Anxiety Help Bolton

Anxiety Help Bolton.

I’ve heard a lot about anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve heard anxious people say “I feel like I’m going mad, like I’m going to die, I feel out of control, I worry about everything”.

It can be constant and therefore they become exhausted.

They also worry that someone will find out.

It can strike out of the blue.

It can prevent travelling.

It can cling on to them.

They feel dread.

Alone.

I know a lot about anxiety and panic attacks because it’s my main focus of work.

Most of all, I know it’s treatable.

I know that Psychiatrists believe up to 30% of the population suffer with anxiety at any one time, that it costs the economy £80 million every year. That it can commonly be found alongside depression.

I also know it isn’t new, but maybe what triggers it is new.

Often the future is where the problem begins. Sometimes it’s society because if we compare ourselves with others and come off worst in social media, it can feel like a competition.

Perhaps it’s a build-up of things that finally reaches a tipping point. Maybe a single life event that maybe brings it on.

Whatever the cause, Anxiety Help Bolton therapy first of all gives you tools to rationalise, a strategy.

Because you’re not alone.

You don’t have to feel the dread.

You can challenge those negative thoughts.

You can learn to recognise patterns in the negative voices

No one should have to spend their days being afraid of being afraid.

Use integrative therapy, drawing from hypnotherapy, counselling, analysis or behavioural methods (such as CBT) to help.

I know that you can learn the coping skills and methods that can bring you back from that exhausting hamster wheel of worry and panic to embrace the life that is waiting for you.

I know as an Anxiety UK therapist that psychotherapy and hypnotherapy can help.

I know this because it happened to me.

For help first of all contact me below.

 

 

Improving Memory

Improving Memory is the third part of my presentation at the International Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy conference. Earlier parts are here and here.

Changing your outlook from ‘I am like this’ to ‘I can be different’ however – is a first step towards positive thinking. To do this therefore let’s focus first on memory.

Here are some points you need to know about improving memory;

Repeat – As humans we need to process information immediately and repeatedly. It’s why learning to play a musical instrument demands repetitive practice. Repeat to learn.

Match – Because when new knowledge comes along, we fit it to what we already know.

Picture it – We think in pictures and not words.

Slower – If we slow down,  we move information from our working memory into our long-term memory.

Structure –  we are meaning making machines, we search for meaning. It’s a classic part of the psychology of teaching. Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell it to them, and then tell them what you’ve just told them, therefore creating a structure.

Creative – our memory is both creative and re-creative, as in the movie ‘Inception’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio, where he implants memories to change reality.

Obviously (and ethically) therapists don’t do this, but many of my therapy clients are stuck in thoughts, one client for 20+ years.

We all know thoughts are important in therapy, take negative automatic thoughts in CBT. Thoughts and memories obviously connect, but importantly memories are not always fixed.

We think the memory works like a recording device

This is not true.

And changing this can create a new sense of possibility – a space where we can become

Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus is especially relevant in this area. She described memory as like a Wikipedia page because you can go in and you can change it, and so can other people.

As therapists we can’t plant memories, this is the reason that I don’t do Hypno-Gastric band work. If our memories represent our identity, it helps to know we can change it.

We can recreate a sense of self.

Memories are not cast in stone, there is room for change,  you are not painted into a corner. How many times have you heard people say “well, it’s just me, it’s just who I am”?

it’s because memories are a foundation to identity that if you can challenge them, then you can ask yourself, “what else can you challenge?”.

What can you change?

