What’s coming up?

Nothing Changes, If Nothing Changes:

This programme is suitable for anyone who is ready to make a change and learn new coping strategies for a life worth living. Whether it’s recreational drugs, alcohol, or something else that’s been your ‘go to’ when life feels difficult, now could be a good time to invest in you and the life you really want to live.

This is a 12 week Individual programme exclusively created for you. 100% commitment. required.

This course is discrete, confidential and personalised. It conveniently fits around your work/life commitments, unlike residential programmes.

You’ll set the goal and we’ll focus on the solutions.

You’ll learn new skills that you can use long after the course has ended.

You’ll receive 24-7 dedicated contact with your therapist for the duration of the course.

Talk to me today and start whenever you’re ready: talktodialogues@gmail.com

Therapy Group: Small Group Therapy: 12 week rolling course.

This group meets weekly in Hebden Bridge on a Tuesday afternoon at 1:30pm until 2:30pm.

To express an interest, find out about dates or to sign up please email: talktodialogues@gmail.com.

If you’re in need of some inspiration, give this a watch…

I often invite clients to consider some form of physical activity to compliment the work they’re doing to boost their mental health. It’s often hard to find the time to prioritise our own needs over those of others so if you’re looking for a little inspiration, give this ad a watch X

Tips to help you through Co Parenting with an ex over the festive period

This time of year can be especially challenging for ex couples who are embarking on co-parenting as a result of a relationship breakdown. The following tips can help parents navigate their way through a potentially challenging time of the year so that everyone- especially the children can have a stress free festive season where they get to spend quality time with their parents.

  1. Put your differences aside– Rise above! Despite your personal feelings and all the water under the bridge, put your feelings aside and try to ensure that your children do not feel the stress of your relationship breakdown.
  • Plan ahead– think about your plan and make arrangements in advance, checking in with the other parent. Do not ask your children to choose. Decide what’s fair for you both.
  • Communicate– either via phone or face to face and follow it up with an email. That way you have something in writing for you both to refer to. No miscommunications and your children don’t have to relay plans to the other parent.
  • Be respectful to the other parent- don’t talk about the other parent’s shortcomings in front of the children. We all have them and there’s a reason (or reasons) why you two aren’t together anymore, your child doesn’t need to have to deal with listening to that. Say what you want to anyone who will listen, but don’t involve your kids.
  • Be equal parents– kids need boundaries to feel secure and it’s not fair f one parent opts to play the fun one all the time. This can result in the other parent feeling as though they have to hold firmer boundaries and play the tough parent. Not good for anyone as it can lead to an imbalance in the relationship for your child and resentment on the part of the parent.
  • Try mediation- it can help you draw up a workable plan for you both to refer to. You could talk together about consistency of parenting, boundary holding, consequences, household chores, contact with the other parent. And so much more.
  • Counselling– if you’re finding that you’re becoming over whelmed by strong negative feelings that are getting in the way of you parenting your child (ren) equally, counselling can help you.

Remember: What’s important here is that your children feel happy, secure and loved by you both.

If you would like to speak to me please email: talktodialogues@gmail.com

“Orange the World- End Violence Against Women Now!”- UNiTE campaign.

This month, on 25th November, The UN’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender based Violence begins because nearly 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime and in times of crisis this increases.

Abuse is any act, incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour. Whether physical, emotional, financial or sexual. Regardless of who is committing it. Men use violence far more than women to fulfil a need for power and control.

“When men stop using power and control over women and girls, women and girls will live without fear of violence and abuse”

Violence against women and girls needs to be prevented. It can be prevented by rejecting social norms and creating a more equal society:

  1. Education and awareness raising around stereotypical ideas and behaviours
  2. Demand an equal sharing of household tasks
  3. Respect everyone equally
  4. Question and draw attention to incidences of Cat Calling and street harassment
  5. Demand perpetrators be held accountable for their harmful behaviour
  6. Demand psychotherapy, rehabilitation and education for offenders of violence and abuse  
  7. Champion a supportive and caring attitude
  8. Listen to the experiences of women and girls
  9. Seek counselling and Psychotherapy services for issues of power and control
  10. Demand that political leaders and parties support equality
  11. Recognise and support anyone in a parenting role

In addition women can empower themselves to recognise when they or someone they know are being abused.

Women support Women

Unchallenged patriarchal societies perpetuate the kinds of attitudes that lead to male violence against women because they thrive on a need for power and control. Currently there is very little funding for the prevention of VAW. Interventions designed to challenge negative role modelling would give children the best outcomes for a secure and content adulthood where they are able to contribute to society in meaningful ways.

Karen Ingala Smith has the numbers on how many women have been murdered by men to date.  Counting Dead Women | Karen Ingala Smith.

Emotional Freedom Technique

EFT is a Mind/ Body tool, its’ centuries old and it works by clearing physical and emotional blockages from the energy system.

EFT is gentle, non- invasive and has no side effects.

If that sounds a bit too ‘WOO’ for you, I completely understand but energy medicine has been around for Eons, long before Westerners were treating illnesses with a ‘one size fits all’ approach of pharmaceutical drugs*. Energy medicine was brought to the West in the 1990’s by Roger Callahan who developed a system called Thought Field Therapy® which Gary Craig later developed into EFT.

