Binaural beats

When two different frequencies are played to the left and right side of the ear the brain detects the difference and this difference becomes a third frequency that is heard. Depending on the frequency it can entrain the brain into certain brain states. For example, a relaxed meditative state, or an alert, creative state.

Have a look at the work of ‘Healing Vibrations’ here:-

Sound baths

A sound bath is a ceremony where a sound healing practitioner creates a sonic soundscape for others, with the intention of producing sounds which take participants on a journey towards feeling healed and soothed.

Sound healing, or sound therapy is the use of either the voice or instruments to create a space where we can hear and feel the vibrational energy of sound. The effects can be therapeutic on many levels; physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Here is an example of a sound bath from Sara Auster on YouTube:

Sound Bath by Sara Auster

I’m really enjoying this audiobook about Sound Baths by Sara Auster. She blends sound baths with her yoga practice and gives some really interesting details about the origins of sound healing and yoga.

Did you know that yoga is not just about postures and breathing? One of the ‘limbs’ of yoga is ‘Nada Yoga’ which means the union of sound. How sound affects us at many levels. In essence, sound is vibration and we are affected by and have effects on these vibrations that are around and within us.

Here’s the link to the book on Audible if you are interested


Other sound healing books

Here are a few of the other books I am reading or have on my reading list at the moment:-

  1. Healing at the speed of sound
  2. The healing power of the human voice
  3. The book of sound therapy: heal yourself with music and voice
  4. Healing with the voice

Expressive writing for emotional health: a course to help you feel better quickly

Expressive writing was first studied by James Pennebaker in the 1980’s and the first scientific study, in collaboration with Joshua Smyth in 1986 found that this technique seemed to help those who used it to offload and discharge feelings.

They studied the effects of this technique and found that a significant number of people who used the technique seemed to show benefits to their immune system, inflammation markers and in the number of health issues as well as reduced anxiety, and improved mood.

I have been studying and practising this technique personally and am now combining it with a specific technique for managing emotions and would like to offer this method to those of you who would like to try it.

I’ve put an online course together for you that I think may be helpful for those who wish to try an alternative to traditional talking therapies, or who for whatever reason cannot access therapy at this time.

The course is £25 – less than half the price of a standard therapy session.

Click here to go to Udemy and signup to the course.

Signup to my expressive writing for emotional health course
Expressive writing for emotional health course

The Morning Pages by Julia Cameron

The’Morning Pages’ have been my refuge, my place to cry, my thought organiser, my decision helper, and my main method of offloading and processing how I feel for nearly 18 years now. Over the past year I have adapted them into nightly pages instead. This seems to also stop me from browsing on my phone before sleep – something that never helps me and yet I automatically reach for the phone as soon as I get into bed.

“Write three pages, longhand if possible, on A4 paper”

Julia Cameron

Morning pages – what are they?

The morning pages technique comes from Julia Cameron’s book ‘The Artist’s Way‘. The book’s main purpose is to help you get back to your creative self, free from the suffocating hands of criticism and self-doubt. She sets out a 12-week programme for recovering this part of you but there are two main techniques that are a core part of each week’s task; The Morning Pages, and The Artist Date. Morning pages are 3 sides of (preferably A4-sized) pages of free writing, written long-hand. We are instructed to start by dumping words onto the page until something comes. It’s even fine to start with “I don’t know what to write, this is useless, I don’t feel like writing…”. Just keep going until you find a thread of something else to take you off on a tangent. The pages become a way of not only offloading, but starting to see what is within and processing any self-doubting thoughts, or critical comments. Unpacking feelings and judgments, and starting to see the possibilities if you want to look for them. They are a way to confront your blocks, to sit with them and see what is behind them.

In the original book Julia spoke of how she keeps hers for 12 weeks and then burns them. She didn’t look back over them once written they were of no use to her as her mind had already moved to a different place. She has softened this view now and often will check back to see themes and ideas that had come out. I think this is a personal choice. For me, my memory issues mean that I keep mine so as to not forget and to have a resource for writing. I also know that our brain’s can only keep in mind a certain amount of information at any one time and so there is a lot of archive material in our mental vaults. Just like in the film ‘Inside Out’ where long-term memory was a vast space, some information filed so it is easy to retrieve, but some information lost forever because the ‘tags’ are missing. Memory is a library, but the strength of any library is in how we find what is there.

