Anita Hobbs Counselling and Therapy for South and West London

Anita Hobbs - BLOG

A new thank you card came today.


I’m always touched when clients finish their therapy with me and take the time and trouble to send me a card.
I've added the card and the comments to my About Me page.
You can see read a selection of the cards I’ve received on what my clients say

Blog. Card 1

Dear Anita,
A big thank you for being a wonderful therapist to me, for believing in me, for encouraging me, challenging me and loving me and to teach me to do all this for myself. I do not have the words to express my gratitude, only I can say Thank you so much, you have been a mum to me, the one I never had.

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Blog. Drink and smoke

What is EFT and can it help me?

©EFT is a tapping therapy, based upon traditional acupressure and acupuncture techniques.
It allows people to sooth troubling feelings themselves by tapping upon acupuncture and acupressure points on their body.
This self tapping technique allows people to access and use these pressure points in their daily lives when they feel they need relief from physical or mental symptoms arising in their body or mind.

What does EFT stand for?

EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique.

When is EFT used?

I advise the use of EFT for my clients who want help to manage feeling or emotions that threaten to overwhelm them during their daily life. These are feelings or emotions such as longings or cravings due to addictions or compulsive behaviours.

Used promptly, this technique can intervene or interrupt longings or cravings, and give short term relief from these types of feelings and emotions. EFT can help people to break up and manage these strong feelings in their body while they are changing harmful habits which seem irresistible.

This is useful for people with addictions or compulsive behaviours such as:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Food
  • Gambling
  • Pornography

    What is the difference between EFT and EMDR?

    It is easy to confuse EFT with EMDR, they sound almost the same and they are both known as tapping therapies.
    Although EFT and EMDR sound similar, they are unrelated and separate techniques and I use them in different situations with my clients.

    For information on what EMDR is and how it may help you please Click Here

    What happens when EFT doesn't or isn't working?

    EFT may not work for you because of a range reasons.
    Some of these could be:
    • The inappropriate use of EFT for an underlying medical problem that needs medical treatment
    • An underlying mental health problem that needs addressing before successful use of EFT can begin.
    • Applying EFT treatment at a time or place where you are unable to give enough attention to the EFT protocol for it to be successful.
    • The intensity of the feeling or emotion being treated with EFT is too high for successful treatment.

    As I explain to my clients, I am not a medical practitioner and so cannot comment on using EFT for any feelings or symptoms that might be due to physical illness. I recommend you take advice for these matters from your medical GP.

    Where did EFT come from?

    EFT was researched and developed by Gary Craig from traditional acupressure and acupuncture techniques.

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Blog. Man Depressed

What is EMDR and can it help me?

©EMDR is a dual attention technique which was researched and developed by Dr.Francine Shapiro PhD, a Senior Research Fellow Emeritus at the Mental Research Institute, Palo Alto, California.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
It is one of the therapies called tapping therapy.

What does EMDR do?

EMDR therapy can heal blocked trauma without us having to relive the trauma by repeating the story during our therapy sessions.

This technique assists our minds to process and release feelings and information that are held and trapped in our body/ mind.
Sessions of EMDR provide noticeable relief from the distress of trauma after just one session.
EMDR therapy can free traumatised people from the disturbing and distracting images and body sensations that are associated with trauma.
These can include flashbacks to past events, anxiety, panic, despair, anger, fear and exhaustion.

Extreme versions of these symptoms where the sensations that are associated with trauma are severe and debilitating, is known as PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What is a trauma?

Trauma is a shocking experience that is deeply disturbing or distressing.
A shocking experience that is traumatic could be:

  • An emotional shock, such as the death of a loved one or divorce.
  • A physical shock such as an accident, an operation or mugging.
  • A mental or psychological shock, where the normal working of the mind is altered because of an overwhelming amount of stress
  • A medical emergency where your physical body is in a state of shock, which is not covered here.

    During and directly after the traumatic event, we may experience shock symptoms, such as dizziness, feeling light headed or faint. Bluish lips and fingernails, pale, cool clammy skin, or sweating and shaking.
    Later we often talk about the experience, and we may cry and shake.

    What happens when our mind/ body experiences a trauma?

    After the immediate shock symptoms have faded, there is a period of recovery.

    We usually automatically process traumatic events that happen in our lives.
    Normally we are all able to come to terms with traumas, the memory fades and stops affecting our day-to-day life.

    The latest research shows that during REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) our brain goes through a cycle of dual stimulation.

    It seems that this process changes our memories from a physical stimulation and the related emotional feeling and images.

    They change into a verbal, language based memory which is remembered as a story.

    Usually our mind/ body processes and manages traumatic events during our normal sleep cycles without us being aware of it.
    EMDR allows this process to happen while we are awake.

    Why are some traumas so troubling and left unprocessed?

    Some traumas are overwhelming. These extreme events overload our processing system. This overload leads to the event becoming stuck or trapped in an unprocessed state with a large emotional charge.

    Where a trauma remains unprocessed, it is held isolated in our mind.
    We often forget the event itself, but the thoughts, feelings, images, physical reactions and sensations from the event can get re triggered when we are reminded of the original event.