Brain and Memory

Brain and Memory is the first part of my serialised lecture from the recent International Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy conference.
It’s a free resource to help you and the introduction is here.
 So let’s begin with the brain and memory. Now the human brain is a remarkable thing. It represents 2% of our body weight yet uses 25% of our daily calories.
Why is the human brain is different from the brains of the other great apes?
In fact the answer is cooking. We don’t eat raw food like for example gorillas or chimpanzees, so we’re not involved in a trade-off. The trade off between the amount of neurons in our brains and our body size.  You can’t have both a big brain and a big body on raw food.
It’s impossible for us to obtain the number of calories necessary to keep our brains working from raw food. So,  we predigest our food by cooking it.  Otherwise we would simply run out of hours in the day to eat.
As humans, our brains are very neuron rich, they’ve grown that way. If  you count the nuclei in a rodent brain, you find that they are far fewer than in ours.
We have 86 billion neurons in our brains and if a rodent brain had that many neurons, it would weigh 36 kg!
We use 6 calories per billion neurons of brain every day. Gorillas are physically much larger than us but their brains are smaller. This is because of the fact that to maintain that body size, they have to sacrifice neurons.
What makes our human brain and memory unique are our cognitive abilities. We have a very dense concentration of neurons in our cerebral cortex. This is what gives us our cognitive abilities.
That rich concentration of neurons fuels our working memory.
Now what working memory does is that it interfaces between what’s going on now, our experiences – and our stored knowledge, the long-term memory.
Now this is a mix that we re all familiar with. What it goes to is meaning
and we are all aware of the fact that how we attach meaning to memory is very important That’s also true in therapy.
In physical terms that working memory is about the size of a pea. We can think of the working memory in terms of RAM, random access memory. It is for example, what allows us to listen into other people’s conversations while we’re pretending to pay attention to the person in front of us.
It always amazes me how many tips and techniques exist in the self-help books relating to making sure that you appear to be paying attention to someone. There is only however one fool-proof method of making sure that you do this and I’m going to let you in on the secret…
 and that is to actually be paying attention.
There are limits to working memory though, losing your keys for example, forgetting what you were going to say, the good news? There are also strategies to improve it.
More of those in the next installment….

Therapy Art & Science

Therapy art & science information for you.

It was both an honour and a pleasure to have been invited to speak at the 8th Annual International Hypno-Psychotherapy Conference in Leicester this last weekend. Many thanks to Shaun and Fiona from NCHP&M for asking me, and to all the delegates, students and my fellow speakers who included Pat Hunt from the UKCP and Professor Windy Dryden.

In the forthcoming blogs, my lecture ‘The Holism Grail – The Science Behind the Art of Therapy” is going to be serialized as a resource for Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists alike as well as anyone who wants to understand a little more about linking Psychology and Psychotherapy in the clinical setting.

So if you weren’t there, you don’t miss out. This resource is aimed at casting some light on the science of  hypnotherapy and how that can help clients to achieve lasting change. It is designed to also be interesting to clients, patients and psychologists as well as psychotherapists and anyone remotely interested in the mind and the brain. Topics include anxiety, self-esteem, stress, depression, panic, worry, habits, PTSD, OCD, addiction and many more.

The aim was to provide a useful resource on therapy art & science to therapists and sufferers alike about why talking therapies help as well as just how. The content is drawn from my UKCP and CNHC practice working with private clients in my specialist areas of anxiety and self-esteem,  and from The University of Liverpool MSc in mental health psychology.

By understanding the reasons that treatment works we can make it more effective and save time and money in the treatment room. A belief in giving back to the therapy community and spreading knowledge and experience as an open resource are what encouraged me to release this material free of charge.

I hope you enjoy it and please don’t hesitate to contact me here if you wish to comment or ask anything at all.

Stay tuned for the first part of the content in the next blog, and thanks for reading.

Stuart Cale

Anxiety perfectionists

Welcome to the second part of my anxiety perfectionists tools designed to help you feel better faster, if you missed the first installment, you can access it here.

OK, let’s carry on..

Really important this next one – You create the pressure in any given situation, it comes not from external pressures, but how you frame and respond to those pressures. You make pressure and if you make it, you can unmake it. Remember, If there is no perfect way to do something, then there is no pressure to do it any other way than your way, and you’re the world’s leading expert in doing things your way already.

 

Other peoples’ opinions do not have to determine how you feel, your opinion is most importantyou have the right not to have to justify what you do. Your opinion of how efforts are, is more important than anyone else’s.

