New Testimonial for Breakthrough Retreats

“Looking for a port in a storm of anxiety, depression… I found Maureen Courtney’s Breakthrough Retreats at The Briers in County Down just outside Newcastle.
Enveloped in this caring place under the guidance of Maureen and her team of therapists I knew I had found the right place to heal my troubled spirit.
Maureen, who has worked with people with every kind of mental health difficulty you can imagine, creates a bespoke agenda to address your needs. With her qualifications and experience, you feel safe and at ease.
Following an operation for a physical health problem you might go to a nursing home to help your recovery. When it comes to getting over a mental health problem where do you go?
Thank you Maureen.”

Mary, May 2017

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.

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.”

Welcome to Breakthrough Retreats at The Briers

Build your confidence and move forward in your life with our personal development and self help retreats

Breakthrough Retreats specialises in 5 and 7 day Personal Development Retreats in a secluded countryside location. We will help you examine your life in detail by working individually and in a group, using techniques such as visualisations, bodywork, NLP, hypnosis, family taboo and anger release work.

We also offer shorter retreats to suit most budgets, including a one day “Intro-Retreat” or a 2-day weekend Retreat. Our clients include individuals, groups and corporate.

With our help, you can trace the origins and consequences of your behaviour patterns and take these learnings forward into your life now. This is a unique, life-changing opportunity to expand your life and let go of damaging past experiences that stop you being the person you want to be.

Make the best of your retreat. Choose a Professional Psychotherapist

Our retreats are led by Maureen Courtney, a professional Psychotherapist who is registered with UKCP (UK Council For Psychotherapy). As well as holding Diplomas in Counselling and Psychotherapy, Maureen is also a Master Practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming, Master in Ericksonian Hypnosis, Master Results Coach, Performance Consultant, Advanced Neurological Repatterning, and holds a Level 3 Award in Workplace Coaching for Team Leaders and First Line Managers, under the “Institute of Leadership & Management” (ILM).

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…

2014 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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.