Post Natal Depression – Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice Offers Specialist Help

Post natal depression once again hit the headlines this week  with the tragic story of  a young mother,  so depressed and sleep deprived,  that she killed her five week old baby.

The woman  had visited her GP and had been offered anti-depressants but no talking therapy, it was reported in a serious case review last week.   The woman was left completely unsupported and took only one of the anti-depressants because she felt ashamed of her depression. The case highlights the need for more open discussion about Post Natal Depression – it’s a condition that effects 10 per cent of all new mothers and yet remains stigmatized and shrouded in shame.

New mothers often feel alone with their depression. The pressure to be a perfect mother – happy and fully functioning – can be overwhelming when the reality, for many women,  is that new motherhood is difficult and clouded by depression. It is vital that new mothers, suffering with depression, are listened to and supported. At the Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice we offer private counselling and psychotherapy for post natal depression. Getting support on the NHS seems to becoming increasingly difficult but it’s important that women do explore what might be available to them. Health visitors, midwives and GP’s should be the first to be contacted – they should have information and options to help support new mothers suffering with depression.

Symptoms of PND include:







Ways of coping:

Call GP

Share your feelings with a friend or your partner

Take small steps – try to get out of the house once a day

Speak to your health visitor

Think about joining Mum’s groups and finding other new mothers who may be feeling the way you do.

Remember  you are not alone in suffering with PND – 70,000 women per year are diagnosed.

The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice offers weekly, individual  psychotherapy and counselling for new mothers. The therapists at the Cavendish practice are all highly experienced in working with Post Natal Depression.  Sharing your experiences and sadness with a trained psychotherapist can reduce your depression and help you find the clarity to move forward into healthy motherhood.

Men are Less likely to Seek Psychotherapy or Counselling than Women

Men are More Reluctant to Seek Psychotherapy and Counselling help than Women

In a recent article published in the BACP’s monthly magazine, ‘Therapy today’, Colin Penning writes, “Many people think men’s emotional literacy and ability to articulate their feelings is less than that of women. The question then is, do these assumptions about men reflect a stereotype or a reality? This was the question that Relate and the Men’s Health Forum set out to explore in their new report Try to See it My Way.

We know that men are more reluctant than women to seek support and advice when relationships run into difficulties. Far fewer men use telephone advice and helpline services. We also know that men are less likely to access counselling services generally. Men make up just 36 per cent of referrals to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. They are also under-represented in relationship support services: just 44 per cent of Relate’s clients are men.

So why can’t (or won’t) men seek help for emotional problems? The first and most obvious answer is that men are socialised not to admit to vulnerability, which is a prerequisite of securing help. The second is that maybe we aren’t offering the kind of support that men can relate to and that they find helpful.

The report suggests work is a key factor. Men’s tendency to work longer hours can cause relationship problems and conflicts around the life–work balance; financial difficulties can increase pressure on the man, who is often still the primary breadwinner in the family.

One of the key findings of the report is that men and women have very different approaches to communication. Insights generated by two focus groups of Relate counsellors found that men have a tendency to want to ‘solve problems’ while women want to discuss change and understand why things have happened. So men are coming to counselling with unrealistic expectations.

But the Relate counsellors told us that men may have become more open to the idea of relationship counselling in recent years. And they told us there may be things we can do to reach out to and engage men in taking better care of their own emotional health.

Our report makes a series of recommendations. Some are to national Government around raising men’s awareness of the importance of emotional health and making personal, social and health education a statutory requirement in schools. ”

Admitting to finding things difficult and seeking help is not a weakness. The therapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice have many years experience working through issues presented by male patients in order to discover what lies at the root of their difficulties.

The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice is found at 121 Harley Street, London.

Talking Therapy Beats Drugs in Tackling Depression

Bristol University says cognative therapy & drugs are better than drugs alone

So says says a new report, as released from Reuters yesterday and published in The Lancet.

