Brexit and the National Mental Health.

I’ve been speculating in previous blogs about the relationship between the whole Brexit issue and the state of our national mental health. Well, now its official. A university study has recently been released confirming that over 40% of people in the UK claim their mental health has been been negatively affected by the three year old Brexit issue. The announcement on the BBC was prefaced with the fact that Brexit has divided friendships, marriages, families and communities. Passions run high on both sides of the ongoing debate.

I think the country has been exhausted and exasperated by this issue and the hope is that there’s some form of compromise and a step forward today. Unfortunately, nothing seems certain and that collective sense of doubt is what’s stressing the psyche of the nation and impacting mental health. Whatever’s ultimately decided will have made an impact that will probably out live many of us. Will our national mental health ever recover completely?

Hypnotherapy and Economic Reality.

I qualified as a hypnotherapist in 2006. Qualification was the culmination of ambition, effort and circumstance. I embarked upon a new career with optimism and zeal. Within a year, the initial forebodings of the looming financial crises were beginning to reverberate through financial institutions. By 2008 we, the entire UK, were in a full blown recession. Were clients scarce? Definitely. Did I give up? Definitely not. I simply took a part time job to supplement my meagre earnings in the certainty economic times would improve.

Fast forward to 2019. Did economic times improve? Gradually, but yes. Certain aspects of free wheeling capitalism required some regulation to achieve that. Inflation was low as were increases in salaries and wages. So was I able to give up the part time jobs and enjoy hypnotherapy full time? I tried more than once and couldn’t. Could I have done more? More advertising? More networking?  More social media? On the whole, I’d have to say no. So my advice to anyone considering a full time career as a therapist is go for it. It’s incredibly rewarding, but don’t give up your day job.

A Meeting of Minds.

Almost every week I have a calm conversation with a prospective client, or the partner of a prospective client, to dispel the misconception that I’m a hypnotist and that I’m “going to get into their mind.” While I’m not a stage performing hypnotist, I can with acquired trust, “get into their mind.”

Each session is about hypnotherapy. I describe the process as guided meditation or a massage for the soul and yet with each session there’s an ongoing dialogue that falls within the remit of counselling. The counselling aspect of the hypnotherapy session can be just as important as the hypnotherapy itself. Hypnotherapy appeals to the emotional/irrational/subconscious aspect of the mind, and the dialogue/counselling aspect appeals to the rational functioning of the mind. When these aspects of the mind meet is when real and lasting change occurs. It’s hypnotherapy and a meeting of the minds.

Mental Health in University

The BBC reported recently that British universities need to take responsibility for the mental health of their students. The news report was written in response to a government report that highlighted the number of recent suicides on UK campuses. Having read a prospectus for each of several UK universities I’m reassured that mental, physical and emotional well being is very much in focus. Perhaps what the BBC report needed to state more specifically is that universities need to be prepared to address mental illness. 

Sadly, many young people arrive at university with fragile mental health and the demands of post education can be overwhelming. Students need access to counselling and other forms of holistic therapy such as CBT, yoga, meditation and yes, hypnotherapy. Medication should be the last resort, not the first. Parents need to be kept informed by universities if their sons or daughters are suffering mentally. I feel universities are prepared to engage at this level, but it comes down to appropriate staffing and therefore funding.  With timely and appropriate intervention, I believe many if not most suicides on campus can be avoided.

The Fox Hall Clinic

Situated near the commercial heart of Clevedon, the Fox Hall Clinic has been the home of the Clevedon Hypnotherapy Centre since April of 2018. Although still being renovated and expanded, the Fox Hall Clinic has become a community focus for many services, therapies and activities. Chiropractors, chiropodists, massage therapists, CBT therapists and many others offer services. There are also courses for Pilates, Zumba, yoga and “meditation for blokes”.

I moved to the Fox Hall Clinic specifically to be among other therapists in a bespoke therapist’s environment. I have no regrets having moved. In fact, it’s by far the best working environment for a hypnotherapist to be in. Rather than providing therapy in relative isolation in a slightly sceptical environment, I’m among like minded individuals full of experience and enthusiasm. Long may this partnership continue.

Brexit: A Rational and Emotional Argument.

