Thank you for taking a few minutes to read my blog and information page. I would very much appreciate your thoughts on my interpretation of things if you get a minute to message me.....
Are you missing a trick?
Over the last few months I have begun to notice an interesting theme emerging. This is something which costs little and can promise much, and a skill that we can all learn to harness for our own success and wellbeing; it is the power of our own mind.
During a break in test match coverage this summer there was a short programme that asked three of our top cricketers how they prepared on the night before a test match began; what did they do once all the training and physio had been completed in order to prepare themselves for the coming few days. The answer was music to the ears of a mind therapist such as myself because that’s exactly where they put their energies; into strengthening the mind which they did in a number of ways, all familiar within my practice. They visualised success, mentally rolling through the play and seeing themselves in action achieving great things. They worked on the internal voice, keeping it positive and supportive, not letting even a sliver of self-doubt insert itself and begin to undermine them. These little negative voices are very much the mainstay of the work I do with clients and they can appear when we least expect them. A memory of something that someone once said, criticising or doubting our ability, maybe years ago but just waiting in a dark corner of the mind to make its presence felt when it has the potential to create mayhem. The good news is that they can be got rid of very easily once they have been identified and strong visualisation techniques can be put in place to reverse any effect that they may have had.
But the mind does not stop there; the placebo effect has been maligned for a long time although I have never had an issue with it – if I think something is doing me good and I feel better then job done as far as I’m concerned, particularly if it does not involve chemicals and their side effects. Science has now got to the point where the placebo effect can be measured and once again the mind can be seen to produce amazing effects particularly in handling pain and depression. That is not all however, in fact the possibilities can be as creative as we can be ourselves and evidence to support this is now filtering through. Two excellent sources for information on this are Dr. Michael Moseley (BBC) and Dr. David Hamilton (Hay House Publishers).
So the next time you feel tempted to just do the body work, as important as that is, don’t stop there. Your mind is where some real magic can happen so why not learn how to utilise it?
For more information on anything mentioned above please contact me x
There has been quite a gap since my last blog - all to do with holidays and house moves - all is calm now so here are my latest ramblings ...your thoughts would be appreciated:)
Some years ago the work I do was categorised as ‘just placebo’ by a someone who was struggling with their sporting performance. I had to smile to myself as there is
plenty of evidence to confirm otherwise but also because they seemed to have missed the crux of what was going on – their brain was giving them negative messages about how good (or not) they were, in
other words, the nocebo effect, but they did not see the benefit of changing their internal narrative to positive messages –the placebo effect. I wished them well and hope that they worked it out in
As kids most of us are brought up with the concept of placebo (who hasn’t had a grazed knee kissed better for example) and we watch with amusement as our own kids run off quite happily, the beneficiaries of our own ‘magical’ intervention. As a therapist I love the placebo effect and start to build those positive messages before I have even begun to think which therapeutic approach will work best for that person. And what is so wrong with the placebo effect anyway? – if I think something is going to make me feel better or perform more successfully, and that is the outcome then, brilliant – no chemicals, no side effects, just success! I think that I am amazing and that is how I am going to present to the world – I can’t see a problem with that.
This aspect of how our brain works fascinated me enough to begin an online course written by Dr. David Hamilton Ph.D. Formerly employed in the pharmaceutical industry he became interested in how powerful the placebo effect was during drug trials and decided to work on how this function of
our brain can be used by us to impact, not only our health but our attitudes towards things, such as our performance. Through MRI scans science is now able to see the effects on parts of the brain caused by placebo and have also discovered that we can actually alter our brain chemistry by
utilising this skill. This makes it a very important tool in our armoury but also helps us to realise how damaging to ourselves we can be with the negative thoughts that we allow to fester in the dark recesses of the brain. With this in mind, I’m not sure that it is wise to ignore the placebo effect and how much our brain can determine our performance. As the saying goes ‘ If you think you can or think you can’t, you are right’.
For more information on the power of the brain it is well worth having a read of the books by Dr. David Hamilton. They are easily available on Amazon in all formats and are free from jargon and science speak, helping to get the message across in layman’s terms and in a way that can be easily
used. To help strengthen and add focus to your positive messages through one to one therapy and, thereby enhance your performance in whatever you do, please give me a call.
Have a lovely bank holiday weekend :)
It's that time of year again....!
Yep, here we are again and, if you are like me and haven't quite got used to 2017 yet, you may be wondering how the hell we got here so fast!