Try the Morning Pages

Have you got a bit of time to yourself right now? Just a few mins is fine. Get a pen and a sheet of paper, don’t worry what size it is right now. Start writing out the first thing that comes to mind, or just let your pen move across the page and see where it goes. The point is not to try too hard to think about what to write first, just let your hand write something and go with that. If you are someone who doodles, then doodle. Some of us draw shapes and visuals rather than words and that is just as valid a way of expressing yourself and offloading.

Keep going. When you feel like you come to a stop. Keep going. This might be where you find you are a bit stuck for what to say. If this feels frustrating then let that out. “I really have nothing to say now”, “I just want to stop now there’s nothing, blah blah blah blah, this is useless, grrrrr what the hell am I doing I should just stop this! Aaarrrghhh, god I feel really worked up now, okay what is the point of this what the hell!!!”

Keep going. This is where writing by hand starts to produce something different to typing. When we type we are concerned with typing correctly, making sentences, using full stops. When we are mark-making with a pen and by hand we can doodle, and scrawl, and cross out and not make any sense with words if we want, this is where the expression starts to happen.

Keep going.

It is in this halfway point of feeling like I’ve reached the end and have nothing to say that I find I can get down to a deeper level – but I have to let myself write rubbish first, sometimes swear, sometimes scrawl and doodle too. Try it. Keep going at this point and see what happens. If you feel annoyed, or stressed, or sad even, notice this. Notice this feeling in your body and write about how this feeling feels.

Where to find a therapist in the UK

In my book ‘Do I Need to See a Therapist?!’ I have put together a list of all the therapy directories I could find that offer a place to search for counsellors and psychotherapists. I plan to link to this information on here once the book has been published but for now these are the main therapy directories that I personally use if a friend or family member asks me where they should go to find a therapist. I do not endorse any of these therapists myself or the sites, but I use them to check therapists against my own personal criteria. The first place to go is usually to your GP who can let you know the options for NHS Therapy. For private therapy, this is what I look for:

Qualifications: I look not just for the specific mode of therapy but also the previous training and background that the person has. I also look for the blend of therapies that they use, years in practice and that they don’t make over-inflated claims about being able to help everyone with any problem. As far as I have found there is no ‘magic’ therapy that can help with every issue and this is the reason why we have such a vast range available. Yes, evidence-bases are important but we have to remember here that this does not always give us the full story. For research purposes some clients are excluded from studies if they have certain symptoms and so we have to be open-minded even about what ‘evidence-based’ means.

Accreditation and Registration: I look for the therapist to be accredited or registered by a recognised therapy organisation such as the National Counselling Society (NCS), United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (BABCP), British Psychoanalytical Council (BPC), National Council of Psychotherapists (NCP) or the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). For example if a listing says that the therapist practices CBT then I look for Accreditation by the BABCP. You can check that a member is accredited by using the CBT Register and putting the person’s name into the right hand search box (the left search box is for premium listings which not all therapists pay for but if they are accredited by the BABCP they will appear in the right hand box if you search for their surname). It is important that they are registered/accredited by one body, it doesn’t have to be more than one. I just want to know that there is a body that they are accountable to and whose code of conduct the therapist signs up to.

Therapy bodies: Therapy bodies usually have directories that you can use to search for a therapist. In my book I have put together a list of all of the bodies I could find in the UK where you can find a therapist who is registered and/or accredited by that particular body. These are the ones mentioned above but there are many others:-

CBT: https://www.cbtregisteruk.com

NCS: https://nationalcounsellingsociety.org

UKCP: https://www.psychotherapy.org.uk/find-a-therapist/?Distance=10

BPC: https://www.bpc.org.uk

NCP: https://www.thencp.org

BACP: https://www.bacp.co.uk/search/Therapists

Private Directories: In my book I have researched every directory that I could find and assessed them against some core criteria. Therapists pay to be on these directories and so it is unlikely that you will see the same therapist on all of them. So don’t be worried if you don’t see your chosen therapist on all of the sites. Here are two of the main directories:

Counselling Directory: https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk

Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb