Nicky, Author at A Step at a Time

The story behind our books!

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, bereavement, books, hypnotherapy | No Comments

I often get asked WHY I wrote the Adventures of Brian. With an ever growing book collection many people we meet want to know how it was inspired and what comes next. So it seemed an apt time to share it with you, as the anniversary of meeting the little girl who would prove to be a game changer to my life is coming up soon. So here’s our story… the Adventures of Brian Back Story… I’ve worked with children for my whole career, at 16 I worked in nurseries, progressing up to Nursery Manager and Early Years support roles within the local council. I additionally became a lecturer in early years and health and social care over 14 years ago so I suppose you could say that working with children and young people was in my DNA. I’ve always been a book worm and I love anything creative, as…

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Brains, filing cabinets – and why noone is coming to do your filing!

Posted by | anxiety, bereavement, BWRT, child therapy, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy | No Comments

Is your brain talking to you? Just take a moment and scan this communication list…. My head hurts all the time… I have a permanent headache…. I just can’t turn my brain off… I can’t sleep… I am permanently exhausted… I had to take a day off as my neck and shoulders hurt so much… I can’t concentrate… I keep forgetting things… The smallest thing makes me angry… I can’t deal with being around people… I’ve suddenly developed anxiety about things I used to find easy… I feel so fragile all the time.. My family are getting really fed up with me being so helpless… (If you didn’t tick off anything on this list then I can only say well done, you either have fantastic coping strategies in place, a support system which is second to none, are in therapy regularly or have had a peaceful year or a combination…

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5 reasons why anxiety in teenagers is increasing and how you can help

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, Uncategorised | No Comments

The NHS defines anxiety as “a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe”, it’s prevalence in the population has seen a steady increase over recent years and in 2016 Mind.uk identified that around 6 in 100 people suffer with anxiety issues and Anxiety UK suggest that 1 in 6 teenagers will experience anxiety. This means that on average there will be around 5 children in any given classroom experiencing anxiety symptoms at any one time. The Fundamental Facts of Mental Health Paper 2016 found that ‘in the UK, women are almost twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders. From the APMS (2014) results it can be deduced that, in England, 6.8% of all women were diagnosed with general anxiety disorder compared to 4.9% of all men.’ It was shown that generalised anxiety disorder diagnosis’ rose from 4.4% in 2007 to…

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Child Therapy – From a child’s perspective… (testimonial)

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, books, BWRT, child therapy, Uncategorised | No Comments

I really love my therapy and coaching work with young people, their imaginations and willingness to open up and explore the child therapy techniques I offer means that they often experience big breakthroughs in 1-6 sessions (depending on the reason for attending). So you can imagine how touched I was when I received this beautiful story from one of my 12 year old clients which she submitted to a local radio station story writing contest, it looks at the session we completed to help her find some inner peace and joy…. she even had the chance to meet Brian my therapy dog! I’ll let her say the rest…    “Once there was a girl named Poppy and she was a big worrier for many reasons that cannot be explained. One day something life changing happened; she was going to see her one and only hero, worry expert Nicki Edwards and her…

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Perfectionism, Stress, School and our Teenagers

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, BWRT, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy, Teenagers, Uncategorised | No Comments

Having worked with the 16+ age group for 14 years this year (still feels like yesterday that I started) it’s been an interesting concept to watch the changes in mindset, challenges and mental health. One of the key things that is becoming more and more noticeable is that a higher number of teenagers and young people are striving to obtain a level of perfectionism that is causing higher levels of: Stress Anxiety Worry And in more extreme cases: Disordered eating Self-harming behaviours If you read my previous blog ‘Is the world causing our children anxiety‘ you’ll already know that I discussed the influence of social media and technology on our children’s limbic brain development (the part of the brain responsible for emotional behaviours) if not it is worth a perusal to look at the statistics released in the Child Mental Health Report 2017 where we see the links between social…

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Why self-care is NOT selfish

Posted by | anxiety, bereavement, BWRT, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy | No Comments

Every day I hear mums and my professional clients utter the same words ‘I can’t be that selfish’…. In fact it’s probably the main thing that they have in common, a belief system that looking after their own emotional health and well-being is ‘selfish’. Having worked in the teaching industry for many years i’m quite accustomed to skipping meals, working ludicrous hours, cancelling personal engagements to opt for lesson planning and marking and collapsing in a heap at the end of term wondering what way the steam train that hit me had gone in… So why is the main thing that I am accustomed to hearing ‘I can’t be that selfish’. Perhaps it’s an archaic belief system, maybe a new one from the unrealistic expectations that we have placed on life, but is it time to acknowledge that selfceare is NOT selfish? How is looking after your emotional health selfish?…

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Is the world causing our children anxiety?

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, BWRT, Children's Therapy, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy | No Comments

As the years go by my office is filled with more and more children and teenagers who are struggling with unwanted thoughts and feelings. Since I wrote the Adventures of Brian book collection this has only grown more considerably. Leading me to question – is the world causing our children anxiety? 19 years ago when I first entered the world of early years (working in a nursery) we would occasionally meet a child with separation anxiety or thumb sucking but these were few and far between. 15 years ago when I first went to work as a lecturer with 16-19 year olds you may have one teenager in your class with depression or anxiety but again it was much more a rarity than the world presented today. In the early days of my career, or even in my own school days you just didn’t find a huge number of children…

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A-B-C – are we missing the letters of child behaviour?

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, BWRT, Children's Therapy, hypnotherapy | No Comments

When I started my career working as a nursery nurse and later as a Nursery Manager and then a lecturer of early years I would routinely teach the ABC of behaviour to my staff and students… it was as simple as falling off a bike and a lesson I continue to use in my work as a therapist, however it is a lesson that we are forgetting in LIFE. Let me explain…. A B C of behaviour  The ABC of behaviour looks at child behaviour from the position that everything has an ABC A – Antecedent (the thing that caused the behaviour) B – Behaviour (the behaviour being demonstrated) C – Consequence (the result of the behaviour) It is an insightful way of remembering that NOTHING appears without a cause, so all behaviours from children are created by an ‘A’… Skipping the key letters…. However as the years go by,…

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3 reasons telling someone to ‘push through’ anxiety doesn’t work

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Whilst my work often takes me into the treatment of anxiety there are some common themes that I see when working with clients (children, teens and adults) which come from well-meaning friends and family but are having catastrophic or distressing results for the individual struggling with anxious thought and feelings. This week’s blog explores three reasons why telling someone to ‘push through’ anxiety could be having a crippling result and be ending in tears… Please note – the scenarios and examples used are related to anxiety and should not be confused with nerves or adrenaline from excitement e.g. pre-performance nerves. Reason #1 – It’s not safe for their brain The brain’s key job is to keep us alive and to keep us safe. In situations where the brain experiences a situation which feels unsafe or creates anxious feelings the subconscious creates a pattern of behaviour that this is ‘NOT SAFE’…

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Victim, Surviving…..Survivor

Posted by | BWRT, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy | No Comments

Did you ever notice that some weeks your conversations have themes? Or that everyone you meet has an invisible thread tying them to you, or a version of yourself from the past? I was talking to a number of people this week about the concept of moving from being the victim, to surviving to the survivor. Whether we apply this to recovering from eating disorders, moving forward after domestic violence, the emotional healing from trauma or the steps after a life changing incident in most cases there are 3 key stages and these each come with their own coping mechanisms, choices and decisions. VICTIM…… Immediately following any life changing situation/scenario/behaviour we fall into a ‘victim‘ category. As much as I personally hate the concept we are so vulnerable at this stage that we are the victim of a circumstance and our friends and family will rally round to protect, look…

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Being Unapologetically You….

Posted by | BWRT, Responsive Therapy, Uncategorised | No Comments

I was driving down to Worthing last week to the recording studio (we’re busy creating the next batch of the Adventures of Brian Audio Books) and as I sat at the railway crossing I watched a family walk past. Mum and dad were chatting, their son wandering close by, and just behind was their daughter… dancing and jumping along the pavement. It was their daughter who caught my attention, as she leapfrogged the bollards along the pavement, hopscotched across the squares of the pavement slabs and danced down the street with her family her ability to be so unapologetically herself was touching. You may have noticed how children have the ability to lose themselves in their play, not yet affected by the world’s opinions, oblivious to the concept of conformity there is nothing more beautiful than a child who is unapologetically themselves. I work with so many adults who are…

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5 things a narcissist does to stop you leaving….

Posted by | anxiety, body-image, BWRT, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy | No Comments

With the growth of social media quite often you will see the word ‘narcissist’ used within articles, stories, social media posts and films. Often followed with comments of ‘why didn’t they just leave?’ or ‘Didn’t they see what was happening?’…So here’s 5 things a narcissist does to stop you leaving… If you read my previous blog ‘Why you shouldn’t have known‘ you will be familiar with why we rarely see the effects of a narcissist until it is late in the day…. To start here’s a definition of a narcissist: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the process affecting the lives of innocent women and men every day is a pattern of abnormal behaviour which the narcissist not only has this excessive interest in themselves but combines it with a pattern of non-empathy in which they have no understanding of other people’s feelings and in their pursuit of power, success or self-satisfaction will…

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Why life is like a game of chess…. and how not to get checkmated!

Posted by | anxiety, BWRT, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy | No Comments

Have you ever noticed that life is like a game of chess? I was standing brushing my teeth this morning when I was struck by this profound thought (it’s my favourite profound moment place) that life is like a chess game and we can so easily get stuck in chess mate if we don’t watch what is happening…. I should be honest at this point and say that Chess is not a game that I have ever mastered – in fact I am still in awe of those who can play. Many moons ago the 8 year old I used to babysit tried to teach me but gave up when I just ‘didn’t get it’

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4 ways to stop the straw breaking the camels back (and save your social life)

Posted by | anxiety, BWRT, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy, Uncategorised | No Comments

You know that old saying ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back?’ well I want to tell you that in the majority of cases it isn’t the thing you have the greatest issue with. The problem with problems is that we collect them. Once we have a highly negative experience we can find ourselves overwhelmed with issues. The problem is we tend to focus on the most recent of these issues and not the cause of the pressure on our brain. We also inevitably do not notice the problem until it is so great the consequence is greater…. or do we? In this week’s blog I want to share 4 signs and actions you can use to ensure that the straw does not break the camel’s back and inevitably prevent it from breaking you…. Let me start with an example (fictitious scenario)…..Emily is getting married, she has waited for a…

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