Psychotherapy for Post Natal Fathers

Fatherhood can Trigger Depression

A study carried out by the Medical Research Council (MRC) has shown that one in five men become depressed after becoming fathers. The research followed 86,957 families who received medical care between 1993 and 2007, looking at the diagnosis of their condition and the prescription of anti depressants. They found that 3% of fathers suffered from depression in the first year of their child’s life, 10% by the time it was four, 16% by the age of eight and 21% by twelve years.

These finding provide strong evidence of the existence of post natal depression in men as they struggle to juggle the lack of sleep, new responsibilities and change of identity within the family structure. The mother/baby relationship can often feel excluding to a father who may feel he is not able to intrude upon the intimacy of this new relationship.

The stress of all this juggling and the depression that the father may feel can also lead to relationship difficulties between the father and the child, which could damage the child’s wellbeing and development.

These feelings of depression due to the life changing event of becoming a father may seem overwhelming. It may be hard to talk to anyone close to you as you may feel they would not understand how you could feel down at what should be a happy time of life.  However talking about these feelings with a professional psychotherapist (such as the therapists found at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice on Harley Street in London) can allow you to explore the meaning behind your feelings and gain an understanding so that you are better able to face the new challenges that a child will bring.

Changing Attitudes Towards Psychotherapy and Counselling

Significant Changes in Attitudes Towards Psychotherapy

Attitudes towards psychotherapy and counselling have shifted significantly since 2004, a survey by the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) reports. Over these seven years there has been a marked increase in people’s openness to the benefits of seeking psychotherapy for support and of its social acceptability.

It appears that the stigma attached to asking for support and help from a mental health professional is beginning to fade as more and more people pursue help with dealing with their emotional problems. This willingness to talk is reflected in the statistic that one in five people have consulted a psychotherapist or counsellor whilst more than half the population knows someone who has. 82% of those surveyed thought that the world would be a better place if more people were in touch with their emotions, whilst 91% felt that it is now more acceptable to talk about emotional problems than it was in the past.

More encouragingly still, the study reveals that attitudes towards seeking help before a problem gets worse are stronger. 95% of those asked thought that “it is a good idea to seek counselling or psychotherapy for a problem before it gets out of hand”. 88% thought that “people might be happier if they took action to talk to a counsellor or psychotherapist about their problems”, whilst 83% thought it better to talk to someone rather than seek medication.

It is becoming more recognised that mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety are more common than previously thought. Therefore it is also encouraging that 94% of those surveyed thought it is now acceptable to engage in psychotherapy as opposed to just 67% in 2004.

This attitude change is also applying to couples and relationship psychotherapy and counselling where the percentage of couples seeking such help has risen from 52% in 2004 to 85% now.

84% of those asked said that they would be more likely to ask for help if they could be sure that the therapist was fully trained and a member of a recognised accrediting body. The therapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice, based in London on Harley Street, underwent five years of training and partake in continuous ongoing professional development. They have many years experience in both NHS and private settings and are all registered by the UKCP (United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapists) and members of BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy). 

Valentines Day, Relationship Problems & Psychotherapy….

Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice Works With Relationship Problems…..

Today, Valentines day, the helpline The Samaritans, will have their busiest day since the 25th of December. It seems that today, the pressure to be in a happy, loving relationship is really felt and can push many to the brink.

Even in relatively solid relationships the cracks can show on a day like today, when expectations aren’t met, when one partner tries that bit harder than the other it can leave us feeling vulnerable, uncertain and insecure.

People who are in relationships that are lacking in love, kindness or intimacy often struggle with symptoms like stress, anger or depression as a result of feeling unloved and insecure within their relationship.

Getting out of an unhealthy relationship, that lacks love, can be very difficult. People become worn down by the misery, often believing that they don’t deserve any better and that they’ll never find a relationship where they will be loved and respected.  Self-esteem is eroded, making moving on very difficult.

Psychotherapy and counselling can really help provide the support and understanding needed when a relationship is going wrong. Therapy can help individuals re-build self-esteem and re-think what they want, need and deserve.

At The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice, on Harley Street, London, the therapists are fully qualified and highly experienced in dealing with relationship break down. The therapists work with individuals and couples, helping them process difficult feelings and understand their behaviour and enable the individual, or couple, to move on, to a more healthy way of relating.

Early Psychotherapeutic Intervention

The Government wants to nip mental health issues in the bud; to treat anxious and depressed children and young people before they develop long-term mental health problems.  What does a psychotherapist think?

This is a good concept. Early intervention in mental health problems is important and the right kind of intervention can prevent long-term difficulties. It’s not always easy to spot mental health issues in our children though. Symptoms can go un-noticed. A child who withdraws into their bedroom for days on end just wanting to play on the Xbox or Play Station could go ignored and their problems put down to teenage behaviour. It maybe though, that the child is depressed, struggling in relationships perhaps and is withdrawing as a symptom of his or her depression.

A child who over eats, or who under eats, could be thought of  as ‘enjoying their food’ or ‘fad dieting’. Prolonged over eating, or under eating, would suggest eating disorder. Badly behaved children, angry or destructive, could be acting out; externalizing painful feelings.

Children need to be listened to: to have a safe space where their feelings and fears and stresses can be expressed. It’s hard sometimes to find the time, in our busy working lives, to really listen to our children or to observe their behaviour. But it’s important that we try.

The Government is recommending CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which, while sometimes effective in the short term, does not actually tackle the underlying causes of the anxiety or depression. If the government are to really halt the increase in mental health problems, among the young,  it seems important that a range of psychological therapies are available, tailored to suit the needs of each individual.

At The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice, in Harley Street, the therapists practice a range of effective talking therapies; all designed to tackle the underlying cause of the problems patients present with. The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice is currently working with many young people suffering with eating disorders, depression and anxiety. 

Christmas Relationship Cracks. Can Psychotherapy & Counselling Help?

Christmas Can be a Strain on a Relationship

Christmas and its run up is often considered one of the most stressful times of the year. The anticipation of Christmas seems to start earlier every year with decorations sometimes appearing in shops as early as October. Shopping, parties, travel plans all contribute to anxiety and stress. Society currently insists that this is a joyful time and this can put pressure on relationships and families to be or at least appear to be happy. People who are struggling in their relationships can often try to put their issues on the back burner until after the festive season. This may be for the sake of the children or other family members.

However, for some, the very expectation that one should be happy at this family focussed time of year can highlight cracks in a relationship. Squabbling and fighting may ensue due to the pressures and once the festivities and distractions are over and the thought of a new year looms ahead, focus can quickly come back to the difficulties in the relationship.

It is therefore unsurprising that the 5th of January has come to be known as ‘D Day’ (Divorce Day) when couples start to make official moves to separate.

However, more couples are choosing to look to therapy for help and support well before reaching this point. Relationship counselling at Cavendish Psychotherapy provides a structured space where the couple can concentrate on their relationship and explore the issues that cause friction. Clarification then leads to a better understanding of what each individual within the couple want and need from their relationship so that they are able to move forward, making more informed choices.

The child-friendly divorce

Is There A Psychotherapist Angle?

It was recently reported in the Daily Telegraph (22nd September 2010) that there is finally hope for a better system of divorce law than the current, outmoded, adversarial model. The proposed model has the children’s needs as primary. This ‘collaborative’ model, offers a space where the parents can express their needs and concerns as opposed to letting the divorce become a battle ground of ruthlessness, where children often become “both the battlefield [and] the ammunition”. This model, being considered by government advisors, involves bringing in a consultant (often a trained mental health advisor) to act as a fair arbiter with whom the divorcing couple can discuss their emotions and fears, particularly those surrounding their children. Roger Bamber, one of the UK’s leading family law practitioners and a trained mediator, is passionate about this collaborative model. 

We at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice in Harley Street fully believe in offering a space for individuals and couples where emotional communication and understanding is key. Whether an individual is in the middle of a turbulent relationship, under the stress of separation, or the couple are attempting to begin couples counselling with the hope of staying together, we at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice, offer an objective, safe space to discuss often deep seated concerns. We believe that counselling and psychotherapy can help to show you healthier patterns of relating – both with yourself and with others.

Stress at Work: How Psychotherapy Can Help

A Psychotherapy Approach To Stress and Recession

Mind, the mental health charity has just released figures that suggest that some 7% of workers have sought help for stress and related mental health problems since the start of the recession.

The economic climate is increasing pressure on workers to perform better and to work longer hours, in order to hold onto jobs, amid a culture of redundancy and budget cuts.

Stress can manifest in several different ways; symptoms can include anger, crying, sleeplessness, a sense of panic and a loss of perspective. Physical symptoms can include headaches, skin irritations and weight loss.

Increasing numbers of workers are seeking counselling and psychotherapy to help cope with the pressures in the work place. Talking through symptoms and concerns with a professional therapist can help alleviate symptoms, regain clarity and find a positive way forward.

The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice, based in the Doctorcall building in Harley Street, has introduced a Stress Counselling Clinic where individuals take a series of six therapy sessions over six weeks to help them through a particularly stressful period of their lives.  See Stress at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice.

Are modern communication technologies diminishing our lives?

No matter what technology is invented to make our lives that little bit easier, the cost is that we are then forced to keep pace with it. Emails are quick – but then the result is that we spend time answering them all. Texting and messaging is so convenient – but then we have to check our messages constantly, and respond, in case there is something important.

Once you could shut the office door and leave all thoughts of work behind and you would have to relax. Now with Blackberrys, high-speed broadband and other communications possibilities, we can no longer feel undisturbed in our own homes. This constant alertness leads to raised levels of cortisol in the brain. Cortisol is a chemical that is commonly known as the ‘stress hormone’.

Our social interactions and even our most basic relationships can be affected by new technology. Now people talk through communications devices, often replacing the heart-felt chat with a quick one-liner short-message text. Time for a ‘catch up’ – relaxation and de-stressing time – can be diminished by its new replacement: ‘hope u r ok. I’m fine. c u soon’

Humans are social animals. By interacting with others we gain a sense of belonging and being part of a group, be it family, friends or colleagues at work. Through these interactions, we learn to understand body language, develop empathy, feel loved and can give love. We are better at developing healthy, reciprocal relationships. All this leads to a greater sense of happiness and well being.

There are concerns at the moment that children who spend a great deal of time on the Internet, playing computer games or watching television, rather than interacting with others, might not be as socially skilled as those with more tempered habits. When these skills are not learned properly or forgotten, it is hard to communicate with others, which can lead to social anxiety, isolation – in order to avoid stressful social situations – and this could ultimately spiral to depression.

It seems as if good communication is fundamental to happiness in all walks of life, at home, in relationships, with friends, at work, even on holiday. Without good communication, life can be more of a struggle, since we are unable to properly understand other people. However, communication takes practice and time, away from the distractions of modern technologies. Spending quality time with friends and family is time spent reconnecting with the important people in our lives and feeling part of something, not separate from it.

Modern technologies are amazing, but so are the people around us.

Post Natal Depression and Therapy

Post Natal Depression and Therapy

One in ten mothers are likely to suffer from post natal depression. The condition comes with the usual symptoms of depression; low mood, low motivation, anxiety, poor sleep and relationship difficulties. The condition, untreated or unnoticed, can persist for months and occasionally, years. Women with a history of depression or a difficult relationship with a partner or their own mother, are more likely to suffer with PND.

It’s normal to experience confused feelings around mother hood. On one level you may be delighted to be a mother, on the other, you may feel sad, or at times angry, that you’ve lost your old life and your freedom. You may have ambivalent feelings about your baby; you may love him or her but, if you’ve had a difficult relationship with your own mother, you may be anxious about bonding with your own child and anxious about the kind of mother you might be.  Expressing these mixed feelings is hard; there’s huge pressure on us to bloom as new mothers but it’s important that you monitor your feelings and seek help for post natal depression. Talking to a therapist who will not judge you, but support you, can really help relieve the symptoms and stop the feelings from overwhelming you and enable you to move forward and build a greater sense of confidence as a woman and as a mother.

If you are pregnant and depressed, or  have a history of depression, it may be a good idea to seek some short term, focused counselling or psychotherapy before the baby is born – this way you may be able to prevent the onset of post natal depression and be better able to form a healthy and happy relationship with your baby.

The therapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice in London can help you.

In Search of Happiness

What is it that makes us happy?

 Those of us lucky enough to live in the Western world and enjoy the benefit of a secure roof over our heads, enough food to eat, some meaning in our work or cultural life and someone to love,who loves us back, – surely that’s enough; that’s what it takes to survive and be happy.

It seems, though, that we are driven to want more; the more we have, the more we want. So the promotion we get at work is soon forgotten and we become frustrated that we’re not moving up the ladder faster.  We don’t enjoy what we’ve achieved; what we’ve achieved doesn’t make us happy because we already want more.  This causes us stress and anxiety.

The handbag, car, or phone that  we buy is thrilling for the first 24 hours but we soon see something else, maybe  something that someone else has, that we want for ourselves. So what we think will make us happy, often falls short. It doesn’t necessarily follow that more – materially more – makes us happy. Wanting materially more, may actually make us unhappy.

Maybe it’s what touches our soul and our hearts that can offer real happiness. The giving and receiving of love is a key to happiness; in a simple form this could be a great conversation over a good cup of coffee with an old friend or making a good connection with a parent or grandparent.  Investing time in relationships is more likely to bring us a sense of fulfillment and well being than more material goods.

What we do, our work, is key to giving  meaning to our lives. Those without work are prone to depression. The Royal College of Psychiatrists states that after relationship difficulties, unemployment is most likely factor to push people to depression. Without the structure of the working day and the company of colleagues  and  the meaning this brings to our lives, we are not fulfilled and lose our sense of self-esteem.

Freud, the father of psychotherapy stated that it is a balance of love and work that can make us happy. To be loved and to be useful  may then be the keys to a happier life – not the handbag or the next holiday.