Chronic Pain - Is it All in Their Head?

January 23rd, 2015

Understanding Pain

January 23rd, 2015

Acceptance Metaphor - ACT

January 22nd, 2015

Passengers on the Bus - ACT metaphor

January 22nd, 2015

2015 new developments

January 22nd, 2015

In December 2014I had the privilege of attending the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) & Contextual and Behavioural Science (CBS) Conference and Workshops in Dublin.

ACT (spoken as a single word not A. C. T.) is part of the third wave in Cognitive and Behavioural therapy. This is the new generation of CBT therapies.

What came out of this for me other than depth of therapy skills, was how to present this to groups of patients so that more patients can benefit from this without compromising the level of the work that I can do on a one to one basis.

In addition to one on one, I will now be offering small group workshops. Working alongside others who have similar difficulties often help patients to see that they are not alone in their suffering. It creates a “we are all in this together” camaraderie which encourages them to help each other too.

One of the strengths of this therapy model is that it is far reaching in that it can be used for people with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, stress, burnout, chronic pain, preparation for life changing events like retirement, to mention just a few.

In previous years I only offered this on a one to one basis, but this year, I will complete the initial consultations and assessments on a one to one basis and then if the patient is right for group work I will offer that to them.
I will do the teaching in the group personally.
I am hoping that this will make therapy more accessible to clients and more be helped.

I will continue to do one on one therapy too.

Breakfast Egg Muffins To Go

June 4th, 2013

Breakfast Egg Muffins To Go

Eggs are one of the most versatile breakfast foods around, but few of us can spare the time to cook them in the morning. These eggs muffins are designed to be cooked ahead of time, then grabbed on the go. Egg muffins will keep one week in the refrigerator. Microwave 30 seconds to reheat.

Just add a variety of different goodies to your tin. Maybe 6 with bacon, onion & cheese and 6 with spinach, mushrooms and ham. You can’t mess this up! In the morning, just grab a couple from your ziploc and nuke them and away you go!

Lots of variations Enjoy!

Yield - 12 muffins

1/2 pound minced reduced fat beef/chicken/turkey
4 ounces chopped broccoli florets
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (reduced fat cheese if you  prefer)
12 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

12 parchment paper muffin wrappers or 12 silicone muffin cups or muffin tin sprayed with non stick spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C

Heat frying pan over medium heat. Add mince and cook, draining any fat.

Stir the broccoli into this and turn off the heat

If using a muffin tin, either spray with non stick spray or line tin with parchment paper wrappers. If using silicone muffin cups, place cups on a baking sheet lined with foil (to catch any egg overflow and making clean-up much easier!).

In a large bowl, combine mince, broccoli and cheese. Spoon mixture into cups, filling them 2/3 of the way, leaving room to add the egg mixture.

In another bowl with a pour spout, beat together 12 eggs. Add salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into each muffin cup, being careful to leave a little room (1/4 inch or so) at the top.

Bake 25 minutes, or until muffins have risen and are firm.

Variation: Instead of minces meats, try diced bacon fried until crisp before draining off the fat. Try other veggies such as diced red pepper, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, green beans, etc. Mix and match with whatever you have.

Bored with mash? Try this yummy option

April 29th, 2013

Cauliflower Puree

This is a nice change from Cauliflower Cheese or plain boiled cauliflower and has become a family favourite - in fact it has replaced mashed potatoes in the ‘favourites stakes’.

These quantities make 2 good servings

Half a head of a small cauliflower, separated into florets
2-3 tablespoons of cream (or plain, unflavoured yogurt if preferred)
1/4 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Salt and ground white pepper

Cook the cauliflower in lightly salted boiling water until very tender, about 12-15 minutes.
Place the cauliflower, cream (or yogurt) and mustard in a liquidizer and process until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For a different taste, substitute ground Cumin for the Dijon mustard.

Spinach Frittata

April 29th, 2013

Spinach Frittata
225g Waxy potatoes, cut into small cubes (keep skin on)
85g fresh Spinach
1 large red onion finely chopped
4 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (freshly grated is better)
salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil

1. Boil potatoes until just tender. Drain well.
2. Cook spinach until just wilted, squeeze out excess liquid and chop roughly
3. Beat the eggs and milk in a large bowl, then stir in spinach, potatoes and parmesan. Season to taste.
4. Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Pour in the egg mixture and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until the eggs are almost set.
5. Place the pan under a pre heated grill and cook for a further 1-2 minutes or until completely set.
6. Allow to cool slightly then cut into slices and serve with (or without) a tomato salad.

This could be used as any meal.

Courgette & Humous Soup

April 29th, 2013

I make this soup often. There are not a lot of ingredients and is made in a really short time. Yet, it never ceases to impress friends.

You will need:
little bit of oil (I use olive oil)
1 small onion, chopped
3 courgettes (sliced) - about 1lb
450ml of chicken stock (veg stock if vegetarian)
175g of ready made hummous (the small tub in the supermarket)
Lemon juice to taste
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in pan. Fry onions until soft. Add the courgettes. Fry them a little bit, then add the stock and boil the vegetables until tender.
Remove some of the liquid (and keep) and blend/food processor the vegetables until smooth. Add the liquid back into the mixture. Stir in the tub of hummous. I normally then blend it for a further few seconds in order to incorporate the hummous with the rest of the soup.
Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Variation: Sometimes I peel the courgette and the soup changes into a very pale soup.

Serve it on its own as a starter or with some pitta bread as a meal.

Choc Pots for occasional use only !!

April 29th, 2013

Use only the best dark chocolate you can buy with at least 70% (minimum) cocoa solids.

40g (1.5 oz) plain very dark chocolate
2 tablespoons hot water
4 tablespoons fromage frais
a handful of toasted chopped nuts

Melt the chocolate over a saucepan of boiling water. Simmer the water until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the water, making a thick paste. Allow to cool.
Stir in the fromage frais

Scoop into two espresso cups and chill in refrigerator.

Toast the nuts in a heavy bottomed pan for a few minutes. Just heat up the dry pan and toss nuts in it, adding no oil at all.
When chocolate is chilled, sprinkle some nuts on top and serve.