Month: December 2018

What to Expect in Your First CBT Session.

What to Expect in Your First CBT Session.

 

Realising the need for therapy is an amazing first step towards healing, and we really do believe CBT can be the best answer for some people.

However, we know it can be daunting, especially when it’s your first time.

So, to help calm any worries or clear any uncertainties you may have, we’ve outlined a clear picture of what to expect.

 

Firstly, what is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an effective combination of talk therapy and behavioural therapy. It is one of the most widely used treatments for a range of different mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. 

During CBT, patients have the opportunity to work with a therapist to find the source of negative thinking or behaviour, and the ultimate goal is to replace them positive and productive actions, helping to over-come any difficult moments. Therefore, unlike other talk therapies, it is more focused on the present and the future, rather than the past.

 

Initial Introductions

At the beginning of your first session, you will be eased in gently. Your therapist will introduce themselves and will give you a chance to do the same; they may just ask some simple and general questions about you – perhaps your profession, and where you are from, etc. Once you’ve had a little easy chat with one another, you’ll likely be feeling much more comfortable and more ready to begin.

 

Mental Health Assessment

The therapist will continue to ask you question about yourself, but will begin to base them more on your mental health. This will be so they can get a more in depth understanding of your personal experiences, as everyone suffers with different mental health problems, in different ways. Being as honest as possible will ensure you’ll get the most out of your therapy, as the therapist can assess exactly what help you need. However, don’t worry too much as your therapist will not pressure you to disclose anything you may not wish to, until you are ready.

 

Coping Strategies

Once your therapist has got to know you and your experiences in depth, they will begin to provide you with tips and methods to help you manage or combat your mental health issues. Coping strategies may include unravelling the cognitive distortions you may have, breathing or muscle relaxation techniques, using a journal to unload your negative thoughts and feelings, or exposure to things that trigger you, helping to come to the realisation that realistically everything will be fine. You’ll have the opportunity to try these techniques in the session with your therapist, but they will also teach you so you can do it alone whenever you feel it may be of help.

 

Homework

After your CBT session, your therapist may give you a worksheet or a list of things to do in your own time, to perpetuate the learning and healing. The practical nature of the therapy means that you can integrate your new strategies into your day-to-day life. Consistently practicing CBT techniques outside of your sessions will help you to make the most of your treatment. 

 

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 Dr Julian

Feeling nervous about your first therapy session is completely normal.

The good news is that at Dr Julian, all our CBT therapists are highly trained and will do all they can to make sure you feel comfortable every step of the way.

 

To make your experience of CBT even more pleasant and less daunting, we offer video therapy in the comfort of your own home. You have instant access to therapists, whenever you want, and wherever you want.

 

Visit our website for more information: 

www.dr-julian.com

 

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Mental Health at Christmas.

Mental Health at Christmas.

As a society, we are constantly bombarded with images of the ‘right’ way to spend Christmas and the entire holiday season – constantly euphoric with our loved ones.

However, it is really not that easy for some people. It can even be the complete opposite.

One in ten people feel unable to cope at this time of year, according to research by the charity Mind.

For those who have been affected by grief, Christmas can be a painful reminder, and this time of year can be incredibly lonely and difficult.

For those suffering with mental health, the holiday season can also be extremely tough.

Christmas can additionally cause anxiety and stress to those who don’t usually suffer, for a number of reasons, but financial stress is the most common – around 41% of people surveyed by Mind in 2015 reported getting into debt – which can trigger or increase anxiety.

We also tend to overindulge and drink more alcohol, which can worsen mental health symptoms, while overexerting ourselves socially – which can leave us tired and anxious.

 

Look after yourself this Christmas!

Here are some steps for how to do so:

Plan Ahead.

Sticking to routines as much as possible can help prevent Christmas feeling overwhelming. Planning ahead is a great way to save stress, time and money. Making manageable lists for jobs to do, presents to buy and food, helps to organise your thoughts, stops you from forgetting anything, and makes it easier to budget.

Stick to your budget.

Sticking to your budget will ease the financial stress at Christmas, and alleviate financial issues in the New Year. If you have a large circle of friends and family, the list of gifts to buy seems endless, perhaps try a Secret Santa, or set a limit on the price to be spent on each gift. Remember it really is the thought that counts, don’t spend excessive amounts when it isn’t needed.

Lower your expectations.

Let’s face it, Christmas in real life is nothing like you see in the movies or even hear in the Christmas songs! Christmas tends to illuminate any pre-existing stresses. Try and accept this and don’t expect the perfect day. It is after all, a day like any other, except with heaps of pressure. Therefore, arguments may be had, things may go wrong, and that’s fine and absolutely normal! Once this is acknowledged, you should feel less pressure and will hopefully enjoy your day in a realistic manner. 

Take some time for yourself.

