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Clear Haven Therapy Resources & Blog

The Importance of Therapy for Men: Exploring its Impact

Regardless of gender, anyone can be affected by mental health issues.

Regardless of gender, anyone can be affected by mental health issues. However, fewer men are still seeking therapy; let’s examine why this is the case.

It is a fact that men experience the same challenges as women, including anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and trauma. However, these issues can present differently for men. For example, depression may show as anger due to men tending to suppress emotions. Suppressed emotions contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress.

Physical issues, such as headaches, digestive problems, and muscle tension, can also result from suppressed emotions.  A 2019 study concludes that concealing one’s emotions can hinder mental health, physical health and general well-being.

Case Study

I recently worked with a client who contacted me due to struggling with social anxiety and low self-esteem. We worked together for six weeks, and at the end of this time, the client left therapy knowing their worth which changed everything for them.

The client opted for an RTT hypnotherapy session; during regression, they returned to an incident that occurred at school when they were aged 8. They spoke about a time they could not answer a question in front of the class; they felt shamed and humiliated before their teacher and peers. The incident left the client feeling profoundly embarrassed and feeling like a failure. After the session, the client spoke about vaguely remembering the incident and feeling embarrassed whenever they thought about it. However, they did not recognise that what they experienced then deeply continued to influence how they felt about themselves today, which was that they were not good enough.

Working through the emotions associated with this experience and reframing outdated beliefs was life-transforming for this client.

Therapy for Men – The Statistics

It is not unusual for men to mask the symptoms of depression as they will take an “I just need to get on with it” approach. However, this can encourage unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drinking alcohol, substance misuse, pornography addiction, or gambling.

When these unhelpful coping strategies become “the problem”, men will recognise they need help, and at this point, their mental health may have declined significantly.

Statistics demonstrate that men’s mental health is something that requires more attention.

  •  The Office of National Statistics (ONS) 2021 states that 74% of death by suicide cases are men.
  •  In England and Wales, suicide is the most significant cause of death for men under 50.
  •  The Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) 2020,  men of all ages are likelier to become alcohol dependent than women.
  •  Men are more likely to be experiencing homelessness and be rough sleepers, and at the end of 2022, 96.2% of all prisoners were men.
  • NHS England’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) states that in 2019/20 it recorded 65% of women,   compared to 35% of men, were referred to psychological services.

These statistics highlight the need to change society’s perception of men seeking therapy.

Why Some Men Struggle to Seek Help: Understanding the Barriers of Therapy for Men

Let’s consider WHY some men find it difficult to seek therapy.

Societal Gender Norms
Society has thoughts about how men should be – “strong, self-reliant, assertive, powerful”. These expectations can make it more challenging for men to reach out for support and instead mask or suppress any symptoms that suggest they are not coping.

Shame
If a man has adopted unhealthy coping strategies, there may be guilt, shame, or self-disgust, making sharing this with another person even more difficult. However, reaching out for help is a sign of strength and courage, and in therapy, you can learn how to work through any shame attached to what is going on for you.

Stigma
One significant roadblock that prevents men from seeking therapy is the stigma around mental health issues. As a society, we have the power to change this. It takes courage, but only when men talk about their mental health and talk about reaching out for therapy or other support will it become normalised. After all, you go to the gym to work on your physical health; working on your mental health is the same!

Fear of Vulnerability
What would it look like to reveal a side of yourself that isn’t always confident, courageous, and strong? Vulnerability is sharing your thoughts, emotions, feelings, and experiences with another person. It is like removing your armour and allowing another person to see your authentic self, your softer side. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable with those closest to you can deepen and strengthen relationships.

Finding a Therapist
The gender of a therapist is not important; you must find a therapist you feel safe and comfortable with. I work with many men in my therapy practice, and I recommend that you check if a therapist is comfortable working with male-related issues.

Let’s Now Discuss the Advantages of Therapy for Men

Therapy offers men a safe space to openly discuss their concerns and express themselves freely without fear of rejection.

