What we help with
Addictions & cravings
Addictions can range from simple unwanted habits to more serious problems which affect our health, and can involve a variety of substances and behaviours including cigarettes, caffeine, sugars, alcohol, drugs, spending and gambling. Cravings describe the underlying discomfort we feel which pushes us towards the next cigarette, chocolate bar or drink as a way of relieving that unease for a while, although any short term benefits of satisfying cravings are likely to be outweighed by linger term negaitive consequences.
We may initially develop an addiction as a way of trying to deal with anxiety and stress, boredom or sadness, but the addiction can then become a separate problem in itself, rather than a solution.
It’s important that you really want to overcome the addiction and that you have strong reasons for wanting to do so. Therapy can help you identify unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviours associated with the addiction, as well as addressing the underlying factors which may have led to the addiction developing in the first place. It can also help you to begin to restructure your life in ways that better meet your needs and can, where appropriate, complement the effect of other treatment you may be receiving.
When we are under prolonged stress of any kind, at work, in our relationships, our health, or as a result of problems in our past, we are more likely to become less tolerant and irritable, frustrated and angry with ourselves and those around us. In more extreme situations, this can lead to people experiencing highly emotional and impulsive states which can result in physical as well as verbal outbursts.
Therapy can help explore the thinking and behavioural processes triggering anger as well as release any underlying stress which may be contributing to the problem. You can learn to control and express your thoughts and feelings in a healthier way and to respond more rationally to challenging situations and emotions.
Anxiety & stress
A degree of stress can help us to perform at our best in some situations, but prolonged anxiety can affect our health, eating, sleeping, relationships, energy and mood. The mind can become overly active with constant worry. The body can feel tight and tense.
Simple lifestyle changes can significantly reduce stress and provide ways to relax the body and calm the mind, helping you to feel much more able to cope with the demands of everyday life. Learning practical techniques which you can self-apply means that you can continue to gain benefit after therapy has ended. In addition, therapy can address any unhelpful thought and behavioural patterns which may be triggering or maintaining high levels of anxiety.
Bullying can take place amongst young people at school but can also be a problem in the workplace. It can have a huge impact on our confidence and self-esteem at any age.
In addition to taking any parctical steps to address the problem with those concerned, therapy can help you to explore different cognitive and behavioural strategies, to develop assertive and confident communication skills and to lower the overall stress and anxiety involved.
Confidence & self esteem
We are not born with low confidence or self-esteem, but difficult or painful experiences and relationships can dent our natural confidence and lead us to develop unhelpful behaviours and beliefs about ourselves which can serve to maintain the problem. Therapy can help you to identify and release these old beliefs and to develop the necessary skills and thinking patterns to enable your innate confidence and self-esteem to rise to the surface again.
Depression & low mood
If we’re exposed to stress and anxiety for prolonged periods of time, or experience a very painful event or sequence of events, the body and mind can be become exhausted, affecting our sleeping and eating patterns, and causing the mind to be increasingly caught up in a spiral of negative thinking.
Sometimes we need help to break this cycle and get back on track. Lifestyle and behavioural changes can be important in helping you to re-engage with formerly enjoyable or achievement-related activities, whilst challenging and re-evaluating unhelpful thinking patterns can help prevent future episodes of low mood.
Difficulties with eating may encompass over-eating and / or a reluctance or inability to eat a healthy range of foods. It can be helpful to view problems with food and eating as a way of trying to cope with underlying stress and anxiety. The individual may be seeking a way to release or quieten distressing feelings, but the behaviour itself then becomes an additional problem in its own right.
It is important to address both the eating problem and any underlying discomfort that maintains it. Therapy can help by identifying and challenging negative thoughts, increasing self-esteem, and helping to develop more positive behavioural patterns.
Grief & bereavement
Loss of someone close to us through death, divorce or separation can cause us immense pain. We may also experience a sense of loss when we lose or change employment, develop health problems, move home or experience some similar life-changing event. Very often, given time, the mind will heal itself but there are times when for some reason, the grieving process seems stuck and we can’t move forward.
Therapy can help you to address any unresolved thoughts and feelings about the loss you have experienced, and support you in re-engaging with your life after a bereavement.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
The repetitive, obsessive thoughts and compulsive, repeated behaviours involved in OCD can be symptomatic of underlying stress or even trauma which the person is seeking to soothe. OCD can become a bully, forcing us into behaviours which we do not want, but feel compelled, to carry out.
Therapy helps identify and challenge the beliefs that gave rise to the obsessive thoughts, helps you drop the compulsive rituals and behaviours and can also provide practical ways to calm the mind and body. Addressing any past or ongoing stress or trauma which may have contributed to the development of the problem may also be important.
People usually vividly recall their first panic attack and the sense of terror they experienced, together with unpleasant physical symptoms such as shallow breathing, pounding heart and trembling. Panic attacks may start during a stressful period in our lives, or they may be associated with an intense fear or phobia.
Treatment helps you identify and challenge the specific thoughts, emotions and behaviours underpinning your panic, teaches you effective ways to calm yourself so that you feel able to control this “fight or flight” reaction in the body, and addresses any underlying contributory stress that may be present. Diet and lifestyle changes can also be helpful in alleviating panic attacks.
Performance and test anxiety
Taking an exam or driving test, having to make a speech or perform in public can cause crippling anxiety for many people. This can prevent you doing what you want to do, and affect your overall levels of confidence and self-esteem.
Therapy focuses on identifying and addressing any unhelpful thoughts and fears and prepares you for the event by rehearsing it successfully in your mind whilst you feel comfortable and confident. You can also learn practical tips and techniques which you can use for an additional boost on the day itself.
Phobias involve an intense fear which is linked to a trigger which may be an event, physical sensation, situation or object. Particular phobias can involve heights, enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), being outdoors (agoraphobia), fear of flying, needles, spiders (arachnophobia), snakes, being sick (emetophobia), social phobia and many, many more.
As part of our survival mechanism, the brain is very quick to make a connection between intense fear and any linked event or circumstance. Once it has done so, it will continue to produce fear or panic attacks every time we are in the presence of the trigger. This can give rise to very unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms including increased breathing and heart rate, sweating, trembling and an overwhelming desire to escape.
Therapy helps to understand and to calm the intense reaction and then assists you in uncoupling the unhelpful link the brain has made between the trigger and the fear response, so that you can get on with your life feeling calmer and more confident.
Whether it’s difficulties with a partner, child, parent, friend or employer, relationship problems can cause great discomfort. Often we’re able to work things out ourselves, but there are times when it can help to talk it through with someone outside the situation.
Therapy helps you examine any unhelpful beliefs you may have which could be influencing your behaviour and reactions and gives you a new perspective on what’s happening. You can also learn effective ways to calm yourself and to develop more assertive, confident and thoughtful styles of communication.
Many of us experience temporary problems with sleeping when we’re busy or going through a difficult time, but if that pattern persists we can become increasingly tired and frustrated. Just getting through the day can become difficult if you’re not having enough sleep.
Treatment can help with sleep problems, and involves a combination of diet and lifestyle strategies together with approaches to help to address the overactive mind and relax the body.
Many people find social situations challenging and uncomfortable. Being in a large group or with people you don’t know very well can give rise to shy, anxious or self-conscious feelings, and may even lead to social situations being avoided altogether. When these feelings are very intense they can give rise to blushing, sweating, stammering and panic attacks, and can be linked to difficulties with confidence and self-esteem.
Treatment is focused on recognising and changing unhelpful thinking and behaviours which may be keeping the problem in place, helping you to relax and developing the skills and confidence you need so that you can feel more comfortable and at ease in social situations.
As with any other addictions, it’s vital that you really want to stop smoking. If that’s the case, then hypnotherapy, together with other techniques used, can help you quit. Many people fear that if they stop smoking, they’ll start to eat more and gain weight. That’s why it’s important not just to help you let go of the habit, but to look at the reasons why you’ve continued to smoke. If smoking has been a way of relaxing or dealing with boredom or anxiety, or perhaps has been a reward when things are difficult, we need to help you find other, more positive ways of meeting those needs, so that you don’t return to smoking or start eating unhealthily. Doing this means you are much more likely to be successful in quitting for good.
Stress-related health problems
Many physical problems associated with ill-health may be aggravated by long-term stress and anxiety.. Health problems can flare up or become worse when we’re very tense. Even our perception of pain can be intensified.
Understanding the role that thinking and behavioural patterns play in either aggravating or more skilfully managing the health condition can be beneficial. Applying therapeutic techniques which deeply relax the mind and body, and which can be self-applied and used on a regular basis, can also be of help.
When we experience an overwhelmingly traumatic event, or series of events, the mind can find it difficult to process what has happened in the way that it does with ordinary memories. This can leave us in a state of “red alert” which may involve intense anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, nightmares and flashbacks. In the long term this can lead to problems with sleep and relationships, and difficulties with anger, depression and concentration.
We tend to think of trauma in terms of war zone experiences or childhood abuse, and this can certainly be the case, but being involved in, or witnessing, an accident or someone being taken ill, for example, can trigger trauma in varying degrees depending on the individual, their age and circumstances.
Treatment of trauma helps the mind to process the event properly and releases the associated emotional discomfort. Using modern therapeutic techniques, it is not necessary to discuss the traumatic memory in any detail if you do not wish to do so.
Excessive weight problems are linked with increased health risks but many people struggle to find really effective ways to lose weight and to maintain a healthy weight afterwards.
Treatment is designed to assist you in setting realistic goals for weight loss and adopting an eating pattern, rather than a diet, which is healthy, enjoyable and which you can maintain indefinitely. Examining any anxiety and stress, depression or confidence and self-esteem problems which may be contributing to difficulties with eating and weight gain is important. You can also learn effective techniques for overcoming addictions and cravings for particular foods. Working on increasing your confidence and self-belief helps you feel good about yourself both on the inside as well as the outside.
A significant factor in the success of therapy is your own motivation and desire for change, together with a willingness to practise and use the techniques and skills learned in the sessions.
When considering therapy, always discuss with your doctor or healthcare provider to ensure that therapy will complement any other treament you may currently