Breakthrough Counselling

Going through a tough time? Here’s how to boost your resilience

determined child wearing boxing gloves

Life has a habit of throwing obstacles in our path, often when we’re least expecting them. Loss and misfortune may impact your life, but you can control how you react to these events.  Whatever challenge you’re facing, boosting your emotional resilience can help you weather the storm.

What is emotional resilience?

Resilience isn’t about pushing yourself to get over adversity before you’re ready. And it doesn’t mean you should cope with difficulties without being affected by them.

Actually, being resilient means you’re able to acknowledge your emotions, and respond in a constructive way. With self-awareness and self-care, you can adapt to challenging situations without being overwhelmed.

While it might seem that some people are more resilient than others, resilience is something you can learn. And as you find yourself adapting more easily to new events, your resilience will increase over time.

Here are some ways you can boost your resilience:

Recognise that what you’re struggling with is valid, whatever it is

Do you feel you shouldn’t be affected by an issue because it isn’t ‘bad enough’ in comparison with global events? And even when a real crisis does arise, do you impose limits on how quickly you should recover?

Denying your feelings won’t make you more resilient; in fact, doing this can make it more difficult to heal. Instead, acknowledge how you’re feeling. If something is causing you distress, it’s real, and you have the right to allow yourself time to adjust.

Recognise your own strengths – how you’re resilient already

Chances are you’ve been through difficult times before, and you’ve got yourself through them. You probably already have more coping skills than you realise.

If you find yourself dwelling on your perceived weaknesses, focus on your achievements instead. Psychologist Meg Jay suggests you ask yourself this question: ‘’What were the three toughest times in my life? How did I get through those things?’’ Remind yourself of the strengths you already possess, and you’ll be able to make use of them again.

Achieve a work-life balance

Do you spend all your time and energy at work, or looking after others?  If our lives are out of balance this can leave us permanently stressed and exhausted. If this sounds familiar, it can be helpful to set aside some ‘me time’.

The mental health charity Mind suggests devoting some of your day to activities you enjoy. You could start a new hobby, or try relaxation techniques. Regular mental breaks such as meditation and even daydreaming can also boost your mental wellbeing.

Build a support network

You don’t have to cope with bad times alone. Studies have shown knowing when to ask for help is a trait resilient people tend to possess.

Talking about your challenges with family or friends can help you gain perspective over them. Discussing your problems can help you find solutions, too. If you’d prefer to do this in confidence, seeking therapy is an effective way to gain a deeper understanding of your emotions – and uncover coping strategies.

Look after your physical health

It’s easy to forget to look after ourselves if we’re stressed, perhaps turning to comfort food or alcohol to make us feel better. But this puts pressure on your immune system at a time when it’s already under strain. By adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can boost your energy and recover more quickly.

Exercise and a healthy diet have been shown to reduce stress. Even a short walk in nature can help to improve your wellbeing. And if you’re having trouble sleeping, try relaxation techniques before bed.

Learn to be OK with change

Having flexibility is a great way to boost your resilience. Accepting change as part of life means you’re more likely to adapt when the unexpected happens.

Seeing positives or opportunities in change will help, too. Resilient people tend to find a silver lining when something causes the loss of long-term plans or goals. It’s been found that some very resilient people are able to see positives even during tragic situations.

Make decisions, and act on them

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, rather than hoping the problem will go away, try making decisions that will help resolve the problem – then act on them.

These decisions don’t have to be perfect, and they don’t have to fix everything all at once, either. You can start by making small decisive actions to improve your day. You’ll feel the benefit of taking control, and you’ll find bigger decisions will become easier to make over time.

Practice gratitudelady writing in notebook

Being grateful for loved ones and positives in your life will help you stay optimistic, even during adverse situations. Gratitude boosts serotonin, a hormone that relieves stress, promotes happiness and a feeling of connection with others.

Keeping a gratitude journal will help you acknowledge things that you might normally take for granted. If you’re too busy to write in detail, try jotting down 3 things you’re grateful for each day.

I hope these tips help you overcome whatever difficulties you’re going through. Your resilience is something you can build on, and as you deal with new challenges you might find yourself getting stronger and more confident, too. With these skills, you can learn to live your life to the fullest.