 

You have the right to say, “no”, “I don’t care”, “I don’t want to” or ‘I don’t understand’. That’s empowering just in itself and deserves its own post but for the meantime, turn it over in your mind, maybe try it, maybe little things at first just to see how it feels…

 

Avoid words like ‘must’ ‘should’ and ‘ought’. These are judgmental words that paint you into a corner. They are not part of your anxiety perfectionists toolkit. More importantly, they set up pressure and expectation upon you to behave a certain way when you might not feel that way. We’re working toward authenticity, the conscious and subconscious being in harmony. Try ‘could’ instead and be more gentle with yourself.

 

Finally, just get on and do it. Putting things off and going over them endlessly feeds perfectionism. It’s the ‘Analysis = Paralysis’ equation. Remember the successful people mentioned above? Many of them failed many many times before they were finally successful in a goal.

 

Instead of aiming for perfection, try aiming for excellence, and remember that as long as you’ve done your best, then no-one can ask any more of you than that.

Perfection anxiety

Perfection anxiety happens when we put pressure and expectation on ourselves, when perceived ability to cope is less than demands. It can have an effect on confidence and self-esteem, causing all those symptoms set out in my other posts on anxiety here.

 

One of the causes of perfection anxiety is a fear of  not being good enough, so what can we do in the short-term to reassure ourselves? Do you remember re-framing from this earlier post?

Here are some of the themes and re-frames I sometimes work into therapy with perfectionists and perfectionism, if you struggle with needing to be perfect, why not try them on for size…?

 

First, you don’t have to be perfect, nobody else is. Remember the old saying, “Never judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes?” – that’s the point, no matter how much ‘perfect’ we project onto someone else, from the inside their world is probably every bit as difficult as everyone else’s, and if you don’t believe me, just ask them.

After all, how many ‘perfect’ celebrities with their perfect bodies, houses, partners and lives have you seen end up in rehab, the divorce courts or worse?

 

Second, there is no perfect way of doing anything. As we get older, this becomes an easier concept to grasp but there really are many ways to achieve a specific goal in life. What’s also important is to realise that the getting there is part of the process, and often the fun.

Think about a goal you set yourself, maybe an education or fitness course or saving for something. I expect that when you got there, it was different from how you imagined it at the beginning, that the journey changed you as much as the goal.

 

Next, if you’re not doing something as well as you’d like, just accept it. Sometimes trying harder increases the pressure on you, makes you miserable and hurts your performance. You won’t be good at everything all the time, sometimes you’ll struggle or fail. If you study the lives of successful people, you’ll find that failing is a vital part of how they succeeded.

 

Be sure to catch the second part of this blog for more resources to use today to relieve perfectionism.

Need a Therapist?

Need a Therapist? It’s a position I am often asked about by clients at the beginning of therapy. Specifically about the difference between hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and counselling, or a Psychotherapist and a Counsellor.

 

It isn’t an easy distinction to make, and certainly not for the untrained person looking for a therapist for the first time. So what do you need to know when you need a therapist?

Here is what you need to make an informed decision:

 

First, make sure that your therapist is adequately qualified. This is especially important with hypnotherapists who as an unregulated body can include anyone who has taken a distance learning or online course for half a day, or perhaps not even that.

Would you put your car in the hands of a mechanic with no formal training?… Well what about your mind?

 

The minimum a hypnotherapist should have is CNHC, and here’s why:

“CNHC was set up with government support to protect the public by providing a UK voluntary register of complementary therapists. CNHC’s register has been approved as an Accredited Register by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.”

 

Here’s the CNHC link

And here’s the logo to look out for:

Complementart and Natural Healthcare Council

 

A hypnotherapist may offer treatment for a range of simpler issues (such as quit smoking) but for any emotional, behavioural or psychological issue, better to seek out a Psychotherapist or a Counsellor.

 

The names psychotherapist and counsellor are often interchangeable but there are differences in training and practice, with UKCP’s accreditation as the most difficult and time-consuming.

 

For example, a Counsellor can belong simply to BACP which is the Counsellor’s governing body. They require 450 hours of tutor contact hours and training of 1 year full time or 2 years part time BUT a Counsellor can also go on to be a member of UKCP.

