John Veltheim Bodytalk in Ireland

Photos from today’s session at Finola’s Healing Concepts (Bodytalk) with the great John Veltheim! Another great day of Healing!

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Wow, we can’t thank Jenny enough for this Testimonial…

Hi Maureen,

I just want to say the biggest and most heartfelt thank you for my literally life-changing four days at Breakthrough Retreats!

Finding the website, funds, and courage to fly over alone to get well and strong was the best thing I’ve ever done.

The combination of one-to-one therapy with Maureen, the daily walks / hikes with Fiona, the relaxing ‘me time’ of massage and reflexology, the sessions of BodyTalk with Finola and hypnotherapy with Jacqui, all made for a truly unique and incredible few days.

It’s so difficult pinpointing a favourite activity or experience, but I have to say the Bodytalk and hypnotherapy sessions I had have completely changed my outlook in the most amazing way. It wasn’t just the actual therapies, but more so the people I trusted with me, and the relationships built in such a short space of time.

Even without the various therapies, this sort of retreat would do anyone good just for the feeling of self-development, discovery, and being totally spoilt by Maureen’s wonderful company the entire trip! I couldn’t have been made to feel more looked after or special.

I felt completely at home at the Retreat Centre within my first few hours of arriving!

I tried not to have too many expectations before I arrived, and was very open to any treatments and experiences that would help me. All I had was excitement and anticipation! I’m so glad I did, because I was overwhelmed by the whole experience, and can say that a month after returning home to ‘normality’, I’m even stronger and my well being is still on the improve and flourishing.

There are no words big enough to thank all you ladies, especially Maureen, for helping me change my life. As cheesy as that sounds, the whole experience is completely priceless, I owe you all so much, and will always treasure every moment I spent at Breakthrough Retreats.

Can’t wait to see you all again very soon!

Jenny x

Safeguarding Employees from Work-Place Stress

Employers and human resources managers are increasingly looking for new ways to improve staff occupational health and safety, to meet extensive national requirements.

UK’s most unique health retreat operator, Breakthrough Retreats, specialise in assisting employers to safeguard employees from illnesses and treat wellness as an ongoing preventative tool.

Maureen Courtney, founder of Breakthrough Retreats, says the value to the employer of sending staff to health retreats is immense, as the latest statistics show.

“It is estimated more than ten million working days are lost per year due to anxiety, stress and depression linked to work, and that work-related stress is the second largest occupational health problem after back pain in terms of numbers of workers affected.”

“The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said the cost of work related mental illness was £28bn – a quarter of the UK’s total sick bill,” said Ms Courtney.

“Apart from the medical expenses, there is the cost of losing a key person in your organisation to poor health. The question remains, should people take second place to capital equipment and processes expenditure? The provision of preventive health and wellness care, when the first signs of stress appear, can benefit both employer and employee.”

Breakthrough Retreats have been operating for several years catering not only to the corporate sector but also individuals and groups.

“The Breakthrough Retreat approach to health is to offer clients a lifestyle change opportunity using techniques such as visualisations, bodywork, Neuro-linguistic program (NLP), hypnosis, family taboo and anger release work.“

“The combination of intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual work provides an all-round and integrated approach to resolving many of life’s problems,” said Mrs Courtney.

“Workers are more relaxed and work efficiently when mind, body and soul are totally in sync. They are able to focus more effectively on the day-to-day demands of their jobs having rejuvenated, refreshed and recharged themselves.”

To live your life to the full, visit breakthrough-retreats.co.uk.

Veteran Psychotherapist publishes new guide to explore the impact of transpersonal psychotherapy

Veteran Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master Maureen Courtney of Breakthrough Retreats is seeking to raise awareness of the remarkable effectiveness of transpersonal psychotherapy for individuals suffering from any number of personal issues. In order to reach as many people as possible she is making her new guide available online for free.