Would you like someone to talk to?

If you’re going through a difficult time and would like to talk to someone, you’re welcome to get in touch with me. I’m a trained counsellor and hypnotherapist, and I offer online and telephone counselling to people across the UK. I also have a quiet therapy room for face-to-face counselling in Manchester.

Useful links

National Counselling Society – the professional association for counsellors has a national directory of qualified therapists, searchable by area.

Shutterfly – has inspiring tips for making a gratitude journal.

Mind – the charity’s website has practical advice on boosting resilience and managing stress.

The Samaritans – is a free helpline offering support to anyone in distress. It’s run by trained volunteers and it’s open 24/7.

Fight the fear: 7 ways to overcome anxiety

Do you often feel overwhelmed with worry? Do you find yourself feeling panicky, or have trouble sleeping? If this sounds familiar, you may have anxiety. And you’re not alone: anxiety affects one in five people in the UK.

As a therapist I understand how difficult life can be if you have anxiety, and I want you to know you can overcome it. Read on to find out more about anxiety and the steps you can take to recover.

What is anxiety?

We all get anxious sometimes. It’s a natural response that puts our mind and body in ‘fight or flight’ mode and helps us react faster to potential challenges. But if we feel anxious very often or very severely, this impacts our quality of life.

Because anxiety affects the way you think, everyday situations may seem dangerous. You might avoid certain people or places, or stay late at work to check you haven’t made a mistake. Anxiety causes physical changes too, which aren’t dangerous in themselves but can feel very unpleasant and scary.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

Anxiety can be experienced in lots of different ways. Sometimes there’s a specific trigger, like fear about health or social situations. Some people are affected by extreme worry with no clear cause, which might be diagnosed as generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). PTSD, panic disorder and OCD are also kinds of anxiety.

Symptoms vary from person to person, and can include:

  • Pounding heart
  • Sweating and shaking
  • Tight chest and difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Panic attacks
  • Intense worry or fear, feeling of dread
  • Trouble sleeping or bad dreams
  • Avoiding certain people or places, or feeling like you have to escape from them
  • Feeling disconnected from yourself or your surroundings
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Fatigue or exhaustion

How to overcome your anxiety

Too often, people live with anxiety for months or even years without getting the help they deserve. But the good news it’s actually very treatable. Although your anxiety won’t disappear completely there are ways you can reduce it, and take back control.

Different things work for different people, so you may want to choose the options you feel drawn to and leave the rest for another time.

1. Reach out

Fear can make you feel disconnected from other people, but talking about your fears can make them lose their intensity. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone close to you, you could call a helpline (I’ve listed some at the end of this post).

Seeing your GP is a good idea if your anxiety is very severe or having a profound impact on your life. Your doctor may diagnose a specific type of anxiety, and offer treatment tailored to you. This might include a self-help course, referral to therapy, or a medication to help you relax.

2. Learn relaxation techniques

Breathing exercises are a simple way to relax you, and you can do them anywhere. They can help you feel calmer even if you’re in the grip of a panic attack. Regular breathing exercises can help prevent future attacks too.

Anxiety often involves worry over events in the past or the future, and many people find meditation helps them focus on the present moment, stopping worries from spiralling.

Some people find keeping busy works better to stay calm. If this helps you, give yourself time for activities you enjoy, or try something new. Being creative, gardening or volunteering can all distract your mind from worry, and keep you focussed on the present.

3. Set aside worry time

It might sound strange, but setting aside half an hour every day to address your worries can actually reduce your anxiety.

It’s often really hard not to worry when you have anxiety, but having a set ‘worry time’ means you’re giving yourself permission to spend the rest of the day without worrying. Schedule your half hour for the same time every day – and as worries occur to you, make a note of them in a journal, so you can address them later.

Writing down your worries can be helpful in itself – you gain perspective over your worries rather than getting caught up reflecting on them. You might also find your worries have resolved themselves by the time your half hour arrives.

