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  1. From Agoraphobia to post traumatic stress, fear of flying and OCD as well as hair pulling, each programme in this series has will seen a contributor introduce viewers to a problem that is affecting their life and then follow the experts in action as they seek to cure them. The Speakmans have dealt with a great many fears and phobias in their show.


    You can get help and advice on fears and phobias here..

    Hypnotherapy for Phobias: http://www.markpowlett.co.uk/hypnotherapyforphobias.html

    A fear of Public Speaking: http://www.markpowlett.co.uk/helpwithfearofpublicspeaking.html

    Fear of spiders, Arachnophobia: http://www.markpowlett.co.uk/fearofspidersarachnophobiahelp.html

    Dental fear and a fear of dentists: http://www.markpowlett.co.uk/fearofdentists.html

    As well as help and advice here in order to enable you to choose the right therapist for you there is also a summary of episodes 16-20 of the ITV show The Speakmans so that you can see the type of issue that can be helped. People are often surprised that you can overcome and fear or phobia and raising awareness of that fact is a great thing to be able to do. You can also download a free How to Stop a Panic Attack MP3 from my shop to help you with stress and anxiety.


    Here is an episode summary for week four of The Speakmans on ITV...


    Episode 16: Monday 4th August - Caroline 


    Caroline lives with her partner of 24 years and their two children. She passed her driving test nine years ago and loved the new found freedom and confidence it gave her. A year later, while driving over a high ring road, Caroline suffered a panic attack and ever since then, she's become more and more nervous on the road. Her fears were compounded when she was involved in a car accident with her family a year ago and each time she's tried to drive anywhere since, she's become overwhelmed with panic. Caroline's elderly parents live a 10 minute drive from her and rely on her for help which means she is currently spending up to £100 on taxi's each week.



    In family mediation we discover how Caroline's phobia affects her partner. He admits that it has caused tension between them. Caroline's 22 year old daughter is also learning to drive and Caroline's worried she will pick up on her fears.


    In treatment, Nik and Eva discover that Caroline's fear of driving actually stems from a fear of heights.
    Episode 17: Tuesday 5th August - Alison 
    Alison is petrified of flying.  She bursts into tears as soon as the door of the aeroplane closes.  Alison can't even look at a plane in the sky and feels sick at the thought of going to an airport to pick someone up.  Alison has been on at least seven flights in the past, but at the moment she can not physically bring herself to get on a plane.  Her last flight was three years ago and she hated every second of it.  Last year, she was due to fly to Turkey with her daughter but her dad died a few weeks beforehand, Alison was relieved that she had an excuse not to fly.  Alison fell out with her best friend of 40 years and hasn't not spoken to her in six months.  Alison was due to go on a girly holiday with her but couldn't bring herself to go and as a result they fell out.  Alison's daughter, Laura moved to Dubai 18 months ago and works as air hostess.  Alison has only seen Laura 3 times in the last 18 months, the last time was in February.  Laura surprised her mother and bought her a ticket to Dubai which was due to depart a few months after the show was filmed but as it stood Alison would not go on the plane and didn't have the heart to tell Laura. In mediation Alison's daughter makes an emotional plea to get her onto a plane. 
    Episode 18: Wednesday 6th August
    Claire has an extreme phobia of veins and she is currently 26 weeks pregnant. Claire hasn't looked at her own legs in three years because of varicose veins! Claire hated her varicose veins so much that she had an operation to get them removed.   When Claire gets hot, the veins on her hand protrude and she cannot do anything that involves using her hands.  Claire has a 17 month old daughter and sometimes she cannot change her nappy, feed her or bath her.  Claire relies heavily on her 17-year-old daughter, Charleigh to help out with the daily chores. Charleigh is a street dancer and regularly performs which involves a lot of fake tan and make up. Claire is unable to help her daughter get ready due to her fear of veins.  Claire is pregnant and is absolutely terrified as the doctor needs to take blood which means finding a vein! Claire cannot look at people who wear shorts or skirts incase they have veins. This phobia is taking over Claire’s life, there’s no getting away from veins and she wants to be able to accept herself and others. 
    Episode 19: Thursday 7th August 
    Jo has suffered from OCD for 17 years.  She hates germs and will not allow them in her house.  She has to keep her house, kids and car free of germs.  She insists that everyone takes a shower as soon as they enter her home.  She has three children and once they get home from school, she insists they have a shower.  Jo has a one year old daughter and she took her to the clinic earlier this week.  Jo felt awful because as soon as they got home,  she had to give the baby a bath.   Jo will not allow anyone in her home apart from her husband and children.  Jo's mother, has only been to her house once in the last year. "people don't come to my house anymore as they know it makes me very uncomfortable."  Jo hates touching anything dirty especially money. Anytime she leaves her house, she has to take anti bacterial wipes as she can't open doors without them.  When Jo goes outside, she will only use one of her hands to touch thing, the other hand is kept free from germs.   Jo would absolutely love to free herself and her family of this obsession.



