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.”
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.
Having trained for five years to become a transpersonal therapist, this is an area of particular expertise for me.
Forming a large part of our health retreats, this incredibly effective form of therapy healing involves searching for the origin of your problem (be it stress, depression, anxiety or addiction) and helping you recognise negative behaviours in yourself and develop the means to tackle them effectively. Transpersonal psychotherapy sessions may also involve looking at your situation on a spiritual level. Lots of people have spiritual beliefs which are different to those of their family, which can be extremely difficult to come to terms with. Similarly, dream analysis can form an important part of these sessions.
In short, transpersonal therapy, like other effective mental therapy treatments such as hypnotherapy, is concerned with tracing everything back to its root cause. Often this won’t be immediately apparent, but will emerge gradually after several sessions at your retreat centre. For example, if you are struggling to deal with stress and anxiety, though you might initially think work is to blame, we may discover in the course of the therapy that the real cause is an inability to deal with abuse suffered in the past at the hands of parents or partners. Whatever the origin of your problem, identifying it is a huge step towards tackling and overcoming it, and essential if you are to be able to live the life you want in the future.
If you’re dealing with depression, seeking treatment for abuse or having problems conquering other personal issues and would like to learn more about how a break at one of our retreat centres 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.
When it comes to dealing with depression and learning how to be at one with yourself, breaking your current patterns of behaviour is extremely important. Unfortunately, however, despite the fact that many people are unhappy or unsatisfied with the way their life is going, they still neglect to change their daily routine.
A spiritual retreat is the perfect way to get away from your day to day life. Whether you choose a weekend, 5-day or 7-day retreat, putting physical distance between yourself and your normal surroundings can be enormously helpful and allow you to evaluate your lifestyle more effectively.
Whereas therapy healing is usually a somewhat formal affair, in the context of a spiritual retreat, you will be having breakfast, lunch and dinner with your therapist as well as engaging in activities such as yoga with them. This far more informal approach not only creates an atmosphere more conducive to personal development, resulting in clients opening up about themselves much more freely, but also helps to get clients used to incorporating self reflection and development into their daily routine – something that is incredibly useful when the time comes to return to their day-to-day lives.
If you’re dealing with depression, seeking treatment for abuse or having problems conquering other personal issues and would like to learn more about how a spiritual 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.
When it comes to organising your schedule, my primary focus is on providing you with the therapies and treatments which will benefit you most. Unlike other health retreats and mental therapy retreat centres, who offer largely pre-packaged deals, at Breakthrough Retreats we are acutely aware of the importance of offering a bespoke experience, whether or not you’re visiting as part of a group. What’s more, in order to ensure you gain as much as possible from your time with us, your schedule will be packed full of treatments.
For example, a typical day might consist of around four or five hours with myself, two hours with a hypnotherapist, who will help you to engage with your inner child, and yoga. Depending on whether or not I think it would help you, you may also enjoy a meditation session with one of our experts.
Some of the other treatments we offer include the following:
Indian head massage
Water therapy (if in Cornwall)
Plus, as all our retreats are all-inclusive, breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks are covered in the price of your retreat.
Although many of the people who come to us have problems that cannot be ‘solved’ during their stay – such as those who have suffered a bereavement or abuse – visiting a mental therapy retreat centre will ensure you are far better placed to deal with your problems and enable you to return to your regular life full of positivity, confidence and optimism for the future.
So as to stop clients slipping back into negative behaviours, I am also able to offer up to three follow-up sessions after the retreat has ended, which can be conducted via Skype, telephone conversation or in person.
Find out more…
If you’re dealing with depression, seeking treatment for abuse or having problems conquering other personal issues and would like to learn more about how a Breakthrough 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.
Set in the heart of the countryside, a personal health retreat offers individuals a far more effective way of coming to grips with any issues they have than is possible via traditional therapy healing sessions. In the remarkable comfort of a retreat centre, and with the help of a wide range of treatments and numerous experts, clients are perfectly positioned to experience a dramatic transformation – something that can change them for the rest of their life.
