Author: Dr Emma Gray

kylo ren

Why did Kylo Ren turn to the dark side?

Ben Solo, the only son of Hans Solo and Princess Leia was lured to the Dark Side by Supreme Leader Snoke, but why? Kylo Ren (aka Ben Solo’s Dark Side alter ego) like his grandfather Darth Vader is angry, the forces of the Dark Side are able to take advantage of this and manipulate him into turning away from the

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Prince picture

The psychological reasons for Prince’s exceptional creativity, drug addiction and untimely death

As a spiritual person, Prince would often claim his music was a gift from God. However, an exploration into the key factors influencing Prince’s personality reveals helpful clues to understanding his exceptional creativity, tendency toward addiction and probable cause of death. During the following three brief articles, we will explore the structure of his personality, the experiences that informed his

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The archers

The Archers – The Helen Archer and Rob Titchener Saga

For the uninitiated, Helen Archer, is the daughter of Pat and Tony Archer and the character in the Archers with ‘mental health’ problems. She is currently in police custody after stabbing her boyfriend Rob Titchener. Helen has, in the past, suffered from an eating disorder. More recently the programme has followed the development of her relationship with Rob Titchener. To

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bbc panorama

Scathing Portrait into NHS Mental Health Services

This Monday 11 April 2016, the BBC One Panorama series broadcast a scathing depiction of the conditions in which many of our young people are subject to when their mental health suffers, a widespread issue nowadays which has seen rates of teenage depression double since the 1980s. One of the most worrying aspects of the BBC documentary, which concluded that

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Thoughts making you depressed

Are your own thoughts making you depressed

Are Thinking Errors Making you Depressed Our thoughts are the result of a filtering process whereby the information that we receive from the outside word is ordered and restructured to fit in with our existing beliefs about ourselves, the world and other people. This means that our thoughts are not an objective representation of what we see but literally our

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Are you beach body ready

Protein World

Another week and another unpredictable storm leaps out of social media and into the mainstream. Unfortunately this one again involves mental health issues and the sexist abuse of women. Juliette Burton (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-ouch-32497580), actress, writer, comedian, body image campaigner, self-confessed sufferer of longstanding and serious mental health issues and all round brave person, took exception to the above advert and did

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mindfullness

Mindfulness Meditation Can Worsen Anxiety

Mindfulness Meditation is increasingly being incorporated into therapy programmes, in particular Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to treat a range of mental health problems including Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Eating Disorders and Sleep Problems. The benefits of Mindfulness are well documented, however in some cases, for example in those suffering with anxiety and panic, it can exacerbate

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Excercise

The Dangers of Diets

Our bodies are designed to survive and when we diet it sees this as a threat to this survival and fights back with physiological tactics including increased hunger, preoccupation with food and a decrease in metabolism. This decrease in metabolism means that our body uses the food we give it more efficiently so the weight we lose by dieting will

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Turtle

Don’t Avoid The Problem

We all avoid things from time to time, unfamiliar or anxiety provoking things or just things that we would rather not deal with. Avoidance is an evolutionary response to perceived danger, it is one of the things we are preprogrammed to do if we feel uneasy or anxious; in the face of danger we run to the back of the

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Mr worry

Reduce Stress – Improve Your Time Management

One of the main sources of stress and anxiety is poor time management. Here are 7 basic skills to improve your productivity: 1. Get started Obvious maybe, but a common problem is finding the motivation to get started. Research has shown that one of the main differences between good students and average students is their ability to get down to

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keep calm and be assertive

How to be more Assertive

Assertiveness is the ability to get our needs met without preventing others from doing the same. In order to be assertive you must: 1. Truly believe that your needs are neither less nor more important than those of others 2. Be able to ask for what you want in a clear, straightforward and calm way Being assertive ensures that you

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Stressed parents

How to Keep Your Parenting Cool

Being a calm, laid back parent is something that most parents aspire to. We all realise that we are the architects of our children’s personalities, the single biggest influence on them. And it is not just the things that we plan to teach them that they learn from but from every single thing that we say and do. Children are

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depression in pregnancy

Can therapy improve your chances of getting pregnant?

