Monday, 9 July 2018

What Therapist?

There is a lot of jargon amidst the world of psychology, so this article aims to clarify some of the key terms and common misunderstandings.

What is a therapist? The word therapist is defined by as 'a person skilled in a particular kind of therapy'.

So a therapist is non-specific, broad term that can apply to a number of different fields. You can have massage therapists, psychotherapists, sports therapists and so on.

Better Help define what a psychologist is here, Essentially a psychologist has earned a degree in psychology, enabling them to diagnose disorders in patients through focusing on thoughts, behaviours, feelings and emotions. Examples of psychologists include Animal, Child, Educational, Forensic Psychologists (there are many different types!)

My recent post outlining psychiatrists and what they do can be found here Psychiatrists are medically trained which means they are doctors who can also prescribe medications.

A psychotherapist is someone who carries out psychological talking therapies. Often they can be referred to as a 'therapist' or 'counsellor' which can lead to some of the misunderstandings in terminology. Examples of psychotherapy include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychotherapy or Humanistic therapy (there are many different types!) with the therapist trained in their specialised field.

I hope this helps!

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Neurokinex Neurological Activity Based Rehabilitation

This week I paid a visit to Neurokinex Gatwick UK. Please follow the link to their web page to find out more about the unique work they are doing. 

Chosen as the first international NeuroRecovery Community Fitness and Wellness Affiliate of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Neurokinex provide pioneering neurological activity based rehabilitation for various forms of paralysis, which includes the recent 'Neurokinex-Kids', a unique program especially for the rehabilitation of children. 

Neurokinex rehabilitation focuses upon spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, transverse myelitis, multiple sclerosis and other such conditions that result in neuromuscular impairment.

Unlike more traditional approaches the Neurokinex rehabilitation and wellbeing programmes target the entire nervous and musculoskeletal systems rather than only the functional areas of the body. The programmes consist of a variety of weight-bearing activities, balance and stand training, gait and locomotor training, electrical stimulation, upper and lower body ergometry, vibration therapy and strength training. Task-specific exercises are carefully devised incorporating activities with skilled trainers and specialised rehabilitative equipment.

Many clients had been told they would never be able to perform certain physical activities again, such as being able to roll over or even regain use of their legs. Through using state of the art equipment brought over from the USA the brilliant staff at Neurokinex have achieved results far beyond expectations.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Hypnotherapy and How it Can Affect Your Psychological Well-Being

Hypnotherapy and How it Can Affect Your Psychological Well-Being
We all want to achieve peace of mind, and we can try to achieve this through therapy. A good therapist is able to help you feel better about yourself, teach you how to cope with difficulties you’re facing or struggling through, and/or they may help you to make a plan to achieve your goals.

There are many types of therapy out there, as people cope in different mannerisms. One form of therapy may change one client’s life, while it may be less effective to another. In this post, we’ll look at hypnotherapy, one of the more unique forms of therapy out there.

What is the Difference Between Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy?
When you think of hypnosis, you may imagine it as it’s all-too-often portrayed in media: a hypnotist putting their patient to sleep by waving a pocket watch in front of their eyes. Once the patient is asleep, they hypnotist is able to guide and control them in their trance-like state. For example, the hypnotist may tell the patient that when they wake up, they will be transformed into a chicken. Then, at the hypnotist’s prompting, the patient wakes up and clucks and starts flapping their arms.

This example is of course an exaggeration of how hypnosis works. Hypnosis is the main tool that is used in hypnotherapy. Hypnosis as it relates to hypnotherapy does involve a hypnotherapist guiding a patient into a relaxed and focused state. Once they are in the state, they may be more open to suggestion and less inhibited. For example, if the patient comes in to learn how to control their anger, the therapist may suggest anger management techniques and how to utilize them when they are in this state. The idea is that when they ‘wake up’ from this state, they will be more prone to listening to the suggestions made regarding their anger management, and will be more able to act upon those techniques.

With all that said, what can hypnotherapy do for you? Is it all that it’s cracked up to be? Can it really change your psychological well-being?

What Hypnotherapy Can Treat
Here is a small list of conditions that hypnotherapy may be able to treat.
* Fears – If you want to conquer a fear (or two) that you may have, a hypnotherapist may help you learn to calm yourself in that situation through visualization. For example, a hypnotherapist may teach you to visualize walking down a staircase to one of your favorite calm and tranquil places, and taking in the sights around you. Whenever you are faced with your fear, you can recall this visualization to help you get through your fear – perhaps if you are afraid of flying, when you are waiting for takeoff, you can work through this visualization.
* Pain – a hypnotherapist may tell you that you are less sensitive to your pain than you realize, and this can help reduce your feelings of pain.
* Insomnia – in addition to instituting a healthy sleep-hygiene routine, hypnotherapy can decrease insomnia and other sleep-related disorders, including nightmares, night terrors, and sleepwalking.
* Addiction – hypnotherapy makes the practitioner more receptive to behavior modification suggestions, so you may be able to relieve some of the symptoms of withdrawal without having to resort to medication.
* Emotional issues – the simple relaxation that you may feel when undergoing hypnotherapy mya help alleviate feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety, or anger.

Hypnotherapy’s effectiveness is different for everyone, but there are patients that have been able to increase their well-being and live a better life, with the help of their therapist.

Finding a Hypnotherapist Near You
If you are interested in hypnotherapy and if it could work for you, do your due diligence in researching therapists that specialize in this type of therapy. Find someone that is properly trained, and is also licensed and credentialed. Who knows – this may be the technique that works for you and changes your life!

By Marie Miguel


Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

What is Psychiatry?

What is Psychiatry?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, psychiatry is a field of medicine which diagnoses, treats and prevents a wide wide range of psychological disorders. 

What is a psychiatrist?
Psychiatrists must be medically qualified doctors who have specialised in psychiatry, which is different from most other mental health professionals. Psychiatrists can therefore prescribe medications as well as using psychological treatments. (NHS)
What conditions does psychiatry diagnose and treat? 
A non-exhaustive list via NHS
  • anxiety 
  • phobias 
  • obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 
  • personality disorders 
  • schizophrenia and paranoia
  • depression and bipolar disorder
  • eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia
  • sleep disorders, such as insomnia
  • addictions, such as drug or alcohol misuse
Due to their medical expertise, psychiatrists are able to perform both psychological and medical assessments to provide detailed analysis of a condition. Psychiatrists understand the intricate link between physical and psychological illness and take time to evaluate family history of illness to get a very complete understanding of patient issues in order to develop treatment plans. 

Psychiatry takes form in a wide ranging variety of treatments. Different therapies can be combined with medications depending upon the individual needs of the patient as per the diagnosis.  
Depending on the severity of the condition psychiatry can take a couple of sessions, or be an ongoing process of treatment that can take several years. One of the biggest criticisms aimed at psychiatry in the past has been that treatment can potentially go on indefinitely, which can obviously be very expensive and time consuming for both the patient and medical services. 
Examples of treatments include psychotherapy , psycho-social interventions or Electroconvulsive Therapy ECT. 
Examples of medications include; antidepressants (depression, panic disorder, PTSD, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder and eating disorders), sntipsychotic medications (delusions/hallucinations, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder), sedatives and anxiolytics (anxiety, insomnia). The general idea of medications is to attempt to correct chemical imbalances in the brain that are considered to be the cause of psychological dysfunction. 

Friday, 8 June 2018

Couples Therapy: Addiction

Addiction is a worldwide epidemic. Sugars, nicotine, gambling, pornography; we humans appear to have something ingrained within our nature that makes us become compulsive, and once the habit becomes set it is incredibly difficult to move away from it. Add chemical addiction to a behavioural habit and you have a recipe for a life-threatening condition.  

The addicted individual must genuinely want to make a change. It’s a cliche we have all heard, but one very true and the first step toward making any kind of change. How one fosters that motivation is the million-dollar question. Encouragement, education, doctor’s warnings, bodily dysfunction, scientific facts, threats - each have varying levels of success. Many will just take time to process all the information until they find a point in their life where they just feel ready to change, or sometimes they sadly never will.

Hypnotherapy can’t work without motivation, and neither will prescribed medications.
With couple’s therapy in addiction it is much the same thing. There needs to be motivation to work, but if both people buy into the idea of being free from addiction then the added support that brings through companionship in the journey can be priceless. You want to be free from addiction for yourself and so your partner can be free and healthy too. Often doing something for someone else’s benefit has an even stronger motivating force.

In an ideal world couples will support one another and promote positive change, although sadly this is not always the case and is why professional help is often sought.  

Partners can negatively affect us. Imagine you are trying not to eat biscuits while your partner consumes them in front of you night and day, leaves packets around the house and talks about them non-stop. The routine of consuming sugars is triggered within you constantly by the numerous sensual and visual cues making it all the harder to escape from.

Jealous partners who can’t quit themselves try to make themselves feel better by dragging their other half down with them. At heart we like to share in our addictions, its part of the disease.
A non-addicted partner can also have a negative influence while trying to be positive. Maintaining standards that are too high or having an attitude that does not aid a progressive environment is common. Frustration in progress can manifest with comments like; ‘You will never quit!’ which can leads to self-fulfilling prophecy. Incredulous reactions; ‘I can’t believe your still drinking after what happened to your father!’ ‘You’ve just had a heart attack!’ We hear ‘No’ and our subconscious minds rebel.

That said being perfectly supportive often isn’t enough either – so what is the right approach truly?
The NCBI report that couples therapy statistically works better than individual therapy. This does not surprise me, but it is fascinating nonetheless. From personal experience I have seen favourable results from couple’s therapy in the smoking cessation clinic I run, but why does this happen?

We are social creatures after all, so when we do things together they become more powerful experiences. The reflective period post session becomes greater due to the interactive nature of being able to share upon what transgressed. Perhaps witnessed therapy becomes sessions we cannot escape the truth of.    

The NCBI report talks about addiction being not an individual problem but a family one, where our social interactions reinforce addictive behaviours. Thus by having Behavioural Couples Therapy the problem is being targeted at its root in hope to making the lasting changes we aim for.

For more on couple’s therapy, and finding a therapist: