“Sometimes even momentary glimpses of childhood reality
can have a therapeutic effect, as long as the feelings that
go with them are experienced in the presence of
an enlightened witness”

Alice Miller

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Individual (One-to-One) Counselling and Therapy, Alsager, Cheshire

I offer one-to-one counselling and psychotherapy sessions for adults and young people, working through issues in a confidential, nurturing environment. Sessions last 50 minutes and I usually see clients once or twice a week for a given period. I am based in Cheshire, working from Alsager (East Cheshire, Junction 16 of the M6), although my client base geographically includes North Staffordshire, the Peak District and beyond.

To date I have helped individual clients in both short- and long-term therapy, dealing with issues ranging from anxiety and panic attacks through chronic eating disorders, phobias and relationship problems to bereavement, post-traumatic stress disorder and abuse.

My therapeutic approach is integrative, which means that I borrow freely from various schools of thought to use the techniques that will work best for each client. These include psychodynamic and transpersonal therapy and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) as well as less mainstream creative techniques including bibliotherapy and eco-therapy in cases where they can be helpful for the client. I have also trained in animal-assisted therapy (AAT) which can be very effective in some instances.

For more information about individual therapy or to make an appointment, please contact me at jcsmith@therapy-cheshire.co.uk or call me on 07811 981645.

 

 

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Very good facilitation – encouraging and warm.

An Ancient ‘Stiff Upper Lip’ for Modern Living: Stoic Week 2013

This week is, believe it or not, ‘Stoic Week‘.

At our local health food shop, one of the breakfast cereal boxes proclaims that spelt is “an ancient grain whose time is now.” This seems to be similar to the gist of Stoic Week, which hopes to promote the philosophy as a modus vivendi for us 21st-century types in addressing some of our contemporary problems in living.

Stoicism is obviously an area of interest for many psychotherapists, as are any philosophies that seek to address difficulties in living and the huge question of how to live as an authentic human being. In fact, the late Christopher Hitchens praised existential psychotherapist Irvin Yalom‘s wonderful book Staring at the Sun as “a thoughtful reinforcement of the stoicism we all need in a time when babble and denial are all the rage.”

The idea of being ‘stoic’ is one that’s bandied around quite a lot, without necessarily any real nod to the people who were the original Stoics, but during Stoic Week, exercises and activities include many of the sources used by them and their followers, with early appearances from Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius and Galen to name but three.

With questionnaires at the beginning and end of the project, the team behind Stoic Week hope to measure some of the effects of modern-day enquirers taking on a newly Stoic attitude. I’ve completed the exercises and meditations for Day One, and it’s so far so good – plenty of food for thought, much of which could be really quite helpful for some therapy patients.

You’ll need to register by midnight tonight to take part though!

Loneliness Can Be Fatal, Says New Study

Social isolation in old age can literally mean an earlier death, researchers at University College London have found after a seven-year study. Read a related piece here. So why are day centres, an obvious lifeline, being closed down all over the country?

In its tips for healthier ageing, Age UK recommends that older people who can’t physically get out socially use Skype to stay in touch with friends and family. If you know someone who could benefit from this, tell them about Skype and check out whether your local Age UK can help – they sometimes run lessons and demonstrations. And see here for the story of centenarian Helen (her secret to longevity: “bread and dripping”) who uses Skype to keep in touch.

 

Consequences of Rank-Centric Health Settings: Insightful Piece in the New York Times

The New York Times health section has run a great piece about patients’ conceptions – and misconceptions – around hierarchy in the medical and helping professions.

In the US as in the UK, nursing staff, doctors, surgeons and consultants – and we can add to this list those working in psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy – operate in a notoriously rank-driven environment. This is, of course, picked up on by patients, who are understandably looking for ways to navigate a complex and often bewildering health system.

“Such an overly developed sense of hierarchy comes at an unacceptable price: good patient care,” writes Dr Pauline Chen MD in the article, who then goes on to illustrate her point with a tragic example.

The New York Times runs some very commendable pieces on health and wellbeing, with one striking feature of its coverage being the use of practising medical professionals who speak freely about problems faced within the field. Another feature, and one which to my mind makes the paper’s health coverage stand head and shoulders above its rivals, is the use of patients’ voices – conditions are often investigated in some depth by people who are actually suffering from them. The ‘Patient Voices’ section also uses audio and each topic comes with a health guide.

Top 5 Online Resources around Depression

1. The mental health charity Mind’s website has a wealth of useful information, including a very good symptoms-checking section which can be used for yourself or a friend or relative (there is also a great area on how family and friends can help).  A good starting point if you’re unsure is the section called ‘I’m worried about the way I’ve been feeling / behaving’. A range of information booklets available free online or for £1 by post includes How To Manage Stress, How To Cope With Loneliness, Understanding Depression and Making Sense of Anti-Depressants. Finally, the ‘I Need Urgent Help’ button on the top right of the home page sign-posts other useful resources that can be accessed quickly.

2. The Depression Alliance has some very useful FAQs online, including how to get help for yourself or someone close. The Alliance also offers a penpal-type support service and the site has lots of details about local self-help groups.

3. Some people prefer self-help to come from a book, and if that’s you, look no further than Dorothy Rowe as your starting point. Australian psychologist Rowe is internationally known for her books on depression, and her classic Depression: The Way Out Of Your Prison is now in its 3rd edition and also available as an e-book. Some of the podcasts featured on Rowe’s site are of interviews around depression, treatment and the use of anti-depressants.

4. The NHS Choices site has a decent depression section with a fairly quick self-assessment test as well as a well-chosen Real Stories section.

5. Finally, BUPA is worth a mention for its section on options around the treatment of depression, and is also notable for its video on depression in old age.

Note: these resources are all UK-based.

Icy country road and fields

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