Kathleen’s latest news
Mental health services in the NHS will be getting an extra £2 billion per annum as a result of the recent budget But is it too little, too late? The promised funding is not due to arrive in NHS budgets until 2023 and the plan is to create a new mental health crisis service, provide mental health provision in A&E, and to prioritise mental health support to young people. The Royal College of Nurses is dubious about the plans as they will inevitably depend on the existence of a well-trained and expert workforce of healthcare professionals. They point to the current staffing gaps in A & E departments which don’t seem likely to be filled in the near future. As I listen to the stories many of my clients tell of the mental and emotional distress and anxiety that they suffer on a daily or even hourly basis, I frequently wonder how we have arrived at this state of affairs. The catalogue of misery that often precedes a mental health crisis is often made up of a series of events and incidents that could have been avoided. In addition, the person affected might have been [...]
The start of a new year is usually a time to reassess our lives and work out how we want to make changes for the better. We often think about this in negative terms, because we perceive that we have 'bad' habits or our self-image is somehow unsatisfactory. Instead of self-criticism, I encourage my clents to focus on the positives. For example, don't beat yourself up about being fat - focus on how fantastic it would feel if you could walk up a hill fast and get to enjoy the view at the top without even thinking about being out of breath, or wear the clothes you'd really like to be able to buy. Stressing about the negatives just brings you down even more. Think of a plant and how it grows... It doesn't fear the frost or worry about being attacked by predators. It pushes out new growth, and after even the coldest, darkest winter, its buds will burst into flower on the first day of sunshine. Why not make this year YOUR year to blossom?
I lose count of the number of people (especially women) who use the words "take care" automatically when signing off an email or note. It’s become an almost meaningless cliché. But we need to start to really mean it when we say it, for our own sakes. Because we simply aren’t taking enough care at the moment –not of our friends and family members, but of ourselves. Many people seeking help from hypnotherapists and counsellors want to lose weight, or stop smoking or deal with anxiety-related issues. They see these problems as individual and specific issues that they are suffering from and that they want to get rid of. However, the cause of many of these problems is that we aren’t taking care of ourselves, in the sense that we aren’t caring properly for our physical bodies and our minds. I said to a (very stressed client) just recently: “Would you let your car run out of fuel, never replace the oil, and overload it with heavy weights?” No, of course not. But that’s what we’re doing to ourselves. People experience different results from hypnotherapy, as with all therapies, and some clearly derive more benefit [...]
“Happy Christmas”! To anyone feeling lonely, anxious, fearful or depressed, those words sound not only hollow but cynical. In fact, they just seem to emphasise that many people aren’t actually happy at all, and won’t miraculously become that way just because it’s the festive season. But it’s worth remembering that those smilingly wishing us a happy Christmas are often not very happy themselves – their smiles may hide heartache, worry, illness or even downright misery. Talking to people can help, which is why so many of us turn to counselling and hypnotherapy. But a bit of ordinary, genuine goodwill can also go a long way towards making people feel better. In the run-up to the Christmas holiday, I plan to make sure that I perform at least one small act of kindness or consideration every day, even if it’s only telling someone that they’ve done a good job or thanking them properly for their help. Simply smiling at people who serve you in shops can make their day that bit better. If we could all do this, it would make our lives a little bit happier, I’m sure. And who knows – it might become [...]
A new study proves that tobacco smoke harms human DNA and is linked to a whole range of cancers. This was a large-scale research exercise involving 5,000 smokers so it can't be dismissed. Though I don't specialise in smoking cessation myself, it is something I feel is very worthwhile and other hypnotherapists report good results as long as their clients are really motivated to stop. One reason that I don't offer smoking cessation is that I have a personal interest that makes it hard for me to be objective. In her youth and middle age, my mother had been a very heavy smoker. When she was in her last months of life, I watched her trying desperately to breathe, hooked up to an oxygen cylinder. This is an image that will stay with me always. She had suffered from breathing problems for years and her whole retirement (after a life of hard work and little enjoyment) had been blighted by this disability. I had health problems myself that later were recognised as the result of passive smoking. I do offer help for clients who want to rid themselves of unwanted habits and lead healthier lives. [...]
Anxiety is bad for us: we know that. But it is a killer - or can it save our lives? A large-scale study has found that men over 40 who suffer from significant levels of anxiety are twice as likely to die from cancer than their female counterparts. Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common mental health problem that is associated with an increased risk of suicide and other mental health problems. It affects about 5% of the population. But the male sufferers studied in the research were found to be at greater risk of dying from cancer than the females – or from other men who did not suffer from GAD. Was this because the men worried about their symptoms in silence? Did women react differently, worrying more about theirs and consequently taking steps to gain reassurance from their doctors? Were there other differences caused by gender-related issues? Or did the anxiety itself cause cancers to develop more frequently in men, and not in women for some reason? Much more research needs to be undertaken to find out the answers. What is certain is that anxiety, like stress, is bad for our physical health [...]