The emotional impact of a road traffic incident…

This post has been written by Rosemary Pell, one of our colleagues at RUSS – the Road User Support Service – a unique organisation based in the South West, offering complete rehabilitation assistance to help deal with the emotional problems and trauma as a result of a road traffic incident. For more information, do contact us here at The Terrace and we will be happy to give you more information.

Staff at Road User Support Service

Staff at Road User Support Service

This is my first post and I admit to feeling a little apprehensive!  However, my irrational fear pales into insignificance when I consider the symptoms experienced by some of my clients after they have been involved in or affected by a road traffic incident (RTI).

My main business (RUSS – Road User Support Service) professionally supports people who are finding it hard to come to terms with the aftermath of a collision, whether they are drivers, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, witnesses or family members.  The treatment available is irrespective of the severity of the incident or of blame.  It maybe the incident was a horrific life changing event or a considered to be just a minor bump.  However, each client’s experience is unique to them and is treated with the upmost respect and care.

It was owing to my personal experience of two head on car crashes, in addition to training in trauma therapy, that has brought me to this work which I have felt privileged to be involved in and enjoyed for 17 years.

You may know someone who is suffering after a road incident who may have one or all of the following symptoms, and may have some others to add to the list:

–  Flashbacks and/or intrusive thoughts

–  Sleep disturbance

–   Impaired concentration

–   Lethargy

–   Mood swings, anger, irritability

–   Social withdrawal

–   Reduced work performance

–   Avoidance of driving, being a passenger – maybe preferring to walk or use public transport

–   Generally anxious and fearful

All of the above are normal reactions.  Some symptoms will settle down with the passage of time, others may need professional intervention.

Coping strategies, information and advice is available free on the RUSS website RUSS also has a Team of appropriately qualified counsellors to assist clients in coming to terms with the incident, one of whom, Annie Rivers, works at The Terrace in Taunton. In addition we also have empathic Approved Driving Instructors who help drivers regain their confidence and lessen anxiety when they are behind the wheel.

Next time I will write about victims, survivors and thrivers and give you a very interesting case study!

Thanks for reading my 1st Blog.  I hope you have found it interesting and helpful.

Rosemary Pell, Manager RUSS.

Touch For Health – an approach to wellness

touch-for-healthDriving home the other day I pulled the lever to wash my windscreen and nothing happened. The windscreen wash bottle was empty.  It was empty because I hadn’t thought to check it while it was still working.

Cars are a bit like our bodies. While everything is ok and they’re working well we don’t really think about them. Both need fuel at regular intervals and benefit from regular cleaning! It is only when you hear an unusual rattle or rumble coming from your car that you think that it might need some attention. Our bodies give us clues too. A headache, insomnia, stomach problems, a cold or a stiff neck can sometimes be early warning signs that the body is needing some attention.

Touch For Health encourages you to think about how your body is working beyond the anatomical and physiological aspects. A Touch For Health balance allows you to explore what is happening in your life in three dimensions – physical, physiological and psychological. By identifying what you would like to change about any of these dimensions you are working with the Touch For Health practitioner towards a state of optimum health.  In reality achieving this perfect state is difficult given all the challenges that life puts our way each day!

Try to imagine the three dimensions as each side of a triangle. Excessive pressure on anyone of these dimensions completely distorts the triangle and the body gives signs of dis-ease. An example is where emotional/ mental stress impacts on the functioning of the endocrine and nervous systems which in turn causes a negative impact on muscles and the body’s vital organs. Touch For Health works with the body’s energy systems to encourage healing and restore harmony.

If you would like to find out more about how you can influence your own health using the Touch For Health approach Irene Cox will be giving a talk and demonstration at The Terrace, 35 Staplegrove Road, Taunton TA1 1DG on Monday 23rd September at 6.30.

Irene Cox is a qualified Touch For Health practitioner, having met the standards set by the International Kinesiology College and an ITEC qualified holistic therapist. She works with children and adults at The Terrace in Staplegrove Road, Taunton.  For further information ring 01823 338968, email or

Is the pressure getting to our teenagers?

drinkingAs many as one in thirteen adolescents experience symptoms of depression and anxiety at some time. The condition can be deceptively difficult for parents to recognize however, and not only because teens often adhere to a don’t-ask, don’t-tell policy when it comes to expressing their emotions.

We have learnt a lot about anxiety and depression during the last few decades but in many ways nothing has changed since I was a teenager 40 years ago – disheartened really that we are re-creating the same old, same old – pressurising teenagers to be ‘who we want them to be’, with a constant stream of examinations – where they have to perform on a yearly basis, within narrow and repetitive fields. Add to this an underlying attitude that teenagers are going to be ‘trouble’ and difficult, rather than us reaching into our skill box and learning new and creative ways to be with them.

During the last decade I have been interested by the culture of ‘comatose drinking’ realising that drinking may be this generations way of responding to the pressure we are putting them under. The cycle of our pressurising performing culture creating a default psychology of their need to let go – literally through alcohol by becoming paralytic. We create the pressure and this is the letting off of their steam – cause and effect – simple really…

Do we stop and think “Maybe it’s not them” – maybe it’s us creating an anxious environment. We may be creating a world that is ‘progressive’ but until we learn to be more people centred and respond on a human level to each person, and young person, as an individual we are not using the information we have to provide our young with the best possible start.

