Recently, a client came to me with a problem; one that was causing all sorts of unrest in their life. They struggled to sleep at night for worrying, and this had animpact on their waking hours, as they were tired and irritable, and they foundthemselves becoming consumed with trying to find an answer to the ‘problem’. Many people, including myself, have had this type of experience before, and it is not apleasant place to be in, therefore I was able to empathise to a degree on the emotions involved. What I believe works for the all of my clients, is … Continue reading A fresh perspective
Optimism is about having a positive outlook for the future. Optimism is having the belief that this future will be positive. Optimism reflects hope and faith which in turn promotes a perception that world is and can be a better place to live in. If we focus on what is good about a situation and how to do things better, having this optimism releases stress from within our body. The release of stresses associated with negativity, enables us to live a more manageable existence, confident that the future will be positively good. Are people naturally optimistic or pessimistic and can … Continue reading Optimism and Wellbeing
If you have had a Heart attack or similar cardio event, recovery can be slow and frustrating to many people. You can change your life around and become more optimistic about the future. I am walking breathing testimony that this is possible with some guidance and a determination to succeed! When I first created Change Therapy many years ago, the aim was to provide extra support to survivors of cardio events by introducing gentle therapies that we could work through together, to benefit your overall wellbeing. This includes altering your outlook on life, and learning how to be more positive … Continue reading Post Cardio Therapies
One of the most frequent issues that clients bring to my sessions is loneliness. One general assumption of loneliness is that you are an elderly person with little contact with the outside world. From my experiences these past few years, the people that are lonely, come from age-groups starting in late teens upwards. One individual’s story springs to mind, where they said they were lonely, and could not fathom out what to do. A young man with a job and a house, with lots to offer, but no-one to share life with. He wanted to go on holiday abroad, go … Continue reading Loneliness
The term “mindfulness” refers to a compassionate and clear-headed awareness, or the awareness of what is occurring simultaneously in the external and internal worlds. The majority of us are more accustomed to its opposite: mindlessness, which refers to situations in which we are not fully aware of what is happening and are therefore more likely to make mistakes. In order to make informed decisions, mindfulness entails waking up and paying attention to the present moment. A specific method of being present in the moment is mindfulness. The mind is less prone to become ensnared in negative thought and emotion patterns … Continue reading Mindfulness
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy improves on the ideas of cognitive therapy by teaching people to deliberately pay attention to their thoughts and feelings without passing judgement on them, utilising techniques such as mindfulness meditation. Cognitive therapy’s basic tenet is that incorrect self-beliefs cause unpleasant feelings like depression and that thoughts come before moods. To assist you in identifying and re-evaluating your negative thought patterns and replacing them with more realistically optimistic ones, MBCT makes use of cognitive therapy techniques. This method enables people to reflect on their ideas without being pre-occupied with what may have been or what might happen in … Continue reading MBCT
We have heard that people associate Sensory Processing difficulties with those on the Autism Spectrum. While this is often true, that senses become overwhelmed quickly, and the brain cannot manage or process the sensory information in the ways that neurotypical individuals can. Typically, a meltdown occurs as the mind seeks a way to self-regulate. These Sensory difficulties can affect anyone, although it is very common for individuals on the Autism Spectrum. So, if you have Sensory Processing Disorder, this does not mean you are on the Autism Spectrum. Everyone has differing experiences, and this is measured on a scale, or … Continue reading Sensory Processing
Anger is an unpleasant feeling. It is like a blazing flame that burns up our self-control and causes us to say and do things that we regret later. When someone is angry, we can see that they are in a form of hell, a cycle of never-ending rage. Anger and hatred are the materials in which hell is made. A mind without anger is cool, fresh and rational. The absence of anger is the basis of real happiness; the basis of love and compassion. When our anger us placed under the spotlight of Mindfulness, it immediately begins to lose some … Continue reading Mindfulness of Anger
For autistic persons, masking is a complicated and costly survival strategy. It usually entails learning neurotypical behaviours and then imitating them in social circumstances. Masking can sometimes be used to hide activities that people believe will not be approved. People may hide their autism symptoms or traits for a variety of reasons, including advancing their jobs, connecting with others, or avoiding being stigmatised by others. While masking can be helpful at times, doing so on a frequent basis can have negative consequences for one’s mental and physical health. Anxiety, depression, tiredness, a loss of identity, and negative thoughts are some … Continue reading Autistic Masking
Assertiveness is a positive communication style. It’s the ability to stand up for ourselves in an open, courteous manner. Here’s what assertiveness entails: You have the option of expressing your thoughts or feelings. You have the option of requesting what you want or require. You can respectfully disagree. You have the ability to speak up for someone else. You are welcome to provide your thoughts and suggestions. You don’t have to feel bad about saying no. How to become more Assertive takes practice and committment. Sometimes assertive and aggressive behaviours get mixed up. The main difference between assertive and aggressive … Continue reading Being Assertive
How many of you reading this get distracted? Whether you are reading, talking or listening, many a time you will have experienced being distracted. It can be annoying, frustrating and takes you out of your stride until you can focus again. What about when we are listening to someone speak. It can take a lot of concentration to hear their voice and what subject they are talking about. Listening takes a lot of effort, and sometimes it is hard to shut out other noises. Can you think of times this happens to you? Sometimes it is not just noises that … Continue reading Distractions
A speaker started off his seminar by holding a £20 note in the air. In a room of 200 people, he asked, “Who would like a £20 note?”. Hands started going up. He said, “I am going to give this note to one of you, but first let me do this…” He proceeded to crumple up the twenty pound note. He then asked, “Who still wants it?” Still hands were up in the air. “Well, what if I do this?” He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it … Continue reading What are you worth?
