Ideas for managing anxiety.

Depressed, Stressed or Anxious? Take this Self Assessment Quiz

Complete this quick and easy questionnaire to find out whether you could have symptoms of anxiety or depression. These are  very common mental health problems that affect most of us at some time in our lives, either directly, or indirectly through family and friends.

In Britain, it is estimated that 1 in 9 people will have a mental health disorder in any one year, with depression and anxiety being the most common  of these. The World Health Organisation has estimated that over 40% of disability world wide is due to depression and/or anxiety.  These conditions frequently go hand in hand, with a mixture of anxiety and depression being the most common diagnosis given for an anxiety disorder.

If your responses to the following self assessment test indicate that you might have symptoms of depression or anxiety, please take steps to address them. If you only have a few minor symptoms, and they are not affecting your life, then perhaps you  could read some helpful articles on line, including on this site. [Go to the SEARCH box on the top right of the webpage.] If your symptoms are many, or if any of them are interfering with your life, please take some steps to see a professional.

Go ahead, take the quiz now. It’s fast, free, and totally confidential. The results are at the bottom of the test page….




How to Protect Your Children from Family Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety can spread through families like contagious diseases, and children are the most vulnerable to contamination.

Sure, genetic predisposition plays a part too, but a lot of it has to do with what we are exposed to as children. That means you can influence how much your children are affected.

How Depression is Spread

Partners of people with depression often complain of feeling as if they are living near a black hole which is draining their life force. They gradually lose energy and enthusiasm, their lives become restricted, and their home becomes a dark and dreary place.

Children of depressed parents can be even more affected. On top of this ‘black hole effect’, children learn how to interact with the world largely by observing other people, especially their parents. So if a child witnesses a parent consistently looking glum, or repeatedly talking negatively about problems, they are likely to copy that behaviour. Our behaviour affects the way we feel, so children of depressed people are at risk of internalising their parents’ view that the world is a negative place that holds little joy.

Depressed people have a tendency to withdraw from others, so they sometimes find it difficult to listen to their children and to respond consistently and positively to their emotional and psychological needs. This can lead to the children feeling confused and unloved, and can in turn impact on their self esteem and happiness.

All of this is a recipe for… you got it… another generation of depression.

How Anxiety is Spread

Anxiety can also be passed on through families. Children are programmed to learn what to be afraid of from parents in order to survive. A highly anxious parent typically sees the world as a scary place that cannot be trusted. They may well pass on their fears to their children as warnings, and become over-protective in an attempt to keep them safe. This can lead to the children internalising their parent’s fears and becoming overly anxious.

Also, remember that children mimic their parents, so a parent who is tense and easily stressed, is likely to inadvertently teach their children to behave in the same way.

How to Break the Cycle

You can take steps to protect your children from the negative effects of your anxiety and depression. Here are a few simple ways to start…..

  • Be aware of what you teach your children about the world. Do you paint a scary or dark picture? Try to relax, lighten up, and look on the bright side.
  • Think about how your children witness you interacting with others and them? If you want your children to be calm and positive, make sure you are a calm and positive role model.
  • Make an effort to connect with your children in a consistent way. Get interested in their thoughts and feelings. Listen well, and try to respond in compassionate and positive ways to their problems.
  • Be affectionate and warm, and praise your children liberally.
  • Make the effort to enjoy fun interactions with your children. Family games can be great bonders, and laughter is a wonderful antidote for depression and anxiety.
  • Exercise is also a natural antidote; so, even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing, try to do something regularly as a family that involves physical activity. Fun outdoor activities improve mood, and getting everyone out in the world can help you all combat fears.

Get Help ASAP

It is important that you take steps to deal with your own depression or anxiety. Focusing on helping your children should have the added bonus of helping you, but you might need to do a bit more to move into a consistently healthy state.  There is plenty of useful information out there in books and on the internet, but if depression or anxiety is continuing to limit your life, please make sure you get some good professional help without delay, for your children’s sake.


How to Disentangle from Destructive Thoughts

Thoughts, images and feelings are all a normal part of our internal human world, and we wouldn’t want to be without them. They can fuel our creativity, they can drive and motivate us, they can keep us safe, and they can bring us passion, joy and contentment.

But sometimes they can be an absolute pain in the bum. They can haunt us, or annoy us, or demoralise us, or rile us into a frenzy of anger or guilt. They can scare us into a frozen state of avoidance, or bring us down into the depths of depression and apathy.

It’s Not That Easy to Switch Off Negative Thoughts

In the past we psychologists have told our clients that once they have identified the destructive thoughts and images in their heads, they can simply change them to positive ones. Although this idea has merit and works for some people, it is not as easy as it sounds for the majority of us. Failed attempts to block or throw away the negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts, have led to frustration and a heightened sense of failure and inadequacy in many of the people who have attempted this method. It is simply very hard to stop a thought, particularly one that you have been replaying for a long time, and if you do manage it, they can often sneak back with a vengeance.

Psychologists are now realising that, rather than trying to disperse unhelpful thoughts, it is fine to just allow them, as long as you don’t get caught up in them; as long as you don’t believe them to be the truth; and as long as you stay mindful of what they really are… just sounds, pictures and feelings.

