“I was in an accident 6 years ago that resulted in me receiving a brain injury which nearly cost my life.
Since then I have gone through many feeling and emotions: scared, loss of confidence, no motivation, lack of confidence and many other thoughts and feelings.
I had great difficulty coming to terms with the injury and had “Survivors Guilt”, I felt guilty that my husband and family had to go through the torture of not knowing whether I would survive, and through that guilt I became angry. My anger has been towards doctors, teenagers and generally the world.
With my CBT therapist we worked together step by step, we set goals, which I never thought I would achieve, but week by week I managed to achieve my objectives, starting by walking to the bus stop, actually getting on a bus, and then arranging for a friend to meet me off the bus until finally I was able to have the confidence to catch a bus to town and meet my friend for lunch.
My other fear were crowds, especially when a group of young people were around, this goal was more difficult to overcome but, although not feeling totally comfortable I caught a bus into town during a half term week (when youngsters were around). It is still a problem to me but I am working on it. To face my fear of crowds my husband bought tickets for me and my friend to go to a concert. This was my biggest challenge so far and I was fine, although I must admit the age group there helped me to feel relaxed, but still it was not something I would have done 2 years ago.
My therapist suggested that when I was ready I should try and face my demons, including the café/bar where the accident happened. This I did; my husband and I went to the bar at about 6.30pm on a Thursday evening and I must admit it was a nice hour, having a drink and relaxing. I also felt that I had climbed over that huge mountain and came over it unscathed. I am still working on my problems. CBT does not make you better overnight, but it certainly puts things into perspective and I wish I had had this help 6 years ago.
I am still working on my problems and take each week step by step. I do try and set myself a goal every week - if I am having a bad week I find myself a quiet spot and put my relaxation CD on and then pick myself up and carry on with life. Thank you for all your help, I just wish I had found you 6 years ago.”
Childhood sexual abuse and bullied at school testimonial
"I can honestly say being referred to CBT Cardiff has set me free from a psychological disease that has been eating away at me for well over a decade. I thought for a long time the only way I could escape it would be when I die, and thought often about how to kill myself. Although my family members are not aware of what happened to me as a child, I am very lucky to have had enough family support, so I never actually 'properly' attempted suicide. However suicide was the easy option as prior to going for weekly psychotherapy at CBT Cardiff, I was convinced I was cursed with an incurable disease.
At a young age I was sexually abused by someone several years older than me of the same sex, and bullied at school because I was so small and vulnerable. I spent my whole childhood being scared of others. I kept what happened to me buried very deep from anyone. I started to deal with my abuse in my late teens and all through my 20’s with unhelpful behaviours, which resulted in police action at times. It's a miracle I managed to evade a prison term. As I grew older my activities went from criminal behaviours to a much more sinister way of dealing with what happened to me in childhood to punish myself. This resulted in a psychological nightmare that only psychological therapy (EMDR and CBT) has managed to cure me of.
My family support, coupled with psychotherapy from my excellent and caring therapist at CBT Cardiff has finally set me free. I am now at peace with my childhood abuse and what I went through, so I am now in new territory in my life and free from all those horrible images and dark thoughts about being a bad person. I now realise that I am worthy and what happened to me as a child was wrong and not my fault.
I would encourage anyone with this type of abuse to seek help from a skilled and accredited psychological therapist. I would wholeheartedly recommend CBT Cardiff as a safe, caring and confidential outpatient clinic to seek help from."
Driving Phobia testimonial
"I was a front seat passenger when another car crashed into my side of our car causing it to be a right off. I was frightened and shocked at the bump, noise and suddenness of the incident. My chest was bruised from the seat belt and my neck was very painful and stiff following the crash, I have constant neck pain still. After a few weeks we purchased another car. Several weeks later I began to drive. I was avoiding busy times on the road, difficult and busy junctions by taking less busy routes still anxious and fearful of another crash, repeatedly looking in the rear view and wing mirrors, and gripping the steering wheel as though in a brace position. I was beginning to feel quite down at my failing to have overcome my fears, living out of town with only 3 buses a day it is essential for me to drive, something that I have always enjoyed.
