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I wrote the book My Life in 37 Therapies after a significant period of change in my circumstances. To help me through this time, I found myself turning to a variety of beneficial, some unusual, therapies. I didn’t have a plan but looking back realised I’d come a long way. I’m happy to share my experiences here and also to bring together everything that might be of interest to you. This includes summaries of each of the 37 therapies, tips on how to get the best out of your experiences and what new therapies I’ve been exploring since finishing the book.
Self-Care is now a vast and growing industry so it has become quite difficult to navigate. So take your time, find the best solution and the right therapists for you as a person and keep it within your budget. Although I tried a few expensive options that included foreign travel, I also tried lots of local, reasonably priced or even free treatments – so shop around.
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My Life in 37 Therapies
From Yoga to Hypnosis
And Why Voodoo is Never the Answer
I had a demanding but good career, a happy, settled home life with my husband of many years and, from the outside, everything looked just fine, more than fine. But one day I woke up and couldn’t cope. I walked away from it all and soon ended up on my own, starting over again. In my search to understand what went wrong and why, I began to seek out help.
Publisher: Red Door
Formats available: Paperback, Ebook, Audiobook ( )
Why read the book?
Honest and insightful, courageous and inspiring
Dina Glouberman, Founder of Skyros Holistic Holidays
Highly recommend this wonderful read.
Paloma Ivanova, Yoga Teacher and Guru, Bulgaria
I just loved this book. Any soul that has adventured out as you have should be on its way
Bonnie, Montana US
I came across your article in Good Housekeeping, immediately bought your book and finished it this morning!
As featured in Good Housekeeping Magazine
I read the book right through in one sitting. It was just fabulous. An escape.
Susan, London UK
A must read for anyone interested in exploring therapies and their own life lessons.
It had me laughing out loud and then blubbing hard. I recognised so much emotionally. Thank you.
Alison, West London
Thank you. Thank you, Thank You…you have given me a little place to go. Very funny and sad
M Gallagher, Ireland
The funny, honest, personal antidote to the Eat Pray Love ideal.
Katie R, North London
Totally page-turning and beautifully written. I couldn’t put it down, please keep on writing.
A frank, funny and uplifting memoir of self-discovery
Zeb Soanes, Interviewer, Broadcaster and Author of Gaspard the Fox – Edinburgh International Book Festival
Gripping, honest and illuminating
I would recommend this book to doctors and psychologists interested in the human mind.
Dr Colin M. Barron M. B. Ch. B, BSCMEH, TFT-VT
Liz Green, BBC Radio Leeds
Therapy is defined as a treatment that helps someone feel better or grow stronger, that relieves or heals a disorder – usually after an illness. In my story the word ‘therapy’ is used in its broadest sense.
DISCLAIMER: This is an account of my personal experience and not a recommendation about the suitability or effectiveness of any individual therapy and therefore should not be used to replace medical, or other professional advice. If in doubt, always consult your doctor before trying any therapies.
A therapeutic treatment from ancient Chinese medicine in which fine needles of various lengths are inserted into the skin at specific points around the body. Up to twenty needles may be used in a single session, and they may also be connected to a low-voltage electric current. Acupuncture is based on the belief that illness and pain can occur when the body’s essential energy (‘Qi’) is unable to flow freely around the system and that physical injury, emotional stress or infection are potential causes. The placement of needles stimulates the body’s own natural healing response and helps restore a healthy energy flow.
If you believe in the power of the subconscious mind to create change and that ‘you are what you think’, then affirmations are for you. To enable change, we must first define our thoughts, then develop relevant affirmations and ultimately create actions in order to ‘manifest’ our intentions. Affirmations can alter the dynamics of our brain so that we truly begin to believe that anything we want is possible. Affirmations strengthen our intentions, but be careful what you wish for … one of my ‘dreams’ came true.
3. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
Long-established global organisation first set up in the USA in the early 1930s. It offers a twelve-step process to help recovery in alcoholics and is based on supportive group sessions that take place in a safe and ‘anonymous’ space. AA is open to alcoholics, their families or friends. The whole ethos is non-judgemental – something that’s often difficult, especially in today’s open and opinionated world.
Astrologers study the positions and movements of the planets in relation to each other at particular points in time. For millennia people have believed these celestial movements can help predict events and human behaviours and complex interpretative systems were developed in many ancient civilisations. Providing a precise time of birth (to the minute) allows an accurate ‘Birth Chart’ to be prepared by plotting the position of the planets at the exact moment of birth. Astrologers use the chart to make interpretations about you, your life and relationships. Daily readings specially produced for an individual can also be supplied by qualified astrologers. These tend to be more insightful than the brief horoscopes you read in some newspapers.
5. AYURVEDIC MEDICINE
Ayurveda is a form of complementary medicine and one of the world’s oldest. It originated in India thousands of years ago and is, to this day, one of the country’s most traditional methods of healthcare. It uses herbal remedies and special diets combined with other health-giving treatments such as massage. Many retreats in India offer ayurvedic holidays in comfortable, sometimes luxurious, resorts.
