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Counselling anxiety, depression, obsessive negative thought patterns, suicidal thoughts.

People of all ages, both women, men and, increasingly, young people are suffering from anxiety and depression, manifesting itself in obsessive, negative and suicidal thought patterns and resultant disturbing physical symptoms and behaviour.

The mental, emotional and physical symptoms of anxiety can be a blight on people’s lives, exerting a restrictive control on both themselves and their relationships.

Accompanying these feelings and symptoms can be a raft of issues such as low self-esteem, lack of assertiveness, conflict avoidance and control or abuse issues. Bullying affects many children and young people and if not addressed, can have deep and life-long consequences on mood and self-confidence.

Anxiety can happen suddenly because of an incident or situation, or it can creep up on you, becoming a generalised anxiety state, affecting both daytime thoughts and behaviour and night time sleep patterns. When mild anxiety which is manageable, becomes acute and disturbing symptoms become evident, then the person suffering, their family, friends and work can all be detrimentally affected. At this point, many people consider seeking help.

In my counselling practice, I have an increasing number of clients coming for help because they recognise that their anxiety is generating symptoms which are inhibiting them from living a fully confident and outgoing life. Distressed parents are organising counselling for their teenagers because they feel unable to help them deal with or improve their levels of anxiety or depression. Low self-esteem and lack of confidence can be a cause or result of anxiety. Symptoms of OCD can be hugely debilitating, and obsessive thoughts can generate emotions and behaviour which can spiral out of control.

During my 23 years of counselling experience, I have developed techniques and strategies which can relatively quickly bring back control for the sufferer and relief of their symptoms – a major transformation back to normality and being able to get on with their lives.

My approach is a three-part strategy, the first part of which is using counselling therapy to explore and understand issues which have caused anxiety, either past or present. The second part is coming to a recognition of what action needs to be taken, if any, to improve the person’s situation i.e. what can be changed and what can’t and both the difference between the two and the complexities arising from this, including assertiveness issues, low self-esteem and anger management. The third strategy is looking at, and changing, negative and controlling thoughts which become obsessive or dominating and which generate painful and inhibitive emotions and behaviour. This is a form of brain training which is both simple and extremely effective.

Many of my clients have seen much success with this approach and the transformation in their lives is wonderful to behold. The only requirement is that a person has a real willingness and ability to reflect on their lives and present circumstances and to accept help to take the steps towards changing them.


Counselling South West

Times When You Would Require Couple Counselling in Exeter

Choosing to get a couple’s Counselling in Exeter can sound like a big decision. It would certainly be; as admitting that things are not perfect in relationships requires a lot of courage. It can rather be scary to accept that something uneasy is creeping between the two of you. However, this fear lasts only up to the time till you are not aware of what the therapy is about. Finding a reputed provider, insurance, financial aspects, and suitable timings are the aspects that you would focus on to keep your commitment to a solution.

Even though one of the people in the relationship thinks that seeing a counsellor may be a good idea, they are not sure of how to proceed in the situation. You should not waste time and reach out to a trusted counsellor at the earliest in order to relieve the stress and mend the things that have gone wrong. If it is a good match, you can work out solutions. If it is not, you would know that it is the time to move on.

Broken Trust

One of the major reasons why couples seek a counseller is a big compromise on their trust. This could have been in the form of infidelity (of any kind- involving emotional or physical relations). In some cases, partners encounter a series of deceptive lies about money or other issues. A rebuilding of the trust would require a considerable amount of effort. It would rather need an establishment of a forum where both the parties can express their vulnerabilities.

Frequent Arguments

When you note that the rhythm of routine life is shifting on the negative side. There may be situations where you are ending up in conflicts on each and everything you talk about. This may end in either both of you are talking less or one of the partners is giving the silent treatment to the other. This should indicate the presence of significant problems under the carpet that need to be dealt with.

You want to tell your partner something but haven’t been able to

The settings of a counsellor’s office can provide you with a place where you can talk about things you could not, at other places. You would be able to overcome your fears of sharing something with your partner under the warm presence of an experienced counsellor.

There are many other times when you should make up a mind to see get sessions of couple counselling in Exeter. To learn more about these issues and for speaking to an expert counsellor in Exeter, you may visit

Marriage Guidance Counselling – Tips to find the Right Counsellor

A wedding is a special occasion where the souls of two individuals get united and together they start their new journey of life. While it is said that marriages are made in heaven, it is also true that not all the marriages turn out to be successful. Not all the couples feel happy or comfortable with their spouses. As couples, having conflicts with each other is quite an obvious thing. However, issues arise when these conflicts lead to marital separation where the couples do not feel like staying together anymore.

