counselling lancing

Being aware of a Whole person. Pernicious anaemia

Until recently I was unaware of pernicious anaemia or a vitamin B 12 deficiency and its symptoms.

I took my daughter to the doctors as she was suffering from headaches, felt dizzy at times, she had trouble concentrating, was very tired despite good sleep and an excellent balanced diet.
She was told she had tension headaches. After a few weeks and doing all we were told she still felt awful and that diagnosis didn’t  ring true to either of us.
We were then told she had anxiety. Perhaps I’d like to give my 15 year old anti anxiety drugs? My daughter said no thanks and explained that was confusing as she didn’t feel anxious not particularly extraordinarily stressed. I asked for blood tests.
After a few months of pushing she was given a blood test to find that she actually had very low iron, B12 etc.
Eventually she was given B 12 jabs that she will have to have for the rest of her life as its an auto immune condition that would have made her very ill.
Since doing some research, those with a B12 deficiency can present as anxious or depressed. Also older people will often have a B 12 deficiency and benefit from jabs. In these cases diet changes will  not work as an intrinsic factor is missing.
I then met an older client presenting similar issues. While I am not qualified to, nor would I ever diagnose anyone, I encouraged him to see his GP. His result was a B12 deficiency. After jabs he felt better and we could work on his issues without the physical symptoms masking the real issue.
My point in this article is look at everything, see the whole person and trust your instincts. Get checked out always in all ways available.

Depression and what we eat

For the past couple of years, when people come to see me with depression I also look at their diet. I have long believed it is a contributory factor.  The age old tidy house tidy mind also has some bearing.  Healthy eating and sleep patterns matter.

As figures of depression and prescriptions soar there are longer waiting lists for counselling on the nhs.  Private therapy can’t be afforded by everyone.  There are however some dietary basics we can all look at. This post makes for very interesting reading?

Could it be chicken and egg? Which came first? Lack of dietary factors or depression.


An analysis of NHS figures, released this week  (http://www NULL.ssentif NULL.shtml)by data experts SSentif, revealed that the number of people living with depression in England has soared by nearly half a million in the last three years, with the total number standing at almost 5 million.
Inevitably, this has been accompanied by a large increase in the number of prescriptions for anti-depressant drugs. With official figures such as these likely to be merely the tip of the iceberg, just quite how much worse the actual situation is, is anyone’s guess.
Am I surprised? Not in the slightest. The writing was already on the wall and this is just more evidence of the growing burden of mental health problems society faces. As discussed recently in Nature  (http://www NULL.nature NULL.html), across 30 European countries, in a typical year, it’s estimated that around 165 million people – 38% of the population of these countries – will have a fully developed mental illness. When it comes to major depression, across these 30 countries, the estimated number of people affected was 30 million — making it the single greatest burden of all human diseases.
Certainly, mental health problems, and depression in particular, are undoubtedly complex, multi-factorial conditions. But the bit I’m interested in – and think more people should take seriously – is the extent to which our modern day diets are messing with our brains. To offer a window into this paradigm of thinking, I’m going to make reference to a particular constituent of our diet – omega-3 fish oils. Firstly (and famously), there’s a strong correlation between a nation’s fish consumption and the prevalence of depression [1], meaning countries with a high intake of fish (for example, Japan) have much lower rates of depression than countries with a low intake (such as the UK).
Whilst tantalising, this type of data is mere correlation, subject to any number of ‘confounders’. However, the fact that omega-3 fish oils (EPA and DHA) are critical for the structure and function of the brain, and play a role in how neurotransmitters work, does add biological plausibility. Then, we find that patients with depression have lower levels of omega-3 [2], and not only that, the lower the level of omega-3, the worse the depression [3].
Whilst the plot thickens, we need harder evidence, the sort that can only come from well-conducted randomised controlled trials (or RCTs), and that’s a bit of quagmire, as we find a mixture of both positive and negative studies on the role of omega-3 fish oils in depression. But to cut a long story short (for those wanting the whole story, we spell it out in The Health Delusion), when you put all these studies together into a ‘meta-analysis’, supplements containing the omega-3 fish oil EPA (rather than DHA) appear to be effective in improving symptoms of depression [4]. Whilst most of us would do well to eat more oily fish generally, for those suffering with depression, there is a persuasive, if not yet conclusive, argument for considering a supplement of 1g per day of EPA (but not DHA) as part of a comprehensive treatment approach (but always to be discussed with the doctor first).
Alongside omega-3 fish oils, we could make similar (if less strong) arguments for a potential role of other nutrients in supporting our mood and mental health, such as zinc [5] and folate [6]. We could even extend that to the removal of deleterious dietary factors, such as trans fats, which have recently been implicated in exacerbating our mental health woes (more about that here  (http://healthuncut
With burgeoning rates of depression, and our modern day diets in a pretty woeful state, is it time we started integrating nutritional strategies into the prevention and treatment of depression? It’s not as if the pharmaceutical solutions are a holy grail, given the significant numbers who either derive little or no benefit from them, or are afflicted by side effects.
Surely this is food for thought?
[1] Hibbeln JR (1998) Fish consumption and major depression Lancet 351(9110):1213
[2] Lin PY et al (2010) A meta-analytic review of polyunsaturated fatty acid compositions in patients with depression Biol Psychiatry 68(2):140-7
[3] Edwards R et al (1998) Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid levels in the diet and in red blood cell membranes of depressed patients. J Affect Disord 48(2-3):149-55
[4] Sublette ME et al (2011) Meta-analysis of the effects of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in clinical trials in depression. J Clin Psychiatry 72(12):1577-84
[5] Cope EC, Levenson CW (2010) Role of zinc in the development and treatment of mood disorders Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 13(6):685-9
[6] Papakostas GI et al (2012) Folates and s-adenosylmethionine for major depressive disorder. Can J Psychiatry 57(7):406-13

Talking, diet and sporting against depression

I work with clients with depression.

Some move and change some develop a different thinking, some work through. It all depends on the person. I do know however that I feel it is a privilege to be part of their journey and look at why, their life story and ways forward and or to change.

The two articles following argue that drugs don’t work and or that talking therapies are over looked.

I believe that talking to your doctor about taking medication is great, see what is right for you and also go get a therapist too, use both as an option. Reading can help, talking can help. A focused session where you have a set time concentrating on you is an opportunity. I also look at diet, exercise, social patterns and how you are as part of what I do.



  1. How to beat depression – without drugs
  • Jake Wallis Simons (http://www
  • The Guardian (http://www, Monday 19 July 2010

Up to 20% of the UK population will suffer from depression – twice as many as 30 years ago, says Steve Ilardi. Photograph: Rob Lewine/Getty/Tetra

Dr Steve Ilardi is slim and enthusiastic, with intense eyes. The clinical psychologist is 4,400 miles away, in Kansas, and we are chatting about his new book via Skype, the online videophone service. “I’ve spent a lot of time pondering Skype,” he says. “On the one hand it provides a degree of social connectedness. On the other, you’re still essentially by yourself.” But, he concludes, “a large part of the human cortex is devoted to the processing of visual information, so I guess Skype is less alienating than voice calls.”

Social connectedness is important to Ilardi. In The Depression Cure, he argues that the brain mistakenly interprets the pain of depression as an infection. Thinking that isolation is needed, it sends messages to the sufferer to “crawl into a hole and wait for it all to go away”. This can be disastrous because what depressed people really need is the opposite: more human contact.

Which is why social connectedness forms one-sixth of his “lifestyle based” cure for depression. The other five elements are meaningful activity (to prevent “ruminating” on negative thoughts); regular exercise; a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids; daily exposure to sunlight; and good quality, restorative sleep.

The programme has one glaring omission: anti-depressant medication. Because according to Ilardi, the drugs simply don’t work. “Meds have only around a 50% success rate,” he says. “Moreover, of the people who do improve, half experience a relapse. This lowers the recovery rate to only 25%. To make matters worse, the side effects often include emotional numbing, sexual dysfunction and weight gain.”

As a respected clinical psychologist and university professor, Ilardi’s views are hard to dismiss. A research team at his workplace, the University of Kansas, has been testing his system – known as TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Change) – in clinical trials. The preliminary results show, he says, that every patient who put the full programme into practice got better.

Ilardi is convinced that the medical profession’s readiness to prescribe anti-depression medication is obscuring an important debate. Up to 20% of the UK population will have clinical depression at some point, he says – twice as many as 30 years ago. Where has this depression epidemic come from?

The answer, he suggests, lies in our lifestyle. “Our standard of living is better now than ever before, but technological progress comes with a dark underbelly. Human beings were not designed for this poorly nourished, sedentary, indoor, sleep-deprived, socially isolated, frenzied pace of life. So depression continues its relentless march.”

Our environment may have evolved rapidly but our physical evolution hasn’t kept up. “Our genome hasn’t moved on since 12,000 years ago, when everyone on the planet were hunter- gatherers,” he says. “Biologically, we still have Stone Age bodies. And when Stone Age body meets modern environment, the health consequences can be disastrous.”

To counteract this Ilardi focuses on the aspects of a primitive lifestyle that militate against depression. “Hunter- gatherer tribes still exist today in some parts of the world,” he says, “and their level of depression is almost zero. The reasons? They’re too busy to sit around brooding. They get lots of physical activity and sunlight. Their diet is rich in omega-3, their level of social connection is extraordinary, and they regularly have as much as 10 hours of sleep.” Ten hours? “We need eight. At the moment we average 6.7.”

So we should all burn our possessions and head out into the forest? “Of course not,” Iladi shudders. “That would be like a lifelong camping trip with 30 close relatives for company. Nobody would recommend that.”

Instead we can adapt our modern lifestyle to match our genome by harnessing modern technology, such as fish oil supplements to increase our intake of omega-3. All well and good. But I can’t escape the feeling that the six-step programme seems like common sense. Isn’t it obvious that more sleep, exercise and social connectedness are good for you?

“The devil is in the detail,” replies Ilardi. “People need to know how much sunlight is most effective, and at which time of day. And taking supplements, for example, is a complex business. You need anti-oxidants to ensure that the fish oil is effective, as well as a multivitamin. Without someone spelling it out, most people would never do it.” Ilardi practises the programme himself. He’s never been depressed, he tells me, but it increases his sense of wellbeing and reduces his absentmindedness (his college nickname was “Spaced”).

It all makes sense, but will I try it myself? I don’t suffer from depression, but wellbeing sounds nice. I’m not so sure about the fish oil, but I might just give it a go.

Enjoy the sunshine, get plenty of sleep – and be sociable

▶ Take 1,500mg of omega-3 daily (in the form of fish oil capsules), with a multivitamin and 500mg vitamin C.

▶ Don’t dwell on negative thoughts – instead of ruminating start an activity; even conversation counts.

▶ Exercise for 90 minutes a week.

▶ Get 15-30 minutes of sunlight each morning in the summer. In the winter, consider using a lightbox.

▶ Be sociable.

▶ Get eight hours of sleep



2.Psychotherapy as Treatment Option for Depression Often Overlooked

By American Psychological Association

American Psychological Association

Last modified: 2012-10-10T19:01:21Z

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As mental health advocates observe and blog about World Mental Health Day today, the American Psychological Association (APA) is drawing attention to psychotherapy as an effective treatment option for depression and other mental health issues.

“Even though countless studies show that psychotherapy helps people living with depression and anxiety, drug therapy has become the most popular course of treatment,” says Katherine C. Nordal, Ph.D., APA executive director for professional practice.

