Eleven client stories who recovered and stayed well from long standing and debilitating anxieties.
Testimonial from Vicki
Hi Andrew, I have been feeling a lot better about everything and more confident. I have had my down days and times when it has been tough, but I am certainly coping much better than before.. I am down in Dorset at the moment for a break before I go back for my final exams. I have been driving around, and even drove all the way down to Exeter from my house to go to an interview for a students associate scheme placement. It involved all the aspects of driving I worry about, including country lanes, main roads, and most of all parking in a car park and reversing. I coped really well, had a couple of moments where I worried, but I was able to dismiss them quite easily. I want to come and see you again before I finish after my exams; I would like to just polish it all a bit, (if that’s the right phrase) and make sure the stress of exams doesn’t make it flare up again.
Testimonial from Ursula
When I first started meeting Andrew, I was in a very anxious and distressed state. My stress levels had been very high for some months, resulting in daily stomach upset, very disrupted sleep patterns and bouts of crying at the slightest stress or mention of stressful situations. I was taking additional leave from work and wondered if I could face returning.
At the first session, Andrew helped me to identify which were the most important issues to deal with first and he completed the rewind technique on the work situation. This settled the knots and physical upset in my stomach the same day. Through the next sessions he used the rewind technique and other visualisations to relieve a range of anxieties and upsets which I had not previously been able to process. As they fell away, I found other historic upsets buried beneath them and as they surfaced we dealt with each one.
I can honestly say that I felt better with each session. Although there were situations that I found difficult to talk about, Andrew’s kindness and acceptance allowed me to talk freely without feeling judged.
Also, I found it helpful not to have to unpick every situation in intricate detail and after working on a subject, I was left feeling lighter about it, not burdened by the experience of having worked it through.
Whilst the sessions focused on resolving past issues, I used the resources on the website such as the relaxation track, the information and the inspirational materials to build up more positivity.
Whilst I still acknowledge the work and personal situations that I have been in as stressful and difficult, I can think and talk about them rationally, without upset. My sleep has improved significantly and my husband welcomes my calmer approach and focussing more on the family whilst I am there, rather than being emotionally elsewhere. I hold my head high, looking at the world around me, rather than looking down at the ground, feeling invisible. Also, I feel more resilient, bouncing back faster from feelings of stress or unhappiness, rather than allowing them to spoil my day. Finally, I find myself feeling lighter and laughing more daily, engaging with people more easily and re-connecting with friends I have neglected for the last year. All in just 8 sessions. Thank you Andrew.
Testimonial from Owen who was enduring a chronic lack of confidence
I visited Andrew with problems centered around a lack of confidence which really held me back in life for many years, so it took a lot of courage to actually contact someone for help. At my first meeting with Andrew I immediately felt relaxed. He takes a very unique approach in trying to find out the root cause of your problems and at no point did I feel uncomfortable. I am pleased to say that after only a few sessions my self confidence has come on leaps and bounds.
Testimonial from Amelia who was enduring a debilitating agoraphobia
I had been unwell since I was 19 – I am now 28. I had looked for lots of help from aversion therapy to CBT, but nothing had changed in me. I still felt the same about life and my life. I became agoraphobic and didn’t leave the house for a year. I was a big non believer in anything that seemed too good to be true. I thought I had become broken and was unable to become fixed. I had battled with a range of issues for years from depression to post traumatic stress syndrome from my break down. I had never worked, had few friends and never left my safe area that I had created. Then after several months of intensive CBT I became very unwell again – worse than I had ever been. I couldn’t talk or focus. I was permanently in a state of panic.
Then I found Andrew and rang him at 7:30 in the morning and explained what had been happening. He was very kind and calming to me on the phone and sent me some recordings to relax me. I saw him that afternoon via Skype. I was changed after that session. The feeling had moved away from me and I was coming down off the ledge.
I had several more sessions with Andrew. And can you believe it – now I have left my safe bubble, I have my own shop in my local area so I am for the first time in employment, I have made new friends and feel able to cope. Andrew has helped me to come to terms with what happened to me, the reality of panic and the fact that I am not destined to be the old version of me. If I read this I would not believe it, as I never thought I could be fixed but with Andrew’s help, guidance and understanding I have been transformed. Andrew is a person with a great knowledge of what you need and understands the horror of mental health problems.
