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Dr. Patrizia Collard
Stress Management Consultant and Psychotherapist

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Mindfulness Training offers training to counsellors, psychotherapists, coaches, social workers and educators.

Our training provides professionals and trainees with effective methods for facilitating stress reduction and personal growth, employing TIR, ACT and MBCT (defined below). We also offer coaching and counselling to individuals.
What is Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)?
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) has been developed with the aim of reducing relapse and recurrence for those who are vulnerable to episodes of depression. This empowering way of working has also gained empirical validation. It is needed because the risk of relapse and recurrence in those who have been depressed is very high, and the amount of triggering required for each subsequent episode becomes lower each time depression recurs.

Click here for more on MBCT.
Patrizia Collard PhD
MBCT and MBSR Trainer



Mindfulness Meditation associated with structural changes in brain
MIR images show thickening of attention-related areas, potential reduction of aging effects

The regular practice of meditation appears to produce structural changes in areas of the brain associated with attention and sensory processing. An imaging study led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers showed that particular areas of the cerebral cortex, the outer layer of the brain, were thicker in participants who were experienced practitioners of a type of meditation commonly practiced in the U.S. and other Western countries. The article appears in the Nov. 15 issue of NeuroReport, and the research also is being presented Nov. 14 at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, DC.
"We also found evidence that mediation may slow down the aging-related atrophy of certain areas of the brain."
The current study enrolled 20 practitioners of Buddhist Insight meditation which focuses on "mindfulness," a specific, nonjudgmental awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind. They averaged nine years of mediation experience and practiced about six hours per week. For comparison, 15 people with no experience of meditation or yoga were enrolled as controls.
"The area where we see these differences is involved in both the modulation of functions like heart rate and breathing and also the integration of emotion with thought and reward-based decision making a central switchboard of the brain," says Lazar.


A new study by Grant Thornton claims that over two thirds of UK business leaders are working 45 hours or more per week and over half suffer from work-related stress. The survey was carried out on 870 UK business leaders, some of whom work up to 55 hours a week. The survey shows that stress among business leaders in the workplace is at a phenomenal level and may become the most dangerous risk to business in the early part of the 21st century. Therefore companies would be well advised to regularly review and improve their stress policy to ensure the continued well-being of employees.


It has been known for some years that the 5-HTT gene impacts upon how serotonin is used in the brain. New research by scientists at King's College London, just published in Science, confirms that people with two copies of the short version of the 5-HTT gene have more difficulty in dealing with stress and are more likely to become overwhelmed and depressed by multiple traumatic life events when compared to people who have inherited two long versions of the 5-HTT genes. Those with two short copies are 2.5 times more likely to become depressed. People who had inherited both one long and one short version came out roughly in the middle. Exact figures are: short-short 43% developed depression; short-long 33% developed depression; long-long 17% developed depression. Thus, the interplay between the number of traumatic life events and the type of 5-HTT genes a person has inherited may impact upon whether the person becomes depressed or not. It is worth noting that modern antidepressants such as Prozac or Seroxat also work directly upon how the brain uses serotonin. 19/7/03. (quoted from: Online Stress News International)


A new UK study has found that a 'bad boss' can raise an employee's blood pressure. A boss described as "habitually unfair and unreasonable" could cause a rise in blood pressure and cause a longer term risk of heart attack or stroke, according to the study. The study of 28 female healthcare assistants found those working for an 'unfair' boss registered up to a 15mg Hg difference in systolic blood pressure and a 7 mm Hg difference in diastolic. Fairness was defined as the giving of timely feedback, praise, showing trust and respect, being consistent, impartial and adaptable. The study, 'The effect on ambulatory blood pressure of working under favourably and unfavourably perceived supervisors 2003' was published in the journal: Occupational and Environmental Medicine; 60: pp 468-74. 25/6/03.

