City Road Therapy

Issues we
help with

At City Road Therapy our therapists can offer counselling, psychotherapy and coaching to help you with a range of issues.

Below is a list of the most common reasons why people seek therapy.  This isn’t an exhaustive list; there may be something else that brings you to therapy.  Our therapists are trained to help with anything that impacts negatively on your life or your happiness.

Anger
Depression
Addiction
OCD
Anxiety and panic attacks
Grief and loss
Work and workplace issues
Family relationships
Romantic relationships
Food issues and eating disorders
LGBTQ+
Low self-esteem and confidence
Childhood abuse
Parenting issues and family conflict
Step-parenting issues
Body image and dysmorphia
Stress and feeling overwhelmed
Feeling stuck, uninspired or lost
Sexual anxiety
Sexual assault and rape

Anger

Intense and persistent angry feelings can cause real distress to you and others around you, whether you keep it in or have regular outbursts. Anger is an aroused state in which the mind becomes focussed on a potential threat. As a result, the body gets ready to run or fight. It may feel exhilarating or paralysing, terrifying, shameful, and out of your control.

Our therapists can help you understand and manage your anger. In particular, they can help you identify what triggers your anger, where it may stem from in the past and how it can mask other feelings. Rather than trying to get rid of anger, therapy can help you acquire the skills and practice to live with it more comfortably and express it safely and calmly.

Depression

People often describe depression as being like a fog. The persistent low mood, depleted energy and sense of meaninglessness can feel all-engulfing, and it can be difficult to imagine how anything will improve. Therapy can help you understand and manage these uncomfortable feelings, and explore where they may come from.

The fog of depression can descend for many reasons. Your feelings could be the reaction to a difficult experience or particular trauma; low self-esteem and confidence; unexpressed anger; or a feeling that you’re not being listened to or understood.

Our therapists can help you explore negative messages you may give yourself and look at how they may be weighing down on you. With time, therapy can help you move forward with a greater sense of resilience and possibility.

Addiction

For some, addiction means losing everything. For others, it means being too attached to doing something, for example, work or exercise; ingesting drugs or alcohol; or fixating on a person or type of person (also called co-dependency).

You may feel you want to repeat the behaviour because it makes you feel good, at least at that moment. You may feel ‘driven’ or out of control, or worry you’re consuming too much of a particular substance. Perhaps other people are worried about you, or you’re concerned about the effect that something is having on other areas of your life?

Some say the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but a connection with others. Feeling connected may be literal – in other words, you need more or different people in your life – or you may be ‘blocked’ from yourself, and your feelings and needs. Being blocked can result in addictive behaviours.

Our therapists can help you find a way through. Even when sober or free from the behaviour, people are not aware they’re feeling driven to use. Much less that there’s an underlying emotional wound that hasn’t been healed by natural causes. Self-awareness is obscured; there are psychological blind-spots.

Therapy can help you re-connect with yourself and others, and develop a stronger sense of belonging in the world. Therapy can treat the causes of addiction, not just the symptoms.

OCD

Many of us like to keep routines – they are reassuring and they help us feel good and steady in life. But if you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you might feel unable to stop repetitive behaviours. This is usually because these behaviours distract you from painful feelings. Checking locks and hand-washing are typical behaviours, but it may also be checking in on loved ones, or a ritual you feel compelled to repeat.

You may develop these behaviours in response to intrusive repetitive thoughts and worries. The behaviour helps reduce the anxiety, but often not for long. Perhaps you’ve tried to stop the behaviour but found the worry only gets worse?

Our therapists can help you to find ways to interrupt this flow of thought and create new ways of managing. For more persistent worries, therapy can discover the issues underlying the repeating thoughts or actions, which often are unknown to the person experiencing them.

Anxiety and panic attacks

There is so much out of our control in life, and at times this can cause great anxiety. Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry, nervousness or fear. It is part of life, but at times anxiety can escalate and become overwhelming and hard to cope with. A specific, traumatic experience of feeling powerless may have lead to intense anxiety, or it may stem from a build up over many years.

You may worry about how others see you (social anxiety), about your role at work or how others perceive you in sexual situations (performance anxiety). You may feel anxious about a forthcoming exam, your health or that of a loved one. Or you may have fears about the world at large.

If you have anxiety, you may experience distressing physical symptoms, including difficulties breathing, heart palpitations, over-sweating and insomnia. Anxiety can sometimes lead to panic attacks.

Our therapists can help you open up to different ways of responding to life’s uncertainties and acquire the skills and practices to reduce anxious feelings significantly.

Grief and loss

Grief is a natural process, but the strength of feeling it causes in the first few weeks or months can be worrying and talking to a therapist about this can be helpful.

