MIND, Manchester

Mental health charity, Manchester Mind, is 30 years old this year. Originally called Hulme Action Resource Project (HARP) the organisation was set up to help improve the mental health of people living in perhaps Europe’s worst housing (Crescents of Hulme).

 

I moved to Manchester in the mid 90s and used to pass the abandoned Hulme Crescents on the bus into town. They were finally demolished in 1994/95. I worked as a volunteer for “Mind-in-Manchester” a little later. Some of the most rewarding work of my life. (I’ve also borrowed their tagline for my blog…)

 

30 years old, still going strong: https://manchestermind.org/about-us/

 

 

Anorexia

An excellent article in The Independent (Indy Voices section) by freelance journalist, Sam Hancock. Any attempt to limit this disorder to those who have a specific genetic predisposition is unhelpful. Hancock has suffered anorexia himself and speaks with authority and intelligence. Find it: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/anorexia-mental-health-illness-bulimia-depression-study-research-doctors-a9013311.html

Imposter Syndrome

The English class system has always encouraged people to, “know your place”. Working class people are told not to get, “too big for your boots” or, “above yourself”. This is a reinforcement of the status quo. It has always occurred and continues – right up to the present day. Additionally, it is often self-enforced. Young, working class people are told by other working class people: “Don’t get any big ideas”. Whereas, the message for Eton students is: “Anything is possible. You can be World King, if you want to be.”

 

Imposter Syndrome is the name given to that pervasive feeling that you just don’t belong; that you will be found out; that you are not really good enough for the decently paid, rewarding job that you are in. Everyone else is fine. You, however, are a fraud. This is something I encounter frequently in my psychotherapy practice.

 

Good article from Rik Worth, in the “Huffington Post”, on Imposter Syndrome and the English class system:https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/working-class-impostor-syndrome_uk_5d5e4708e4b0b59d256f8389?utm_hp_ref=uk-mental-health

Men Can Cope With Emotions

This article in Therapy Today challenges the idea that men are rigid beings, unwilling to experience – and to share – their emotions. The author carefully examines the coping strategies men stereotypically employ when faced with adversity. He goes on to suggest that psychotherapy and counselling have the potential to help broaden these coping strategies, as well as providing men with different models of masculinity. He calls this “flexible masculinity.”

With gender relations in a state of flux, perhaps us men can start finding ways-of-being that suit us all better, as individuals and as men. I believe that therapy has a major role to play in this process.

Find the article here: https://www.bacp.co.uk/bacp-journals/therapy-today/2019/june-2019/who-says-men-can-t-cope-with-emotions/

 

 

 

The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs

I would highly recommend the recent BBC documentary, “The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07w52tp

Dr Chris van Tulleken, of “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor” fame, encourages patients at a London surgery to stop using medication to control symptoms. Instead, they are asked to explore the causes of their problems – and to discover more empowering, long term solutions.

I found the story of the woman with chronic back pain, who discovered martial arts; and that of the woman with chronic depression who started cold-water swimming particularly inspiring.

Doctor van Tulleken exposes the links between GP’s surgeries, pharmaceutical companies and free lunches. He takes an online depression test himself, explaining how negative questioning tilts results in a particular direction. And why this might happen.

Brave, refreshing, perhaps even revolutionary television.

 

 

 

How I Stopped Smoking For Good

Stop Smoking For Good

Stop Smoking For Good

One sunny afternoon in 2011, Debbie, our teacher asked whether there were any smokers in the room. Myself and two other hypnotherapy students, Charlotte and Ross[1], warily raised our hands. The teacher then asked whether we wanted to stop smoking. Myself and Ross admitted that we did not, leaving Charlotte, to “volunteer” for a session of “Stopping Smoking Through Hypnotherapy” with Debbie.

In fact, I did want to stop smoking. I just wasn’t convinced that now would be a good time. But instead of simply observing, with the rest of the students, I allowed myself to be hypnotized along with Charlotte, closing my eyes, relaxing deeply and engaging with the teacher’s trance induction.

Debbie was highly competent and quick thinking. Having asked Charlotte a few personal questions, she was able to create a bespoke hypnotherapy session, right there on the spot. Much of the hypnotic suggestion was personal to Charlotte, but when Debbie started talking about growths on the tongue and cancer of the throat, her words seemed to sear themselves directly into my subconscious mind.

