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trauma Archives - A Step at a Time

Does your child fall apart when they get home from school?

Posted by | anger, anxiety, Children's Therapy, mental health, sadness, Stress, trauma, worries | No Comments

Does your child walk in the door after school and….. Explode? Fall apart? Lose the plot? Struggle to cope? Become distresses? Restraint Collapse is a term developed by Andrea Loewen Nair, a parenting educator. It is used to describe children who bottle up their feelings and anxieties all day, doing all they can to hold themselves together to fit in and be the same as everyone else, to then come home to their safe place and release everything. The challenge of holding in their emotional needs leaves them feeling emotionally, intellectually and physically exhausted and the entry into a safe space allows them permission to release these, often quickly and with overwhelming speed. What can it look like: Parents may see their child: Cry Scream Become angry Throw things Fly off the handle Be rude or disrespectful Being out of control Fatigued Your child being inconsolable Does it affect all…

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Does your child feel overwhelmed?

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

What is it? When a child feels emotionally overwhelmed it means that they feel smothered by their thoughts or emotions to the point that they feel that they cannot function. Overwhelm is an intense emotion and causes a flood of emotions and stress in the body. It can create a fight-flight-freeze-faint response which can cause a great deal of fear in children.   What causes it? Overwhelm is caused by a number of different issues. These frequently create heightened stress and sense of being out of control or things happening ‘to’ us. Including: Stress Sleep deprivation Experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event Challenging life issues Changes which cause extreme stress Bereavement History of trauma Transitions e.g. moving house, a new sibling, new school Being overloaded – committing to too much Overscheduling time Overcommitting to events, jobs or deadlines Situations where we feel controlled by others / events Underlying medical conditions…

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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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An open letter to parents of children with eating disorders

Posted by | anxiety, body-image, disordered eating, Eating Disorders, emotional eating, mental health, self-belief, self-esteem, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

*This blog is not medical guidance. If you have concerns about your child’s eating behaviours please consult your GP for referral and support.   Dear parent, I know that you haven’t got a clue what to do right now, whatever you say is wrong; too caring and you are ‘suffocating’, too strict and you ‘don’t care’ and say nothing and you’re accused of ‘ignoring my needs’. Here’s the thing about my eating disorder, it’s not me, it’s part of me but it distorts my thinking and actions at the core of my being. I don’t mean to snap at you, yell, scream, tell you that I don’t want to be here anymore, but it’s suffocating the energy out of my soul and preventing me from using logic and rationale right now. Some days I have control of it, some days it has control of me. On those days I feel…

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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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Grief – 4 things you need to know….

Posted by | anxiety, bereavement, loss, trauma | No Comments

Grief is a subject that presents almost daily in my work as a therapist. Working with clients who have experienced a bereavement or loss, through death, illness or trauma I meet women who are experiencing a wide range of the symptoms from grief. This may be through overwhelming sadness or pain to experiencing anxiety, depression or PTSD or those who are experiencing negative habitual behaviours due to longer term unresolved grief. From my experiences here are 4 things you need to know about grief…. 1. Your brain cannot process it All of our behaviours, habits and responses are learnt, from when we learn to walk to when we learn how to count our subconscious mind creates a sequence of patterns associated with a trigger so behaviours are generated on requirement. For instance we see a path and our brain receives a message to walk or we see a fire and…

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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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