4. Go to therapy

There are different kinds of therapy that can resolve anxiety, and some people find a combination of approaches effective. Here’s how therapy can help you:

Person centred counselling works by providing a safe space for you to talk openly, in confidence and without being judged. Counselling can help you explore why you feel anxious and identify the cause of your anxiety, so you can come to terms with it and move on.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy works by helping you identify negative thoughts and replace them with realistic ones. Your therapist will give you exercises to practice outside of the session to challenge negative thoughts. You can use these exercises as long-term coping strategies.

Hypnotherapy allows you to visualise scenarios you would normally find challenging while in a very relaxed state. The therapist offers calming words or ‘suggestions’ to replace your negative feelings. Because you’re so relaxed, you’re very receptive to these suggestions and they help you feel calm outside therapy.

5. Get a health boost

Studies have shown exercise (especially aerobic exercise) reduces anxiety and improves self-esteem. Choose an activity you enjoy – and you’re more likely to keep doing it. Exercise will help you sleep better, too. Just make sure you exercise more than 3 hours before bed, otherwise the hormones released during exercise could keep you awake. 

Diet can also have an impact on anxiety levels. Swapping processed food for healthy meals can help relieve your anxiety. Try limiting how much caffeine and alcohol you drink, as these can actually increase anxiety.

6. Question your negative thoughts

Anxiety distorts the way we think, causing us to make negative assumptions. For example a friend not answering your call leading to the assumption that he or she is avoiding you on purpose. These thoughts lead to others, until we see the world and ourselves in a very negative way.

It’s helpful to notice negative thoughts as they arise, and consider whether they’re facts, or something you’re assuming. If it’s an assumption not based on fact, consider alternatives: ‘perhaps my friend was too busy to answer the phone’. This breaks your negative script, so you feel calmer and happier.

7. Face your fear

It’s normal to avoid situations we find frightening but this can cause our fear to increase. If you confront your fear in a safe environment, it will diminish.

This might sound daunting! But the trick is to tackle your fear gradually. Start by making a list of scary scenarios, then order them from least to most scary. For example, if you’re scared of dogs, looking at pictures of dogs might be least scary, while petting one would be at the end of your list.

Confront the least scary situation until your fear eases. When you’re ready, move on to the next one, and so on. When confronting a situation it’s important to wait until your fear response goes away, so you no longer associate it with being scared.  If your anxiety is severe, you may want to seek advice from your therapist or GP beforehand, so you’ve got support in place if you need it.

How I can help

If you’re affected by anxiety, or you would like someone to talk to, you’re very welcome to get in touch with me. I’m a qualified person centred counsellor and hypnotherapist. I’m here to support you in confidence, whatever you’re going through. I offer face to face counselling in Manchester, and online or telephone counselling across the UK.

Useful links

NCS – the professional association for counsellors has a national directory you can search to find qualified therapists in your area.

Mind – has practical information about anxiety disorders. There’s also a good directory of self-help apps you can download to your phone, including ones to tackle anxiety.

The Samaritans – is a free helpline run by trained volunteers, open 24/7

Anxiety UK – is a charity to help people affected by anxiety. There’s the option to access resources like online therapy by becoming a member. The website has a directory of local self-help groups.

No Panic – is a charity for those affected by anxiety and panic attacks. Their homepage has a crisis message you can access 24/7 to relieve an ongoing panic attack. They also have a specialist helpline.


What is counselling, and can it help me heal?

Are you going through a difficult time? Are considering counselling as a solution for you or someone you know? I understand seeking therapy can feel daunting, and perhaps you’re not sure if it’s the right step. The good news is counselling can help with many difficulties, and as a trained counsellor I’ve seen first-hand how it improves lives.

To help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you, I’ll explain how counselling can benefit you, and what to expect during your first session.

What is counselling?

When you go to counselling, you’re invited to talk through your problems with a trained therapist. It’s sometimes called ‘talking therapy’. The therapist will listen attentively to whatever you need to discuss. He or she will never judge you, but will always seek to understand your point of view.

Everything you say during counselling is confidential so you’re free to talk openly. The therapist won’t tell you what to do, but will offer insights and observations to help you understand your feelings. Over time, you begin to recognise and change unhelpful patterns of thought or behaviour.

Often people struggle in silence because they think their problems aren’t severe enough to deserve getting help. But actually counselling can help with a wide range of issues. Whoever you are, and whatever has happened in your life, you do have the right to get counselling.

