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The Therapeutic Power of Writing

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This article is written by Linda Grandes, a cognitive behavioural therapist (CBT) who strives for finding unorthodox forms of therapies for her clients. The Therapeutic Power of Writing. Writing is a form of art and a powerful tool for expressing our deepest thoughts and emotions. Just like any other form of art, writing can help us deal with emotional struggles, negative experiences, worries, and burdens. In other words, writing can be used as a successful form of self-therapy and can have beneficial effects on our mental health. Therapists all over the world prescribe writing as a part of a client’s therapy. If you’re curious to find out what therapeutic powers writing has for our mental health, and why you should try and recommend it to your clients, just keep reading.

Self-Knowledge:

Emotional crises are often caused by our deepest inner struggles, and can’t be solved until we’re able to learn about ourselves. Talking to a friend, a family member, or our therapist is often not as honest as it should be, and people still omit those facts which make them vulnerable and fragile. However, writing can be used as a form of gaining self-knowledge.

To put it simply, therapeutic writing is about:

  • being brutally honest on paper
  • writing freely, openly and without reservations
  • admitting the deepest, most painful detail about your fears, emotions, and thoughts

This way, a person will be able to learn a lot about themselves, which will help them overcome emotional obstacles easier.

Emotional Healing & Growth

There are those situations in which a person needs therapeutic help not to solve a problem, but rather to overcome the emotional barriers they’ve come across. Writing can help a person find emotional balance and stability, and prevent the emotions from taking over their lives. Here’s what they need to do:

  • write about their emotions
  • transfer the negative emotions from their body to the paper
  • take control of them
  • process their emotions through writing
  • get it all out of their system

By dealing with their emotions and writing down anything that has been bothering them, your clients are actually processing the emotions and finding a way to heal. In addition, this will promote emotional growth and allow them to power through a future emotional crisis.

Empowerment

When we’re sad, suffering, emotionally broken, or confused, sometimes all we need is a push in the right direction to get through it. However, not everyone has the emotional support from friends or family, and they need to have their own back. Writing can help your clients find the strength they need within themselves and become aware of their own energy and courage. You can recommend your client to start practising affirmations writing. Affirmations are based on the belief that “a positive mental attitude supported by affirmations will achieve success in anything” (Wikipedia). Here’s how it works:

  • a person writes their own affirmations nurturing a positive attitude towards the world around them
  • affirmations need to be positive and empowering:
  • I am a strong, stable person.
  • Today, I will do great things.
  • I will conquer my fears.
  • the person says the affirmations out loud, for several times in a row
  • it’s best to do them in the morning, right after getting out of bed

Affirmations writing will have strong therapeutic power and help your clients recover their self-esteem and emotional stability.

Confronting Problems

One of the most commonly seen issues when it comes to emotional problems is suppressing them. “Many people state that the biggest issue with solving a problem is admitting that it exists. Most people try suppressing their problems, but it’s impossible to do it long-term,” says Leona Pearson, a therapist, and writer at Studicus.com. Therefore, writing in the form of a journal can help a person:

  • admit there’s a problem
  • define their problem
  • confront it
  • find a way of dealing with it

Solving a problem is impossible until we’ve admitted it’s there and it’s scary. With the power of writing and the possibilities it gives us, it’s easier to come clean with yourself and be open about your issues.

Reducing Stress

Stress is a dangerous feeling of emotional tension and physical unease. It’s known to be the cause of other major health conditions such as increased heart rate, high blood pressure, heart attack, and many other issues. Therefore, it’s important for each person to find a way of dealing with stress, reducing it, and overcoming it. Writing can work wonders for many people struggling with stress and help them lower it or eliminate it completely. This goes especially for creative writing, but stands for any other form of writing, as well. All that the person needs to do is:

  • whenever you feel stressed out, write
  • write about anything that comes to your mind
  • it can be poetry writing, fiction writing, or just a dear-diary type of writing

Try using writing as a form of eliminating anxiety, relaxing, and overcoming stressful episodes of your day.