During the past three years I’ve tried to avoid any mention of Brexit in any context. Alas, the topic simply can’t be avoided. The arguments on both sides continue. If fact the tone has become considerably more contentious, even hostile. The political realignments and purges continue as I write these words. After defeat and delay, defeat and delay it feels as if the nation’s caught in a collective neurosis. 

There are remainers and leavers. Leavers have generally remained leavers but some would like to leave with a deal. The remainers have, thanks to direct democracy, become reluctant leavers but leavers who want to leave with a deal. Everything going on in Parliament is rationally apprehensible but frustratingly complex and convoluted. Few of us dare speculate as to where we’ll be in a week, let alone a year. Obviously the functioning of state won’t grind to a halt or break down, but it feels like a national nervous breakdown with no immediate end in sight. We will all stay tuned.

Primary Schools: Mental Health Awareness.

I’ve devoted many columns on the topic of mental health. It’s an issue that affects people of all ages, all walks of life, across all demographics. The last decade has seen a growing awareness of the need for support for sufferers with mental health issues. The focus tends to be adults, but the mental health of the elderly and particularly adolescents has been widely presented in the media.

The mental health of children has been presented in the media, but often in the context of obesity. Now children’s mental health is recognised as a significant issue in its own right and by “children” I’m referring to primary school age. In recognition of this situation, primary schools hold meetings and seminars for parents that promotes mental health awareness of their children. I feel this is a very constructive step. Had many people I help as adults received support when they were young, they may have avoided years of mental health issues.

The Fox Hall Clinic

I’ve enjoyed working as a therapist in Clevedon since 2007. During most of that time I was based at the Reading House Business Centre on Alexandra Road. In April of last year I moved to the Fox Hall Clinic in Clevedon. While the premises on Alexandra Road was very congenial, I made the change to be among a diverse range of therapists and health care practitioners.

I have no regrets in having made the move. I’m now working among practitioners of counselling, CBT, hypnotherapy, reiki, massage, podiatry and chiropractics. There are evening classes for meditation, Zumba and men’s yoga. The whole atmosphere at The Fox Hall Clinic is one of healing, balance and mutuel co-operation. Each of us is a caring professional and within this atmosphere, I feel my abilities as a therapist have been enhanced. I look forward to seeing you there.

Coming Off Antidepressants

An article appeared on Sky News recently about doctors warning of “severe” symptoms during antidepressant withdrawal. The information was originally published in a report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK. The report highlighted that there’s a wide range of patient experiences when people stop taking medication or withdraw from medication gradually. People can experience anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and body sensations for considerable lengths of time. The report was published to make the public aware of the risks of medication withdrawal and that unpleasant side effects can continue for long periods of time. Seventy one million items to treat anxiety and depression were given out in England in 2018. This is a staggering figure that’s been rapidly increasing over the last decade.

I’ve seen people experience severe symptoms such as anxiety and panic attacks when attempting to withdraw from antidepressants cold turkey. Withdrawal must be gradual, ideally over several months. If a person seeks out an experienced hypnotherapist, then often they can avoid antidepressants in the first place. If a person is on antidepressants and wants to stop, they should consider a gradual withdrawal combined with hypnotherapy to minimise withdrawal symptoms and ensure they stay off antidepressants permanently.

Potatoes and Gravy

I’ve written extensively about the usefulness of hypnotherapy to mitigate or even completely diminish many harmful behaviours. I’ve endeavoured to address misconceptions while reiterating the power of suggestion to make a positive and lasting impression on people’s lives.

At times these blogs and discussions come across as serious, but earnest. Happily and unexpectedly, an article comes along that allows for humour. The BBC regularly does a round up and commentary on current issues in the daily newspapers. Today they sifted through the Brexit/Conservative leadership news to find a small article about a man who claims to be addicted to roast potatoes and gravy and is addressing this issue with hypnosis.

The commentators questioned whether or not a marked preference for roast potatoes and gravy constituted an addiction, while ignoring the treatment for the “addiction” with hypnosis. This article, with it’s brief ensuing discussion, brought a smile to my face because it wasn’t clear whether or not the article perpetuated misconceptions or spoke to the broad application of hypnotherapy to address a wide variety of issues.

If a person wants to consume fewer roast potatoes and gravy, then hypnotherapy can provide a means to that end. Perhaps there are underlying issues that promote habitual and compulsive behaviour. If I accept the humour in the article, then the issue hasn’t been trivialised by default. Fewer roast potatoes and gravy? No problem.