confidence Archives - A Step at a Time

Planning for the summer – Helping children to manage expectations and develop patience

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, relationships, self-esteem, sensitive children, well-being | No Comments

After months of disappointment, life being tipped upside down and some massive changes to daily routines, as adults we can feel discombobulated, and for children, many feel like their brains are about to explode. Supporting children to make sense of the world and to feel safer is key to building their resilience and helping them to manage natural anxiety. With the summer holidays now upon us, there is a wonderful opportunity to support children to start putting their worlds back into order so that they are well prepared for the return to school. Our brains run on patterns; every opportunity, sensory experience, place we visit, thing we hear is quickly run back to our brains stored knowledge to check if it is ‘safe’ ‘acceptable’ or ‘similar’ to what we have known before. If something matches then we can push forward, if not, it can raise anxiety levels, adrenalin or fear…

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Strategies to support children: Homemade Sensory Boxes

Posted by | anger, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, grief, low mood, self-belief, self-esteem, sensitive children, Stress, well-being | No Comments

Helping children to manage their emotions and learn to regulate them can be a daunting task. Children’s rapid brain development means that whilst they develop logic and reasoning from the age of 5, they can often be impulsive, as the frontal cortex of the brain, which controls logic develops much later. In fact, the frontal cortex development continues into adulthood, so recognising that children need our help to develop reasoning and control is the first step to connecting and helping them. The later development of the frontal cortex means that children; are more likely to act on impulse are less likely to think before they act are more likely to take risks or act out risky behaviours have difficulty considering the consequence of their actions may behave in inappropriate ways Therefore, as adults, supporting children to develop the knowledge and understanding of these areas is important in their social and…

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Supporting children with angry feelings

Posted by | anger, anxiety, BWRT, Children's Therapy, confidence, low mood, self-esteem, Stress | No Comments

Why do we get angry?? Everyone has a different response to anger, and the reason for this is that everyone interprets the environment, relationships and situations differently. This is dependent on previous experience, developmental stage and our understanding of our own emotions and triggers. As such, no response to a situation is right or wrong, but merely our own response formed from our pre-learnt reactions. For children, as their brain development is in an escalated period and changing daily, their response to situations may not be what is deemed ‘acceptable’ or ‘desired’ but will, like our own responses, be a response to the emotions that they are feeling internally and the learnt responses they have developed to date. These may be their ‘fight-flight-freeze-faint’ responses, they may be responses learnt from previous experiences or they may be learnt responses from the people around them. So, where do these responses come from?…

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How to recognise signs of poor mental health in children and 5 ways to support children at home.

Posted by | anxiety, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression, emotional eating, grief, low mood, parent separation, self-belief, self-esteem, separation anxiety, Stress, Teenagers, well-being | No Comments

The thing about mental health, is that we all have it. If we imagine it as a swinging pendulum, throughout out life times, our mental health moves between good mental well-being and poor mental well-being, depending on life circumstances, events and situations. Everyone can have days when their mental health feels more sensitive, but for some, realising that their mental health is suffering and needs support can be a shock. For children and teenagers, brain development is ever changing and moving, children’s pre-frontal cortex – the part of the brain that supports rational thought, seeing perspectives, solving problems and regulation continues its development throughout childhood and adolescence. So, we cannot expect our children to know how to manage their own feelings without guidance and support. In addition, as their primary responses come from their limbic brain system we can often see strong emotions, reactive and instinctive responses to issues –…

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10 Resources to support children with anxiety

Posted by | anxiety, books, child therapy, Children's Therapy, confidence, life coaching, self-belief, self-esteem, separation anxiety | No Comments

If your child is prone to anxiety, offering them support and knowing what to say, can feel really difficult. Offering children an environment where they feel able to talk without judgement, feel accepted and have their emotions respected becomes fundamental to helping them to grow their confidence and resilience. At its core, for children to feel more in control we need to help them build their resilience skills. Resilience is all about our ability to manage situations and bounce back from difficulties. In order to foster resilience we need: To develop children’s awareness of what their emotions mean To support children to develop the vocabulary for their emotions To help children to recognise their triggers and know what the feelings are that occur when faced with them To support children to learn positive coping mechanisms to manage their feelings In this blog, i’ll be sharing ten resources that you can…

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Motivating children, teenagers (and adults) to get things done

Posted by | boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, excuses, self-belief, Stress, Teenagers | No Comments

Motivation is the word on everyone’s lips right now, at its fundamental core, as the world becomes a peculiar place and boredom and monotony sets in, removing us from the from the initial novelty factor how do we help our children and teenagers (as well as ourselves) to get motivated, and most importantly, is that even what we need? What is motivation? Motivation is defined as: “a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way”. Motivation can be intrinsic – coming from us, where we have a personal motivation to achieve something or extrinsic – where we do something because we are told to, or there is a reward for it e.g. money, success It indicates that we have a desire, or purpose which drives us to get things done. But, how does that fare in a pandemic? When we have countless days ahead of us? No…

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Supporting Separation Anxiety in Older Children

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, Children's Therapy, confidence, self-esteem, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress | No Comments

