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Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution

The New Year, a new you? At this time of year it is traditional to focus on what changes you want to make. The aim is often on personal fulfilment. Over the Christmas break, we have time to consider the past twelve months and plan what we want to do differently in the coming twelve. We make our ideas for self-improvement into a resolution.

Popular Resolutions

As we spend so much of our lives working, it is no surprise that many people’s resolution ties into their career. January is a time to update CVs and start job hunting. The prospect of changing career offers hope of greater fulfilment, of new opportunities or a bigger pay packet.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Amersham
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Amersham

Quitting a bad habit is another popular option. Smoking cessation and gambling support groups receive a lot more calls at the start of a new year. Breaking habits is tough and often requires other lifestyle changes in order to remove temptation and prevent instinctive actions.

The most common resolution is about getting fitter and thinner. There is a surge in gym and diet club memberships in January as people have good intentions about swapping calories for cardio workouts.  An improved fitness regime will certainly help us to tone up, build strength and stamina and fit into our clothes a little easier, but the truth is that we need to engage our mind, as well as our body.

Mind Over Matter

Have you heard the phrase mind over matter? It means that the way we think can impact on our behaviour. We have learnt to think in certain ways due to our upbringing, our experiences and our perspective. This can lead us to confuse opinion with fact.

No matter what you want to achieve this year, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been proven to be effective in realising your goals. From gaining a positive mind-set for job interviews, or building a new relationship with food that will ensure that your efforts to lose weight aren’t wasted, to conquering a fear or breaking a bad habit, CBT can help.

CBT will help you to express your thoughts, question them and where necessary replace them with fresh thinking. With a new perspective, we can achieve things that we hadn’t previously thought possible. We can change our behaviours, see solutions and achieve our goals.

If you’ve been a yoyo dieter for years, are desperate to stop smoking, would love to address your fear of flying, or need the confidence to deliver a winning presentation, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can make all the difference.

CBT can also empower you to take action on an issue that plagues everyday life. Talking to a professional counsellor could provide the opportunity to get to the root of the problem. From there, you can start to explore options to change the situation. Anxiety, depression, even physical pain can be reduced to more manageable levels.

If you would benefit from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Amersham based Cognisant PDC can assist. See our Therapies page and allow us to help you to make this year’s resolutions stick.

No Way Out: Incapacitated by Depression or Anxiety

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Some of us are born with a personality that is more liable to realism or caution; it’s in our genes. Without understanding and support from others, the realism can lead to depression, whilst natural caution can spiral into anxiety. Others will have learnt thoughts and behaviours from parents (known as imprinting) when growing up. Some of us may have begun life with a light-hearted, positive personality, but life experiences have changed our character, our thoughts and our behaviours.

Depression and anxiety have many distinct symptoms, but there are also many similarities. For sufferers, either can make life unbearable. It can feel like your body has been taken over by another force. It completely suppresses every ounce of your personality. The power of this force is so strong that it seems impossible to fight back; it suffocates you until you feel that all sense of self is lost.

When you suffer with depression and anxiety, the negative feelings evolve into an inability to undertake everyday tasks. Making a decision can be overwhelming and the thought of doing something simple can leave you in a state of panic. You need the support of others, but this inner force encourages you to become increasingly isolated, lonely and unable to interact.

Where to Turn for Help

Another common factor is the lack of understanding that surrounds the two conditions. To an onlooker you appear to be fine and in an attempt to be helpful, they might say ‘don’t worry’ or ‘cheer up’. If only it was that simple. Friends and family might try to help, but your negativity is draining on them and unappealing to be around, so it is difficult for them to be there.

There is a distinct lack of understanding of mental health conditions in the medical profession, although things are improving. It used to be standard practice for GPs to prescribe anti-depressants for all patients with anxiety and depression, but fortunately there is growing awareness that counselling, specifically cognitive behavioural therapy, can help.

Anti-depressants can help break the downward spiral and they offer a stepping stone out of the darkest places. They have helped many sufferers on the road to recovery. The challenge is that anti-depressants mask, rather than solve, the problem. They also have side effects and many people face difficulties when they stop taking them. It is important that additional support is offered in addition to medication.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a form of counselling that has been effective in helping people to find a way out. It is certainly not easy to sit and talk with a counsellor if you have spent months or years isolating yourself from social situations. It can also be deeply uncomfortable to talk about your thoughts and feelings, your struggles and fears, however in finding the strength to attend counselling sessions, you can begin to tackle the issues and find a way forward.

Cognitive behavioural therapy will question your thoughts and challenge your ideas. It encourages you to view things from a different perspective. It can help you rediscover a purpose, a meaning and the things that you used to enjoy. It can help you find yourself again.

Don’t suffer in silence. Counselling services are offered throughout the UK, if you live in The Chilterns and are looking for cognitive behavioural therapy, Amersham based Cognisant PDC can help.

Reinvent Your Life

Many of us have reached a point where we question if this is really what life is all about. We may have a comfortable life and nothing much to complain about, yet we feel unfulfilled. We know that we aren’t spending time on the things that motivate us and we’re not being challenged in ways which push us to utilise our strengths and skills. We simply aren’t realising our potential.

It can seem like it is too late to change and we are stuck with our lot. We typically avoid focusing too much attention on what we really want, because to start pinpointing the person we would like to become means that we have to take action. Much as we might want to change, there is often a narrative in our heads that is quick to present obstacles and we are easily persuaded to stick with what we’ve got – it’s not too bad really.

Self Limiting Thoughts

Our inner narrative can convince us that it would be too disruptive, that we’d have to sacrifice too many other things, that we’re not good enough or we haven’t the time to follow our dreams. We get stuck in these unhelpful thoughts and that is before we’ve opened ourselves up to the scrutiny of others. The fear of what other people might say or think is just another layer which can stifle our ability to become the person we want to be.

Ultimately, we’re wired to opt for safety and security, so the familiar will always be the easier option, even if it isn’t right for us. We can see others who are following paths that we would like to be on, yet taking the first few steps on our own journey of change can be incredibly daunting. As a result it is easy to stick with what we know.

Even when we are unhappy with our lives, we are more likely to avoid taking action and try to cover the whole thing in a blanket of comfort eating, retail therapy, excessive drinking, gambling or obsessive social media activity. Rather than solving the problem, these distractions can simply add to the issue.

Realise your Potential

If you have an inner desire to follow your heart, achieve new goals, embark on a fresh journey and realise your potential, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be a valuable tool. This counselling technique has helped many people to engage with their inner voice, understand what factors have led to this narrative and then challenge it.

You could have followed a career path which no longer excites or interests you, but pays a good wage and with other family members’ dependant on your financial support, change seems impossible. You may dream of travelling the world, living or working abroad, but fears about going it alone are stopping you from booking the flight. You may have phobias which are holding you back or you may want the strength to break free from unsupportive relationships.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy isn’t a quick fix, it requires you to focus on your priorities and address the barriers that you are putting up. However, with the conviction to embrace change over a series of sessions, you gain the strength and confidence to take the steps towards reinventing your life. If you would like to find out more about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Amersham based Cognisant PDC encourages you to get in touch.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Change Your 2016

The start of a New Year is seen as an optimum time to make plans for the future and resolutions to set us on our way.

We often see resolutions as a time of sacrifice, a time to stop eating sugar, to quit smoking or to stop spending on a credit card to get our finances in order. Even when starting something, it can seem more like a punishment than a pleasure. I’ll sign up for the gym or update my CV are examples of things which sound far from exciting.

The feeling of punishment is one of the reasons why more than half of those who make a new year’s resolution fail to stick with it. We resent having to do it, even though it is a challenge set by ourselves. For this reason it is easy to get tempted towards something more enjoyable.

So, if you are determined to make a fresh start in 2016, a good place to start is really considering the following point:

What is it about your life that you would really like to change?

None of us a perfect, so we all have things that we would like to change. When we can identify the sort of person we would like to become, we can start taking steps towards this goal. Our steps can be small, yet they can still contribute towards moving us towards what we’d like to achieve.

No one wants to lose weight or to stop smoking or to go to the gym. These are just steps that we are taking to fulfil a more important goal. Our desire might be to improve our chances of living a longer, healthier life, to gain body confidence or to get into shape in order to complete a physical challenge. When we understand the true goal, we can start to see lots of different ways in which we could make positive changes.