    Episode 20: Friday 8th August 




    Joanne was in a horrific car accident in October 2009 and is now in a wheelchair.  She was driving to work on her scooter and a woman pulled out, Joanne swerved, fell off her bike and damaged her back.  Since the accident her entire life has changed, she's accepted her disability but she desperately needs help with her PTSD. Joanne hasn't had a full nights sleep since the accident, she wakes up nightly and regularly has flash backs. Joanne lives in Halifax and her family live in Essex.  Joanne can only travel a short distance as she suffers from panic attacks since the accident.  As a result, Joanne has missed out on several family events as she's not able to travel to Essex.  Joanne is very close with her mother, Pat and speaks to her daily.  Pat is not very well, she had a tumour removed from her throat two years ago and since then she doesn't like to travel to Halifax as she needs to be close to her hospital. Joanne only gets to see her family twice a year and would love nothing more than to gain confidence so that she can travel to see her family.  Joanne’s partner, Leanne is her carer and their relationship has completely changed since the accident.  Leanne says that Joanne is like a different person, she was once bubbly and confident but now she’s constantly anxious and stressed due to the PTSD. 
    It is interesting to see that family mediation is a feature of every single programme and clients that the Speakmans see. I have had a few questions about the fact that they only see people as a family group in this show. Sadly it meant that some people were not considered for the show, but of course this is daytime television so they are looking for stories that look good on TV. In reality therapists see clients alone, so that they are able to talk openly and honestly in a way that often is hindered by having a family member around. If you are alone you are just as able to get help as anyone in a group.
    If you are looking for help with any talking therapy such as Hypnotherapy then make sure you speak to two or three people and then pick the one you feel most confident and happy with. Picking the right therapist is the first step towards your future.


  2. Episode 14: Thursday 31st July The Speakmans help with a phobia of medicine
    Amanda has a major phobia of medicine, she cannot swallow tablets or take it in liquid form.  Her phobia is literally killing her.  Amanda has almost died around 5 times due to her phobia! Amanda is 34 and has been on a dialysis machine for 25yrs, despite the recommended maximum time being 5yrs. Amanda lost her kidneys at 10yrs old and had her first transplant at 18, however that only lasted for six months as her body rejected her kidney as she couldn't take her medication.  Amanda can't even be in the same room as a tablet, she is petrified of them.  Amanda spends 3 hrs, 3 days a week, attached to a machine that draws out her blood, cleans it and pumps it back in.  Amanda is meant to be taking a cocktail of medication that helps her body cope with dialysis, but she cannot take them. As a result, Amanda's bones have become brittle and she is now in a wheelchair.  She can walk a short distance but she relies heavily on her family.  Her mother claims that she has only has a few years left, unless she gets treated for her phobia.    Amanda is not allowed on the kidney waiting list at the moment as she refuses the medication.  If Amanda is treated for her phobia, it will give her a new lease of life and if she starts taking medication it will strengthen her bones and the likelihood is that she’ll no longer need her wheelchair!
    Can The Speakmans help Amanda overcome her fear and swallow medication? 
    Because Amanda has no kidneys and needs a transplant this therapy is very important to her. After 25 years on dialysis she now needs to have a translplant in order to save her life. She travelled with her family to the Speakmans home to have the usual family therapy session. There has not been an episode in this series in which the Speakmans have not had family therapy in mediation. This may make you think that the only way you can move forward is to meet with all of your family with you. What do you do if you do not have a family unit around you? What if they do not support you, ot you are alone? It makes no difference whatsoever. The way that the Speakmans work is not the way that most therapists work. In general clients are seen alone and this is the normal way of working. Because this is a television show the family therapy creates drama and tears, but these are not needed for you to be successful in letting going of a fear of swallowing tablets.
    A tack that is often used by the Speakmans is that you are a child and need to grow up. Sometimes they say it in that way, sometimes in a more empathetic way. It is interesting to think about the fact that often we revert to a child like state and behave in a way that is not alongside the reality. We often learn to be scared of things and in this case she learned to be scared of taking tablets and swallowing tablets.
    When we see that thoughts and feelings are uncovered during these talks these are the same things that are uncovered in any therapy session. As ususal we also see the family write letters to each other. This really seems like a device to create drama. As the family are sitting there I am sure that they could say the same things in front of each other that they read out in a letter. I also wonder if they are getting help from the production in writing those letters? I am sure that is not the case as it would clearly be wrong.
    Sometimes the way that the Speakmans talk is quite strange. After this emotional scene Eva Speakman said "Right, we need to start therapy so we will ask you to leave". They have started therapy though?! Why not help people by saying how well they are already doing to speak up in front of their family?
    I often use a process called EFT which is sometimes known as tapping with a phobia or fear. It works excellently to help let go and move forward. We do not see any such therapy here but I imagine that is because there is not time to show all that happens in this TV show.
    Scheme therapy is something that the Speakmans claim to have invented but of course they are really taking ideas and study from many people and using what they find works for them. This is what all therapists are doing, We use training in the right techniques to help create change. I am not sure about the training that the Speakmans have had as it is not clear.
    Although we didn't really see how the changes happened it was of course wonderful to see that Amanda was able to let go of her fears and phobia of swallowing.
    When they brought in their own son and asked him to swallow a pill I did feel that they crossed a line that no therapist who is a member of a professional body would cross. However, this is a television show and we must not forget that.
    If you are looking for help with anxiety and stress, a fear or phobia or any other problem the there is a great deal of free advice and support here including FREE MP3 downloads for relaxation and "How to Stop a panic attack".
    Advice on chosing a therapist...
    If you are looking for a therapist to help you with any issue then do make enquiries and ask two ot three people about how they will help you. One of the most important things is picking the right person for you. This can give you confidence before you even begin, and the right therapist can guide you to exactly where you would like to be.
    You can email me on [email protected] or call me on 07980 233160 if you would like any help or advice.

    Asking for help can be very difficult, and once you have done that things can already start to get easier for you.