As Maureen explains…

“All of us have things we’d like to change about ourselves, yet rather than tackle them head on, we simply find ways to cope with them and smother them with work and family. Although this may be easy, it will only exacerbate the problem in the long run. For those people motivated to make a positive change in their life (rather than those who simply refuse to acknowledge their problems), psychotherapy can be enormously helpful. Whether you’re suffering from stress, depression, anxiety or addiction, psychotherapy sessions will enable you to identify the true origin of your issues, recognise negative behaviours in yourself and develop the means to tackle them effectively.

“Unfortunately, however, despite its proven effectiveness, many people still struggle to fit weekly sessions into busy lives. For people in this position, a short personal development retreat is the perfect solution. Despite lasting only a matter of days, a retreat has the same impact of 3 or 4 years of psychotherapy. To raise awareness of these retreats I’ve decided to make my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential: An introduction to the incredible impact of personal development retreats” available for free online.

Anyone interested in a copy can order theirs at www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk.

Veteran Psychotherapist publishes series of articles to detail the importance of getting away from it all

Veteran Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master Maureen Courtney of Breakthrough Retreats has recently published a series of articles in which she explains the importance of escaping everyday routines.

As Maureen explains…

“All of us have things we would love to change about ourselves, but many of us ignore these desires in the hope that they will somehow disappear in time. Rather than tackling those issues which are bothering us most, we become consumed by our day-to-day lives and begin to put personal development on the back-burners, allowing it to bow to the demands of work.

“In order to bring about lasting change it is important to tear yourself away from your daily routine. Although this can be achieved to an extent by making an effort to do something different during your lunch breaks or after work, the most effective way of tackling mental health issues is to escape the city altogether on a personal development retreat. By visiting a retreat, not only will you benefit from the peace and quiet of the countryside and the help and advice of various experts, you will also have time to identify, engage with and overcome those problems you had hidden away.

“Unlike weekly therapy sessions, a retreat will revolutionise your approach to life in a matter of days. Unfortunately, however, many of those who would benefit most from a bespoke health retreat are unaware that these retreats even exist, which is why I’ve written a series of articles on the subject. Anyone interested in exploring the articles can find them at www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk.”

For more information email mocourtney@btinternet.com.

Veteran Psychotherapist publishes new guide to explain the transformative power of personal development retreats

Veteran Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist and Reiki Master Maureen Courtney of Breakthrough Retreats has recently published a guide to introduce those dissatisfied with traditional therapy to the concept of personal development retreats and is making it available online for free.

As Maureen explains…

“Although currently weekly, one to one therapy sessions are the go-to solution for anyone struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, abuse or other such problems, this way of approaching personal development has major flaws. Despite the fact that treatments such as psychotherapy and hypnotherapy have been proven to be extremely beneficial to individuals, weekly hour-long sessions can only go so far towards true personal change as the brevity of these sessions undermines their effectiveness. Rather than being able to reflect on what they have uncovered properly after each session, on leaving, individuals are immersed once more in their normal lives.

“In contrast, personal development retreats take people away from their day-to-day lives in order to allow them to focus exclusively on solving whatever problems they are dealing with. Able to benefit from a wide range of treatments as well as amazing scenery and good food during these retreats, the impact they can have is far beyond that of traditional weekly therapy sessions.

“Unfortunately, however, few people are aware that these retreats are available, let alone how effective they are, which is why I’ve written my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential” and made it available for free online. Anyone interested in a copy can order theirs at www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk.”

Does Pacing Back and Forth Actually Help Anxiety?

Maybe you’re on a phone interview for the perfect job opportunity, or maybe your in-laws are due to show up any minute.

To deal with these everyday stresses and anxieties, we often subconsciously pace back and forth with no destination or clear goal in mind. But what causes pacing, and can it help ease our mood?

“Pacing is a behavioural signal to tell yourself that you’re too overwhelmed,” Sunna Jung, Ph.D., a psychologist specializing in anxiety and trauma, tells Mashable. “It could be a signal trying to teach you about something that’s happening in your internal state, or it can be a form of distraction in the moment to calm yourself down.”