Counselling is usually held face-to-face in a quiet setting. But you can also attend group sessions. Online and telephone counselling options are becoming more popular and can be a good alternative if you find it difficult to travel.

Why is counselling so effective?

Many of us have busy lives, under pressure to succeed at work or to take care of others. You might feel unable to express your feelings in front of family or friends because you don’t want them to worry. Often we feel pressure to be ‘OK’ and bottle up our feelings because we don’t want to distress others, or be judged for not coping.

Having this time set aside just for you can very helpful. Some people find they feel a little better straightaway when given the space to talk openly.

And as you get clarity about why you feel the way you do, you also begin to accept these feelings, and discover new ways to cope with them.

In this way counselling doesn’t just help you with a specific problem, it can improve your overall well-being, help you become happier – and cope with new challenges, too.

What issues does counselling help to resolve?

Counselling is effective for resolving many issues, including mental health problems, difficult emotions, distress caused by physical illness, and upsetting or traumatic experiences.

A counsellor will seek to understand how issues impact you as an individual, rather than focussing on the issues themselves. This means you can resolve the underlying cause of your distress instead of  just treating the symptoms.

Maybe you have a deep-seated feeling that something is wrong, but you’re not sure why. Counselling will help you identify the reason your distress.

Some issues that counselling help you recover from include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Abuse
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sexual assault
  • Bereavement
  • Stress

What happens during a counselling session?

A counselling session usually lasts for 50 minutes or an hour. Your counsellor will suggest a certain number of sessions to start with, and you can review this together later on. Because it’s important you feel comfortable with your therapist, your first session is a friendly chat so you can get to know each other.

During the first session you can explain what you’d like to achieve from counselling, and the therapist will explain how he or she will help and show you guidelines, so you’re clear about how the therapy will work.

It’s perfectly natural to feel a bit nervous at first but your therapist will put you at ease. Your sessions won’t end abruptly either; the therapist will let you know when you’ve a few minutes left so you’ve time to collect your thoughts.

You might start by talking about what’s troubling you now, and as the sessions progress you might find yourself talking about your relationships with others, or old memories.

Sometimes the counselling process can be difficult, as intense feelings or memories can rise to the surface. The therapist is trained to support you through these intense feelings, and he or she will help you come to terms with them.

By getting things out in the open, and with the counsellor’s insights you can gain a new perspective on your life. You begin to discover the inner strength you possess to overcome your difficulties.

I hope this has helped you learn a little more about counselling, and whether it’s right for you. If you’d like to find out more, you’re very welcome to get in touch with me.

Get in touch

I’m a qualified counsellor and hypnotherapist, and I’m here to help if you’re having a difficult time. I offer face-to-face counselling in Manchester city centre, and online or telephone counselling across the UK.

If you feel you would benefit from counselling or need someone to talk to, please feel free to get in touch.

Helpful links

The counselling directory – to search for counsellors in your area; also helpful articles on mental health.

NHS counselling – for information on counselling via the NHS

BACP – this is the professional association for counsellors, which has a directory so you can search for accredited members in your area.

The Samaritans – Is a free helpline staffed by trained volunteers who listen and offer support, whatever’s distressing you. It’s open 24 hours.



Are you hiding your depression?

Are the following resonating with you?

  1. constantly feeling tired
  2. feel like you have no energy left to to do daily chores
  3. not wanting to socialise
  4. Using alcohol and substances a lot
  5. Suicidal thoughts

These are all signs of depression, which can be masked or denied. Are you stunned, surprised thinking I have everything, and I shouldn’t being this way.

Depression is a feeling which surpasses culture, religion, social status etc. We are all unique, and have different life experiences which make up us. If we are feeling depressed remember there is always as a cause and a reason. This can be childhood abuse, domestic abuse, bullying etc. It is well known that these issues can cause depression. I feel I also need to point out, that depression can hit you at any point, even after the incidences.

Have you heard the term “ the grass in greener on the other side”. This applies to us all, so if you have heard people saying that “ your life is perfect, what do you have to feel depressed about”, this is that saying. Hearing comments like that, tends to make us close of, and turn inwards, preventing us from ever confiding in anyone in fear of ridicule.  