In many cases, people can forget that older children can be as prone to separation anxiety as younger children and toddlers. In fact, as the years tick by, as a therapist, I see more and more children experiencing separation anxiety. What does it look like? In its simplest terms, separation anxiety, is when a child, teen or an adult is scared/afraid to be away from a particular person. Albeit a parent, guardian, partner or a pet. The concept of being apart from them creates severe anxiety. This can include physical and emotional symptoms: Headaches Stomach aches Crying / distress Begging or pleading not to leave Screaming Panic (inc. shaking, hiding) Retching or being sick Fear of leaving the significant person A fear that something ‘bad’ will happen if they are not with them A fear of being alone Refusal to sleep alone Refusal to sleep away from home / away…

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Supporting introvert and sensitive children

Posted by | anxiety, boredom, child therapy, Children's Therapy, confidence, introverts, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, sensitive children, Teenagers, well-being | No Comments

Having a child who is not the first in queue to do new things, meet new people or sit and chat, can feel that there is something wrong. However, for some children, being introverted or sensitive can mean that rather than think that there is something wrong with them, we need to identify how we can adapt our routines and behaviours to help them thrive. Introverts, are by nature, quieter, more reserved and happier to spend alone, whilst extroverts enjoy socialising, being active and larger groups. Whilst this is only the tip of the iceberg, we can often see in children we know, those who are happier in their own, peaceful worlds, and those who quickly become bored in their own company. The concern is often, whether the introverted behaviours are introverted or something to be concerned about. Signs of introverted child Deep thinkers and processors Self-sufficient Insular, reserved and…

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Supporting toddlers through separation anxiety

Posted by | anxiety, child therapy, Children's Therapy, confidence, self-esteem, separation anxiety | No Comments

So many parents contact me regarding separation anxiety. In some cases, the anxiety is a normal developmental stage, in others it is part of a separation issues which is causing the child anxiety symptoms. So, how do we know the difference? Around 7 to 8 months old, children develop a concept called object permanence. This means that they understand that something still exists even when it is out of sight. Think about young children for a moment, and how, if you hide a toy they do not go looking for it, and may even cry when it is not in sight? Once a child has object permanence they will seek out toys or people when they are not visible. It is therefore natural, that at around this stage children can want to stay with primary carers and not want them out of sight. Most children will naturally work through this…

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Teens, mental health timelines and cabin fever (How to cope)

Posted by | anxiety, boredom, child therapy, confidence, depression, low mood, self-belief, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

Over the last week, I have spoken to more teens and parents who are experiencing the impact of the emotions rollercoaster created by cabin fever. This can include feelings of: Increased anxiety Decreased mood Heightened frustration Increased feelings of being trapped Increased feelings of anger, annoyance and irritability The realities of cabin fever, are that many of us are feeling exhausted, trapped and annoyed right now, and the quicker we put in place constructive systems to help us manage the feelings and build our resilience that better the outcomes for our mental health. Some early signs that we need to be aware of, that may indicate your teen (or you) is beginning to struggle are: Sleeping more – or using sleep to avoid things Motivation has dropped Avoidance of activities, interactions or learning Increased screen time Use of electronics to avoid, distract or escape Increased or decreased eating habits Less…

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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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3 reasons NOT to wait for your child to grow out of it…

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

Why you shouldn’t wait for your child to access children’s therapy for their worries and behaviours….. “They’ll grow out of it”  “Don’t worry about it – they’ll grow out of it”  “We’ll review it when they are older….”  Ever heard those ill fated words before? When it comes to our child’s emotional or mental health do we really want to WAIT? In some cases they will grow out of it, for example a few children do grow out of their little worries, some children do grow out of their anxiety, and many  children do grow out of their toilet training issues (did you know that the hormones responsible for urine control in some children don’t mature until the age of 12??) HOWEVER Many issues do not disappear and in some cases leaving your child to grow out of it can actually create a greater issue to be treated later.  So…

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What you need to know when you are NOT ‘Ok’

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

One thing that I see every week in my office in Sussex is wonderful, professional, intelligent women who are tired, overwhelmed, exhausted, fed up, dissatisfied or just plain at the end of their tether with being ‘strong’ In reality we have all done it haven’t we, been strong when we have no strength left? Almost as if it’s some badge we should wear with honour, ‘I’m on my knees but hey I’m still being ‘strong’ We watch wonderful women walking through the depths of hell and because they still get up everyday, put their war paint on and go out and fight the world we tell them ‘you’re so strong’  As if being strong is a good thing? As if being strong is what we ‘should’ do… Would you tell your daughter who was crumbling inside to ‘be strong’ – or would you wrap her in your arms, comfort her…

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I’m not a statistic – I’m me…..

Posted by | anxiety, body-image, Children's Therapy, confidence, Eating Disorders, grief, Responsive Therapy, trauma, weight loss | No Comments

One of the greatest things that I find when working in disordered eating, anxiety or even trauma and bereavement is that so many of my clients have been treated as a statistic. Whether they are frustrated at being prescribed medication for symptoms not the cause, placed on long waiting lists for therapeutic talk therapies or provided with food plans which feel overwhelming the one thing that they all have in common is that they feel like a number, a statistic, a non-existent person. I remember years ago visiting the GP, my disordered eating spiralling, obsessed with exercise and collar bones and hip bones that were (in retrospect) very unattractive and a sign of the lack of health and nutrition I was experiencing) to be thrust a depression questionnaire to assess whether I was a risk to myself….. In that moment I felt like there wasn’t much hope left. The doctor…

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