The snowy weather over the last couple of days has given me time to get organised for the coming festivities but also time to think. As a therapist I am quite used to working with those who are anxious about Christmas for a number of reasons; they may have lost someone without whom, Christmas just becomes a time of pain and sadness. There is the added expense as well as all the extra stuff to do. Throwing everyone together and expecting them to be happy can be stressful (and nigh on impossible sometimes) and our expectations can be higher than may be realistic - it is, after all, a day much like any other and, if you struggle to be in the same room with someone before the barbs start flying for the rest of the year, it may be a stretch to think that Christmas day is going to be any different! The weather can also create problems, and we have all that to deal with before we even get to January and the rest of the Winter without anything to look forward to, even if we could afford to do it!
That all sounds bleak but it doesn't need to be. Some things are admittedly beyond our control but, if we set our stall out accordingly this can be a really useful and enjoyable time or, at the very least, a time when we can achieve something. Many, many years ago when we used to hibernate pretty much, the time would be spent mending tools, resting, telling stories.... and if you think about it the time we have now can be used in a similar way. We can take time to plan, to reassess, to read or look into something that may be beneficial to us, or that can just move life along a little bit. We can allow ourselves to rest so that when the Spring arrives we are ready to get out there and live it to the full. How often during the year do we hear ourselves say something along the lines of 'I would do that/read that/look into that/ watch that if only I had the time' so really, if we think of this time as a gift rather than an endurance we can really make the most of it.
So how else can you help yourself? SAD lights can be really useful if you find that your mood drops during this time of year. I will be fine until February but then I will really have to dig deep to find my resolve so a SAD light is very beneficial for me, particularly at that time. The ones that come on gradually may be a better bet than the old one that I have got which I'm sure can be seen from space and elicits several expletives when it is turned on! Be kind to yourself in this regard :)
Bach Flower Remedies can also help: Mustard for the gloomy feeling that you can't shake off, Hornbeam for the feelings of lethargy that can be more prevalent at this time of year, Sweet Chestnut for the despair felt because of the loss of loved ones and also Star of Bethlehem for shock, grief or loss. Agrimony for when you feel you need to keep smiling and therefore mask your real feelings, Centaury for when you struggle to say no to the growing demands on your time over the festive period and, not to forget Impatiens to help you to keep hold of your patience around your 'nearest and dearest'!
Emotional Freedom Techniques can also be really helpful to handle any spiralling emotions but remember as well that, sometimes just to stop and take a moment to breathe can be all that's needed because that can be the first thing we forget to do at busy and stressful times.
So take a minute now to breathe, to stop and breathe, and then carry on with your day with renewed calmness. And if you need a little bit of hope, take yourself outside and just have a look at all the new shoots that are beginning to show themselves....Spring is just around the corner.
Have a wonderful time this Christmas and please get in touch if I can help therapeutically
Please check out this short clip created by Bristol University students - my nephew, Spencer, is one of them. I think it's very powerful and would love to know what you think...
New Blogs July 2017
"I’m bored! I can’t be bothered!"
Anyone with kids, or who can remember being one, will be familiar with those sentiments. The rest of the summer stretches out in front of you and you have loads of stuff that you could do but somehow you lack the motivation to do it. What I have noticed however, is that it isn’t just kids who adopt this state of mind. In my therapy practice I have recently had a rush of adults feeling the same. They sit slumped in a chair telling of all the things that they have achieved (some really amazing stuff as well) and things that they have yet to do but they can’t be bothered to do it. This can be work related, sports related even holiday related where just going seems to be hard work.
So what do they need? Well, put bluntly, a kick up the backside usually does the trick but, being a therapist, I do not need to resort to big boot treatment when I have so many other tricks up my sleeve. Hypnotherapy is ideal for helping to find motivation and drive as it can be targeted to each individual and what their particular hang-up is so, for example; someone who is at the top of their game, the point that they have been aiming for only to find out that they are not as happy as they thought they would be on getting there, can be helped to look at a new directions and options; someone who is struggling to get to where they want to be in the first place can be encouraged to keep going.
Bach Flower Remedies are also excellent at rebalancing negative stuff - and I know some of you laugh at the thought of using anything to do with flowers but they work and they are good – Hornbeam for lethargy, Wild Rose for apathy, Elm for being overwhelmed and not knowing where to turn next, for example.
Whatever it is that you do to give yourself the kick up the backside, whether through accessing therapy or through having a word with yourself, be assured of one thing; if you are not going to make your life more exhilarating, then who is?