The truth is, nobody is in your shoes, and they cannot comment. Always remember that people don’t know the true you, only you do. If you have been suffering for a long period of time, you become an expert on hiding your hurt, so no one knows.

Does this mean that you can’t tell anyone ? The answer is definitely no, below I have listed ways you can speak to someone.

Your Best Friend/Childhood Friend – confiding is best done with close friends only, who have known you your whole life, and have seen some of the things you have been through. This will them ensure that you are believed.

See your doctor – Sometimes depression may be due to a medical factor, and then they will be able to help you to understand you have a medical condition. If you  self harm, have alcohol and substance abuse addictions, are suffering from suicidal thoughts that are persistent then you need to tell your GP.

Look for help – there are now quite a lot of help available out there offering help – this could be ringing a help line, or accessing a counsellor who can offer help either face to face, Skype, telephone.

How can I help

I can offer you a place to talk, where you will be believed. I can help you find the route cause of your depression and aim to help you find a way to alter your thoughts, so you can lead a fuller life.

My services are accessible to all. I  offer counselling via telephone, face to face, skype.

If you would like to contact me, please click here

How to cope after losing your baby

Jewel heart on stone background

If you’re here because you or someone you know has lost a baby, I’m so sorry. Any bereavement is painful, but the loss of a child is devastating. Whatever the age of your child, and whatever the circumstances, having to bury a child is out of the natural order of things. It’s the most difficult thing a parent can face.

Losing your baby early in pregnancy can be just as heart-breaking because you form a close bond with your child as soon as you find out about the pregnancy. You imagine your future as a new parent and your child growing up, and with the loss of your baby your dreams and expectations are lost too.

There’s no wrong way to feel

After losing a baby you can be affected by intense emotional and physical reactions. You could feel an intense need to hold and care for your baby. You could be struggling with shock and disbelief if your child died unexpectedly.

Often the grief can make it hard to remember things and make decisions. You might find yourself feeling very angry or very guilty. Sometimes there’s a strain on close relationships as family members are grieving in different ways.

All this is normal, and there’s no ‘wrong’ way to feel.

I know it can seem like there’s no way to move on. But you have the strength to survive the loss of your child, and there are steps you can take to begin to heal.

Things you can do to help you cope

Everyone’s grief is different – you don’t have to try all these things, but you can choose the suggestions you think will be helpful for you.

Allow yourself time 

Accept that you will need time to come to terms with your loss. Giving yourself time to grieve isn’t a sign of weakness, it means you’re confronting very difficult emotions and this takes courage.

Don’t be too hard on yourself, or pressure yourself to get better. Some days will be easier than others, so take one day at a time. You have the right to grieve at your own pace, and you deserve to get the help and support you need. Whatever works for you, let yourself continue doing it, for as long as it helps.

Talk about your baby

However long your baby was alive, he or she is unique, and telling someone your child’s story is a way to keep your memories close whilst helping you come to terms with what happened.

You might want to share memories with people who also knew your child – family and friends, your health visitor or midwife. You might prefer to write down your experiences in a journal or a letter to your baby. Writing is a good outlet for pain, and putting your strong feelings into words can help you understand and overcome them.

Attend a local support group

Sometimes it might feel that other people don’t understand, or don’t know what to say. Speaking to others who’ve experienced the same loss can help you feel less isolated. They will understand what you’re going through, and reassure you that what you’re feeling is normal. The charity Sands runs a national network of support groups for bereaved parents. You can find your local group here.

Join an online forum

If you would rather stay at home, there are online support groups and forums where you can connect and share experiences with people who have gone through child loss. Reading messages of support from others can be very comforting.

You might want to read about other people’s experiences rather than sharing your own, and online forums, social media groups and charity websites are a good source of stories and messages of hope posted by bereaved parents.

Call a helpline

There are national helplines you can call if you’re having a difficult day, feel overwhelmed or just need someone to talk to. The Child Death Helpline is staffed by fellow bereaved parents who can empathise with you, and offer support. It’s available for anyone who’s been affected by the loss of a child at any age.

Seek counselling

You might feel you have to put on a brave face to save other’s feelings, or even put your grief on hold to support a partner.

