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

The UK must invest in mental health help

With the publication of the spending review on Wednesday (Report, 24 November), it’s imperative the government invests in psychological therapies. Failure to address mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, devastates lives, puts a huge strain on the government budget and undermines economic productivity. Psychological health problems have a worse impact on people’s happiness and life satisfaction than physical health problems. In financial terms, the cost of mental ill health in England has been estimated to be £105bn per year.

Fortunately, a number of evidence-based psychological therapies exist and are effective. Investment in psychological therapies to date has been a success, but it is a success that could be multiplied. The improving access to psychological therapies programme is only funded to reach “at least 15%” of the people who need it, and retention and recovery rates could be improved. Everyone with a need for psychological therapy should be able to access it within 28 days. We urge more research funding to show which therapies work best for which people. And we advocate training to ensure the NHS workforce can deliver in practice the full range of evidence-based therapies that it offers in theory. We believe this would go a long way towards improving the wellbeing of the nation and the state of the public finances.

Original article here.

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 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.”

Press Release: Refit at The Briers

Maureen Courtney, new proprietor of The Briers, and her team welcomed local Politicians and representatives from the Tourism, Business and Health sectors as well as therapists and activity facilitators, Pips, SRC and the I3 programme and other organisations concerned with the promotion of well-being and health in the community, as she launched the newly renovated Country guest house and the innovative Break through retreat centre.

Guests were treated to a tour of the newly refurbished bedrooms, disabled facilities and Annie’s Cottage’, self- catering for up to 7 people. Martyn Todd, Alliance Candidate for Westminster.

In her opening address Maureen thanked her team for their support and praised the builders, Joe Curran Contracts for the quality of workmanship that had transformed the premises to such a high standard. Maureen thanked everyone for the warm welcome she had received since relocating from Hertfordshire in England to realise her vision of creating this facility and looked forward to, becoming a part of and to making a positive contribution to The Mournes and County Down area.

Introducing Breakthrough Retreats, a concept new to Northern Ireland, and coming in the form of 1-7 days programmes for individuals or groups formulated by a team of experts in the field of Holistic and alternative therapy and activity specialists, Maureen invited anyone who would like to know more about The Briers and the Breakthrough Retreats’ services available, to contact Maureen for information or to view the facilities.

Email mocourtney@btinternet.com and visit our website www.breakthrough-retreats.co.uk or telephone 028 437 24347.

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