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Where Does the Time Go?

Ask - Where Does the Time Go?

 

Can it really be three years and five months since I last blogged on my own website? The answer to that question, going by the dates, is obviously yes. Yes, it has been more than three years.

Okay, in that time, I wrote and published one book (you can find a link to it here) and I’ve been writing a regular column over at Psychology Today (you can click on that here) and I’ve also been writing elsewhere (you can check a selection of those articles out here) but, still. Three years.

It’s been a tad remiss of me and so, to address that imbalance, I am going back to blogging on my own website where, over the coming months, I will hopefully be not only offering words of wisdom, but also helpful tips, exercises, and insights to help you manage your mental health and wellbeing that much better. After all, it’s a stressful world out there. So much so, that I’ve had to slightly redefine what it is that I offer (or, more importantly, what it is I treat).

I offer rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) and clinical hypnotherapy (either separately or combined) together with elements of positive psychology and I offer it in both a psychotherapeutic and coaching capacity.

Times past, I said I specialised in the treatment of anxiety disorders and work-related stress management as, at the time, I was receiving more referrals for these things than anything else. So, that is how and where I built my areas of expertise.  I can also help you with pain control, but that’s another story.

Meanwhile, back to stress.

Since the pandemic and everything else that came after it, I’ve just accepted the fact that I am now a stress specialist. This still covers anxiety disorders and work-related stress management but, also a whole host of other things (more of that in another blog, I reckon).

“Stress,” is what people state the most when I ask them what they want help with. “I want you to help me manage my stress more effectively,” they say. And this I can do.

People also ask me to provide them with coping strategies (again, this I can do) but, when I used to ask them what they wanted those coping strategies for, they used to mention specific things, such as “my job,” or “my boss” or “my relationship” or “my challenging friend.” Nowadays, however, when I ask people what they want those coping strategies for, the most common response is, “everything.”

Despite all the strides made in mental health and wellbeing, despite the mine of information and the wealth of support that is out there, life has become even more stressful, not less so. And people need help in dealing with that.

To that end, my next book (out Spring 2024) is called How to Cope with Almost Anything with Hypnotherapy. And it will do just what the title suggests, using not only hypnotherapy, but also elements of REBT and positive psychology to help you increase your resilience, improve your wellbeing, and handle whatever life throws at you next more effectively.

In the meantime, I can personally help you cope with almost anything either face-to-face or online. And a recent study (click here) has found that online therapy is just as effective as face-to-face therapy.

People also value the convenience of it and the ability to engage with a therapist from the comfort of their own homes. So too do many of the therapists that offer online therapy.

So, face-to-face, or online, if there is stress in your life, if there is something you would like help in coping with, now is a good time to start. Because life always has that something to throw at you.

Anxiety Disorders: A Brief Overview

IMG 2444 300x300 - Anxiety Disorders: A Brief Overview

As a rule, I tend to specialise in the areas of anxiety disorders and work-related stress management. Between the two, I cover a multitude of sins. And, but sins I mean I help people deal with a series of emotional and behavioural problems that have them thinking, feeling and acting in ways that they don’t like but don’t seem to be able to change.

The term ‘anxiety disorder’ on it’s own could mean any one of several things up to and including, but not limited to panic attacks and panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychosexual dysfunction, health anxiety and any and all types of phobias.

Broadly speaking, anxiety is your response to danger; it’s the fight, flight (or freeze, for those of you who experience brain lock) response to a threat or a danger. However, this response is being triggered in situations that aren’t that dangerous. Coming across a hungry lion whilst walking down your street is very dangerous, whereas sitting an exam is not. However, if you have anxiety, the same thoughts and feelings are being triggered in the face of an exam as they are when confronted by that hungry lion.

Anxiety problems are the number one presenting symptom here in the United Kingdom

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are an extreme type of fear response. They are an exaggeration of your body’s normal response to danger, stress or excitement. They’re not much fun

Panic Disorder

This is where you have regular or frequent panic attacks that don’t seem to have a specific cause or trigger. It can mean that you are so afraid of having another panic attack that the fear itself can bring on a panic attack. Not good.

Social Anxiety Disorder

This is where your fear response is being triggered by social situations, such as pubs and parties, work and networking events. Basically, anywhere you have to talk to another person. This is also known as social phobia and it’s more common than you think.

GAD

Pity the person who is living with this condition, for they are experiencing regular or uncontrollable worries about many different things across most aspects of everyday life. It could be that there are many, many triggers or no specific trigger at all, making GAD a tricky little bugger to pin down.

OCD

This problem is made up of two parts, an obsession and a compulsion. Obsessions are unwelcome and intrusive thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind. The compulsions are repetitive activities that you feel compelled to do in order to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession. It could be checking that a door is locked, or repeating a specific phrase in your head and so on. Some people have what is known as ‘Pure O’ where they have the obsession but not the compulsion. This does not make it any less distressing.

PTSD

This is an anxiety problem that gets diagnosed after you have gone through something that you found traumatic. A close brush with death or a violent attack on you or someone near you can do it. PTSD can cause flashbacks and nightmares that make you feel like you are reliving the fear and anxiety you experienced during the traumatic event again and again. Who said the mind isn’t your best friend?

Psychosexual Dysfunction

When related to anxiety, psychosexual dysfunction is the inability to become sexual aroused or achieve sexual satisfaction because you are afraid of something happening or something going wrong. The problem is not physiological it is psychological. It can affect both men and women and, obviously can be quite miserable and debilitating.

Health Anxiety

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this means anxiety about your health. You will have an obsessive preoccupation with the idea that you have (or are about to develop) an illness. Common health obsessions including cancer, heart health, HIV and so on, but people can become preoccupied with any condition. Behaviours include researching symptoms, constant checking to see if you have them and many, many, many visits to your local GP.

Phobias

A phobia is an extreme form of anxiety that can be triggered by a particular situation or object, even when there is no danger. The sufferer knows that their reaction is out of proportion to the danger but they just can’t stop themselves. People can becoming phobic about anything and everything: spiders, mice, lifts, heights, thunder and lightning, buttons, ships, you name it.

Other anxiety problems include performance anxiety (stage fright and exam fears, for instance), body dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and more.

Thankfully, all forms of CBT are considered the gold standard of treatment for anxiety disorders. Hypnotherapy is also a highly effective adjunct to CBT. So, if you need to find a therapist to help you with your anxiety, look for someone who has CBT skills, or hypnotherapy skills, or both.

Obviously, there is quite a lot to digest here so I’ll leave the heady world of work-related stress (the number one cause of staff absenteeism) until next time.