We might not find time to get to the gym this week, but we haven’t failed because we squeezed in a fast paced walk in a lunch break or whilst waiting for the children at an evening club. We may have accepted an invite to curry night, but have increased the fruit and vegetables in our diet. We may not have lost any weight on the scales, but a new haircut makes us feel fantastic.

With our true goal in focus, we can also identify other resources and people that could help us on our journey. There are many people who can help you to achieve your goals, from free smoking cessation groups that support you to personal shoppers who can help you find flattering outfits that make you feel great.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has also proved of great value to people who are working towards change. We often struggle to move away from our current position because of learnt behaviours, an adversity to change or a certain vision of ourselves that prevents us from moving into new roles. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps to see things from a fresh perspective. It challenges your preconceptions and helps you to create a new mind-set which sees things in a new light.

If you want to achieve this year’s resolutions, you could benefit from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Amersham based Cognisant PDC could support you in taking steps in the right direction.

Are You Stuck in a Rut?

When we’re young, we tend to have plenty of great plans about the future. We get ideas about the careers we’d like to pursue, the places we’ll visit, where we will live and who with. There can seem no boundaries to what is possible.

As we grown up, we might be fortunate enough to get a good job and start moving up the career ladder. We might find someone who we commit to in a relationship, buy or rent a house, start a family and even head off on an annual holiday. We might be doing exactly what we hoped we would or something completely different, but either way we can appear to have it all.

Some people in this situation will feel happy and content, whilst others will reach a point when they feel stuck in a rut. They might have a career that others dream of, a loving family and seem to have it all, yet feel unfulfilled, lacking enthusiasm and ready for change.

This feeling of being stuck in a rut can affect anyone. There is a sensation that you are simply going through the motions, rather than working towards achieving new and exciting goals. Even things that used to spark passion and excitement fail to hit the spot. Worse of all, it can seem that there is no way out.

Why is it so Hard to Change?

The issue is that when you have job security, family and financial responsibilities, the expectations of others and your own critical voice, taking the steps towards change can seem too great a risk. You can feel that it is easier to stay in a job that no longer challenges you, a negative relationship, a dull routine, because it is too much effort to put an alternative into place.

It is important to realise that when you are feeling stuck in a rut, this is often accompanied by a dip in energy levels and self-confidence, as well as a lack of sleep and general feeling of ill health. So change becomes a giant obstacle to overcome. It can make people feel impulsive and reactive; wanting to jack it all in and head off into the sunset, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

What is surprising to many people in this predicament is that small steps can often lead to a significant transformation. Small steps can help you to move forward and gain greater satisfaction with your life. What you need to do is allow yourself time to focus on your priorities and surround yourself with supportive people who will enable you to take the steps.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Whilst you may have supportive friends and family, it can be difficult to admit that you aren’t satisfied with how things are and be taken seriously. At times, the support of a non-biased professional, with whom you can discuss things in confidence, can be highly valuable. A number of tried and tested techniques including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help you to identify what you want to change and how you might go about making changes in way which suits you.

If you feel that you could be helped out of the rut with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Amersham based Cognisant PDC can be contacted.  Start making the small steps that will lead you to a more fulfilling and rewarding life.

Could you be More Successful?

The media is constantly bombarding us with images of the rich and famous. Glamourous film stars, strong athletes, adored pop idols and rich business owners are presented as images of success. What we don’t often hear is the hard work, commitment and sacrifice that these individuals have given to achieve their success, so many people believe that success is simply down to luck.

Success comes in many forms and it is seldom the result of pot luck. In order to become more successful, it is important to identify what success looks like to you, to create goals that move you towards that end result, to break those goals down into manageable and realistic steps to take action and remove barriers.

What does Success Look Like?

Success takes many forms, so the first step is to identify the personal traits and achievements that you associate with success. Look to the people that you most respect and pinpoint what it is that you admire about them. Consider your own skills and strengths and where they could lead you if you committed to developing them.

Goal Setting

The next step is to set a goal which moves you in the right direction. This goal should relate to something that you believe is important and worth working towards. It is likely to be a challenge to achieve this goal, so you need the motivation to take the necessary steps towards success.

