We can help you change your life. Many people don’t see the trauma that may lead to life-disabling problems. With the right therapy and treatment, you can find that your day-to-day life is transformed.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, can arise in any situation where you feel threatened by death or serious injury, or where you are exposed to this happening to someone else. PTSD can often be misdiagnosed as a stand-alone stress, anxiety or depression and therefore remain untreated for many years. People with PTSD struggle with flashbacks, nightmares, irritability and a lack of a sense of future. They’re often told by others that they just have to move on.
There are many potential causes of PTSD. It might be a car accident, an accident at work, bullying or domestic violence. Mental, physical or sexual abuse, whether as an adult or a child can lead to PTSD. Surgery, childbirth and serious illness are other life events that people may experience without readily identifying their possible traumatic psychological content. Someone with PTSD is unable simply to “put something behind them”. What's more, their PTSD can easily be triggered, causing feelings of fright, lack of control, shame and anger. Many of the feelings that arose at the moment of the original trauma can come flooding back. This is often inexplicable to those experiencing these feelings and frustrating to those around them. This lack of understanding can lead to feelings of isolation, depression and hopelessness.
Sometimes PTSD arises from a single major incident. In other cases PTSD can build up slowly over time. This is called Prolonged Duress Stress Disorder, and the treatment is the same. Now there are well-researched, effective treatments for PTSD, recognised by the National Institute for Clinical Excellent, NICE, that can put these experiences where they belong, in the past. The results can be transformational. Get in touch and find out for yourself.
Everyone knows someone who has a phobia. It might be as simple as a deep-seated fear of spiders or of heights for others it can be a terror of leaving home. For some people, their phobia is something that can be lived with, but for others their phobia can be mentally disabling. That's when it's time to consider seeking professional help.
Clinically, a phobia occurs when a feeling is irrational and without foundation in the real world. Some people fear going outside, getting in a car or going into the sea. Other people are frightened of the dark, in a quite terrifying and fundamental way. Others still have a terror of being in confined spaces such as lifts or in large crowds of people. The list goes on and on.
There's often a real-life experience that amounts to an untreated trauma behind these phobias. Effective treatments for phobias have come a long way in recent years, and the very latest treatments can easily put any phobia that you might have behind you.When you make your first appointment with us you may think this unlikely, but your life can be entirely changed, so that what seems terrifying and risky now becomes merely routine.
What we call Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, OCDs, range from the inconvenient, such as the compulsive of checking of door locks that adds half an hour to your schedule, to the disabling, when you become so involved in that checking that you never leave the house.Obsessive compulsive behaviours often get worse over time if not treated and that's because these behaviours don't diminish your anxieties.
Every negative behaviour has a positive intention. Obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours can start out as your unconscious efforts to manage your mental or physical circumstances or surroundings. People often feel their compulsive behaviours are an effective way of controlling their environment, and they may even think that what is actually OCD is a positive part of their lives. In fact these behaviours amount to a totally self-defeating way of dealing with anxiety. Sometimes people just have obsessive thoughts with no behaviours. These thoughts are often very strong, feel incomprehensible and even be shocking. Their origins can be bewildering, so they cause great anxiety.
There are always reasons why people become so obsessive, including undiagnosed traumas, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD. Treatment is available and can be remarkably effective. The result of this treatment is that people with OCD can find they can take life as it comes, and that each moment is there to be enjoyed, not feared. If any of this sounds like you, and you feel that you need help, do get in touch.
We all feel just a little down sometimes. It's a natural part of being human. No-one can be happy all the time. Depression arises when this feeling of “being down” becomes protracted, sometimes without obvious immediate reason. You might have had a traumatic life event that might be the cause of your feeling low, directionless and without much interest in your future, but you might not have connected this traumatic event with your depressive feelings. Often GPs will diagnose the depression without considering that their diagnosis might not be the whole story, and so you may continue to feel anxious and worthless or, worse still, that life isn't worth living. Nothing that you or others do or say can pull you out of your personal darkness and into life's sunshine.
It may be that you've contemplated suicide or resorted to addictions such as alcohol, smoking or drug abuse to deal with these constant depressed feelings. Isolation is another common symptom, as is insomnia and its opposite, excessive sleeping. Any of these are warning signs that is time to seek professional help with effective therapy that can give you real and life-changing results. There's no need for your sense of depression to continue to erode your life. With the latest treatments, depression will not only fade into the past, but your life can be totally transformed.
If you are feeling depressed you may not now find this likely or plausible, but you will notice a change and so will everyone around you. People who are really depressed do not imagine there can be any prospect of real change, but with the right treatment the future can suddenly seem exciting, not threatening. Get in touch for real, effective help.
We can all feel anxious from time to time, but anxiety becomes a problem when it's a constant feature of your life. Anxious feelings may attach themselves to many areas of your everyday life. Sometimes a specific traumatic event gives rise to anxiety which can continue long after the event itself is over. That is why anxiety can be associated with Post Traumatic Disorder (PTSD) and why it can be so worrying and distressing for those who suffer such anxiety. The traumatic life event is long over, and yet their stress remains undiminished.
