Psychotherapy & Complementary therapies – how to convince, not confuse

147285612There is no doubt that the world of psychotherapy, counselling and complementary therapy has much to offer us as human beings, working  towards emotional well-being and physical good health. But occasionally, it seems, the simple fact that there are so many different types of therapy to choose alongside, or instead of, conventional medicine confuses  the lay person. The language excludes them, the choices are too numerous and the benefits seem uncertain.

It is difficult to address this. Therapists often stay within their ‘modality’ or specific approach, others are happy to work across the different schools of thought. But what is most important is the eventual benefit to those who seek help.

Gestalt, Humanistic, Core Process, Cognitive behavioural, Psychodynamic, Mindfulness, Neuro-linguistic programming, Life-coaching.  Hypnotherapy, Reflexology, Reiki, Bowen, Homeopathy, Cranio-sacral, Acupuncture. These are but a few of the options open to a newcomer to the field. For many, even the apparent distinction between ‘counselling’ and ‘psychotherapy’ is confusing. Some feel the therapy will prove too expensive; they don’t realise that they are also involved in the work and that often the therapy must continue for a long time. Some might need to come with a partner, or will be best served in individual or group work.

So it is really important to explain all the possibilities to a client, and offer sufficient time to make a proper assessment. Some clients will sit with a therapist, with whom they cannot properly connect, simply because they are too embarrassed to say so.   The triggers that have encouraged them to seek help are many and various and it is the skill of the therapist that ensures the interactions are successful and that sensitive issues are handled properly. An in-depth training is vital of course, but a good therapist is not born of book-reading.

Are there any therapies you would like more information about? Do you think the world of psychological therapies and complementary medicine is too confusing and exclusive?

Your thoughts?

The Terrace Humanistic Psychotherapy & Complementary Therapy Centre, Taunton, Somerset

Boost your immune system – using aromatherapy in the home



On Monday 18th November The Terrace hosted a free talk given by three of our highly trained complementary therapists.

It was so popular we thought we should share the fabulous tips the therapist offered. Today we focus on the work of Irene Cox, who offers advice on the use of aromatherapy to promote well-being. If you would like to know more, or have questions for Irene, do get in touch with us here at the terrace – our email is

So here they are – simple and easy to achieve with a little initial outlay, these aromatherapy ideas will support your immune system through the harshest of winters!


Around the home:

  • Vaporize in an electric vaporizer or in an oil burner – suggested oils Tea Tree, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Thyme, Lemon
  • In a vaporizer put the oils onto the pad and switch it on. Follow instructions for individual vaporizer.
  • In an oil burner mix 20ml of water or hydrolat (flower water) with 12 drops of essential oil. Place in the top of the burner and light the tea light.
  • Another way is to drop 7-10 drops of essential oil onto a cotton pad and place on a radiator.

Inhalation by:

  • Steam – place a large bowl on a sturdy surface. Half fill with boiling water and add 6 drops of essential oil. Place your head over the bowl and put a big towel over your head. Close your eyes and breathe in and out normally for 5 minutes
  • Mask (the type used by builders/ decorators) – place 4 drops of essential oil onto the mask, place it over your nose and breathe normally for 5 minutes. Great to do while watching TV or doing the ironing!!
  • Tissues – put7-10 drops of essential oil onto a tissue and place inside your pillowcase at night.
  • Cotton Pads- use as for tissues or place by the bed at night
  • Inhalation on the go!! Put 7-10 drops of your chosen oils onto a tissue or handkerchief and carry with you during the day smelling as necessary
  • In the bath – put 8 drops of essential oil into 20mls of milk. Mix well and pour under running water. If you drop the oils straight into the bath they will float on the top and won’t be absorbed into your skin
  • Washing floors – add 4 or 5 drops of essential oil to the water you are using. Not only do you rooms smell wonderful but the oils will have had an antibacterial action.

