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"The impact of extreme heat on our mental health"

12th July 2022

So, we are experiencing a bit of a heatwave! Whilst getting out in the sunshine and enjoying the weather can bring many health benefits, extreme heat on the other hand can adversely affect those with medical health issues, the elderly, the young, the vulnerable and those with mental health issues.

Whilst the latest hot weather is not the usual for the UK, it is predicted that with current climate change these periods of extreme weather are likely to become more frequent and temperatures may increase generally over time.

Let’s explore the impact of extreme heat on our mental health, especially behavioural and psychiatric conditions, and consider some positive strategies that can help you cope with the heatwave.


The cost of therapy?

06th April 2022

Most therapists in private practice charge set fees for their therapy services, often depending upon the type of therapy offered, for example counselling, CBT, hypnotherapy etc, and length of the sessions. I am sure many people that access therapy, wonder what their session charge covers and how therapists arrive at their therapy fee.

Below are factors to be considered and costs which, in turn, may form part of the therapy charge:


Dry January - do you have an alcohol dependency?

14th January 2022

For some people stopping consuming alcohol for January is just part of a wellbeing drive at the start of the year. However, alcohol can become a real dependency, a habit and lead to addiction.

It can be hard to accept you may have an alcohol dependency and lots of people remain in denial for a long time.  Acknowledging you may be dependent is the first step and talking with family and friends can be helpful.  Sometimes, however, these relationships can be strained and issues simply beyond family help - this may when professional support is needed.  If you feel alcohol is controlling your life or you’re being affected by someone who is struggling with addiction, here’s a few suggestions to consider for support:


The importance of 'self-care'

08th January 2022

Self-care, something so important, yet how often do we take time for ourselves?

When you think of self-care, what do you think of, how important is it to you?

Often, I talk with clients about the importance of taking time to care for and nurture themselves.  Frequently, people don’t even know where to start, yet self-care is so vital to help us de-stress, relax, sleep well, maintain positive moods and cope with everyday anxieties. 

Here’s a few suggestions to get you thinking what you could do to improve your self-care:


''The Empty Chair''

01st December 2021

During the festive season, the empty chair around the dining table can be a poignant reminder of the loss of a loved one.

The pain of grief presents itself in varying degrees each day, but is most likely to be heightened during festivities such as Christmas with potential ‘triggers’ everywhere, in shops, on the television and on seeing family and friends. The build-up can evoke powerful memories, emotions and feelings and just getting through the festive season can sometimes seem impossible.

Tears, sadness, reminiscing and missing your loved one are normal parts of the grieving process, but if you are amongst those who are anticipating a difficult festive season here’s a few suggestions to support you:


Do you have a fear of flying?

25th September 2021

With the recent easing of pandemic travel restrictions, I have seen an increase in clients seeking support to help address their fear of flying. 

Flying anxiety (aerophobia) is a surprisingly common phobia, is part of the spectrum of anxiety disorders and often is linked to claustrophobia, general anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.  It is mainly associated with fears and worries about what may happen, rather than the fear that may be experienced in a true emergency.

Typical fears associated with aerophobia could be:


Can grounding techniques help relieve anxiety and stress?

14th June 2021

Simple answer - absolutely yes!

Using grounding techniques can be an effective way of helping to manage stress, anxiety, panic attacks, trauma memories and feelings of dissociation.  They provide a useful distraction from over-whelming and repetitive thoughts, helping you to break the cycle, calm the body, gain control and bring you back to the present moment.

There are many techniques out there to try, most of which involve mindfulness practice, meditation, connecting with your inner physical self, awareness of surroundings and focus on your breathing.  It’s useful to practice several techniques and have a few that you can call upon when needed.

Below is one of the grounding techniques I share with clients. Try this simple grounding technique to help alleviate stress and feel more connected and balanced. 


Online therapy or face-to-face sessions?

14th June 2021

The recent pandemic has forced us all to consider different ways of working.  Face-to-face, telephone and online therapy have always been options at Step-By-Step Counselling & Therapies, but during lockdown restrictions the only safe option was remote working.

Following the lifting of restrictions it's apparent that some clients prefer face-to-face therapy sessions but many still wish to continue online support. I’m referring to online therapy where client and therapist can still see and communicate with each other using such platforms as Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp Video Call or Zoom etc and not live-chat/message/email platforms.

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of online therapy compared to face-to-face sessions?


5 ways to relieve anxiety connecting with nature

09th May 2021

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, I would like to share 5 ways to help you relieve anxiety and stress by connecting with nature.

Using nature to help us ground, centre and re-connect with ourselves and the earth can really help improve our overall wellbeing.

Here’s a few suggestions to try:


Post lockdown anxiety - tips for looking after your mental health...

19th March 2021

As the government sets out its roadmap to start easing lockdown restrictions, many of us embrace the thought of seeing friends, family, returning to the workplace and doing activities we used to enjoy.

However, for some the long-awaited changes and return to ‘normality’ can bring very real challenges and anxiety.  Again, it’s more adjustments, more changes to comprehend, the fear of exposure to the virus once more, the return to real life pressures, time pressures, social expectations and ongoing uncertainties. 

For many, this may be a potential trigger for panic attacks, social anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder, phobias, agoraphobia, depression and many mental health conditions.

Each of us have had our own experience of lockdown and we will have our own unique experience of re-integration. We are all experiencing different levels of uncertainty and challenges and have varying levels of resilience and coping mechanisms.  So, I would strongly suggest not judge yourself too harshly or compare yourself to others and just focus on how best you can adjust.

Here are a few things to consider and some tips to help you cope:


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Jen Brown

Dip Couns, Adv Dip Hyp, Dip NLP, GQHP, MBACP Reg, GHSC Reg, GHR Reg, CNHC Reg, UKRF Reg, Bupa (MHW) Reg Therapist

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