You might have had a car accident a few years ago, and still feel anxious about being a passenger in a car, for example, or it could be that your anxiety may appear to you not to have a root cause. Headaches or aches in the back and neck can often indicate anxiety where the cause is not obvious. Physically, you may feel your body is continuously tense but you may not make the connection with a past trauma.
Even if you can't think of how your anxiety might have arisen, treatment can nevertheless can be effective. The latest guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, NICE, suggest that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, CBT, can readily address anxiety disorders. Medications are available to help, but research suggests that effective recovery from both anxiety and depression occurs when these are treatments are used together with with the right course of CBT. If you've recognised yourself while reading this, do get in touch. Anxiety need not be a way of life.
- Chronic pain
People who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, or many of its symptoms, often experience chronic pain. This is not surprising where obvious physical injury accompanied the trauma, for example in an industrial accident. Sometimes people are only aware of their physical pain and their severe headaches or neck pain may get them as far as a physiotherapist, but no connection is made, say with bullying that may be going on at work. This might be you. Perhaps you've been in an accident, or had surgery, followed by physiotherapy or a pain management course, but you're still in pain.
You might be prescribed medications, but there are only so many tablets that you can take. Sometimes unacknowledged or unrecognised problems or anxieties manifest themselves as pain, or as tics and stammers. It might be that doctors can find no reason for these, or for your physical pain. They might call it “neuropathic pain” or, more bluntly, tell you that “it's all in your head” that there's nothing else that can be done and that you'll “just have to get on with it”.
Well, there is something else that can be done. If you've got untreated PTSD there's a likelihood that this is significant contributor to the problem of your pain. In most cases if the psychological problem is treated correctly, the pain associated with the trauma can be greatly reduced. This is partly due to the reduction of stress, which can be caused by being tense and hyper-vigilant, always sub-consciously looking out for the trauma to re-visit.
The continuance of pain is also due to what's called “body memory”. Bodies behave like memory foam, absorbing pain and stress which can become locked in. When people who have not been treated psychologically recall their accidents or traumas, they often say that old injuries begin to ache. This can last a lifetime. Get in touch with us and your life could be transformed, with your chronic pain belonging where it should, in the past.
Every problem was once a solution. All people are inclined to pleasure. Addictions arise when the substances or activity you're using or indulging in becomes habitual, when it's unpleasant not to indulge in it and when it has a negative effect on your healthy, happy functioning as a human being. It might be alcohol, smoking, an addiction to sugar, the obsessive use of pornography, extreme exercise or the use of cocaine or other drugs. You might think that these addictions are a reasonable price to pay for the rewards of your everyday life, a way of dealing with the hard work you put in or of managing stress. You might think that they're a way of coping with day-to-day life in general, but for many people what once was a solution becomes the problem.
Often you might be unaware of the problem you're trying to solve through behaviour that has become an addiction. Someone experiencing extreme anxiety might be self-medicating with alcohol, unaware that there's an underlying, untreated, unrealised present time or historic trauma. A “present time” trauma could be that you're being bullied at work, while a “historic” trauma might be that you were abused in childhood.
The good news is that treatment has come a long way from going “cold turkey” or attending weekly meetings. After the right treatment, people often find that they move on from abusing substance in an attempt to solve a problem, to actively thriving. Their old addictions are not merely not needed, but become irrelevant. Get in touch if any of this sounds like you, and your life could be transformed.
- Feeling stuck?
For many people “giving therapy a go” is a brave step, and yet, all too frequently, they end up feeling that they are talking about the same old problems, with little real benefit. They are often told that “feeling stuck” indicates that they should have more rather than less therapy. This does nothing to help them feel in control or to trust their own feelings. Perhaps this is you. Perhaps you've followed your twelve sessions of CBT, completed your homework, kept the mood charts and diaries that you were asked to, and yet somehow still don't feel any real change. The reasons for this can be complex, but it is never appropriate for a client or patient to feel that they have “failed” in therapy.
This might be the result of the wrong “fit” between therapist and client, but in other cases it might be that a trauma hasn't been properly identified and therefore addressed. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is one of the most widely mis-diagnosed illnesses in primary care. Many people with PTSD are routinely referred to counsellors who simply haven't had the right training. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, NICE, says the right treatment is trauma-focussed, preferably with a counsellor who's trained in what's known as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing, EMDR. If you feel stuck or that psychotherapy has not lived up to you your hopes, get in touch.
- Complex grief
Grieving is an essential process that humans have evolved over thousands of years to manage the inescapable fact of loss. Different societies manage grief in different ways but essentially the process that extends over months and years is the same, unless a person is suffering from complex grief. Complex grief arises when the healthy grieving process has broken down, or when it hasn't even started, halted by something to do with the circumstances of the death of the loved one in question. It might have been a sudden death - painful, preventable, suicidal - or one that was drawn out over many months.
A person happily married for sixty years may not be able to get past their partner’s last week in hospital, and be unable to think of any happy memories. A parent who loses a child in a car accident,may not be able to bring to mind any earlier, happy, times. Sometimes the picture is further complicated by feelings of failure or even guilt. If this starts to describe your own situation, do get in touch even if you have had a full course of bereavement counselling, because what's happening to you is true for many other people. We can offer effective treatment for complex grief to help you move forward in a healthy way.