Online therapy

Due to the Corona Virus there are large number of counsellor’s and therapist’s moving online and I believe this to be a good thing in order to support their clients through this particularly difficult time. Working online and receiving treatment online requires significant changes on part of the therapist and client. I will highlight some areas which particular attention is needed to prevent problems. There is a tendency to think that because video conferencing is being used to talk to friends and family then it can be used to deliver or receive therapy in the same way, in part that is true. However client confidentiality must be maintained at all times as should data protection. Safty and security of clients needs to be a consideration when choosing to work online, the counsellor or therapists needs to consider the clients surrounding as well as their own. The software chosen needs to be easy to use and secure and this is where it can get confusing. When communicating across the internet it mostly requires a third parties infrastructure, this is often a server somewhere in the world. The server allows the communication between therapist and client, however in doing so it collects and stores information, what information will depend on the software use to communicate with and the terms and condition attached to the softwares use. Depending on the location of the server will effect the way the data can be handled. As a provider of therapy one can be misled in thinking that this has little to no relevance to providing therapy. However not familiar with the terms and conditions could leave both parties information vulnerable to use outside of therapy.
I am unable to advise on any one software to work online, this is due to the constant development and ever changing terms that go with them.

Health body health mind

There are endless things in life that can not be controled and for many these things become an obsession. The obsessions create unhealthy worries, lead to fears, stimulate anxiety and panic when at an extreme. The only thing that changes when trying to control the uncontrollable is our selves and mind this is rarely for the better. Because such use of mental resources causes stress this then starts to generates stress hormones called ‘cortisol’ which in turn has a negative impact on our bodies health and the way that is then able to function, especially if stress is happening on an ongoing basis.

What does cortisol do?
Because most bodily cells have cortisol receptors, it affects many different functions in the body. Cortisol can help control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation, and assist with memory formulation. It has a controlling effect on salt and water balance and helps control blood pressure. In women, cortisol also supports the developing fetus during pregnancy. All of these functions make cortisol a crucial hormone to protect overall health and well-being
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Referance source.

When experiencing stress consciously or unconsciously for many people there is an increase desire to eat due to cortisol’s wide ranging influence on the body. Some would say this is the main reason for emotional eating and in turn weight gain, which may be true in part. However weight gain and eating issues are complex things and multi-factorial, offering simple solutions for such complex problems is not going to be helpful for those who suffer with weight issues or other eating disorders. What can be of help, is in understanding of cortisol and its role that it plays when one stressed. Learn about your stress and its effect on you and your behaviour it causes, and this knowledge when applied can help go a long way to assist you in changing the negative and unhelpful thoughts and behaviours when you experience stress.

Food for thought

It is important to recognise that we are not just physical beings we have an important psychological presence, so much so that 20% of calories consumed are used by our brain. Making it the most calorie hungry organ in the body, and not forgetting that the brain regulates thoughts, feelings and behaviours. In the future you may want to give a little more thought to what you choose to eat and how you want your mind to function.

If you have any questions you can contact me via the contact page

Psychotherapy

The term ‘psychotherapy’ is general a name for a family of therapy’s. These therapy’s have different names. These therapies are used to help explore thoughts feeling and behaviour helping to develop better understanding allowing and creating the chance to change.

There are many different sorts of therapies, some need face-to-face meetings, others are in groups, some practitioners are experienced with working online using video, email, live text, there are therapy’s which use play, art even music to help clients explore the things which may be blocking them.

This makes choosing a practitioner/ therapist a little daunting for some. However if you are considering or looking to have therapy then do make sure that they are properly trained and registered with a professional body like UKCP, BACP and BPS. Also it is good to keep in mind that no two practitioners / therapists will work in exactly the same way even if they are trained in the same style of therapy. It is important that you feel comfortable and at ease with your therapist so you can achieve the best results. It is important to recognise that as well as supporting clients in therapy it is also the roll of a therapist to challenge clients when they notice un helpful processes are at play. This is a significant part of personal growth and development.

