Stress

Where to go for help with stress: A summary of different therapies

Stress
Stress

So, you are stressed, unhappy, discontented, dis-satisfied, miserable, unhappy, overwhelmed, down, depressed; and it’s been a while.

Your body is now rebelling and you are getting problems with your sleep, stomach, memory, exhaustion and aches and pains.

You’ve read all my stuff about what stress is with some hints and tips on what to do.

You’ve checked out my favourite books for when you feel overwhelmed or depressed, including mine.

But you need some outside help from a professional, so where to go?

I’m going to give a brief introduction to some of the therapies that might help.  They are all my views, based upon my experiences, so some people may disagree!  However, the idea is to have a look and see which ones jump out to you as suiting you.

 

Counselling

Who are you ?
Who are you ?

Available free from NHS if you can wait, or private.

Tends to be pretty cheap e.g. £40 per session.

Face to face.

But takes a long time.

Basically the idea is that you talk about stuff, so that you can dig down to find out ‘why’ you feel the way that you do.  It is really useful if you aren’t sure why, and for some people just understanding can shift the problem.

The downside is that for others, they just get stuck deeper in the story of their lives and become more of a victim.

 

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Available free from the NHS if you can wait, or private.

Tends to be pretty cheap e.g. £40 per session.

Face to face or over the phone/skype.

I love CBT, it’s what got me interested in personal development in the first place over 20yrs ago.  It helps you to tackle the thoughts that are running around in your head and look at life a different way.  The idea is that by behaving differently we will get a different outcome from situations.

I think it is quicker, but maybe less deep and therefore if you don’t understand much about your thought processes/past it will be difficult to use it to get over bigger problems.  Plus, behaving differently doesn’t always make people react differently.

 

Coaching

Tends to be private and ranges from cheap to very expensive.

Face to face or over the phone/skype.

A coach is more focussed on the present and giving you goals that you can aim for and less about trauma’s from your past.

Be careful and thoroughly check their training and experience, as currently there aren’t any laws about who can and can’t call themselves a coach.

Some people use NLP (neurolinguistic programming) in the coaching, to help you.  Simply put they look at how your language affects your mind and therefore your behaviour.  I personally find it a little too orientated towards the mind.  I prefer a more intuitive approach with a more feeling/heart centered objective.  It can feel very manipulative, but it is’t without merit.

 

Hypnotherapy

Normally private.  Starting to get more expensive probably £60 or more.

But quicker.

You MUST get a well trained, well experienced hypnotherapist.  But if you get one, this can be a quick method of going into the past and working out what is causing your pain and then dealing with it.  Make sure that if they ‘remove’ a negative habit that they replace it with a positive alternative.

 

tapping points
Picture from Nick Ortner

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

Private.  But can be cheap and you can learn it yourself.  Probably £60.

I suspect the usefulness of it depends on the experience and intuition of the practitioner and how comfortable you feel with them.

EFT has been around for a while, but I didn’t become interested until recently.  I think that it has settled down now and is a very well established option.  The idea is that by discussing our problems whilst tapping on certain meridian points (energy points in the body), it reduces how upset we are about it, then we will be able to see things differently and find a new way of seeing our life or tackling the problem.  It can be very light e.g. just looking at a headache, or go deeper into why.

The great thing is that you can learn it yourself and therefore also use it at home for smaller issues.  I really recommend Nick Ortner’s book ‘The Tapping Solution’.

 

Kinesiology Based Therapies

Private.  Much more expensive.  But much quicker.

I learned a form of kinesiology 10yrs ago (Resonance Repatterning) which is very quick at dealing with people’s problems (I used to specialise in serious mental health issues).  The body has a muscular on/off reaction which you can use to check what beliefs and problems you have.  It’s great because it bi-passes your opinions and the potential biases of the practitioner, to make sure that you actually get to the ‘real’ truth really quickly.  Then a healing technique will be used to ‘shift’ the problem and replace it with a more positive option.