 

Becoming a full clinical member of UKCP (a Psychotherapist) takes a minimum of four years at post-graduate level, they say:

 “UKCP believes the difference lies in the length and depth of training involved and in the quality of the relationship between the client and their therapist. UKCP registered psychotherapists are trained to Master’s level.” 

 

As a UKCP therapist, training requirements are a minimum of 1800 hours over four years at Master’s level and include  personal therapy with a UKCP registered psychotherapist, clinical supervised practice, a mental health placement, continuing professional development and ongoing supervision.

 

Here’s the UKCP link

And here’s the logo to look out for:

Look for the UKCP official banner

 

So there you have it, my quick guide to therapists. If you’re in the position to need a therapist, or just curious about therapy at this stage, please contact someone who has the expertise to help you.

 

Therapy is often a demanding process, and not every therapist will suit every client, there needs to be a good therapeutic relationship.

You can get off to a good start though by choosing wisely from the beginning. My aim is to give you the information that you need to begin that search.

 

Oh, and please remember, it may be a little daunting to make that first contact with a therapist but we are ‘people people’ –  our training is aimed at putting you at ease from the first moment.

 

Best of luck…

 

Stuart

 

 

 

 

 

 

How anxious brains work

How anxious brains work is an important part of the understanding of anxiety and panic. So let’s begin to understand it.

Let’s start with the anxiety response. If we can understand what’s going on, we have a useful starting point. This is another in the series of learning how anxiety works.

Triggers begin the process; we’ve all had those feelings of being in a dangerous place, even when physically we aren’t. Clients often describe this as a feeling of ‘dread’. So what happens when anxiety is triggered in this way?

The parts of your brain responsible for anxiety are the amygdala and the thalamus, the limbic system. The aim of the thalamus is to keep us safe. The thalamus scans for potential dangers around us all the time, monitoring all our senses, a little like anxiety radar.

If it detects a potential threat, rightly or wrongly, even if something that isn’t a threat is recognised as a threat, it sends a message to the amygdala.

The amygdala then does all those things that we recognise as unwelcome and unpleasant. It may raise heart rate, cause sweating, shallow breathing, and tense our muscles. We are from that point hyper-vigilant.

This is the ‘fight or flight’ response that I am sure you are familiar with; it’s a natural and useful response to dangers around us.

The problem here is that in anxious people, this process can begin at any time, sometimes even for no apparent reason. It can happen on an otherwise good day – it makes us anxious, panic and want to escape.

This trigger can be tied to danger or it could be a trigger from the past, wrongly recognised in the present, it could come from a sight, sound, smell, touch or any of our senses.

Once the thalamus has signaled the amygdala, the amygdala takes over and shuts down our rational thinking. We are left with instinctive simple reactions such as fight or flight; we are out of reason and into instinct.

Importantly, we are responding to the stimulus without choice, the amygdala is preparing the body to deal with the threat.

What is needed to combat this response are methods that reassure the amygdala so that we can regulate the body, regulate the breathing and by doing that, tell the brain that everything is alright.

By doing that we turn back on the rational part of our brain and we no longer have an anxious brain.

Stay tuned for more resources on understanding and treating the anxious brain.

 

Hypno gastric band – the truth

The hypno gastric band truth

 

If you want a hypno gastric band in Bolton, then please read this

 

The ethical problem with the hypno gastric band is simple. The therapist is lying to the client. You are not getting a gastric-band, you are getting an illusory shortcut,  you are buying a lie.

 

Where else would you pay for a professional to tell you a lie?

 

Would your Doctor be able to lie to you? Of course not, they are governed by an ethical code to cause you no harm, as a registered hypnotherapist and registered psychotherapist so am I, so why put your mind in the hands of a liar and pay for the privilege?

 

Unfortunately in the UK anyone can take a course (or not) and advertise themselves as a ‘hypnotherapist’ and make a living from telling weight-control lies to clients, the hypno gastric band method.

 

I believe that you deserve more honesty and value for money.