Long working hours affecting nation's sanity (Independent)
By Jonathan Thompson 20 April 2003

Britain's intense working culture is having a serious impact upon the nation's mental health, a new survey will reveal. Compiled by the Mental Health Foundation, the report says that 61 per cent of employees were experiencing negative consequences in their personal life as a result of long working hours.
Within the last two years, the amount of people working more than 60 hours a week has risen from one in eight to one in six the highest level in Europe. The number of women working these hours has more than doubled.
The impact of these working hours is charted in the report Whose Life is it Anyway ? in it, 48 per cent of respondents said they had sacrificed exercise in order to work longer hours, 45 per cent said they had lost time with their partner, with a further 42 per cent neglecting friends and social activities. Many reported feeling irritable, anxious or depressed as a result, with a number citing specific mental health problems including attempted suicide as a direct result of pressure at work.

Diet and Mental Health

According to various sources (eg. Daniel Reid - The Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity; Dr. George Watson - Nutrition and your Mind) deficiency of vital nutrition can cause mental illness (depression, phobias, violent behaviour etc.) involving the malfunction of the enzyme systems.
The brain can only burn glucose. Any interruption to the steady supply of glucose in the bloodstream results in immediate impairment of brain functions such as emotional control. a person who follows a diet that excludes are carbohydrates and sugars is unable to provide sufficient supplies of glucose. Eliminating fat is another reason for brain-starvation as it is one of the best sources of food energy. The key to consuming fat is to avoid incompatible combinations of foods.

Regular exercise isn't just good for your body

According to a recent study - summer 2002 -  by Mind (Britain's leading Mental health Charity) regular exercise isn't just good for your body. It can also lift your spirits and boost your self-esteem. Already 20 minutes of exercise floods your bloodstream with endorphins - feel good chemicals.


Autumn 2002 - Professor Chris Idzikowsky, of the London Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, says that seven hours of sleep a day are probably the best. Regularity is more important than going to bed before midnight as was formerly believed. A dark room is important because it causes the pineal gland in the brain to secrete more melatonin, which will increase the depth of sleep. Around 18% C is probably the best room temperature to induce healthy sleep. Aromatherapy oils that help to relax include lavender, rose, bergamot and juniper berry. You can add a few drops to your bath or burn them in an aromatherapy burner.

The Sunday Telegraph: 25.3.01 (shortened version)

'For pity's sake, stop the work - I want to get off ...'
Stress can damage health, cost millions and affect your brand, but there are steps employers can take, says Cary Cooper (Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health, Manchester School of Management).
Workplace stress is booming ... it will be a matter of time before employers will be bombarded with claims for compensation from stressed-out workers.
In recent months we have witnessed at least half a dozen cases of claimants being awarded up to 300.000,-- pounds.
But the greater danger lies in longer term damage to the company's reputation from bad publicity.
We live in a culture of 'presenteeism', making employees feel that being at work from very early to very late shows more loyalty and commitment to the organisation all in the vain hope they will be the last to be given the chop in the next wave of redundancies.
There are measures that employers can take to help employees cope better:
1) Risk assessment - familiarise yourself with the 'Health and Safety Executive guidelines' which offer information about the common sources of stress.
2) A 'stress audit' may help to diagnose any potential problems.
3) Commitment from the top of the organisation to recognise stress as a feature of modern industrial life and not as a sign of weakness.
4) 21st century motto: IGNORE STRESS AT YOUR PERIL
Guardian March 17, 2001 'All stressed up and no place to go'
"Some 187 million working days and 12 billion a year are lost through illness brought on by pressure of work. Stress in the workplace counts for more days off than the common cold. More than one in 10 executives seek medical help because of stress at work.
The causes of these enormous levels of stress: increased casualisation resulting in the constant need to prove yourself, corporate expansion pushing workers further away from an end product, squashing thus the satisfaction of productivity, heightened awareness of profitability meaning employees have to work harder and longer and finally ownership structures across national bounderies, giving individuals less control over their environment."

On December 5, 2000 The Daily Telegraph wrote:
"Teacher receives 254,000 payout for stress. ... Jan H. suffered two mental breakdowns and was forced to retire on medical grounds at 46. Mrs. H. said she became depressed and dysfunctional. She did no longer want to go to work and was physically unable to enter the classroom. She blames the head teacher for not listening to her appeals for help and the local education authority for failing to provide support."
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