I wonder if, like me, you believe that there is a rhythmic, flowing wisdom that beats at the heart of our beautiful planet. Some species are naturally connected to this, for instance dolphins and bees, while others have groups who connect or temporarily connect. I think we as humans can all tune in to this, but some cultures are more connected than others. Does technology really connect us, or can it disconnect us? These are interesting philosophies worth considering. What really matters, what will continue from our presence after our bodies have died? Consider your contribution and whether it matters that it appears in your name or becomes part of a collective contribution of humanity? These are thoughts for today.
Our brains are set to notice the things we haven’t been able to do. To move us to keep achieving more and more. So many of us have self-expectations which are simply too high. The most driven amongst us are absolutely exhausted by the inner champion, driving us on to do more and more.
Most of us are constantly feeling overwhelmed by our ever-growing to-do list but not taking the time to notice what has been achieved. Twice a week, take some time to write a ‘DONE’ list, so you can see how much you are accomplishing.
I spent this weekend looking at ways to improve the website and make it easier to navigate, which turned out to be quite a cleansing and enjoyable task. I even found time to read some of my new book, The Secret Life of Bees, which a trichotillomania client kindly gifted to me at Christmas. A really delightful read which is far more potent than the title might suggest.
For anyone whose mother was not around during their childhood or teens, you may find this book is particularly healing, but it also has a central theme of forgiveness which is appropriate for absolutely anyone. If you are not normally a reader, the film is said to be really good too.
If you are one of the many whose unwanted behavior (e.g. skin picking or hair pulling) crops up particularly when you are reading, just try reading two pages at a time and build up gradually but keep both hands on the book. Some days will be better than others and that’s fine, be patient with yourself.
Happy Friday all! We have had a busy start to 2017, here at Trichotillomania Support! The most exciting thing is our lovely new volunteer, Sarah, who is helping with Social Media. Fabulous start on Instagram, Sarah!
I have recently had a conversation with an adorable 7 year old on Skype about hating curled eyelashes, which was interesting to me as I always hated the ones which wouldn’t curl and seemed to grow straight. Which leads me to ask you, which eyelashes particularly bother you and why?
If you are a scalp puller, are you someone who goes for the wiggly or crinkly hairs? The HOURS I spent searching for those! We do have a lovely lady who would like a buddy with the crinkly hair obsession.
We have also had a lot of questions recently from our tric family about setting boundaries. Is there something you want to be more assertive about or someone you would like to respect your boundaries more?
With a new year starting lets open some dialogue and get talking about this condition, the things that wind us up and the things we’re grateful for. Let’s make 2017 the year we all come together to tame the tric monster.
Let me start, I am grateful for every second Sarah is here and helping to get us all chatting and accepting that we have this condition and it doesn’t have to define us.
Now your turn…
Sleep – It’s all in the preparation
Sleep is paramount for wellbeing. Insomnia causes disruption to mental health and fatigue impairs enjoyment of life.
Here are some helpful sleep tips.
top ten sleep tricks
1. Make your bed an attractive place to be without clutter at eye level.2. Be consistent with sleep routine – stick to regular sleep times – bedtime and waking up time where possible.
3. Leave a gap of at least 2 hours between exercising and going to sleep
4. The brain’s sleep centre works better with oxygen so try to keep fresh air circulating in your bedroom. Make sure your bedroom is a comfortable temperature and not too light, noisy or cluttered
5. A warm bath with a few drops of something soothing such as lavender oil can aid sleep
6. Drink a cup of chamomile tea before heading to bed – add honey and lemon if you don’t enjoy the taste. Chamomile helps calm nerves and counter insomnia.7. Imagine your thoughts are clouds, let them come and go – don’t hold on to any and trust yourself to remember anything you need to remember tomorrow.
8. Play relaxation music or a relaxation recording
9. Herbal medicine is a good source of natural sedatives. Try valerian and passion flower together for a strong effect.
10. Stay in the present moment. There is nothing to do in THAT moment but lay still and drift.Let us know how you get on
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He leaned over the balcony, the smell of the ocean as powerful as his voice as he shouted down “Can you help us out? We’re trying to do a radio interview here.”
“I’m a contractor”, the man with the angle grinder yelled back, gruffly. “Time is money!”
Softly softly catchy monkey. Alistair was not to be deterred. I was amazed by his confidence and businesslike approach to this out-of-the-ordinary situation. In any profession, overcoming obstacles is important – how would he manage it?
He had travelled from London to Bournemouth to talk to me about my journey with trichotillomania and my approach to treating people who skin pick or pull out their hair. He had three hours in Bournemouth to gather enough information for a teensy segment. I had a lifetime’s experience to condense into 5 minutes. I needed help.
Having negotiated a deal with dude with the angle-grinder, Alistair explained what he wanted me to show the audience. Confused, I asked “How do you show someone something through the medium of radio?”
“You make them feel how you feel, you engage with them in a more verbal format with vivid descriptions.”
I got it! This funny, very presentable and charismatic young man (I’m in my 50s, they don’t come visiting all the time) invited me to conjure up a feeling of compulsive hair pulling in a nutshell. It triggered my emotion
“Imagine you really love your cat, but it gets under your feet and in a temper, you kick him”, I said … “Then you think why the hell did I do that and you really hate yourself, but before you know it your leg’s gone out and you’ve done it again and again and you just can’t stop. Imagine the build up of that self-hatred, moment after moment. That’s how hair pulling feels!!!”
