Read our posts about therapy

What Makes Us Who We Are?

What Makes Us Who We Are?

This unassuming question, which is nevertheless one of the most complex we are ever likely to encounter, lies at the core of psychotherapy.  Who we are, and how we deal with our experiences, forms the basis of any form of self-development, whether we are seeking help for a particular problem, or simply curious to find out more about ourselves. From its earliest inceptions psychotherapy has been concerned with people’s thoughts, behaviours and feelings, and how these are interlinked.  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is currently popular, because it offers a time-limited...
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Does Religion Have a Role in Therapy?

Does Religion Have a Role in Therapy?

If you lived in England a hundred years ago and described yourself as having beliefs, it would be almost certain that you went to church on Sundays, read the Bible, and said your prayers at night.Britain has changed a lot in the last hundred years.  A chaplaincy in a university or hospital, once populated by a Catholic priest and an Anglican vicar, is today a multicultural hub with representatives from all the major religions.  People’s religious and spiritual well-being has never been so well catered for -  in certain places.  In others, unfortunately understanding remains...
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How Creativity Can Help With Grieving

How Creativity Can Help With Grieving

Alesha sought help through therapy after her father died.  Her mother had died some years before, around the time Alesha had her two children, and she found that the death of her father was unexpectedly complicated by grief for her mother. The grieving process can be seen as a balance between grieving and coping, and coping had taken precedence.As an only child it fell to Alesha to sort out her parents’ belongings.  Although she had managed to dispose of furniture and other objects quite successfully, she had packed up over twenty boxes of other belongings, which she...
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Military Stress

Military Stress

I am a counsellor and psychotherapist with almost 30 years experience of working as a therapist. For the last 9 years I have been a full time therapist in an unusual environment for therapy - the welfare department of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, situated at the naval base in Portsmouth. This has been a voyage of discovery for myself and the clients I have seen, chiefly because of the learning that has taken place - for me about the military ethos, and for my clients about the very concept of therapy that can seem very alien to a military mindset. Joining the...
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Sigmund Freud and the Nazi Who Saved Him

Sigmund Freud and the Nazi Who Saved Him

The Nazis were persecuting Jews in Germany but Sigmund Freud, who lived in Vienna, refused to leave Europe.  The 82-year old psychoanalyst remained stubborn about that even after the Nazis marched unopposed into Austria in March 1938. He only changed his mind when, on March 22nd 1938,  his beloved daughter Anna was arrested by the Gestapo. I wrote a book on the subject, The Escape of Sigmund Freud, and am now planning to make a film of it. David Suchet, famous for playing Poirot and much else, has agreed to play Freud. The film will tell the extraordinary story of how...
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How CBT Helped Me Change Bad Food Habits

How CBT Helped Me Change Bad Food Habits

In a recent blog, I shared what I have learnt about using food to combat my depression and anxiety. But knowing what you should eat won’t automatically cure you of bad food habits. Our attitude to food is as much about emotion as it is about satisfying hunger. Throughout my battle with the Black Dog I have tried many approaches – one of the more effective for me being Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This involves retraining your brain to avoid patterns of negative thinking, replacing them with new more positive neural pathways. I tried to stop and judge what my...
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Therapists and Pets: Is Three a Crowd in the Consulting Room?

Therapists and Pets: Is Three a Crowd in the Consulting Room?

When therapists talk about providing a ‘safe space’ where clients feel able to open up we are usually speaking metaphorically. We mean to indicate that the consulting room will be a place where everything is treated confidentially and judgements are on hold  regarding what is said or done by the client. But ‘safe space’ took on quite a different significance for the unsuspecting client who, towards the end of her session and in mid-thought, was attacked by a Manchester therapist’s cat. The feline who broke the therapeutic boundary had slipped unnoticed through an...
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Writing Fiction Airs My Demons

Writing Fiction Airs My Demons

Writing is a form of therapy. The creative act seems as necessary for my mental health as a social life and exercise. And beyond that, I find that my deeper, darker soul emerges in my novels in ways I never expect… We all know that diary and letter writing can be cathartic  -  and certainly my own teenage diaries were where I worked out the passions and indignities of life – but writing longer fiction works as therapy on several different levels. I’m not proposing that we should all attempt to write full-length novels, because it’s horribly difficult and takes...
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The Toxic Legacy of Jimmy Savile

The Toxic Legacy of Jimmy Savile

It’s more than a year and a half since the first shockwaves of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse story hit, and I find it harder than ever to listen to the seemingly endless avalanche of disturbing voices testifying to the horrors he inflicted while the world looked the other way. I can’t say exactly how I came to ‘know it’, but the news story when it broke in the autumn of 2012 only served to confirm what I already knew in my guts; that Savile was a predatory abuser. Interestingly a lot of people I’ve discussed this with have also said the same thing.  We all somehow knew...
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The Draper Complex: When a Man Turns Against His Defences

The Draper Complex: When a Man Turns Against His Defences

Mad Men's Don Draper is not Tony Soprano.  The weird world of psychoanalysing fictional figures  had a field day with the latter – from labelling him with narcissistic or anti-social personality disorder to settling on a severe Oedipus Complex.Whatever the conclusion, the Mafia boss was clearly symptomatic. However little you’d expect a man like Tony to seek psychotherapy, he had to. You cannot run the North Jersey crime syndicate while suffering panic attacks. People don’t turn against their defences when they are perceived to be working in their...
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