It can be easier to talk to a stranger, and counselling is a safe and confidential place for you to talk openly. A therapist is trained to understand your point of view, and to support you through the most intense of feelings. He or she can help you access your inner strength so you can start to heal, and offer you coping strategies that are tailored to your individual needs.

Create a memorial or tribute for your baby

Creating a memorial is a way to honour your baby’s life and keep your baby’s memory close to you. This could be anything you like, such as a memory box, or an online journal. You might want to include photos or scan images, casts of your baby’s hand and footprints, or thoughts and messages from others.

The charity Sands provides free memory boxes containing identical items like a teddy or comforter. One is for you to keep, and the other can be put to rest with your baby. The Lullaby Trust has the option to set up an online memorial on their website.

Take part in an activity to honour your child’s memory

If you feel the need to keep busy, you might want to do something to help other bereaved parents or raise awareness of child loss. Offering support to others can promote your own healing process. Joining a fundraising event is also a good way to meet like-minded people.

You might choose to do something more personal, like planting a tree or a beautiful garden to commemorate the life of your baby. You could include an engraved seat for somewhere to sit and reflect. You might want to plant flowers that have special meaning to you, or symbolise the month of your child’s birth or due date.

Flowers and butterfly in sunshine

How I can help you

I’m qualified in person-centred counselling and hypnotherapy, and I specialise in supporting parents after infant loss. I understand how overwhelming losing a child can be, and I offer you a safe space to express whatever you’re feeling in confidence. I can help you process your feelings so you can start to come to terms with your loss.

I offer face to face counselling in Manchester, and online counselling via Skype across the UK.

I hope these suggestions help you through this difficult time. Please remember, you’re not alone. You will never stop loving your child, but you can find a way to heal and to carry on, keeping your baby’s memory close to you.

If you need someone to talk to, please get in touch with me.

Further support

Sands is a charity that offers support for parents and families affected by infant loss. It has a national network of support groups and fundraising events. Sands also provides free memory boxes.

The Lullaby Trust is a charity that helps those affected by SIDS. It has a helpline and online forum, with the option to create an online memorial for your baby on their website.

The Samaritans is a free 24 hour helpline for emotional support at any time, night or day.

The Child Death Helpline provides free telephone support for anyone affected by the loss of a child at any age. It’s staffed by bereaved parents.

Child Bereavement UK is a national charity that gives support after the loss of a baby or child at any age. It also provides help and advice to children who have been affected by the death of a sibling.



The importance of self care

Do you remember the days when you would have a day to wash your hair, or have a girly night out with friends to relax? That is caring for yourself, and enjoying life.

If you have suffered a tragedy through some form of loss, those days just become past memories, as you tend to feel that, that was a different you, and now you are not the same. Your point is true, however, you can still find ways to self care without feeling guilty, or feeling as though you don’t deserve to be happy. Are you aware that Happiness and self care are not the same thing. They appear that way but they are not. Are you wondering what is the difference? Self Care is is looking after yourself daily, bathing, household chores, looking after family if you have them. Happiness is a state of emotion, encompassing joy.

Self Care Tips

  1. Getting out of bed

We all know the feeling that we don’t want to get out of bed. This as you know feeds your depression, and doesn’t allow you to do anything. Getting out of bed is the first tiny step. This is a sign that you want to do something different.

  1. Opening the curtains and letting in sunlight

Seeing daylight is quite helpful, as it can give you the motivation to do do something, like stand in the garden, or near the window. Sunlight is healing and can help calm the pain we feel inside.

  1. Spray your favourite perfume

Wearing your favourite perfume can help again help to soothe your pain and remind you of better times and memories, ultimately allowing you to reconnect with friends. Wearing perfume allows your other senses to take over, and change your mind frame.

  1. Showering

This can help get rid of tiredness and help you through the day. A shower or a bath leaves you feeling fresh and again helps alter the mood you are in.

How I can help

I can help you with talking through the incidences that have led you to this situation.

I offer you a place to talk where you can reach a point to making new decisions in your life.

I can help you making any transitions in your life. This could be due to a bereavement, loss of a job, self identity etc.

