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14 Sep

Sex and Relationships

posted by Eileen Edwards

How’s you love life? Has your sex life lost its sparkle? Or do you have specific problems in this area?

Problems of this kind can be difficult to discuss. Whilst a lack of accurate information often adds to the problem and in some instances can be its cause.

As a psychologist and therapist specialising in psycho-sexual dysfunction I understand and want to help. My aim here is to provide clear information as to the nature of a good sex life and the problems that may be standing in the way of you enjoying it.

Sex is the mortar that holds the bricks of a relationship together and keeps them apart. Today we’ll deal with problems that affect both sexes.

General dissatisfaction - a need to put back the sparkle.

This often occurs due to misunderstandings about what a good sex life should be. Living in a society where there is a great deal of emphasis on sex it’s easy to feel that we are the only ones missing out. The media and associates who paint an incredibly rosy picture of their sex lives easily compound the problem.

As a rule of thumb in therapy if it’s good 80% of the time it’s good.

 Level of sex drive

You may be concerned that your sex drive is low. Or consider it excessive. Normal sex drive covers a wide spectrum. Our need for sexual activity is individual and varies from person to person just as our needs for food and sleep.

It can also vary from time to time within the individual due to factors such as illness, stress or alcohol consumption.  

However, a mismatch in the level of sex drive often causes problems in relationships.  One partner is feeling frustrated whilst the other could feel pressured to engage in sexual activity.

A high level of sex drive can distract the individual from work and other necessary activities. Or cause them to engage in risky and potentially harmful behaviour.

A very high level of sex drive is sometimes referred to as obsession or sex addiction.

Negative emotions related to sex

Some people experience negative emotions related to sex. These can include feelings of guilt or depression after sexual activity. Or negative feelings towards sex generally. Such feelings may relate to couple’s sexual activity or solo sex (masturbation).

Jealousy

For most couples love means exclusivity. We don’t want to share our partner and may look out for signs that s/he is interested in someone else. To some extent this is natural. However excessive jealousy or jealousy related to past partners is undesirable and can be very damaging to the relationship that the person is trying to safeguard by their watchfulness.

“Vaginismus” the inability of a female to have penetrative sex. Or anxiety about penetrative sex.

These problems clearly effect both partners in a relationship and so to some degree will any sexual problem involving one half of a couple.       

Sex related problems can happen to anyone at any time. They have several possible causes some physical, some originating in the mind. It’s necessary to see a medical doctor to eliminate physical causes before proceeding to other treatment. Psycho-sexual problems refer to situations where the individual’s thoughts and attitudes effect their ability to have an enjoyable sex life These respond well to psychotherapy.

Other causes of sex related problems are stress, the consumption of alcohol; or recreational drugs which may also be helped by psychotherapy.

As a specialist in psycho-sexual dysfunction I work with people experiencing a range of problems to help them gain or regain an enjoyable sex life.

I hope that you have found the information here helpful. Next time we’ll look at female problems. For more information see my website www.edwardshealthclinic2.co.uk

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11 Jul

Fight Against the Duvet Day

posted by Heather Campbell

Do you ever have one of those days when you just want to curl up on the sofa in your pyjamas and not move for the whole day?  I'm sure I'm not the only one.  I wrote a blog a few weeks ago about boosting motivation and I thought it might help to know that I too am not always bursting with energy and motivation.  So, yesterday I was having one of those days when the last place I wanted to be was the gym.  However, I also didn't want to keep feeling the way I was feeling and my rational human brain managed to convince my impulsive chimp brain to just go for a wee while (I advise you to read The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters if you think I've lost the plot here!).

I can honestly say the change in my mood was so dramatic that it amazed me.  I felt 100% better than I had done before going, in fact I felt so good that I stayed for double the time I normally do.  If there was a way to bottle that feeling I had as I was leaving the gym I would be a millionaire.  But for now I'll settle for tuning into that feeling to drive me towards the gym again next time I'm having a wobble.

So the moral of the story is that there is no stronger (legal) mood booster than some exercise and going against your chimp (there he is again) and doing what you know as a sensible human being actually works for you may involve a short burst of discomfort but is well worth it in the long run.

NB I refer to the gym here as that's where I happened to go this time, but exercise doesn't need to be done at a gym.  Do whatever you enjoy.  I didn't actually join a gym until I had already lost the weight I wanted.

To find out more visit  www.keepitoff.me.uk or get the book ‘Keep It Off:  The Key to Lasting Weight Loss’ on Amazon.



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27 Jun

Top Tips for Long Term Weight Loss

posted by Heather Campbell

There are hundreds of tips I could share to help you to lose weight, many of which I'm sure you will have heard before.  Different things work for different people so it's good to have a whole toolbox of techniques to dip into but people often ask me what my top 5 tips are that are the key to maintaining weight loss, so here they are;

  1.  Eat mindfully - this involves only every eating when sitting down and really focussing on tasting and enjoying the food you are eating, taking more time over each bite.
  2. Look at a photo of yourself when you were slimmer - DO NOT look at the 'fat' photo!  Whatever you focus on is where you go towards so focus on where you'd like to be, not on what you want to get away from.  If you have never been your ideal or 'happy' weight then take a moment to visualise your ideal weight, what would you be wearing, where would you be, what would you be doing and most important of all, how would you be feeling?  Look at this photo or visualisation regularly to keep you focussed on where you are going.
  3. Reward yourself - Let go of these punishing, critical beliefs and focus on what you have achieved or done well instead.  Start a reward jar and pop 50p or even 20p in it every time you take the stairs, go for a walk, resist a craving, etc and plan what you are going to treat yourself to when you reach a certain target.  This could be a nice candle or getting your nails done or even a quiet hour with a good book.  Remember though, rewards shouldn't be food or drink.
  4. Speaking of targets, set a small target of 5lbs only to focus on - Even if your overall goal is to lose much more than 5lbs, keeping focussed on only losing 5lbs at a time keeps us accountable and connected to our target rather than feeling overwhelmed and put off by thinking of the 2/5/10 stone you want to lose.  There is no time limit to losing this 5lbs, slow and steady is the aim, but reward yourself once you've reached it and then move on to your next 5lb target and repeat the process, taking encouragement and confidence each time that you are moving closer to your goal, one small, achievable step at a time
  5. Get back on track instantly - when you experience a hiccup and eat more than you planned to, get right back on track instantly.  Don't wait until Monday, or even the next day.  Choose not to step into that downward spiral.  You've eaten more than you wanted to, so what?  You'll find that people who maintain their 'happy' weight consistently spend less time beating themselves up over what they've eaten so remember; EAT > ENJOY > MOVE ON!

Try each of these tips and you will soon start to notice the weight disappearing.

For other helpful ways to lose weight long term and to keep up to date with Keep It Off, sign up to my free newsletter today.  Simply email me today at heather@keepitoff.me.uk


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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

https://www.facebook.com/camillalewingtonjustshutupanddance/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1TsznqOvEEQ3QSkX1qlSew

https://www.camillalewington.co.uk/beattheblues


 

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20 Jun

What's kindness got to do with losing weight?

posted by Heather Campbell

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 Campbell
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  www.keepitoff.me.uk 

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

 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Keep-Off-Lasting-Weight-Loss/dp/0993498914/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497360952&sr=8-1&keywords=keep+it+off+the+key+to+lasting+weight+loss


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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 https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

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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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