 If you find Christmas a particularly difficult time, try to take time out to do something you enjoy, whether it’s reading a book, painting, crafting, phoning a friend, relaxing or doing physical exercise.

It’s key not to feel guilty for doing something unrelated to the festivities – and especially important to remember it’s absolutely okay to say no to an event if you feel you have too much going on – prioritise your mental wellbeing.

If you find spending time with lots of people overwhelming, know that it is okay to take breaks to clear your head and replenish any negative thoughts or emotions.

Everything in moderation.

Of course it’s the season to treat yourself, but overdoing it, especially with alcohol, can have a vast negative impact on your health and wellbeing.

Try to choose fruit and vegetables whenever you can, and limit the amount of alcohol you consume over the festive period.

Look back – and forward.

The end of a year can bring mixed emotions, particularly if you’ve experienced difficult or disappointing times. If this does cause you distress, try to focus on the positive outcomes of the past 12 months, and view the new year as a fresh start and a chance to make the changes you desire.

Help others.

Volunteering, or a performing a random act of kindness is a known way to improve your mental health, and will lift spirits especially at this time of year.

 

Look out for one another – especially if you know this time of year is hard for someone around you.

Steps to do so.

Let people know they are not alone.

Be sure to regularly check on someone who may be suffering – phone them to ask if there is anything they need and if they would like any company. They may prefer to be alone, but please do check as they may instead want someone to lean on, or to distract them from any pain.

Recommend films to watch, or books to read.

If you can’t be with a loved one around Christmas, but want to remind them you are there – recommending films or books will help them feel like they are with you whilst watching or reading your choices. Try especially hard to recommend uplifting ones which don’t involve any triggers.

Send a gift.

A small sign of care and love can really help lift somebody up – showing you were thinking of them and they have someone who loves them. Even if it’s just a little card with a kind message inside.

Give the gift of therapy – to yourself or a loved one.

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At Dr Julian, we offer therapy packages that you can buy for yourself, or treat a loved one to, as a gift this Christmas. Our therapy is a video-call service which can be taken place in the comfort of one’s home – making the whole process a lot more pleasant and less daunting.

 

What better way to spend the Christmas period than healing yourself and your mental health?

 

Therapy will assist you to enter the new year replenished and ready to combat anything that comes your way.

If you know someone suffering, and want to help but don’t know how, this could be the perfect answer.

 

 

Visit our website for more information:

www.dr-julian.com 

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How is Your Mental State Affecting Your Physical Health?

How is Your Mental State Affecting Your Physical Health?

Research has clearly established the link between mental and physical health- so when you’re unhappy in your mind, it often leads to feeling unwell in your body too. Anyone with a mental health condition knows that it’s no fun whatsoever, but what can make things worse is without the right treatment, you put yourself at risk of many other ailments and issues too. Some of these can even be life threatening. Here are some examples of how your mental health can lead to poor physical health, how to avoid this, and why it’s so important to seek help.

 

Poor diet

When you’re struggling with your mental health, it can cause you to make bad decisions when it comes to food. Some people find that food is a comfort, eating too much and gaining a lot of weight. In the long term, this leads to all the associated risks of obesity- heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancers. Others go the other way and struggle to eat much at all, and can become malnourished and weak. Conditions like anemia and vitamin deficiencies are common in this case. According to health professionals like United Medical, a poor diet can lead to diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum. Poor diet over many years can lead to weak bones, poor hair and skin health and so much more. As humans, food is our fuel. We’re complex creatures and need the right balance of vitamins and minerals to thrive, a lot of people already struggle with this as it is- so throwing a mental health issue into the mix is always going to be problematic.

 

Lack of sleep

Some mental health conditions can lead to a lack of sleep. Anxiety in particular is known for keeping people up at night, when you can’t stop worrying and your mind is going at a hundred miles an hour. Chronic lack of sleep has many of the same risks as obesity, leading to heart attack, stroke and other illnesses. Because people who don’t get enough sleep have trouble controlling their appetite (due to hormones controlling hunger not being properly regulated) obesity and weight gain is another risk.

 

Not enough exercise

When you’re tired from not enough sleep and sluggish from the wrong foods, chances are the last thing you’ll want to do is exercise. This can form a vicious cycle, as it can then lead to further weight gain and more poor sleep. Exercise is a natural mood booster, helps you burn calories, regulate hormones and can improve sleep. Getting your mental health in check will help to give you the energy and motivation you need to get that workout done.

 

Poor grooming and dental habits

Finally, another area of your health that can suffer when you’re struggling with your mental health is your teeth. Again, lack of motivation and poor daily habits as a result will be the cause. You’re less likely to take care of your hair and skin too, which can go on to cause low self esteem. Addressing the underlying mental health problem can help you to get all of these things sorted.

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