Blog - Embodied Living

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How to put the brake on in trauma

In order to help with the symptoms of trauma we need to think of the trauma response as being an accelerator. I often remind my clients that trauma is something our body does. Our body has floored the accelerator pedal (so to speak) and we have forgotten that we even have a brake. Trauma as [...]

Why We Cheat During a Crisis

During a crisis situation, like Covid-19, our tendency to take risks can increase. Trauma can trigger states where risky behaviour has a kind of softening effect on the crisis we are experiencing. Invariably, it can also make us feel more alive. However cheating on our partner only brings us more problems in the long run. [...]

Regulating emotional arousal states

As we cope with the change of Covid-19 we might find our selves in strange states of emotional upheaval. Regulating our emotional arousal levels is a skill we can learn. You might be coping and working, and perhaps you are even busy. But you might find yourself alternating between anxiety and tiredness, overwhelm and lack […]

What to do when fear is all around

As we enter our eighth week of COVID-19 lockdown, fear is all around us. Not least is the concern about contagion and illness caused in humans by this strand of RNA that we have called coronavirus. Then there is the financial stress and concerns about our mental health during the isolation of the crisis. We […]

How a crisis is the end of an illusion

When we are in the throes of our problem, whether that be anxiety or depression or some other disturbance, it can be difficult to see it as something other than a terrible crisis that is afflicting us. A 'right brain' way of seeing In this respect our very way of seeing the problem perpetuates the problem. Being in the [...]

Help with burnout is different to depression

Before COVID-19 struck, burnout was on the increase. Carers and people in positions of responsibility are more at risk. A friend of mine recently went on holiday and had to spend 48 hours in A&E because he collapsed with exhaustion. He recently told me, ‘as the MD I am the lifeblood of the business, if [...]

How conflict anxiety means we don’t speak up

Conflict anxiety is rife. In my experience, most people have some fear of conflict. In fact, some will go to any length to avoid it. Why we dislike conflict In its essence, conflict necessitates that we be seen. If we take a stand to speak up for what we don't agree with, we risk being [...]

How to cope with trauma in COVID-19

We are all in the middle of a trauma situation right now. Some are coping, others are not doing so well. This has nothing to do with how ‘strong’ or otherwise we are. This is about more than having ‘mental health issues’. Trauma has an effect on all of us and if we don’t have [...]

Stop worrying is all about attitude

Many of us realise we worry too much. In fact nine out of 10 of us describe ourselves as worriers. And we spend nearly 2 hours a day worrying. It goes without saying that we want to stop worrying. Yet we often don't realise how important attitude is in determining our success and happiness in [...]

Opening the doors of perception with Yoga Nidra

Have you ever fancied achieving a blissful state of altered consciousness without having to rely on a trip of the chemical kind? Do you want to expand the capacity of your mind? Learn without effort? Reduce your inhibitions and improve your memory? Did you know that you can reach this altered state of consciousness and [...]

Breathe out to truly relax

Relaxation is literally about letting go. Nevertheless this needs to happen on three levels for us to fully relax. We need to relax on the physical, emotional and mental levels. Once we achieve this the benefits of relaxation are immense. The benefits of relaxation The benefits of true and deep relaxation include: more energy less [...]

Energy management is more important than time management

What is our most precious commodity? It’s our energy. Energy management is more important than time management.  How we nurture and manage our precious energy is not only important for our health and vitality now, but it will ensure that as we grow older we will do so with vigour and vitality.   The source [...]

How Psychotherapy Can Help with Depression

If we want help with depression we need to understand the link between depression and sense of self. From the moment we are born, the development of a sense of self does not occur in isolation. Indeed its secrets lie in the complexities of the right hemisphere of our brain. Furthermore this evolution occurs through [...]

How breathing practices can help with anxiety

The way we breathe can increase our anxiety levels considerably. Recently I have been working a lot with clients who have a high degree of anxiety. Their symptoms range from panic, over worrying, phobias, chest pains, blurred vision, impaired ability to think clearly, headaches, inability to focus, loss of memory, muscle pain, dizziness and sleep [...]

Panic Attacks are Not What you Think

I estimate that one in every 10 people who come to me are suffering from panic attacks. They think they are going mad and berate themselves for feeling out of control. Yet panic attacks are not what you think. They are a stimulus-response circuit that your body has learnt. I have suffered from them myself. […]

Why coherent breathing is crucial and how to do it

In yoga we use breathing as a fundamental tool in both posture work and more overtly through the practice of pranyama (breathing practices). There is a way to breathe – known as coherent breathing – where we can synchronise heart rate and even blood flow, with respiration. This process happens when we are breathing slowly [...]

