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25 Jun

This lady STARTED singing in her CAR on 1st May AND IS STILL SINGING EVERY MORNING :!! WOW .

posted by administrator

An afternoon with an inspiring lady

On a wonderful hot and sunny day we had the pleasure of talking to a very inspiring lady who has, out of a fun idea, started a fantastic campaign to fight the stigma of mental health.  Bernadette Bruckner, Director of The One Stop Psychotherapy Shop, Karen Goodson and Bethan Hayes were joined by Camilla Lewington who has a passion for singing and says that she uses music to lift her up if she’s feeling a bit low. She has a fantastic band – Camilla Lewington Just Shut up & Dance- and an incredible voice. In May she had been watching lots of challenges on social media, 21 day challenges and she thought it would be fun to do this herself. After singing her heart out on the way to the gym and of course then feeling really motivated after, she had a light bulb moment . . . to sing in her car for 21 days and video herself, posting on social media for something fun. However Camilla is not one to just do things for no reason, no she wanted to create something purposeful out of this . . . this is where the #beattheblues campaign was born.

Camilla radiates happiness as we speak to her and she makes us feel motivated and excited about the cause. On day 1 she had 50 views and was so humbled by this, by day 2 this jumped to 600, by day 21 people were begging her not to stop. So she has continued and has an aim to make the #beattheblues campaign huge in stamping out stigma. She has sung with her daughter in the car, dressed up for charity and even had guest stars in her car and we have the pleasure of seeing her belt out amazing songs and helping people everyday #beattheblues

So what motivates Camilla to continue? Her answer is very simple, she knows many people affected by mental health issues and bullying, as well as having battled some low days herself, some people have had a positive outcome, some sadly not and she just wants to make a difference.  Camilla’s favourite saying is “People crazy enough to think they can change the world will” We think this is just the start for Camilla and the #beattheblues campaign and we really think that she will make a change and we would love to come along for the ride so keep your eyes peeled for what’s coming.


Why not check out her campaign


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20 Jun

What's kindness got to do with losing weight?

posted by Heather Macfarlane

I recently read a heart-warming book by David Hamilton, called "I Heart Me".  In it he emphasises the importance of learning to love yourself which is an alien concept to a lot of us.  Part of my 6 week course involves looking at ways to be kind to yourself as the Keep It Off weight loss plan is all about self-compassion and kindness which is much more effective than the usual basis of deprivation, shaming and punishment behind most diets.  We are usually quite good at being kind and loving towards others but when I ask people how they can be kind to themselves I am met with blank faces.   Have you ever considered how important it is to be kind to yourself?  

Most diets make us think of restriction and deprivation that puts us into a punitive mind-set.  However, this is not conducive to lasting change.  If you’ve got children, or worked with them you might have realised that they respond much better to rewards rather than punishment and we are no different.  So rather than berating yourself if you have gone off track, try thinking instead of what you have managed to achieve today.  How can you reward yourself for these positive changes?  It doesn’t have to be a huge reward, but remember to choose something other than food or drink!  What about getting your nails done, or giving yourself permission to curl up with a good book for an hour?  

If the concept of 'loving yourself' is a long way off at present, why not start with a little kindness towards yourself?  Surely everyone deserves at least that? Share your ideas of how you practised self-kindness here to inspire others...

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13 Jun

Sustainable Weight Loss is Possible

posted by Heather Macfarlane
I have seen both first hand and through my work what an impact being overweight can have on energy, motivation, self-esteem, not to mention our physical health.  It can be the root of endless frustration towards ourselves when we fail to lose weight or keep it off for any length of time.  The yo-yo dieting can feel like a never ending cycle with no positive outcome at the end of it. 

I was stuck too until I tried a different way of losing weight.  That’s why I feel passionately about helping others to get out of this rut.  Going on an endless round of diets can be frustrating and disheartening.  By using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) you will find that it is possible to lose weight and more importantly keep it off because you will tackle the underlying reasons for your weight gain rather than just dealing with the superficial symptoms. 