Final Thoughts 

Writing definitely has therapeutic powers and can be extremely helpful for people struggling with all kinds of emotional problems. It’s a great form of therapy to recommend to your clients and help them improve their mental health. Make sure to read all about the therapeutic powers of writing we’ve provided above and give your clients a relaxing, creative way out of their problems.
BIO: Linda Grandes aim is to explore the efficiency of unconventional treatment methods and guide her clients on the road towards regaining mental health. She is also an enthusiast blogger at Studyton.com and one of the writers at coursework writing service.

Fear behind the symptoms

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For 30 years I struggled with Bulimia/Anorexia. Nothing much changed during that time, the symptoms simply became more pronounced and my fear grew daily.

Then 20 years ago I got a horse, not my idea…my son’s, he was 10. First we were given a pony and then to keep Gus company we got Bronwen. Gus thought I was a piece of his own faeces and treated me as such. I was bitten and kicked regularly, I became good at dodging both but not much else. Bronwen was more respectful, but that didn’t help I was scared stiff of both of them. Bronwen was huge and strong, Gus was small and unnerving.

This was the most amazing start. My fear was well and truly out in the open, it was quickly very clear there was no hiding it from these two…they’d entered my world and I was exposed.

Our mental health becomes disordered the minute we first experience fear, probably before birth but certainly from the moment we’re born. If our experience of fear is not allowed to run its natural course and disperse, then it builds and attracts more fear-filled events which confirm our view that the world is a threatening scary place. Fear lies behind the symptoms of all mental health disorder; if the fear can be located, acknowledged, identified and released, the symptoms can naturally disappear. It is exactly the same for horses, they’re prey animals attuned to fear as a survival strategy; they prevent it wreaking havoc on their nervous systems and general health by releasing it before it reaches the point of overwhelm.

Horses living naturally, with space, company and good grazing know that fear is an essential survival mechanism. They are alerted to danger, they respond and let go when the danger is over. The whole process completes from alarm bells to grounded calm in as long as it takes to be certain that both the environment and other herd members are safe.

Horses in a less natural environment sometimes struggle with overwhelm as their capacity to release fear becomes limited. Without space in which to run free and without close relationships in the community of the herd, they can feel vulnerable and unsafe. The life affirming support and protection of other herd members allows them to completely let go, relax and feel safe.

When we, as humans, enter the natural herd, the horses scan us and skillfully read the energy created by our fear; and yes they do feel and see our fear but interestingly they don’t always respond to it in the way we would expect. Armed with a clear energetic template of our fear, the herd members check in with each other and then the environment to see if they too have cause to be fearful, if no threat is seen or felt in either their environment or the herd’s response they return to grounded calm … why would they do otherwise? They’re safe, the fear is ours, not theirs.

Their innate ability to read our fear is at the heart of the horses’ capacity to heal. The Natural Herd is exactly that, natural, it is working with the rhythm of nature at its very purest. In doing so it heals, rebalances, cultivates, nurtures and nourishes life itself; when we enter the herd we become part of this wonderful healing, rebalancing cycle. How amazing is that!

However, what remains is for us to learn to do this for ourselves and this is where the The Natural Herd Model came into being. We can re-learn; we have always known what the horses know, but forgotten, how to scan for our own fear levels and energetically release fear as we acknowledge, identify and let it go.

At Hopethruhorses we help a wide range of people of all ages and from all walks of life. Each dealing with their own personal set of symptoms. Many come hoping to recover from the devastation and fearfulness of trauma and anxiety or the hopelessness of depression. While others battle with self-hatred and non-existent self-esteem that results in an eating disorder.

​We also do all we can to help improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people, many of whom have complex emotional, behavioural and social difficulties.

The horses are no exception. Previously unwanted horses and ponies find a home and a purpose in the herd. In return for peace, love and the freedom to become horses again, these magical creatures give themselves to people, and are instrumental to their healing. Clients come to Hopethruhorses to aid their own recovery and in doing so, also to give purpose to rescue-horses.

Written by Joanna Corfield at Hopethruhorses

The Power of Three And Online Therapy

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isoshealth

Life is hectic, so finding therapists who deliver online therapy, who suit you and can fit in with your schedule can be a challenge.