In the first large-scale trial to test the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, alongside medication for depression, scientists said they found that the combination works where drug treatment alone fails

The study compared those diagnosed with depression split into two trial groups, one just with drugs and one with drugs and with cognative therapy (or CT). Improved symptoms were found to be in 22% versus 46% respectively, showing a distinct benefit to those having talking therapy in addition to anti-depressant drugs.

The report concludes that these therapies should be more widely available. It did not state whether the CT should be used to reduce drug use.

This is obviously a popular story with the same report being reproduced all around the world. WHO estimates say that major deprerssion may one day rival heart disease as the #1 health concern. Over 20% of world populations are estimated to suffer at least once in their lifetimes.

Within the family of Cognative Therapy,  you may find CBT (cognative behavoural therapy) and CAT (cognative analytic therapy) which differs because CAT is rooted in cultural and social process whereas CBT can be seen as a one-size-fits-all (a monadic) model. Cognative analytic therapy emphasises the patient’s circumstance – place and meaning –  putting into perspective the symptoms, mood, behaviour and relationship with their own values and understanding.

Therapies will vary and your therapist will help guide you after an initial discussion. Please see our main website for more details – the right therapy.

Boredom can be Explored with Psychotherapy and Counselling

Self Destructive Behaviour can be the Result of Boredom and can be Explored with Psychotherapy and Counselling

Dr John Eastwood, a psychologist at York University, Toronto and joint author of ‘The Unengaged Mind’, a major new paper on the theory of boredom believes that boredom, although common, is neither trivial nor benign.

Boredom, he points out, has been associated with increased drug and alcohol abuse, overeating, depression and anxiety, and an increased risk of making mistakes. Although mistakes at work may not have dire consequences for most of us, for people with jobs such as air controllers or pilots, boredom leading to the lack of concentration can be very serious.

In his report, Eastwood states boredom to be “the aversive experience of wanting, but being unable, to engage in satisfying activity.” He further states, “All instances of boredom involve a failure of attention, and attention is what you are using now to blot out the plethora of stimuli around you while you focus awareness on a given topic.”

Attention involves three functions:

1. One has to be suitably aroused so as not to fall asleep

2. We have an orientation system that can cut in. e.g. you can still respond to movement in the corner of your eye if a car approaches as you cross the road

3. We have an executive system that oversees our mental activity so that we can stay engaged even if the task is not interesting

Boredom occurs when any of these functions break down.

As an innevitable experience, boredom can be seen as positive. Dr Esther Priyadharshini a senior lecturer in education at the University of East Anglia, says “We can’t avoid boredom. It’s an inevitable human emotion. We have to accept it as legitimate and find ways it can be harnessed. We all need downtime, away from the constant bombardment of stimulation. There’s no need to be in a frenzy of activity at all times.” She claims that it can stimulate creativity as a signal for change.

However, for some it may not have such positive outcomes. Those who have suffered extreme trauma are more likely to complain of boredom than others. It is thought that this is because the person emotionally shuts down, thereby finding it harder to work out what they need. They may be left with free-floating desire, without knowing what to pin it on. This lack of emotional awareness is known as alexithymia and can affect anyone.

Frustrated dreamers who have not realised their goals can expend all their emotional energy on hating themselves or the world, and find they have no attention left for anything else. Bungee jumpers and thrill-seekers may also be particularly susceptible to boredom, as they feel the world is not moving fast enough for them. They constantly need to top up their high levels of arousal and are always searching for stimulation from their environment.

Eastwood states that, “Boredom isn’t a nice feeling, so we have an urge to eradicate it and cope with it in a counterproductive way. This may be what drives people to destructive behaviours such as gambling, overeating, alcohol and drug abuse, though research is needed to tease out whether there’s a direct causal link”.

“The problem is we’ve become passive recipients of stimulation. “We say, ‘I’m bored, so I’ll put on the TV or go to a loud movie.’ But boredom is like quicksand: the more we thrash around, the quicker we’ll sink.”