There are several different options, some more structured than others.  It can be a bit wacky, but very effective.

Nutritionist/Naturopath

Supplements
Supplements

Normally private (dieticians might be free).  Mid-priced around £60

It’s amazing what physical problems and some emotional ones can be resolved with the help of a nutritionist (better than a dietician in my opinion) or naturopath.  The naturopath training is longer and more rigorous, but they are also more likely to suggest bigger changes to your patterns and they can suggestion supplements and herbs to help you out as well.

Never under estimate the power of a simple supplement, mineral, vitamin or herb.  In fact if you start to take a few, I would recommend checking in with a professional to make sure that the combination you are taking is OK.

 

 

Herbalist/Homeopath

Private.  Often after a long initial session, they can help you quickly and you only pay a small amount.

I’m a big fan of homeopathy, but it hasn’t worked well for me so far.  You get a little sugar pill that is meant to redress the balance in the body and can help with emotional, mental or physical problems.

Herbalism has helped me a lot and is of course where modern medicine started.

 

Reiki

Reiki
Reiki

Private.  But normally cheap and you can learn it yourself.  Probably £60.

Reiki is a lovely form of hands on healing where the practitioner gently touches or hovers their hands just above the body.  It can help physical, mental and emotional problems.  I became a ‘Reiki Master’ 13 yrs ago – it’s not that clever actually, it basically means ‘teacher’.  I LOVE Reiki for it’s simplicity.  But be warned, some of the people who do Reiki are mad as a box of frogs (in the nicest way!) and although it has improved, there is no standard teaching, so some people mix in other alternative therapies e.g. crystal healing and all sorts.

Please don’t jump to learn it straight away – take some time out for yourself first.  If you do learn it, remember to focus on just yourself and your family first.  Don’t run off to heal the world!

There are also other forms of healing.  Some people are just ‘natural’ healers, i.e. they are born with or got the ability to give healing to people.  Others are ‘spiritual healers’, which means that they believe they get help from other spiritual beings.

 

Physical therapies

Private.  Can be cheap if you find someone local, but expensive in salons.

E.g. Massage, Reflexology, Shiatsu Massage, Bowen Technique, Chiropractor, Osteopath

You could easily get a lovely therapist to give you a massage or reflexology session, talk through your worries and get a lovely relaxing treatment at the same time.  This is a very viable alternative and helps support the body while you are stressed.

 

More

Demartini Method – this was the final therapy that I learned (I’m a senior certified facilitator).  It tends to be more expensive, but very transformative and is based upon the healing power of gratitude.

Meta Medicine – a great method for discovering hidden reasons or potential events that had a hand to play in physical illnesses.

The Work of Byron Katie – A very simple method with just 4 questions, that you can also read about and use in your own life.  I find that one of the questions reduces about 80% of my stress levels.

 

Overall

My advice is that we ALL need OUTSIDE help from time to time and sometimes our friends and family are not the right people to help us.

However, it would be unwise to ALWAYS rely on outside help as that doesn’t help to improve our self-esteem and sense of independence and self-sufficiency.

When picking someone to work with, they need to be strong enough to challenge you a little, otherwise you won’t be able to break out of your patterns.  However, you need to have a good rapport with them and feel very safe and certain of them – that is probably the most important thing.

You are also looking for someone you appears to be pretty sorted, or at least more sorted than you are in the particular area of life that you are struggling with.  It’s fine if they have experienced the problem, it’s just that you want them to be past it!

Another ‘rule’ is not to ‘overwork’ yourself.  So don’t have a massage in the same week as a therapy session etc.  Always leave time for you to adjust after a session.

I hope that this gives you an nice easy introduction to some of the options, therapies and alternative treatments that are available.  You are very welcome to tweet/facebook me for more information or if you hear of a therapy I haven’t mentioned.

Have you used any of these?

Did you find them useful?