In therapy, men can learn how to practice healthy coping strategies such as emotional regulation, meditation, grounding exercises, journalling, assertive communication, and implementing boundaries.

A therapist allows men the space to manage past issues that may impact their lives today.

Alternatively, some men prefer to focus on what is happening for them in the here and now rather than revisit past experiences. What you would like to gain from therapy is something you can talk through during a discovery call as you want to ensure that a therapist works in a way that you will find most helpful.

  • Being a Good Example

By going to therapy, you convey to others, including your friends and family, that taking care of your mental health is FINE.

Being open and honest about seeking help could inspire others to adopt your outlook and encourage the growth of a society where discussing emotions can be done more freely.

  • Strengthening Relationships

Effectively managing emotions can help build healthy and fulfilling relationships.

People tend to have closer relationships with their loved ones, members of their families, and close friends when they are aware of their own emotions and can empathise with others.

  • Improves Job Performance

The workplace is known to be a place that can be challenging when one is already struggling with their mental health. Therapy can help reduce work-related stress and anxiety, improve job performance, and it can help with enhancing communication and teamwork skills.

When To Seek Therapy

If you have any of the following symptoms, it may be a good idea to consider therapy:

  • Been more easily irritated than usual.
  • Experienced bursts of anger or aggression.
  • Felt sad or down.
  • Felt overwhelmed or under much pressure.
  • Unexpectedly gained or lost weight.
  • Started drinking or using drugs more frequently than before.
  • Been relying on alcohol or drugs to cope with a challenging situation.
  • Lost interest in activities you used to enjoy.
  • Struggled to concentrate at work, school, or home.
  • Had more headaches or days of feeling generally unwell.
  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Felt tired even after a whole night’s sleep.

There’s no reason to feel ashamed of your symptoms; you’re never alone. Many men believe discussing their difficulties won’t help, but this is untrue. Book a free discovery call today.

Hypnotherapy for a Virtual Gastric Band

Have you been struggling to maintain a healthy weight for some time?

Have you been struggling to maintain a healthy weight for some time? Are you constantly on a diet but craving the foods you love? If this sounds like you, you may want to learn more about hypnotherapy for a virtual gastric band. A virtual gastric band is a non-evasive alternative to dieting; research has proven it a successful form of weight management.

If you close your eyes, can you visualise a slimmer and healthier version of yourself? If the answer is YES, virtual gastric band therapy may be for you.

Do you feel that you are on a loop of yo-yo dieting?

Have you tried many diets and exercise regimes to achieve weight loss goals? There are so many other diets out there, and you will probably lose weight with most diets if you restrict your food intake.

However, maintaining your ideal weight can be difficult if you deprive yourself of the foods you enjoy. Understandably, this can result in you being unable to stick to the diet long-term.

Depriving yourself of the foods you love can contribute to you getting caught up in a loop of yo-yo dieting. Another big problem with yo-yo dieting is that you frequently lower your metabolic rate and then bring it back to normal, which can impact your metabolism by reducing it permanently.

Weight Management Goals

RTT Virtual Gastric Band Hypnotherapy is a hybrid therapy. Your RTT therapist will use the specialist techniques of Hypnosis, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) to make your weight management goals much easier to achieve than relying on willpower alone.

Hypnotherapy for a Virtual Gastric Band – why is it different to dieting?

When looking for healthy permanent change, it is helpful to look beyond what you eat and focus on ‘why’ you tend to overeat. Discovering why you fill will provide you with the ‘magic key’, opening the door to permanent change.

You are most probably not consciously aware of why you overeat. The beliefs around your weight were likely formed in childhood. However, in hypnosis, you will communicate with the subconscious mind and locate outdated ideas. These obsolete beliefs will be removed during RTT hypnotherapy, and new healthy beliefs will be installed.

Virtual Gastric Band hypnotherapy serves as an alternate to achieve easy weight loss, it will enable you to leave yo-yo dieting behind, and you will learn to eat intuitively. You were born able to know when and how much to eat; let’s reactivate that. It is time to focus inwardly and listen to YOUR body. Distinguish between mind hunger and body hunger.