Psychotherapy and Counselling is a useful way to explore self destructive behaviour patterns that could be the result of boredom. The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice, comprising three female therapists can be found at 121 Harley Street, London.

Samaritans Research Supports Growing Concerns about Older Male Suicide

Psychotherapy and Counselling can Help Older Men Struggling with Suicidal Thoughts

In an article in The Telegraph today concerned with the levels of male suicide, their Social Affairs Editor, John Bingham, writes the following:

‘Family breakdown, improved rights for women and the collapse of traditional male-dominated industries have combined to create a crisis of “masculine identity”, a panel of psychologists, economists and social scientists concluded.

Together with male traits such as an unwillingness to talk about personal problems and heavier use of drink and drugs, it means they are now at far greater risk of suicidal tendencies than anyone else, the study commissioned by the Samaritans found.

Men aged between 35 and 55 are more than four times as likely to take their own lives as women of the same age, and more than twice as likely as younger men, according to official figures.

And middle aged men from poor areas are up to 10 times more likely to commit suicide than other groups of people.

The report argues that the pressure to live up to a “gold standard” of masculinity – involving providing for the family – can turn personal troubles such as losing a job into a crisis in a way that it might not for women.

The sense of suffering “defeat as a man” can be more acute in middle age, when the responsibilities are greatest, it adds.

Meanwhile major changes in the economy in recent decades, with a shift away from manufacturing, has removed a source of male “pride, identity and companionship”.

At the same time, higher rates of marital breakdown, the rise of single-parent households mean that men are significantly less likely to have emotional support than in the past.

Perhaps most significantly, it found that, rapid social change has left middle aged men as a “buffer generation”, caught between the “stiff-upper lip” approach of the previous generation and the very different lives of younger people.

Prof Rory O’Connor, of Stirling University, said that the focus had shifted over recent decades from younger men being more at risk of suicide to middle aged men – suggesting that there may be characteristics unique to the current generation.

“Men currently in their midyears are the ‘buffer’ generation – caught between their traditional silent, strong and austere fathers, who went to work and provided for their families, and the more progressive, open and individualistic generation of their sons,” the report says.

“They do not know which of these two very different ways of life and masculine culture they should follow.”

In addition, men who attempt suicide are more likely than women to succeed in taking their life, in part because a higher pain threshold, it notes.

They are also more likely than women to indulge in “impulsive” and “risky” behaviour, including heavy drinking and drug taking, if depressed.

Clare Wyllie, head of policy and research at The Samaritans, said: “We are looking at a particular generation of men who were brought up at a particular time.

“They grew up with fathers who were austere, silent and traditional, they grew up with this expectation that they were going to be the head of the household, that they were going to be the breadwinners, that they were going to be respected by their wives and families.

“But what has happened is that social relations and work has changed, their identities, work and relationships have been blown apart by social change.

The risk factors for suicide are well established, these people are experiencing multiple risk factors all at once.”

Prof O’Connor added: “They had fathers as role models and they didn’t talk about their emotions and that was OK.

“But then they look behind them and young people are really comfortable talking about their emotions.” ‘

Depression and subsequent suicidal thoughts are not uncommon. Recognising these thoughts and feelings and seeking help are important steps to intervene in a possible downward spiral. The professional psychotherapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice on London’s Harley Street are experienced in working with clients struggling with painful and frightening thoughts and will work with you to understand what lies behind them and help you bear what seems unbearable.


Psychotherapy Support for Suicidal Older Men

Need for Psychotherapy and Counselling Support as Evidence Shows the Increase in Suicide of Older Men

The Office for National Statistics has released data showing that the number of suicides amongst men aged over 55 has risen by 12% over the past decade, whilst suicides by men aged under 34 dropped by 30%. These statistcs are supported by the mental health charity, Calm who claim that men aged 45-54 are the most likely to consider taking their own life.

Jane Powell, the Chief Executive of Calm, also points out that there is a large difference between the number of men who take their life compared with the number of women, the higher number being men. Official Statistics show that 4,517 people in England and Wales killed themselves in 2010, of whom 75% were men.

She speculates, “If you are middle-aged just now and your job and life prospects are diminishing then this is tough. There is work to show that the impact of unemployment hits men harder, and later on in life; that it’s easier for women whose lives are not necessarily defined by work and for whom part-time or temporary work isn’t by definition bad. Our research shows that thinking about suicide is more common than we realise, and that men and women are almost equally liable to feel suicidal. What is significant is that more men actually go on to take their lives.”

Two possible reasons for this could be, “First, because men are by default supposed to be in control, in charge at all times and so therefore needing help is by definition unmanly. And second because all too often men don’t recognise what the problem is, they’ll feel out of control, angry with everything, find that their life is out of focus, not be interested in what’s happening around them, and they won’t recognise that they are depressed. And because as a man they’re supposed to be invulnerable, then suddenly the options they have of getting out of their situation start to look very slim.”

Further statistics in a YouGov survey concerned with adults who have considered suicide illustrate the importance of relationship status. The number of children in a household was also a factor, with 18% of men with one child expressing suicidal thoughts, compared with 27% with three or more children.

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of Samaritans, said: “There is strong evidence to show that interventions to support people at risk of suicide make a difference”.

Depression and subsequent suicidal thoughts are not uncommon. Recognising these thoughts and feelings and seeking help are important steps to intervene in a possible downward spiral. The professional psychotherapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice on London’s Harley Street are experienced in working with clients struggling with painful and frightening thoughts and will work with you to understand what lies behind them and help you bear what seems unbearable.

Psychotherapy Support for Actors

Research Shows Psychological Vulnerability in Actors

A recent study by California State University looked at the psychology of the sort of people who choose to become actors. The results imply that these people tend to be imaginative but also emotionally vulnerable.

Paula Thomson and S. Victoria Jaque wrote in the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts journal that “Our study adds to the body of research that suggests there is a psychological cost for participants engaged in the creative arts”.

Their study looked at 41 professional actors living in Cape Town. Toronto and Los Angeles and compared them with people from other artistic groups such as athletes and art lovers.

What they discovered was that, “Even though there was no difference between the two groups for past traumatic events, more actors were unable to maintain narrative coherence when discussing memories of past trauma and loss.” The actors struggled when attempting to discuss past traumas which the researchers felt suggested that they find it harder to resolve these traumas.

The researchers illustrated how the actors had an increased ability to “remain engaged, regulated and coherent during the interview process”, however, they were also more likely to show signs of confusion, prolonged silence or “unsuccessful failures to deny a traumatic or loss event”. Thomson and Jaque argue that this suggests “a greater vulnerability for psychological distress”.

Thomson and Jaque give a note of caution to those thinking of an acting career in therapeutic terms: “Actors may have enhanced their imagination through the practice of acting or they may have entered a career that supports their heightened predisposition for fantasy.”

For those who do choose to become actors, there is psychological support available in the form of talking therapies such as psychotherapy and counselling. This can help develop an understanding of past traumas and resolve feelings surrounding them.

The psychotherapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice on London’s Harley Street, work with people of all backgrounds, including members of the performing arts who struggle with emotional and psychological problems.

Ruby Wax, Confessions and Psychotherapy

Ruby Wax talks of More Openness to Mental Health Issues and the need for Support, such as Psychotherapy and Counselling

On July 23rd, Channel 4 released the programme ‘Ruby Wax’s Mad Confessions’.

In it , Ruby Wax asked whether three successful professionals would be prepared to confess their mental health difficulties to their work colleagues. Three came forward and the programme documented their fears as they worked towards their revelations as well as Ruby herself talking of her own struggles with depression.

As the push to make mental health issues less taboo gains momentum, this programme highlighted many of the common feelings that lie behind why people choose to hide their difficulties and the thoughts that keep them isolated, but also what got them through.


“From the outside it looked as though I was the loveliest person alive but it was probably the lowest I’d ever felt. I thought that this must be how everyone else feels and just gets on with it, but I couldn’t deal with it.