Whilst hour-long sessions of psychotherapy, hypnotherapy or other such treatments can be a great help to individuals, they simply cannot compare to the impact of a retreat tailored specifically to your needs. What we are able to do on a personal health retreat equates to around 3 years’ worth of psychotherapy sessions – making these retreats not only cost-effective, but perfect for those with particularly time-consuming jobs.
As opposed to group health retreats, a personal health retreat is just that – personal! Far from simply subscribing to a set package, each individual, whether they are with us as part of a group or not, will enjoy a totally unique experience, tailored precisely to their exact needs.
During your few days with us, we will help you get to the bottom of why you’re feeling the way you are, work out ways in which you can make a positive change in your life, and help you to recognise and eradicate negative behaviour patterns. What’s more, once you leave, we are always contactable via email or telephone.
In short, Breakthrough Retreats offer quality, valuable, accessible and cost effective therapy healing in a supportive, respectful and confidential environment specifically designed to bring about positive and lasting change in the life of the individual.
If you’re dealing with depression, seeking treatment for abuse or having problems conquering other personal issues 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.
No matter who we are, all of us will be guilty of developing negative habits and behaviours at some stage in our lives. As such, we can all benefit greatly from taking the time to examine ourselves with the help of an expert.
For the vast majority of people who decide to take action to improve their lives, be it personal therapy or group psychotherapy, therapy healing is the go-to solution, and has indeed been proven to produce remarkable results. However, although 1-hour or 2-hour weekly sessions at a therapist’s house might well be helpful for the individual, the effectiveness of this sort of therapy healing is extremely limited by the brevity of the sessions and the fact that clients are immediately immersed in their normal routine again after leaving a session.
Having dealt with hundreds of clients as a therapist over the years, after extensive consultation and research, I developed The Courtney Process. This process forms an alternative to ongoing appointments, instead offering clients a chance to get away from their everyday lives and focus exclusively on tackling whatever issues they are struggling to overcome. With the help of me and my team of experts, in picturesque natural surroundings, we will enable you to get to the bottom of your issues and help you to devise ways for you to tackle them in the future.
Whether you’re looking to boost self esteem and self confidence, beat depression or simply feel like you’re stuck in a rut and don’t know how to get out, a bespoke health retreat will help you to make positive and lasting changes in your life.
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.
It seems like you hear it all the time from nearly every one you know – “I’m SO stressed out!” Pressures abound in this world today. Those pressures cause stress and anxiety, and often we are ill-equipped to deal with those stressors that trigger anxiety and other feelings that can make us sick. Literally, sick.
The statistics are staggering. One in every eight Americans age 18-54 suffers from an anxiety disorder. This totals over 19 million people! Research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health has shown that anxiety disorders are the number one mental health problem among American women and are second only to alcohol and drug abuse by men.
Women suffer from anxiety and stress almost twiceas much as men. Anxiety disorders are the most commonmental illness in America, surpassing even depression in numbers. Anxiety is the most common mental health issue facing adults over 65 years of age. Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. $46.6 billion annually. Anxiety sufferers see an average of fivedoctors before being successfully diagnosed.
Unfortunately, stress and anxiety go hand in hand. In fact, one of the major symptoms of stress is anxiety. And stress accounts for 80 percent of all illnesses either directly or indirectly.
In fact, stress is more dangerous than we thought. You’ve probably heard that it can raise your blood pressure, increasing the likelihood of a stroke in the distant future, but recently a health insurance brochure claimed that 90 percent of visits to a primary care physician were stress-related disorders.
Health Psychology magazine reports that chronic stress can interfere with the normal function of the body’s immune system. And studies have proven that stressed individuals have an increased vulnerability to catching an illness and are more susceptible to allergic, autoimmune, or cardiovascular diseases.
Doctors agree that during chronic stress, the functions of the body that are nonessential to survival, such as the digestive and immune systems, shut down. “This is why people get sick,” he says. “There are also many occurrences of psychosomatic illness, an illness with an emotional or psychological side to it.”
Furthermore, stress often prompts people to respond in unhealthy ways such as smoking, drinking alcohol, eating poorly, or becoming physically inactive. This damages the body in addition to the wear and tear of the stress itself.
