If you have been looking at my Facebook page you will have seen that last week was Mental Health Awareness week. They chose to focus on Stress. So I thought I’d talk about that. For more details they have published a leaflet that you can download for free.

What are the key signs of Stress?

Stress is when we react physically and mentally to excess pressure in our lives – from our families, work, home, health, hobbies, friends, finance etc

We may notice that we are more short tempered; worried, anxious or depressed; overwhelmed by things that we’d usually ignore; unable to relax or concentrate; experiencing mood swings; altered sleep patterns or habits; altered eating; physical changes eg feeling sick, stomach ache, aches and pains, increased minor illness like colds or flu.

These are just a few signs that may indicate stress (but they may indicate other things too). Please do go and get checked out by your GP if you are experiencing any of them.

How could we deal with Stress in our own lives?

The first step and often the hardest is to recognise you are stressed. Sometimes we are central in our lives and can’t see the overall picture, we can get so busy and stressed we can’t recognise that we are.

Once you realised you are stressed the next thing is to see if you know what is causing the extra pressure or stress? Here you may find a really simple solution, but often it isn’t that easy. Can you find a practical solution (no time to food shop – buy online)? Is it just a time scale issue (eg moving house – it will be over by a certain date). Or is the answer outside your control (work, illness, worry about someone else)?

Once you know you are stressed and what is stressing you you may be able to put a practical solution into place. However, sometimes more is needed. Solutions aren’t always simple – stress at work doesn’t mean you can just find a new job, relationship stress often isn’t solved by breaking up, there  often isn’t a simple solution to illness. If you find that the answer requires more help then your GP or a counsellor may be able to offer you support. Maybe find yourself a Mindfulness class.

There are things you can start with on your own while you seek help
-Ensure a balanced and healthy diet and that you eat regularly (if smaller portions) even if you aren’t hungry.
-Try to build some time into each day to relax, even if its just half an hour doing something you like (reading, walking, facial, bath, painting, computer games, sport, friends)
-Get some exercise. Even just 20 to 30 minutes walking, cycling, jogging, swimming, football will start to have a positive impact on you.

Please if you are feeling affected by Stress and you are near Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent or in Staffordshire give me a call and see if I can offer counselling support.


The Journey

I want to centre this weeks post around journeys. I’ve had a few striking conversations recently with friends, clients and colleagues that have made me think about the journey we take in life. We have no idea what we may encounter next, and some encounters leave us fearful of what may be around the bend or over the hill, whereas others leave us racing for the next corner in case the experiences is amazing. Each bend, dip, turn or summit offers us new experiences and choices. Who knows if they are right or wrong, but what we know is while we are alive we get to make the most of those experiences and sometimes even the negative ones can be looked back on and used to a good end. Like it says above don’t loose sight of how far you have already come, those experiences have made you the amazing person you are today. Who knows, the next experience may be the best of your life. Dare to keep journeying.

If you are in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area and want to discuss your journey in counselling please do contact me.

Depression from a fame point of view

I am an unashamed Star Trek fan, in all its forms. I even managed to get Star Trek into my Master thesis so it is not a shock that I am getting it onto my blog page and using it to help others, as I have found it to be very helpful to me.

Have a read of Will’s article and see if it helps you or unlocks any thoughts or feelings. If it does and you are interested in some counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do give me a call (or if you are further afield then maybe webcam counselling or telephone counselling may interest you)

Celebrity Mental Health

I tend to have a lot to say about mental health, but sometimes my voice can only reach so far, it tends to be only people interested in their mental health have sought out my Facebook page or my website. Here I want to share a celebrity talking about mental health. I am so thrilled every time fame is used to promote something often hidden, misunderstood, talked about in secrets and whispers. Stephen Fry is one of my favourite celebrities for standing up and making known to so many people the reality of mental health. He’s proud to say it is OK to not be OK (see my previous blog posts). So thank you to him, thank you to any celebrity using their power for good, and if you find a few minutes to talk about mental health today, thank you to you too, for every clearly spoken word makes it a little less secret and a little more understood.

There are three articles that I wold like you to experience:

I found this one very powerful and from more than one person in the spotlight


Personal Identity

Personal Identity.

What makes you, you?

Who are you?

Why are you who you are?

Which bits of you make you?

These are complex questions, they have been asked, mused about and theorised by a great many philosophers for many centuries, but fundamentally at some point in our lives we’ve all asked that question of ourselves? Who am I? Whether we are looking at ourselves following a relationship breakup, following a review at work or school, because we’ve experienced a life changing event such as an illness or a bereavement or because we noticed we are happy and wondered why.

Now if this is a subject you’d like to explore from a philosophical and academic view I recommend this website as a very interesting place to start thinking about things.

However, there are many who would just like to explore themselves from a personal view rather than a philosophical one, here I may be able to help. Counselling can offer you the chance to explore your thoughts and feelings, think deeply about how or when you first had those thoughts and how you have formed your personality. From childhood to adulthood and onward we are constantly experiencing things that alter us ever so slightly, we are all a bit like ‘Trigger’s broom‘ we are the same as we have always been yet different, we grow and adapt, for better or worse. This means we can have the potential to change if we understand ourselves.

If you wold like to explore your personal identity and you are in the Stoke-on-Trent or Newcastle-under-Lyme area please do contact us and we can arrange an initial appointment to discuss counselling.

Its OK to not be OK

I asked on my Facebook page what people would like me to talk about here on my blog  and that answer struck me as very powerful.

I too have felt not OK. I am not sure there are words to describe what not OK feels like, I could start listing them … sad, tired, confused, unhappy, numb, weird, not right, offish, grumpy, daft, happy when not happy, anxious … but it may turn into an online therapy discussion if I explore them all so I will stop there and hope I’ve made an impact with those few words. Have you felt not OK?

One of the hardest things for me to say, for me to consciously realise was that I was feeling not OK and then to accept that it was OK for me to be not OK. I wasn’t letting anyone down, I wasn’t a failure, I wasn’t broken, I wasn’t going to be laughed at or looked down on or patronised, I wasn’t going to lose friends (and if I did I realised they may not have been real friends). There is nothing wrong with not being OK. I could say I was not OK and that helped me, to start on the road to feeling OK again. It isn’t always  an easy road, its isn’t always short and sometimes it feels like it may never end, but the big step was the step onto the road, the step of saying Its OK to not be OK.

If you have realised its OK to not be OK and would like to explore this in more detail please do contact me and we can arrange an initial appointment to start on your journey together.


You may have heard it said to you hundreds of times ‘we are all unique and have something to give’. How often have you heard these words and dismissed them? What happens if you really hear them? If you really take them on board and believe them? This is the skill. Everyone needs someone to believe in them, someone to tell them how special or unique they are. Sometimes you don’t always hear that person telling you, sometimes the person who has to tell you this, the only one you truly believe, is yourself.

There are many ways to build this self-confidence, you could try the helpful techniques found on various self help websites that are aimed at professionals, or on mental health websites. But you could also try personal therapy or counselling. It can offer that personal connection, that unique collaboration to support you in building that confidence to believe in yourself and find those things that you have that you can be proud of.

If you are in the Stoke-on-Trent or Newcastle-under-Lyme area please do give me a call and we can discuss how counselling could help you with your self confidence.



Mindful Walking


I was away at the weekend with a very good friend. He’s a writer of sorts and I wonder what he’ll make of this blog post. Anyway we were walking though a forest in the early morning Spring sunshine and we were enthusiastically enjoying the moment of feeling the chill air mixed with the warm morning sun, the smell of leaves, mud, moss, pollen, and freshness that only happen on Spring mornings. We were just enjoying the moment, the feel of the floor under our feet, soft, springy, new, comfortable. When we spoke, we must have been having the same thought, Mindful walking. The art of just appreciating what was happening around us, nothing else, just recognising, focusing on, exploring and enjoying the sensations of being in nature. So form my friend and I we would like to say try Mindful walking. See if it can help reduce your stress or anxiety, see if it can help calm your busy mind and put things into perspective, see if it can improve your physical and mental health. Enjoy the Spring mornings that are finally here.



Anxiety can be something we live with every day, it can be invisible to others but overwhelming to ourselves. We don’t always realise how we are feeling until the anxieties have grown so strong we suddenly feel overwhelmed.  Sometimes just talking about anxiety can make us feel calmer. Sometimes more interventions such as CBT or Mindfulness are needed.

Here is a lovely artists illustration of Anxiety to them. I found it very moving and would like to share with you their art, thank you to Introvert Doodles for sharing their experiences



If you would like to talk to a counsellor about Anxiety and you’re in the Stoke-on-Trent or Newcastle-under-Lyme area hopefully Wright Minds can help.

Childhood Trauma

It is often said that childhood should be a wonderful time, but sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way. Children experience can sometimes lead to trauma’s for children’s development. Here is a beautiful video exploring how they can start to be healed.

If you would like any more details on child therapy and you are in the Stoke-on-Trent or Newcastle-under-Lyme area please do contact Wright Minds and we will see if we can help.