Do you agree with my description? How do YOU feel when you pull? Can you paint a picture in words? Post a comment and I will do my best to respond to each and every one.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Trichotillomania
When treated with CBT trichotillomania can be effectively treated, but must be sustained with refreshers and aftercare. There is a wealth of research and scientific support for the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to support and help people with anxiety disorders such as trichotillomania.
Many times, people come to our online coaching package with preconceived ideas about CBT. “But I’ve already had CBT and it didn’t work”, is a common complaint. However, modern medicine differs from practitioner to practitioner, as well as from one medication to the next, and the same is true of CBT. Some people are trained in CBT generally, while a trichotillomania specialist uses CBT techniques alongside other tried and tested treatments, to help stop hair pulling.
The fundamental CBT framework gives an outline for treatment in stages. We do comfortably use other approaches, such as NLP and Transactional Analysis for instance – but basically we adhere to a CBT structure, unless the client suggests otherwise. CBT does focus very finely on thoughts and feelings, while the socio-cognitive approach is effective, neat and gives compelling support and stages toward pull freedom.
Transactional Analysis considers the relationship with the self and others in an easy-to-understand framework and can help improve self-esteem and functionality.
People with trichotillomania may have a few psychological concerns, possibly leading to distress. If they have encountered judgement or disapproving reactions to hair pulling, this can adversely affect their confidence or willingness to talk about it.
At Trichotillomania Support, we use innovative adaptations of CBT models in a flexible manner. We have developed an effective program to stop hair pulling which is built upon daily as we learn more and more from the people we help. Every person who becomes pull free with us, helps prepare the groundwork for others who will follow them in the program. A number of our protégées have won awards and our research continues in directions suggested by the families we have worked with.
The effectiveness of CBT on anxiety has been compared by Chambless and Gillis (1993) with a waiting list and placebo, who followed up the results at 6 to 12 months. Freeston et al. (1997) compared the Salkovskis’ model of CBT with the waiting list. They found that the CBT group improved obsessional secretive rituals and this improvement was still present when followed-up six months later. More studies are needed, particularly with follow-ups years, rather than months later. Nevertheless there is a clear case for the positive effect of CBT for the treatement of trichotillomania.
Computer-assisted therapy is proving more and more effective with behavioral control (Gosh et al., 1988), Online treatment utilising CBT continues to improve and techniques are transforming rapidly. (Rachman, 1996) .
Chambless, D.L., & Gillis, M.M. (1993). Cognitive therapy of anxiety disorders. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 61, 248-260.
Freeston, M.H., Ladouceur, R., Gagnon, F.,Thibodeau, N., Freeston, M.H., Ladouceur, R., Gagnon, F., Thibodeau, N., Rhéaume, J., Letarte, H. & Bujold,A. (1997). Cognitivebehavioral treatment of obsessive thoughts: A controlled study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65, 405–413.
Gosh A, Marks IM, Carr AC (1988) Therapist contact and outcome of self-exposure treatment to phobias: A controlled study. Br J Psychiatry 152 : 234–238.
Hays, P. A. (2008). Addressing Cultural Complexities in Practice: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Therapy (2nd edition). Washington, D.C.:
Rachman (Shafran, R., Thordarson, D. S. & Rachman, S. (1996). Thought-action fusion in obsessive compulsive disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 710, 379-391)
Mindfulness is a soothing technique originating in Buddhism, and now widely used with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to bring to mind and expand a natural, spiritual peacefulness.
At Charizma, the way we embrace mindfulness is to place our attention on what matters most to each individual at any given moment.
Using the keyphrase of intention over attention, we ask you to be aware (or mindful) of your intention at any given moment, and to apply your attention to fulfilling that intention.
So if you have given that last paragraph some thought for a moment, you will see that Mindfulness is really only another word for awareness. Most of us go through life in a state of semi-awareness.
Mindfulness invites us to bring full awareness to what we are doing, thinking and feeling in the present moment. Freedom based thinking, a vastly simplified version of cognitive behavioral therapy used in our Online Coaching, encourages being in the moment, combined with first action, then thought and finally, feeling. By maintaining this order, we are better organized, obtain better outcomes, feel better about ourselves and interact better with the world.
Research from the University of Granada reveals that Mindfulness helps to fight anxiety disorders, depression, anxiety and health concerns. By utilising Mindfulness Training with a group of 20 high anxiety girl students and another group of 25 secondary school teachers, emotions , mental and physical health improved in everybody tested: This research confirms the popular view that mindfulness training can reduce anxiety and improve health.
We can accept life better when we really notice its effects upon us in each moment. By mindfully attending to different aspects of our momentary intention and experience. Bringing our awareness to how we breathe, how we sit, how we move, the physical aspects of what we are doing, such as the feel of the pen we are writing with, etc., we gain a new perspective on whether we are reacting or responding to our experience of the moment.
Mindfulness means noticing the moment, the food in your mouth, the breath in your nostrils, the companionship of your friend who may be texting you …Not suppressing anything you feel but embracing and accepting even when you feel bad and enjoying and celebrating the good times. I’m having a good time now … I might not have noticed if I were writing an article on, say, sleep deprivation.
In harmony with not suppressing what you feel, mindfulness includes a compassionate quality towards the self and others, accepting that life is sometimes hard and thoughts are sometimes intrusive, and people do the best they can whatever the circumstances.
This puts a new perspective on taking the rough with the smooth; understanding that you’ll sometimes feel rough and that’s ok. A spiritual rather than judgemental response to the self.