Mindful New Year

Check out centre director Anne Burke‘s latest blog for Mummy Pages – How to have a Mindful New Year



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5 Top Tips for Minding Your Mental Health

slide01by Lyn Duff, Counsellor & Psychotherapist at Johnstown Therapy Centre

Life is more demanding now than it was when we were children. The speed with which computers, electronics and the internet have taken over our lives has made this world a very different place than it was 40, or even 20 years ago. There are many advantages of the electronic age, for sure, but one of the areas where I feel we have lost out, is in our personal time. Me-time, some like to call it. Our families, jobs, phones and other priorities constantly demand our attention. If you have babies or teenagers, or you are minding someone whose health is not the best, this can be a significant drain on your internal resources. This can be very challenging and make time-out for yourself difficult, even with the best of help from other sources.

These days we are constantly reminded to look after our physical health. Everywhere we look, it seems, there are special offers on gym memberships and boot camps, suggestions for healthy eating plans, encouragement to get our 5-a-day. We are also becoming aware of the links between physical, mental and emotional health and the value in finding a balance between them. While physical health is fundamental, looking after your mental health is equally important.

Have a look at my 5 top tips for minding your mental health, then take some time to consider how much you prioritise this part of your life.

1. Mindful cup of tea

Next time you take a break, get a drink of your choice (it doesn’t have to be tea!), find somewhere that you won’t be disturbed and set your phone to silent. Take a look at your drink, inhale its aroma, taste each mouthful, notice each sip. Then take time to appreciate your surroundings. If they aren’t pleasant, notice one thing that you might enjoy: a plant growing out of a crack in the paving, a colour you like, the sky and how it reflects the weather, the sounds around you, a breeze against your skin. Use your senses to experience the moment. Use this short time to step out of your busy-ness and into yourself.

2. Get in touch with nature

Nature is a great healer, somehow managing to both energise and relax us. Exercise is a great way to get out into the fresh air. Take time to go outdoors during breaks in your daily routine or just open the window beside you to let in the outside. Make time to be amongst trees, wander in a meadow, sit beside the sea, walk along a river or canal, relax in a garden. Even in winter we can wrap up warmly and go out to enjoy the crispness of an icy day or go for a drive with the heater on and the window down. Allow nature to work its magic.

3. Take time out from your phone/electronic device

Turn you phone off or onto silent, put it in a safe place where you won’t be drawn to it and do something that uses your time and attention differently: read a book, invite people for a picnic, play board games, visit with friends, take up a hobby or work on your existing hobby. The list is endless, and if you do something you enjoy, the benefits are doubled! Not only are you changing gears, you are getting in touch with yourself and others.

4. Have fun! Relax!

Linked to the tip above, this doesn’t necessarily entail turning off your electronic devices – it may even incorporate using them! Do something that you love to do but haven’t had time for: go dancing, watch a movie that makes you laugh, play in the snow, plan a party, bake with the kids, go for a massage or spa treatment. Maybe do something new that you might not have previously considered trying: learn a skill, take up a hobby, train in a sport. Fun and relaxation contribute hugely to our general wellbeing.

5. Keep in touch with people

Spend time with a friend, chat with a family member, tell your troubles to someone whom you trust and who really listens. Invite someone to try out some of these top tips with you! Good relationships can provide relaxation, support and connection in our increasingly busy lives. If you find that your troubles are too much for you to bear, link in with a counsellor or psychotherapist.

With Christmas just around the corner, the pace will certainly be picking up for most of us, so why not take some time out and mind your mental health? After all, you’re the only one who can do this for yourself, and by bringing extra resources into your life you can better mind not only yourself, but others around you

“Sound Meditation” with Tibetan Singing Bowls

tibetan bowls

Relax, unwind and de-stress with the healing sounds of Tibetan Singing Bowls

Johnstown Therapy Centre – Thursday 7.30pm – 8.10pm
Starting Thursday November 19th

The hauntingly beautiful sounds of these ancient instruments will take you deep within to connect with your centre of peace, joy and inner stillness. These sessions facilitate a deep level of meditation, which enables healing on many levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Some Benefits of “Sound Meditation”

  • Reduces Stress Levels
  • Promotes deep relaxation
  • Facilitates the release of negative thought patterns
  • Reduces anxiety levels
  • Improves mood
  • Facilitates enhanced focus and creativity
  • Awakens the body’s own healing intelligence
  • Improves quality of sleep
  • Promotes greater awareness and clarity

€12 per session, and places are limited, so to reserve your place please all Tom Toher on 086-3712137

Come along and experience deep relaxation.

Centre Director Anne Burke featured in new PCI College video

Centre Director Anne Burke features prominently in the latest video from PCI College promoting their Post Graduate Certificate in Child and Adolescent Counselling & Psychotherapy; Anne is Programme leader for this course and utilises many of the creative therapies outlined in this video in her work with children and adolescents at Johnstown Therapy Centre.

For more info on Child and Adolescent Counselling and Psychotherapy please contact us at 01-2024837


Johnstown Therapy Centre announces Open Day on Saturday 16th May, 2015 in support of Headstrong – Breaking the Stigma

Headstrong Open Day Twitter Banner 800x320Johnstown Therapy Centre (JTC) in Dun Laoghaire are opening their doors and inviting you to experience the joy of therapies such as Indian head massage, back neck and shoulder massage, Reiki and Healing through Sound with Tibetan Bowls.  We will also be hosting a range of talks on Mental & Physical Wellbeing with all proceeds going to Headstrong to support their Breaking the Stigma Campaign in support of Youth Mental Health Awareness.

According to JTC director Anne Burke, there is a lot to be done in respect of building mental health services for children and adolescents.  There are many services trying their best out there at the moment but funding is short and services are stressed beyond their means. These services are so important to our young people; did you know for instance that 75% of adult mental health difficulties emerge before the age of 25?  Johnstown Therapy Centre provides counselling and psychotherapy to children and adolescents, we use many different approaches to working with this age group which include Therapeutic Play and a range of other creative therapies such as Sand Play therapy, Storytelling and Art Psychotherapy.  We also have a particular structure for working with Adolescents which is called the Act Smart Programme and it involves using a Cognitive Behavioural approach to support the Adolescent in exploring possible solutions and integrating them to deal with whatever issues they are experiencing.

Headstrong is a charitable organisation supporting young peoples’ mental health.  They are working to change how Ireland thinks about young peoples’ mental health through the Jigsaw Programme of service development, Research and Engagement.  They have 10 Jigsaw projects around the country.  The projects are free, brief and youth-friendly mental health supports to young people aged between 12 – 25 and unite communities to listen to and support young people.  Issues commonly presenting in the Jigsaw projects include anxiety, anger, family problems and stress.

Qualified therapists will guide you through a series of engaging lectures including:

11.00 am  – Understanding the dynamic of conflict in a family – Talk by our Mediator Judi Coyne 

Looking at the different ways conflict might manifest itself and the varieties of impact on both the individuals and the different relationships within the family group. This talk will then proceed to look at the range of constructive interventions to manage and work it through in order to limit the damage of conflict in the family.

1.00pm Minding our Youth – Suicide Prevention for Teens – Talk by our Psychotherapist/Counsellor Anne Burke

What’s it like for teenagers today, there are so many different things that they have to deal with alongside their normal developmental path.  This talk looks at how we can maintain relationships with our teenagers and young adults, through mentalising.  Mentalising is a concept that explores the importance of relationships, raising emotional awareness and assists us in managing our behaviours which in turn can lead to confident, resilient and motivated teenagers and young adults.  This talk also raises awareness about the risk of suicide and will give some guidelines on suicide prevention.

2.30pm Building a Healthy Relationship with Food for Young Adults – Psychologist (Health) Elaine Garrigan

There are many barriers to healthy eating that can be both psychological and environmental. During childhood we develop a relationship with food that will carry with us into adulthood – with some of us developing an unhealthy relationship with food. This may be the result of food becoming a coping tool – for emotions and stress, or habits acquired in childhood influenced by social norms and beliefs. In this talk we will look at the mood- food connection, and attitudes and beliefs to healthy eating as well as looking the benefits of Mindful Eating.

Booking is essential for all talks – the talks are 30 minutes in duration with time afterwards for questions and discussion.  Donations welcome and all proceeds will be donated to Headstrong

 Tibetan Singing Bowls/Singing Bowl Meditation Group ( 12.00pm & 3.15pm)

Experience total peace and relaxation with the beautiful, healing sounds of Tibetan Bowls dating back to the time of Buddha. Tibetan Singing Bowls have been used extensively for healing, meditation and consciousness transformation. Holistic therapist, Tom Toher will host a 45 minute group meditation using these ancient, sacred sounds.   Donations for Headstrong appreciated.

Treatments for the day include:

Individual sessions for Reiki and Healing through Sound with Tibetan Bowls – minimum donation €20 per treatment

Massage therapist, Laura Sanfey will be on hand to perform a number of mini-treatments for the reduced price of €20 with all proceeds donated to Headstrong. Available from 10am – 2.30 booking is essential

Aromatherapy Massage:

Depending on how you feel on the day this massage can be tailored to suit your needs. Aromatherapy is the practice of using the essential natural oils extracted from different parts of plants. These oils are absorbed through the skin and in to the bloodstream and have gentle but effective physiological effects. Aromatherapy is an excellent treatment for stress-related problems and a variety of chronic conditions.

Indian Head Massage:

This is a very effective seated therapy incorporating massage of the arms, upper back, neck, scalp & face using high quality aromatherapy oils suited to your skin & hair type. (Treatment can be conducted without oil if you prefer). Indian Head Massage is the ideal treatment for anyone who is suffering from aching shoulders, a tight neck, tension headaches, eye strain, insomnia, or poor concentration. It promotes a feeling of deep relaxation.


The Holistic practice of treating reflex points and areas in the feet that relate to corresponding glands, organs and systems of the body. By using specific pressure and massage techniques to stimulate these reflex points, we can help the body to regain a balanced state by increasing blood flow to specific areas.

Call the Johnstown Therapy Centre (JTC) to book a place on (01) 2024837  for more details.

For media interviews contact, Anne Burke on (01) 202 4837/ (086) 2400329 or email anneb@johnstowntherapy.com

Corporate Wellness Programme Now Available


We have just launched our new Corporate Wellness Programme which may be of interest to your company. This Programme can be adjusted to fit the needs of any individual organisation or company, all you have to do is let us know what you are interested in and what will fit the needs of your company and we will do our best to facilitate . The programme includes a range of talks on Mental Health and Wellbeing combined with Holistic Therapies  – see our new Corporate Wellness Programme section for more info

New 6 Week Programme: Learning to manage your anxiety!


The programme focuses on the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in learning to understand and manage anxiety, we also integrate Mindfulness Skills in order to introduce the client to relaxation skills that will help with their own individual Stress Response.    You will receive hand-outs throughout the course of the sessions and there will be some reading and exercises to do in between each session.  The client is encouraged to fully commit and participate in all the exercises as this will help integrate what they are learning in the sessions about understanding and managing anxiety. This Programme will run for 6 consecutive weeks, the sessions are individual sessions.  Each session lasts 50 minutes and the cost is €40.00 per session.

Week 1 Understanding Anxiety

  • What is Anxiety?
  • Why do I get anxious?
  • The impact on Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviours
  • What feeds anxiety?

Week 2 Coping Strategies

  • Identify Triggers
  • Negative Stress Cycle
  • Irrational Thoughts/Belief System
  • Challenge the thoughts/Where is the evidence
  • What other way can I think

Week 3 Relaxation Skills

  • Breathing exercises/relaxation skills
  • Understanding your emotions
  • Avoidance

Week 4 Lifestyle Balance

  • Self-Care
  • Understanding Motivation
  • Building Resilience

Week 5 Toolbox of Skills

  • Goals and Expectations
  • Positive Thinking/Ways to Demolish Worry
  • Assertiveness

Week 6 What happens now?

  • Review, Evaluation and Integration

The Programme is designed by Anne Burke, Director of Johnstown Therapy Centre.  Anne is an accredited member of IACP, and IAHIP and is a Practitioner of Therapeutic Play.

Stop Dieting and practice Self Care instead!

This weeks’ blog is from Elaine Garrigan, Johnstown Therapy Centre’s  Health Psychologist

If you have spent years losing weight but find it difficult to maintain your weight it may be time to try something very different. Stop dieting and focus on yourself instead! There are different reasons why some people find comfort in food including low self esteem. If you find yourself in a year after year cycle of losing weight, then regaining weight coupled with feelings of worthlessness, which triggers comfort eating then it may be time to deal with the real issues behind your relationship with food and whether you are an emotional eater?

What emotional eating refers to is eating in response to emotional cues- eating when you are feeling stressesed, lonely or sad. The first step is to be aware of emotional triggers to overeating- Identify them and then when you are faced with the decision to eat or not you can learn to recognise and respond in a different way. STOP, take a breath and ask yourself – ‘what am I reacting to? ‘- Am I stressed, tired, anxious, or feeling down? What am I thinking?.

Be Mindful – Be present – Stop and breathe

  • Identify your triggers and have a plan – if you are aware of what triggers you to overeat then you can develop coping strategies to respond. Am I physically hungry? Be mindful of situations or people that may trigger you to eat and have some pre planned coping strategies.
  • Watch out for negative and critical thoughts – It is these thoughts that will cause you to overeat! Many of these thoughts are very self critical. If they are – Maybe label them as ‘Is this my internal bully speaking again’?!
  • Question your thoughts – Can I handle this craving? If something bad does happen, how will I prepare myself to handle it? or – Is this worry realistic?, Is this likely to happen? What advice would I give to a friend?.
  • Practice a non judgemental approach (to yourself and others) and show some self compassion.
  • Use positive self talk! For example ‘ These cravings feel bad but I have strategies to deal with them – ‘I can distract myself by doing some activity or call a friend’.
  • Focus on the here and now -If you are feeling emotional or stressed then take a moment to be aware of your thoughts and feelings- acknowledge them without judging them!

Make a fresh start for 2015 – There are also some very effective practical commitments you can do to help control emotional or binge eating.

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  • Commit to healthy eating
  • Practice Mindful Eating
  • Get Regular Exercise – (Start with 30 mins for 3 days a week)
  • Practice Mindfulness mediation for just 10 minutes a day

This year try being kind to yourself as the first step in managing your weight. Be mindful of self critical voices that triggers emotions of guilt and thus the cycle of feel bad- eat- feel guilt – eat more begins.

Special Offer for Christmas Gift Vouchers!

We have a great special offer available between now and Christmas; buy one €50 voucher and get a second €50 voucher for half-price! This offer is also available online – just click here to buy your vouchers and enter the coupon code “Christmas offer” on checkout. Get the ideal Christmas present now!

JTC Christmas Voucher Offer