Studies have shown that infertility patients experience similar levels of depression as cancer patients. This suggests that struggling to get pregnant can be as emotionally demanding as dealing with a life threatening illness. So if you are having problems trying to conceive (TTC) it is important to know that feeling depressed as a result of this is a normal response.

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core beliefs

How do Core Beliefs Cause Mental Health Problem?

Core Beliefs – The Reason for Mental Health Problems What are Core Beliefs? Core beliefs are the cause of the majority of mental health problems. A core belief is a well established belief that we hold about ourselves, other people or the world. Core beliefs develop as a result of our early experiences in childhood and go on to influence

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post natal ocd

What is Post Natal OCD?

Post Natal OCD is similar to ‘regular’ OCD. The only differences are that it occurs following the birth of a baby and that the obsessional or intrusive thoughts centre around responsibility for harm to the baby and the compulsive behaviours centre around trying to prevent that harm. Post natal OCD can be experienced by both mothers and fathers but seems

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false memory syndome

False Memory Syndrome

Repressed Memories To understand what False Memory Syndrome it is important to first understand what a repressed memory is. Repressed memories where first identified by Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis and are believed to be memories that have been blocked out because they are associated with a traumatic event. The theory is a controversial one with some psychologists dismissing the

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low self esteem

How to Stop Binge Eating

Binge eating is a reasonably common problem, at the milder end of the continuum it leads to weight gain, low mood and anxiety, at the more severe end it is a symptom of an eating disorder (e.g. Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder or Anorexia Nervosa binge-purge subtype). If you are binge eating between 2-3 times per month then the strategies

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Depression

Protect Yourself against Depression

In the first part of this blog we look at how our thoughts are key in protecting ourselves against depression and low mood. It is not what happens to us that makes us depressed, situations in and of themselves do not have the power to influence our mood. It is the way that we think about the things that happen

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effective ways to deal with relationship problems

Important Decisions

First we will explore why making important decisions can be difficult and the psychological qualities that are necessary if we are to be decisive when under stress. Making good decisions, especially important ones is often anxiety provoking and paradoxically this anxiety makes a decision harder to come to. Making a decision results in a change of some sort, usually swapping

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Good nights sleep

How to Help your Child Deal with Nightmares

When we sleep our brains process what has happened to us during the day.  New experiences (good and bad) present challenges that require additional processing, so dreams are often more vivid following an eventful day. Children’s lives are full of new experiences which makes them much more prone to vivid dreams and nightmares than adults.  Therefore, the first thing to

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family

Getting Older

In this blog we highlight and explore the psychological characteristics that are necessary to allow us to embrace the ageing process and that protect us from problems such as anxiety, panic and depression later on in life. On a day to day basis we seem to be reasonably skilled at avoiding the reality of our mortality, if we weren’t we

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Childrens anger

How to Help your Child Deal with Anger

In the first part of this blog we look at what not to do when helping your child to deal with anger and how to teach them to reduce their anger to a more tolerable level. 1. What not to do Anger is a strong (often overwhelming) emotion, so however inconvenient, embarrassing or frustrating it is when your child gets

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how to deal with anger

Are You Really Angry?

Anger serves an important function, we know this because we all feel it, suggesting that we have evolved to feel it. Anger alerts us to mistreatment of others but principally ourselves, it signal to us when our needs are not being met, needs that have to be met to ensure our physical and psychological well being. Without anger our species

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depression

Why we Feel what we Feel

We have evolved to feel, therefore our emotions must serve a function, one intended to enhance our chances of survival. If we can understand a little more about why we experience certain emotions it better places us to tolerate and respond to them in ways that improve our lives, rather than feeling overwhelmed by them and responding in ways that

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therapy at CBT

How does Therapy work?