Testimonial from Roxanne who was enduring anxieties that were spreading to all parts of her life
After having a fairly stressful job and a few traumatic experiences involving my children’s life I found I had developed a level of stress and anxiety that was preventing me from living a ‘normal’ life. When I say normal, having been an independent person until the age of 36, a successful career and eventually a loving and happy relationship with two children, late last year I found myself paralysed, mentally. I couldn’t go out, face the tube or drive the car alone. I couldn’t be alone at home with the children. I had a general fear of normal activities and found I was avoiding social scenarios of any kind. I became very dependent on my husband. This experience came after two panic attacks that happened with one ending us in A&E and another having to be ‘saved’ by my husband off the motorway.
I then found myself in a daily routine of fight of flight physical experiences mainly not being able to breathe. It was very scary and uncomfortable.
A friend suggested I meet Andrew. I had reached a point where I was unable to work and paying for therapy felt like a luxury. However I knew I had to try something beyond meditation and CBT.
Andrew and I had 4 sessions. These sessions consisted of facing the fears I had constructed in my head and thoughts. Andrew took me back to particular experiences I feared and helped me to see them as irrelevant, as just another memory like going to the shops.
We moved on to facing my daily catastrophising – this is when one becomes lost in bad thoughts and experiences physical reactions to them rather than then just letting the bad thought go as you might a good one. I imagined things like a car mounting the kerb and killing my child and not being near enough at that second. Andrew helped me to experience these in therapy visually and let them go.
It’s taken weeks but my life has been transformed and I believe that therapy with Andrew was a major part of this. I found in addition his body scan meditations helped me to think differently.
I’d recommend this therapy to anyone. Andrew takes time to really understand your personal issues and is confident he can help in only a few sessions.
Thank you Andrew for helping life to get back to a ‘normal’ and enjoyable place.
Testimonial from Hillary, a student who was suffering from anxieties around presentations
I was studying to be a speech and language therapist at the time of coming to see you and my worries about doing presentations and even just talking in a group were really dragging me down – in fact I’d say they made me want to quit my course and get a job that I knew would let me hide-away! In the session we did something called ‘rewinding’ I think it was called. I had the opportunity the week after that session to do a presentation in front of my tutorial group, and while I started off with the usual racing heartbeat and red face I managed to get through it and gradually felt much more comfortable and relaxed the longer I spoke for. It was an odd feeling but a very welcome one! I told you about this in our second and final session.
Since then I’ve qualified as a speech and language therapist and I went to Cambodia for 3 months to volunteer in a hospital where I got to do lots of training presentations to big groups and I spoke-up during various meetings. I also did a presentation at my university a couple of weeks ago to recruit new volunteers for the Cambodia project in front of about 40 people and do a mini presentation in front of interview panel for a job interview, all of which went really well (and I got the job!)
So in short I definitely don’t avoid situations that involve talking in front of people anymore and I don’t panic beforehand or give-up in the middle because my voice is shaking – instead I’m now doing things that I definitely would have certainly avoided this time last year, and enjoying them! I feel oddly calm when I talk in front of people, which is all I wanted. I’m so grateful for the help you gave me in those 2 sessions and wanted you to know what a massive, positive effect it has had on me and my work and I thought it might be helpful for you to hear about the long-term effects of your therapy.
Testimonial from Patricia (not her real name) who had endured a health related trauma while driving
I have tried my best to maintain the ideas you have put forward to me i.e. 7/11 which works every time and remaining in calm surroundings and definitely not taking on tasks which I feel will get me anxious. I drove on the A12 this weekend for the first time in about four months and it felt great. So at this present moment in time I feel like my old self again.
Gail came very unhappy and feeling out of control with what turned out to be a still active trauma from her childhood
I was getting to the end of my tether, and so were my work colleagues – not knowing how to deal with my unexpected bursts of tears, general mood of moroseness, and fears over well just so much. They were getting fed up? Heck. I was getting furious with myself again. Somehow I just KNEW it was my entire fault really, I was just being pathetic, I should yell at myself to get it all together, I should just try HARDER. In the end it was my manager who told me that since I’d tried legal drugs, the talking cure, and exercise she might have a new option. Well goodness, I was ready to try anything.
The setting was a quiet area, a family home, and a softly spoken Andrew Richardson. Yes I DID arrive near to sniveling but it all soon wore off. I even share a medical issue – if that is the correct phrase – with Andrew but we didn’t spend much time on that as I was, and still am, sure that MS is the LEAST of my worries. By attending my sessions with Andrew I found out that he considered that I have been through a trauma. This was such a different way to look at that time as a twelve year old when I just hadn’t been able to cope with the bad luck of being bullied and trying to commit suicide, in the middle of my mother dying from Alzheimer’s disease. Okay. I now see how I might not have been unreasonable in feeling awful a lot of the time because behaviour now tripped me back into that bullied child.
And this is what Andrew got me to work on, with his help. I was taught a way to view past memories and so got rid of the emotion of them. As part of the visualization I regained one of my past German Shepherdesses who I used to sit with my arm around, so if I seem to be poised awkwardly it’s because my left arm is busy cuddling a pooch. I also found words coming out of my mouth that I hadn’t planned on saying but seemed to make sense to Andrew. I filled in questionnaires that we reviewed in later weeks and he gave me proper charts to look at, (and keep), to help me see my progress. I also have a promise that if I feel it’s all becoming too much again, all I have to do is telephone and he will be ready, willing and able to help – a bit like the cavalry of human givens. Yes it was worthwhile. Yes I use Andrew’s visualization technique with stressful stuff that stresses me out at work. Yes, I feel happy that I have his back-up. And yes, I still have my ghostly bitch to cuddle when my live one is otherwise engaged.
Nick had had enough of a life filled with chronic insecurities
I’ve lost the anxiety that I think has blighted a lot of my life and I am much more positive about everything. I can listen to other people, accept new ideas and opinions and not shut everything out as before. I can read things about being positive, recognising my strengths etc (for example your newsletters) and now I can actually take things from them that will benefit me whereas I think that before I would just have dismissed them and stayed in the pit of bleakness I was in. So please keep writing! I can’t really remember how bad I was when I first saw you but it all seems like a couple of years of a bad dream now.
Kevin was an iraqi war veteran who had endured an extended period of siege in Basra
I came to see Andrew suffering from PTSD and for me this was a strong feeling of anger and frustration and a heavy weight presence that was always with me. After the first session I started feeling the weight lifting already – more quickly than I expected. Just one session of talking it felt like a different me.
In the second session when Andrew did rewind – that seemed to lift it out. It made me see other things from different points of view. I felt that I could feel other people’s feelings for the first time in a long time. I also felt much calmer.
At the third session Andrew did more rewind – of me being bullied at school and that also worked. I now realise that I was not the only boy bullied at school.
At the fourth session I needed some help with anger – but not that much. I was surprised that Andrew could help me so quickly and I feel that he did a very good job.
Mick was still suffering from his experiences in the Falklands war
Over a period of a number of years I had been feeling worse and worse. I had tried to bury my experiences in the Falklands conflict. I had felt it was my fault my friends died and questioned why them and not me. All these thoughts I kept to myself and tried to carry on with ‘normal’ daily life at work and with my family.
I reached a stage where I felt desperate for help and could not see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ – any light I did see became another train hurtling toward me. I can honestly admit I contemplated taking my life more frequently than I planned living it to the full.
I found myself losing control of my emotions, not listening to others when they tried to point out how I was making them feel when I lost my temper, when I shouted for no reason or just to get my point across.
I found it impossible to relax, my health suffered, I put on weight and my Blood Pressure became high. Looking back I can see I was withdrawing from my family, those I love very much.
Then I began the therapy with Andrew. I admit I was very sceptical and attended the initial appointment hesitantly. He helped me to understand I wasn’t ‘abnormal or going mad’ and it was amazing! It was as if some light was instantly switched on – I began to believe I could feel better and these dark feelings/moods would pass and on a permanent basis.
Through discussions and hypnotherapy I found myself relaxing and believing I was in control of these feelings and life would be good again.
The information was thorough, straight forward, easy for me to grasp and made an instant difference. My family commented on the improvement – it felt as though we had all attended the sessions.
I know change is gradual and I will have to continue to implement what I learned about myself. but with Andrews help via the sessions I know this is a long term change and life is good again. I feel confident and am aware I’m looking forward and planning for the future . . .something I never thought would happen.
Thank you very sincerely Andrew – you have made a difference and my family and I are very grateful.