CBT therapy specialising in anxiety disorders

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Welcome to my blog.

My blog aims to give you up-to-date information, resourses and research and anything in between that I think may benefit you in your journey to anxiety recovery.

By Matthew Coleclough, Feb 12 2018 10:48AM


Adrenaline and cortisol are two of the most powerful chemicals in the human body. They are capable of increasing our physical strength and speed to extraordinary degrees, and can sharpen our senses to unbelievable extremes and all within a split second. But too much of these chemicals can have serious effects on our mental wellbeing and can significantly affect our thinking which can lead to anxiety and depressive disorders. These chemicals are both released from various glands most notably the adrenal glands when we experience stress. The stress doesn’t even have to be ‘real’ such as the stress caused from an argument, a tragic accident, an illness or a traffic jam; it can also be an ‘imagined’ stress i.e. simply thinking in a worrisome or ruminative manner, “oh no, I’m going to get stuck in rush hour traffic!”, “oh no, I can’t catch my breath - what if I stop breathing?” When one is not careful and these seemingly minor worries persist, they can create enough stress hormones for you to begin to worry about the symptoms that they produce. This is a pivitol moment in the development of anxiety disorders for now you begin to fear the symptoms of stress and this is an enivitable part of living! You are now in the ‘fear adrenaline fear’ cycle and an anxiety disorder is now born!

Together these chemicals are responsible for every single one of the horrible distressing symptoms you experience. Symptoms include shaking, sweating, cold hands and feet, inability to swallow, poor appetite, muscle tension in the throat and tongue, dizziness, tinnitus, acid reflux, acne, sharp chest pains particularly in the heart area and in the side of the ribs, a feeling of oxygen deprivation, migraines especially with visual aura, tingling in the cheeks forearms and legs, earache, toothache and overproducing salivary glands amongst many more.


Adrenaline is also called 'epinephrine' is fast acting and works in the short-term affecting respiratory organs, the muscular system and acutely affecting our senses by pumping the body up ready for action. This is great news for the person taking the world cup final penalty decider but bad news for the anxiety sufferer who has no immediate use for such dramatic bodily changes. Unnecessary adrenal release is responsible for the highly distressing ‘breathlessness’ or ‘lack of oxygen’ symptoms that one often experiences and also account for the vast majority of chest pains and muscular aches complaints.

• Fast acting

• Short term (typically lasts 15 minutes)

Affects respiratory and muscular systems causing;

• Breathlessness

• Feeling of lack of oxygen

• Chest pains

• Muscular aches/muscular fatigue

• Difficulty in assessing rational, logical or calm thinking as mind becomes influenced by

increased brain activity particular in limbic system (emotional part)


Cortisol on the other hand is much slower acting and works in the long-term. Cortisol also targets and affects different organs to adrenaline and when levels are high it can shut down systems responsible for the upkeep and regulation of our immune system, reproductive system and digestive system. This could explain why there are so many complaints of digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux and churning stomach, complaints of low sex drive and a high susceptibility to illnesses and viruses amongst the long-standing anxiety sufferers.

• Slow acting

• Long term

Affects immune, reproductive and digestive systems causing;

• Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

• Acid reflux

• Churning stomach

• Low sex drive

• High susceptibility to illnesses/viruses

• Mental fatigue

By Matthew Coleclough, Jan 16 2018 08:23PM

I'm not a Buddhist by any means but I have always been attracted to the wisdom in the books written by Buddhists. If you ever want to learn about the mind then read a Buddhist book - these guys knew the crack in the sixth century more so than the current western ways of treating mind related illnesses such as depression and anxiety. As a past sufferer of panic disorder and agoraphobia I got more understanding and peace of mind from reading Tulku Thondup's 'Healing Power of the Mind' than any of my Psychology study, CBT training or therapists ever gave me. As I always say to my clients recovery all comes down to 'acceptance' and acceptance is made easier through 'understanding'. Self educate, focus particularly on the 'mind' - learn about it, become more mindful, adjust your attitudes where need be and let nature do the rest.....recovery will surely follow.

By Matthew Coleclough, Oct 4 2017 07:02PM

When it comes to overall health it’s saddening to see in our society how little credit is given to the ‘mind’ and instead the focus is mainly on improving the ‘body’, generally through diet and exercise. It is well understood in psychology that the content of our mind can have detrimental effects on our body with increasing studies suggesting that negative thinking can cause conditions such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), heart disease, fibromyalgia and even cancer! Considering this, surely it would be best if we instead paid more attention to our minds and learned to better understand it, respect it and train it? Our overall mental wellbeing lies in large on the content of our thoughts; if we have lots of positive thoughts we will generally feel quite good and likewise, if we have lots of negative thoughts we will generally feel bad. Its useful to think that negative thoughts relating to our past can lead to depression and thoughts relating to our future can lead to anxiety. Ideally what we need is more presence and to try and keep our minds in the moment because when we really think about it the present moment is always all we ever have anyway.

By Matthew Coleclough, Nov 21 2016 09:38PM

"Knowledge is power"

Francis Bacon

In my experience, complete recovery from anxiety disorders can only be achieved by gaining a thorough understanding of your condition and by applying complete acceptance

I remember when I was a kid and my dad suggested we watch this old black and white horror movie called 'The Haunting'. He said it would be one of scariest films I would ever see. He was right! It was a film about a group of people, temporary living in a supposedly haunted mansion in the middle of nowhere, hoping to find some evidence of ghosts. I remember after the film he asked me if I knew why it was such a scary film. I had no idea why. He told me that it was because it was one of the only horror films where you never ever get to see the ghost throughout the entire movie. He had an excellent point, people get frightened when there is uncertainty and stay frightened until they know what is happening. As soon as they understand what is happening and uncover what is scaring them, they can let go of it in their mind and begin to relax. As I never got to see the ghost throughout the entire movie I was continually left frightened and tense.

In the same way, it is necessary for you to uncover everything there is to know about your anxiety disorder. Ultimately your anxiety disorder exists within you because of the way you think, your thinking habits. Habits are hard to break but gaining knowledge about how these thinking came to be and why they continue to cause you suffering will help empower you to find the courage and determination to ‘accept’ everything and make recovery much more achievable. It really only comes down to acceptance you know – acceptance, acceptance, acceptance!!

By Matthew Coleclough, Jun 25 2016 08:20PM

*First and foremost you must understand that it is worry and rumination that ultimately cause anxiety disorders – it’s as simple as that! REMEMBER THAT!

What to do when you ‘catch’ your worry and rumination (second fear)

Worry and rumination are types of thinking styles, which, although people engage in for a reason, are ultimately unhelpful. Nothing good ever comes from worry or rumination. It is this worry and rumination that causes and prolongs your suffering.

Detached mindfulness is a way of taking a perspective on your own thinking processes in a detached way, without interpreting, analysing, controlling or reacting to them in any way. When you notice a worrying thought or image (e.g., what if….) or a ruminative thought (e.g., why me…if only…), it is important not to engage with these. Engagement involves responding to the thought, questioning the meaning of it, or having or continuing a dialogue with it in any way. It is important to remember that non-engagement is not the same as avoidance, such as trying to distract oneself from the thought or pushing it away.

Analogies of detached mindfulness

The unruly child

Treat your intrusive thoughts as you might an unruly child that you have to look after (i.e. you cant avoid). You need to acknowledge the child is there but paying too much attention to it (engaging with it) would merely reinforce its bad behaviour, and attempting to punish the child (suppress it) would upset the child even further. Thus, the best thing to do is leave the child alone to settle of its own accord.

Pushing clouds

Intrusive thoughts can be treated as if they were clouds in the sky. That is, they are something that is passing by, and that we can do nothing about. They are part of a natural self-regulating weather system and attempting to stop or push them away is neither necessary nor possible. Even if we could, this would disturb the balance necessary for the rainfall and nature. Therefore the thing to do is let them occupy their own space and passively watch their behaviour over time.

Train analogy

Imagine you are on a train platform. Trains (of thought) will pull in. Rather than getting on them and become trapped inside (engaging with them, simply stand on the platform and observe them as they pull in and away. It may help to say to yourself ‘why get on this train of thought and become stressed and anxious when I can just stand on the platform and enjoy the scenery?.

*Remember cure lies in reversing the pattern and that begins in learning how to respond differently to your habitual worrying or ruminative thought patterns. In order to get a different result you need to try a different approach. It is simply the worrying and rumination that keeps you feeling the way you do…change it!

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