On a basic level, Jung believes pacing is a way to release muscular tension or discomfort. Your body is sending a signal to your brain that it’s uncomfortable: “Pay attention; something isn’t right.” When it comes to anxiety, pacing could be our mind and body’s attempt at relief.

While anxiety can range from temporary anxious feelings to a serious illness, it’s incredibly common. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. — 40 million American adults (18% of the population) suffer from anxiety. And although it’s highly treatable, only one-third receive treatment.

Pacing isn’t exclusive to anxiety either; it can be a symptom of depression (though, nearly half of those diagnosed with depression also live with an anxiety disorder, according to the ADAA), as well as ADHD and autism (as a repetitive body movement).

When it comes to everyday anxiety, pacing might help you stay calm and collected on that phone interview, concentrate more when making a decision and feeling more comfortable by the time your in-laws arrive.

 

But are there any drawbacks?

“When you’re in a state of distraction, and you’re staying away from the actual sensation or memory or thoughts you’re trying to keep at bay,  it can place you in a state of constant anxiety without any kind of real resolution it can place you in a state of constant anxiety without any kind of real resolution,” Jung says.

Pacing is just one of several bodily reactions to stress and anxiety, like twitching or stomach discomfort. And while pacing is one of the most common, it might not help anything either, depending on your source of discomfort.

Jung’s patients spend more time in their heads, ruminating — which is similar to pacing in its repetitive nature. Pacing, she says, is not very harmful and common enough that her patients don’t talk about it much or do it in the room with her. Ruminating, on the other hand, can be harmful; spending too much time thinking about something, even when there’s no resolution, can make it worse.

That’s why, when we pace, we should be more mindful of what we do and think about.

“Notice each footfall as it hits the ground, and notice how the body is responding to it … That awareness, over time, brings you more stability and more self-regulation,” she says. Pacing isn’t something psychologists “prescribe,” of course, but “in that case, it really wouldn’t be pacing any longer. It would be a mindful way of taking steps, both metaphorically and physiologically. It would be a mindful way of taking steps, both metaphorically and physiologically, toward understanding the internal activities that are going on in that moment.”

Jung tells her patients to pay attention to the physicality of anxiety: heart rate, temperature, tightness in the chest, or tension in their shoulders and legs. But just as important is using external tools — things that will ground them. Plants and pets at home, a photograph or meaningful object at work, anything with a warm connection that allows them to feel more present to who they are.

“We all experience anxiety at different points in our lives, and it’s really how we respond to it that’s important,” Jung says. “That’s what’s going to get us through those difficult moments.”

Next time you find yourself pacing back and forth, try some of Jung’s tips — and you might just feel better, faster.

Original Article Here…

Is Depression a Sign of Weakness? Actually It’s the Opposite – You’re Too Strong

This month we take another look at Depression…

I am not talking about the Monday morning blues or feeling down for a short period of time, which, quite rightly, can be referred to as feeling depressed but the word in this context is really a verb. I am referring to the event that is called depression in the noun sense.

About two years after the train crash I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which, because it had gone so long untreated, I now have chronically, which in turn means I will never get rid of it altogether.

One of the many symptoms of PTSD is clinical depression. Deep depression. This type of depression I can only describe as being at the bottom of deep, dark, damp well. High above you can see the sunshine and even hear people cheerfully talking which represents the normal world you’ve suddenly dropped away from. The walls of the well are too steep to climb up nor do you have energy to attempt the effort. It is truly isolating and I find I can neither talk, move nor eat anything and episodes can stretch into weeks. These days it does not happen often to me but when it does it is soul destroying and I used to get annoyed that I could not snap myself out of it.