APA launched a psychotherapy awareness initiative this Fall to educate consumers about psychotherapy’s effectiveness and encourage them to talk with their physicians about treatment options. APA’s efforts include resources about psychotherapy to help people understand how it works and a video series that illustrates the value of psychotherapy as a treatment option.

“Research shows that psychotherapy works. It is an effective way to help people make positive changes in their lives,” Dr. Nordal said. “We hope people will explore their treatment options to create a plan that gives them the skills they need to manage their condition.”

Mental health problems are one of the top three reasons why Americans seek medical treatment. In the United State alone, one in ten adults report having depression, which is being treated more frequently with medication — since the 1990s, the number of prescriptions for antidepressants more than doubled from 55.9 million to 154.7 million.

SOURCE American Psychological Association
Read more here:

YOLO, mindfulness in therapy

“Yolo” is a current piece of slang meaning you only live once. The question therapeutically for me is where is that once?  How do I impact right now, what is my part in right now, all great questions, yet by asking, are you taking yourself out of this moment?

Maybe it should read “timm,” this is my moment.

Eckhart Tolle states ” Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.” We often believe we have done just that, yet habits are hard to break and we look for confirmation in life that our habit, be that addiction, an eating disorder, a panic attack, depression, being a workaholic, any habit in fact, is one of choice. Is it? Chemically, biologically, phenomenologically and psychologically?

Research on the brain has shown that the brain will shape path ways to avoid pain. We are scared of making the same mistake again so avoid repetition and avoid the potential in the future. That effectively takes us out of right now. We attach a bungee cord to that time when we felt x, it is familiar, safe, so we are ripped straight back to that point as if on the fairground running as fast as we can until that stretch is so uncomfortable we are pulled back.

This means we are stuck in doing, rather than being. How many human doings do you know? I’ll do it, leave it to me, of course I can, I will, I’ll sort it, let’s do something different, let’s sort this, what is the solution?

John Kabat-Zinn suggests that

“Our brains operate primarily in ‘Doing’ Mode. We actively use our minds to solve problems, make plans, anticipate obstacles, evaluate how far we are from desired goals and choose between alternatives by judging their relative value.  While “Doing” mode is extremely useful for helping us advance in our careers, be popular, lose weight, and a myriad of other life tasks, it falls short when it comes to managing emotions.  Emotions cannot be reasoned away or “solved” and evaluating how far we are from feeling as happy as we’d like to feel only makes us feel worse.  This type of thinking can actually exacerbate “sad” emotions by introducing a second layer in which we criticize or judge ourselves for being sad. “Doing” mode also doesn’t work when there is nothing we can do to change the situation. We may desperately want to be married, rich, loved, or successful, but we cannot force these outcomes to happen right away, even with the best of efforts. “Doing” mode can also lead to disheartening comparisons with people we feel are doing better than us and ruminations of why we are not where they are.


living fully in the now

“Being” as an Alternative to “Doing”


Now, nobody is suggesting that we give up “Doing” mode altogether. If this were the case, we would never even find our keys to get out the front door. However, there is another way of being that many of us are not even aware of, and that is “Being” Mode. Unlike its counterpart, “Being” mode is not action-oriented, evaluative, or future-focused. It involves slowing down our minds and deliberately grounding ourselves by focusing on what we are experiencing right now. In “Being” mode, it is okay to just be us, whatever we happen to be experiencing; we do not try to change our thoughts or emotions into more positive ones or shut out aspects of our experience. Rather, we begin to develop a different relationship with our own senses, bodily states and emotions by deliberately focusing on what they are trying to tell us and allowing ourselves to be compassionately open to these messages.

“Being” mode involves accepting what is, because it will be there anyway. We begin to release energy, relax, and let go of the struggle to mould our reality into our preconceived ideas of what it should be. We begin to let go of judgments and regrets about the past and fear of the future. Rather than berating ourselves for not achieving the status in life we think we deserve or are entitled to, we allow ourselves to look fully and open-mindedly at where we are. Eventually we realise that this may not be so bad. We learn to extend love, compassion, and kindness to ourselves, and everything around us, rather than compartmentalizing reality into “good” and “bad,” or “winners” and “losers.”  We are all infinitely more complex than what we  earn or own; we are lovable and interesting, just by being human. This moment is just this moment and not where we are stuck forever. Ironically, by accepting the present, we open up space for internal and external movement and change.


The Advantages of “Being” Where We Are

”Being” mode is a core component of mindfulness and spiritual practices. It is something that requires practice and training because we need to overcome our minds’ natural habits and fear-based biases. Experiencing “Being” mode can help us feel more whole and relaxed; we move from reacting automatically to having more choices about how we respond, based on a fuller understanding and acceptance of our own sensory, physical, and emotional experience.  It is the opposite of dissociation and avoidance that many people use to cope with negative emotions and situations.  We activate the more loving “approach” circuits of our brain and move away from the “avoidance” modes.”



Recent research also shows that with fear and anxiety, which is clearly heightened when our brain is actively searching for that,”do over” to avoid,  feeds the brain’s chemical reactance creating adrenalin and cortisol. The more afraid we are the more fear we feel, that might happen, it did once, what if, I can’t, yes but…
Embrace the fear, I’m ok, I’m frightened, I’m worried. Treat the adrenalin shot like a free can of Monster or red bull. Wow, I have this energy right now, just think of all I can do and be feeling like this.
Practice mindfulness, living in the here. The following are a few exercises on mindfulness.
Put your hands with the fingers just touching under the “bra strap line” as you breathe in; the idea is that your fingers will separate. This is breathing using the diaphragm.Once you can breathe, look at a clock and start timing 60 seconds. Focus on nothing but your breathing, if you start thinking, start again and aim for as long as you can, purely focus on breathing. Preferably with your eyes open. Some people take years to learn to do this, so be kind and don’t expect success or failure, be in the moment and breathe.


Count to ten, gently and slowly. As soon as your mind wonders and goes off on a tangent, start again, focus on the counting


Pick up anything close to you, feel it and get lost in it. Don’t think, define, analyse, critique it. Be with it and truly see what it is.


A mindfulness app on modern phones is a great reminder. While you’re at work or out, a gentle randomly timed bell goes off reminding you to be.  If you don’t have a smart phone, pick a sound you hear randomly during the day. Could be a phone, a tweet, an animal, a voice, pick anything and use it as a cue to be.


Being in the moment can affect panic attacks, anxiety, eating disorders, addictions, depression, self esteem and much more.


Therapy enables many to work out what happened yesterday, that shapes tomorrow and IF that is a choice we want to make now



” Adequate coitus” what an expression!

The phrase that struck me in this article was “adequate coitus” I honestly don’t know of any one who has actually searches for adequate coitus be that either or?
Growing up we read books. Of flood gates, the earth breaking at its very core. We are either exposed to sex or not. It’s good or its dirty or very normal.  Again though “adequate”? Lots of couples do adequate but did we sign up for that?
Another question is frequency. The Kinsey institute has amazing tables on regularity, age and more.

On average  for married couples under 30 years of age; the frequency is about twice a week.  For married couples between the ages of 50-59, its about once week. These are averages.  Some couples are happy with more frequent sex, some happy with less frequent sex.  And that’s really the point:  not how much sex you’re having, but whether you and your partner are happy with the sex you’re having, regardless of the frequency.   If one, or both, of you isn’t happy then there are plenty of things that might be going on.  

Harry Fisch md says  that the “Penis is the dipstick of the bodies’ health”.  Sex gives us a clue to how healthy an individual—and a relationship really is.
If you can’t communicate how much you want let alone how, then go see someone.  Lots of relationship issues are around sex and money, based on communication.  Start talking

Article :
Thank You, Doctors: The Average Sex Time Is Not as Long as You’d Think
Everyone seems to complain that they either last way too long in bed or not nearly long enough. But what’s actually normal? What should we be shooting for?
Yes, it does seem as if everyone at the all-boys high school and the methadone clinic is complaining of little else. I know what you’re thinking: If only we had the perceptions of 34 Canadian and American sex therapists on this. Well, now we do.
According to the new study “Canadian and American Sex Therapists’ Perceptions of Normal and Abnormal Ejaculatory Latencies: How Long Should Intercourse Last?” adequate coitus lasts anywhere from three to seven minutes, not including the Pledge of Allegiance. This data, from all the normal people who see therapists for sexual problems, corresponds closely to earlier studies, which put the average at five to seven minutes. (We can safely blame the two-minute discrepancy on the Canadians.)
“Very few people have intercourse per se [Latin for by thrust] that goes longer than 12 minutes,” says sex therapist Barry W. McCarthy. Essentially, ejaculatory inhibition, which is also called “delayed orgasm” or “junkie orgasm,” has less to do with actual time than an inability to ejaculate when you’d like. And premature ejaculation, which is also called “rapid ejaculation” or “your ejaculation,” refers to intercourse that lasts less than a minute or two.
McCarthy says you can slow things down by honing your technique through what he calls “nonintercourse sex” (what the rest of us call “jerking off”). You also might want to try switching positions and varying the speed and pattern of your thrusts, and then you might attain the required 18-minute minimum no legitimately normal person ever fails to meet.

On the road DNA daddy van, ethical implications?


Who’s your daddy van?

Morality and therapy aren’t bed mates. Ethics and therapy are. I was interested  to read that for £2/300 you can flag down a man in a van and ask for a DNA test in nyc right now.
What are the moral and ethical implications for this? Could  counselling and therapy be involved as the potential fall out is catastrophic for some with huge emotional and financial implications. For the person asking, the other parent and especially the child.  If the test is the easy part, what then? (http://news

A ‘Who’s Your Daddy’ van is travelling around New York City, offering men the chance to find out whether they are the father of a child.
The owner and operator of the vehicle, Jared Rosenthal, is selling DNA tests, mostly to those who suspect youngsters may not actually be theirs.
Costing around £200-£300, men just have to give a cheek swab. Then there is a laboratory analysis and the paternity results are available in a couple of days.
Mr Rosenthal told CBS News: “They flag us down, they pull us over, they talk to us.
“Sometimes, because of the nature of the services, they want to be a little more discreet about it, but they do come or they’ll call the number.”
Mr Rosenthal said he deals with all kinds of strange situations in his line of work.
“We have people that want to get the specimen from their spouse without them knowing about it. We deal with a lot of drama. It’s constant drama,” he said.
One unidentified man, who was asked why he was taking the DNA test from the travelling truck, said: “I’m paying child support anyways and I would do it anyways. You just want to know.”
Mr Rosenthal went on: “There’s a lot of difficult situations and tough moments and heartbreak,” adding there are happy endings as well.
“There’s a lot of good news that we’re able to deliver and there’s a lot of happy moments.”
For example, the test helped a 44-year-old Harlem man find his long-lost 20-year-old daughter.
Mr Rosenthal maintained that his credentials are legitimate and that his business is legal.
He believes he is providing an essential service. “It’s not something people talk about, but there is a big need for it,” he said.

Sex, increased toy sales and the pressure

While 50 shades may be mummy porn to some, it also makes no difference to others. It’s important to remember that for all sorts of reasons, some people choose not to have sex.  Some are single, some are couples.  Some couples fall out of the habit an some couples lose contact with each other.  Some people find themselves single after a divorce, a break up or a bereavement. They may worry about what when how as they have been with one person for a long time. Taking that step seems insurmountable. 

Talking to a therapist may help, it’s all about getting in touch. (http://www NULL.thesun NULL.html)

Sex toy firm Lovehoney reported a 400 per cent increase in sales of blindfolds, restraints and intimately revealing lingerie.
And a dramatic baby boom has been predicted due to couples’ increased action between the sheets.
This reported increase in libidos sparked by E L James’s “mummy porn” trilogy is working wonders for many – but not for everyone.
While the rest of the population fantasises about hunky Christian Grey and what he gets up to in his Red Room Of Pain, some women have been left out in the cold.
Socialite Tamara Ecclestone recently revealed she hadn’t had sex with her boyfriend for more than 12 months before they split up.
Revelation … Bernie Ecclestone’s daughter wasn’t intimate with her boyfriend for a year before they split
The daughter of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone admitted the lack of intimacy left her haunted by thoughts that her ex, Omar Khyami, rejected her in bed because he was cheating on her.
JENNY FRANCIS speaks to three women who admit their bedrooms are seriously lacking in action and reveal why they have not had sex for a whole year.
The single girl
YOUNG, free and single, Sharan Sunner hasn’t had sex for a year – out of choice. The 24-year-old health and nutrition rep from Leeds has not slept with anyone since the end of a six-month relationship last year. At the moment she is focusing on friendships rather than looking for romance.
Sharan says: “I know most 24-year-olds would think a whole year without sex is a long time, but for me it’s happened because I’ve had other priorities.
Erotic … novel sent sex toy sales rocketing
“Just over a year ago I was in a relationship for six months, so sex was very regular.
“But when the romance ended badly I lost all interest in men and decided to enjoy just being single without thinking about sex.”
Sharan has been on dates since she split up with her ex, but she always breaks it off before things become intimate.
She says: “I’ve been out with guys and enjoyed getting to know them and having a flirt, but I cool things off before sex is on the cards.
“I went out on a few dates with a guy recently and he wanted things to progress into the bedroom but I didn’t, so we called it off. It’s not that I don’t want to have sex at all. I just don’t think it’s worth all the hassle because it complicates things.”
Sharan is very busy after recently changing jobs and she is spending most of her free time catching up with friends. So she would find it difficult to fit men into the equation.
“I love going out at weekends with my girlfriends, partying and having a good time,” she says.
“I have so much fun with my friends that picking up a man is often the last thing on my mind.
“I’m not a shy girl but my body confidence isn’t at its highest at the moment, so I’d rather concentrate on just having a good time and focus on my job than sleep with someone I don’t really know.”
But while Sharan’s sexless year has been largely down to personal choice, she does hope that intimacy is on the cards in the not too distant future.
She says: “I’m hoping to break the no-sex streak soon.
“I don’t want to go on like this for too long but it would have to be with someone I trusted.
“Who knows, it might give me the body confidence boost I need.”
The married couple
‘Sex became less and less frequent after our daughter was born’ … Charlotte and Chris Everiss
STAY-AT-HOME mum Charlotte Everiss and her husband Chris haven’t had sex for over a year. The couple, from Great Wyrley, Staffordshire, have been married for nine years and have a daughter, Addison, four. They put their dwindling love life down to loss of body confidence.
Charlotte, 34, says: “When Chris and I got married nine years ago our sex life was never an issue — we had sex at least twice a week.
“But things in the bedroom started to go wrong a few years ago.
“I put on three stone while I was pregnant with our daughter Addison, who is now four, and I have struggled to lose the weight ever since.
“My body felt very different with bigger boobs, and despite dieting I felt embarrassed about my appearance, which didn’t make me feel sexy at all.”
Being tired due to all the running around after a young child didn’t exactly help matters. And Charlotte says their time as a couple in the bedroom became less and less frequent as sex slowly fell down the pecking order of things.
“I didn’t have the time to look nice and treat myself to sexy lingerie because it wasn’t a priority in the scheme of things,” she says.
“Before Addison, our sex life was great. And when it started to become less frequent, at first it just seemed normal because we were both so tired and worn out from being new parents. But the longer the gaps in between us having sex, the more noticeable it became.”
Feeling increasingly self-conscious and unhappy about her body, Charlotte convinced herself that 39-year-old Chris, an online manager, didn’t find her attractive any more.
She says: “He wasn’t asking for sex so I assumed he didn’t want to, and eventually sex stopped altogether.
“Also, with Addison in the next room, I felt conscious of having a child in the house and often used that as an excuse not to have sex.” While Charlotte thought the spark had gone, she didn’t realise that Chris was suffering from similar body hang-ups.
“Only now that we’ve opened up about not having sex have I discovered that my husband was struggling with his body confidence, too,” she says.
“He feels overweight and unattractive and thought that I didn’t want to have sex with him!
“I’d never imagined he’d felt that way and now I realise we’re both as bad as each other. I often feel like we’re friends rather than husband and wife.”
Charlotte admits their lack of intimacy has put an incredible strain on their marriage.
She says: “Not having sex has definitely caused friction in our relationship as I sometimes feel like I’m not married.
“Chris and I didn’t talk about the fact that the intimacy had stopped until now and it’s made me realise that we both clearly miss it.
“We’ve both been thinking the other wasn’t interested in sex any longer because of the body issues we were having, which doesn’t make for a healthy relationship.
“Recently, we’ve both joined an exercise programme to tackle our weight issues and I have been out running three times a week.
“Now everything is out in the open and I know Chris still finds me attractive.
“I feel more confident, so maybe we’ll get back between the sheets soon.”
The divorcee
‘After my divorce I cut myself off from men’ … single mum Paula Hollis
SINGLE mother-of-three Paula Hollis has been celibate for over a year. The 45-year-old, from Blyth, Northumberland, has struggled with the idea of a new physical relationship since her tough divorce 18 months ago.
Paula says: “I had been with my ex-husband for 14 years and when we got divorced I just couldn’t imagine being with anyone else after being that close to someone for so long.
“After getting over the tough break-up, instead of wanting to get out and meet new people, I started cutting myself off from men and any kind of sexual contact.
“Now, after a year of shunning any advances, no sex has just become the norm for me.”
But this lack of a love life is not something Paula ever thought she’d become accustomed to.
She explains: “My ex-husband had a very high sex drive and we used to have sex all the time before we split up — at least three times a week.
“We didn’t ever get to the stage where it stopped, so it is a bit of a shock to the system.
“I thought I would crave the intimacy of it but so far I haven’t been too bad.
“If I was to sleep with someone now it would have to be someone I’d known for a while, and I’d have to trust them.
“It couldn’t be someone I’d just gone out and met, as I’d feel very nervous and unsure of myself with a stranger.
“And anyway, in the past 18 months I’ve realised that I don’t need a partner — or sex — to keep me happy.”
With three sons to look after — 21-year-old twins from a previous relationship, and six-year-old David, right, with her ex — Paula has lots to keep her busy. She would find it hard juggling a social life with being a mum.
“With David being so young, I don’t have much time to go out and meet new people,” she says.
While some women might like the thrill of meeting and sleeping with someone new, that is not the way Paula wants to live.
She is happy just to be with her sons and her good friends, and insists that she doesn’t miss sex — at least, not at the moment.
Paula says: “My friends are very supportive of me and know I’m happy spending my time with my boys and them.
“Obviously I don’t want to go on like this for ever, but for now I’m happy without sex.”