The importance of identifying signs of anger


Anger as we know, is part and parcel of our lives and stems from unresolved issues we have over time. When our handling capacity has reached its peak, anger can emerge as we panic, and are unable to see a way forward.

There are tell-tale emotions that we can identify with, and should look out for which are listed below.

Signs to look out for

Emotions stirring within the body – feeling of some emotion stirring in the body and heading upwards. This can feel like a volcano erupting, or steam coming out from your ears. It is important you listen to what they are telling you, as this is the sign that you need to take a step back and see what is happening in your life, and see if it is something you can change.

What you can do is, take deep breaths to relax yourself, and do something practical as for yourself such going for for a walk to clear your ahead.

Biting someone’s head off for no reason – we have all done that. One minute we are having a normal conversation, and the next shouting at someone for no apparent reason. A part of us know we are overreacting and feel bad. This happens as the feeling of not being in control overtakes us and we are desperately trying to find a way out, and we can’t. At this stage if someone says one thing we dont like, we will react.

What you are able to to is talk to your friends and explain what you are feeling, it may be possible for them to offer you some help. If you are in debt, they might be able to offer some money, or give you details of some organisations that might be able to help, if you have lost your job, and feel bad, they might be able to direct you to someone who is hiring, if you have been told you are terminally ill, or your child, partner, parent, unborn child, is, they can offer you a listening ear. As you can see, the lists of what friends can do is endless.

Wanting to hit something and someone – this is something we have all done – thrown objects across the room, invited fights for no reason. As you can imagine, this is the stage where your anger is reaching boiling point.

What you can do is, find a solitary place and just let out a scream – are you thinking, is she really telling me to scream – I am, as this allows you to let out your feelings. Another thing you could do it, find a pillow or a cushion, hit those – they are soft and won’t cause you any physical harm.

Alienating friends and family – This usually happens when we feel like we have failed in life – this could be to a loss of a job, bereavement, failure as a person. Left untreated these feelings turn into bitterness, and then culminate in anger. We end up saying cruel and hurtful things to the people we love because we are hurting and we are unable to vocalise this hurt.

What you can do is take some time out for yourself – and seek professional help. Get counselling and go to see your GP. You deserve to be happy and not have these feelings take over.

How I can help

  • I can provide you with empathic understanding, a place to talk and allow you to explore where this anger came from and work with you to resolve these issues.
  • If your anger resulted from childhood we can talk about that, if it is to do with feeling like you failed – we can look at what you had achieved – and how we can bring that feeling back into your life in other ways.
  • We can work towards finding ways for you express this anger in safe ways such as doing physical activities.
  • I can also provide you with relaxation techniques to help you manage to control your anger. See my blog post on hypnotherapy, and how it can help you

6 things to help support your friends through their grieving process

We all know how hard it is when our friends have lost someone they have loved be it a child, parent, spouse, relative, friend. Has this led you to not contacting them because you don’t know what to say or how to behave? Have you walked across the road, or turned into another shopping aisle when you see your friend? These are all behaviours that we tend to adopt when we are out of our comfort zone. The truth is there is no manual on how to behave, it is all in your own hands how you be behave. What you can do is imagine what you would like your friends to say to you if that had happened to yoInspiring noteu. That will always give you a starting point.

What can I do? How you can help overcome your fear:

1. If you don’t know what to say – admit that – be honest, this will give your friend the knowledge that you are not avoiding them. This can lead to your friend feeling isolated and closing off from the world. A friend is someone that can provide comfort by just being there. It also shows that you are with them in the good times and bad. Friendship allows true feelings to be shared, as well as fears. If they need someone to help with needing to sort out paperwork, helping with self care, doing the school rounds, etc you can be of practical help and support. This will then allow you to feel you are doing something to help.

2. Just ask how they are doing. You will be surprised at how they might just need to speak to someone about normal everyday things. If you are at their house, and you see them watching a video, or looking at a photo, talk about those – share your memories with them. Sometimes your friend will have a need to talk about the person they have lost, and you can give them that opportunity. It may be hard for them to speak about it at home. Having a friend allows them to talk about any insecurities and fears they have. Your friend just needs reassurance that their feelings, grief is founded.