Men are twice as likely as women to have their depression written off as nothing more than feeling a little low, according to a study of our attitudes to mental health.
Society’s assumption that men are “tough” means both sexes are less likely to recognise telltale signs of depression in them, according to University of Westminster researcher.
And while one might think that men would be better at spotting symptoms in their brethren, the opposite is actually true. They are even more blind to emotional distress in other men than women are.
Researchers reached their conclusions after asking more than 1,200 people to gauge if two fictional characters were suffering from a mental health problem.
Half were asked to assess the state of a character called ‘Jack’ and half a character called ‘Kate’.
They were read a paragraph about these characters – but the only difference between them was their gender.
It started: “For the past two weeks, Kate / Jack has been feeling really down. S/he wakes up in the morning with a flat, heavy feeling that sticks with her / him all day.”
Fifty-seven per cent thought that ‘Kate’ was suffering from a mental health problem, while only 52 per cent thought that ‘Jack’ was.
And while 10 per cent were positive ‘Kate’ was not suffering from a mental health problem, twice as many (21 per cent) thought that of ‘Jack’.
The remainder were unsure.
Men and women were equally likely to think that ‘Kate’ was suffering from depression.
But men were almost twice as likely as women to think that ‘Jack’ did not have a mental disorder.
Dr Viren Swami, who wrote the article, published in the journal PLoS One, said: “In our society men are led to believe that they don’t suffer from depression.”
Dominant views of masculinity “stress toughness and strength”, he explained.
“Men tend to deny having depression in the first place. They tend to think their feelings are just part of daily life.”
This meant it was “quite possible” that they dismissed the possibility of depression in other men, he said.
Another study from Malaysia found men tend to cite specific reasons for feeling low, such as not having a girlfriend or having an unfulfilling job, rather than admitting to depression.
We recently posted this article on our Facebook page and got a really good responce from it, so thought we’d share it on our blog.
The Use of music helps clients tell their stories.
THROUGH all of Ruta Yawney’s life, music has been her anchor and way of finding peace.
After working for many years as a music therapist, she decided to go back to school to receive a masters in counselling psychology.
“Now I combine the verbal psychotherapy with the music,” she says. “It’s a very powerful combination.”
A Bowen Island resident, Yawney, 49, has been working as a registered clinical counsellor in private practice in West Vancouver since fall 2011. She offers counselling and provides psychotherapy to teenagers and adults who are experiencing anxiety and stress from life transitions, including addiction, eating disorders, chronic illness, grief and loss, trauma and depression.
“I’ve even had retired people that are having a hard time transitioning into retirement,” she says. “They experience a lack of purpose in their life and a lack of meaning.”
Whenever possible, Yawney employs the method of guided imagery and music.
“It’s one of the tools in my tool box, but it’s not the only tool that I use in my counselling practice,” she says. “It’s just wherever I can, I still use the music.”
Guided imagery and music, created by Helen Bonny, is a self-exploration and helps bring people to their “heart’s centre,” explains Yawney.
“When they experience the music, they actually have access to the unconscious part of themselves,” she says. “When they are in that space, it facilitates insight for them. What happens is, they get out of their heads, they get into their hearts and they start feeling more creative about themselves. They can see the potential of them creating a new way of being.”
A session begins with a talk followed by a relaxation exercise. The music (from the Western classical tradition) is turned on and it’s combined with a psychotherapy discussion. The goal is for clients to have a visceral experience and access their imagination. “It helps them tell their stories,” says Yawney.
After the session, clients are encouraged to draw something representative of what just occurred.
“You have the felt experience and then you have the visual,” she says.
Clients also receive a transcript of what they said when the music was playing. Each session lasts for approximately an hour and 15 minutes.
It’s an honour to witness clients telling their stories through music, says Yawney, adding she has found the approach to have yielded positive results for many. “I have addicts that are in remission because they have gone far enough to self-transform themselves because of the insights they gained from telling their stories,” she says.
Yawney also conducts group work and is planning to launch a local bereavement through guided imagery and music group in the coming weeks. Those interested in finding out more, can contact her at ruta@rutayawney. com or 604-928-0883. Info: www.rutayawney.com.