Let’s start listening and acknowledging our young people and allow them to express themselves as unique individuals, say who they are, and allow and listen to their feelings. That would be a good start to reducing anxiety and depression, and taking responsibility that we are part of the problem.

This post isn’t meant as a plug for a book  but if you have a teenager in your home I have found  ‘Changing Bodies Changing Lives’  by Ruth Bell very interesting – it discusses everything that affects teenagers in an open and inclusive manner and supports parents too.

Jane Gotto, UKCP Registered Psychotherapist, works in Taunton with individuals, couples and families, supervises professional counsellors and psychotherapists and co-leads Post Graduate groups at Spectrum Therapy in London. Jane founded The Terrace, Humanistic Psychotherapy and Complementary Health Centre, Staplegrove Road, Taunton in 1994. 01823 338968,

Acupuncture for Health

At The Terrace we are keen to ‘demysify’ some of the therapies that may still be something of a mystery to many. Complimentary therapies can offer wonderful health benefits, but it is important that anyone considering a treatment is fully informed about what to expect.

So today we look at acupuncture.

Acupuncture has been practised in China for about 3,500 years, although the exact date of its origin is not known.  A legend says that this complex healing system developed when it was noticed that soldiers who survived arrow wounds in battle sometimes also recovered from other long-standing ailments. In the intervening years it has been thoroughly researched and practised. Indeed, one-quarter of the world’s population rely on it.

However, there are some who are still reluctant to try acupuncture as a therapy. We are fortunate, here at The Terrace, to have an exceptionally well-qualified and committed practitioner working with us.

alsion courtneyAlison Courtney, registered acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist for 20 years, has returned from Guangzhou in China having received high recognition after successfully completing her MSc in Chinese medicine.

Alison is passionate about the therapeutic effects of acupuncture, using the traditional magnetic methods of pulse and tongue observation. Imbalances are addressed by inserting fine needles into acu-points to restore health and harmony.  Some key conditions treated include tension or migraine headaches, back and neck pain, osteoarthritis and temporomandibular pain.

Her observational methods include an  inspection of your tongue, skin texture and colouring, hair texture, posture and movement. Voice is also important.

A full medical history will be taken and an understanding of lifestyle, stresses and sleep patterns is key.

Some people worry that acupuncture is painful, but it is primarily relaxing and you may be left feeling so relaxed that sleepiness is the main response. Fine. disposable needles are used and left in for between just a few minutes to up to half an hour, depending on the condition treated. Most people find it painless, although there may be a slight tingling sensation at the point of entry as the ‘meridians’ or acupuncture points transfer energy and re balance. Give yourself plenty of time, avoid strenuous activity and, if possible, rest for a while.

Alison is offering you a free 20 minutes to talk about any health concern and gauge whether acupuncture could be helpful for you.  You can come into The Terrace at a pre-arranged time or have a telephone call.

Ring 01823 338968 to speak with Alison,  or email


What inspires you? The joy, or otherwise, of inspirational quotes…

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

As we get more involved with social media here at The Terrace it has struck us that many people find posting inspirational quotes a good way to interact with followers and friends. Many seem to do little else other than post such quotes. This is fine, and many people can benefit from having a sentence that they can recall when times are tough and which offers them strength and hope. However, if you are faced with hundreds in your timeline, or some that are either misquoted or not attributed to the person who first said them, do you become numbed to their power to affirm, or find yourself flicking past them – irritated as they fail to inspire?

I am struck most strongly by a quote that has stayed with me and become a favourite. To me it is as relevant today as it was when it was written in the 19th century…..

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1803 and became a linchpin of American 19th century thinking as his essays, poems and lectures made him one of the most important exponents of the Transcendentalism movement and a critic of great foresight. He influenced Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau and Robert Frost; and many other great writers, whilst denying his role in their development, were undoubtedly affected by his work.

This quote is something we would offer as a mantra that perhaps we could all cling to as the world seems to demand more and more of us each passing year.

Do you have any similar favourites?

Legal Aid – still available for Family Mediation

Family Mediator - Jane Churchill

Family Mediator – Jane Churchill

There has been lots of publicity about changes to the Legal Aid system, but  legal aid is still available for family mediation from Ministry of Justice approved organisations. South West Mediation is an approved organisation, and are the largest provider of family mediation in the West Country. At your first meeting the mediator can assess your eligibility for legal aid.

Mediation helps separating or separated couples with practical issues that need resolving before individuals can move on. These matters include where everyone is going to live, ongoing parenting arrangements, and sorting finances, including pensions and maintenance.

If you are going through separation or divorce and have unresolved practical issues, why not fix an individual meeting with one of South West Mediation’s expert mediators and work out your options? The mediator will assess your eligibility for legal aid on the spot and, if eligible, the mediation is totally free as is some limited legal advice alongside the mediation.

Mediator John Loram

Family Mediator John Loram

Even if you are not eligible for legal aid, many find that mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than going to court.

Ring us for more information or fix a meeting on 01823 338968. Email us or visit our website