To achieve permanent change, you need to desire to take charge of your life and health and be prepared to engage in the process thoroughly. RTT can help you get the authority and control over your negative habits and the self-discipline you need

Hypnotherapy for a Virtual Gastric Band – what does it involve?

The science that supports hypnotherapy for a virtual gastric band

Using your mind’s creative potential to tell ‘yourself’ how you wish to be is the essence of hypnosis. Virtual gastric band hypnotherapy takes effort on your part too. You must show a commitment level and listen to a hypnosis recording for 21 days following the session.

Research demonstrates Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) coupled with hypnosis is a highly successful weight loss technique.

Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) is a hybrid therapy that draws on CBT’s most powerful elements, Hypnosis and NLP. You can shed weight quickly and permanently by utilising the specialist tools of RTT hypnotherapy.

A meta-analysis of 18 studies demonstrated that when hypnosis was used in conjunction with CBT, participants showed a 70% improvement over using CBT alone to shed weight. Notably, after long-term follow-up, the participants who used hypnosis with CBT continued to sustain or lose weight. Read More.

Gastric band hypnosis is an effective non-surgical, and much cheaper alternative to weight loss surgery. During hypnosis, you will persuade your subconscious mind that you have a gastric band wrapped around your stomach. Virtual gastric band therapy is a non-invasive technique that provides the advantages of gastric band surgery without the risk of adverse consequences.

Through regression hypnosis, you will review food or weight-related incidents that may impact you here and now. Additionally, your therapist can aid in identifying patterns, responses, or behaviours you may not be consciously aware of.

The science is that your body will react to positive suggestions by instructing you to feel less hungry as it would if you had undergone surgery. The concept behind a virtual gastric band is to assist you in making long-term lifestyle changes instead of dieting and relying on willpower alone.

How does this differ from a Medical Gastric Band?

A medical gastric band is an adjustable silicone band used in weight loss surgery which can be carried out privately or on occasion by the NHS. As with any medical procedure, it comes with risks and is costly; prices in the UK start at around 5k. During surgery, the surgeon will make a little pouch above the device. The band is wrapped over the top portion of your stomach, making consuming vast amounts of food uncomfortable because your stomach can only hold so much. Learn more about surgical versus virtual gastric band.

Virtual Gastric Band Therapy – the process

You will be put into hypnosis using relaxing techniques; you will be in complete control throughout and will never do or say anything you don’t want to. The RTT therapist will then direct your subconscious mind to work in alignment with your conscious mind around your dietary habits by sending signals from one part of the brain to the other. This idea is that you’ve had a band physically fitted when using gastric band hypnosis.

Your behaviour will alter if your subconscious acknowledges these recommendations since the mind is powerful. Behaviour tips are frequently given simultaneously with the “fitting” of the virtual gastric band to assist you in committing to this lifestyle change.

To help you continue working on your goals after the session, your RTT therapist will provide you with a bespoke MP3 audio recording for 21 days to strengthen these new neural pathways created during the RTT process.

If you would like to arrange a free discovery call to discuss virtual gastric band hypnotherapy, Clear Haven Therapy are happy to help you reach your weight loss goals!

Top 10 Benefits of Daily Journalling

How Journalling Can Be The Ultimate Source of Self Care

When you were a teenager, chances are you had a diary. Kept hidden under your pillow, your diary was your catch-all for fears, worries, changes, and plans.

As we grow older, many of us stop journalling. One day we set our pen down for the last time, only to spend our adult lives stuffing our thoughts deep within us. Research has proven that journalling has enormous benefits for mental health.

There is no “right way” to journal. Journalling as an adult means releasing your thoughts and emotions onto paper. That’s it! You can let your pen flow while you write down whatever comes into your mind, draw pictures to express yourself, write down positive affirmations or list three things you have been grateful for on that particular day. Whatever works for you!

