Breakthrough Counselling

How to support someone who suffers from anxiety

Living in the shadow of the pandemic is hard for all of us, but it’s especially challenging for people with anxiety. If you know someone who’s struggling with anxiety at the moment, you might be wondering how you can help. Perhaps the person you’re concerned about is acting differently, or has become withdrawn. You might be desperate to support them, but you’re unsure what to say or do.

As a counsellor I understand the impact anxiety can have on sufferers, and also their family and friends. I’d like you to know there are some steps you can take to give your loved one the very best support.

What’s the difference between anxiety and stress?

So you can best help someone with anxiety, it’s a good idea to know the difference between anxiety and stress. From the outside they might appear similar. But while stress is a reaction to challenging events, anxiety can persist whether or not things are difficult.

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How to nurture hope in difficult times

Seedling emerging from inhospitable environment.

The last few months have been stressful or even traumatic for all of us. We’ve had to deal with unexpected change and loss as a result of the pandemic. Some of us have lost loved ones. Some of us are struggling with the financial consequences of the pandemic. Some of us are recovering from the demands of a challenging and potentially dangerous workplace.

More recently, events in America – including the death of George Floyd at the hands of white police officers – have left some of us feeling shocked and exposed to a world that’s much less fair and just than we imagined; for some of us they’re a horrifying reminder of prejudice and persecution that occurs on a regular basis.

In times like these, it can be tempting to feel hopeless. But it’s times like these when you need hope most. Because hope is powerful. Hope will help you heal. Hope will help you succeed, and while it can’t put the world to rights, it will foster kindness and tolerance.

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How to look after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

lady looking out of window

There’s no denying life is hard at the moment. Big changes have been imposed on us, and we’re living in an atmosphere of uncertainty. As the coronavirus spreads we’re worried for the safety of our loved ones, and we struggle with finances. All this anxiety teamed with the stress of being stuck indoors can impact our mental health – especially for those of us who already suffer from mental health issues.

But the good news is there are some practical things you can do to take care of your mental wellbeing during this challenging time. Doing these things will help you think more calmly, so you can look after yourself and the people you care about:

Read moreHow to look after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

Overcoming postnatal depression: what to do if you’re feeling low after having a baby

Are you worried that you or someone you know may have postnatal depression? You’re not alone. It’s a very common illness, affecting 1 in 10 women after giving birth. It can affect fathers and partners, too.

If you’re struggling with feelings of depression after having a baby, I want you to know it’s not your fault you feel this way, and it doesn’t make you a bad parent. Postnatal depression is a real illness, and you deserve to get the help you need. And the good news is it’s treatable; it can take time, but you can make a full recovery.

Read moreOvercoming postnatal depression: what to do if you’re feeling low after having a baby

Feeling stuck in life? Here’s how you can move forward

Do you find yourself feeling stuck in a rut, trapped in the same routines instead of looking forward to the year ahead? Feeling stuck can have a big impact on our mental health; it can be frustrating, but at worst it can lead to a sense of powerlessness, which can give rise to anxiety or depression.

Perhaps you’re bored or unmotivated at work. Or perhaps you desperately want your life to change, but you’re also scared of undermining everything you’ve built so far.If this sounds familiar, the good news is there are ways to break free of your rut – whether you’re stuck in your career, relationships or something else.

Read on to discover key strategies to help you move forward. Everybody is different, so you may want to choose the options you feel drawn to and leave the rest for another time:

Read moreFeeling stuck in life? Here’s how you can move forward

7 ways you can beat the winter blues

Are you feeling down with the onset of the colder months? If so, you’re not alone. The shorter days and gloomy weather take their toll on our wellbeing, and while the festive period is a time of joy for many of us, the high expectations to be happy can sometimes cause stress and loneliness.

Many people feel a bit low and lethargic over winter, but if the change in weather is having a severe impact on your mood and affecting your daily life you might have seasonal affective disorder or ‘SAD’. This is a type of depression that’s triggered by certain seasons and weather conditions.

Whether you’re struggling to cope with the festive season or the cold weather has left you feeling depressed, the good news is there are things you can do to boost your spirits. Read on for the best self-care tips to help you stay positive over winter.

Read more7 ways you can beat the winter blues

Could I have OCD? A helpful guide to the signs, symptoms and treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Are you worried that you or someone you know might have OCD? We all have unwanted thoughts that pop into our head from time to time, but if you get plagued by them until they make you feel ill or anxious you could have OCD. It’s a real and sometimes serious condition, but it doesn’t have to rule your life.

In this post I’ll give you some of the symptoms to look out for. I’ll also give you the best treatment options for OCD and outline some effective self-help techniques, so you can take steps to overcome the condition and start to feel better.

What is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an illness that causes you to have recurring unwanted thoughts, images or urges that can make you feel anxious or guilty. To relieve your distress, you feel compelled to do things that will stop them – repeating certain actions or rituals. For example, someone who has OCD might repeatedly check their door is locked because they keep having the fear their house will be burgled.

Read moreCould I have OCD? A helpful guide to the signs, symptoms and treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

How to recover from an abusive relationship

Leaving any relationship can be difficult, but ending an abusive one takes a great deal of courage. If you’ve left an abusive relationship, give yourself credit for taking the hardest – and most important – step. You’ve freed yourself. And if you’re considering leaving an abusive partner, give yourself credit for recognising the truth of the situation. You have the strength to leave, and there are resources available to help you.

Recovering from an abusive relationship takes time and effort. You might feel like you’ve lost your identity because your ex has convinced you that you’re worthless, though this isn’t true. You might feel frightened and unable to trust other people. But you won’t feel this way forever. With patience and self-care, you will begin to heal and remember who you really are. Your life will get better.

Here are some steps you can take to rebuild your life after an abusive relationship:

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What are the benefits of online and telephone counselling?

Do you feel the need to talk to someone in confidence, but you don’t have the time or the means to visit a counsellor? Online or telephone counselling could be the answer.

While more people are now aware of the benefits of counselling, many can’t access face-to-face therapy because they have such busy lives.

But counselling is evolving alongside improvements in technology, and it’s now easier to access trained therapists over the phone or online. More and more people are choosing online or telephone counselling as a flexible and convenient option.

While online and telephone counselling can be just as effective as face-to-face counselling, it’s a different experience, so it’s a good idea to weigh up the benefits of each channel to see what’s right for you.

To help you decide, I’ll explain what online and telephone counselling involves, and I’ll explain how telephone and online counselling can benefit you. I’ll also outline situations where face to face counselling might be a better choice for you.

Read moreWhat are the benefits of online and telephone counselling?

9 tips to help you get a better night’s sleep 


Do you struggle to get to sleep? We’ve all had nights where we can’t switch off, or wake up frequently. But if you’re regularly not able to sleep well it’s called insomnia, and it can affect your daily life. You might find it difficult to concentrate or remember things, and have more negative thoughts. Disturbed sleep can also impact relationships and make everyday tasks challenging.

Insomnia can have lots of possible causes, and worrying about not sleeping can itself make it harder to go to sleep. But there are things you can do to help relax your mind and body so you can drift off more easily, and sleep better through the night:

Read more9 tips to help you get a better night’s sleep