Anxiety even if mild and undiagnosed raises risk of early death


Anxiety is spiraling it seems if you judge by reported cases. Cases are up by 10%, 1 in 7 people are already on anti-anxiety medication and spending is increasing dramatically and this latest research states that anxiety raises your chance of death. Now of course that’s reporting and sensationalism when written in a head line and yet as a statistic it might just scare you in to doing something. The group looked at weren’t those diagnosed with anything. They were people with milder levels of stress, depression and or anxiety. At a mild level people still need to do something states Dr Russ. Not medication, but an alternative. As Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, said: “This research highlights the importance of seeking help for mental health problems as soon as they become apparent, as early intervention leads to much better health outcomes all round.”

So come see me and let’s start talking.

Anxiety ‘raises risk of early death by a fifth’

Even low levels of stress of anxiety can increase the risk of fatal heart attacks or stroke by up to a fifth, a study has shown.

Anxiety and low-level depression appear to set off physiological changes that make the body more prone to death from cardiovascular disease. Photo: ALAMY


By Stephen Adams (http://www NULL.telegraph, Medical Correspondent

A quarter of adults are at risk of an early death even though their problems are relatively mild, it found.

People who suffer from clinical depression or other major mental health problems have a greater chance of dying early.

But now British researchers have found that even those with problems they don’t consider serious enough to bring to a doctor’s attention, are at an increased risk.

The team found those with “sub-clinical” anxiety or depression had a 20 per cent higher chance of dying over a decade than those who did not.

The researchers, from universities and hospitals in Edinburgh and London, looked at deaths in 68,000 middle aged and older people who they followed from 1994 to 2004.

They found those suffering from sub-clinical anxiety and depression were at a 29 per cent increased risk of dying from heart disease and stroke.

They were also at a 29 per cent increased risk of dying from ‘external causes’ like road accidents and suicide, although these only accounted for a tiny proportion of deaths.

It had been thought that depressed or anxious people were more likely to die early because they failed to take good care of themselves – perhaps smoking and drinking more, eating worse and doing less exercise.

But Dr Tom Russ, lead author of the study, published in the British Medical Journal, said: “These ‘usual suspects’ only make a small difference to mortality.”

Even when these factors and others – including blood pressure – were stripped out of the equation, the link remained, he emphasised.

The psychiatrist, of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre at Edinburgh University, said this suggested stress altered the physiology of the body to make it intrinsically less healthy.

In particular, he said it could make the body more vulnerable to heart attack and stroke.

He said: “It’s early days, but there’s growing interest in potential physiological changes associated with both distress and cardiovascular pathology.”

Dr Russ pointed out that the group they looked at were not those with serious depression who were simply avoiding medical help.

“If these individuals went to a doctor, they wouldn’t be diagnosed with depression,” he said.

So many people had mild anxiety or depression, “that we really need to take it seriously”, he argued.

But he said neither he nor colleagues who worked on the project were advocating “the medicalisation of anxiety”, nor suggesting people suffering from it should go on drugs.

If anything, they thought treatments not based on drugs should be investigated.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, said: “This research highlights the importance of seeking help for mental health problems as soon as they become apparent, as early intervention leads to much better health outcomes all round.”

*Meanwhile, new figures show that the number of anti-depressants prescriptions being issued in England has risen by almost 10 per cent in just a year.

Data from the NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care show that the number rose from 42.8 million prescriptions in 2010 to 46.7million in 2011 – a rise of 3.9 million, or 9.1 per cent.

The NHS is now spending £49.8 million on anti-depressants such as citalopram and fluoxetine, better known by its brand name, Prozac.

Of all drug types, antidepressants saw the biggest rise in cost and items dispensed between 2010 and 2011.


HOW you ask yourself why am I depressed really does matter


I recently read an article that interested me as it is something I have noticed with clients with depression. HOW you ask yourself a question, look at what’s going on and why, REALLY does matter. To distance yourself from what’s going on, be able to ask why am I feeling what I am, what’s happened, when, with whom in an analytical way IS, it seems more effective at breaking that cycle of negative thoughts, behaviours and feelings.
Talking therapy can really enable you to recognise that pattern of negativity and open up different ways of asking questions of yourself and looking at yourself. The fact that the study showed that people with even major depression can choose to distance really matters too. Choice used as a word doesn’t sit with clients at first, yet is an important part of the process, even if that original choice to react in a certain way was effective when the decision was first made. It isn’t any more, hence people email, phone or text and ask for therapy. People with depression will often share that they are drowning, to accept that ‘self emersion’ is a possibility and to work with choice is a great goal for anyone with depression. Please note i do use the word goal as most people with depression reading this will state categorically there I have no choice, which I totally understand.
It’s an interesting article based on incredibly experience proving research!

