Hypnotherapy & Counselling
in Woking & West Byfleet, Surrey

Beating Depression .

Feeling Down?.

For many years I have been working with depression and sometimes without initially realising it. Clients can contact us to help with weight loss, alcohol consumption, anxiety, lack of energy, motivation, procrastination, feeling down, relationship problems, addictive tendencies, psychosexual and sometimes depression. Of course that does not mean to say that someone who requests help to lose weight is depressed. However when depressed we can support ourselves with eating as well as alcohol, other chemicals and certain behaviours. This is often referred to as self-medicating: doing something to feel better. Having suffered with depression many years ago the first thing that you realise is that everyone's depression is different and requires a personal approach. It is said that twenty five percent of the UK adult population is suffering from depression. Is this an accurate figure? Let us briefly look at some of the facts. One in four people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year. Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain. Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men. About ten percent of children have a mental health problem at any one time. Depression affects one in five older people. (Taken and adapted from the Mental Health Foundation.)

Due to my own experience and the enormous amount of people suffering with depression it is about time that we (SCCP) started to seriously look at how we work with depression, contraindications, what helps and what does not.

Depression is a serious illness. Also known as depressive illness or clinical depression, which I believe as a condition can develop from a certain way of thinking, although I accept that there is a chemical imbalance, which is why in the clinical practice I use a mix of approaches: largely hypnotherapy, CBT, NLP and EFT. Depression is very different from the common experience of feeling miserable or fed up for a short period of time. Depression is more than just "having the blues". The feelings of extreme sadness that characterise clinical depression can last for a long time. These feelings are severe enough to interfere with daily life, and last for weeks or months, rather than days.

That does not mean that we always experience sadness, in the early stages the symptoms can be a lack of energy, a change in behaviour, changing relationship with food or alcohol, even physiological responses can change, such as an alteration in sexual response, the gut, bowel and bladder response may change and often breathing becomes more pronounced or erratic. Breathing changes are often associated with anxiety which might or might not be part of the depressive illness.

Depression is quite common, and 1 in 5 of people in the UK will have a bout of severe depression requiring medical treatment at some point in their lives. However, the exact number of people with depression is hard to estimate because many people do not get help, or are not formally diagnosed with the condition, or do not realise that their lives would be greatly improved with help. I remember denying that I had depression for many months until a good friend sat me down and made me read a section on depression from a GP's practice leaflet. The likelihood is that most adults will have experienced the illness by the time they reach middle age. Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men, although men are far more likely to commit suicide. This may be because men are more reluctant to seek help for depression. Depression can affect people of any age, including children. Studies have shown that 2% of teenagers in the UK are affected by depression. A family history of depression increases the risk of getting the illness.

A few people still think that depression is not a real illness and that it is a form of character weakness or an admission of failure. This is just not true. Depression is a real illness with real effects, and it is certainly not a sign of failure. Many famous people have suffered depression, including Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, John Cleese, J.K. Rowling, Kurt Cobain and Sheryl Crow to name only a few. Churchill used to refer to his bouts of depression as his 'Black Dog', after his nanny had commented on his episodes of depression during his childhood, saying it was 'as though a black dog was sitting on his back'.
(Adapted and taken from NHS UK)

Billie Holiday sang of the cold old rain, but now scientists have shown that the associations of gloom and greyness with depression may be more than metaphorical.

A study by German scientists suggests that depression could impair people's ability to detect black and white contrast, and that the world could literally fade to grey when we feel blue. They compared the phenomenon, identified through tests on the retinas of patients with depression, to turning down the contrast control on a television. The finding could explain why we can experience the flat greyness to our world when suffering with depression
One in five of the population suffers, like Stephen Fry, from depression at some point in their lives (Jacqueline Micalizzi/Rex Features The Times).

Earlier I remarked on the way that we think can increase the chances of depression. I believe that our expectations and misunderstandings of how we should live or what we need to do to be successful and even our definition of success play a significant role in gaining and maintaining depression. Which is why I would like to thank my good friend Emma Johnson for bringing the Mayonnaise Jar to my attention.

Mayonnaise Jar

When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the two cups of coffee.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."
The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favourite passions - and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

"The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house and your car."

"The sand is everything else - the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical check-ups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."
One of the students raised her hand and enquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked.
"It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

Puts everything into perspective, doesn't it? How many of us fill our lives with work, the house that we want, the car we want to drive and then wonder why we are not happy. Can you imagine flooding with anxiety because you can no longer afford to food shop at Harrods and be beside yourself in case people see you shopping in Sainsbury's? How about feeling that you are a failure as a person because you did not achieve the grades that you perceived were successful in an exam or degree? Please remember what other people think or say of you is their business; your happiness, your life is your business. Over the coming months I hope to bring you more on the way that we work with depression and how we can help clients to think rationally

January 2013 Certificate Course.

There are still some places available for the January course starting 26th & 27th January 2013. We have been looking around and I have to say these courses offer fantastic value for money. This Certificate Course is four weekends: eight days. There are diploma courses available that are only ten days: one day a month for ten months and these are more than three times as much as the SCCP fee of £560. Even this can be paid interest free over four months. These Certificate Course weekends are packed with fantastic information helping you to learn more about yourself or be able to better understand your clients and build a good practice base. Why not make a new start in 2013.

For more information regarding hypnotherapy courses The Surrey College of Clinical Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy or email info@hypnotherapysurrey.com


Early Learning Set.

I have found a very interesting Ericksonian Early Learning Set in my documents. Thank you to whoever sent it to me. It needs a little work and will be included in the next newsletter but it started me thinking about why this script can be so effective and thought perhaps we could all do with a reminder. At some time in our training we have all been told to use the Early Learning Set when helping a client to change habits. That sounds like every time doesn’t it? Well, perhaps with some of the more difficult changes like smoking and eating. It is said that when we were young children we had little information to refer to and so would constantly ask questions: "what is this mum?” “Why is that mum?" We absorb this information literally and without question, to the point where if at some time the parent’s comments are ambiguous the child will remind the parent of their previous comments and disagree. At this point the child’s mind has stopped accepting information and is now checking whether the newly acquired information is agreeing with previously accepted information. This may be a reason for the learning process slowing down, as a larger data bank considers new information against previous experience, to the point where some almost stop listening and jump to the answer and at times this will be wrong. Which could be a reason why therapists wait until the client is ready to hear rather than tell the client what they have not heard from a noisy world. The Early Learning Set is said to return the mind to an earlier way of learning through osmosis, without consideration or critique. Might any therapeutic intervention enjoy such an unequivocal response? Perhaps the therapeutic relationship and the ability of the client to be open minded might be dynamics that contribute to the effectiveness of its use, although we might consider that our understanding of Rogers' theories of gaining and maintaining empathy and the use of hypnotherapy to enhance the malleability of the ego structure, allowing previously learned information to be less constraining of change to be an enormous advantage. In truth the Early Learning Set would enjoy some success considering these dynamics, enhancing the ability for the client to allow change to take place by degree which would be dependent on the dynamics discussed. Certainly if not used in its varied forms it would be difficult for therapists to enjoy the advantages of a mind's earlier way of learning. For those of you who have trained with me, you already have and are hopefully using the Early Learning Set that we have practised during the Certificate Course as a deepener. In your next newsletter I hope to include a less formal version.

Looking forward to meeting you at dinner.
Kind regards

Tel: 01932 341055

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