Reaching a goal is easier if it is broken down into smaller steps. Each step requires you to undertake certain actions, which you can gradually build on. Some actions may be achievable in a few hours, others may take a few years, but they all make it possible for you to gain the skills, knowledge, experience and resources to achieve your goal.

Only a small percentage of the population actually set goals and an even smaller percentage follow this up by taking action. Those that have a goal, but don’t work towards it may be hindered by a lack of self-belief or a fear of failure. They may lack the commitment or motivation to focus on what they want to achieve. They may be unwilling to forfeit other aspects of their life or may spend so much time thinking through every possible scenario before giving it a shot.

Barriers to Success

These barriers are what divide those who have realised success and those that haven’t. If you have goals and you are facing barriers, then cognitive behavioural therapy can be beneficial in looking at things from a different perspective, so they can more easily be overcome.

Success isn’t about how others see you; it is about how you see yourself. If you know that you have worked towards a goal and achieved it, you gain self-belief. You can take personal pride in what you are capable of and this can fuel the confidence and commitment to undertake the next challenge. Even when things don’t work out exactly as you expected, in moving towards your goals, you may discover new opportunities that you hadn’t previously contemplated.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

If you are determined to remove the barriers and take positive action towards becoming the person you want to be, or creating the opportunities to do what you want to do, you may want to discover more about cognitive behavioural therapy. Amersham based Cognisant PDC offers CBT to help you on your route to realising your potential and living a successful life.

Overcoming Phobias

According to the National Institute of Mental Health around 10% of the population is affected by a phobia. These people may be able to calmly understand the explanations and reasoning of others when they aren’t exposed to their fear, yet immediately and instinctively respond with a range of symptoms when faced with their phobia.

Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, is one of the most common phobias. A person affected by arachnophobia may be able to fully understand that in Europe these small creatures are harmless, they help to catch flies and other bugs and they build beautifully intricate webs. However, the minute they spot a spider, they might freeze, scream, become breathless and exhibit other signs of fear. This response may also occur even when they see a spider in a book or on the television.

These same symptoms, along with nausea, dizziness and fainting are also seen in people who have one of the other common phobias, which include a fear of heights (acrophobia), injections (trypanophobia) or flying (pteromerhanophobia).

Causes of Phobias

These phobias are typically a response to a traumatic childhood experience or have been learnt, usually by picking up the anxieties of parents. Many sufferers have no memory of what caused their fear. The good news is that almost every phobia can be overcome. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been widely used to alter a person’s response to what they fear, so they can cope when faced with a challenging situation.

Rather than tackle the problem, the majority of phobia suffers will actively do what they can to avoid situations which put them at risk of facing their fear. It is possible to avoid travelling to any country that you can’t reach by car or boat if flying sends you into a panic attack. You can avoid lifts, crowded buildings or other confined spaces if you suffer with Agrophobia and you don’t need to be immunised if you suffer with Trypanophobia.

Whilst it can reduce the risk of an encounter with your fear, this avoidance technique can be highly restrictive. You can be prevented from fulfilling your ambitions or your potential if you put self-preservation above opportunity at every occasion. If you have a fear of germs (mysophobia) or sociophobia, a fear of social situations, you may miss out on important family celebrations, days out with friends and other events that make life fulfilling and rich.

Without taking the steps to overcome your phobia, it is also likely that you will pass your anxieties on to others. This can make cognitive behavioural therapy and other treatments even more important for parents and carers who are often around young children.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

It may surprise you that something that has been affecting your life and holding you back for so long can be treated in just a few sessions with a CBT counsellor. Taking action and seeking support to overcome your phobia could empower you to break down the barriers and fulfil your ambitions. You can be freed from that constant concern about being exposed to what you dread.

If you are ready to fight back and eliminate your fears, it’s time to find a local counsellor that offers Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Amersham based Cognitive PDC has the experience to offer confidential support in tackling what is holding you back. Contact us for more information, or to make an appointment.

Choosing the Right Path

During every day of our lives we are making decisions. Some are so small or automatic that we don’t even notice we are making them, such a deciding to respond to an email or choosing which way to drive home. Others require considerably more thought, such as whether to apply for a promotion or sign divorce papers.