 

What you deserve is a lasting weight loss system that is based in expert knowledge and skills, UKCP and CNHC accredited.  After all, how you got into difficulty with weight control is unique to you, and so is the solution.

 

As a registered healthy weight coach as well as a registered hypnotherapy and psychotherapy provider. I am able to offer you a safe and supportive environment and method to make an honest and lasting difference.

 

All a hypno gastric band is designed to do is to make you think you are full sooner, why not just have professional therapy? Why not have access not to some one-size-fits-all solution, but to therapy designed around your needs and tailored personally to them?

 

The benefits are many, not only will you be taking control of this issue, but you will be empowering yourself to take control of other aspects of your life. 

I know you can do it, and you do too, even if you don’t know that you know it yet.

 

As you can probably tell, I feel strongly about this issue and I make no apologies for that. The hypno gastric band is an insult to your integrity as a client and to mine as a therapist.

So don’t buy a lie, but instead make an investment in yourself and your future.

 

Learn about anxiety

No learn about anxiety resources would be complete without looking at emotional resilience. The word comes from ‘resili’ – the Latin word for ‘spring back’ – it’s the process of adapting in the face of adversity.

Think of anxiety a bit like a see-saw with ‘perceived’ ability to cope on one end and demands on the other. When demands are lower that ability to cope, we are OK, when the demands are bigger than our perceived ability to cope, we have a problem, we can learn to be less anxious.

Ego strengthening and emotional resilience are about improving ability to cope. We all use scales of 1 to 10, if our ability is say a grade 4 and a grade 6 problem comes up, we can struggle, if the ability is a 9, then the grade 6 problem is easily handled.

This resilience can be cultivated. The more we learn about anxiety, the more tools we have to cope.

The first step is Realism, being realistic about a situation, for example one of the difficulties with depression is that people often attach inappropriate meaning to events. If a depressed person telephones a friend and they don’t ring back, they might think ’my friend doesn’t like me’ when the actual reason may be that they didn’t even get the message.

Next we look at establishing a goal that we can work towards, a favourable outcome. Now here hypnosis can really help with what we call ‘future pacing’. We all know that hypnosis can help us look back at past problems by regressing. The other side of that coin is looking forward which is equally (if not more) powerful.

Self-discipline is important, abandoning those ‘crutch activities’ that feel safe and familiar. It might be drink or drugs or avoidance. Ego strengthening techniques can really help with this process.

Cultivating wider interests helps because it gives us different versions of ourselves. Think of all the energy an anxious person uses just being anxious, once they are less anxious they have a surplus or energy and time to spend, space to ‘grow into’.

Re-framing is seeing something through a different frame and really important if you want to learn about anxiety. Say you suffer an ankle injury; you may well be focusing on how it stops you doing what you want to do. If you’re a soldier on the front line of a war zone, a simple ankle injury might mean rest and relaxation away from stress and danger.

Here’s a great re-frame that goes directly to the next in our list – Identity. It’s easy to concentrate on all our difficulties and things that have gone wrong. Look though at the old saying ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. That’s re-framing from victim to survivor, think of all the strengths you’ve built up in those hard times!

Flexibility is also key, changing change, making change into opportunity rather than threat.  Flexibility is vital for surviving life’s storms, if you bend with the storm winds, you don’t break.

Hypnosis, mindfulness and meditation can all help to moderate outbursts and reinforce neural pathways. Think of your mind like a cornfield for this one. The old outdated negative patterns of thought are like well-trodden paths in the corn, easy to tread again and again. By treading down new paths of positive neural pathways in the corn, like the old ones, they get flatter and flatter, and easier to tread.

A strong social network is good for emotional resilience; reach out in times of difficulty. Today, we live more and more isolated lives, often secure in the belief that Facebook friends mean we’re well supported. Look for support in times of difficulty; seek out therapy if you need to.

For control, look to Victor Frankl, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Moving your locus of control internally rather than externally can make a big difference.

Finally, test the changes, keep a journal and monitor your progress, learn about anxiety with free resources posted on this blog,  after all this isn’t work, it’s your life’s work!