‘But how do I do that?’ I hear you ask in an exasperated voice.

Eastern Wisdom

Western psychology has recently started to take notice of the ancient teachings of our eastern brothers who have long said that the best way to stop thoughts controlling us is to witness them as just thoughts, and one of the best ways to do that is to practice meditation.

Meditation is both simple and difficult, but you don’t have to be a master of it to begin to feel the benefits. Anyone can learn to meditate. You could learn by going to a meditation class, or by reading a book, or listening to an audio, or even by watching one of the many YouTube videos on the topic.

How to Meditate

All you do is sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed and notice your breath and the sensation in your body as your breath enters and leaves your body. I personally like to focus more on the out-breath, as this is the side of the breath that is most linked with relaxation, but the traditional way is to just notice the breath going in and out without judging or controlling it.

Now, of course, many thoughts and images, memories and plans, and all the accompanying emotional paraphernalia, will invade your mind while you are trying to focus on the simplicity of your breath. But the trick is that you allow them all to come and go, without getting caught up in them. And if, as is inevitable, you do get carried away with a thought about the process, or your work, or relationship, or what to have for dinner, become aware of this little side-trip as soon as you can, and gently bring your attention back to your breath and your body.

Freedom to Choose

The process of witnessing thoughts images and emotions, and allowing them to come and go by bringing ourselves back to our body and breath, allows us to disentangle from them. We are then able to realise that the thoughts are not the essence of who we are: they are just static noise and don’t need to be given attention and power.

That awareness frees us up to be able to make decisions and take actions that our unhelpful thoughts and feelings have stopped us undertaking in the past.  We don’t have to stop and block our unhelpful thoughts to reduce their power over us, just recognise them for what they are, and chose whether or not to buy into them.

Lorri Craig

Can a Difficult Birth Create Psychological Problems Later?

It is well known that psychological trauma of any sort can have a lasting, damaging effect on human beings. The earlier the trauma, the more profound the effect, so the impact of a difficult birth on the infant as he develops  into a child and adult can be especially significant.

The Birth Experience

Imagine being a fetus. Imagine floating comfortably in the warm, soft, dark, fluid space of your mother’s womb, drifting in and out of sleep, surrounded by muffled sounds and heartbeats.

Then imagine the sudden shock of being awakened, and pushed and squeezed into the harsh, stark, and noisy outside world, amid your mother’s pained shrieks, racing heart, and adrenalin charged system.

Add to that the strain of an unusually long labour, painful forced delivery, or a life threatening situation, such as being strangled by the umbilical cord, and you have a major traumatic event. Then add the inevitable distress of the mother, to whom the baby is psychologically and energetically linked, and you have a super trauma.

And try to imagine, on top of all that, the added distress on the newborn infant of being removed from the mother for emergency treatment: the infant’s or hers.

What an incredibly cruel, loveless, unpredictable and scary place the world would seem to the distressed newborn.

That is the experience and sensation that is imprinted onto the traumatised neonate’s untainted mind.  A newborn’s immature nervous system is purely unconscious mind, combined with life or death driven emotion, so it does not have the cognitive capacity to be able to sort experiences and make sense of the world in a logical, conscious way. Its mind is like a blank sheet on which is printed the first experiences. And this imprint becomes the blueprint on which the child’s life and future experiences are fashioned.

Long Term Psychological Effects

Children who have had traumatic births are more likely to be anxious or aggressive than their easy-birth counterparts. Of course genetics and many other factors come into the equation too, but, if all else was equal, the child who was traumatised at birth would be more vulnerable to psychological problems.

Separation from the mother at birth, as well as the mother’s own post-trauma stress response, can affect the early bonding between the mother and child, which is another major factor in the child’s psychological development.

As a clinician, whenever I am presented with a highly anxious, angry, or oppositional child, I always ask the parents about the child’s trauma history, including their birth experience.  Actually I do this with my adult clients too. And very often the links are obvious.

Effective New Treatment

Modern psychological treatment can help to correct the psychological damage of a traumatic birth. Therapies such as EMDR [Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing], EFT [Emotional Freedom Technique], and AIT [Advanced Integrative Therapy] are particularly powerful.

I mainly use AIT in my practice today, and find that it is incredibly effective for dealing with the effects of early trauma. AIT uses kinesiology, or muscle testing, to help the clinician and the client communicate with the client’s unconscious, to determine which early traumas might be affecting them in the present. I find that traumatic births are indicated quite often.

The really good news is that clearing the birth trauma with AIT is quite simple and straightforward, and once the early traumas and their links to presenting problems are cleared, and the blueprint is recreated with a clear, conscious mind, the client is able to let go of lifelong symptoms, such as excessive anxiety, fear of abandonment, anger and control issues.  This is incredibly exciting stuff.

Lorri Craig practices AIT in her own private practice in Brighton and Hove, UK, and internationally by phone or Skype. To find out more about AIT go to the article on this site: WHAT IS ADVANCED INTEGRATED THERAPY?

