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Teenagers can be moody…

21 Feb

Teenagers can be moody, difficult entities but it is hard to tell if that perceived state is the norm or due to depression
The influence of hormones and the natural process of growing in to an adult can cause a great deal of stress. Things such as not doing well at school, arguments with parents and romantic breakups, can lead to feelings of low self-worth and not being in control.

There may be a lot going on in the teenager’s life; there may be bullying at school or the of experience losing a parent to death or divorce.
The average teenager can normally tolerate and overcome these types of events with time and patience but for others they can contribute to a state of depression.

shutterstock_113617138 Moody Teenager

So, you may suspect a teenager is depressed but how to confirm your suspicions?
Depression can alter the way they act; they see everything in a negative way. Problems seem insurmountable. Try to be alert for changes in behaviour.

Some of the changes in behaviour may be very obvious such as:

• Appetite changes
• Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
• Starting to forget things
• Staying in bed and being very tired for no reason
• Becoming upset, restless, and irritable
• Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once fun
• Failing at school/college
• Talking about death/suicide

However, it is not always so easy to spot. There may be problems at home. Often the teenager may behave badly or out of character but not seem to be depressed. They may act irresponsibly or start shop lifting. They may want to be alone and not want to spend time with their family. All important signals to be aware of.
Although depression in teenagers can be difficult to diagnose, symptoms should not be ignored as suicide is a risk for all teenagers with depression.

Once the teenager has been diagnosed with depression, action should be taken swiftly before other complications manifest themselves, such as:

• Drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse
• Effects on relationships with family and friends
• Other mental health problems, such as anxiety disorders
• Teenage suicide
• Violence and reckless behaviour

Almost all teenagers with depression benefit from some type of talking therapy. A talking therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a good place to talk about their feelings and concerns, and to learn ways to deal with them.
You may find our Master Class on Depression taking place in March 2013 of interest

January blues, not if we can help it!

21 Jan

Well, the festivities are over and many of us are back at work. The weather is chilly and there is a distinct lack of sunlight. Energy bills are looming and those New Year resolutions are proving very hard to keep. Oh dear, there is little doubt January can trigger the blues!

Let’s try to analyse how we can be feeling and how we can change our demeanour and state of mind.

• Maybe there was a little over indulgence and now we don’t like what the scales are telling us. This is not a major problem, if we address the problem straight away. Remember, the way we eat over the Christmas period is bound to pile on the pounds. However by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and combining a sensible diet with regular exercise, within weeks an ideal weight can be achieved. So, that is one problem that can be solved with a little effort and determination.

• Often there is a deflated feeling due to the tensions and stresses of being around relatives for a prolonged period of time. There may have been arguments and upsets between family members that still need resolving. These are better sorted out sooner rather than later and not allowed to fester. If possible, contact the people concerned and build bridges. Nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Make amends and move forward. Another issue that is within our capabilities to solve!

• An important trigger of January blues can be returning to work after a long break, to a job we are not happy in. Try to make some changes, so your present job will be more acceptable and fulfilling. If that is not possible, you may feel that the only way forward is a change of career. Our Master Class ‘Introduction to counselling skills’ can give you an insight in to one possible career move.

• Ok, we should be feeling a lot more positive now, but we still have to discuss the issue of over spending at Christmas. This is a tricky problem but one that should not be swept under the carpet. Depending on your financial situation, make a plan on how you can ease the burden of your debts and make sure you keep to it. You may need to alter the way you spend to make your plan work. Probably the most challenging problem to deal with but certainly if you deal with it, your mood will be lightened due to the constructive attitude and actions.

Well, there are lots of things to consider but we think January is starting to look a lot more enjoyable. We will finish with an interesting phenomenon – the lack of natural sunlight at this time of year, can lead to tiredness and feeling under the weather. While we cannot change the latitude of the county, there are things we can do to increase the amount of daily sunlight we receive. Try to get outdoors during the day, maybe at lunchtime, and go for a nice, long walk at the weekend. This is also an enjoyable way to help to get to grips with that weight gain topic we discussed earlier! The wonderful thing about our climate is its distinct phases and they should be embraced and enjoyed. The more time you can spend outside, the better!

We love January with its potential to set you up for a great rest of the year and hope you do too!

Tis the season to be jolly!

17 Dec

However, often this is not the case as Christmas is the most likely time of the year to experience depression.