Sometimes grief can be suppressed, delayed and remain hidden – an ungrieved loss. Or grief can be prolonged, and you get stuck in the feelings. This can be frightening as there aren’t many emotional states more intense and overwhelming than raw grief. Perhaps you can’t concentrate, or cannot begin anything new in your life? Or you might feel nothing in response to things you deem important.

Grief can be for any loss, not just caused by losing a close person. Grief may come after losing a meaningful career or losing an ideal (for example, Brexit created grief reactions in ‘Remainers’).

Our therapists can act as a kind of ‘witness’ to all the difficult emotions that come with grief, and this can help reduce your suffering in a way that talking to other loved ones cannot. Following therapy, you might feel more able to expand your horizons and engage with life again.

Work and workplace issues

Many people spend a lot of time working. If you’re struggling at work, this can affect you at other times and in other areas of your life.

There are many reasons why you might find work and the workplace difficult. Starting a new job or returning to work after having children, restructures, redundancy or starting a new business can all present challenges.

If for any reason you’re being bullied, or feel sidelined, discriminated against or victimised by someone in the workplace, you might start to feel trapped and develop low self-esteem and confidence, anxiety or depression.

Your relationship with work itself might be complicated. If you’re working long hours, you might start to feel resentful. Or perhaps work has become your primary focus in life, and you feel frustrated by people or events that you perceive are standing in the way of your progress? Alternatively, you may be aware of a work-life imbalance, but don’t know how to change things for the better.

Our therapists can help you identify the core issues, develop strategies to manage better in the workplace, or develop other sides of your character if you feel you are over-attached to work. A number of our therapists offer coaching for professionals looking for greater clarity, confidence and commitment to what matters most to them right now, and for the future.

Family relationships

Society’s expectations about how we ‘perform’ in the role of spouse or partner, parent, child or sibling are always changing, and this can lead to misunderstandings and arguments with family members and make you feel frustrated, disappointed, lonely or rejected. You may feel torn between what you want and what your family expects from you. What’s more, expectations of, or treatment by, others can create states of mind that get played out in repeating patterns. You might become ‘locked’ in a role, for example, the ‘helpful’ child, the ‘useless’ brother or the ‘bossy’ parent, and this can create painful feelings. Or you may be stuck on a ‘wish’ that things will change for the better.

Our therapists can help you untangle yourself from complex family dynamics, and connect better with family members.

Romantic relationships

If you are finding your relationships difficult or unsatisfactory and can relate to any of the following, you might benefit from relationship therapy:

  • Your romantic relationships tend to break down badly
  • You struggle to be single and feel stressed rather than empowered by all the modern dating options available
  • You feel or act anxious, possessive or avoidant when you are in a relationship
  • You feel unhappy in a relationship but find it difficult to make changes or end it
  • You lose a sense of self when you are in a romantic relationship
  • You feel others judge your romantic or sexual choices
  • You find it hard to move on after a relationship has ended
  • You fall in and out of love, and your relationships don’t outlive the ‘honeymoon phase’ (the first 18 months or so).

Our qualified therapists can help you make sense of how and why these things might be happening. During therapy, you may discover that you are repeating in your daily life the patterns of relating that you witnessed in childhood.

Over time, our therapists can help you get in touch with the emotions that are connected to the issue, even feelings that you didn’t know were there. This process can free you to relate more vividly, and help you meet future partners who can offer a consistent relationship. Therapy can make you feel more ‘complete’ in yourself, and reduce the feeling of yearning to be in a romantic relationship.

Food issues and eating disorders

Sometimes our relationship with food can become complicated. You might keep thinking or worrying about food when you’re away from it. Perhaps you think about food, meal-planning or rewarding yourself with ‘treats’, and that thinking has become intrusive? Or you’ve developed repetitive behaviours around food, for example, overeating when you feel anxious or unsafe? You might have tried to change the way you view or behave around food, for example, by dieting or trying to eat more healthily, and not been successful.

Sometimes problems with food and eating are grouped with addiction and obsession issues since they can all involve compulsive behaviours. However, unlike other types of addiction, you cannot give up food and you have to come to terms with living with it.

Our therapists can help you overcome or reduce intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviours around food. They can work with you to tackle any deeper issues and feelings that you may not realise are there, but that sometimes can underlie eating problems.

LGBTQ+

If you are unclear or confused about your gender, sexual identity or orientation, this can lead to feelings of mental distress. You may have instincts or longings about living in a different way that you would like support exploring.

If you feel confident and comfortable with your gender and sexual identity, you may experience rejection from those close to you. If you are LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex or asexual), you might have experienced discrimination in the workplace, or been a victim of hate crime.

Feelings of worry, shame and isolation often begin in childhood. Perhaps you were bullied at school for being ‘different’? Homophobic bullying often continues into adulthood, leading to low self-esteem and confidence, or anxiety and depression. To deal with painful feelings you may have developed unhealthy relationships or addictions to alcohol, drugs or food.