I was first introduced to EFT by a therapist of mine a number of years back and what I really like about it is that it is really effective when used to heal the effects of trauma. As a therapist who works with people who have had traumatic experiences, what’s even better is that clients don’t need to recall the trauma (which can be re traumatizing) in order to use EFT to heal from it.

This is also especially helpful if a client is unable to recount the memory of their trauma.

A traumatic event is defined as any psychological or emotional response to an event(s) or experience(s) that is (are) deeply disturbing or distressing. We typically think of rape, a serious accident or natural disaster when we are talking about trauma.

Bessel Van Der Kolk states that “Trauma is specifically an event that overwhelms the central nervous system, altering the way we process and recall memories. Trauma is the current imprint of that pain, horror, and fear living inside”.

It could be one incident or many over a prolonged period of time. It could have happened recently or a long time ago.

Many people are unaware that they have experienced trauma but are living with stress responses and bodily reactions in day to day life nevertheless. You might feel ‘out of control’, unsure of what’s happening to you or why, and you may be locked into a vicious cycle of self-medication with food, sex, shopping, gambling, alcohol, drugs or anything that brings temporary relief.

If you have been unable to form close satisfying relationships, you’re having terrifying memories, nightmares, flashbacks, avoiding situations that cause you dis- ease, emotional numbness, a feeling of disconnect from yourself and others, or you’re self-medicating with drugs, alcohol, other risky behaviours, or you have no memory at all of pockets of time or parts of your life, it may be linked to trauma.

The effects of having experienced trauma can be far reaching and long lasting without help to overcome it. It can really negatively impact on relationships with partners and children. You might feel depressed, you might feel irritable, angry and struggle to know what to do with those feelings, finding that you ‘snap’ at the people you most care about with little or no warning. You might withdraw yourself from others, feel debilitating shame, or fear certain situations, you’re not sure why and you feel uneasy. You feel as though the pieces of the puzzle just don’t fit together properly.

Trauma really impacts on confidence and resilience and it holds people back in life. It’s impossible to explain to others what’s happening if you don’t understand it yourself. Anyone close to you may want to help and support you but your behaviour may push them away. It can feel very difficult to admit that you’re struggling.

It is possible to heal from the effects of trauma.

EFT can be used to relieve the effects of trauma and PTSD. It is also helpful with a multitude of other issues like pain, anxiety, stress and phobias. It is simple, effective and quick and it works by calming the Amygdala, which is the part of the brain that is fired up when the body experiences trauma.

EFT interrupts the neural pathways in the brain, it decreases blood flow to the Amygdala and increases Endorphins. Encouraging coherent thought and balanced brain activity and therefore restores a sense of calm.

I have found EFT to be a very helpful tool when used with Psychotherapy and Counselling and if you would like to know more about EFT please email me: talktodialogues@gmail.com and we can arrange a chat.

Violence Against women and Girls

Personally, I am so tired of hearing and reading about the murders of more women and children in this country (and anywhere actually), at the hands of men who could have received help before things ‘got out of hand’.

As Vera Baird states in Alexandra Topping’s article in the Guardian this morning, “‘low level’ offending against women and girls can mark out a predatory attitude… which can speedily escalate if not tackled”.

Misogyny or the hatred of women, idealised power and control and toxic attitudes towards women are undeniably at the root cause of this unprecedented pandemic of violence against women that we are all witnessing.

When will it end?

It will only end when society wakes up and realises that male violence will end when men stop using violence to satisfy themselves. The murder of Sarah Everard taught us women what we already know. If someone is intent on murdering us, they will find a way to do so. Depressing as it is, and some have been lucky, but even if we tell friends where we are going and when we will be back, this will not stop men from being violent.

We need to listen to women. We need support for parents raising children, pro-active interventions for boys that challenge toxic masculinity, we need to champion all positive role models in sports, education, business, ecology, science, spirituality, we need in depth long term treatment plans for perpetrators of violence, we need prison rehabilitation programmes for men who have used violence- with proven outcomes. We need to look at how women are ‘used’ and portrayed in society and adjust the sway, we need to educate girls to notice negative influences, behaviours that can be subtle and attitudes towards them and empower girls to believe in and support each other.

It is only when our governments, (who are still, largely men), recognise what’s happening, acknowledge what the root causes of violence are and begin to value women and our experiences by listening to us and learning from us, that lessons will be learnt and changes will be made that will benefit men and women.

Positive change will happen when Governments invest fully in Psychological therapies, mandatory programmes that teach men about how to manage their behaviour and alternatives from using violence that boys and men will be more content in their lives, society will feel more equal, and women will eventually begin to feel safer.

Pledging funding to organisations supporting victim/survivors is great and much needed but if we really want to end this pandemic, we need to prevent boys from growing into violent men in the first place.

If you have been affected by any of the issues I have raised here, please feel welcome to get in touch by email: talktodialogues@gmail.com

I work with victim/survivors of male violence and I also work with men who are violent.