To many people this will be a bewildering fact; surely Christmas should be viewed as a joyous occasion, spent with friends and family, having fun and enjoying the time spent together.

So what is it about this time of year that people depress themselves about?

  • Christmas is a time of great expectations. We demand that perfect Christmas experience.
  • We can become overwhelmed by a sense of failure and disconnection.
  • It may be helpful to consider the true meaning of Christmas. The message is always there – celebration, peace and good will to all.
  • By accepting reality; reducing unrealistic expectations and demands; by not getting lost in all the Christmas hype; we can use the time to invest in our relationships, and ensure this Christmas is a highly rewarding one.


christmas pic



Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) can help identify the expectations and interpretations that can lead towards depression and anxiety; adjust to reality and break through avoidances and inhibitions. Implementation of CBH can help you change your cognitive processes, which then leads to changes in your feelings and behaviours.

For more information on the treatment of reactive depression using cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy (CBH), you may be interested in our Master Class

Emotion Blog Series #2: Depression and Sadness

5 Jul

Depression is the second emotion we are looking at in our series on Emotions, there are eight altogether along with their “healthy counterparts” that are identified in the Ellis Model of RECBT.

Depression: An unhealthy negative emotion

Depression (an unhealthy negative emotion) is mostly provoked by holding unhealthy beliefs or attitudes (Demands) about loss or failure.

Its healthy counterpart is Sadness and occurs when we hold a healthy belief or attitude about loss or failure.

Depression is an unhealthy negative emotion and we can be depressed about many things.  Some examples are:


  • Loss or failure of job
  • Loss or failure of relationship
  • Death
  • Loss of freedom
  • Loss of control
  • Failure of success


How do you know if you are depressed or sad?

Depression is experienced by many people in a life time usually in reaction to external circumstances and it has a distinctive thought and behaviour pattern that we can identify.   When you feel depressed your thoughts become preoccupied with negative experiences and are unable to find the good or positive about anything in life. Thoughts have a historical focus with a tendency to remember old past losses or failures and rumination becomes more and more part of your thought processes.  If you are experiencing Depression you tend think you are a failure as a person and that in the future there is no hope so a pervading sense of helplessness and hopelessness is experienced. 

When you are depressed you feel like avoiding the world and the people in it, withdrawing into your head rather than going out; you pull away from people and life in general.   You may not feel like getting out of bed or going to work or meeting your friends.  Looking after yourself or your surroundings becomes unimportant.  When you are feeling depressed you are not interested in looking after yourself and, in severe depression, not bothering to wash or get dressed. You don’t feel like washing up or hoovering, tidying may become a thing of the past.   

When you are depressed you have a tendency to behave in destructive ways to try and avoid the feeling of depression.  It can lead to over eating or under eating, using alcohol or drugs to excess to avoid those feelings.

The thoughts experienced when feeing sadness, in contrast to depression, are more balanced.  You are able to think about both positive and negative aspects of the loss or failure. When you are experiencing sadness your thoughts do not remain focused in the past and previous failures instead you think that you will be able to deal with the current loss appropriately.  The thoughts of helplessness and beliefs that you are failure are not present in sadness.  Your thoughts are helpful and hopeful.

When you are sad you will tend to share your feelings and express what is happening to those around you.  You remain able to look after yourself and your environment recognising you have experienced a loss or failure and take constructive and helpful actions to support yourself through the experience.

If you recognise the thoughts and behavioural patterns of depression consider the changes that would support experiencing healthy sadness and begin to think and act in accordance with them. For example, if you are thinking everything is hopeless, recognise you are thinking this and you can begin to challenge that thought as you check reality and begin to recognise not everything is hopeless and continue to challenge your thoughts consistently, even if you don’t feel like it.  If getting out of bed and getting out of the house is your problem set yourself small achievable goals, like getting out of bed and taking a shower, eat something healthy, and do them consistently.

It will feel uncomfortable to start with but each day it gets easier, just as the same as when you learnt how to ride a bicycle, tie your shoes or make eggs for the first time.


1)      Make some goals

2)      Identify and take some immediate action to make your goals happen.

3)      Identify the regular actions to make the goals happen and do them.

4)      Stop telling yourself you are “Rubbish or the world is”

5)       Remember “you matter” and you are part of the human race which is fallible and chemically amazing at the same time.