As a passenger I have been very anxious, afraid anticipating being involved in another crash, so much so that I could hear the noise of metal on metal and feel the bump, as it happened on the day of the crash. I would frequently brace myself holding on to the door grip if I thought other traffic was too close or about to hit my side of the car. I found that I was holding my breath, grabbing my husband’s knee and calling out, quite embarrassing for me and annoying for Allan as I made him feel nervous on a few occasions. I felt that I understood what had happened to me and tried to overcome it on my own but with little success.
Last Autumn I was referred to Dr. Neil Kitchiner for a course of CBT. In an atmosphere of calm privacy I found myself able to express my memory of the crash, my thoughts and feelings in relation to the event and the negative effect it had on me returning to a normal pattern of my every day life without being anxious and frightened, I was reducing the pain that I have with analgesics.
The excellent professional assistance and encouragement that I received has helped me greatly I continue to use the slow breathing technique to relax me when faced with a challenge while driving, this is effective in making me feel and hold myself in a less tense posture. Setting goals for homework and evaluating, monitoring and recording my progress with Neil during the sessions kept me on track and focused to move on. The sessions of EMDR were instrumental in greatly reducing my feelings of revisiting the crash and anticipating the same thing happening again. I can best describe it as helping me remove myself from the event fading it in my memory.
I have managed to repeatedly visit the difficult junctions and roads that I found myself avoiding, both alone and with passengers, and now most of all with a better feeling of being in control of a situation as best as one can be. I continue to use the techniques and tools e.g. breathing, and the book Back in the Driving seat that I found very helpful and continue to improve. Over all the sessions of CBT have helped me understand and gain control of my fears, improving my confidence when driving and as a passenger, remove the overwhelming feeling and sensation that I had thinking that I was going to be in another crash. I am ever grateful, THANKYOU."
Industrial Accident testimonial
"Initially I was sent to see Neil Kitchiner by my employer, so before I got there, I felt angry and suspicious. Even though I knew things weren’t right for me and I needed some kind of help, I couldn’t seem to join the dots to see the complete picture. I couldn’t figure out why I felt like I did and why I couldn’t just stop myself feeling that way. It was worse because my work involved supporting other people to solve their problems and feel better about themselves. Looking back I felt ashamed. Deep down I believed that, as I worked in the field of therapy and psychology, I shouldn’t be feeling the way I was feeling!
When I met Neil, I felt immediately that this was someone I could trust. His easy-going manner, and his commonsense approach meant it felt like he had my back. He understood, and allowed me to see that of course I’d feel the way I did given what I’d experienced. I wasn’t broken, I was just having a normal reaction to an abnormal set of circumstances. I can see now that this helped me begin to heal. Neil helped me do this, he made what I was going through normal, took away any sense of shame or guilt and helped me to open up to what I was experiencing.
Our sessions focused on the life I wanted. That was unexpected as I think I anticipated some painful digging into my past. But it was just what I needed. We worked in the “here and now”, with a timetable of activities I designed for myself based on my observations of what I did that felt good, and what made me feel bad. This was straightforward enough, but very effective in making me simply feel better. And the fact that I knew I’d have to give feed back at our next session motivated me to get out of bed and actually DO the things I had put in the timetable. The result was the more I did, the better I felt, so the more I did. Sounds simple I know, but it felt like a breakthrough. Without Neil’s guidance I know I wouldn’t have done it alone.
Part of my problem was that some specific experiences had left me unable to cope in similar situations. I’d freeze up, become unable to think. I’d become very angry very quickly in some circumstances, and then tearful straight after. This prevented me carrying out my work roles, but also interfered with relationships outside my employment. Neil helped me work through the memories that were behind this using a specialist technique called EMDR. I was genuinely amazed by the results of these sessions. Through my work I’d learned some of the theoretical background to EMDR. Even so, to experience such an apparently simple process have such a profound effect was astonishing. For me it seemed to almost immediately change how I had seen a situation. It was like the world shifted and the source of my anxiety and powerlessness just seemed to evaporate in front of me.