I already knew that smoking can lead to slow and painful death – who doesn’t? But before that day, I’d always felt that other people would be unlucky – not me. Suddenly, I was on the spot. I had been a smoker for twenty years. And under hypnosis, I was afraid. My throat went dry and my tongue tingled. Blood beat in my ears. Why do you smoke? I was thinking, Why do you do this terrible thing to yourself?

When Debbie brought Charlotte (and me) back into full consciousness, my forehead was damp with sweat. At break time, instead of heading outside for a cigarette as usual, I headed to the Gents. In front of the mirror, I anxiously examined my mouth and tongue for lesions or growths. Thankfully, there did not seem to be any damage.

Smoking is a hugely addictive habit and I did continue to smoke, intermittently, for a few weeks. But the fear ignited by Debbie’s words proved stronger than my attachment to cigarettes. Long before the summer’s end, I had stopped forever and I knew it. I can vividly recall the last time I touched a cigarette. The certainty that I would never touch another is still with me, five years later. I have absolutely no desire to smoke.

Where other techniques had failed, hypnotherapy worked for me. I became – and remain – a passionate non-smoker. For this reason, I am committed to helping others stop smoking forever, through hypnotherapy.

[1] Events are real, names are fictitious

Stop Smoking For Good

Stop Smoking For Good

 

Question: Can hypnotherapy help you to stop smoking – for good?

Answer: Yes, provided you are already highly motivated.

I smoked for over twenty-five years and hypnotherapy played a fundamental part in my stopping for good. If your motivation is strong, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence in support of the efficacy of hypnotherapy in smoking cessation: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-153666/Could-hypnotism-patches-help-smoking.html

However, before deciding to embark upon a course of hypnotherapy – or any other smoking cessation strategy – I believe that you should take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror. Then ask yourself the following questions: “Do I really want to stop smoking – now?” “Do I really want to stop smoking – for good?”

If the honest answer to both questions is “yes” then I am convinced that hypnotherapy can help you. It has the added advantages of being generally enjoyable (based as it is upon relaxation); drug free; and relatively rapid (between one and four sessions should suffice).

The benefits of stopping smoking are huge. In addition to increased lung power, better skin, more money, losing my smoker’s cough and ridding myself of pins-and-needles, I have discovered that I am better able to concentrate – and generally happier, as a non-smoker.

I would probably have stopped for good even without hypnotherapy. But I believe that it would have taken me longer and been a more painstaking process. In the event, one hypnotherapy session was enough to convince me that I need never, ever, smoke again.

If you are committed to stopping smoking for good, I wish you the best of luck!

New Fathers Experience Mental Health Problems

Research by the NCT, coinciding with Father’s Day, has revealed that over a third of new fathers are worried about their mental health: http://www.nct.org.uk/press-release/dads-distress-many-new-fathers-are-worried-about-their-mental-health

One of the main reasons behind these findings is men’s unwillingness to talk about their feelings. This unwillingness is understandable – many men have been taught, from a very young age, that there is something “unmanly” about sharing feelings, or even having them in the first place.

A strategy of “keeping calm and carrying on” may sometimes serve men well. But when “manning up” just doesn’t seem to be working – for instance, during the period immediately before, and after the birth of a child – more men need to follow another well known piece of advice:

“It’s good to talk”.

(Wasn’t it well-known Cockney geezer, Bob Hoskins, who said that?)

 

Talking Can Save Your Life

Around one hundred men kill themselves in the UK each week. Men are four times more likely to kill themselves than women. More middle aged men kill themselves than any other group.

 

Why do so many men commit suicide? Or, to put it another way: why comparatively so few women?

 

The answer, according to Panorama (BBC 1, 13/4/15) is that men are conditioned not to talk about their feelings. Changing this – talking, crying, letting it all out – can indeed save lives. Women, it seems, have always been better able to do this. Counsellors and psychotherapists have their roles here but so too do family and friends. Talking is not “weak” or “unmanly”. And not talking can be deadly.

 

Watch Panorama: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/search?q=panorama. A brief but well-constructed examination of this topic.