Our professionally trained therapists are able to support people who are LGBTQ+ and can:

  • Provide a safe, non-judgemental environment to talk through your thoughts and feelings about gender or sexual identity
  • Identify any related mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression
  • Support you to ‘come out’
  • Work through any relationship or sexual problems
  • Recommend couples therapy or family therapy to help partners or family members who are finding it difficult to understand or accept who you are
  • Help you lead a more full and happy life.

Low self-esteem and confidence

How you feel about yourself, and how you talk to and take care of yourself, affects all areas of your life. You may not feel confident trying new hobbies or applying for a new job. You may have worries about your body image, or feel like hiding away and avoiding social situations, and this can sometimes lead to anxiety or depression.

If you have low self-esteem or confidence it can affect your quality of life, including your relationships with others. This may stem from messages you received growing up, or be a result of more recent experiences.

The way you speak to yourself can really impact your self-esteem. Our therapists will encourage you to work with this ‘inner critic’ and help you access a more supportive way of relating to yourself. They can offer you a safe and non-judgemental space in which to explore your feelings of low confidence and self-esteem and look at the deeper issues causing you to feel this way.

Childhood abuse

If you experienced abuse or trauma as a child, it might affect you now you are an adult. Some days you might manage to block out childhood memories of abuse to help you get through the day; other days you might find it more difficult to cope.

Childhood abuse can be sexual, physical or psychological. You might have been neglected emotionally, or physically left on your own when you were too young. You may have experienced sexual or physical assault, or witnessed domestic violence towards someone else living in the family home.

Many survivors of childhood abuse or trauma do not tell anyone about their experience even when they reach adulthood. It is common for survivors to feel guilty, isolated, alone or ashamed, even though they are not to blame for what happened.

Childhood abuse can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health and can lead to you experiencing:

  • Anger issues
  • Difficulty making or maintaining loving relationships and sexual problems
  • Low self-esteem and confidence
  • Food issues and eating disorders
  • Addiction to food, alcohol or drugs
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Depression.

If you are a survivor of childhood abuse you might have suicidal thoughts. If you feel suicidal, you can call the Samaritans at any time of the day or night, or the police. It can also be helpful to share your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust. A number of our therapists have undergone specialist training to help survivors of childhood abuse and can:  

  • Listen to your story – talking about your experience might lift a great weight from you
  • Use creative or mindful techniques in therapy to help you cope with any flashbacks to the abuse, showing you ways to bring yourself back to the present moment
  • Help you differentiate your ‘child head’ and ‘adult head’, and teach you how to soothe, nurture and empower yourself
  • Move towards living the happier and more fulfilled life that you deserve.

Parenting issues and family conflict

Arguably it’s more challenging to be a parent now than ever before. There is no such thing as a typical family, but you may feel that something is not quite right and not know what the problem is. Even if you can identify the issue, you may feel powerless to address it. Either scenario can lead to feelings of worry, self-doubt, frustration or anger on your part, and children may display challenging, overly-compliant or withdrawn behaviour.You might be finding it difficult to cope if you are going through separation or divorce from your partner. Lone parenting and also step-parenting is challenging, as is looking after a child with physical, learning or mental health difficulties, or helping the family deal with a traumatic event.If you are a parent of a baby or young child, you might be struggling to cope due to lack of sleep, or concerned you have postnatal depression (PND). Or you might be a parent to a teen struggling with exam stress. Perhaps an adult child is unable to afford to leave home, and this is creating tensions in the family? Or maybe they’ve moved out, and you have what’s often referred to as ‘empty nest’ syndrome?Whatever the issues, many of our therapists are qualified to offer parenting counselling and can:
  • Offer you a safe and non-judgemental space in which to talk freely about the issues worrying or frustrating you
  • Allow you to explore how the way you were parented might be affecting how you parent your child (also called ‘intergenerational trauma’)
  • Help you better manage stress and deeper issues that might affect how you respond to your children.

Step-parenting issues

As the number of blended families continues to grow, more people are facing the unique challenges that can come with being a step-parent.

If you’re a step-parent you may have the following questions:

  • How can I form a meaningful bond with my step-children?
  • How can I parent someone I care deeply about, but don’t love?
  • How can I parent my step-child who has negative feelings towards me and/or who seems to be trying to create a rift between me and my new partner?
  • How do I deal with my partner’s ex?
  • How do I best support my partner when there is acrimony between my partner and his or her ex?

Sometimes problems that already exist in your family of origin can hamper your ability to deal with issues resulting from being part of a blended family. Our therapists can give you the space to sort through any difficult feelings and help you develop strategies to resolve them.