Looking back now it is obvious to me that Neil had my interests at heart, not anyone else’s. That’s important as it meant I was able to move forward, and now I’m starting to plan the life I want using the techniques I learned in our sessions. I have revaluated not just my career choices but my whole approach to life; to my family, my activities, and my work. I’m excited to think of my future and I’m very grateful to Neil for that."
Low Confidence testimonial
"Five and half years ago, I developed Pneumonia and I ended up having a serious lung operation after having a lot of fluid on my chest for months. Just after the operation, I sold my business because I was so ill, lost my marriage and was homeless with 3 kids. I became very scared of not being able to breathe and this trauma led to triggering low self esteem, ocd, a generalised anxiety disorder, panic attacks and hyperventilation disorder, which meant that I was constantly scared of everything and had buzzing sensations all over my body.
I have received counselling and been to group therapies to build my life back up, plus medication for a few years but I still felt scared and didn't quite understand everything, but then I had CBT and it all made sense!
I had a planned guided self-help course to target my low self esteem course, which meant that I had to do some homework outside of therapy but that was really beneficial and made me feel like I could really overcome everything. My therapist was so professional but also such a real person, who is so present and understanding and I'll be thankful for his help and CBT forever!! It didn't happen over night and you do have to put effort into it too, it's not like waving a wand but I can tell you that if you persist, your life will change.
15 sessions was the time I had to complete it and it was perfect. Now, I am feeling confident enough to work and feel good about myself. I have been off my medication for almost 3 months and feel the best I've ever felt. I also completed a 10 week counselling course and am starting the next course in September as that's how much I believe in therapy, I'd love to help others, too. My children are so happy and I'm building relationships with people that I never thought I would. I never ever imagined I could ever feel like the old me but even better than that, feel this happy and complete. My life has changed because of the support and treatment with CBT."
Low Self Esteem testimonial
"I have suffered from low self esteem and anxiety for more years than I care to remember but the symptoms have gradually become much worse, so much so that this year I felt it necessary to resign from a profession that I have been involved in for over 27 years. Having suffered badly from bullying at work I had a break-down 6 years ago. I was only able to return when the bully had resigned. I had been off work for almost 6 months and had been put on anti- depressants, seen by our work based Occupational Health nurse and had paid for private therapy sessions.
At the time of my first episode I had read a lot of self help articles and books and looked at alternative therapies such as 'tapping', aromatherapy and Bach flower remedies. I was keen to find support other than medication and enquired about CBT. I was told by my G.P. that this was not readily available on the NHS at my surgery and was advised to seek help privately as the waiting lists were far too long.
Six years later, after a lot of angst and heartache for family and friends I finally stopped ignoring the difficulties faced by my anxiety and low self esteem and took serious action. I removed myself from a difficult situation in work by resigning. I did not take this decision lightly, however, my difficulties had become so intense that they were quite disabling. It felt that this was the only way forward. Like many others that have the same difficulties as myself I felt a fraud. There was no joy in any aspect of my life and despite the wonderful support of my family and friends I had very dark thoughts and could see little reason why anyone would have any feelings other than contempt for me. I felt utterly worthless.
Having had a succession of different therapists over the past six years I was sceptical about meeting another. I had heard good and bad things about CBT but was desperate to find something concrete to focus my recovery on. I went for my first session on 14th February 2014, it was my 51st birthday. I had my initial assessment and opened up and was very candid about my life. My therapist was very professional, he was very down to earth with a practical nonsensical approach. I talked and cried and listened to the kind of support that he could offer.
I visited him for a period of 3 months the support he gave was invaluable. I followed a structured approach which involved homework tasks that required me to question my core beliefs. The program was easy to follow and allowed me to explore how and why I felt the way that I did by encouraging me to write thoughts and feelings down. This process helped me to see how unrealistic my judgments of myself were. I began to question whether what I thought was fact or simply an opinion I had formed.
