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Skills training


Skills training

 

 

"Bill's sessions have been great, really helping me to calm down at times when I've had a lot on my plate!"
 

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Skills training


Skills training

 

 

"Bill's sessions have been great, really helping me to calm down at times when I've had a lot on my plate!"
 

 

Skills training

Many of the CBH techniques I use involve building psychological flexibility and long-term resilience skills for good mental health.  They are central to helping resolve specific problems and the skills you practice and develop will enable you to bring about fundamental changes in the way you approach life now and in the future. I integrate these skills into one-to-one therapy sessions and also run group workshops as part of relaxation and resilience training programmes I run at Imperial College London, as well as stand-alone workshops, e.g. on self-hypnosis. These are truly transferable skills - for life. 


Mindfulness

Being in the present moment - the here and now - is something we do all too rarely.  Too often we find ourselves living in the past or the future - worrying about things that have already happened, or things yet to happen, but neither of these are reality.  The only reality is the here and now - the present moment. Mindfulness is about appreciating and living in the here and now and involves an awareness and acceptance of thoughts and feelings for what they are -  thoughts and feelings expressed through words.  By being more mindful we can learn to accept even negative feelings or sensations and broaden out our attention away from dominant negative thoughts.  Mindfulness techniques are especially useful for 'de-hypnotising' or broadening out attention away from focused attention on a negative idea/thought, as happens with worry/rumination or anxiety. I also use mindfulness within the wider context of an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approach, including committed action to personal values.


Relaxation

Relaxation is fundamental to dealing with so many issues - if you can calm the body you can calm the mind.  In fact you cannot worry or be anxious if you are relaxed - it's physiologically impossible.  The relaxation response is a physiological response, but the opposite of the 'fight or flight' response associated with anxiety or stress; being able to bring about the relaxation response quickly is key to many treatments and with practice, as you learn to control relaxation, so you can control other thoughts, feelings and behaviours. 


Self-hypnosis

Mastering self-hypnosis enables you to relax the body and the mind quickly - within minutes - whenever you need to or want to, and rehearse a range of coping strategies and techniques in your imagination, so you can face stressful situations more easily and build greater resilience to whatever life may throw at you. Using audio recordings of hypnosis sessions to start with allows you to practice using your own positive suggestions to move away from negative thinking and towards a much more positive outlook.  It's a technique you can use on trains, the tube, buses, wherever you want to  take 15 minutes out to completely unwind and find wonderful peacefulness.  Self-hypnosis is a powerful technique for changing your underlying attitudes to many issues - from anxiety and stress to low self-esteem, depression, perfectionism and even the management of chronic pain.  Keep an eye out on the blog page for my half-day self-hypnosis workshops - no previous experience required.


Assertiveness

Low self-esteem or self-worth may be linked to a perceived need for approval of others - not liking or trusting yourself or your own judgements. Assertiveness is about recognising your own right to express yourself, just as others have a right to express themselves. Practical social skills training can help you become more assertive, more expressive of your own feelings and wishes and consistent with your own personal values.   


Problem solving

If you struggle with making decisions  - and procrastinate, for example - putting off decisions for another day - or when faced with challenging situations find them difficult to handle, it may be because you are not looking at problems and their solutions in a helpful way.   Problem solving is a skill and one you can acquire. Understanding your current problem solving strengths and weaknesses can help you develop better problem solving skills, reduce your anxiety about making the 'right' decisions, and develop real resilience for the future.  And understanding and accepting your own personal values is an essential precursor to setting goals; setting goals without placing them in the context of your values creates problems rather than solves them.


Habit reversal

Some habits - e.g. nail biting, hair pulling - are sometimes associated with anxiety or worry, although they are also often simply habits acquired over time and in such situations typically can be resolved with a single session. Understanding the relationship between the behaviour (e.g. nail biting) and thoughts and feelings, and recognising and rehearsing the lead-up stages to the habit will allow you to apply simple techniques to stop the habit entirely.  Poor sleep (insomnia) may well be associated with anxiety or worry that will improve once either the cause of the anxiety/worry is addressed, or suitable coping strategies are devised.  But simple techniques can help make sleeping easier, including relaxation and mindfulness techniques.