Psychology is the study of human behaviour. It seeks to look at the motivational drives within an individual and offer an explanation to the behaviour that is demonstrated.

Psychotherapy is the use and application of psychological knowledge to help people understand themselves and begin to make appropriate changes, or to be comfortable with who they are.

Psychotherapy has several different theoretical models that have developed over time, the most commonly known being psycho-analysis. The therapy that I practise uses some of the best ideas from these differing schools of thought in order to help people achieve not only a rapid rate of improvement but also a lasting one. It has its basis in a cognitive–analytical model that seeks to look at the process behind thought, and understand how it has developed, and of course how to change negative thought processes into positive ones.

Hypnosis is a very effective method of treatment. It is a state of altered consciousness with increased and heightened awareness, which is often accompanied by deep relaxation; this in itself can be beneficial. Contrary to popular belief it does not involve becoming unconscious and has nothing to do with sleep.

Hypnosis cannot be forced upon people, but it is a state which people allow themselves to enter.

It is important to understand that, during hypnosis, people cannot be forced to do things that they would choose not to do. Hypnosis or "trance" as it is often referred to is similar to the experience of day dreaming, when you lose a sense of time and may without thought continue a task that routinely requires concentration, such as driving from one place to another but not actually remembering the journey. This is an example of an altered state of consciousness that we experience every day of our lives.

What is Hypno-psychotherapy?
Hypno-psychotherapy is the practice of psychotherapy with applied hypnosis being the primary approach. The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, the lead body for the provision of Psychotherapy in the United Kingdom, recognises the practice of hypno-psychotherapy.

Both hypnotherapy and hypno-psychotherapy utilise hypnosis in a therapeutic form, however an individual that only practises as a hypnotherapist may not have undertaken training in psychotherapeutic theory and practice.

For therapists to be able to register with United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy requires an extensive programme of 4 years training.

Short courses of study that are readily available may give an insight into the techniques and practice of hypnosis, but they do not in themselves enable the practitioner to be able to address all forms of presenting problems.

It is strongly advised that anyone seeking any form of therapy investigates the qualifications and registrations of the practitioners they approach for treatment.

A United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy registered therapist will always provide information relating to their qualifications and registrations if requested.

Most people have heard of most phobias. Mention claustrophobia, social phobia, or arachnophobia and everyone pretty much knows what you are talking about. Mention agoraphobia, and most people will just shake their heads.

Because of this, many people who get agoraphobia often take a year, and in some cases, many years, just finding out what is wrong with them. Since the panic and anxiety symptoms that come with agoraphobia are so physical, people who get agoraphobia commonly visit a succession of doctors trying in search of a diagnosis. Since medical doctors are not usually trained to diagnose agoraphobia, let alone anxiety disorders, agoraphobia has had time to become deeply rooted in most people before they know enough about the disorder to seek the proper treatment and being recovery.

In light of this, here are some basics about agoraphobia:

Agoraphobia is "anxiety about, or avoidance of, places or situations from which escape might be difficult (or embarrassing) or in which help may not be available in the event of having a panic attack or panic-like symptoms.” (DSM-IV)

Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder. The term “agoraphobia” comes from the Greek words agora  (ἀγορά), meaning “marketplace,” and phobia (φόβος/φοβία) , meaning “fear.” Literally translated as “fear of the marketplace,” people with agoraphobia are afraid of open or public spaces.

In reality, most people with agoraphobia are not so much afraid of open and public places as they are afraid of having a panic attack in these settings, especially settings in which there may be no one to help in the case of a panic attack or actual emergency.

The most common symptoms of agoraphobia are:

1) Panic Attacks: Periods of intense fear, usually lasting about ten minutes or so (but sometimes longer).

2) Avoidance Behavior: Avoiding places and situations that are hard to escape from or that might be embarrassing to have to suddenly leave. Most commonly, this is because they fear having a panic attack or unexpected catastrophe and not being able to get help or get away.

3) Developing "Safe" People: People with whom the agoraphobic is highly familiar with and feels emotionally close to. “Safe” people are usually parents, spouses, children, or close friends and relatives.

4) Developing "Safe" Places: Places in which the agoraphobic feels psychologically comfortable. The most common safe place for someone with agoraphobia is his or her own home.