Body image and dysmorphia

Feeling unhappy with how you look and being uncomfortable in your body can impact on your experience of life. You may develop low self-esteem and confidence, and become overly self-critical. This can have a damaging impact on your self-image and feelings of possibility. People who experience body image issues can sometimes develop another condition called body dysmorphia or Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), and this can cause you to avoid certain situations or people, develop unhealthy habits or other conditions such as anxiety or depression.

If you are struggling with difficult feelings or relationships, you may divert your attention to something more concrete to blame such as aspects of your body. You may become preoccupied and overly critical towards yourself, lose perspective or ignore other areas of your life. Pressure from advertising that promotes the latest ‘ideal’ female or male body, skin or face, can compound this problem.

Our therapists will delicately support you to explore what may feel like very personal and unspeakable thoughts and feelings. They can help you to understand what your concerns might be masking and what is preventing you accepting yourself the way you are. In therapy, you will practice a richer, more accepting and kinder way of thinking about yourself so you feel more comfortable in your skin.

Stress and feeling overwhelmed

Life can be very demanding, and a build-up of stress is a major reason that brings people to therapy. Stress can feel overwhelming, making it hard to focus and difficult to switch off. It may centre on a range of issues including problems at work, issues in romantic or family relationships, money worries and the overwhelm that can come from living a busy life.

Stress can also lead to sleep issues, digestive problems, aches, tension and low energy levels, and some people may experience anxiety and panic attacks.

Our therapists can help you slow down and understand what is underpinning your feelings, and identify ways to manage stress and minimise the symptoms so you feel calmer and more able to cope with life’s demands.

Feeling stuck, uninspired or lost

Therapy isn’t only for people in dire straights. It’s common to feel stuck in a rut or lacking in inspiration at points in your life. You may feel this because of a significant life change, such as leaving college or a job, or after having children. Or your feelings may have emerged more gradually.

Therapy can help you re-engage with yourself, your feelings, your body, and your desires and strengths. Devoting focus and energy to exploring your thoughts and feelings may be all that’s needed to help you feel more inspired and potent in your life. Therapy can help you develop a more philosophical approach to life, enabling you to accept what you can’t change and be more aware of what you can.

Some of our therapists incorporate mindfulness or creative techniques into their therapy sessions. If you’re feeling stuck in your head or disconnected from your body or creativity, you might find these approaches particularly beneficial.

Sexual anxiety

Anxiety about sex can be distressing and can affect your confidence in many areas of your life. Some of the reasons why you might struggle with sexual issues are:

  • Problems with disliking your body, or concern about your weight
  • Anxiety over sexual performance, or about being able to enjoy sex
  • Premature ejaculation or vaginismus
  • Anxieties about how other people perceive you
  • Concerns that you can’t enjoy sex
  • Problems in your romantic relationships
  • Difficulties about your sexual orientation
  • Worries about some of your sexual desires or sexual fantasies.

When your self-confidence is low then it’s easier to feel unwanted, or even to misinterpret other people’s actions and feel rejected. Our therapists can help you develop strategies to manage this. Often the sexual problem is a symptom of something else that needs resolving. Exploring any underlying issues with a therapist can improve the way you feel about yourself and potentially also improve your sexual functioning.

Sexual assault and rape

Sexual assault can happen to anyone of any age, man, woman or child. The assault may have been committed by someone you know well, who may still be in your life, or someone you barely knew at all. Either way, it is incredibly difficult to deal with such a traumatic experience and it can take days, months or even years to come to terms with what’s happened. You may experience emotional and psychological effects a long time after, living with memories having never told anyone else. It is important you feel there is support for you, and that you feel you can tell your story in your own time.

A sexual assault is any sexual act that you didn’t consent to or was forced into against your will, including rape (of the vagina, anus or mouth), torture of a sexual nature, groping or forced kissing. There are national and local support organisations that offer support immediately after an assault.

If you have experienced sexual violence, you are likely dealing with a range of emotions. You may:

  • Feel ashamed that this happened to you, and have low self-esteem and confidence
  • Blame yourself in some way, or feel guilty you weren’t able to stop the assault happening
  • Feel confused – when we experience trauma we often have blanks in memory, or our sense of time order becomes confused
  • Blame and feel angry towards the perpetrator, people you felt could or should have protected you, and/or society at large
  • Have issues with intimacy and forming romantic relationships
  • Experience flashbacks, or develop anxiety, depression or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), or start to self-harm.

Our therapists will offer you a safe, non-judgemental space to work through painful thoughts and feelings. They can help you work towards a goal of reporting sexual assault if you’re yet to do so, although they will respect any decision not to report. There is no set timeline for recovering from sexual assault, but with the right support, you can learn to manage your feelings and live a fulfilling and happy life.