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Culture Tip: All in the Mind

Culture Tip: All in the Mind

I had to stop the car when I was driving home from the Tavistock clinic recently. There was nothing wrong with me, or the car, I just needed to focus on what was happening on the radio. A young woman, Sally, suffering from long-term depression and what she described as a ‘constant state of disassociation’ was telling presenter Claudia Hammond why she was nominating her friend, George, in the individual category for the BBC All in the Mind 25th Anniversary Awards. She read out part of the email she had sent to the programme in support of her nomination. Anyone who...
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How to Stop Feeling Stuck

How to Stop Feeling Stuck

As a psychotherapist, I meet people all the time who are feeling stuck. Motivation and interest elude them and they’re unhappy. I wanted to help people get back on their feet, not just to survive, but to thrive. Life gives us an opportunity to become the person we’re meant to be by fulfilling our unique purpose. But many people feel out of touch with their purpose. Instead of moving forward with energy and joy, it’s as though they’re caught in an eddy. Even if they knew how to get moving again, they wouldn’t know which direction to go. Somewhere along the...
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Old Faces, Younger Lives: How to See Beyond Dementia

Old Faces, Younger Lives: How to See Beyond Dementia

Imagine yourself in hospital, aged and unable to articulate what you need and when. Think of the dejection, loneliness, and knowledge that your wellbeing lies in the hands of someone who sees you only as a blank and wrinkled canvas, who sees you only in the context of your dementia. I have, and I find it frightening. Dementia visits the elderly with a cloak of confusion and uncertainty, its prey usually unaware of its early presence, manifested by occasional illogical behaviour. A friend witnessed her 75 year-old mother trying to pay for groceries with cigarettes,...
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Biodynamic Massage

Biodynamic Massage

What is it for? Biodynamic massage is great for when your stress levels that have reached a point of chronic overload. The focus is on both energy and structure to help bring you back into balance, so your body can re-learn how to naturally regulate your own stress levels. It's great for: Anxiety Depression Overwhelm People who have experienced abuse issues Psychosomatic conditions caused by stress Personal growth In parallel with counselling or psychotherapy What happens in a...
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Coming Off Anti-Depressants

Coming Off Anti-Depressants

After over a decade of taking anti-depressants I am now drug-free. I don’t feel entirely comfortable using that phrase, not least because I am an asthmatic and use inhalers on a daily basis, but most importantly because it feels far too evangelical, too much as if I have achieved a superior state to the one of being ‘on drugs’ and I don’t believe that one bit. I first took anti-depressants because someone tried to rape me. It was in broad daylight on a university campus. I was a long way from home, a student learning a foreign language during a long summer holiday...
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Culture Tip: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

Culture Tip: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

This week's Culture Tip is the first, and may possibly be the last, to incite in me an urgent need to increase dental flossing. Joshua Ferris’s new novel To Rise Again at a Decent Hour follows anti-hero, Paul O’Rourke, who is a Red Sox fan, an avowed atheist and an acclaimed New York dentist with a thriving practice. He is a man who cares deeply about oral hygiene and his pain at his patients’ dental deterioration is palpable. He is impotent in the face of a prolific alter ego who, it seems, might just be a kinder, nicer and far from agnostic him. Paul...
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Therapy and Cultural Difference

Therapy and Cultural Difference

London is a very multi-cultural place and so cultural identity is an important consideration when choosing a therapist. But what is culture? Some people think that cultural difference is about coming from a faraway country or belonging to an ethnic minority group. In reality, culture is so ubiquitous that even therapy has its own culture; in fact one that, for many people new to it, is shocking to start with. For example, sitting in a room with a stranger, sometimes in silence, sometimes talking about some very difficult feelings, is an alien culture for somebody who...
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How to Gain Power From Misfortune

How to Gain Power From Misfortune

This obstacle in front of you —this frustrating, unfortunate, problematic, unexpected problem preventing you from doing what you want to do. How do you tackle it? What do you do? Probably what most people would do, and what you are doing right now: nothing. Whatever our individual goals, most of us sit frozen before the many obstacles that lie ahead of us. But what blocks us? Systemic issues of rising unemployment, skyrocketing costs of education, and technological disruption? Or personal insecurities of being too old, too scared, too poor, too stressed, no access, no...
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