These small snippets will give you a taster of some areas of therapy and mental health issues and here I share letters A – F.

Anxiety is a feeling of unease such as worry or fear and can affect people in different ways. It is quite normal to feel anxiety when in a situation such as a driving test or interview but can be a problem when we start to see dangers that aren’t really there.

Early humans were exposed to the constant threat of being killed or injured by wild animals or other tribes. To improve the chances of survival, the fight- or-flight response evolved. It’s an automatic response to physical danger that allows you to react quickly without thinking. When you feel threatened and afraid, the amygdala (the emotional centre of the brain) automatically activates the fight-or-flight response by sending out signals to release stress hormones that prepare your body to fight or run away and as our brain hasn’t evolved it sees and feels dangers that aren’t really there.

If Anxiety starts to take control you will probably experience some of the following symptoms: Hot flushes, headaches, increased heart rate, palpitations and sweaty palms. There are a number of different anxiety disorders.

General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – Anxiety takes over your life and you frequently worry about various things for much of the time

Health Anxiety – You will have frequent distorted thoughts about your health and what might/could happen to you

Social Anxiety – You are afraid to go out for fear of looking stupid or being judged by others around you

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – (OCD) You will carry out rituals and repetitive behaviours to relieve your fears and intrusive thoughts.

Counselling and hypnotherapy can help you to deal with, and manage the physical and emotional effects of anxiety.

Most of our core beliefs are formed when we are children. We are all born with a clean slate and as we are growing up we accept what others tell us to be true. Your parents telling you that you must do better as they look over your school report for example. You might have parents that tell you to ‘shush’ or be quiet every time you speak. We carry our beliefs with us into adulthood which is when they can start to hold us back and cause low-self-esteem and anxiety. A director of a company might still think he’s not good enough for the role and doubt his own abilities or the person who wasn’t allowed to express their selves and be heard when they were growing up might still be wary to use their voice.

Often we are not consciously aware of these beliefs and can wonder why we feel miserable or held back. Counselling can help to uncover these beliefs, look at how they affect your behaviour and moods and change these cycles for good.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be used to treat people with a wide range of mental health problems. It is based on the idea that how we think (cognition), how we feel (emotion) and how we act (behaviour) all interact together.  In other words our thoughts determine our feelings and our behaviour.

Unlike some other therapies, CBT is rooted in the present and looks ahead to the future. While past events and experiences are considered during the therapy, the focus is more on current issues and dilemmas.It looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis. And although it cannot remove your problems, it can help you deal with them in a more positive way.

I use CBT alongside other talking therapies and have found it to be a useful tool to use with anxiety and low self-esteem. I ask the client to use the tools and techniques learnt in the therapy room at home and in their daily lives so that they can understand how changing the way they think and behave can help them to have a more positive outlook on life and increase their well-being.

Most people, at some time in their lives feel down, but if this feeling of sadness persists for longer than a few weeks or months you could be experiencing depression.

Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms:

  • Feeling exhausted all the time
  • Experiencing ‘brain fog’, find it hard to think clearly
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • Feeling restless and agitated
  • Feeling tearful, wanting to cry all the time
  • Not wanting to talk to or be with people
  • Not wanting to do things you usually enjoy
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
  • Finding it hard to cope with everyday things and tasks

Depression is not:

  • something you can ‘snap out of’,
  • a sign of weakness,
  • something that everyone experiences, or
  • Something that lasts forever as one episode.

There are many different types of depression, some of which are caused by chemical changes in your brain, others by events that have happened in your life.

Major depression is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest or pleasure in your activities

Bipolar disorder, sometimes referred to as manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme fluctuations in mood and changes in energy, thinking, behavior, and sleep. A depressive state may lead to suicidal thoughts that change over to feelings of euphoria and endless energy. These extreme mood swings can occur every week–or show up occasionally maybe just twice a year.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to the change of season. People who suffer from SAD notice symptoms beginning and ending at about the same times each year. For many, symptoms start in the autumn and continue into the winter months

If you think you have depression why not book an appointment so we can work on reducing your symptoms.

The Oxford English dictionary defines the word emotion as a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

During the 1970s, psychologist Paul Eckman identified six basic emotions that he suggested were universally experienced in all human cultures. The emotions he identified were happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise, and anger.

Have you ever found yourself unable to find the words to say how you really feel? Or been unsure about exactly what it is you’re feeling?

Life is complicated and brings with it both beautiful and horrible experiences. The experiences we have shape our world, our personality, the way we perceive things, the way we interact with people, and how we behave so
the ability to express your feelings and emotions in words is so important to making yourself understood.

Expressing your emotions through words is necessary to build bridges with other people, whether they be strangers turning into friends, or navigating the world with family, friends, or other loved ones.

Counselling with me can give you the ability to articulate how you feel, understand yourself and the way you interact with the world, identify your strengths, weaknesses, or potential problems so you can put the right words to your emotions.

Fear is a natural emotion and survival mechanism. It alerts us to the presence of danger and was critical in keeping our ancestors alive. It is an unpleasant emotion or thought that we all have when we are frightened or worried that something bad might happen or has happened.

Physical reactions to fear include sweating, increased heart rate, and high adrenaline levels, and the physical response is known as fight or flight, in which your body prepares itself to either enter combat or run away. This biochemical reaction is an evolutionary development and an automatic response that is crucial to our survival.

Although this biochemical reaction is present in all of us, the emotional response to fear is personal to you, and your past experiences and environments will have an impact on your response to fear.

Fear is closely related to the emotion anxiety, which occurs as the result of threats that are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable. Fear of the unknown or irrational fear is caused by worry and negative thinking which arises from anxiety accompanied with a personal sense of apprehension or dread.

If fear and anxiety and controlling your life and preventing you from living the life you want then counselling with me can help you.

Look out for my next instalment soon and if you want to continue to learn more about counselling, hypnotherapy and how I can help you please follow me on Facebook at

Alison Isaacs is an NCS accredited counsellor and clinical hypnotherapist working from her therapy room in Basingstoke.

At Alison Isaacs Therapy I offer short term and open ended counselling for most difficulties but really enjoy working with anxiety, stress, depression and low self-esteem.