There is such a lot of choice out there when it comes to losing weight that it might all be a bit overwhelming or confusing or maybe you are frustrated that you have lost some weight in the past but have been unable to keep it off.   Here are some reasons why I believe that using CBT to lose weight is a good choice;
There are no special foods or recipes to follow; you can eat what you choose
There are no group shaming exercises, instead it is based on compassion and positivity
Take it at your own pace.  Each technique is small and manageable, nothing overwhelming
There is no complicated calorie counting or points system to work out.  Each technique not only helps you to lose weight but can also be applied to deal with many other issues we all face such as fear of public speaking, general anxiety or feelings of depression and as an all-round boost to your sense of well-being.  
Finally I have lost weight this way myself so I know it works.  There aren’t many other diets that can claim weight loss has been maintained 7 years later.

So go on, what have you got to lose?  

To find out more visit 

or get the book ‘Keep It Off:  The Key to Lasting Weight Loss’ on Amazon

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09 Mar

Keep safe on St. Patrick’s Day

posted by Diana Selak-O'Reilly

Keep safe on St. Patrick’s Day

On St Patrick's Day you can become part of a big green family regardless of your nationality, religious beliefs or skin colour. The whole world turns Green, even the Smurfs turn into leprechauns. It’s a great day to be in Ireland. The atmosphere is festive, children’s excitement is catching, town parades provide entertainment for every age, people meet up with friends and family in pubs, have some grub and listen to live traditional music etc... It’s beautiful.

On the other side however, crimes shoots up to eight times the norm, police make more arrests than on any other day in the year, 700 tourists on average reported being mugged, it is one of the busiest days in hospital ER rooms ( hospital waiting times are on average five times longer with alcohol related incidents being the main factor).  It’s advisable to people not to walk alone as this time in the year is pick time for predators and rape crime. If you are planning to have a late night out, make sure you have organised transport home, do not leave without your friends, have a glass of water in between drinks and possibly some food. Keep safe! 

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08 Mar

Happy International Women’s Day

posted by Diana Selak-O'Reilly

Happy International Women’s Day (IWD)

Just little bit of history

International Women's Day has been observed since the early 1900's. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women's Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries greeted Zetkin's suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women's Day was the result. In 1913, 8th of March was pronounced International Women's Day and has remained the global date for International Women's Day ever since. As result, on this day, women started showing solidarity everywhere in Europe. For example in 1914 in London in the United Kingdom there was a march from Bow to Trafalgar Square in support of women's suffrage. Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested in front of Charing Cross station on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square; in 1017 in Russia’s  women began a strike for "bread and peace" in response to the death of over 2 million Russian soldiers in World War 1. Strike continued for four days until provisional Government granted women the right to vote. International Women's Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975. Today IWD is an official holiday in many countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

Information taken from

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07 Mar

When to look for counselling/psychotherapy?

posted by Diana Selak-O'Reilly

When to look for counselling/psychotherapy?

We have all experienced periods of stress, sadness, lack of sleep, grief and conflict, unhappiness and times when we are feeling off. It can be hard to know when the right time is, to see a professional about the problem. So, when is it advisable to seek professional therapeutic help? Here are some of the situations when it is recommended to sign up for psychotherapy:
• If you feel overwhelmed or limited in your ability to function (worry about things a lot).
• If everything you feel is intense.
• If the things that happened in the past keep waking you up during the night or you cannot stop thinking about them.
• If you feel emotional distress, things such as: uncontrollable crying, chronically upset stomach or headaches, diminished sex drive,      etc.
• If you’re personal problems start to affect your work performance.
• If you notice unusual changes in your appetite, medically unexplained overeating or undereating.
• If you feel that you are losing control over your life.
• If you find yourself drinking or using drugs in greater quantities or just thinking about using more often, these could be signs that    you’re hoping to numb feelings that should be addressed.
• If you don’t feel motivated or interested in all the things you liked to do before, are not finding joy in anything anymore, feeling like  there’s not a lot of purpose or a point in life.
• If you feel disconnected from your family or the people you care about.
• If you’re important relationships are strained or non-functioning.
• If you’re family members and friends start showing concern about you.
• If you are experiencing anxiety or panic attacks.