Abraham Maslow was a psychologist in the twentieth century who pioneered the humanistic approach to psychology. He is best known for his hierarchy of needs. Maslow believed that human wants may be structured into a hierarchy, in order to better understand what motivates people. This hierarchy includes everything from basic needs like food and water to more complex ideals like self-fulfilment. When a lower need is met, the following needs in the hierarchy become our centre of attention, according to Maslow. These are the five categories of needs according to Maslow: Physiological Physiological needs – these are biological need for … Continue reading Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Recently when talking with a client, she said that she suffered from severe endometriosis and that her life was unbearable at times because of this disease. Many of her issues stemmed from the fact that it was almost impossible to have the medical team in her area acknowledge that Endometriosis was as severe as she described it. Endometriosis does to qualify you for benefits as it is not recognised as a disability. She felt alone, in pain and lost, which increased her anxieties dealing with general day to day life. Her partner tried to help, but Endometriosis is an ‘invisible’ … Continue reading Endometriosis
Recently I held a Mindfulness session at one of the most beautiful and serene places in Edinburgh, and it has had such an impact on many people, that I wanted to share this with you. Thankfully we arrived on a day where the weather was almost perfect, with a little frost underfoot, yet we were fortunate that the usual cold biting wind from the adjacent loch, was not present by late morning. The Secret Garden is formally known as Dr. Neil’s Garden, which lies next to Duddingston Kirk, built in 1124, at the foot of Arthurs Seat, which is an … Continue reading Secret Garden – Mindfulness
Recently, I was going through the family photo album with my children. “Who was that young man with the flared jeans and long hair” they asked? I remember the style of that era very well, and yes that was me alright – it seemed like not so long ago, maybe a couple of years at most?! We carry on looking through the photo album and come across another person I could not quite fathom out who, but it was familiar.. When I look at the old man in the photos, with receding hair and plain looking clothes, I stop myself … Continue reading Age is just a number!
I feel like a Fraud. I am not good enough to do this job. They will find out. I don’t deserve to be in such a good job. Imposter Syndrome is a Psychological expression for a suppressed feeling that someone is undeserving of the position they are in and that they will eventually be exposed. Imposter Syndrome is the persistent feeling that you’re a fraud and a fake and that someone is going to figure out that you don’t know half as much as you pretend to. This pattern of behaviour affects their performance and there is no let up … Continue reading Imposter Syndrome
The following exercise is suggested for anyone that needs help in coping with a Panic Attack. This also works for Anxiety Attacks. This strategy is one of the best and comes with the best intentions to alleviate the stress. Being aware of your Five Senses. Look around you. Name 5 things you can Hear Name 4 things you can See Name 3 things you can Touch Name 2 things you can Smell Name 1 thing you can Taste. You can feel your Senses at work, reinforcing that you are very much alive and making connections to the world you live … Continue reading Strategy for Panic Attack
Experiencing a panic attack is not simply about experiencing a moment of severe fright or nerves. They run much deeper than that. Contrary to popular belief, experiencing a panic attack is not simply about experiencing a moment of severe fright or nerves when you are about to make that speech in front of five hundred people or the morning of that important meeting or exam you have been preparing for. Panic attacks run much deeper than that. Some symptoms of panic attacks include: Out of body feeling Breathlessness Chest pains Palpitations and racing heart Feeling of impending doom or death … Continue reading Panic Attack
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterized by the challenges it causes with social interaction, language skills, nonverbal communication; repetitive patterns of behavior; and the display of unique and highly specific strengths and differences compared with other people. One of the most amazing things that I have come to learn about people who are on the Spectrum, is their ability to see the world we live in from a very different perspective than I can. In my discipline of Psychology, I come across many individuals with interesting and varied backgrounds, including perceptions on how their own life path … Continue reading Autism – a young perspective.