6. BIOMAGNETIC PAIR READING
A treatment using pairs of magnets placed in and around different areas of the body to help equalise the pH balance of the whole system.
7. CARD READINGS
Organised in terms of the different types of card decks (tarot, goddess, power animal, angel). The individual cards are often beautifully decorated. Typically, an experienced ‘reader’ will lead the inter- pretation of each person’s character and life experience, either done in a group practice, or individually. They can be insightful, beneficial and can change your thinking.
8. COLONIC IRRIGATION
A hydrotherapy used to remove toxins from the body via the intestine, colon cleansing dates back to ancient Egypt. It’s like an enema, but uses far greater volumes of water. Practitioners say it has many health benefits including weight loss, increased energy, brighter skin, softer nails, a flat stomach and can even improve psychological wellbeing. I was looking for a total clear-out of mind and body so was keen to try, but it’s not for the faint-hearted.
9. CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY
Can be helpful in reducing panic attacks and erratic moods common during the menopause – it’s a gentle, hands-on healing that focuses on evening out the rhythmic pulses of the nervous system. The therapy is related to osteopathy, which works on skeletal structure and promotes wellbeing by working on the craniosacral system of membranes and fluids that surround the brain and spinal chord.
This therapy uses heated round glass cups, which are placed on the body. The cups create a suction effect to help improve circulation. They can be moved across the skin during treatment, or left in place for some minutes, creating red ring ‘imprints’. The therapy was brought to public attention in 2016 when it was used by the US Olympic swimming team. My experience was rather brusque and the angry red marks made me wonder – is this therapy? Then again, sixteen gold medals must mean something.
11. DERVISH DANCING
A type of Sufi (Islamic mysticism) meditation based on a continuous whirling dance – the aim is to achieve a trance-like state of abandon, losing yourself and finding God through the performance of a continuous counter-clockwise spinning dance. It starts slowly and speeds up gradually over time. If you want to achieve an altered state of mind using just movement and music, this could be a good place to start.
12. DIAL A PSYCHIC
A psychic claims to have heightened ‘extra sensory’ perception and therefore an ability to uncover facts and details about a person or events that are not evident through the normal senses. Psychics can be consulted by phone or in person and may use crystal balls or cards to help provide spiritual guidance.
13. DINNER DATING CLUBS
A way of meeting people in a friendly, informal and unthreatening manner. Many different options exist but they usually have a regular published calendar of organised events. They are run as ‘clubs’ with the specific aim of providing the opportunity for members to meet dozens of interesting new potential partners in interesting surroundings. You’ll meet lots of great new friends – mainly girlfriends!
14. ESOTERIC BREAST MASSAGE
A methodology practised only by women, for women. Claims to be good for ‘helping reconnect with your feminine side’. It’s essentially a delicate massage that specifically centres around the lymphatic area of the breast. The therapy helps women become more aware of their body and – for those not good at checking themselves – more conscious of lumps or pain that may require investigation.
15. ‘F**K IT’ THERAPY
A proprietary name. What started out as a remote Italian retreat for stressed-out professionals has now become a way of life for many who subscribe to the ‘F**k It’ philosophy. It’s a tonic for everyday woes and an unexpected approach: jettison everything that doesn’t work for you and simply watch what happens. The retreat was an escape from the grind with therapies on tap, beautiful surroundings and delicious food.
16. GUATEMALAN WORRY PEOPLE
Traditionally South American. I was given a tiny balsa-wood box of handmade matchstick people to place under my pillow and was told that by the morning all my worries would disappear. The ‘worry dolls’ are mostly handmade of wire, wood or wool and are dressed in colourful, traditional Mayan style. The size of the doll can vary between half an inch and two inches.
17. GUIDED MEDITATION
An easy DIY therapy to do at home. Simply pick your favourite voice and storyline then sit back and relax. Unless you’re a total wreck, you’ll soon be calm. It’s essentially a meditative story, gently spoken by a trained practitioner and often accompanied by relaxing music to help calm the mind.
An alternative medicine based on the premise that ‘like cures like’, but only using highly diluted substances (really only a trace) to aid natural healing. Practitioners treat the whole person, not just the symptoms, so they need information about lifestyle, diet and sleep patterns as well as state of mind. After a full analysis I was always prescribed a new remedy, a tiny pill, tailor-made for my situation at that point in time.
Innumerable types from many different cultures, each involving different kinds of pressure applied to different parts of the body by the therapist’s hands, fingers, elbows or feet. The treatment should take place in a warm relaxing environment and is best accompanied by soothing music. Muscular pain is reduced, stress relieved and mental faculties rested and restored. If you like massage, it’s the ultimate pick-me-up therapy.
20. NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING
NLP is about personal development. First developed in the 1970s in the US, practitioners believe there is a link between language, behaviour and the nervous system and that changes can be made to a person’s experience through careful re-programming. I diligently followed the plan with long lists of aspirations and visualising success. I wasn’t convinced …until a few years later.
Using of a set of numbers calculated from your date of birth, numerologists believe they can outline personality traits and times of change in your life. Pythagoras was apparently the first to do this. I’ve mapped out my numbers for the coming years and look forward to seeing if it’s true.
22. PAST LIFE REGRESSION
Links to concepts around reincarnation, regression using hypnosis is a therapeutic and spiritual experience that takes you back to your memories of past lives. I still have a record of my first session. It led me to my most unusual midlife retreat in Egypt.
23. PATANJALI YOGA
A type of yoga based on the ancient Indian sage Patanjali, whose wise words and approach are widely followed today. ‘We’re not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves.’
A widely used therapy to treat emotional problems or mental health conditions. It usually involves a course of one-to-one sessions with a trained therapist, talking through the issues in detail and allowing the patient to open up in a quiet, safe space.
25. QUANTUM THERAPY
According to the team of therapists that treated me, QT was first used to remotely check the health of astronauts in space. The ‘Scientific Consciousness Interface Operations System’ (SCIO) used churns out page after page of data as it scans the body for physical, mental and emotional vibrations. It records any imbalances and the therapists treating me used the results to suggest changes in my diet and lifestyle.
This is one of many personal development programmes designed to bring about positive change to a person’s life. It works by purging negative childhood beliefs that are holding you back. For some it is gruelling and diminishing while others feel liberated, more successful and able to move forward confidently.
A non-intrusive complementary therapy that can help improve your entire body system by manipulating key ‘crunch’ points on your feet. It’s based on the theory that different points on the feet correspond with different parts of the body (organs, blood or nervous system). Face and hand reflexology is also performed but is less common.
A healing technique that channels energy to the patient by means of very gentle touch (sometimes the hands hover above the area without touching). A trained therapist works to reduce stress and restore wellbeing. Some reiki therapists burn herbs to help relax the patient and cleanse the energy during treatment. There is such a thing as Dog Reiki …
29. SHAMANIC RETREAT
Shamanism is an ancient method of healing that believes emotional and physical problems are caused when our soul energy is out of balance. A shaman is able to see these problems and shift energy in such a way as to restore balance. Today there are many different ways to experience shamanism. My experience was with a group in Egypt – inside the pyramids, in the desert – an experience I’ll never forget.
30. SILENT RETREATS
There are many different types of retreat but they usually focus on a particular spiritual tradition (Catholic, Buddhist) and can be found in interesting places all around the world. Organised groups eat, live and meditate together in prolonged silence for several days. It can help to recharge from the stresses of daily life and work through uncomfortable past experiences, thoughts and feelings.
31. SINGLES HOLIDAYS
Whether you want to meet new people, or simply don’t want to travel alone, holidays for singles in groups are now very popular. You can visit almost any destination, try out a new hobby in the safety of an organised group or just do your own thing with the enjoyment of company at mealtimes and a group ‘base’ to return to each day.
32. SONIC THERAPY
Sonic therapists use sound and music for healing. Our bodies are full of fluid and the frequencies within them can be altered by sound. During the therapy, a range of different sounds, from crystal bowls, gongs, chimes, drums or the human voice, are used to create healthy movement of energy around the cells of the body. Reducing dissonant frequencies relieves anxiety and stress and, as I discovered, can also heal past trauma.
33. VIPASSANA MEDITATION
This form of meditation with its focus on the minute molecular workings of your body, breathing and circulation of blood has become a popular ‘mindful’ therapy. After ten-hour daily sessions, you can’t help being in a meditative state.
Achieving what you want in life may be down to your ability to visualise a ‘new you’. Vision boards are often full of beautiful and success- ful people with endless money and fun. And because sometimes it comes true, it’s very popular.
An animist religion in which a person’s spirit is believed to survive death and can be called on. Such spirits may also inhabit the bodies of others. It originated in West Africa and is practised in the Caribbean, where it brings together elements from Catholic ritual and traditional African witchcraft and magic. Communication with gods, ancestors and spirits involves trance-like states with charms, voodoo dolls, spells and spirit possession all common associations.
36. WRITING THERAPY
Whether it’s in the form of a private journal scribbled in snatched moments or as a more formal exercise to be shared widely, writing can be therapeutic as well as creative. Benefits include enabling the writer to appreciate what is important to them, to organise their ideas and have an opportunity to put issues and feelings into perspective. Many institutions and organisations offer courses – residential and non-residential – that can help hone your writing skills and connect you with other writers sharing their experience.
A group of physical, mental and spiritual practices originating in India that can be traced back many millennia. In Western countries in the 1980s it became popular as a form of exercise but it is important to appreciate that yoga has a spiritual and meditative core that can help practitioners attain a sense of inner calm and mindfulness. There are many different yoga methods and styles, so it is worth trying a number of classes until you find one that best suits your needs.
News & Events
Review of My Life in 37 Therapies by Dr Colin M. Barron M. B. Ch. B, BSCMEH, TFT-VT I loved this book. I have had a lifelong interest in the workings of the human mind and the treatment of psychological problems. I am a former member of the British Society of Medical...
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It was a packed house at Waterstones, Tunbridge Wells as Journalist Mary Harris from Kent Live interviewed me about the new book. Questions turned to mental health, dramatic life changes and specifically how women cope with the strains of modern living. I was asked...
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