3. Mention the child, spouse, family member, friend by name. You will be surprised at how many friends will not mention the deceased person by name, and that is hurtful. You could say something like “ i remember this video, we were doing this and “John, Julie” said this and we all burst into laughter. I miss them too. That will be helpful, as your friend will know they are not on their own, and that they can share their memories with you.

4. Visit your friend after the funeral. The hardest time for anyone, would be after the funeral, as that is the time when family and friends who came for the funeral with leave, and the person is then left to themselves, and that is when the pain hits, and when you will be needed the most. As this is when they slowly have to manage the outside world and their responsibilities. This could include explaining to their children, that their grandparents, siblings are no longer here. Informing the schools of this and trying to get counselling in place. As a friend this is something you could do.

5. Don’t use cliche phrases such as “ i understand how you feel”, “time heals”, as no one can really understand what someone is going through, and more importantly everyone grieves in their own way and time, and there is no limit to how long it will take. The truth is we never get over someone, we tend to learn to live with their memory.

6. Look after yourself too. Helping your friends can be emotionally exhausting too and it can bring up your own issues. If you need counselling yourself, ask for it.

Organisations to call

  1. Cruse Bereavement Care – – 0808 808 1677
  2. Samaritans – – 116 123 (free)


Miscarriage is a terrible loss, but there are ways you can move forward

Losing a baby before they are born is painful, heart wrenching, and it is so easy to blame ourselves for miscarrying. The torment of thinking of the “I should have done this” happens. Those words are your emotions talking, and in reality this is not true, as soon as we find out we are pregnant, we automatically start becoming careful, we:-

  • Start eating more healthy, avoiding eating food which is not good for us,
  • Have cravings
  • The morning sickness,
  • The sudden aversion to favourite food.
  • Stop smoking and drinking, and also encourage our partners to do the same.

The truth is miscarriages occur in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and about 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in a miscarriage. 80 percent occur in the first 12 months.

As you may or may not know mourning and grieving after a miscarriage is absolutely normal for both parents as the loss is significant. It does not matter at what stage the miscarriage happened, you have lost your baby. If you are feeling guilty, shocked, not able to sleep, sadness, sudden anger at your partner, and other women who have had successful pregnancies, that is ok, and is natural. Allow yourself to know that these are feeling of grief, of loss and bereavement, and as such, some hospitals are able to arrange a memorial, burial service or a cremation. There is help out there, you just need to access it.

Read moreMiscarriage is a terrible loss, but there are ways you can move forward

Feeling lonely? You’re not alone: 8 simple ways to overcome isolation

Do you suffer from feelings of isolation and loneliness?

Everyone feels lonely sometimes. But if you feel this way severely or over a long period of time it can have a profound impact on your life. It can even lead to serious health issues like anxiety, depression, lowered immune system and disturbed sleep.

As a therapist I understand how painful and difficult these feelings are, but I’ve also seen that they can be eased. Identifying the cause of your loneliness will help you gain control over it. And there are steps you can take to help yourself overcome feelings of loneliness.

Loneliness isn’t the same as being alone

Loneliness isn’t the same as comfortably spending time by yourself. It’s the feeling of being unable to connect with others. And you don’t have to be alone to feel lonely – you might be surrounded by friends and family but feel detached from them.

What causes feelings of isolation?

Isolation and loneliness can affect anyone at any stage in life. In today’s society more people are feeling lonely because we tend to move away from family and don’t connect with our new neighbours. But you can also experience isolation if you feel unable to conform in a close-knit community.

Sometimes an event in your life can cause physical or emotional distance from others, like moving somewhere new, the loss of your health or a loved one, or the arrival of a new baby. Feeling different from others because of a language barrier or a disability can also cause acute loneliness. And if you’ve experienced physical or verbal abuse, this can make it difficult to trust people and make new connections.

If you feel isolated and lonely, you can find yourself withdrawing from others and avoiding social situations, which in turn makes the lonely feeling worse.

You can overcome your loneliness

While it can be hard work – especially at first – you can break the cycle and overcome loneliness and isolation. I’ve outlined below some simple steps you can take to heal yourself:

Read moreFeeling lonely? You’re not alone: 8 simple ways to overcome isolation