That was until I met and was treated by Dr Tim Cantopher, one of our most renowned consultant psychiatrist’s. It was through his ministrations that I came to realise that, though labelled a mental illness, depression is in reality a physical illness. And here is the science he explained;

When a part of our brain called the limbic system malfunctions it manifests as depression. Our limbic system is a complex system of nerve fibres configured like a computers circuit board controlling numerous systems around our body including our moods. It copes with our everyday life stresses very well but it does have a limit. When pushed beyond breaking point (usually, but not exclusively, by a traumatic event) it will effectively blow a fuse. This ‘fuse’ is our transmitter chemicals, seratonin and noradrenaline, and their levels drop rapidly when the circuit blows. Without the correct levels of these two chemicals the electrical impulses that our brains nerve fibres need also drop which in turn causes our ‘circuit board’ to abruptly stop working ie. depression.

Perhaps surprisingly to some Dr Cantopher also attests that depression is ‘The Curse of the Strong’. As he puts it “what happens if you put a whole lot of stresses on to someone who is weak, cynical or lazy? The answer is that they will immediately give up, so they will never get stressed enough to become ill. The strong person on the other hand reacts to stress by redoubling their efforts, pushing themselves way beyond the limits for which their body is designed. When they start getting the symptoms of depression they still keep going, with the inevitable result that eventually their limbic system gives way. If you put 18 amps through a 13 amp fuse there is only one possible result.”

The problem is that us ‘strong’ people have always overcome obstacles or hurdles in life by tackling them head on and putting every ounce of energy we have in getting past them. The very idea of giving in to our depression goes completely against the grain and we are not very good at taking the rest the condition demands. However, once you realise that it is a physical illness, no different to a bad case of flu, chicken pox or pneumonia, it is easier to allow yourself the rest needed and stop fighting it.

If you’re dealing with depression, seeking treatment for abuse or simply seeking advice on how to be at one with yourself and would like to learn more about how a health retreat can help, visit www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk. There you’ll be able to claim your free copy of my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential: An introduction to the incredible impact of personal development retreats”, packed with information on everything from what a spiritual retreat looks like to the benefits of getting away from it all.

Original article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/pam-warren/depression-sign-weakness_b_5416190.html

Breakthrough Retreats’ Top Tips for good mental wellbeing over Christmas

With Christmas and the New Year fast approaching, Maureen Courtney offers advice on how to cope with the pressures of Christmas and how to implement positive mental change for 2015.

 

 

Drink sensibly

The celebratory spirit of Christmas and New Year often involves social drinking and although the consumption of alcohol might make you feel more relaxed, it is important to remember that alcohol is a depressant and drinking excessive amounts can cause low mood, irritability or potentially aggressive behaviour. By not exceeding the recommended number of safe units, you will be better able to sustain good mental and physical wellbeing.

 

Eat well

The festive period has become synonymous with over-indulgence, which in turn prompts a pressing desire for many of us to lose weight in the New Year. Therefore, where possible, it is important to maintain a good balance of fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates, protein and omega 3 sources throughout the year in order to help us work towards weight loss in a sensible way. Maintaining a healthy diet and weight can improve your mood and can work towards preventing symptoms of lethargy and irritability that many of us feel during the busy festive season and dark winter months.

 

Be active

Exercise releases the feel-good chemicals, endorphins, which help you to relax, feel happy and boost your mood. By undertaking simple tasks such as cycling to work, walking in the park, or joining in with Christmas games, you can benefit from experiencing reduced anxiety, decreased depression and improved self-esteem. In addition, recent research has indicated that regular exercise can help to boost our immune systems, enabling us to better fight off colds and flu viruses that are prolific in winter months.

 

Get involved

The festive period provides us with an ideal opportunity to talk to, visit or engage with the people around us. Face-to-face communication has been shown to improve our mental and physical wellbeing as this interaction produces the hormone, oxytocin, which can benefit our immune system, heart health and cognitive function. It has been reported that a third of us have a close friend or family member we think is lonely, a Christmas or new year’s resolution to see our friends and family more often can help to boost both our own mental wellbeing, and that of others. If you are apart from your family then volunteering for a charity or local community organisation can provide that same human contact, as well as help provide essential support and encouragement for others in need. These interactions can easily be sustained throughout the coming year and need not just be for Christmas.

