How do we support boredom when we are stuck at home?

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, boredom, child therapy | No Comments

When we choose to stay at home all weekend, lounging round and catching up on things we rarely get bored. However, when staying home is enforced and we lose the choice to go out, flit between shops and run errands we suddenly begin to feel very differently about things. In many cases boredom quickly sets in, and brings with it new levels of destructiveness. So, what is boredom? In its simplest sense, boredom is mental fatigue that is created by monotony (doing the same things over and over again) which creates a lack of interest in tasks and an empty feeling. What triggers boredom? Doing the same things repeatedly Lack of variety Too much predictability *It should be noted that we all NEED some predictability, boredom is created when there is little to no variety or no option for variety What does boredom look like? Boredom affects everyone differently, but…

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Managing children’s disappointment when they have to stay home

Posted by | boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression | No Comments

With the sudden changes to children’s routines there is, understandably, a great deal of disappointment, frustration and anxiety being caused to a great number of children. Younger children struggle with not having planned and considered goodbyes to manage transitions, older children are missing out on planned trips and events, whilst those with GCSEs and A-Levels are frustrated and confused by the sudden changes to their exams. Those students who had worked tirelessly feel short-changed that they did not get an opportunity to show their work, those who took longer to warm up and were just hitting their stride to work are scared that they will be assessed on the work that is not a true picture of their capabilities. Regardless of which boat they sit in, the changes and tsunami of emotions that they are experiencing, and will experience over coming weeks is understandable. Without life experience, the resilience to…

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5 things to do to keep your mental health more stable whilst staying home

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, books, boredom, child therapy, confidence, depression, low mood, self-belief, self-esteem | No Comments

As the world faces a new challenge, and we are in a position of needing to stay home to protect others, ensuring that we take steps to protect the mental health of our family, and ourselves, becomes vital. Having spoken to many people over recent days, here are 5 things that you can action right now to support you and your family. Plan a routine – Whilst we have energy and focus, making a plan for the next 6-8 weeks can help give you structure and focus. For those with home learning to do with children, this will give structure to some of the day, for those working from home, this will cover some of the weekdays, but for all of us we need to consider the time around this. Consider activities you have been procrastinating about at home, jobs you want to complete, home learning you could do as…

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The story behind the Adventures of Brian

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 later to Early Years support roles within the local council. In 2005 I became a lecturer in early years and health and social care and committed the following years to teaching students from 16 upwards in A-Levels and Foundation Degrees. I suppose you could say that working with children and young people was in…

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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………

Posted by | anxiety, BWRT, hypnotherapy | No Comments

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?

Posted by | anxiety | No Comments

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?

Posted by | anxiety, child therapy | No Comments

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

Posted by | anxiety, BWRT, hypnotherapy | No Comments

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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