Therapy, and by this we mean ‘talking therapy’ is currently the most effective way of treating a range of psychological, emotional, relationship and mental health problems including anxiety, depression, eating disorders (e.g. anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder), obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, stress, sleep problems, relationship problems, anger problems and more. It’s

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facing your fear mr brave

How to Face the things you Fear

The first part of this blog looks at why we experience fear or anxiety in the face of certain challenges that have the potential to move our lives forward in a positive way. We fear things because we predict that something negative will happen and that we will not then have the resources to cope. This combination of anticipated disaster

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postnatal depression

What Causes Post Natal Depression

Having a baby makes you vulnerable to depression but not for the reasons that you may think. In the first few weeks after having a baby the physical/hormonal adjustments that the body must make will have an impact on your emotions, leading to bouts of sudden and often unexplained tearfulness, this is referred to as ‘’the baby blues”. However, the

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Taking control

How to stop Compulsive Behaviours

Compulsive behaviours are a response to anxiety, they are intended by the sufferer to either directly reduce anxiety or prevent an anxiety provoking event (e.g. harm to one’s self or another). Compulsive behaviours usually take the form or ritualistic counting, washing, touching or speaking (e.g. repetition of particular words or phrases). Compulsive behaviours are a common symptom of Obsessive Compulsive

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relationship problems

How to Deal with Anger

The first step in dealing with Anger is to understand what is causing it. There are three main reasons that we feel anger and each indicates a different course of action. 1. Anger because your needs aren’t being met In its purest form anger is a response to unmet needs; we may feel angry because we are being treated badly

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depression

How to Spot an Eating Disorder in a Friend or Relative

An Eating Disorder (e.g. Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder) is a secretive disorder, for a number of reasons. Firstly because at the root of an eating disorder is the sufferers chronic and enduring sense of inadequacy or low self esteem; they do not feel that they deserve help, support or attention and feel like they are to

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depression

How to Spot Depression in Someone else.

Sometimes when we are struggling with something, we become so consumed by it that we are unaware of the impact it is having on us and the people around us and we need someone else to raise our awareness of this and our need for help. This scenario is a common one for people suffering with depression. Below are a

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perfect life

Does Facebook make you Depressed?

We all have within us a tendency to present the best version of ourselves to the outside world. This tendency is driven by a desire for praise and a fear of criticism and rejection. We also all, at times, are vulnerable to a tendency to compare ourselves unfavourably with others. Both of these tendencies are more pronounced when we are

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thin models

Skinny Models are NOT to Blame for Eating Disorders

It is often suggested that exposure to overly thin models leads to eating disorders in adolescent girls. However, such a belief not only fundamentally misunderstands the nature of an eating disorder but minimises the seriousness of this often life threatening mental health problem. A desire to be thin and the resulting steps that an individual with an eating disorder undertakes

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anxiety

Why Stress is Necessary?

Stress, like all emotions serves an evolutionary function, that is, it is in essence something adaptive, something designed by nature to enhance our life. In the right measure stress is a motivator, it primes us to prepare, stress heightens our senses and awareness to optimise our performance. Without stress we would be consistently under prepared, we could do be able

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Therapy

Things to Consider before taking Anti Depressants

1. The Underlying Theory is flawed. Anti depressants (e.g. Citalopram, Sertraline, Paroxetine, Fluoxetine) assume a physiological basis to depression, which as yet, has not proven. Some studies have found differences between the brains of individual with and without depression but these differences can be just as easily explained as being due to depression as well as being a cause of

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calm person in field

How to Stop a Panic Attack

The first part of this guide to stopping Panic Attacks focuses on reassuring yourself. 1. Reassure Yourself A panic attack is your body’s response to adrenalin that has been released because your mind has detected danger. So identify the danger and reassure yourself that you are safe. Usually the danger that people who have panic attacks detect is a physical

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family

Can You Inherit Depression?