Distancing Oneself from Negative Emotions Decreases Depressive Symptoms
July 13th, 2012 |
Rumination is a key characteristic of depression. Individuals with depression have high levels of negative affect and tend to recycle negative thoughts and emotions. This behavior of ruminating on negative experiences perpetuates the cycle of depression and increases the severity and length of depressive symptoms. How individuals approach their negative emotions has been the subject of much research on depression. In a recent study, Ethan Kross of the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan looked at two different ways in which people view negative thoughts in order to determine if one increased depressive symptoms more than the other.
In the study, Kross evaluated 51 individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) and 45 individuals with no history of depression as they analyzed their emotions in relation to a negative life event. The participants were instructed to view their feelings using either a self-distanced approach or a self-immersed approach. Kross gauged how these two perspectives affected negative affect, avoidance, and emotional content and discovered several interesting findings.  First, Kross found that both the MDD and non-MDD participants were able to self-distance. This is a key finding because many depressed individuals do not automatically choose to use this perspective when in the midst of troubling feelings but may be inherently capable of doing so. Kross said, “Second, depressed participants who analyzed their feelings from a self-distanced perspective displayed lower levels of depressive thought accessibility and negative affect than their self-immersed counterparts.” These same individuals also gained more awareness of the negative situations and achieved a sense of closure that the self-immersed group did not.
Kross did not find any differences in the levels of avoidance, regardless of how the participants viewed their negative events. Overall, the research demonstrated that individuals with depression do not always have negative outcomes when they question the circumstances that led to the negative emotions. Rather, their emotional outcome is predicted more by how they ask the questions. Specifically, a self-distanced approach of analyzing emotions seems to lead to a more adaptive and positive outcome than a self-immersed approach, which appears to contribute to further rumination and negative emotions.
Kross, E., Gard, D., Deldin, P., Clifton, J., Ayduk, O. (2012). ‘Asking why’ from a distance: Its cognitive and emotional consequences for people with major depressive disorder.” Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0028808

Shades of grey…

There is an irony when I give out my card and I hear, ooooh grey …..  Sales for 50 shades of grey have reached 660,000 a week at one point.

Every so often bdsm gets trendy. Lots of people think mmm, must try that. Tipping the velvet was the same for the UK, just in a television series.

Bdsm participants are still judged however. This book may put an angle on it for you yet how would you feel if the guy over there who likes his testicles nailed to a plank offers to baby sit your child? Or finding out that woman who works with you likes to be tied up and pee’d on? It’s alright to try to a certain point, but oh I’d never go that far? The book sells the romantic side with a hint of pain. The reality is open communication,  negotiation, meeting lots of people who potentially don’t have the same kink as you let alone the same vanilla ( all the “normal” people) interests.

I see bdsm clients. I see the person and work with the issue they bring which may or may not have anything to do with their kink. I am kink aware and kink friendly and my clients are very aware of that non judgemental stance.

One thing that strikes me is how knowledgable people become. About themselves, their limits, what they want and what they don’t want. They become aware. They also look into safety. It terrifies me that floggers and nipple clamps are increasing in sales. The romantic ideal is one thing, the reality on risk awareness is another. If s/he hits me there that’s my kidneys or potential hip damage. If the clamps are strong, blood supply issues etc etc etc.

Plus life gets in the way for kinky people too!  To have to cook, clean, sort the kids or run late after that meeting means you really have to want to “play”. Thw coming out or staying in the closet and the implications of being outed to friend and family, let alone work. I also see bdsm clients with anxiety, relationship issues and low self esteem and depression for example.

Having fun is great, risk awareness is paramount. Selling the idea that bdsm is the ultimate relationship though? They seem to be more intense, more passionate at times yes. They also suffer from normal relationship issues as the common denominal factor here is simple. They’re still human beings!

Also for couples with issues who use bdsm to spice things up, while sex really matters, introducing bdsm into your bedroom or life could potentially add to your issues eventually. It takes excellent comunication and what happens if one likes it more than the other or one says enough.

If a relationship isn’t going well then therapy can help, there are no guarantees yet change often occurs. (http://www NULL.standard NULL.html)

The Fifty Shades of Grey effect: how London got kinky There was a time when Londoners were nervous about nipple clamps and freaked out by floggers. Not any more. The BDSM bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey has the capital on its knees

Fan-tastic, how fiction written in homage by fans on the internet paved the way for Fifty Shades of Grey

‘I’m not into pain, but I was inspired to go out and buy a flogger. I love it’

Last Christmas, if you’d mentioned BDSM over drinks (and as GQ’s sex columnist, I stand guilty), you’d have been met with blank looks. ‘Floggers?’ Piers Morgan once confided. ‘A glass of wine would be a better aphrodisiac.’ Today, however, Bondage, Dominance and Submission Sado-Masochism is so now. And rocketing sales of a colourful gamut of bondage toys would suggest that we’re not merely reading about this summer’s ruling literary hero Christian Grey’s Red Room of Pain, but recreating it.

Because the sudden acceptability — even voguishness — of relatively hardcore erotic adventure seems to have been triggered by the remarkable success of the kinkbuster novel Fifty Shades of Grey, now the fastest-selling paperback in history, with some ten million print and more than one million e-reader copies devoured so far. Couple its colourful contents with tumescent media revelling in any opportunity to discuss the S&M nature of the novel, and it is perhaps unsurprising that naughty sex has sashayed out of the shadows.

