Articles by Maurice Tomkinson

Health effects of glyphosate weedkiller residues in food


I've suffered from arthritis for a number of years now. Although it's curtailed the amount of walking I can do, it's not prevented me from doing the main things I need to get done, and I naively hoped that working on The Sanctuary, with all the physical work that involves, would help me to get fitter and reduce the problem.

The prevailing medical wisdom is that osteoarthritis is an inevitable process of wear and tear that's irreversible, and which will ultimately lead me to having to have joint replacement surgery. None of this made sense to me - as a therapist I have one of the most sedentary jobs there is, and compared to marathon runners or building site labourers, my joints must suffer as little wear and tear as it's possible to get. I also found it hard to accept that the body can't repair itself in the joint department.

The psychological trauma of the Tunisian Terror attack and survivor guilt

London Bombings

It is 10 years to the date that the UK experienced it's first alleged terrorist attack by Al Quaeda. As our country will no doubt take time out to reflect, we are still coming to terms with recent news from 26th June 2015, when terrorist gunman Seifiddine Reggui attacked the beach resort of Sousse in Tunisia. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in which 38 people - plus the gunman - were killed.

Whilst the attacks took place in different countries, with different people at their core, the resulting human experience and response is marked by it's consistency. Survivors of the London Bombings were treated for PTSD and reported feelings of shock, overwhelm, disorientation, a desperate search for meaning, disassociation, horror or need to escape. Other survivors of life threatening situations have reported feelings of extreme powerlessness, flashbacks, nightmares, and replaying the situation over and over. 

However, in amongst the unimaginable panic and resulting grief experiencing in Tunisia, the account of Angela Evans strikes me as particularly significant from a psychological point of view. 


Client case study: developing strategies to deal with stress

Stress strategies

In this article, Maurice Tomkinson shares a list of coping strategies a recent client of his developed in therapy for dealing with stress.

Maurice explained: 'I’ve been working with a client who had been experiencing, anxiety, panic attacks and sleeping problems. After some discussion with Jill (not her real name) it became clear that a large part of the cause was work-related stress. We worked together for several weeks, identifying a number of areas where she could make changes to reduce her stress levels.

Strategies for coping with stress


In this article, Maurice Tomkinson shares some strategies for coping with stress which were given to him by a client. Jill (not her real name), came to the Centre to overcome some stressful situations she was experiencing. She had a series of sessions with Maurice, Director and Psychotherapist at Hope Street. When the therapy came to an end, she kindly shared the strategies she had learned along the way to better manage stress, with the hope that they might help other people too.

Achieving your New Year’s Resolutions


January is the time of new beginnings when we think of New Year resolutions. Why is it that all too often these do not last beyond the end of the month? In this article I offer some tips for turning these aspirations into permanent change.

Brightstone Clinic doubles in size


If you are currently considering counselling support but are concerned about the cost, then you may wish to contact us to discuss the option of low cost counselling at Brightstone Clinic. Brightstone was launched by therapists at The Hope Street Centre to give those who may be unable to pay the full cost of counselling an affordable alternative. Counsellors at Brightstone are either in the final stages of training or recently qualified. All have been carefully selected to ensure that their work is of a high standard.

Counsellors at Brightstone Clinic can provide support with a variety of issues, and some of the most common ones are described in this article. If you are interested visit the Brightstone Clinic website here.

An experience of Counselling

counselling session.jpg

Counselling is something that is often mentioned in the media, usually in connection with major disasters, accidents or traumatic events. Many readers may have wondered if counselling might be helpful for them, but been anxious about what is involved.

What follows is one person’s first experience of counselling…..

At the time I was well and truly stuck in a rut. I was teaching full-time and had been working long hours, often resentfully, for a long time, especially since the birth of my son 6 years previously. I felt pulled in all directions, as if I wasn’t doing justice to family or work, and what about me. I had no time left over for me. Added to this picture we had a family bereavement and my parents were selling up and moving away.

Treating Anxiety with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)


When dealing with simple forms of anxiety where the trigger is clearly identifiable, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments I have found.

Most simple anxiety problems can be summarised in a diagram similar to the one opposite. The trigger is the situation or event that sets off the feelings of anxiety or fear - it might be a an aminal, or a feeling of being trapped, or the way another person is behaving.

Once the anxiety is triggered we tend to do something to reduce it - this is called a safety behaviour. There are many types of safety behaviours - examples include avoiding the feared situation, seeking reassurance, distracting ourselves, using cigarettes, drugs or alcohol to calm ourselves, and performing rituals to calm ourselves.

The safety behaviour brings short-term relief, but in the long term it usually brings another set of problems.


Announcing the sad passing of Margaret Seal

Margaret Seal

Margaret Seal, a mental health service user and active member of several local support groups, died recently from a heart attack after a long period of illness.

She was actively involved in Central Cheshire Mental Health Forum, the Open Minds groups in Crewe & Nantwich and Congleton, Central and East Cheshire  LINk and South Cheshire Community Council. This photograph of her was taken at the Open Minds 2004 event in Sandbach, which she helped to organise.

We have been informed that Margaret's funeral will take place at 11.30am on Monday 5th March at Coppenhall Methodist Chapel, North Street, Crewe followed by a Cremation Service at Crewe Crematorium at 12.40. 

The Biology of Stress


The body's reaction to stress is based on the fight-or-flight response, which is a relic of our evolutionary heritage for dealing with danger. In the past it served us well, allowing us to survive attacks by predators and other natural threats.

When we sense danger a surge of adrenaline is released, triggering a cascade of bodily changes such as increased heart rate and breathing, strengthening muscles, and closing down systems that are not immediately needed, such as digestion and the immune system. This reaction is healthy and normal - some people seek to trigger it by participating in dangerous sports for example, because they enjoy the feelings of exhilaration which follow.

About us

The Hope Street Centre is an independent centre located in the attractive rural market town of Sandbach in South Cheshire, with easy access to the M6 motorway and the railway network at Crewe.  The centre is readily accessible from the neighbouring towns of Congleton, Alsager, Middlewich, Holmes Chapel, Knutsford, Crewe, Kidsgrove, Winsford, Northwich, Warrington and Stoke on Trent.

Our Address: 10 Hope Street, SANDBACH, Cheshire, CW11 1BA
Telephone:      01270 764003 (weekday afternoons only)

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