New Online Course to Help You Cope Through the COVID-19 Crisis

Are you suffering during this COVID-19 crisis? Do you feel low and would like a more mindful approach to help you cope? Are you feeling more anxious and want to learn practical coping techniques? Anyone with pre-existing anxiety, trauma or OCD is likely to be triggered by everything that is currently happening. In fact the [...]

Panic Attacks: A Matter of Conditioning

Panic attacks are disabling and can have a significant effect on limiting people’s lives. In a recent post on panic disorder, I looked at the underlying sympathetic nervous system response and how yoga and mindfulness practices can help. From a psychotherapeutic perspective, I find that when people have some education about the process of panic attacking […]

Why older people don’t get help with mental health problems

“Everybody’s better off for a bit of psychotherapy”, says Henry Marsh, leading British neurosurgeon, who is 68 this year. Recent statistics drawn from the UK population shows that older people experience more mental health problems such as anxiety or depression. Yet many people over 60 never seek psychotherapeutic help and it is estimated that 85% […]

Online therapy during Covid19

In light of the Covid-19 lockdown announced by the Prime Minister last night I am currently only offering online sessions. I have been working therapeutically online with people for many years. I will set up an online meeting that can include both audio and video and send you a link and a password. It is [...]

Our Covid-19 Policy

We are living in unprecedented times as covid-19 spreads faster than our UK government expected. Many of us are scared and anxious as we see our lives and the lives of loved ones drastically altered by this unseen enemy. Even before the pandemic, levels of anxiety and depression were high so it is important to [...]

The loss of a pet can hit us badly

I had to have my cat put to sleep recently. His illness was sudden, aggressive and short, mercifully. He was a loving companion for 15 years and these last couple of weeks I have felt the normal range of emotions we experience with grief: depressed, lacking in energy, guilt, anger, moments of disbelief expecting him […]

Why our intimate relationships hold the key to our growth

Long term relationships are not easy yet it is precisely these relationships that hold the key our growth. “We are born in relationship, we are wounded in relationship, and we must heal in relationship.” Harville Hendrix Changing attitudes We are living in an era of changing social attitudes, with more people cohabiting prior to getting […]

What is Pesso Boyden system psychotherapy?

Pesso Boyden System psychotherapy (PBSP) is a body based psychotherapy. It identifies deficits from our past that lead to unhelpful patterns of thought behaviour or state in the present. Tools and techniques PBPS psychotherapy uses 'tools and techniques such as objects, figures and real human beings to heal the deficits by working on the stage [...]

Why we need to be brave about suicide

Suicide is terrible but we need to talk bravely about it. It is terrible for those who take their own lives and also for the friends and family involved. Leaving others with impossible feelings Those left behind in suicide can experience unbearable feelings of guilt. These ‘whys’ and ‘what ifs’ can seem almost impossible to [...]

WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ANGER?

Anger gets a bad rap: we might be scared of our own or others anger. Or we might use it as a weapon to control others. However what we often experience or think of as anger is something else. More primitive, but important Rage is a more primitive and ‘immature’ emotion. It evolves earlier in [...]

WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT MEN’S VIOLENCE

Violence begets violence. Abuse begets abuse. As children, up to 37% of boys and 52% of girls are sexually abused by an adult 96 of whom are men. Almost all of these men have poor parent-child attachments in their own childhood (a serious relational trauma triggering a 'rage' or 'anger' cycle), and often have been [...]

The Simple Life

Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. ~ Thoreau I live by Thoreau's motto: 'I love a broad margin to my life'. I sort by space! If there's not enough space I feel stressed which tells me [...]

Resilience is about being able to tolerate opposites

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Crack-Up” (1936) When I was a 19 year old student with ‘know thyself’ in huge letters on my chemistry lever arch file, I [...]

When the Good Enough Mother Goes Wrong

Neuroscience and neurobiology are now confirming what we know in our hearts to be true. That the role of the ‘good enough’ mother in the infants first 3 yrs of life is crucial in right hemisphere brain formation. Development of self This attunement that generally happens between mother and infant in the first few months [...]

How are you coping with stress?

Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) this year runs from 14-20 May and the focus is on stress and how we are coping with it. Coping with stress begins with understanding. We often get stress mixed up with pressure and use the terms interchangeably. However, they are two quite different things. Understanding stress vs pressure It [...]

The psychological risks and strains that acting puts on performers

It's not hard to imagine that acting is an inherently rewarding profession. It gives the performer a chance to perfect their art, they receive recognition and adulation and are loved by us all after all their performances keep millions of us entertained and offers escapism from stressful lives. However have you ever thought about the [...]

How to Be Happy

Happiness is not what you think! Many of us are trying to make ourselves happy in all kinds of ways. We chase love. We are looking to find ‘the one’ – the one person whom we feel will complete us or make our lives fulfilled. Or perhaps we are busy achieving and doing, collecting goals [...]

Coercive control is the hidden side of domestic abuse

Coercive, manipulative and controlling behaviour can be insidious in a relationship and often goes unreported. Here is an article that I first wrote for Psychologies Magazine LifeLabs Domestic abuse is an all too common story in the news: a woman is killed by a man she knew. This type of case can be the ultimate [...]

Resolving Guilt and Letting Go of Being Strong

Have you ever experienced a pervasive sense of guilt or perhaps a tendency to take too much on? Perhaps you worry too much about how others are feeling? We can have a pattern of being strong or being the one that others turn to, yet this comes at the expense of being able to accept [...]

THE SIX STEPS TO POWER, FREEDOM AND JOY

“Everyone must believe in something. I believe I’ll go canoeing.” Thoreau It seems that I am in good company with my love of kayaking. Jeff Brown, Henry David Thoreau, Ray Mears all appreciate the power of this activity. After waking up today feeling down, I heard a little voice inside telling me I needed to [...]

RESILIENCE: OWNING OUR POWER

Did you ever see in yourself, or another, a fear of power? Power has such negative connotations: anger, rage, aggression, controlling, authoritarian. Yet when we are genuinely powerful we are confident, both in our abilities and in our interpersonal relationships; we feel in control of the world around us, our lives and we are more [...]

Psychotherapy to help you overcome your fears of conflict

Most of us are uncomfortable with conflict. How to handle conflict is vital in all our relationships. Yet when someone does not like confrontation or conflict it can be a sign of a weak ego self. Conflict needs a strong ego When we are secure in our self, we are less bothered about what others [...]

Hypnotherapy in Stafford can help you to relax

For anyone in Stafford or surrounding area who needs to learn to relax and calm their anxiety, hypnotherapy can be a good way to start. Anxiety can have many origins. Often we think it is genetic but that is often far from the case. There is what can seem a surprising link between anxiety and [...]

Perspective on happiness from counselling and psychotherapy

According to a 2017 article in The Independent we are happiest in our 50s, the 'nifty 50s' they call it. It seems the over-50’s are happier, wealthier and more carefree than they ever have been. Personally I think that 'wealth' has a part to play, financial freedom can contribute much towards this chimerical notion of [...]

The Signs of Depression

The signs of depression vary from a general sense of unhappiness and meaninglessness to persistent changes of mood and feelings, and to psychosis (Hale & Davies, 2009). Whilst depression can have a deep impact on our lives, it can be helped with therapy. Depression is classed as an affective disorder involving a prolonged and fundamental [...]

How Yoga Is More Effective for Treating Trauma than Any Medication

Trauma and its symptoms are more prevalent in society than is often thought. Nevertheless, yoga may be one of the best treatments to help with trauma. What is trauma and how can yoga help? Trauma happens when we have an experience that we struggle to process. It can feel too overwhelming as we experience negative [...]

Free PBSP personal development workshop for men

We need men! On Sunday 12 November, I’m offering men the opportunity to learn how to listen to the wisdom of their bodies, change unhelpful, emotional states or patterns in their behaviour. Workshop I will be running a free personal development workshop (What the Body Knows) which will help delegates understand what their bodies have [...]

A Little Help to Regain Order and Peace of Mind

Have you ever realised what a crazy monkey your brain is? Have you ever been still enough to realise what tricks it gets up to and what considerable energy it uses? Constantly commenting on this or that. Putting interpretations on things, making judgements – good or bad, right or wrong, like or dislike, nice or [...]

What the body knows about our happiness in Pesso Boyden system psychotherapy

Our bodies know more about our happiness and the things that have happened to us in our lives than our conscious minds are aware of. Pesso Boyden system psychotherapy can help you tap into this wisdom. The body holds the negative We may notice tension or tightness, and have no awareness of what's triggered it. [...]

Principles of the Pesso Boyden System (PBSP) of psychotherapy

Many of us, from time to time, question who we really are. We may have moments where we feel we are truly being our ‘self’ and other times where we sense we are putting on a mask or a front. Pesso Boyden System psychotherapy (PBSP) will help you become more true to our self and [...]

Bring your feet together in yoga to pull towards your centre

Our bodies and our minds are intimately connected and how we use our bodies has an impact – positive or negative – on our mind. If we are suffering from anxiety, depression or symptoms of trauma such as numbness or dissociation, practising standing postures can help to ground us and bring us into our bodies [...]

Relationships and our sense of self

Relationships are one of the most important things in a person’s life. Yet all relationships reach a difficult phase at some point. This is where couples therapy can really help. As human beings, a sense of connection is one of the ‘fruits’ of a happy life, vitally important to our happiness. We need connection No [...]