You think the best thing to do is just to get away from everybody and not put them through what you’re going through.”

“The biggest thing I’m worried about is people treating me differently and not being given the opportunity to do the work I can do”.

Kevin Jones’ MP reply to this was:

“You are doing the same job as you did before. Most people will not change their opinion of you”.


“There isn’t time for softer emotions, only fear. I worked very hard by myself to control my moods, then something triggered the breakdown”, which led to thoughts of suicide.


“There is no thought. Why would you go to the mirror? Why would you brush your teeth? Why would you ever take a shower? So you just sit there, and you’re alone. You can’t imagine, you cannot imagine what goes on in here”.

“Mental pain is 1000 times more anguishing than physical pain… It would be really nice to have someone talking in your ear, ‘don’t kill yourself today. Don’t kill yourself today ‘cos it will pass’ “.

Kevin Jones MP:

“Like a lot of men, what you try to do is deal with it yourself”.

According to Mind, one in ten people in the UK will suffer from depression in their lifetime and 75% of people with mental health illnesses in the UK receive no treatment at all. The highest suicide rate is to be found in men under the age of 30years.

These three professionals and Ruby Wax all said that they got through their depression with the support of other people and being aware of their negative thought processes.


“Talking to someone and knowing that other people feel the same way is the key to getting over it”.

“Finding out that there is something wrong is a relief as there is something that can be done to fix it”.


“Unless we share, how the hell is someone else going to know we have a problem”.

“…opening up and showing I have a weak side – but I don’t think it’s a weakness, to me it’s a strength”.


“The only way I can deal with clinical depression is that I hear the pitter patter (of negative thoughts) and I can do something early. Being aware of my thoughts and feelings I get early warnings that I am heading towards stress and depression and then I take action”.


“People think that you are weak because you have a mental health problem. Most of the people I have ever met who have a mental health problem are some of the strongest people I’ve ever known. They’re your doctor, your lawyer, your cleaner, your friend. We are changing the world, we are changing nappies, we are writing business plans and we are making a difference”.

Prof. Dinesh Bhugra, an expert in mental health who was interviewed said:

“There is a push to let people know that,

a. Mental illness is treatable

b. You can get help

c. It’s not going to stop you doing your job properly”.

The conclusion to the programme was that all three told their work colleagues and were surprised, helped and relieved by the acceptance and support that their revelations inspired.

Talking to a qualified psychotherapist or counsellor can be an important step to dealing with mental health difficulties, including depression. Some people are not yet ready to tell there work colleagues of their problems but admitting to them and exploring them with a non judgemental professional can be a relief and can be the start of identifying and understanding unhelpful patterns of thought and belief, and thereby alleviating symptoms.

The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice comprises three female, professional psychotherapists who are qualified and experienced to listen to you and work though difficult and painful feelings with you.

MPs Champion Mental Health and Psychotherapy

MP’s Encourage an attitudinal Change Regarding Mental Health Sufferers and Psychotherapy

Last month, MPs met in parliament to discuss the situation of Britain’s mental health.

Many politicians stood up and talked of the difficulties they had had with depression and other mental health issues, making a positive step forward in the acceptance that many people struggle with mental problems, and also in the fight against stygmatising people who suffer in this way.

Some of the outcomes of this debate are that laws barring people who have had severe mental health problems from jury service and from being MPs or company directors are to be abolished.

Amongst the politicians who owned up to having mental health issues was Conservative backbencher Charles Walker, who described suffering obsessive compulsive disorder for three decades; Former GP and Tory MP Sarah Wollaston talked of her depession, post-natal depression, severe anxiety and suicidal thoughts. She said,  “I know what it’s like and I’m sure there are many other members of this house who will know exactly what it feels like to feel that your family would genuinely be better off without you, and to experience the paralysis that can come with severe depression”.