No matter what the decision, our goal is to make the right one. The issue is that there isn’t often a clear cut distinction between right and wrong. Every option will have its advantages and disadvantages and a big part of the decision making process is to weigh up which offers the most potential advantages, rather than simply identifying an outright winner.

We all want to make the right decision, but the right decision for one person isn’t the same as for another. We can ask others for advice and give consideration to their suggestions, but ultimately the decision lies with us. At times we won’t be happy with the choices that we’ve made, but we shouldn’t let that put us off, in fact it should motivate us into taking further action.

Mind Set

One factor that can affect our ability to make the right choices or prevent us from taking action on our decisions is our mind set. When we are feeling overwhelmed, lacking in confidence and confused it is far more difficult to change the situation compared to when we feel positive, energised and supported. The thought of adding anything further to everything we are currently dealing with can simply put us off doing anything. Even if we are terribly unhappy, it can seem easier to just accept things as they are.

At these points, seeking the support of a professional counsellor can be incredibly beneficial. Using proven techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy within a non-judgemental and confidential setting can provide the ideal way to help you see the problems and opportunities in a new light. It can help you to get your thoughts out in the open, challenge unhelpful thinking and gain a more positive mind set.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy involves a two way conversation that aims to help find appropriate resolutions to current problems and change unhelpful thinking or behaviours. There are no magic wands or quick fixes, but it does offer a route that can have long term and profound effects on how future issues are seen and tackled.

As the client, you remain in control of the whole experience; what you share with the counsellor is your decision. Having said this, the more open and honest you can be, the more you are likely to gain from the experience.

Every year tens of thousands of people visit a counsellor in order to help them make sense of their lives and to feel empowered in order to take action to improve it. If you feel stuck in a situation that you are struggling to change, counselling could be the way forward.

If you are looking for a professional counsellor with experience in cognitive behavioural therapy, Amersham based Cognisant Personal Development and Coaching  can assist. With our support you can take charge and find a new direction for your life.


Live Life to the Full

We all have dreams and aspirations. They can be a motivational tool that helps us to deal with less desirable aspects of our lives. We can put up with an existing situation if we feel we have a chance of changing the situation to something that is more fulfilling.

In most cases it is possible for us to take the steps towards achieving these goals. If we dream of a career change, we might undertake a course or sign up for voluntary work in that field. If we aspire to climb a mountain, we could commit time and energy to building our fitness, strength and stamina. In taking action, we feel that we have some control over the situation and even if they don’t result in realising the dream, these steps can lead to new opportunities.

Some goals may seem achievable, but an internal barrier is stopping you from taking the necessary steps forward. You may be perfectly capable of undertaking all of the tasks in a more senior position, but the thought of a presentation in the interview process is preventing you from applying. You may dream of visiting a distant relative, but anxiety about the journey means you have yet to go.

These issues don’t need to hold you back. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a technique used by many people to change their unhelpful thoughts and behaviours and remove these barriers. This form of counselling involves talking with a qualified therapist about your situation and finding ways to break the cycle of negative thinking and behaviour that is holding you back.

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a confidential process; things that are said during the session are not shared with others. Building trust in each other is a fundamental part of the process; it is only when both individuals have trust that they are open to sharing their honest thoughts and feelings.

You will be encouraged to share information, but you remain in control of what you do or don’t say. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy focuses on the here and now; looking for a positive route through current problems, rather than looking back to the past. The counsellor may ask you to explain or clarify things that you have said and may even question or challenge words or phrases that you have used. You are also free to ask questions or clarity on points they raise; it is a two way process.

The aim is to help you to develop new and more positive ways of thinking and behaving which enable you to knock down the walls that are holding you back. It usually takes at least 6 sessions for people to make changes and practice the new things that have been learnt, so they feel confident to use them in everyday life. However, once they become imbedded, the impact can be life changing.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has proven to be effective in empowering people affected by phobias, anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, depression, low self-esteem and eating disorders. It can help you to find a way out of a rut that you currently feel trapped in. If you feel that you can be helped by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Amersham based Cognisant PDC can assist. Ian is an experienced, professional counsellor who can help you to live life to the full.