It’s Official: Summer is the happiest time of the year!

The time of the year in which most people are happiest is summer, because of the brighter blue skies, warmer temperatures and longer days. Back in 2015, nearly 150 adults aged 18 to 74 participated in a revealing study, which asked them to reflect on their own personal happiness over the course of the seasons [...]

The desperate root of addiction

The cause of addiction can see obvious. We are living in a world that fosters it. We are addicted to our smart phones, to social media to TV, to exercise. Addiction serves a purpose: it keeps us out of our feelings, it keeps us safe. In addiction we are being controlled (by the substance or [...]

Be your happy

As humans, we make choices every day. Some of those increase our happiness. Others seem to defy logic and go against our wishes. Life doesn't always go the way we want Our lives don’t always look the way we want them to. Perhaps we find ourselves spending days in a job we hate when we [...]

How to sleep better like a baby

We sleep to restore and rest the body and mind. If we can learn to sleep better there are many benefits. The brain organises and integrates memories during sleep. And dreaming sleep can be an important way for the unconscious to process events and difficult emotions. Lack of sleep can affect our daytime functioning, hormonal [...]

Is it really ‘never too late to have a happy childhood’?

“it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” It’s an old adage from neurolinguistic programming (NLP), and it was Richard Bandler, the co-founder of NLP, who said it. It was controversial at the time; and of course we are entering the realms of magical thinking if we think we can change the past. We cannot [...]

The 5 Life Tasks to live the life you were born to live

That sense of ‘living the life you were born to live’ runs deep in our human psyche. It resounds with all of us, on some level. Have you ever watched ‘The Sound of Music’? I hadn’t until today. I had sat down to write a blog post and got completely absorbed in this wonderful film. [...]

How to choose a psychotherapist

I believe that psychotherapy is a key part of any transformational programme. It is not just for ‘clinical’ level of problems such as anxiety or depression. Anyone who wants to better themselves, to become the best person they can be, will benefit from psychotherapy. It is the nature of our mind (unconscious mind) to protect [...]

The war on trauma

Trauma and its symptoms are more prevalent in society than is often thought. Nearly half of us, that is about 6 of every 10 (or 60%) of men and 5 of every 10 (or 50%) of women experience at least one trauma in their lives. About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or [...]

Abuse from a psychotherapeutic perspectiv

Abuse is more prevalent than we realise in our society. Parents abuse children, husbands abuse their wives, women bully and abuse other women at work and children abuse children. There are three general categories of abuse: Physical abuse: physical beatings where damaging blows to the victims’ body are experienced Sexual abuse: unwanted sexual relationship or [...]

Developing a healthy relationship with anger

Many of us have an unhealthy relationship with anger: we flip between occasionally or often blowing our top or being scared of our own anger and trying our best to suppress or avoid it. I call this Anger (capital 'A'), it either blows outward in 'hot rage' or goes deep inward, buried as 'cold rage'. [...]

Low self esteem? It’s not what you might think

People often come to therapy wanting help with low self worth or lack of self esteem. They might call it low self confidence and then look a little puzzled and say, ‘but I am confident in some areas’. Self esteem and self confidence seem to be two separate, and often mutually exclusive, things. But the [...]

The yogic approach to depression

Depression, anxiety and stress are all interrelated. Perhaps it starts with stress. We get ‘stressed’. This may be chronic (long term consistent level), or acute (short term intense spike) or both (ie acute on top of chronic). This stress affects our breathing, compromises our immune system and puts our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) into overdrive. [...]

What lies beneath panic attacks?

So What Lies Beneath Panic Disorder/Attacks? Rather than a ‘mental disorder’ this is a disorder of our system. A fault in the operating system, like a virus on the hard drive. It is a product of living in a chronic emergency mode of attention: the sympathetic nervous system is in permanent overdrive. Like a car [...]

How to help anxiety by changing your breathing

Do you realised how anxiety is linked to breathing and how by changing your breathing you can help your anxiety. Recently I have been working a lot with clients who have a high degree of anxiety. Their symptoms range from panic, over worrying, phobias, chest pains, blurred vision, impaired ability to think clearly, headaches, inability [...]

The Emotional Roots of Pain

We know intuitively that emotional suffering can be experienced as physical pain. Nevertheless, it is difficult for a person to understand how emotional distress plays a role in the experience of physical pain, and if it does, what to do about it. How we feel pain and emotions The words “to feel” are used to [...]

Worrying is all about attitude

“Attitude is very consequential stuff. It determines everything one does, from falling in love to voting for one candidate rather than another” ~ Anthony Grayling, philosopher Many of us realise how important attitude is in determining our success and happiness in life. We may also realise that, with the wrong attitude, we can spend a [...]