Our friends at isoshealth have come up with a solution to change all that.

Their online healthcare platform allows you to handpick the team of experts you’d like to work with and using digital video technology, brings the sessions into your home at a time that suits you.

You can hand pick your team, comprising of a Dietitian, a Physiotherapist and a Psychologist and can select times for your personalised sessions that fit in around your lifestyle.

You’ll have six 30-minute sessions, two with each expert. Your Power of 3 team works together to deliver a holistic diet, exercise and motivation package which will give you longer lasting results.

Registration is open now or you can visit the website for more information.

The registration process is best suited for your desktop, since this is the best place for you to have great sessions with Health Practitioners.  Grab a cuppa, and get started. The isoshealth team look forward to welcoming you.

Please feel free to connect with the isoshealth team via social media on Twitter or Facebook or for any questions, please #AskAimee.

Are you ok? Don’t miss signs of depression

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By Denise Winn: Denise is a journalist, editor and author specialising in psychology – who has also practised as a human givens therapist since 2000. She tutors a 1-day training course ‘How to lift depression’ for Human Givens College. You may also be interested in the Human Givens online course: ‘How To Break The Cycle of Depression’.

Would you know if someone you care about has depression? Most people probably think that they would, but it isn’t necessarily as obvious as you might expect. Indeed, until some simple screening questionnaires were introduced for GPs to use, half of them were missing the diagnosis in patients that came to consult them.

Suppose, for instance, you have a friend who used to come to a class with you, perhaps sport or dancing or a fine art class. Then one week they don’t want to go. Perhaps they say they have strained a muscle or that they are working late more often. You believe them – why not? Time passes and maybe you call or you run into them in the street and ask if they are going to come back to class. No, they say, they have kind of lost interest, or the injury is still a problem, or they don’t seem to have time. You suggest a meal out one evening. Money is tight right now, they say, but they promise to keep in touch. And more time passes and you suddenly realise that you haven’t spoken for quite a while. Perhaps you feel hurt and think it must be something you said. Or perhaps they have depression.

Very many people will not say that they are depressed or may even deny it. They may manage a smile even though they are feeling deadened inside. But one important tell-tale sign is loss of interest in activities that someone used to enjoy. When people start to experience low mood (perhaps they have had a disappointment or a bereavement or have been made redundant or, for some other reason, start not to feel good about themselves or their lives), they gradually tend to withdraw from social activities. The more time they spend alone, however, the more time they have to dwell on whatever is worrying or upsetting them. The more they dwell, the more hopeless they may feel. They are very often filled with feelings or worthlessness and guilt (because depression gets everything out of proportion) and, unbeknownst to you, may have fleeting or not so fleeting thoughts of killing themselves. They find it hard to get to sleep or to stay asleep, feel exhausted in the mornings and lack motivation to get going with their day. They may comfort eat or avoid eating – both are common symptoms of depression particularly in women, whereas males are more likely to cut off their feelings through drinking or other substance abuse.

And they find it hard to think straight, so that even making unimportant decisions feels overwhelming. Perhaps you notice that they seem less sharp or more tearful. Or maybe you don’t get the chance to notice much at all. So the first alarm bells that should ring are when the person you care about stops engaging in and enjoying whatever used to give them pleasure. This is especially often the giveaway for adolescents in whom symptoms of depression can manifest as negativity, irritability, not feeling understood, behaving antisocially, etc, which may easily be mistaken for ‘normal’ adolescent behaviour.

Depression is a horrible, too often hidden, condition. But the good news is that, once recognised, there are simple, speedy straightforward ways to treat it that don’t require medication.

Writing Therapy

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All of us write — some more than others. We write our names on documents. We send texts messages to our loved ones. We send work-related emails to our colleagues. Some of us write professionally or as a hobby. What if writing could be therapeutic?

Much like art therapy, writing therapy can be used to allow clients to open up to themselves and to others. When a client puts pen to paper or types out thoughts, feelings and emotions, he or she may be able to better address issues that plague him or her. Thus, this will enable a client to know sources of issues and work toward solutions with a licensed mental health professional.