At first glance you may see a person squeezing a bunch of grapes, yet on closer inspection, you can see that these are not real fruit. I see adverts regularly while surfing the internet, for toys that help calm your kids down. Squishy balls, Chewy toys, Spinners, Fidget toys in fact anything to keep the hands busy. There are many different types of toys which are predominantly meant to distract the user from the anxieties they experience in their minds. Are they aimed at children only? No, is the short answer. They look like something that you would amuse a … Continue reading Items to help Cope with anxiety
When we are afraid of a situation, the brain sends a signal to the body to prepare itself. Have you ever wondered at the complexity of the processes involved? I don’t imagine we have time to think about the goings on inside, when faced with Fear, however it is worth knowing more if only to understand what really goes on “behind the scenes”. First of all, it is useful to know how our Nervous System actually works. The Nervous System consists of 2 parts known as the Voluntary and Involuntary Systems. The Voluntary Nervous System controls the movement of our … Continue reading Our Nervous System – Fear
Gratitude Meditation – (Being Thankful) By taking a couple of minutes first thing in the morning when I wake, and then just before I retire for the night, I read the following gratitude statements. These help me to put life into perspective. Have a try and see for yourself? I am grateful for the air in my lungs. I am grateful for my heart that beats and keeps me alive. I am grateful for my senses that help me perceive the world. I am grateful for my comfortable bed. I am grateful for my clothes that protect me and keep … Continue reading Being Thankful
I thought I would share one of my Mindfulness Meditations. Close your eyes and ask someone to read this out to you for maximum benefit. Imagine you are a bright and beautiful caterpillar. You are full and resting on a leaf. You have eaten, explored, and ready for a rest. Now, take in a deep breath, and imagine yourself becoming more still. You feel calm and settled. Notice the gentle wind passing your body making you relax and feel sleepy. Your chrysalis is beginning to form and wraps around your body and you notice the sensation of being close to … Continue reading Transformation
What Is a Weighted Blanket? Occupational therapists have been prescribing weighted blankets to help manage sensory-related symptoms for decades – especially for children and adults on the Autism spectrum. A weighted blanket is a specially made therapeutic blanket with some additional weight, generally weighing between 5 to 30 pounds. They come in different weights to accommodate the user’s size. The idea behind weighted blankets is to make them a little heavy so they can apply a firm pressure on the user’s body. Depending on the manufacturer, these blankets are filled with different weighted materials, including barley, glass beads or even some kind … Continue reading Weighted Blankets
Fed up with screen freezing or poor Internet connections? No closure at the end of a session? Missing the personal interaction? Eye contact is just not the same on Zoom or Facetime. Consider a socially distanced meet-up with me, and feel free to wear a mask too. Walk-and-talk therapy has also proven to be a stress reliever for people who don’t consider their home a safe space for online therapy — whether they can’t find enough privacy to feel comfortable opening up, or their family or partner disapproves of therapy, or someone they live with is the reason they’re seeking … Continue reading Online Therapy too stressful?
Recently the US Government started to offer Covid vaccinations to children aged 12 +, and hopefully the UK and other Nation’s Goverments around the world will follow suit. While there are many differences of opinion on whether vaccinations should be given to young children, I wanted to outline some recent research highlighting the increased risk of death for people with Developmental or Intellectual disabilities. As this affects both my children; one with Autism, and the other having an Intellectual Disability, I am very keen to protect them from the virus, even more so since reading the following information. Individuals with … Continue reading Autism and Increased risk of Covid
If only life came packed, With manuals we could read, A list of clear instructions and All parts guaranteed. But oh, life’s not so simple, No useful hints or tools, We have to muddle through it Without the help of rules. Yet one thing that we do have Are others by our side, To help support and cheer us, In whom we may confide. For as we share our knowledge, So ignorance takes flight, By working close together We’ll surely get it right. Continue reading A Life Journey
On the days we all experience at one time or another, when one hundred and one things have to be attended to immediately, if not sooner, try keeping the following words in mind: “The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at once.” Written by Samuel Smiles, a doctor, writer and social reformer. He was born in Haddington (my hometown), Scotland in 1812. His book, Self-Help, was published in 1859 and was a best seller book, selling a 1/4 million copies, to the British public. In the book, he proposes knowledge as one of the … Continue reading The first Self Help book
Going to the hairdressers can be a very distressing experience for autistic children due to sensory issues such as a sensitivity to noise and touch. In this article Jim the Trim, a hairdresser from Wales whose barbershop was awarded the National Autistic Society’s Autism-Friendly Award, gives us his Top 5 Tips on how hairdressers can make autistic children more comfortable during a haircut. Top 5 Tips Take your time to get to know the person and for them to get to know you. You may have to be very gradual and just allow the person to come in and watch … Continue reading Cutting Autistic child’s hair