The program I used enabled me to identify the unhelpful behaviours I had adopted and to challenge my biased expectations through a series of experiments. Over time I begin to value myself and to have more realistic expectations. I also learnt the importance of treating myself well and by developing my new skills I intend to continually work at maintaining my self esteem.
CBT helped me to see how to get myself back on track. My Therapist encouraged me to see what others saw in me - he enabled me to rebuild my self esteem. He was so easy to relate to, his friendly approachable manner made our sessions not only productive but enjoyable. In the beginning at a time when there was no joy in my life - he began to make me laugh.
I cannot thank him enough for helping me to move forward and for introducing me to strategies that have enabled me to begin to live my life again. I am now enjoying my life for the first time since I can't remember. CBT has shown me how I can to move my life forward and I am eager to start work and to put my new values into practice. I would recommend CBT sessions with CBT Cardiff to anyone suffering with anxiety and low self esteem. My therapist had a genuine, easy and professional manner which allowed him to provide me with an excellent service. Thank you.
I can't be grateful enough to Neil, for helping me deal with my anxiety disorder, he has changed my life and I feel the strongest I have ever felt and able to deal with anything now."
“Having been attending therapy sessions for nearly two years I feel that I am between 75 and 80% better than I used to be; more experienced in dealing with setbacks and no longer very afraid of the symptoms of my particular OCD. OCD has manifested itself throughout my life but it has only been since coming across a newspaper article on OCD over two years ago that I understood that this was what I suffered from. The symptoms were at their worse when I was about 19 and I am now 24 so it is clearly apparent that the battle with OCD can be a long one. It is certainly a battle that can be won and it is not without its rewards because through their suffering OCD ‘victims’ can become stronger and more resilient individuals. This has certainly been my experience but this feeling has only materialised through concerted efforts on my part to make this so.
Regular CBT sessions with my therapist has enabled me to understand how to cope with my OCD, and not just respond to particular instances, but push through them so that that particular manifestation will have a less negative effect in the future. In confronting thoughts through exposure techniques my fears subside and an understanding of what they are is made clear. I no longer feel that I am the only person on this planet that has this problem and nor do I feel that I am crazy or evil for harbouring certain intrusive thoughts.
The most valuable aspect of CBT, in my experience, is the exposure to thoughts and my responses to them. In writing situations down, the intrusive thought and the ensuing attachment, I now have a tool that allows me to confront my problem rationally rather than it being an entirely emotional and internal problem. A key benefit to regular sessions with my therapist has been the opportunity to talk with someone who will not judge me nor reassure me but help me to see the problem for what it is. Therapy has allowed me to learn the importance of not analysing my intrusive thoughts in the sense of attaching meaning to them and as a result my feelings of fear and guilt have been dramatically reduced. Therapy and CBT is not a ‘quick fix’ but involves hard work from myself to overcome my problems but regular sessions allow me the support and tools to be able to do this.”
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) testimonial
“I can honestly say that being referred to CBT Cardiff completely changed my life around. I had suffered with depression and post traumatic stress following the sudden death of my father, the collapse of my marriage as a result of the stress, and also a bad car accident for nearly a year and had tried everything including psychiatric visits and antidepressants. It is only when I met my therapist (NJK) and was given an opportunity to openly discuss my feelings and issues in a friendly and calm environment that I began to realise that there was light at the end of the tunnel.
The sessions were purposely built around my problems and anxieties with the focus always being on what the main issues were at that time. The homework and feedback from previous sessions were always useful and my therapist always checked my progress via a questionnaire which I had to complete. This visual aid was valuable to me as it showed if I had progressed or lapsed and most weeks I could see the progression which I was making which was a very positive mental tool to spur me on.
My therapist made it easy for me to be honest with my inner thoughts and feelings and gave me exercises (such as breathing techniques) to help with things such as panic attacks and feelings of sadness. These certainly worked and I finally felt that I was in control.
I am now in a new relationship, happier than ever within myself and expecting my first child; life couldn’t be better and it is all down to my therapist and CBT Cardiff. Thank you so much.”