5) Scanning: Obsessive monitoring of one's own body for strange or unusual symptoms.

6) Fear of being alone: This is related to the fear of having no one to help in the case of a panic attack or real emergency.

If you suspect that you or someone you know might have agoraphobia, don’t waste any time in learning about the disorder. Research has shown that the sooner you start the recovery process the more likely your chances of a successful recovery are.

Roots of the Disorder
Are the psychopath, sociopath, and someone with the Antisocial Personality Disorder one and the same? The DSM says "yes". Scholars such as Robert Hare and Theodore Millon beg to differ. The psychopath has antisocial traits for sure but they are coupled with and enhanced by callousness, ruthlessness, extreme lack of empathy, deficient impulse control, deceitfulness, and sadism.

Like other personality disorders, psychopathy becomes evident in early adolescence and is considered to be chronic. But unlike most other personality disorders, it is frequently ameliorated with age and tends to disappear altogether in by the fourth or fifth decade of life. This is because criminal behavior and substance abuse are both determinants of the disorders and behaviors more typical of young adults.

Psychopathy may be hereditary. The psychopath's immediate family usually suffer from a variety of personality disorders.

Cultural and Social Considerations 

The Antisocial Personality Disorder is a controversial mental health diagnoses. The psychopath refuses to conform to social norms and obey the law. He often inflicts pain and damage on his victims. But does that make this pattern of conduct a mental illness? The psychopath has no conscience or empathy. But is this necessarily pathological? Culture-bound diagnoses are often abused as tools of social control. They allow the establishment, ruling elites, and groups with vested interests to label and restrain dissidents and troublemakers. Such diagnoses are frequently employed by totalitarian states to harness or even eliminate eccentrics, criminals, and deviants.

Characteristics and Traits 

Like narcissists, psychopaths lack empathy and regard other people as mere instruments of gratification and utility or as objects to be manipulated. Psychopaths and narcissists have no problem to grasp ideas and to formulate choices, needs, preferences, courses of action, and priorities. But they are shocked when other people do the very same.

Most people accept that others have rights and obligations. The psychopath rejects this quid pro quo. As far as he is concerned, only might is right. People have no rights and he, the psychopath, has no obligations that derive from the "social contract". The psychopath holds himself to be above conventional morality and the law. The psychopath cannot delay gratification. He wants everything and wants it now. His whims, urges, catering to his needs, and the satisfaction of his drives take precedence over the needs, preferences, and emotions of even his nearest and dearest.

Consequently, psychopaths feel no remorse when they hurt or defraud others. They don't possess even the most rudimentary conscience. They rationalize their (often criminal) behavior and intellectualize it. Psychopaths fall prey to their own primitive defense mechanisms (such as narcissism, splitting, and projection). The psychopath firmly believes that the world is a hostile, merciless place, prone to the survival of the fittest and that people are either "all good" or "all evil". The psychopath projects his own vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and shortcomings unto others and force them to behave the way he expects them to (this defense mechanism is known as "projective identification"). Like narcissists, psychopaths are abusively exploitative and incapable of true love or intimacy.

Narcissistic psychopath are particularly ill-suited to participate in the give and take of civilized society. Many of them are misfits or criminals. White collar psychopaths are likely to be deceitful and engage in rampant identity theft, the use of aliases, constant lying, fraud, and con-artistry for gain or pleasure.

Psychopaths are irresponsible and unreliable. They do not honor contracts, undertakings, and obligations. They are unstable and unpredictable and rarely hold a job for long, repay their debts, or maintain long-term intimate relationships.

Psychopaths are vindictive and hold grudges. They never regret or forget a thing. They are driven, and dangerous.

I wrote this in the Open Site Encyclopedia:

"Always in conflict with authority and frequently on the run, psychopaths possess a limited time horizon and seldom make medium or long term plans. They are impulsive and reckless, aggressive, violent, irritable, and, sometimes, the captives of magical thinking, believing themselves to be immune to the consequences of their own actions.

Thus, psychopaths often end up in jail, having repeatedly flouted social norms and codified laws. Partly to avoid this fate and evade the law and partly to extract material benefits from unsuspecting victims, psychopaths habitually lie, steal others' identities, deceive, use aliases, and con for "personal profit or pleasure" as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual puts it."