Nicky, Author at A Step at a Time

Why storytelling can stop us connecting…..and getting better.

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

As humans we are brilliant storytellers. From telling stories to children as they settle down to bedtime, to re-ounting stories of work politics, and sharing coffee whilst we tell stories of our lives. We read people’s stories on social media, we listen to adverts and read articles in the newspapers…. in reality,  we listen to, and tell stories every single day. Which can often be a huge reason why we are living in a world of assumptions and presumptions and missing the truth….. and so often avoiding accountability and responsibility for our part in the reality of life. Look at these examples…. Person A reads a statement on social media and takes a dislike to it, presuming it it about them… they block person B and tell their friends about the negative comments written about them… Person C is in a relationship with Person D, they see person D changing…

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Why change can be so scary………

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Change can be a concept that for many people is terrifying… whilst others appear to take it in their stride. So, why is it so hard for some people to navigate? Change, in it’s simplest form is when things become different from how they are right now. In most cases, change is a positive thing, occasionally, change can be forced and harder to navigate. Some people will leap right in, with a faith that ‘everything will be ok’, whilst others can be crippled by the fear of ‘what might happen’ and the worry that it will have a negative outcome. So why? There are two parts to this. Firstly, the way that our brain processes change. The second, our level of resilience. Resilience and Patterns  Take two people. Lucy has always been active. She regularly attends clubs, classes and meets new people. She has changed her job every few years…

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Want to understand? Move around the table…..

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

I have been talking to a number of lovely clients over the last few weeks who were struggling to understand why people were not reacting to them how they wanted them to. To look at the situations we have been using a simple exercise to allow them to ‘step out of their own thoughts/headspace’. The reason we have been doing this is because when we are struggling with a relationship issue with a friend/partner/family member we can get caught up in ‘our side of the story’ which inevitably leads to a number of assumptions being made, cross words or putting words in their mouths. Inevitably it will end in upset for one or both parties and in some situations complete breakdown of said connection. So how do we do it? Here’s a step by step breakdown of how to use a simple ‘moving around the table’ exercise…. Think of the…

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Why can’t I change?

Posted by | BWRT, life coaching | No Comments

So often I meet people in every day life who talk to me about the fact that they ‘can’t change’ or that they ‘are just this way’ – even though their feelings, actions, behaviours or lifestyle are causing them upset they cannot find a way to change and feel that ‘nothing works’. Change is an interesting concept. It is something that so many people want. They may; Desire to change their lifestyle to feel happier or have a better quality of life Want to change their appearance whether it’s weight loss, fitness or health Want to change their behaviours or reactions to triggering situations Wish to change their feelings about a past event so they can move out of the past However, whilst they will talk about it they find that the action to move out of it is not forth coming. So what is the difference between those who…

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What’s your why?

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

I was talking to a friend this week about motivation. Years ago when I would compete in fitness competitions my WHY was huge – there was a big end goal and a date to work to, so the motivation stayed high and it tested your endurance and mental commitment to the extremes. The likelihood of failure was very low as you would not want to look or feel ridiculous so even on days when you wanted to quit you would drag yourself to your training days or eat that broccoli stem over the Chinese takeaway. In every day life motivation for goals can be harder. If the WHY is not big enough then staying motivated can feel tough, and the excuses slip in all too easy. Whilst our intentions and vision might be clear the action that is required can waiver. Why? Because the why just is not BIG enough….

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Simple strategies to support Fussy Eating

Posted by | anxiety, child therapy | No Comments

In June I was at the Connective Parenting Conference run by Sarah Fisher. Sarah works with a multitude of families using the NVR approach to support parents to connect with their children. If you haven’t heard about it just click on her name and it will take you over to her page. Whilst at the conference I was talking about managing stress (see my blog here) and also managing fussy eating at home. I promised that I would share some of the content so here’s a run through of fussy eating and some strategies you can implement today to start supporting your child to widen their food choices: So where does fussy eating come from?  Past history of physical reasons for difficulty in eating – some children genuinely have physiological reasons why they cannot eat some foods or particular textures of foods Changes in appetite associated with overall growth –…

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10 top revision tips to reduce exam stress!

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

Having spent 15 years working in education teaching 16+ I’ve seen my fair share of exam and assessment stress. However whilst some stress is motivational (it shows us that our exams matter to us) we can reduce the unnecessary stress by taking control early on and being prepared. For parents, the exam season can be just as difficult. You want the best for your children and the best opportunities. However keeping home life peaceful and planning opportunities for time out, as well as offering a quiet space where they can revise without distraction can make the whole home more peaceful. So I’ve collated my top ten tips for revision to make home and study a little more peaceful and under control: #1 – Get your notes in order  Spend some time getting your school/college/university notes in order. Having everything together means that you can get organised and have everything at…

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Have we become addicted to validation?

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I was talking to a beautiful friend this week and we got onto the subject of validation. Funnily it was the third time in only a week that I had had a similar conversation. Whilst not necessarily a subject topic purposely explored for it’s negativity it is a concept which impacts so many aspects of our lives, and whilst it can boost self-esteem it can also limit us to our comfort place, and in some situations prevent progress and development, therefore an area which we need to be aware of when working with children and young people.   What is validation?  Validation is defined as the ‘recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile‘. In expressing our views, thoughts or feelings we are actively seeking out an agreement from a third party that these thoughts are ‘valid’ allowing us to accept them as…

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Lego® Based Therapy – how can it help my child?

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If you follow my social media page (it’s here if you don’t) you would have probably seen me post about Lego® Therapy recently? Contrary to belief it is more than just an opportunity for me to practice my lego skills… here’s what it’s all about: Background of Lego® therapy  The Lego® Based Therapy model was first developed in the 1990s to offer a social development intervention for children with spectrum conditions which affected their social competence. It was found that in using a Lego® based approach children were more enthusiastic and engaged than in traditional therapy models. it was previously found that children were resistant to group activities using traditional methods but in Lego® based therapy groups/clubs they felt safe, engaged and interested. Lego® Based Therapy aims to offer children social skill interventions that they can use in a wider context. Lego Therapy uses Lego models as a core opportunity…

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My scars are on the inside…..

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

Over the many years I have worked with children and teenagers, and over the last 5 years working in my therapy office I meet so many clients with different backgrounds. Some have scars on the outside, from domestic violence, self-harm, eating disorders or alcoholism. Others have scars on the inside from emotional abuse, neglect, domestic violence, narcissism, bullying, grief and loss….. When we have scars on the outside it is easier for many people to comprehend the sadness and the pain. The medical intervention required means that there is a feasible reason to allow us to make sense of their suffering. When someone has scars on the inside we can easily forget the level of anguish, pain, self-doubt and suffering they have incurred as it is invisible to the naked eye; but its levels of impact are on an incomprehensible scale. Wounds heal, but internal scars remain for a long…

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Top Tips for Supporting Separation Anxiety

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After my fridge/freezer died on me this week I was tasked with having to purchase a new one, along with a full food shop to replace all that was lost. So on Saturday I was walking around Tesco and a dad walked past with his toddler in the trolley who was bawling his eyes out with a quivering lip as he wailed ‘mummy, want mummy’ it was enough to break any heart, but pulled me back to writing this blog about separation anxiety, which is well overdue. Separation Anxiety is generally a common issue in children from 6months to 3 years, and many children grow out of it. However for some children it becomes a greater issue and they need wonder support systems to manage their emotions around leaving familiar people or places. Separation anxiety occurs at the stage when children recognise that they are dependent on you, it can…

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3 ways to stop being so ‘busy’…….(and improve your health)

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

‘I can’t I’m busy’  ‘I”m just so busy’  ‘I cannot believe how busy I am!’  ‘I’ve worked XX hours today!’  Busy, busy, busy…… but is it really something to be proud of? And at what point is being a busy bee actually affecting your health, happiness and fulfilment? I work with women everyday who are experiencing anxiety, depression, sadness or a lacklustre feeling that life just isn’t all it should be…. the common theme with at least 75% of them – they are so busy being busy. In fact their commitment to being busy is directly impacting their contentment from life as they feel guilty for doing things they love due to a feeling that doing these daily tasks that keep them busy is a prerequisite to their life. With the rise in use of social media and the internet we know we can effectively work 24/7. We can Christmas…

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Why mental health is like building a house….

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Why is mental health like building a house… let me explain… Growing up I would colour in my dad’s architecture drawings for the latest house he was building, it filled me with dreams of being an architect and designing the houses that my dad would build. Coming from a household where my dad could literally build anything you drew, from rabbit hutches and runs to later the office where I now work, I quickly became attuned to the time, effort and energy that sits behind those pictures which later become homes. In Year 6 my science project was about cavity walls, as my dad taught me about the reality that the walls of a house are not just one layer, that the insulation is an important factor and that those measurements are imperative to the house fulfilling it’s function I spent hours drawing the illustrations to support this new knowledge…

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3 things you can learn from my Eating Disorder….

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

Eating Disorders often become one of those judgemental taboo subjects – we see television, magazines and social media body shaming, we hear flippant remarks of ‘my god is she anorexic!’ passed around as easily as the names of celebrities… but what we actually know about them is very little. Much like many taboo subjects eating disorders make many people feel uncomfortable, and as such they avoid any discussion about them. Behind closed doors they may discuss a friend, family member or work colleague who they have noticed has ‘different’ eating habits but the likelihood of someone actually sitting down and having that uncomfortable conversation with someone is unlikely. I should know – I had one. I was late to the game, at 26, to develop an eating disorder isn’t as expected as if I had been a teenager, and being older (and in full time employment) I had more control…

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5 Things to do when you’re exhausted…..

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In a world that seems to never stop what do we do when it all catches up with us? The reality is that we can’t just push the pause button and so when barriers, obstacles or difficulties crop up we still need to go to work, look after our families and do the housework and whilst what we really want is to curl up in a ball it can sometimes be….impossible. But what impact does it have on our health? When we have conflicts that occur in our home lives they can take multiple forms: Bereavements Family conflicts Stress at work Breakups of relaionships Illness Financial worries ….the list goes on Some of these can be easily resolved, others may pass in a short amount of time, and some slowly chip away at us over a period of time. With this comes the slow burn on our brain, as stress…

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