 

Relax

Christmas can be a very busy and stressful time as we prepare to entertain family and friends, worry about cooking a delicious Christmas dinner, and fit in some last minute present shopping. These feelings of being under pressure can produce symptoms of anxiety, anger and difficulty sleeping which, if prolonged, could have a long-term detrimental impact on your mental health and wellbeing. By exercising more regularly or practicing mindfulness – a combination of meditation, yoga and breathing techniques – you can help to both alleviate the symptoms of your stress and gain more control when coping with difficult situations. Christmas presents aside, implementing a new exercise regime or signing up for a course in mindfulness, such as our online course in mindfulness-based stress reduction, could be your best investment for a more relaxed Christmas and New Year.

 

Sleep

Despite many of us having time off work during Christmas and the New Year, our sleep patterns can be disturbed between catching up with friends and family and partying late in to the night. There is mounting evidence on the link between sleep and mental wellbeing, meaning improvements in the quality of your sleep could result in improvements to your overall mental health. There are several steps you can take towards achieving a better night’s sleep: attempting to get back in to your regular sleep routine as soon as possible after the party period, consuming less alcohol during the festivities, implementing regular exercise into your weekly routine, and taking measures to alleviate your stress.

 

If you’re dealing with depression, lonliness or having problems conquering other personal issues and would like to learn more about how our bespoke health retreats could benefit you, visit www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk. There you’ll be able to claim your free copy of my new guide, “Unlocking your full potential: An introduction to the incredible impact of personal development retreats”, packed with information on everything from what a spiritual retreat looks like to the benefits of getting away from it all.

 

Original article here.

 

 

The Importance of making a Will

balance loveFrom October 2014 the estates of people who die intestate, or without a will, are to be divided differently.

Rules of Intestacy; determine what happens to a person’s estate if they die without a will.

The major change is if a person who is married or in a civil partnership dies intestate (without a will), their entire estate will now automatically pass to their direct family.

However, couples who aren’t married or in a civil partnership and who don’t have a will still don’t automatically receive anything from their partner or spouse’s estate.

There are several key changes to the rules.

Couples with no children

Previously, in the case of couples with no children, the spouse or partner would inherit the first £450,000 of the estate plus interest, half of any remaining value and the deceased person’s personal property, known as chattels. The remainder would then go to any surviving blood relatives such as parents or siblings. Now the entire estate passes to the surviving spouse or civil partner.

Couples with children

In the case of couples with children, previously the spouse or civil partner would take the first £250,000 of the estate and all the deceased’s chattels. They would also have what’s known as a ‘life interest’ in half of any remaining balance, where they are entitled to use a property or use an income for their rest of their life. The children would take the other half. Now, the spouse or civil partner receives the half of any remaining amount as a cash sum upfront, with the rest still going to the children.

Personal property or chattels

As these laws haven’t been revised since 1925, there are plenty of archaic descriptions of what chattels might be included, such as carriages and scientific instruments.

The new laws now define chattels as “anything that is not monetary, business assets or held as an investment”. Experts say the latter definition is too ambiguous and could lead to arguments among families as to what is an investment.

Adopted children

A child can still inherit part of an estate via intestacy, even if he/she is then adopted. And a person who is “treated as a child of the family” is also able to make a claim.

The amount that can be inherited by the spouse or partner

Previously, the amount the surviving spouse or partner received when someone died intestate was fixed at either £450,000 or £250,000 depending on whether or not they had children. This is known as the statutory legacy. Now this amount will be reviewed every five years in line with the Consumer Prices Index measure of inflation and rounded up to the nearest £1,000.

The importance of making a will

While these changes are an improvement, they still don’t eliminate the need to make a will if you want to ensure your estate goes to certain people. This is obviously especially true if you’re not married or in a civil partnership or if you have partners or children from other relationships.

Making a will also means your family isn’t left dealing with paperwork of intestacy after your death, trying to second-guess your wishes. In addition there’s the prospect of your loved ones paying inheritance tax on your estate if you haven’t planned properly.

Nearly two-thirds of people do not have a will, according to new research by the Co-operative Legal Services.

Original article information here.