6)      We generally think ourselves into misery, begin to change the way you think – unhealthy thoughts are normally rigid/illogical/inconsistent with reality and unhelpful healthy thoughts are – flexible, logical, consistent with reality and helpful

7)      Seek help if you continue to feel miserable.


Coping with the Recession using Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy

28 May

It seems quite a while ago that the “Credit Crunch” sent us spiralling into a recession, one which is proving rather stubborn to get out of. For many people recession can contribute to a number of mental health issues, the most common being anxiety and depression, triggered by the worry of uncertainty relating typically to job security and cash flow.


Recession can put us under a lot of stress

Recession pressures

Unfortunately just the word ‘recession’ contributes to any financial problems; this is partly due to our own thoughts and feelings. When we hear ‘recession’ we automatically become anxious regarding money. Recession evokes uncertainty in our minds, and though we deal with many uncertainties on a daily basis, such as “is the train going to be on time today?”, we generally don’t react well to long term uncertainty, especially about significant events such as “is my job secure?”, “will I be able to continue to pay the mortgage?”, “am I going to be able to provide for my family?”.  When the level of uncertainty in our lives is increased, we can experience an immediate threat to our well being, which can trigger negative stress responses (such as anxiety, frustration, anger and depression.)

In a recession all these negative stress responses can be seen right across the economy of a country. Those who are self employed become worried that businesses will hold off on employing them for a particular project; businesses are worried about consumers holding back on their spending; and consumers are worried about job security. All that negativity results in consumers holding onto their money, spending less, businesses revenue decreasing and therefore not employing other businesses / contractors to carry out work or projects for them. So all of the fears have become true, largely because of what people are thinking.


Breaking the cycle

Our state of mind dictates how we feel, so modifying our very own state of mind has massive impacts on how we actually feel about any challenges we may face.  Epictitus, stoic philosopher, neatly summarises this principle of emotional responsibility by saying “People are not disturbed by events but by the view they hold about them”. This is a poignant observation when applied to our state of mind about recession at both a micro and macro-economic level.

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy provides us with many skills and techniques that equip us to change our state of mind and ultimately how we feel, so we can handle any recession worries, and continue to move forward in our lives. If we let ourselves think the world will end because we may potentially lose our job, then we will be in a state of anxiety about our jobs. If though, we remember that the world is still turning, that supermarkets are still stocking food and the sun will rise tomorrow, then we are able to feel concerned rather than anxious or panicked about potential adversities.  Being in a state of concern helps us deal with these issues and move on but being in a state of anxiety leaves you stuck.

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy

In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH), we say that unhealthy beliefs are at the heart of our emotional problems and behavioural thinking problems. They simply don’t help us achieve our aims and goals, rather they leave us vulnerable to self sabotage, become irrationally angry, depressed and block us from actually finding solutions to our problems. 

An example is you may believe “I absolutely should not have been made redundant. I have been though, and it’s now the end of the world. It’s unbearable and proves I’m useless”. This type of belief is common with people suffering with depression following redundancy. In this state of mind, it becomes very difficult to think clearly or to think of possible solutions, it is even more difficult to actually motivate one’ self.

With Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy you have access to tools to that help you change that depressive and negative mindset. Using our redundancy example, think about this alternative: “I really would have loved not to be made redundant, but I have, and I accept that I have. This isn’t the end of the world though, I’m still alive and my worth does not depend on whether I am employed there or not”. This type of belief enables you to feel emotionally sad, but enables you to move on, think of a solution and motivate yourself to move forward.

People who suffer with depression as a result of financial worries can seek counselling to help them. Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) counselling builds on the proven techniques of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and teaches how to change the way we think, to move from a negative belief system and mindset, to a more positive one, enabling us to think clearly, address our problems and overcome depression and stop it from re-occurring.

If you are interested in learning CBH to help with counselling, then visit

Changing of the seasons…

24 Apr

It seems that many of us notice a change in our moods with the changing of the seasons. Many of us find the winter, well a little depressing. It’s cold, the days are short and it can get very cold. We find that spring brings with it new hope…We have posted a number of blogs about how spring is a good time for us to clean out our minds and take up new challenges….In this post we wanted to have a look at the very real effect that Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Many of us suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder


What is SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is the scientific name for what we call winter depression, or the winter blues. However SAD is not just related to winter, it can be associated with any season, with many people getting depressed in the summer (suffering with the summer blues). SAD is essentially a mood disorder, in which people experience depressive symptoms based on a particular season.