Matthew Curry, head of e-commerce for the UK’s largest online retailer of sex toys,, has seen a huge change in buyer behaviour as a result of the book. ‘First-time customers are especially emboldened: normally they’d pick something like a small vibrator; instead we’ve seen a huge growth in sales of items such as nipple clamps.’ The figures are impressive. In March the site sold just over 200 pairs of nipple clamps. In June it sold 1,214. Over the same time, sales of whips and floggers have doubled, and sales of Ben Wa Balls (metal balls used for internal female stimulation, which cause Fifty’s heroine Anastasia’s ‘inner goddess [to do] the dance of the seven veils [and make her] needy, needy for sex’) are up by 400 per cent.

The Hoxton women-only erotic emporium Sh! reports similar spikes. It has seen partic-ular interest in entry-level spreader bars (bars designed to hold arms or legs apart, in this case with Velcro fastenings); Sh! ball gags — and spanking classes — have repeatedly sold out.

Where Fifty Shades has come to be known as ‘mummy porn’, enjoyed secretly on the Kindle by older women, it has exploded across all ages and definitely no longer just appeals to mothers. ‘I’m not into pain, but I was inspired to go out and buy a flogger. I love it,’ says Gemma (not her real name), 34, a single management consultant from South London. ‘The way EL James describes the toys in the book makes them sound glamorous and accessible — not cheap plastic things that would be ugly.’ Over the past few years high-end designers have quietly been working the erotic arena: the award-winning designer Yves Béhar, for example, collaborated on sex toys with manufacturer Jimmyjane, and Alex Monroe, a jeweller more usually known for nature-inspired pendants loved by Elle Macpherson and Emma Watson, has created a beautiful range of gold-plated, butterfly nipple clamps. ‘I also bought a tickler,’ Gemma adds. ‘It’s an amazing device. I couldn’t believe I’d never even heard about ticklers before. But then, I don’t spend time in sex shops so how would I have done?’

Mistress Absolute, a West London-based dominatrix who runs Club Subversion (a nightspot that twins dance spaces and dungeons) on the Albert Embankment, and organiser of the annual London Fetish Weekend, also recognises the Fifty Shades effect in inspiring interest in Londoners who might not otherwise have considered BDSM. But she’s equally keen to place the trend in a larger context. ‘Sexually our tastes are developing,’ she says. ‘We’re moving away from a hegemonic society, where 2.4 kids is the ideal, and seeking new things to try. The foundations of this move are various: shops such as Coco de Mer, for example, have for a while now made kink feel less smutty. On the club scene we’ve also seen more events based around fantasy. It’s a reaction to the economic situation: when times are tough, people want to dress up and go crazy. BDSM is an escape from the real world, creating a domain which is sub/dom but also consensual and safe.’

She also emphasises the role of the media, and in particular celebrities such as Lady Gaga. Where the lesbian kiss was de rigueur to demonstrate their sexed-up credentials in the early Noughties, that has now been tossed aside in favour of BDSM references. As well as Gaga, Christina Aguilera went for it with a diamond ball gag in the video for ‘Not Myself Tonight’; and Rihanna aced them all with her single ‘S&M’, the video for which saw her swinging from the ceiling in Japanese Shibari bondage rope and flicking her crop at journalists whom she’d trussed up with tape.

‘Of course, what they’re doing isn’t new. It’s a throwback to what Madonna based her early career on — kink repackaged for a new generation,’ says Absolute. S&M has breezed in and out of fashion almost as far back as records exist. Images on pots from the 6th century show that Ancient Romans had a taste for it, and culturally it has popped up in everything from the Earl of Rochester’s bawdy 17th-century verses to the infamous butter scene in 1970s erotic classic Last Tango in Paris.

The consensual nature of Anastasia and Christian’s relationship in Fifty Shades is emphasised via a 50-page Submissive Contract, which Anastasia is free to edit according to her limits (and which, when she reads with her ‘heart still pounding’, she discovers includes gems such as there will be ‘No acts involving children and animals’). The power that Anastasia wields is surely a key part of the book’s appeal. Perhaps as much as anything it made female readers recognise that, even as a submissive, they still could choose what happened to them in a BDSM scenario.

‘I used to have a judgement on BDSM,’ says sex and relationship coach Sue Newsome. ‘But once I studied it, I realised that while the dominant has control, the submissive has the power. If they are not responding, the master has to change what he is doing.’ Newsome is excited by the possibilities afforded by the popularity of the book. ‘I’ve noticed the buzz and think it’s brilliant. Sex games can help people to have open and honest communication about their curiosity and desires.’ But she advises caution: ‘Having read it, people have been coming to me to understand how to explore BDSM safely. I emphasise to them there has to be trust. There are risks. All kinds of equipment are readily available; for a few pounds you can buy a cane, and with it you can inflict an immense amount of pain.’

As a first step, she highlights the importance of knowing what you want to get out of erotic experiments, of having rules about your limits and also having safe words. (Since half the fun of power play is pretending that you are being forced to do something against your will, yelling ‘Stop!’ tends to imply the opposite. If you really mean, ‘Desist immediately or I’m calling the police,’ then a safe word such as ‘red’ is a better bet.) ‘BDSM can be a fantastic gateway to sexual pleasure and connection for everyone,’ she finishes. So, listen closely as you walk down the street on a quiet evening. You may just hear the creaking of women’s bodies suspended from the rafters, or even the crack of a whip…

Get The Help You Need

Email me to make a start.


Latest Tweets

greymatterpsygreymatterpsy: Trust your own wings
98 months ago from Twitter for iPhone
greymatterpsygreymatterpsy: Healing: letting go of everything that isn't you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs - and becoming who you are
98 months ago from Twitter for iPhone
lnw7lnw7: RT @greymatterpsy: Tick the second box. Happiness is an active choice not a right x
98 months ago from TweetDeck
greymatterpsygreymatterpsy: Tick the second box. Happiness is an active choice not a right x
98 months ago from Twitter for iPhone