When life gets too difficult to handle alone and problems mount up, people often seek counselling and psychotherapy help. It is a very brave step to begin to face and deal with your unresolved issues, fears and pain, and reaching out for the right person to walk alongside you through this process can be the first step in taking control of your life and changing damaging patterns of thoughts and behaviour. It is not uncommon for people to feel that counselling might not work for them, but many people have benefited from support during a difficult period in their life. I practise therapy in Newtownabbey. My office is situated close to Whiteabbey Village, a ten minute drive from Beflast City Centre.

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Anxiety, Panic and Stress

It is a normal part of life to experience times of anxiety and stress, however when symptoms are ongoing, significant, and get in the way of your daily life, you may want to seek help. Symptoms include a tightening of the chest, a racing heart, hot and cold flushes, trembling, breathing rapidly, and feeling unable to stop worrying. It is important to keep symptoms in check through keeping in touch with your GP. My approach to anxiety, panic and stress involves CBT, NLP, mindfulness, and relaxation training as well as other techniques that address your particular needs.

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Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is a huge issue in Belfast and Newtownabbey. Abuse is not always physical but can be psychological, emotional and financial. It is common for a victim of domestic abuse to minimise what is happening to them, and this means they can suffer a long time before reaching out to others. If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence, it is important to speak out, talk to someone you trust, and get help.

“Physical aggression by a man toward his partner is abuse, even if it happens only once. If he raises a fist; punches a hole in the wall; throws things at you; blocks your way; restrains you; grabs, pushes, or pokes you; or threatens to hurt you, that’s physical abuse. He is creating fear and using your need for physical freedom and safety as a way to control you.”
“The central attitudes driving the ‘Drill Sergeant’ are:

  • I need to control your every move or you will do it wrong.
  • I know the exact way that everything should be done.
  • You shouldn’t have anyone else — or any thing else — in your life besides me.
  • I am going to watch you like a hawk to keep you from developing strength or independence.
  • I love you more than anyone in the world, but you disgust me. (!!)”
    ― Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

Find more information at womensaidni.org. Call Womens Aid 24-hour helpline free on 0808 802 1414.
Visit the Cithrah Foundation at www.cithrah.org or call on 02893 351 199

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Eating Disorders

Eating disorder awareness is increasing in Northern Ireland and there is a rise in people coming forward for support.  Eating disorders are very complex illnesses causing immense pain to the sufferer, but there is hope.  You may have eating distress but not be diagnosed with an eating disorder; you may be thinking about food/weight issues  all day long and not be able to get on with your life.  Your friends and family might keep telling you they are worried about you, but you can see no problem.  You might be overeating at any opportunity, and feel unable to stop.  Any of these are signs that you may need help and support.

My approach to eating disorders is in line with the latest research, and I adhere to treatment guidelines developed by the National Centre for Eating Disorders.  No one chooses to have an eating disorder. We will spend time gaining an understanding of identity; helping you to separate yourself from the illness. You will need nutritional, practical and emotional support in your recovery, and it can be a long and difficult process, but a journey that is well worth it.    The techniques I use include dialetical behaviour therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and mindfulness techniques. It is important that clients have regular GP checks throughout therapy.

Get more information and support at: Eating Disorder Association Northern Ireland

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Chronic Illness

In the UK 15% of the working-age population have a chronic illness or disability, and approximately 7.5% are out of work because of a health condition or disability, (European foundation for the Improvement of Living and working conditions, 2003). Living with a long term health condition can affect your independence, your ability to work and work performance, your relationships with family and friends. Coping daily with a chronic illness can be extremely challenging, isolating, and leave you vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and anger.  You may struggle to find a way to cope with and manage the limitations the illness places upon you.  If you feel you are struggling with any of these you may find it helpful to talk through your issues and develop coping strategies.

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Self Esteem

Your sense of self worth, self image, and self esteem are based on the opinions and beliefs you have about yourself; these begin in childhood and develop through time, changing through the experiences and circumstances you find yourself in. Low self esteem usually involves negative thinking patterns which can sometimes lead to negative behaviours, such as the use of alcohol, to boost low self esteem. Signs of low self esteem include feeling tired a lot, feeling a sense of hopelessness, always seeing the glass half empty, feeling that you are a failure, a sense of never feeling ‘good enough’, low motivation, feeling little interest in the future, depression. Changing of circumstances is not always possible, but it is possible to change our perception. I am dedicated to working with you to help you in self compassion, changing negative thinking patterns, bringing your focus back to your strengths, and to support you in re-gaining a sense of self worth.

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