Mental health practitioners can use writing as a form in therapy in a variety of ways including journals, logs, questionnaires and so on. While writing about negative emotions can cause stress in clients, it can also help them get past traumatic experiences and improve mental and physical health. Practitioners focus on telling clients to write about their emotions, as was as more focused thoughts.

For example, if a client went through a very difficult breakup with her abusive ex-boyfriend, then writing could help her forgive herself. She is feeling guilty for certain behaviours during the course of their relationship. Writing about her feelings could help her confront them and better communicate them to someone who can help her. Another example could be that another client is struggling with the loss of his child. He seems to relive the seven stages of grief over and over. Writing in a journal could help him record his feelings, positive and negative, about the experience.

While writing therapy may not work for everyone, studies indicate that writing on a long-term basis helps clients figure out their behavioural patterns and what they can change or keep the same. Kathleen Adams, founder of the Centre for Journal Therapy in Colorado, uses the 79 Cent Therapy approach. She writes key details of her life and everyday happenings and stressors in cheap spiral notebooks. She says this about using writing as therapy: “For nearly 30 years, I’ve had the same therapist. I’ve called on my therapist at 3 a.m., on my wedding day, on a cold and lonely Christmas, on a Bora Bora beach, and in the dentist’s reception room. I can tell this therapist absolutely anything. My therapist listens silently to my most sinister darkness, my most bizarre fantasy, my most cherished dream. And I can scream, whimper, thrash, rage, exult, foam, celebrate. I can be funny, snide, introspective, accusatory, sarcastic, helpless, brilliant, sentimental, profound, caustic, inspirational, opinionated or vulgar. My therapist accepts all of this without comment, judgement, or reprisal.”

Writing is an inexpensive way to unleash your thoughts. Even writing for 15 minutes per day can help clients sort out their thoughts and emotions. Talk with your mental health practitioner or someone online at BetterHelp to sort through your thoughts and emotions and see if writing therapy is a right fit for you.

Guest Post: E-Cigarettes are not the Solution

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Don’t believe the hype, e-cigarettes and vaping devices are not going to help you quit smoking says a new study. Let’s start with the promise first. The idea of e-cigarettes and vaping devices was two-fold. Firstly, they would reduce the amount of toxins and carcinogens inhaled by the user by such an amount to make them almost negative in harmfulness.

Secondly, there was a simple theory of how these devices could be utilised as quitting aids, much in the same way as nicotine patches. This is possible because users can adjust the nicotine dose of each cartridge so they can slowly reduce the amount they inhale. That being said, being able to do this requires a huge amount of will power. Furthermore, evidence is starting to pile up to bust both ‘facts.’

The Reality of E-Cigarettes and Vaping

Let’s take the first point – health. Studies into the long term effects of any kind of medication or substance takes decades and the technology is too new to understand these effects fully – though predictions can be made. However, scientists are able to look at the substances inhaled and exhaled. So far, test results show that while toxic materials are vastly reduced, they are still present. Not only that, but as e-cigarettes and vaping is often allowed in areas traditional cigarettes are not, and that there is no filter, the risks of passive smokers are increased.

A controversial study quoted in Medical News Today says that cancer patients trying to quit are far more nicotine dependent if they use e-cigarettes than those who don’t use them. This report has been criticised, however, for its poor methodology, having been accused of not counting unfavourable data and for a high dropout rate of participants.

The report’s assertion that nicotine reducing tech fails to help users quit the habit within 6 to 12 months is backed up by other studies, and studies into nicotine patches. Furthermore, surveys of American youths has shown that an additional 250,000 teenagers have become nicotine addicted through the appeal and flavors of e-cigarettes and vaping. Other reports suggest a high return to nicotine addiction from former smokers who believe these devices to be harmless.

Therapy is More Effective than E-Cigarettes

To be successful at quitting, users need to have will power. While a few can quit on their own, many need some kind of additional support. It is clear that these devices have commercial appeal and draw in people who think they are less harmful. However, professional counselling is by far the more effective method. Whether this is counselling sessions, group therapy, or even hypnotherapy, studies suggest they present the positive and healthier options for getting nicotine free.

Note: this article has been submitted independently to the UK Therapy Hub. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of the product. Please visit the websites above for further information.

Getting a website for your private practice

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Creating and maintaining a successful website can be a nightmare for the non tech-savvy. Here are our Top 10 Tips to keep you on the right track.

  1. Accept that you need a website. Nowadays, a quick online search is the first port of call for people looking for therapists. So in order to get more clients, you need to have an attractive online presence.
  2. Have a clear objective. What do you want your website to achieve? It is important that you know the answer to this question to help you or the design company to build it. For example, do you want clients to contact you via email, contact form or phone? How many extra clients do you want as a result? What is a priority? What is not? Having clear goals will improve your website’s SEO.
  3. Choose a domain name. Make sure it is relevant, short and easy to remember, and then check it is available to buy with search tools such as Domain Check.
  4. Choose an established hosting provider. Hosting providers rent server space for your website, with a pricing plan that depends on your content requirements, such as pictures and videos, and emails. Choose one who will answer your queries before asking for your money.
  5. Create your website. Depending on how much creative control you want to have, you can choose anything from a DIY website builder with templates, to a fully bespoke designed website. An important thing to consider here is the level of long term support you require. To help you decide which option is best for you, here are some reviews from the Private Practice Hub.
  6. Make sure your website looks professional. There is a reason why some DIY website builders are so cheap. These packages will often make your website look amateurish, and turn off potential clients as a result. To avoid this pitfall, think about how much you are willing to invest in your website and keep the design clear and clean.
  7. Use the right words. Your website needs to be able to attract and hold your visitors’ attention within 5 seconds. The right copywriting will help you do this. Good copy will consider the aim of your website, your target audience, and the benefits of therapy. It will also take a conversational style and appear in short, digestible chunks.
  8. Have a call to action on every page. In other words, prompt your visitors to take action and ‘give me a call on…to find out more’. To make this successful, make sure you provide your contact details on each page too.
  9. Consider social media integration. Like it or not, integrating social media on your website will pull in a wider audience and improve SEO. Most providers will integrate with the standard social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn), but do consider other platforms. For example, is an integrated blog important to you?
  10. Beat the competition. A recent survey found that 20% of therapist respondents do not have a website. It also discovered that 25 % felt their websites didn’t do the job they wanted; 67% didn’t know how many visitors they received; and 30% hadn’t updated their sites for 4 months or more. If you want to get ahead of the crowd, a good website is essential.

Online directories for therapists

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More often than not, marketing is a necessary but frightening concept for those who do not specialise in it. For therapists in private practice, it is crucial to be able to create a strong online presence whilst still dedicating time to the therapy side of your work. This can be a tricky balance to strike.

Nowadays, most potential clients look for therapy by searching online, so if you register your practice in an online directory, you will be contacted by more people than if you use business cards or newspaper ads alone. Plus, once you have signed up, you will save a significant amount of time on marketing and be able to focus on other aspects of your practice.

Registering with general online directories (such as Yell or Freeindex) can be helpful, but many successful therapists in private practice will tell you that therapy specific directories work more to their advantage, in terms of the number of clients that are referred through them.

This is due to the fact that industry-specific online directories have the power to increase your visibility to potential clients through their increased Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In effect, this means that your practice will appear higher up in their Google search results, leading to more prospective clients and increased referrals.

It is also beneficial to register with an online directory that is specific to therapy because it will enhance your reputation by association. If people feel that they can trust your practice, they will be more inclined to contact you.

On the Private Practice Hub website there is a comprehensive list of online directories specifically for therapists, which can be downloaded by becoming a member, free of charge. This includes UK Therapy Hub, an online directory for therapists which lets you have total control of your profile. UK Therapy Hub gives you the space to tell potential clients about your experience and what you can offer them. This will help you to build a connection with potential clients and encourage them to contact you.

Using an online directory like this can make marketing your practice so much simpler, cheaper and more effective – it doesn’t seem like such a frightening prospect after all!