What you can’t say about travel

We all know that travel is about finding yourself. It is a profound journey of spiritual and personal growth that leads to a deeper understanding of global cultures. That is the backpackers’ party line anyway. I am no different. If you let me, I’ll cheerfully reel off a dozen stories about the time I climbed…

Where the wild things are: overnight in the Cambodian jungle

You can tell you’re off the beaten track when your motortaxi driver asks you to dismount half way through the journey. He needs to navigate an unmarked path which is entirely submerged in murky water. It’s rainy season in Cambodia, and after two long bus rides from Sihanoukville, a questionable bike ride to the ferry…

Vietnam: rocket fuel for the soul

Vietnam doesn’t greet you. It attacks your soul. From the moment you step off the plane you are hurled into the fast lane of a nation that doesn’t comprehend the concept of slowing down. The weight of the sun bears down on you, sticking your clothing to your back. As you try to break through the…

Shackles and flow

Have you ever been so engrossed in something that you completely lost track of time? In psychological  terms, this is known as a flow state. When you are in flow, or “in the zone”, the only thing in your mind is what you are doing in that moment. This single-minded focus allows you to block out the…

It’s not happening now

In honour of Mental Health Awareness Month, which started in America as long ago as 1949, I wanted to write something pertinent to this year’s theme: “Life with a mental illness”. Although we tend to think of neurology, psychiatry and psychology as fields that are still in their infancy, I find it staggering that there is…

Reiki healing

Reiki is an alternative therapy or medicine, developed by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui, which involves the practitioner channelling universal life force energy or ‘qi’ to promote healing and emotional well-being. The healer will usually place their hands on the patient’s body, using this energy to remove physical or emotional blockages. Reiki is often regarded with scepticism – which is…

Thinking errors and depression

“he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow” Ecclesiastes I owe a great deal of the content of this blog to Neel Burton’s “Psychiatry” (2nd edition), which I cannot recommend highly enough to anyone looking for a grounding in the aetiology, diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. The interesting thing about depression is that when you compare…

Anchoring

I’d like to tell you about a technique I use when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, which I call ‘anchoring’. Just to clarify, I’m not talking about the cognitive bias  theory here. When I say anchoring, what I mean is the practice of drawing on a memory of a strong positive emotion to displace feelings of sadness, anxiety or…

Parent, adult or child?

What we can learn from transactional analysis? Eric Berne’s theory of transactional analysis posits that we all assume the role, or ego state, of either parent, adult or child in relationships. The person we are relating to responds to our behaviour based on their own ego state and this combination determines the outcome of the…