If you find that you have any questions about this please do contact me.

‘Zoom’ or not to ‘Zoom’

Due to to the Coronavirus and stay as home policy imposed by the governments there has been an ever increasing interest in in online communication especially Video Conferencing (VC). There are a plethora of platforms free and paid, the difference in privacy that they offer can differ a lot, It is important to spend time to read the terms and conditions (T&C’s) of use, especially if you intend to work with clients. Counsellor’s and therapist are responsible for confidentiality and safety so as a probationer you need to be informed of the potential risks.
A good rule of thumb to remember when dealing with any ‘free’ digital products that there is never free. If you are not paying for it in money then you are most likely paying for it in data. This may be your data or that of the other person whom you are communicating with. Information passing across the internet via the providers network can be owned by the provided and not by either of the senders. If not owned by either party the data could be used for anything the owner likes. Its use will depending on what is defined in the companies T&C’s, so it is always worth spending time to familiarise yourself with the protocols regarding the companies data handling policies.

Recent concerns have been raised about ‘Zoom’ VC which have made a number of organisations review their guidance on the use of Zoom for VC. It is important to recognise that there’s no 100% security when online and that the security landscape is under constant change. If your buisness or profession depends on a high level of privacy it is good to have a policy in place to review the T&C’s of your C provider to avoid any data breaches.

The recent issues regarding Zoom are highlight in protonmail’s blog. If you are using Zoom I suggest you take time to read their blog. The link below will take you to Protonmail’s blog on the subject.

Using Zoom? Here are the privacy issues you need to be aware of

Isolation

The Corona virus has had a huge impact on every ones daily lives, how we interact and what we are doing. In the past isolation meant finding a quiet place off the beaten track and enjoying the solitude. Due to the Corona virus isolation is about avoiding getting ill or making others ill. The whole concept is alien and for most frightening.
What I will say is with all pandemics there comes an end, this one may be a little way a way for now however with knowledge and some amazing minds the Corona Virus will be brought under control. Most importantly is to follow guidance offered by medical professionals. Hand washing, not touching your face, most importantly ‘social distancing’. These are practical and simple practices which apply as a collective will go a big way helping get the virus under control.

Isolation
Wether you have chosen to self isolate or you have been told to due to experiencing some symptoms, or you are in the venerable category, the challenges of isolation are very real and for some incredibly difficult. Here are some suggestions that can help.

Structure your day, have a time table, this is a grate way to keep your mind occupied and targeted on things that are productive.
Read some of those books that you have promised your self you would read. Sew on that button you have been meaning to do for the last year. Tidy the shelves, sort cupboards, all these things can be part of your schedule put into a time table so as to keep your mind stimulated and occupied.
When in isolation and because of the threat of virus, it’s not uncommon to start to become obsessed and focused on cleaning, especially due to the current circumstances, spring cleaning good, obsessing bad even becoming detrimental. If you are isolating with someone els your emotions, feeling can become focused on that other person or persons causing them and you added stress, having a time out area where it is agreed that no one using it will be disturbed can help. Cleaning is not a bad thing and can even be useful if it puts the energy of the stress and anxiety to practical use. Do not worry as these behaviours are often felt under such conditions, but do be mindful not to let such behaviour get out of control though (keep realistic and follow professional guidance).
Having too little to do or occupy your mind can lead your mind to wonder and start to catastrophes about the future. I am sure you do not need me to tell you that this is not good for you or others around you.
One thing that is likely to make you feel worse and cause you to catastrophes is a constant exposure of news, media and information about the Corona Virus. Exposing yourself to such stream of news can cause you to focus on one thing and one thing only, causing an inability to think outside of your worry and anxiety.
In a daily timetable or program it is worth while to book in some meditations, listen to music, listen to an audio book if you are not someone who reads, the radio can be a good tool to distract as it gives a voice around the house, but as I pointed out above, don’t let it cause or exacerbate your stress or anxiety. Do consider if the radio is helpful to you and those around you and be mindful of the usefulness of its content.
Digital entertainment is grate but spending too much time looking at a screen is not only bad for your eyes it’s not good for you body, the lack of movement and eating is not a formula that is healthy. If you are not going out walking, running etc, you can do exercises indoors. I would suggest that you make this a fixed part of your daily routine 10 or 20 min, if you are lucky enough to have the space for gym equipment that that is fantastic, use it. For the rest of us we can use items around the house for exercise, look on YouTube for inspiration, but do be careful not to over do the exercise, just enough to make you feel warm. If you have any medical conditions seek advice, if in doubt just don’t.
It is easy to let things slide when it comes to eating, spend time to prepare the table and sit and eat, take a rest from the computer, TV and all the other stuff. Doing this helps create structure to the day, it reduces the chance of constant eating through boredom, in turn preventing unwanted weigh gain.