Image thanks to arztsamui at freedigitalphotos.net

TAP FOR HEALTH WEALTH AND HAPPINESS

The Tapping phenomenon is sweeping the world. Meridian Tapping has successfully been used to clear emotional blocks, limiting or dysfunctional beliefs, trauma, physical pain, and even physical illness. It is fast, effective and easy to learn, and it is turning the worlds of psychology and medicine upside down.

WHAT IS TAPPING?

Tapping, is the central technique used in EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique. It involves tapping chinese meridian points [like those used in acupuncture]  whilst naming fears and dysfunctional or limiting beliefs.

EFT was developed in the 1990s by Gary Craig [no relation to me as far as I know], and came out of TFT or Thought Field Therapy, which was developed by Roger Callahan. Craig believed in making the procedure simple and user friendly, so that it could be available to more people and so make a larger positive impact on the world. EFT has since been used by psychological therapists and medical practitioners to treat vast numbers of people and conditions.  I love it, and use it myself and with my clients to manage emotions, shift old emotional and mental blocks and habits, and as a first aid treatment in a crisis.

WHAT CAN TAPPING BE USED FOR?

  • Overcome Childhood Traumas
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Manage anger
  • Manage and Eliminate Pain
  • Release Cravings and Compulsive Eating Habits
  • Build Thriving and Loving Relationships
  • Overcome Addictions
  • Let Go Limiting or Dysfunctional Beliefs, including those about being well
  • Break Through Blocks to Success

WHERE TO LEARN EFT OR TAPPING

Gary Craig’s website has an easy to follow course for those who are interested in using tapping for their own use, or for incorporating it into their clinical practice. There are many other online and in person courses out there, as well as practitioners. If you want to focus on psychological issues, make sure you find therapist with experience and training beyond EFT.

LEARN TO TAP FOR WEALTH

Success coach, Margaret Lynch, is one of the greats of the tapping world. Margaret uses tapping to help her clients break through emotional blocks to being financially successful. She has produced loads of very easy to follow videos where she demonstrates the technique in a light hearted way. You can use the same technique to clear emotional blocks to anything. One of her latest videos focuses on tapping to let go of sexual blocks.

Here’s the link:   TAP FOR WEALTH WITH MARGARET LYNCH.

If you would like to learn more about tapping for psychological blocks, please contact me by email or make a comment in the box below.

Happy tapping.

Cyber-hugs,

Lorri

WHAT IS ADVANCED INTEGRATIVE THERAPY or AIT?

AIT: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION

I’ve been a psychologist for a long time now, and I’ve trained in and used a huge number of therapeutic strategies. But I have never been so excited about any form of therapy as I am about AIT.  Advanced Integrative Therapy [AIT] is an exciting and powerful new energy psychology that is particularly effective at removing the effects of emotional trauma. I have found AIT to be an incredibly efficient and effective, yet very gentle way of treating a range of issues with adults and children of all ages.

How AIT Works

AIT works on the holistic principle that our mind, body and energy fields are interconnected, and that traumatic memories are often trapped in our nervous system throughout our bodies. These trapped memories affect our interactions with the world, and can create traumatic patterns or dysfunctional beliefs about ourselves and our world. These can lead to phobias, relationship problems, challenging behaviours, anxiety, depression, anger, self-harm, low self-esteem, and somatic illnesses.

AIT is based on the premise that traumatic memories and their emotional charge are stored throughout the body, not just in the brain. To get a sense of this, if you reflect on a past upsetting experience of your own, you might feel some sort of a sensation or discomfort in your throat, stomach, heart, or another part of your body.

What Happens

The AIT therapist helps the client to identify the issues using their therapeutic and interactive counselling skills, and then uses muscle testing, or applied kinesiology, to confirm the treatment decisions. Muscle testing was developed originally by a chiropractor, and adopted enthusiastically by alternative health practitioners, such as naturopaths and allergy specialists. I have found that muscle testing to be a wonderful  tool to use in psychological therapy. It involves gently feeling resistance, or lack thereof, in the client’s muscles in response to particular statements. The muscle goes weak when the statement is false and stays strong when it is true. It is a really good way of tuning into the client’s unconscious [or internal computer], and can be a fun way to engage children and adults, especially those who are unsure of the cause of their emotional difficulties, or who find language or talking about feelings difficult.

Once the cause of the problem has been determined, the AIT practitioner guides the client to hold certain points on their body, to stimulate  the nervous system, while labelling the trauma in a simple way. The client stays mindful of their body, and relaxes with their breath through this process, while witnessing the memories, thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they come and go.

This gently and effectively clears the blocked trauma from the nervous system, so the client is soon able to remember the experience without feeling the uncomfortable emotions attached to it.

In a Nutshell

AIT is an incredibly powerful therapy, but doesn’t require the uncomfortable, long-winded catharsis of tears and talk of many other therapies. Change is quick and gentle, yet monumental.  As I said, very very exciting stuff.

I practice AIT in person in Coulsdon and Brighton and Hove, UK, and via telephone or Skype to the rest of the world.  Feel free to contact me if you would like to find out more. You can leave a comment here.

I really look forward to hearing from you.

Lorri Craig

PS To find out more about AIT and who might be practicing it near you, CLICK HERE to go to the official AIT website.