Andrea Leadsom, MP, also recounted her post natal depression, “It is unbelievable how awful you feel when you are sitting with your tiny baby in your arms, and your baby cries and so do you,” she said. “You can’t even make yourself a cup of tea, you just feel so utterly useless.”

The main speech of the debate came from Labour defence minister, Kevan Jones, an MP considered by his colleagues to be a tough politician. He said, “Now I am going to throw my notes away. I thought long and hard last night about whether to do this, and talk about my own mental health problems. In 1996, I suffered quite a deep depression related to work and other things going on in my life. This is the first time I have spoken about this. Indeed, some people in my family do not know about what I am going to talk about today. Like a lot of men, I tried to deal with it myself, you do not talk to people. I hope you realise, Mr Speaker, that what I am saying is very difficult for me.

I have thought very long and hard about this and did not actually decide to do this until I just put my notes down. It is hard, because you do not always recognise the symptoms. It creeps up very slowly. Also, we in politics tend to think that if we admit to fault or failure we will be looked on disparagingly by the electorate and our peers. Whether my having made this admission will mean that the possibility of any future ministerial career is blighted for ever for me, I do not know. I was a Minister in the previous Government and I think that most people on both sides of the House thought I did a reasonable job.

We have to talk about mental health issues in this place, including people in the House who have personal experience of it. As I have said, I thought long and hard last night about doing this and I did not come to a decision until I put my notes down just now. Whether it affects how people view me, I do not know; and frankly I do not care because if it helps other people who have depression or who have suffered from it in the past, then, good.

In politics we are designed to think that somehow if you admit fault or frailty you are going to be looked on in a disparaging way both by the electorate but also by your peers. Actually admitting that sometimes you need help is not a sign of weakness.

Politics is a rough old game, and I have no problem with that. Indeed, I am, perhaps, one of the roughest at times, but having to admit that you need help sometimes is not a sign of weakness. I also want to say to you, Mr Speaker, that we need to do more here to support Members with mental health issues.

As I have said, I do not know whether I have done the right thing. Perhaps I will go home tonight and think I have not, but I think I have. I hope that it does not change anyone’s view of me. Most people might think, “Christ, if it can happen to him, it might happen to anybody.” On that note, let me put on record my thanks for the opportunity to debate this issue. Let us go out and champion this issue.

Finally, let me say to every hon. Member present and to those who are not present that although being an MP is a great privilege, I have always thought that; it is a great thing that I love, it also has its stresses. Unless someone has done it, they do not know what those stresses can be personally, in terms of family, and in terms of what is expected of us in the modern technological age. A little more understanding from some parts of the media and some constituents about the pressures on the modern-day MP would be very valuable”.

Mr. Jones also stated his belief that, although medication can be an important part in the struggle against mental health problems, psychotherapy  and counselling is vital.

The three psychotherapist / counsellors at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice on London’s Harley Street have worked for many years with individuals suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health difficulties. One in four people will suffer mental health problems at some time. The public acknowledgement of this by parliament goes a long way to accepting mental difficulties as a common part of life and take away the stygma attached to seeking psychotherapy help.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Reports on Mental Health Risks to Teenagers

A Report Links Unemployment with Teenage Mental Ill Health

Teenagers may be more at risk of mental ill health because they are staying longer in education after leaving school, a review from the Nuffield Foundation says.

The review, Social Trends and Mental Health, is part of the Foundation’s Changing Adolescence Programme. It found that teenagers in the mid-2000s were twice as likely to frequently feel depressed or anxious than were those growing up in the mid-1980s.

Staying longer in education after leaving school can result in a prolonged period of ‘unstructured adolescence’ that may be linked to depression, the Foundation says. Another possible factor is the greater exposure of young people today to drugs and alcohol. The Foundation also warns that the increases in unemployment and poverty since 2008 may exacerbate the rising rates of anxiety and depression in this age group.

The psychotherapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice in London’s Harley Street work with sufferers of depression and anxiety in order to help develop an understanding of what lies behind the symptoms and thereby help alleviate the difficult feelings.