "priming" us for an important speech or athletics event. However, when stress is prolonged or reaches levels that are overwhelming it can lead to more debilitating symptoms such as depression or anger and cause relationship problems. It is often initially caused by changes in one's life situation such as work or relationship problems, illness, poverty and unemployment, to name but a few. Stress releases excessive amounts of the hormones Cortisol and Adrenaline and these are responsible for such things as increased heart rate and respiration as well as raised blood pressure and imbalances in blood sugar levels. If allowed to continue for a long time severe stress can have serious repercussions on our physical and mental health.

There are some simple approaches to dealing with minor symptoms of stress. Trying to improve sleep patterns, getting more exercise, just trying to find more time for relaxing and doing the things you enjoy doing.

However, when stress becomes entrenched and excessive, seeking the help of a trained and experienced therapist can be helpful. I will help you look at the initial causes of what makes stress so hard to cope with and help you to develop the emotional resources to deal with stressful situations more successfully. So, the aim of the therapy is to explore how stress impacts upon your life and help you find your own ways of coping in a healthier, more creative way.