So, how can writing your ideas and feelings onto paper help you? We’ve created a list of the top 10 benefits journalling can have for your mental health and well-being.

1. Detoxes Your Mind

Many of us roll out of bed in the morning and immediately are bombarded with emails to check, kids to get to school, breakfast to make, and schedules to remember. With all this chaos, our emotions often get pushed to the wayside.

Journalling can help you detox your mind to think clearer and release any pent-up frustrations, stressors, confusion, or anxiety.

Journalling has been called a “mental windshield wiper”. It allows you to get out of your head and never think about those thoughts again.

2. Helps You Achieve Goals

When you journal about future goals, you’re creating an intentional mindset shift. Writing out and organising what you want in life can make it much easier to create a plan. Goal journalling can help you recognise the daily actions hindering you from making your dream life.

By laying out a roadmap for your goals through journalling, you’re less likely to give in to immediate satisfaction, knowing the delayed gratification is coming. In addition, journalling can keep you on track and focused, allowing you to crush your goals faster and without distraction.

3. Spot Negative Thoughts

Through journalling, we can go back and read through past entries to spot any recurring negative thoughts. By identifying our negative thinking patterns, we can consciously change them.

Our negative thinking patterns can run a constant loop in the background of our brains, so addressing them can be a crucial step in becoming more positive and hopeful for the future.

4. Can Help Identify Triggers

Journalling is a powerful tool when it comes to self-realisation. If you constantly find yourself in emotional turmoil, you may need to help understand precisely where it comes from. When you journal, you can identify any triggers in your daily life that negatively impact your mental health and then create a plan to change them.

For example, through writing, you may realise your mornings consistently end in stress and chaos. While you may have chalked this up to you “not being a morning person”, through journalling, you can spot ways to simplify your morning routine and create a happier start to your day.

5. Helps With Anxiety

For those struggling with anxiety, their brain is a never-ending worry machine. It’s widespread for someone with an anxiety disorder to dwell on anxious thoughts (‘ruminate’). It can be incredibly emotionally draining. When we journal, we rest our brains and allow the paper to soak up our worries, fears, and concerns.

Once our worries are out, we can look for alternatives to the problem. Often, when we get our anxious thoughts out, we realise how minimal they are.

Researchers have found that creative writing helps many psychological and physical symptoms.

6. Helps With Depression

When it comes to depression, journalling can look a bit different. Research has shown that someone with depression may benefit more from deeper-level journalling than recording daily life. An easy way to incorporate this is through gratitude journals.

By writing down a few things you’re thankful for daily, you can rewire your brain’s neural pathways and re-train your negative thoughts into more positive ones. In addition, journalling for depression is an effective way to spot triggers that may make your depression worse.

7. Increases Self Awareness

Whenever you do anything without being fully or wholly present, you’re operating through your subconscious. Think of your subconscious as your autopilot. You may see this on your drive to work. You’re breaking at stop signs and using your blinkers to make a turn. However, your mind may be on your fight with your partner the night before. Once you become more aware, you’ll realise how often you’re in this state.

Journalling allows us to be fully present with ourselves and our thoughts. This time spent with your thoughts may be the only time you let your conscience take over all day. This time spent in the present is a powerful state to be in for emotional healing.

8. Helps You Make Better Decisions

By increasing our self-awareness through journalling, we empower ourselves to make better decisions. Every time we journal, we remind ourselves that our choices today affect our future tomorrow. We can see this clearly as we go back and read through our past entries. You’re much more likely to make healthier decisions when conscious of your choices.

9. Allows Us To Reflect

While there is still some debate about this statement, some mental health professionals have argued that reading past writings is more beneficial than writing. We glimpse back in time when we read through our old entries. Quite literally isn’t possible any other way.

Journalling gives us a unique view of our old selves and allows us to see how we’ve grown, changed and healed over time. In addition, past journal entries can serve as a potent reminder not to return to old situations or relationships.

