Blog - Embodied Living

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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 group with free online course for anxiety and depression

Are you find that you are suffering mental health issues during the COVID-19 crisis? Do you want relief from the symptoms of anxiety and depression? Anyone with pre-existing anxiety, trauma or OCD is likely to be triggered by everything that is currently happening. In fact the trauma of COVID-19 - loss of control, feeling of [...]

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

“We are born in relationship, we are wounded in relationship, and we must heal in relationship.” Harville Hendrix Whilst we might be living in an era of changing social attitudes, with more people cohabiting prior to getting married, nevertheless this year divorce rates have increased for the first time in a decade. The statistics attribute […]

What is Pesso Boyden system psychotherapy?

PBSP is a body based psychotherapy that identifies deficits from our past that lead to unhepful patterns of thought behaviour or state in the present. This short video gives you a taster. It uses 'tools and techniques such as objects, figures and real human beings to heal the deficits by working on the stage of [...]

Why we need to be brave about suicide

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.aSuicide is terrible. Not least for those who take their own lives but for the friends and family involved who can be left with unbearable feelings of [...]

WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ANGER?

Anger gets a bad rap: what we often experience or think of as anger is something else. Rage is a more primitive and ‘immature’ emotion; it evolves earlier in our development and from a more primitive part of our brain. Whereas anger, in its truest sense (I call it healthy anger), is actually a useful [...]

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 [...]

Individual choice and good enough parenting

Neuroscience and neurobiology are now confirming what we know in our hearts to be true (we don’t need ‘scientific proof’ for everything): that the role of the ‘good enough’ mother in the infants first 3 yrs of life is crucial in right hemisphere brain formation, the development of the ‘self’, self regulation and processing of [...]

Stress: are you coping?

“We were born to be able to be happy in an imperfect world that is endlessly unfolding.” Al Pesso 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. We often get stress mixed up with pressure and use the terms [...]

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. At the turn of this year, a 51 year old woman was shot dead outside her house in Newport, Shropshire, by a man she knew. This type of headline is, sadly, all too common and is often the culmination of [...]

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

A true sign of a weak ego self is when someone does not like confrontation or conflict. When we are secure in our self, we are less bothered about what others think, or less preoccupied with others liking us. Paradoxically this takes a strong ego, so we need to build the scaffolding of the ego [...]

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 [...]

WHAT IS DEPRESSION? THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Depression has a range of meanings from a general sense of unhappiness and meaninglessness to persistent changes of mood and feelings, to psychosis (Hale & Davies, 2009). Depression is classed as an affective disorder involving a prolonged and fundamental disturbance of mood and emotions (Cross & McIlveen, 1996) which is associated with changes of behaviour [...]

Mindfulness-based Integral Yoga and Trauma

We can begin to see many ways in which a certain type of yoga with a sensitive teacher and some considerations for a trauma sensitive practise, can be helpful in trauma recovery. Effective treatment for trauma needs to involve: Learning to tolerate feelings and sensations by increasing capacity for interoception. This will strengthen hypocampal and [...]

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 [...]

Don’t forget the mind

We know intuitively that emotional suffering can be experienced as physical pain, but many times it is difficult for a person to sort out how emotional distress plays a role in the experience of physical pain, and if it does, what to do about it. The words “to feel” are used to describe both physical [...]

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 [...]