The risk of you suffering from depression does increase if a member of your family also suffers from depression, however, this is not for the reasons that you may think. Depression is not a physiological problem; there is no indisputable evidence to show that depression is caused by a defect of deficit in the organic structure of the brain. Research

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ocd therapy

5 Facts about OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) 1. How Common is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects between 1 and 3 % of children and adults and in 80% of adult cases symptoms develop before the age of 18 years. 2. What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety based disorder.  This means that at the core

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Children

How to Help Your Child Deal with Low Self Esteem and Low Confidence

Low Self Esteem and Confidence underpins the majority of mental health problems including anxiety, depression, eating disorders (inc. anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and many behavioural problems. Couple this with the fact that most mental health problems develop before the age of 18 years and the importance of helping your child to deal

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Child Psychologist

How to Help Your Child Deal with Anxiety

1. Don’t Minimise Their Anxiety Anxiety is an evolutionary response to a perceived threat, therefore if your child is suffering from anxiety it is because they believe that they are at risk from harm, so even if you do not share this perception, you must take theirs seriously. Minimising how they feel, telling them not to ‘be silly’ or trying

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Low self esteem

5 Facts About Low Self Esteem

Schema Focused Therapy 1. Low Self Esteem results from a combination of self critical and depreciating thoughts. These may include negative evaluation of one’s performance in past event, negative comparison to others, and a tendency to underestimate one’s ability to cope with situations. Such thoughts lead to feelings of anxiety and depression which in turn improve an individual’s access to

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counselling for young people

How To Fail – The Most Important Lesson To Teach Our Children

Encouraging competition and achievement is the cornerstone upon which western societies are built and as a result our fear of failure is frequently the biggest obstacle that we face when embarking upon new challenges . However, every psychological study of enhancing success says that if you want to help people gain confidence and succeed you need to focus on their

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Therapy

5 Facts About Therapy

5 Therapy Facts 1. It is estimated that currently there are over 500 different types of therapies for mental health problems. These generally fall under the umbrella of what are referred to as ‘talking therapies’ and include the more well known and proven therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Schema Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and

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depression

Can Trying To Be Happy Make You Miserable?

“There is only one success – to spend your life in your own way” Part of the reason we are so successful as a race is our drive to improve and develop. We are always striving for the next thing, to be more, to be richer, thinner, healthier, younger and happier. These goals create anxiety or pressure which motivates us

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couples counselling

Does Modern Life Make Us Sad?

Modern life in and of itself does not have the power to make us sad. If it did it would have the same effect on everyone. It is how we think about things and the way we respond to them that affects how we feel. Those who have a strong sense of their own worth are able to think about

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PTSD

4 Tips for Dealing with Stress

How to Deal with Stress 1. Identify the Source First look at external factors. Our lives should be filled with a balance of things that we ‘should’ do and things that we ‘want’ to do. When this balance is upset the result is stress, anxiety and often depression. So assess your current commitments and responsibilities and try to ensure that

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depression

4 Facts about Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders 1. Mortality rates Eating Disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and for females between the ages of 15 and 24 years it is associated with a death rate 12 times higher than for all other causes of death. The reason for such a high death rate stems from the fact that an eating disorder

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depression

5 Top Tips for Dealing with Low Self Esteem and Confidence

1. Identify Your Self Critical Voice The source of low self esteem and confidence is a self critical voice that negatively evaluates and compares you unfavourably with others, constantly highlighting your failing and suggesting that you are not good enough. This train of thought leads to feelings of anxiety, depression and self defeating behaviour which further undermines self esteem and

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child psychologist

5 Top Tips for Dealing with Bulimia Nervosa

1. Develop a regular pattern of eating If you are bingeing developing a regular pattern of eating is an essential first step. One of the main triggers for bingeing is hunger or low blood sugar. Regulating your blood sugar and ensuring that you are never too hungry will significantly reduce the likelihood of a binge being triggered. Aim for 3

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child psychologist

Prioritise Mental Health Now!

Prioritise Mental Health Now! The Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies has spoken out about the urgent need to prioritise the treatment of mental health illness in the UK. It is estimated that mental health illnesses like anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and eating disorders not otherwise specified {EDNOS}) are costing the

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