To avoid such situations, Marriage Guidance Counselling is one of the best ways to resolve conflicts and improve the relationship once again between both the partners.

How Marriage Counsellors Help You?

Marriage counselling gives you time and more space to talk without arguing. It is like a special chance to resolve all your issues by expressing the feelings about your partner and the relationship you have with them. With each proceeding, the marriage counsellors will guide you in understanding the needs of your partner and ways to resolve your issues with them. This helps help you rebuild your relationship with your spouse and make you realise that how external factors such as religion, family values, culture differences and lifestyle can affect your relationship.

If you are looking for marriage guidance counselling services, this is the right platform for you. In this guide, we are going to tell you some tips on hiring the right marriage counsellor.


  1.    Make Sure the Counsellor is Accredited – Relate, BACP

It is a very good idea to confirm the licensing authority and the background of the marriage counsellor. You should check their website for more information related to their profession. The counsellor of marriage must pass the state licensing exam empowered by the association of marital and family therapy regulatory board.

  1.    Compare Strategies Plan

Before hiring a therapist, you should compare their counselling plans with other marriage counsellors. Ask about the different techniques used by the therapist for treatment and how it would help you in the counselling process. You can communicate in a constructive way for the basic strategies used in this process.

  1.    Check Educational Background  

Education plays a very important role in every profession together with specific counselling qualifications and extensive experience in counselling of marriage.

  1.    Locating Counsellors near You

You can search couple counsellor online and from the reference of your friends, neighbours and colleagues. You should check the database of professional counsellor that is locating nearby you. Hence, it is easy for you to get a marriage counsellor in your area.

These are some basic tips for hiring a Couple counsellors to strengthen or rekindle your relationship. If you are looking for the professional Marriage guidance counsellor, then counselling South West Anne Roberts can turn out to be the best option. For more information explore the website here:

Relationships: When control becomes abuse

Relationships: When control becomes abuse

Everybody needs some control over themselves and their daily environment to enable a good level of mental and emotional health: powerlessness can lead to depression. This can sometimes be easier to achieve as a single person, in terms of being able to choose how to manage your time and home environment – many people choose this or to live apart from their partners.

In relationships where partners live together, control of their circumstances becomes a more complicated issue, especially in re-constituted families where there are children and finance issues involved with ex-partners. Control then becomes a delicate balance between the needs of each individual in the relationship. When this works well and both partners are flexible and considerate of the needs of the other, the relationship can run smoothly like a well-oiled machine.

Problems arise when couples feel a need to fight each other to maintain a comfortable level of control, or one partner becomes dominant and the other is subdued or frightened into submission.

Being able to make decisions and choices for oneself – how we look, speak, dress, behave – is our right as an adult unless we are conforming to standards and regulations of a particular organisation by choice e.g. school, the workplace, military. If we don’t then we are aware there will be subsequent consequences.

To a degree, it is similar in relationships and families. What is acceptable behaviour, what is not? Who decides this? Balancing individual needs with couple or family needs can be difficult. Problems arise when one partner’s need for a certain level of control involves controlling their partner in order for them to feel comfortable. This can be very obvious, or it can be more subtle and insidious. Good communication and compromise are necessary for a relationship to succeed, especially with the pressures of children, work, time and finances to juggle. When power and control become unbalanced, they can lead to arguments, anger and abuse.

Insecurity and jealousy are often reasons why one partner will try and control the other, whether it is the way they dress, their conversation, friends or activities. Controlling behaviour can range from moods, shouting and name calling to physical violence.

The initial comfortable love, companionship and security of a relationship can gradually slip into irritability, frustration and criticism. Security within the relationship can easily transform to loss of respect and it may be many years down the line before one or both partners recognise they are no longer happy. If you feel bullied, intimidated or diminished, it points to it being time for a couple to review the relationship.

So what is reasonable control and what is not? It can be very subjective. If your behaviour is enhancing and enabling your own life whilst either doing the same for your partner, or at least not restricting or repressing your partner, then is it positive? Who controls the running of the home or who disciplines the children? Is there justice in financial accessibility and spending? Are individual, couple and family time balanced and equal? Are you able to see your family and friends without feeling guilty?

Catching unresolved issues early and resolving them is important, but fear of a partner’s negative response can be intimidating. Anxiety about the possibility of the relationship ending if control issues are raised or challenged can also be inhibiting, but ignoring excessive control or putting up with it won’t make it go away – it will continue, inexorably, to more unhappiness.

Counselling can help to explore and understand the patterns of control in a relationship in a safe environment, before the relationship becomes irretrievable – and if it has reached that point, it can help to face a different future.

Low self-esteem

If you suffer from low self-esteem, you may or may not be aware of how far reaching the effects of it are on many areas of your life. If you are in a relationship with someone with low self-esteem, you may also find it has repercussions on a daily basis.
Low self-esteem is considered to be a thinking disorder. Negative thoughts about ourselves are not based on reality but usually prompted by the opinions and responses of significant people in our lives. This can seriously affect attitudes, emotions and behaviour, damaging our quality of life and that of those we live with.
Low self-esteem can be the result of damaging parenting, bullying or abusive adult relationships. Consequences can be many and varied: fear and anxiety about not being good enough, sometimes leading to a constant search for reassurance or becoming a perfectionist; fear of failure which limits any new activity or risk taking; needy behaviour in relationships, either seeking or rejecting recognition and praise; behaving in irrational, negative and self-destructive ways.
If you recognise low self-esteem as something which is negatively impacting on your life and would like help to change this, contact me, Anne Roberts, Counselling South West, on t: 01297 301035 m: 07887 961954 email: [email protected]:

Low self-esteem & confidence

Anxiety Counselling

Low Self Esteem

Low Self Esteem

Low Self Esteem CounsellingLow self-esteem is a serious condition, usually originating in childhood and manifesting itself in negative ways in adult behaviour and relationships. It is considered to be a condition in its own right rather than a consequence of other conditions and can seriously hamper interactions and communication to the detriment of both the sufferer and people they are in relationships with.

What is low self-esteem?

Low self-esteem is a thinking disorder – of thought processes which generate negative attitudes, emotions and behaviours not based on reality but on information and opinions from significant others in childhood. A person will think they are basically unworthy of positive responses from others – that they are primarily unlovable. This will then lead them, in an attempt to experience being lovable and worthy, into self-deprecating and compulsive behaviours. The view that sufferers have of themselves is distorted and unrealistic but because this is what they think and believe about themselves, they think others feel the same about them.

If they think, for example, that they are incompetent or unattractive, they will believe others see them as inadequate and aren’t attracted to them. This can result in feeling unskilled and uninteresting and so generate anxiety. Thoughts generate emotions which in turn prompt actions and behaviour. A person with low self-esteem has irrational or distorted thoughts which in turn generate irrational and distorted emotions and lead to negative and self-destructive behaviour. An example of this could be making bad choices such as staying in a damaging relationship because they believe they are unworthy of anything else.

How do you develop low self-esteem?

Low Self Esteem CounsellingThis happens in early childhood if parents don’t love a child and provide them with the necessary encouragement and praise. Good parenting encourages a child to be pleased with themselves, and with what they achieve, it allows them to express opinions and feelings with acceptance and consideration and generally encourages a child to grow up with healthy self- esteem. If a child’s thoughts and feelings are met with derision and ridicule and whatever they do and achieve is not good enough, then a child may develop fear and anxiety about not being good enough – sometimes becoming a perfectionist, needy of reassurance in relationships, and unable to take risks in anticipation of failure. Low self-esteem can cause serious and life-disabling consequences.

How can counselling help?

Counselling can help by exploring where low-self-esteem developed, and why. It can help a person to recognise their thought processes and when a thought is negative or irrational, to find ways to challenge the thoughts by reality testing them and as counselling progresses, to replace them with positive ones. This can take a while, but it is possible to be freed from a distressing and life disrupting condition.

How many sessions will I need?

Everyone’s pace of recovery is different, but as this is such a long-term condition and can affect every area of a person’s life, it may take longer than other situations and great importance will be placed on the therapeutic relationship which will be built between client and counsellor.


Separated Parenting

Divorce and Separation Counselling

Separated Parenting

Separated Parenting

Affairs CounsellingSeparating can be a stressful and emotional time. When children are involved and there has been conflict in the relationship prior to and during the separation or divorce, children can end up witnessing it and sometimes used as a means of controlling or punishing each other.

If separating couples are able to control their feelings in front of the children and work together in the best interests of the children, then children can manage the upheaval in their lives with less distress and disruption. When parents can be amicable and pleased for children to have a happy and relaxed time with each parent then children can adapt and get on with their lives. If, on the other hand, they are drawn into conflict over a protracted period, they can suffer negative effects which can last into adulthood.

Situations which negatively affect children

Unless one parent is a danger to a child, or incapable of being responsible for them, then both have parental responsibility for any children. Trying to stop a parent from having regular contact can have an adverse effect on the child as children need to have a relationship with both parents. If there was intense conflict during the separation process, one party can feel the other was to blame. Examples might be if there was an affair or domestic violence or a general breakdown in communication where parents were very angry with each other.

The effect of this can be very negative, emotionally and mentally for children.  If they hear repeated criticism of a parent by the other, or are made to feel guilty when they spend time with them, then they can suffer from divided loyalties and fear of talking about their time with the other parent in case it provokes and makes them subject to more anger or tears.

Making children choose which parent to live with, unless they are older and there are no emotional pressures on them, can create feelings of guilt and stress in a child. Not being allowed to maintain telephone contact is also damaging – children are also going through a loss process when their family splits up.

What do children want?

Power and Control CounsellingEasy and happy access to both parents,  Living arrangements to be as secure and convenient for them as is possible, To be able to carry on with school and social activities, To be listened to when arrangements are being made but not to have to make difficult choices, To be able to talk about things they are doing with one parent to the other,  To be allowed to love each parent,  To be able to have free contact by telephone and/or email with the parent they are not with at the time.

How can counselling help?

Counselling can help parents talk to each other and discuss their difficulties and feelings about their children in a calm environment. It can help them learn to communicate in a respectful and non-aggressive manner and generally build a more polite and business-like relationship, putting their children’s needs first.


Divorce & Separation Counselling

Divorce & Separation Counselling

Divorce and Separation Counselling

Power and Control CounsellingDivorce and separation are times of intense emotion and stress. Sometimes a couple recognise they have grown apart with insufficient feelings for each other to work at their relationship. In these cases, the process can be straightforward and an amicable connection maintained.In many other cases, especially where one partner doesn’t want the separation or it is the result of an affair, the process of divorce can be traumatic and often long-drawn out.

Children also have to adjust to a major change in their lives, as well as coping with their parents’ relationship breakdown and living between two different households.

Even when a couple come to terms with the separation, there can often be prolonged confrontation and distress when other partners become involved and begin to build relationships with their children.

The combination of these situations as well as sorting out the home, finances, child support, separate parenting and the general loneliness, loss and low self-esteem which comes with divorce  can be overwhelming and takes time and support to help everyone involved recover.

How can counselling help?

Counselling can help couples who have decided to separate by offering them an opportunity to speak about how they are feeling and what is concerning them as they progress through the separation process. Often, people feel able to express their feelings and wishes in the safety and calm of the counselling room in a way they are unable to do together because of heightened emotion and stress. In this situations sessions at chosen intervals can be a valuable opportunity to reflect on their changing needs and the welfare of children as they adjust to living and parenting apart.

If counselling together is not appropriate, then either partner can come alone for individual personal counselling. Getting divorced can contain many of the elements of bereavement, often amplified by anger, rejection and betrayal.

How many sessions will I need?

Divorce Counselling If both partners are coming together to work through separation, you may only need a few sessions at intervals which allow any actions to be put in place and tested. If something isn’t working for you or your children,there is the opportunity to explore other options or behaviours in a calm environment. If you come alone for help to recover from a painful experience and re-gain self-confidence and direction, this may take longer and will initially be at weekly intervals, according to individual circumstances.

Let’s make it work

If the decision is to try and make the relationship work, then counselling can transform your relationship if both partners are prepared to be fully involved. I also offer individual sessions within the couple counselling if this is helpful. Couple counselling requires self- control and self-discipline and putting respect back into the relationship. One of the benefits is that each person can listen to, respond to, or correct misinterpretations by the other.

What about the children?

Decisions regarding the separation process and living arrangements need to be made in the best possible interests of the children. The most stress children experience is when parents are arguing – either with each other or about them. If they become pawns in a tug of war, then they are liable to suffer. If they are made to choose between parents, this can also cause problems unless they are older and have clear feelings about who they are based with and where.  Often parents express their feelings in front of, or to their children which can cause divided loyalties which again causes emotional distress for the child.

Children want to be listened to, have their opinions asked about agreements and arrangements but not be put in a position of having to make major decisions which result in them feeling they are rejecting one or other parent. If both parents are pleasant with each other in front of them and allow them to enjoy their time with each one, without feeling guilt, then they are more likely to get through the divorce feeling loved, secure and able to get on with their lives happily.

Counselling for parents apart

I offer counselling for parents who want to be able to improve their parenting apart. If you are perhaps arguing about arrangements and disagree with the way your children are being treated in the separate households counselling can provide a calm environment to discuss these issues and learn new ways of communicating with each other.  All other issues including difficulty in arranging access and holidays can also be addressed.