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depression Archives - A Step at a Time

Supporting Children with Sad Feelings

Posted by | anger, anxiety, child therapy, depression, loss, sadness, sensitive children, well-being | No Comments

When children feel sad it can be heart-breaking for parents, sadness is a huge emotion and quickly starts to fill up whole days and affect many aspects of life. When a child feels sad it can quickly make adults feel helpless or frustrated that they cannot make it right. However, sadness is a normal emotion and we will all experience it at times in life. So how can we support it? What does sadness look like? Struggling to find happy feelings Feeling tired or have no energy Not wanting to have fun / do things they previously enjoyed Expressing that they are disappointed in things Feeling that they are missing something or someone Complaining of feeling a bit gloomy or low or empty Being frequently tearful or expressing that they want to cry Changes in food intake Changes in sleep patterns Irritable or angry Complaining that everything is ‘hard’ Feeling…

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Why we can’t hide from the dangers of social media…

Posted by | anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, computer games, depression, gaming, mental health, school, screen time, social media, Teenagers | No Comments

Every week in my office I see trends and patterns of issues that are occurring in the wider world, particularly those affecting children and teenagers. These act as great insights to my work, and allow me to then set about increasing the information, resources and targeted support that I offer to parents – you thought all these blogs were random? Not a chance…….every week there is a theme from the challenges facing parents, children and local contacts such as schools, local authorities and tutors etc. What’s occurring?  Since lockdown, social media has increased it’s agenda in my world. Whilst it was a fantastic commodity during the craziness of full lockdown, it comes with it’s own dangers and perils, often: under the radar out of parent sight not discussed causing high levels of distress Which ever is your poison, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, Pinterest or Snap Chat, they all have…

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Why we need to ensure our teens are not ‘too’ busy

Posted by | anxiety, body-image, boredom, confidence, depression, low mood, mental health, self-belief, Stress, Teenagers | No Comments

How busy is too busy?  How quiet is too quiet?  Something that I have noticed in my time as a child and teen therapist, is the far reaching extremes that can occur in children and teen’s diaries and the trends that then occur in mental health. The issues that often arise are either:  teens whose diaries are too quiet and have no focus, leading to isolation, to teens whose diaries are so busy they leave little/no time for downtime and lead to overwhelm Careful monitoring therefore becomes paramount to helping strike a careful balance. As the world operates 24/7, our diaries become filled with back to back events, commitments and social situations. However, for a child this can quickly make their world feel overwhelming and out of control. Their inbuilt desire to meet expectations can often mean that they will push through these emotions and the first indicator we see…

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Flatten the mental health curve at home!

Posted by | anger, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression, low mood, mental health, self-esteem, sensitive children, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

As we exit lockdown and resume a semblance of normality mental health has become the buzz word of the moment. But, how do we ensure that we are actually planning for mental health and not just playing lip service to the current trending terminology? Mental health describes a child or adolescent who has a positive sense of self and their abilities, a child with good mental health has good coping mechanisms to manage everyday stressors. Mental health can be seen as a continuum, moving between mental health and mental ill-health. We all have mental health, and as such, we will have times in life when it may be better or we may struggle. For those who regularly read my blogs, you will have seen the timelines I released early on in lockdown predicting times and areas when we need to be aware of our family’s stressors and also key events which…

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Why treating mental health is like peeling an onion

Posted by | anger, anxiety, bereavement, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression, mental health, parent separation, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

Mental health, and the treatment of it, causes so many families chaos, confusion and frustration. Accessing support can be difficult and in some cases impossible, and when support is accessed the expectations can differ from the outcomes. When working with clients, I frequently talk about mental health being an onion. Onions have layers and layers that you can peel back.  Some mental health issues are isolated, and therefore can be stripped in one go, therefore only requiring 1-2 sessions. Other mental health issues have developed over months, years, have multiple affects and triggers and therefore require us to strip off more layers to return to positive well-being – therefore requiring multiple sessions over a period of weeks or years. In some cases, clients will have attempted a number of therapies for only 1-2 sessions and when not finding an immediate cure give up and move to the next therapy. Others,…

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Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anger, anxiety, bereavement, boredom, child therapy, confidence, depression, disordered eating, grief, mental health, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

As lockdown eases in some places, and starts round two in others, the world feels like a strange place to navigate. For the many parents that I am speaking to on a daily basis, the concern for child and adolescent mental health grows. The uncertainty of the world, the disruptions to education and the distortions to social lives, for many, has created a wealth of mental health issues, ranging from low level to crisis. But, as a parent, what do you need to be looking for? And at which point should you be stepping in and looking for help?   Signs and symptoms: Seeing signs of mental ill-health as warning flags is a great way to keep things in check. I frequently work with children who, in the face of adversity, coped like a trooper. However, in the months/years after, then began to struggle. Because life had resumed to a…

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Supporting Parent/Adult Mental Health

Posted by | anxiety, depression, low mood, mental health, relationships, self-esteem, Stress | No Comments

Whilst I frequently write about child mental health, this blog is a shallow dive into adult mental health, to support parents, carers and wider family members who may need some support. Mental health, whilst a subject more frequently written and talked about, is still shrouded in its own elements of taboo and stigma. The reality, all of us have mental health. In its simplest form, mental health is a pendulum, swinging back and forth throughout our lives between good mental health and ill mental health.  Different life circumstances, situations and experiences may influence the pendulum in the short, medium or longer term. So, what dictates our responses to this? For the majority, core factors that affect our reactions and the impact and duration of the impact on our mental health include (but not exhaustive): Previous life experiences Our state of mental health at the time of the event Our resilience…

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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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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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When ‘just getting on with it’ breaks you….

Posted by | anxiety, BWRT, Children's Therapy, depression, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy | No Comments

“I just need to get on with it”  “I’ve got to get on”  “I’ve got to get back to it”  “I used to, I need to get on with it”  How many times have you used those words? Or watched and listened to a good friend or work colleague use them? If you’re anything like me its a lot! In a fast paced world where we have so much to do, our to do lists are never completed are you a victim of the ‘just getting on with it’ clique? So why is it a problem?  Here’s the problem….. The ‘just getting on with it’ clique are used to being invincible. They get ludicrous amounts of work done in a day, move mountains, are off saving the world. juggling a lot of balls and never seem to do them…. or do they? What happens when the ‘getting it done’ person…

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Why BWRT gave me permission to be happy…..

Posted by | anxiety, BWRT, depression | No Comments

In September I experienced the BWRT 4 week programme. It was a lengthy decision to undergo the process, I had already used BWRT for some public speaking nerves and so I was already convinced of its effectiveness…. So you understand why I wanted do it, I’ll give you some background… So here’s the thing, I am a really motivated person, I will work when most people give up, I plough on even if it seems impossible and I have literally made the impossible happen over the years. Then this year I took on the biggest challenge of my career, I wrote a book… The thing is, the book series had been planned for years and when a friend asked me for some help with their little one who was struggling I knew I had to step up and do something, so I wrote what would turn out to be a…

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This New Year….. Quit ‘Trying’

Posted by | anxiety, body-image, BWRT, Children's Therapy, depression, diets, hypnotherapy, Responsive Therapy, weight loss | No Comments

New Year – New You…. and all the resolutions begin… The problem with resolutions is that so few people ever achieve them, not for a lack of wanting to, and not because they don’t matter to them, it’s just that the very nature of resolutions is that we already know when we write them that it is unlikely we will commit to them for 12 months – but we will ‘try’. And there lies the problem… The very word ‘try‘ So what is the issue with the word? let me explain… The very nature of the word ‘TRY’ is that is it ‘ok to fail’. When we are very little our parents, teachers, aunts, uncles, family friends will all encourage us to ‘try’ and then, when they are tired of watching us struggle, or we cannot quite do it, they…..do it for us… From that moment on we learn that…

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Glance Back, Move Forward

Posted by | anxiety, body-image, BWRT, Children's Therapy, depression, diets, hypnotherapy, hypnotherapy gastric band, Responsive Therapy, weight loss | No Comments

There’s something about Christmas that almost forces us to reflect, perhaps because Christmas seems to come round faster and faster every year, perhaps because it’s one of the few static moments in our diary that we can be certain of happening and non-negotiable, you can hardly avoid the twinkling lights, wrapping paper and bustling shoppers, or the catalogue of Christmas adverts filling our television screens, can you? Christmas is therefore a pivotal point in which we can look back at what has changed over the last 365 days… Perhaps it is the…. The difficulties we have faced The changes in job, home, routine The changes in our children or loved ones The friends that we made, loved, or lost The changes in our health The happy moments, the sad moments, the memories Christmas for me is always a great time of reflection, often starting with the changes that were out…

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