Room Spray

Fill a 50ml or 100ml spray bottle with water or hydrolat leaving room to add the essential oils. Add 15-20 drops of essential oil to the 50 ml bottle and 30-40 drops to 100ml bottle. Shake well. DO NOT SPRAY NEAR POLISHED FURNITURE

 Essential oils are very potent and can be toxic if used incorrectly
 Don’t use more drops of oil than recommended
 Halve the amount of oil when using with children or the elderly
 Don’t take orally
 Don’t apply neat to the skin with the exception of lavender or tea tree
 Essential oils should only be used with babies and in pregnancy in consultation with a qualified aromatherapist

Oils which help to boost the immune system and have antibacterial and antiviral properties:
essential-oils• Basil – bronchitis, coughs, sinusitis
• Benzoin- asthma, bronchitis, coughs, laryngitis, flu
• Bergamot- sore throats, tonsillitis, colds, fever, flu infectious illnesses
• Camphor – bronchitis, coughs, colds, fever, flu, infectious diseases
• Cedarwood- bronchitis, catarrh, congestion, coughs
• Cinnamon – there are two types bark and leaf. Only use the leaf oil on the skin. Helps with colds, flu and infectious diseases
• Clove bud oil – don’t use leaf or stem oil. Asthma, bronchitis, colds and flu
• Cypress – asthma, bronchitis, spasmodic coughing
• Eucalyptus globulus- asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, sinusitis, throat infections, flu
• Eucalyptus staigeriana – has a lemony/ rosemary undertone – asthma, bronchitis, flu
• Eucalyptus smithii – coughs, colds, flu, decongestant DON’T USE ON CHILDREN UNDER 3
• Frankincense – asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, laryngitis, colds, flu
• Geranium – sore throats, tonsillitis
• Ginger –catarrh, congestion, coughs, sinusitis, sore throat, colds, flu, fever, infectious diseases
• Grapefruit- colds, flu
• Jasmine –catarrh, coughs, hoarseness, laryngitis Expensive to use for non massage purposes
• Juniper – colds, flu, infections
• Lavender angustifolia – asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, laryngitis, throat infections, whooping cough, flu NB some asthmatics find lavender aggravates their symptoms
• Lemon – asthma, throat infections, bronchitis, catarrh, colds, flu and infections
• Lime – asthma, throat infections, bronchitis, cataah, colds, flu and infections. A good antiviral to use in a room spray
• Manuka- similar to Tea Tree. Coughs, colds, sinusitis, bronchitis. Use in steam inhalations
• Myrrh –asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, sore throats, voice loss, colds
• Nutmeg – bacterial infections
• Plai – alternative to Tea Tree. Immune system booster. Colds, catarrh, asthma, flu
• Sweet Orange- Bronchitis, colds, flu
• Ravensara – alternative to Tea Tree. Strong anti-viral properties to help fight illnesses and infections. Great to put on a tissue when flying!!
• Rose – asthma, coughs Expensive to use for non- massage purposes
• Rosemary – asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough, colds, flu, infections
• Rosewood – coughs, colds, infections
• Sandalwood – bronchitis, catarrh, persistent dry coughs, laryngitis, sore throat
• Saro – Don’t use with epileptics. Immune stimulant, antibacterial and antiviral. Coughs, colds, flu, asthma, bronchitis.
• Spanish sage ( lavender sage) – asthma, coughs, laryngitis, colds, fever, flu
• Sweet marjoram –Asthma, bronchitis, coughs,colds
• Tea Tree – asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, sinusitis, whooping cough, colds fever, flu

Summerbee Products: ready prepared strong antibacterial oil However don’t use this for massage despite what it say’s on the bottle as it contains cinnamon bark which can irritate the skin.

Essential oil suppliers that I use :

Some manufacturers dilute essential oils with carrier oils or cheaper essential oils so they do not have the same therapeutic effects.
If you buy oils in health shops or chemists, brands to buy include Tisserand and Neal’s Yard.