Enjoy the rest of the summer!
A wonderful demonstration of the benefits of Parks Inner Child Therapy...a client of mine who has gone through the PICT process felt confident and empowered enough to stand up for a cause she believes in both on radio and television - ' I would not have been able to do this without PICT and the work that we have done together!'
Very well done to her x
As a therapist, I have become used to the idea that January is a quiet month in terms of clients. The Christmas bills take precedence and the gap between paydays for many people does not do anything to ease this situation. With this in mind, I drew up a plan for myself for January that was largely based around projects that I had wanted to turn my attention to, allowing me to use the time to its best advantage.
Unusually for this time of year, my list of projects to complete remains just that, a plan of action to fill the time that I don’t seem to have. This is by no means a complaint as time spent working with clients is rewarding and enlivening and by far exceeds any ‘pleasure’ derived from huddling over PowerPoints, however, this is as I said unusual.
Pondering on this turn of events, I spoke to others working in the area of emotional therapies to see if they had noticed something similar. They confirmed that they had and that they too were much busier than was expected for this time of year.
So what is going on? It would seem that for many a new year is shaping up to really be the new start that we would like it to be, rather than a vague idea that begins at one minute past midnight on January 1st and has disappeared into the ether sometime fairly soon afterwards. There does seem to be more of a drive to make those changes and to stay the course with them. What is interesting for me, and others working with emotional well-being, is that more people seem open to the idea of getting help to make these changes a reality, maybe recognising for themselves that, although they may have what it takes to move their lives in a different direction, a little bit of help is nothing to shy away from and may actually tip the balance in their favour. And why not? If you have an ache or a pain you seek help for that through accessing the physio or the GP; you are likely to be kind to yourself and rest the bit that hurts. Well it’s the same for the mind and the emotions; if your emotional health needs a bit of assistance then it also needs a little kindness and a bit of T.L.C, or maybe a boost to strengthen your resolve.
I think that this signals a time where people are starting to value themselves more and are increasingly open to investing in their well-being in a more holistic way. Short term fixes are great but are just that and, maybe recent campaigns that have highlighted the benefits of having good mental health whilst sharing testimony from those who have struggled to keep their mental health from sinking into the realms of difficulty and despair, have got people thinking. We all have physical health; we all have mental health. We benefit most when both of these are robust enough to give us the best quality of life.
If you, or someone you know, would like some guidance and support in how you can boost your emotional wellbeing and add real value to the rest of this year and beyond, please get in touch for a chat and I will do my best to point you in the right direction.
I think that the image below provides a useful reminder for each of us that, what are often considered to be more negative emotions, have a positive side to them too
Beating the Winter Blues
The other night I sat at home with my feet up, drinking a cup of tea and idly watching the TV. I was thinking to myself how pleasant it was, how nice to be cosy inside, particularly as it was dark
outside, and how relaxed and sleepy I felt. It was 6:45 in the evening.
A few weeks ago at that time I would have still been in the garden, out for a walk or catching up with jobs around the house, feeling energetic and productive and here I was, sat on my backside on the sofa, sinking into a laziness that a few weeks ago would have been laughable.
Now I understand the concept of us ‘hibernating’ we are, after all, animals, and I do actually think that rolling with the seasons and giving ourselves time to recharge is a good thing, but I was not expecting to be immersed in Winter mode quite so soon because I know what comes next; struggling to get out of bed on the dark mornings and then lacking in motivation throughout the day. The winter is going to seem a long job if that is how it goes!
So, what to do about it? Firstly I think I need to take care of the basics; make sure I eat well, having plenty of fruit and veg, ‘proper’ food rather than the processed variety, plenty of water to drink. I need to make sure that I keep up the exercise , not that I’m a great one for the gym but there are things I can do even if the extent of that is taking things up the stairs when I have finished with them, rather than piling them on the bottom step and taking everything up together. I could also make sure that I haul myself of the sofa every hour to go and do something or just to walk around a little.
But I am a therapist so there must be something I can do for myself. ..Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) would help because I can use these to help rid myself of the Winter blues and also to boost my energy levels. I can use Hypnotherapy to help boost my motivation, and visualisation skills to recreate those feelings that I am missing from the Summer. Bach Flower Remedies will help me with many of these things by giving me back my sense of balance.
So that is my plan of action to help me to get through the next few months until we start to look once again towards the warmer months. Well, if I am going to be sat down for longer I may as well use that time wisely. What will you be doing to get through the Winter months?