• TV presenter Andrea McLean of Loose Women had a breakdown last year and, in spite of stigma, sought help from therapy

  • She wishes she had tried therapy years ago, and highly recommends CBT

  • If you need help to deal with problems in your life, you can find a therapist here.

Loose Women's presenter Andrea McLean shocked viewers of the ITV weekly live lunchtime programme when she revealed that she had suffered a breakdown last year. Overwhelmed by trauma and stress, she sought the help of a psychotherapist for weekly sessions, but also did FaceTime sessions with a CBT therapist, which she found invaluable.

Following a traumatic experience on a reality TV show SAS: Who Dares Wins, McLean started to struggle in all areas of her life. But, she explained, "Shame means you don’t want to admit you are falling apart, you have a mask of respectability. Also I hand't addressed traumatic events from my past and thought if I could pack more into my days it would be ok, but it just didn’t work."

Therapy did not initially appeal to her. "I grew up in a generation where you keep a stiff upper lip, you don’t tell anyone outside the house what you’re feeling. There was a lot of ingrained prejudice against therapy even though I believe in self-help, mind, body, spirit, all of that. But therapy? i just thought, no, no NO!"

Finally though she did seek help. "It was such a beautiful experience, you’re talking to someone who has no vested interest in the outcome, which a friend or partner or family might have. I realised i had been ridiculous to be against therapy. I wish i had gone earlier, it would have saved me years, years of lugging all this stuff around.

"I didn’t just do psychotherapy, I also did CBT. and I would advocate that hugely too. I did them both once a week, one in person, CBT over FaceTime. CBT was like therapy but with the speed turned up. I’d highly recommend it to anyone."

Andrea McLean has now written a self-help book This Girl is on Fire about her breakdown, but also to give readers savvy lessons in overcoming problems with relationships, family, work, friends. She is already the author of several books on menopause and midlife, and now has a female empowerment website encompassing all these areas thisgirlisonfire.com.

Watch the full interview here:

Andrea's new book This Girl is on Fire is out now: