I was having a conversation with a friend of a friend on Facebook the other day and she mentioned her fibromyalgia. As someone who is extremely interested in helping people to deal with chronic pain I thought I'd chip in with some, what I deemed useful, advice. I suggested the seek psychological pain management!
This seemingly offended the friend's friend. She was adamant that she was delighted with her current specialist as they 'knew' that the pain was not in her head.
Now, as an ACT therapist I don't deem it important whether the pain has a physiological cause or not. What is important to me is whether the pain experience is real and whether it is negatively impacting someone's life. After further discussion she finally realised I knew what I was talking about and I had dug myself out of the hole I had inadvertently dug.
It made me realise, or consolidated a realisation, that people have the perspective that as their pain is physical there's no way that seeing a psychologist can help in any way at all. The thing is, many people have thought that way in the past, have seen a psychologist, learnt psychological skills to deal with the pain in a different way, and have reaped the benefits.
Getting back onto irritable bowel syndrome. It's a condition that is very real and can severely impact the quality of life of someone suffering with IBS. As it's a very physical condition with such apparent consequences, how on earth can a psychological intervention help? Well, there's lots of theories but there's one thing I can say for certain. It does help.
I've had two relatively recent testimonials published to my website from people that had exhausted the medical route and wanted to try something new. I use an evidence-based gut-focused hypnotherapy to make significant improvements in the symptoms of IBS. This treatment is recommended by NICE for people that have not improved with medication, and is used within some NHS trusts. It's also used in the USA.
If you live in Guernsey, I can deliver this treatment programme over 7 sessions (6 of which are 30 minutes so half-sessions), face-to-face. If you don't live in Guernsey I also offer online therapies and can deliver IBS treatment online via either Skype, FaceTime, or vSee.
Here's snippets of the testimonials. The full wording can be found on my homepage.
"I contacted Tim because my IBS became so bad that I was willing to try anything. I must say that I was amazed with the effects the therapy had on me within the first session alone! I am very much converted to hypnosis and could not praise Tim enough - thanks to him, my stomach is better than it has been for a long time and I am able to manage my stress much more effectively."
"Each session left me feeling calm and relaxed, but also energised! I often went for a walk afterwards! My IBS attacks have become very much reduced."
I never thought I'd be so passionate about IBS but I've found a treatment that I know can truly help improve peoples' lives, and it has already done so. I'd love to be able to offer this through a States of Guernsey contract so people can get this free of charge but at the present time that does not seem to be an option.
If you're suffering from IBS and want some relief, read the above quotes, read the information, maybe even google to confirm what I am saying is true. Then, once you've thought about it and decided to give it a shot, please contact me.
June 20 - 26
Another phobia that is surprisingly common is that of moths. Moth phobia is also known as mottephobia. There's also a generic term of entomophobia for the fear of insects.
Phobias in themselves are irrational, although that does not stop them often having significant impact on people's lives. Sometimes even preventing them from leaving the house out of sheer fear.
There are treatments available, such as my new rapid treatment that can resolve phobias within 1 to 2 sessions and can also be delivered online. It's amazingly quick, and has been extremely effective on many others in the past with phobias.
Then you can get back to the business of appreciating the role that insects play in the animal kingdom.
Nudging the brain towards healthier choices...
In the not too distant past nudge theory was popular, thanks to David Cameron thinking it could subtly encourage brits to engage in healthier lifestyles. This is technically a form of manipulation, albeit manipulation with the public's interest at heart (as well as huge economic savings for the government).
Now, scientists at UC Berkeley think they have found an area within the brain, the orbitofrontal complex, where decision making takes place. They propose that a device could be created that can acknowledge when an unhealthy decision is about to be made, then interacting with that decision to shift it towards a healthy behaviour. This could be fantastic for a wide array of addictions, including food or substance misuse.
Whilst the notion of a device to change behaviour is great, do we really need an expensive piece of kit to shift our neural patterns? The human brain is so plastic that everything we do in life creates new neural patterns (1).
The human brain is made up of billions of neurons, making up trillions of synaptic connections, all form to make us who we are.
Within my work I am interested in incorporating neuroscience into psychotherapy to deliver more effective treatments, and a technique that I am currently studying is helping me to do just that. Once I have qualified in it I shall discuss this further, although I have noted many successes already. It works in a similar way to the device proposed by UC Berkeley, although requires nothing intrusive. It's a modern method that is helping improve the results I see in my clients. I am currently using it as an adjunctive treatment with people with a broad array of concerns, but have tried it with people with phobias, fears, and anxieties with apparent great success already.
Within my extant clients I have seen their confidence boosted - their entire demeanour change.
This week I commence another interesting journey, treating generalised anxiety disorder! It's an exciting prospect as should the method prove successful then GAD could be significantly improved in as few as 3 sessions. Much faster, and more effective, than the anti-anxiety tablets on the market.
It's an exciting time in the field of psychology. The NHS is starting to use this new method to great effect and in my small practice I am noticing amazing effects too.
Keep your eyes peeled for updates as I progress through this training. If you'd like to book in for a session please contact me. The impact on anxiety is something that needs to be seen to be believed.
I'm a doctor of psychology, born in Guernsey, educated at a tertiary level in Bristol, Bath, and London. Having worked and trained with some of the leading Health Psychologists in the UK, and having a passion about how Health Psychology can truly benefit many people, I now want to spread the word, as well as offer consultations to people wanting to make changes in their lives.