    Even if the actual event is too upsetting to remember and was deliberately forgotten, the feeling associated with the event, such as panic, anxiety, despair and anger are re lived or triggered in the present.

    This repeating of the distress adds to the trauma. This can lead to us changing our behaviour to avoid re experiencing the feelings, images, physical reactions and sensations from the event.

    To save our self from this distress, we change our life and the way we behave to avoid re triggering the trauma. These “avoidance behaviours” can damage our relationships with family, friends and work colleges, cloud our judgment and limit our lives.

    Why are some trauma left unprocessed and others resolved?

    As we grow from children into adults and evolve as people we learn how to deal with traumatic experiences and heal ourselves.

    Unfortunately, some traumas happen before we have the capacity to deal with them, so they are kept isolated and often forgotten. They affect our behaviour without us understanding why.

    The ability to cope with trauma changes from person to person. Our experiences as children, our family and cultural background all influence how we react, cope and heal after a traumatic experience.

    For healing to take place these isolated traumas need linking with our now experienced mind so that they can be resolved.

    I use EMDR in my therapy and counselling sessions in three ways:

    Where EMDR is used to treat a specific simple traumatic event.

    For these types of trauma, dual attention therapy offers profound relief over short treatment lengths.
    We can normally expect permanent relief from the distress of the trauma by the end of a relatively short treatment plan of 10 sessions and sometimes less.
    This type of therapy is suitable for trauma such as:
  • Single road traffic accident or similar event
  • Single event which is still causing you emotional distress
  • Mugging without previous trauma
  • Serious illness diagnosis
  • Witness to some one else’s trauma
  • Operation trauma
  • Burglary or similar experience of loss without it being our fault
  • Divorce or loss of partner
  • Death of a loved one

    During therapy or counselling sessions for complex problems

    I use EMDR when we are exploring a subject and uncover something which retriggers an incident in the past.
    The EMDR gives relief from the distress of the past incident and allows us to continue with therapy or counselling.

    When our therapy or counselling session is disrupted by a recent traumatic event

    Occasionally, a traumatic event occurs in our life and this disturbing event will stall our therapy session.
    EMDR gives relief from the distress of this current event and allows us to continue with therapy or counselling.

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Blog. Depressed Teenager

Depression and Hormonal Birth Control

Could your choice of contraception be causing or contributing to your depression?

It’s a hot question and one that resent research begins to answer.

One of the most common reasons that people come to see me is depression, its causes, and the effect it has on a person’s heath and wellbeing.

Since the 60's being on the Pill is an easy and reliable type of contraceptive for women. Just pop the Pill every morning.
However, during this period, depression in women just keeps increasing. So that right now, women are twice as lightly to suffer from depression as men.

Over the years I have seen a succession of women who are all sure that the Pill is a big contributor to their depression. Their experience and my own of taking the pill after the birth of my son, has long convinced me that one of the common side effects of taking the pill is depression.

Pregnancy or depression is not a good choice! Keep taking your current medication and seek professional informed advice.
Some medications will have more impact on emotional health than others so take a copy of the research to your doctor or practitioner and seriously talk through your choices.

When doing my initial assessment of depressed women, I always ask if she is on any medication and what type of contraception she is using. I ask younger woman if they are taking the contraceptive pill even if they are not sexually active, as many young women take it for painful periods or acne.

I always make it clear to my clients that I am not able to give advice on, or prescribe medication as I am not medically qualified, but when appropriate, we discuss if the pill could be contributing to or causing their depression.
Together we look at their choices for contraception and when appropriate they have stopped taking the pill.
All have thrived.
It has been hard to prove conclusively that the contraceptive pill was contributing to or causing their depression, but newly published research shows that all forms of hormonal contraception are a major contributory factor to depression in women.

This research from the University of Copenhagen shows a link between depression and hormonal contraceptives. Their study tracks one million Danish women for 13 years and shows that women using hormonal birth control are prescribed an antidepressant by their doctor between 23% and 33% more often than women who are not using hormonal contraceptives.
The research highlighted that adolescent girls (teenagers) and those taking the synthetic progestin only pills were most at risk of developing severe enough symptoms of depression to seek medical help.
Worryingly, long term implant contraceptives are shown to increase the chance of depression at a much higher rate than oral contraceptives.

Sarah Boseley, Health editor for the Guardian Newspaper, gives a good overview here: Contraception and Family Planning

Anna Almendrala, Senior Healthy Living Editor for The Huffington Post, gives a good breakdown of the statistics here: Landmark Study Links Hormonal Birth Control and Depression

Tayana Simons, writer and journalist for the Huffington Post, blogs about her personal experience here: Can The Contraceptive Pill Make You Depressed?

You can access the original research and read a synopsis here: Synopsis

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Blog. Richmond Adult Community College

EMDR Dates for Richmond Adult Community College

I will be giving two lectures about Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR) at Richmond Adult Community College for the first year diploma students.

General Introduction to EMDR
(Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing)
Thursday 24th November 2016
Tuesday 21st March 2017

This course is designed to give new students an overview of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing)
To preview the notes for this lecture, log in on the Associate & Student page.

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