 

The 4 types of help: Be careful who you ask for advice

It’s easy to feel warm and fluffy when we talk to people about our problems, but does it sometimes require some discernment about who we talk to?  I reckon there are four types of advice …

1) Sympathetic Ear

Sometimes we just want a sympathetic ear; fair enough it can be therapeutic to offload and not keep it all inside.  That means we will pick someone who will either agree with us and think that the other people involved in our problem are ‘bad’, or maybe if we are lucky they will just listen and let us offload.  Which do you prefer?  I think that some of us prefer it when our friends see us as the ‘good guy’ and want to protect us from anyone who isn’t being ‘nice’ to us.  But I suspect that it’s more helpful if our friends don’t offer an opinion, but just let us offload in a kind, safe and unjudgmental space.  I suppose this is why some people need to go to a counsellor who is trained in helping people to offload and dig into their emotions, but I’m lucky to have some very wise friends who are willing to be a sounding board (for a little while at least until they kick my butt).

2) Similar Experience

Then there is the opportunity to talk to people who have some kind of similar experience because they are either going through it or have been through it.  But again it can go one of two ways.  It can be great to brainstorm with someone experiencing the same issues and share learnings, plus talking to someone who has come out the other side can give valuable perspective.  But what about their biases, and that they might naturally focus on one perspective?  I’ve heard how useful weight loss groups can be to keep people motivated, but I’ve also seen how groups of women can get together and complain about their lack of weight loss and that is what keeps them together; complaining, not acting.  At the moment I’ve been heavily relying on a couple of friends recently with similar experiences, but luckily none of them are bitter enough for it to turn into a bitch fest.

3) Pragmatic Approach

After a while, many of us move onto wanting a more pragmatic approach with the devils advocate.  This can be uncomfortable, but is it maybe the most honest approach?  Does it help us to see that there are two sides to the story?  It can do, but I’ve experienced how people can jump to conclusions about what the other side is and get it terribly wrong.  This is more like my background in the Demartini Method, where we look to help people gain a balanced perspective on their lives, so again I’m lucky to have friends in my life who do this as a job.  But all you are really looking for is people who can say things like ‘Do you think that is totally true?’ or ‘Could it be worse?’ or ‘What do you think they are thinking?’ or ‘Do you think it’s possible that it wouldn’t work for you as much as you think if it was different?’.

4) Problem Fixer

Then you get the problem fixer, who once you’ve offloaded, brainstormed, and gained perspective, will want to help you come up with an action plan to address it.  Great, progress at last you might feel!  But can they keep their own opinions and biases out of the way long enough to find an action plan that works for you?  Plus it can be infuriating if we have to jump straight to problem solving without the other steps (lots of us probably find our men do this).  Life Coaches tend to be really good at making plans of action for the future, and I tend to add this part in at the end of a session (but only once the pain and hurt are resolved and we can see the situation more clearly).

At the end of the day ….

I’m a big fan of talking to friends/family/professionals and getting problems in our lives resolved.  But there is always a downside to everything.  Sometimes it’s the cost, the amount of time it takes, or that we feel vulnerable when we share.  But even worse can be having a lack of discernment when we talk to people.  I’m not suggesting that our friends should be expected to do all 4 roles for us, but it’s important to be aware of which role they are playing and what they are capable of playing with their experience, wisdom, intuition and knowledge.  Everyone has their limitations, plus some will have agendas which we might be ignoring; no one is ever as innocent as they seem!

Eventually it will be time to move onto the next stage and not keep using an older role in the process.  That sounds harsh doesn’t it, ‘use your friend and move on’.  I don’t quite mean it in that way.  What I mean is, keep the friend, but if you are over the problem or past the way that they can help, then make sure you don’t keep dragging yourself backwards.  But then that’s my bias isn’t it; to eventually resolve it and not keep feeling sorry for myself, even if it sometimes takes me longer than expected?