Why do so many of us feel intimidated by others? Why do we say ‘yes’ when we mean ‘no’? It often occurs because loved ones - a spouse, parent, or an in-law have domineering personalities. These are people to whom we are closely bound and so the stakes run high when expressing an opinion or … [Read more...]

On The Wrong Track:

‘Home is where the heart is’ the saying goes, but in parts of the country the ‘heart’ is being ripped out of the ‘home’. HS2 will rip through the heart of The Chilterns destroying an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is not only a blight on the landscape but also a blight on good, hard working … [Read more...]

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: Pandora’s Box.

I am very happy to be returning to work and, to avoid wasting precious consultation time, I thought it would be wise to explain the reasons for absence on paper/blog. I had been struggling with musculo-skeletal pain and fatigue for some considerable length of time and this had put a stop to me … [Read more...]

What is it about men?

One of my challenges as a GP is getting men to understand that mental health (and sometimes physical health problems too) are not due to a fundamental weakness. I can find this an uphill struggle because it doesn’t always come naturally to them to accept this and be open and talk about the … [Read more...]

My Personal Story of Migraine

Childhood was blighted by migraine . I remember loving rounders but NOT loving the sun. No-one wore hats and kids didn’t wear sunglasses. Squinting in the sun I would return from the school field with a ‘sick headache’ and be in sickbay with a bowl as I turned a shade of green. The smell of school … [Read more...]

The Therapeutic Relationship

In a recent BMJ article there was an interesting debate (Head to Head) regarding whether medical students should be taught alternative medicine. This was my response as highlighted in 'As a GP involved in medical education (but also practising CBT and medical hypnosis) I would never … [Read more...]

University Blues

I am aware of an increasing number of university students coming my way and am always keen to find ways in which to help them to enjoy life and flourish at a time when they are often away from home for the first time. We can only be happy if we have certain basic needs met; we have physical needs … [Read more...]


‘Do not dwell in the past, do not fret about the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.’ Mindfulness means paying attention in the present moment and without judgment. This special kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, and is a simple yet powerful route for getting ourselves … [Read more...]

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a common disorder involving the gut. It affects 1 in 5 people and the cause is not easily identifiable but it is thought to be due to overactivity of the gut. As a GP it is important to exclude other possible more serious causes for the symptoms which are predominantly pain, bloating, and … [Read more...]

Stepping Up with a Helping Hand

In the last few years mental health difficulties are more openly talked about and acknowledged and it is becoming increasingly acceptable to seek help without the concerns of being stigmatized. Over the years I have seen large numbers of patients in General Practice who have struggled with … [Read more...]

‘The Princess and the Pea’

As a child ‘The Princess and the Pea’ was one of my favourite fairy tales sitting on a shelf above my bed. Published by Hans Christian Anderson in 1835 it relates the story of the Prince who longed to marry not just any girl but a ‘real’ Princess. A girl arrives bedraggled in the rain at his castle … [Read more...]

What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)?

‘People are disturbed not by events but by the view they hold about them.' This is a quote from the ancient Greek Philosopher Epictetus and it is this principle that is at the heart of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Put simply what we are thinking has a profound effect on how we then feel and … [Read more...]

The Truth about Evidence – Based Medicine (EBM)

There is no doubt that as practising doctors we need to be working with and aware of the latest best external evidence from research. However in my experience as a GP dealing with often quite complex problems  ’getting a patient better’ is not just about being up to speed with cutting edge science. … [Read more...]

Children and Hypnotherapy

It has been a pleasant surprise to me that so much of my time is now taken up  with children and their difficulties and struggles.  This has come about for 2 main reasons. Firstly the NHS Child and Adolescent Medical Services (CAMHS) are inundated with referrals and their care can be patchy and lack … [Read more...]

What are Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms (MUPS)?

The symptoms that bring a patient to a doctor are real, even when a cause is not known. The lack of a cause for a patient's symptoms can be distressing for the patient and frustrating for the doctor. A large of number of patients in General Practice are investigated and the symptoms remain … [Read more...]

What is Hypnosis?

In the course of a day we enter hypnotic states many times, for example day dreaming about what we would like to do in the future or re-­experiencing pleasant events from the past. Another example is being absorbed in a book or a film. Hypnotic states occur in the car when you can’t remember … [Read more...]