Some of the symptoms

There are a number of symptoms associated with SAD, these can include difficulty waking up in the morning, morning sickness, tendency to oversleep and or to over eat. When over eating, this is typically craving carbohydrates which leads to weight gain. Other symptoms include a lack of energy, difficulty in concentrating on or completing tasks and can even include a withdrawal from friends, family and social activities.  Other symptoms can be found for “the summer blues”, such as insomnia, anxiety, irritability, decreased appetite and ultimately weight loss. No matter if you suffer SAD in the winter or the summer, these symptoms ultimately may lead to depression.


Help and treatment

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) can help combat SAD.  CBT aims to help individuals identify the expectations and interpretations that can lead them towards depression and anxiety; adjust to reality and break through their avoidances and inhibitions. Implementation of CBH can help people change their cognitive processes, which leads to changes in their feelings and behaviours.

Some of the CBT / CBH skills a therapist can deliver to an individual who suffers with SAD can include:

  • Development of a repertoire of wintertime leisure interests
  • Using diaries to record automatic negative thoughts
  • Improvement in time management
  • Solving problems that could potentially initiate negative thinking
  • Setting goals and plans for maintaining gains and preventing relapse



Why CBT to treat SAD

CBT is a great way to combat SAD because the effects have been shown to be long lasting for the individual. This longer lasting effect is brought about because the individual is given the skills and tools to delay or prevent relapse of depressive symptoms…For more information on treatment of SAD or on how to use CBT and CBH to treat SAD, please contact

Christmas Holiday Anxiety

20 Dec

Once we get past November the 5th and our firework displays, our mind soon focuses on Christmas. What to get the kids? What to get for your secret Santa? Who is visiting who for Christmas day or Boxing Day? How much food should we get in? Hmmm….Oh and do we have the money for all this?

Christmas is a very unique time of the year. For the majority of us it’s a time of great excitement and expectation. However, it’s also a time associated with high anxiety and dread. This year, with the current tough economic climate having a big impact on our wallets, many of us are experiencing worries about just how much Christmas will cost. Handling that Christmas budget can turn an occasion that should be of celebration into one of great stress.

Christmas Holidays

Have realistic Christmas Expectations



Christmas is a time of great expectations. We are aware of gift and entertainment expectations from our kids, from our friends and family and this can be fuelled even more by peer pressure. We even place on ourselves great expectation, for example providing that perfect Christmas lunch (see our post on dealing with a stress free Christmas lunch –

We demand that perfect Christmas experience, and ensure this Christmas is just “how it should be!” Demanding of ourselves that everyone should be able to get what they want at Christmas, and also what we want them to have, places greater strain on our budget. That drive for the perfect Christmas often sees us making decisions with our hearts and not our minds, placing too much on our flexible friends, the credit card.


Don’t get caught up in the hype

At Christmas it’s very easy to get caught up in all the glitzy shop windows, the gifts, and the luxury food. Getting caught up in the hype can be dangerous. If we do end up placing too much on our credit cards, we find that the New Year is not such as happy one, as we start it with added debt to deal with.

Through all the hype it’s very easy to miss the actual point of Christmas. Rather than investing in gifts, shouldn’t we be investing in our relationships?


What to do

First off we must all recognise our own situation and that the economic situation is affecting most people. Accept this reality and reduce your Christmas expectations accordingly. Most families when presented with the actual facts, that times are tough, are highly supportive and understanding. It is when we try to deny the reality we are in that issues arise. By trying to hide stress and tension, families often start to fail to communicate and are denied the opportunity to be supportive and caring for each other, and isn’t that one of the deeper meanings we all search for at Christmas? If Children are told they cannot have this year’s latest computer games console but are also given a reason as to why, they are able to respond with understanding and love. Most children are not obsessed with “things” at Christmas, but the attention and time spent with their family away from the usual work routine is something they care about.

By accepting reality; reducing unrealistic expectations and demands; by not getting lost in all the Christmas hype, we are able to budget for Christmas accordingly. We can invest heavily in our relationships, and ensure this Christmas is a highly rewarding one, while at the same time, remove anxiety and the stress associated to money and debt issues that could otherwise start 2012.