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12 Jan

Digital mental health

posted by administrator

Digital mental health In the UK, 38 million adults access the internet every day.1 That's 76% of the adult population. On average, internet users aged 16 and over spends more than 20 hours online each week and more than 70% have a social networking profile.2 With this growth of the internet, online spaces and smartphone apps, healthcare services are beginning to use these developing technologies to help monitor health and prevent and treat any problems. Digital health (or e-health as it's sometimes known) is a wide and varying concept that includes the use of technology for digital record keeping, online booking systems, online repeat prescriptions and some more innovative uses of technology for direct treatment.3 While applicable to physical health, there have been strides towards the use of digital health for mental health as a way to use IT to support and improve mental health, including the use of online resources, social media and smartphone applications.4 Digital mental ...

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04 Jan

Professional Counselling and Help for Depression

posted by Máire Rían

Professional Counselling and Help for Depression (as published in the September 2016 edition of The Meath Coaster

by Em Ryan

Counselling is not a luxury. At certain times, we all hit roadblocks that we need to overcome. This is the adventure of life: peaks and valleys. Every now and then, we may feel overwhelmed, depressed or stuck by our situation. That is where a qualified counsellor can help.

There is no need to suffer in silence or self-medicate with binge behaviors or any other coping mechanisms.  Destructive behaviors simply numb symptoms but do not treat them. If you are religiously inclined, seeking assistance from your parish priest can be helpful.  Calling a hotline may offer temporary assistance, from well-intentioned individuals who may or may not have completed coursework in psychology.

Still, you will receive the best care from a university degreed professional counsellor or psychotherapist. For example, if you broke your leg, would drinking beer help you walk again? Would calling a free phone number, set the broken bones? Obviously, only a well-trained professional, such as a doctor, could help you mend what is broken. So it is with mental health. It is important that you put yourself first, at trying times in your life. Seek out the very best to help guide you to self-discovery and to help you heal what is broken within you.

Depression is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health issues. There are quite a few holistic remedies available that complement one-to-one talk therapy with a qualified professional. A degreed social worker, psychotherapist, or counsellor can help you deal with behaviors arising from a depressed state. In extreme cases, a psychiatrist’s help may be necessary, for medication.  However, if you are feeling depressed for longer than a week or so, it may be time to seek professional help.

As you await your appointment, try these remedies to boost your mood and potentially lift the brain fog that is often associated with depression. Taking the daily recommended dosage of St. John’s Wort and Kava Kava are two of the best natural vitamins to help with moving through depression.  Often depression is accompanied by sleep disturbances – either too much sleep or too little. Valerian, holy basil, ashwaganda, Sam-E are other natural herbals that come in vitamin form or as a tea.

Immediate relief of some depressive symptoms can come from beginning a practice of daily meditation. Simply learning how to take deep, diaphragmatic breaths can help in alleviating mild depression.  There are even free apps for your smart phone that guide you in learning how to breathe deeply for relaxation and improved mental clarity. “Breathing Lessons” is most well known for training the breath.  Mindfulness and guided meditations are also complementary, holistic practices to talk therapy.

Seeking assistance from a well-trained professional is tantamount to fixing what is broken.  Be sure to check their credentials so that you are assured of receiving the best, most qualified care for your broken leg or heart or head, whether physically or mentally. It is important to put yourself first in times of stress and transition, so that you may heal and be there for family and friends.


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15 Dec

Depressions Dangerous Secret

posted by Bernadette

Depressions Dangerous Secret

A new study which is the first of its kind has been published this week, which looked at the state of Mental Health among airline pilots, the study was carried out by Harvard’s Public Health School after Andreas Lubitz steering of the Germanwings flight into the French Alps.

The results of the study found that one in seven pilots suffer depression, with pilots aged in their forties being at most risk, the reality of this means that a worrying 14% of pilots reach the threshold of for clinical depression, reporting symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, trouble with concentration and feelings of failure.

One of the most worrying facts which the research uncovered was that there is a veil of secrecy being drawn over pilot’s mental health. This can of course can not only lead to disaster for the pilots concerned but can even lead to tragic events such as the one in the French Alps last year. Although this particular study only covered one profession the veil of secrecy isn’t something which is confined to pilots.

Many people who suffer with depression from a wide variety of professions feel compelled to keep it to themselves, with many failing to seek help as they fear that in doing so it will affect their long-term career prospects. At One Stop Psychotherapy, we want to do all we can to lift that veil   and as long term and committed supporters of the stamp out stigma campaign we believe more can and should be done to offer support to those who are in need.

There are many people working in high risk environments where maintaining good Mental health can be a challenge, the Police, Armed forces, Medical, Aviation in fact any job at all where pressure to succeed is high or where lifesaving decisions are being made on a daily basis. The fact is that it is all of our responsibilities to ensure the  good mental wellbeing of those who ensure that we live our lives in safety, we cannot and should not expect them to deliver the important work they do alone and without support.

With this in mind we would like to invite you all to join us in being vocal about stamping out the stigma of Mental Health, you can start by sharing this and other stories and by joining us on Facebook and twitter to spread the word, no person should be left to feel isolated and alone when dealing with any form of mental health problem, it’s the very essence of why was formed, so that there would always be a place people can go 24/7 to seek help and assistance. 

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25 Nov

Stories About Social Stories

posted by Holly Melrose

Stories About Social Stories

Using visual imagery has always been an easier way for me to communicate. I often explain psychological concepts in counselling using analogy and metaphor, such as energy feeling like a rollercoaster, or emotions being like a balloon filling with water. This is particularly useful with children, as they don't tend to talk about their problems, they act on them. 

As many adults know, children can be incredibly resistant to discussion of 'problems' where they are the starring character. This is where story telling can play a wonderful role in improving the way adults communicate to children. I use stories in play and personalised Social Stories for a range of children and young people with and without disabilities where traditional 'talk therapy' isn't appropriate. 


Communicating using story telling has been useful for my practice in three ways:

1. Clear rules are developed and communicated to the child and parent,

2. Parents learn and start helping the child generalise the story by using consistent language with their child, and

3. What I am teaching the child and parents in sessions can travel home with them.


Carol Gray, a teacher, developed the concept of 'Social Stories' in 1991 for use with children with autism. A Social Story is a short, simple story that provides information about a social situation and the appropriate behaviors needed for that situation. It can also be defined as short descriptions of real life situations that help someone understand what they might expect from a specific situation or event, or how to better interpret the circumstances surrounding something they may be experiencing.

Other picture-based approaches commonly used by psychologists include the Picture Exchange Communication System, and Comic Strip Conversations. All approaches have mixed evidence for their effectiveness for autism. This means that there is evidence for their effectiveness, but researchers are still working on figuring out exactly what parts are most effective, and to what extent. 

I make social stories on the fly in sessions using Comic Strip Conversations, and formally, using high quality images and tools. Below is a example of a formal Social Story that was developed for a teenager with moderate autism. (Zoom to see them adequately, or right click and save the file)


The social stories were developed after a period of time where I got to know the teenager’s skills and their family. I used a mixture of ShowMe images and comic making software, which were then placed into a word document with text. You can see that I have clearly communicated specific language that the child and parent can learn and use. The child's parents can now respond to situations where the child is having trouble being flexible with rules by communicating the right type of law, rule, or guideline that applies. 


Parents and teachers who want to use Social Stories would benefit from considering:

- The child's reading comprehension skills and interest in visual content,

- The complexity of the information needed,

- To what extent the child thinks rigidly (black and white) or in a concrete (over-simplified) manner,

- The most important concepts they would like to communicate,

- Time limitations, and

- The quality, flexibility of use, and licensing of the images they are using.

Holly is a registered psychologist practicing in Melbourne, Australia. She is available to be booked through OneStop for counselling and general consultation Monday to Thursday from 11:00 GMT to 8:00 GMT.

References and further reading: (PDF attached)


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