10. Gives Us Clarity

When our thoughts and emotions are constantly swirling around, we can unlikely think 100%. When we journal, we are writing down what matters to us the most. We prioritise our main worries, fears, goals, or emotions when we take the time to journal about them. This time helps give clarity on which issues at hand are most pressing to resolve or overcome. When we write our problems out onto paper, we may find we have had the answer to our questions within us all along.

All In All…

Journalling is a free, influential tool to empower growth and enable you to become more in tune with yourself and your feelings. As our world operates at a fast pace day in and day out, give yourself the gift of peace through journalling. It may be the only time you can sit with your thoughts all day and cultivate a life you’re excited to wake up to.

While journalling should be a daily practice, in time, you will find that it becomes easier and easier to prioritise as the benefits become crystal clear.

Self-help techniques such as journalling can significantly help your mental health. However, if you feel you would like more support, you can reach out for professional help by contacting Clear Haven Therapy for a free discovery call.

Top 5 Tips for Setting Goals and Achieving Them

How to Set Goals and Achieve Them!

No matter how much life experience you have, there is most likely some goal you would like to reach. It could be doing something positive for your health and well-being, such as exercising, quitting smoking, or learning how to manage anxiety. Or it could be that you would like to pick up a new hobby.

Either way, below, you will learn the top 5 tips on setting and reaching goals! Research supports goal setting is helpful in therapy; whether you aim to reduce stress or anxiety, or increase your self-esteem, talking your goals through with your therapist can help support your recovery.

1. Think Big

Often, we overestimate what we can do in a day but underestimate what we can do in a year. When setting goals, it’s essential to think beyond where you are today and look deeper into where you want to be. You might not know all the steps now, but if you set a goal outside your comfort zone, you can break them down over time and eventually reach them. The time will pass anyway.

2. Write your goals down on paper

There is a reason many of those who have achieved great things had journals of their accomplishments. It’s because there is power in getting your thoughts and goals out of your mind and onto paper. By writing down what you want to achieve, they become real, and you can see what you’re about to go after in front of your eyes.

Watch your creativity kick in, allowing ideas to flow onto the page. When they do, be sure to write those thoughts and ideas down, too, as you’re creating a blueprint. Each time you hit a milestone, it is also great to reflect on how you were able to do so and evaluate what needs to be done next.

Journalling has many other benefits too!

3. Be realistic when starting

Once you define what your goals are, you’re then able to begin breaking down the steps to helping you achieve them. When doing so, recognise that some of the habits you’ll be implementing may be new. Therefore, it’s essential to be realistic when starting out.

If your goal is to run a marathon, but you have yet to gain experience running, the first step would be to gradually build up your fitness by doing short runs and increasing them over time. You can then find a route you enjoy, and work your way up to 1, 3, 5, and 10 miles, then a half marathon, and finally a full marathon.

When you are starting out, breaking your goal into smaller tasks will prevent you from getting lost or overwhelmed. You are more likely to be discouraged if you don’t develop a clear action plan.

4. Take it easy on yourself

We each tend to be our worst critics, which is no different when trying something new. As you develop new habits, take it easy on yourself as you’re a beginner again. Getting outside of your comfort zone comes with some growing pains that you must be able to work through.

By taking it easy on yourself when you don’t get it right off the bat or as you continue onto the next step of your goals, you can give yourself the grace that you would anyone else who was learning something new, and yes, you deserve that too!

5. Seek accountability and be resourceful

No matter your goal, someone who has already done it or something similar is likely out there. You can search online, follow those who have already achieved what you would like for yourself, and reach out when the opportunities present for you to improve.

You don’t have to do it alone, you can learn how to set goals with the help of a mentor, coach or counsellor. There are programs out there to help you accelerate your growth. You can be resourceful in finding the accountability and the connections that best suit your needs.

Conclusion

No matter your goal, getting started and developing a plan of action is critical. By following the tips above, you can start strong in setting and reaching your goals.

If you need additional support to reach your mental health goals, please don’t hesitate to contact Clear Haven Therapy. We offer Counselling and RTT Hypnotherapy. If you want to learn more, book a free discovery call today!

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