P.S- I know not all men use violence, I know women can use violence too and I know that not all boys will grow into violent men. I am talking about the ones that will.

Creating positive change

As Summer changes to Autumn here in the beautiful South Pennines my mind wanders and contemplates a return to well-trod routines… I love routines because feeling a sense of achievement and ‘getting stuff done’ is both essential and important to me. However, when routines become more about ‘doing more’ and ‘being less’ I begin to feel out of kilter.

Being out of kilter can be a feeling of being off balance, strung out or stressed. That energy has to go somewhere and it could come out side-ways at the people that least deserve it if it isn’t caught in time.

For me the permission I give myself during summer to have a really good break helps me to re set and keeps me on track. During Summer I naturally spend some time reflecting on how I am using my minutes, hours, days and months and I choose to change things if I’m feeling stuck or if the things I am doing are no longer of benefit.

If you have school age children you might be contemplating a return to the rush of that routine and wondering how you are going to fit everything in again. I know what that’s like. Maybe you’re looking forward to them going back so you have more time. I also know what that’s like. Or maybe you’ll feel directionless and lost when they aren’t around during the day. I also know what that’s like!

Please know that you can change anything you want to, whether it’s a physical action, a behaviour, a way of life, a thought- anything.

When I feel like I need a change… I find a way to make it happen.

Because doing what you’ve always done won’t make change happen and neither will hoping someone else will do it for you. And BTW doing nothing is still making a decision.

There’s nothing wrong with doing nothing as long as you’re happy.

So this is about the desire to make change happen even if your mind is telling you can’t for some reason.

Whilst you may genuinely not have time in your current routine, it is possible to change your routine to create more time. It’s a question of digging deeper.

For me digging deeper means assessing my priorities and sometimes- getting up earlier in the morning or asking for help. I realise I may not be popular right now! But seriously, no one is going to do it for you and it’s so empowering to be in the driving seat of your life.

So I ask you, is there an aspect of your life that you’d like to tweak or change and can you dig deeper in order to make it happen?

Email me for information on my new 6 week daily practice to create positive change in your life.


A holiday this summer seemed the kind of luxury that was out of reach for many but to be able to take a break from the normal routine and mix things up a bit can be hugely beneficial.

If life is feeling mundane, any perceived loss of freedom can add extra pressure to relationships and people may look to distractions in the form of excessive alcohol use, gambling, porn addiction and over eating which are all common coping mechanisms for feelings of unhappiness.

Achieving ‘down time’ at home is not always easy and if there is seemingly nothing to look forward to feelings of boredom, loss of excitement, loss of motivation and zest for life can dominate.

There is no doubt that the Covid 19 pandemic has created a move towards life online but a less ‘connected’ life. Others lives can appear easier, more interesting and more exciting when processed through a filter. This is of no help at all if we are feeling unsatisfied with our own life.

So it can be of no surprise that there has been a rise in relationship breakdown. Unfortunately our throwaway society feeds us messages that tell us we ‘should’ be happy, we deserve to have what other people have and that happiness can be achieved externally. Often the grass appears greener and it’s easier to point the finger of blame at the people in our lives. It takes self-awareness to look inside at our own negative feelings, take responsibility for them and explore ways to change them.

To truly connect with others takes an investment of energy, time and patience. We need to be present. Relationships require us to commit to considering the needs of others, not to the detriment of our own needs, but as a priority. Giving your time to listen and understand someone’s perspective is a valuable thing and this is the kind of work that is rewarding, feels positive and fosters a feeling of connectedness and strength within a relationship. Disagreements and constructive arguments can all be beneficial if greater understanding is gleaned afterwards.

It’s always good to talk things through. Even when it’s tempting to clam up, sulk or brush things under the carpet. Couples counselling can help provide the safe environment to work through difficult to talk about issues.

A relationship requires maintenance much like a car needs servicing and counselling provides couples with the space to air any unspoken feelings. It keeps the relationship on track and ensures both partners needs are openly communicated, considered and empathised with. Giving adequate time to the functionality of a relationship and nurturing love is critical if a relationship is to survive long term. It’s also a very proactive step in committing to the happy continuation of a couple’s lives together.

Ask me about my Eco Walk and Talk sessions…

Are you considering counselling but feel that sitting in a counselling room doesn’t do it for you? For some people the thought of counselling face to face or online 121 is intimidating, too intense or anxiety inducing.

I wanted to take a moment or two to talk about the Eco Walk and Talk sessions that I’ve been doing, they’ve become quite popular (and not just because the weather has suddenly improved!).

I decided to offer these kinds of sessions to some clients for whom face to face therapy was challenging and off putting. I believe that everyone who wants counselling should be able to access it and it seemed to me that for anyone for whom the counselling room feels intimidating might benefit from being in the therapeutic environment that is nature.

Walk and Talk sessions aren’t for everyone and often there is value in whatever feelings are brought into the counselling room. They can be talked through together and worked through but for people who would not otherwise seek counselling because the room is a barrier, I feel this type of session is a beneficial alternative.

Come rain or shine being amongst nature offers the most incredible healing environment. I challenge anyone not to feel better after a stroll through long grass, under the bows of aging trees or through trickling streams.