I hope the information creates some ideas and help you. If you have any questions you cane contact me here.

Corona Virus & Anxiety

As a therapist I have received an increase of people who are experiencing anxiety over the recent Corona outbreak.

The constant bombardment of news and on going reminders are all there to offer help and guidance. However for some people it can be over whelming and panic inducing. For those people I suggest practicing taking a moment to physically relax take time out to gather your most calm thoughts and focus on what you are in control of, do not give time or energy to thinking about those things that you have no control over. Being stressed and anxious is not helpful to your self or others. I guess that is the origin of the old proper gander posters ‘Keep calm and carry on’. This dose not mean do nothing, what it means is follow the advice of those who have real knowledge such as Public Health England and avoid listening to those who are only self proclaimed experts, as this will only lead to uncertainty, worry and then anxiety.

For those who still feel anxious you may want to contact a counsellor or therapist to talk about your current experiences and feelings, this can often help add some clarity and better understanding to your experience. Some counsellors / therapist work online or via the phone this prevents the face to face contact but still allows for a high quality effective support through tricky these situations.
You may be someone who has contracted the virus or just suspected of having it, this can be difficult and challenging time, bring up thoughts, emotions and feelings which you don’t fully understand. Contacting a counsellor or therapist who works online is a good way to help your self and others through difficult times.
Isolation / self quarantine can be very difficult even for those who are trained to understand it, having some body to talk to helping you understand can be a tremendous support. These things pass but all too often the psychological experience can live on.

General Anxiety Disorder

General Anxiety Disorder referred to as GAD. Those who experience general anxiety disorder have a tendency to worries about what might happen and catastrophes future events. GAD is very common and as with many psychological problems it effects everyone differently, for some there is little to no symptoms and other it can be totally debilitating. Depending on how GAD effects you will dictate your treatment program.
It is important to always remember that at the center of what we do as therapists is your well being. We want the best for you, working with you and along side you to achieve your goals.

Here are some GAD symptoms experienced by clients and by no means is this list comprehensive; excessive ongoing worrying and physical tension; unrealistic view of problems; restlessness feeling of being on edge; irritability; muscle tension; headaches; excessive sweating; difficulty concentrating; nausea/gaging; the need to go to bathroom frequently, fatigue and tiredness; difficulty getting to sleep and or staying asleep; trembling; being easily startled.

Causes of GAD, there are a number of theories one being genetic, there is some suggestion that family history may play a role.
Environment has been shown to trigger and increase symptoms of anxiety. Traumatic events, abuse, bereavement, loss of a loved one, divorce, changing job or school can all be things that bring on anxiety. Exposure and withdrawal of substances, such as alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, MDMA, cannabis marijuana.
Brain chemistry has been associated with GAD, abnormal functioning of nerve cell pathways which connect brain regions involved with thinking and emotion.

If you have any questions please email info@CyberPsyc.co.uk