Reflections of a tired psychologist

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It goes without saying COVID has been a bombshell in all of our lives. The degree to which it has impacted us individually depends on many things, not least our financial and occupational positions. The financial and practical changes have far-reaching effects on our wellbeing and mental health because they come with psychological repercussions and adjustments. If you always used to thrive off a sense of achievement from your working day and now you no longer have work, that is going to likely impact your perception of yourself. …


We always hear how social media is bad for us, but I have found it helpful for myself and my clients.

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I am a health psychologist and a cognitive behavioural therapist. This means I work primarily with people who have long term health conditions and axis I anxiety or depression disorders. Since COVID-19, my practice has switched to remote practice only. This means I see clients only through the filter of computer screens. For some, I just hear their voice on the other end of the phone line.

I started using Instagram in August 2019 when COVID-19 wasn’t so much as a highly unlikely, apocalyptic hypothetical. I chose to make a health psychology Instagram primarily because I thought there was so…


Evidence-based techniques to reduce discomfort and anxiety from IBS and other intestinal distress

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I am a health psychologist with a Ph.D. in psychological medicine. Specifically, my Ph.D. explored psychological factors in irritable bowel syndrome. I am one of the growing number of psychologists on the specialist gastrointestinal psychology register, developed by the Rome Foundation. The growth of this field is reflective of the increasing evidence of the role of psychological in gastrointestinal/digestive health issues.

Intuitively, our first port of call for improving bowel symptoms is food. It makes sense to try and discern what we specifically ingested to cause digestive upset. …


Therapists suffer from depression, too. What does this mean for their patients?

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Before you read another word, I want you to consider that question: would a depressed therapist be more harm than help? Yes or no?

In light of the recent (and continuing) world pandemic, this question has been much more poignant to my colleagues and I. As a profession, most of us are facing huge changes to our practice. Switching to completely remote therapy online or over the phone, no longer being able to use whiteboards in session, and -even worse- being able to adequately see and monitor our clients’ reactions. …


Top tip: It’s not all about the research!

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I had never thought about doing a PhD until about 6 months before I started really thinking about it with intention. I perhaps didn’t have the time to form particular assumptions about what doing a PhD should look like therefore. My PhD was part-time exploring psychological factors in irritable bowel syndrome, whilst I worked part-time on a large randomised control trial on this subject as a research assistant. The project would supply the data and subject matter for my PhD. I therefore perhaps didn’t have the typical PhD set up: Sole ownership…


Why self-help could be making you feel worse

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Let me start by clarifying that I am not hating on self-help. I wouldn’t be writing on Medium if I was. However, as a psychologist and healthcare practitioner, I do feel that self-help books should come with giant disclaimers. I wanted to raise a few things to be mindful of for those of you who consume self-help resources.

The Middle-Class Problem

Self-help literature is generally aimed at the middle-class market. People with access to technology, people who can afford little luxuries like candles and baths, people who are above the bottom three rungs of Maslow’s…


It’s not me, it’s you!

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Being an only child comes with a certain stereotype. “Typical only child” is a phrase that drives me mad. What it suggests is that only children are spoilt, can’t share and self-important. The assumption is that the only child was so indulged by their parents because they were the only doted-upon one.

Here’s why that is so problematic

Being an only child you are the “only” a lot of things. For me that was the only only child. The only South Asian in my classroom. The only one without a TV. The only one who played imaginary games in the playground that were observable to others…


A psychologist tells all.

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Why did you click to read this article? Are you in therapy? Thinking about starting therapy but have concerns? Maybe you’re just here for the gossip!

I am a psychologist and psychotherapist in the UK. In the UK, therapy is not as integrated into the general lifestyle as it is in the US. Or at least as it is portrayed to be in the US in films and on TV. Forgive me when I say that this media portrayal of therapy very much contributes to stigma about going to therapy in the UK —and probably also in the US.

The…


Ever noticed that it is much more commonplace for conversations to reference stomach and toileting habits/issues as opposed to “women’s problems”? Especially in mix gendered company. It’s as if we have to pretend that we don’t have them. Vaginal issues, that is. And yet, overwhelmingly we do have them — vaginal issues (and/or pelvic issues) are actually very common.

Controversial statement: bowels are sexier than bladders.

Well at the very least they are more acceptable. I feel like this is counterintuitive. After all, objectively speaking faeces is more disgusting than urine, right? And yet there seems to be more acceptance…

Dr Sula Windgassen

Dr Sula Windgassen is a health psychologist working in the NHS and researcher at King’s College London https://www.instagram.com/the_health_psychologist

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