Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and stress at Christmas time

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and stress at Christmas time

Depression is relatively common in PCOS. Christmas can often feel like a time when we should be happy, so any sources of unhappiness – such as the troubling symptoms of PCOS – can seem especially hurtful at this time of year.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas, but you don’t have to be a psychologist to realise that this time of year can have stressful for people with medical conditions, or other stressful things to deal with. For women with PCOS, some typical Christmas stressors are:


Most people overeat at Christmas. However, women with PCOS – many of whom already are overweight – might experience feelings of guilt due to overeating.

Even for healthy people, just a single day of binging on high-fat foods is enough to impair glycaemic control and reduce insulin sensitivity (Parry et al, 2017). This obviously has important implications for women with PCOS, many of whom are prone to developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Women with PCOS also are prone to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels), which is made worse by feasting on the type of high sugar / high carb foods that we see at Christmas. Low blood sugar can cause low mood (Barry et al, 2011), so for women with PCOS, the foods that usually make us happy at this time of year can, paradoxically, make us sad. (For the new year, women with PCOS could consider trying Marsh et al’s low-GI diet).

Fertility issues

PCOS can have an impact on fertility, and reduce the ability to have children. It is often said that Christmas is a time for families and especially children, so women with PCOS might feel the additional strain of fertility problems over Christmas.

How can hypnotherapy help?

Hypnotherapy can help with both the emotional, behavioural, and even some of the biochemical aspects of PCOS (Barry et al, 2017). Christmas is a time for miracles, and while hypnotherapy does not offer a miracle cure, it certainly offers the chance of improvement for many women with PCOS.



Barry JA, Bouloux P, Hardiman, PJ (2011). The impact of eating behavior on psychological symptoms typical of reactive hypoglycemia: a pilot study comparing women with polycystic ovary syndrome to controls. Appetite, 57, 73-76

Barry, J. A., Leite, N., Sivarajah, N., Keevil, B., Owen, L., Miranda, L. C., … & Hardiman, P. (2017). Relaxation and guided imagery significantly reduces androgen levels and distress in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Pilot study. Contemporary Hypnosis and Integrative Therapy, 32(1), 21-29.

Marsh, K. A., Steinbeck, K. S., Atkinson, F. S., Petocz, P., & Brand-Miller, J. C. (2010). Effect of a low glycemic index compared with a conventional healthy diet on polycystic ovary syndrome–. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 92(1), 83-92.

Parry S, Woods R, Hodson L, Hulston C. A single day of excessive dietary fat intake reduces whole-body insulin sensitivity: The metabolic consequence of binge eating. Nutrients. 2017;9(8):818.





Hypnotherapy For Weight Loss

Hypnotherapy for Weight Loss in Central LondonHypnotherapy for weight loss is one of the most popular requests for therapists. For people who find they don’t have the time or motivation to stick to a diet & exercise regime or find medication has too many side effects, hypnotherapy is often the answer. But how does hypnotherapy compare to other methods of weight loss?

Weight loss should always be done in a sensible way, and drastic measures are not the solution. However hypnotherapy, either as an adjunct to other approaches or as a treatment in itself, has a good evidence base.

Read More

Work Stress, Hypnotherapy and Job Satisfaction

Research shows that one of the key predictors of psychological well-being is job satisfaction. When people are stressed at work, this not only impacts their productivity but can make the other areas of their life miserable too.

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is using hypnotherapy for work-related stress to become happier and more productive in all areas of their lives. For many people, having job satisfaction is the key to their overall wellbeing (Barry & Daubney, 2017), so it is vital that stress at work is recognised and addressed in an effective way.

Read More

E-Cigarettes (Vaping) and Hypnotherapy

E-cigarettes (vaping) & Hypnotherapy

Many people start using e-cigarettes as a way to stop smoking but then end up addicted to vaping.

A survey of 12,000 British adults found that 40% of people use e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking cigarettes, with a further 17% doing so to help them cut down on cigarettes (ASH, 2017). This is said by some to be a  good idea, though many of these people find that they need help to stop smoking e-cigarettes. A large survey found no overall benefit of using e-cigarettes to help stop smoking (Bose et al, 2015). A randomised controlled trial published in The Lancet of 657 smokers, demonstrated that quitting e-cigarettes was just as hard as quitting ordinary cigarettes.

Read More

The Myths About Hypnosis


Q: ‘Will I lose control of myself under hypnosis’?  A: No.

Many of my clients want me to use hypnosis to reduce anxiety, but ironically one of their anxieties is that during hypnosis they are under the mysterious spell of the therapist. Those who try hypnosis usually find it one of the most empowering things they have ever done.

People generally prefer to feel in control of their lives, and although we voluntarily give up control in many aspects of our lives (e.g. when we go under general anaesthetic, or when we are a passenger in a plane) there can be something a bit sinister about the idea of our minds being under the control of another person.

Read More

British Psychological Society Report on Hypnosis

The British Psychological Society
As a Chartered Psychologist and member of the British Psychological Society (BPS), I was very interested to stumble across a review of hypnosis by the BPS.

The review was led by the renowned psychologist Professor Michael Heap and other experts. It was published in 2001, shortly after I started practicing hypnotherapy in London. The findings of the report are very interesting and I quote in full below the section on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for anxiety and many other conditions: Read More

Book review of ‘My Voice Will Go With You’

Book review of ‘My Voice Will Go With You’

Although this book won’t tell you anything about the average stress management programme in London, it’s a fascinating insight into a legendary hypnotherapist.

US psychiatrist Milton H. Erickson has been called the father of modern hypnotherapy. Although I tend to favour traditional hypnotherapy techniques, Erickson has inevitably had a major influence on my work, and the work of many other therapists. For example, he was the inspiration for Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), with the creators of NLP, Bandler and Grinder, having observed the Erickson many times in order to model (i.e. emulate) his techniques. Read More

Hypnotherapy Online (Skype) or by Phone

Hypnotherapy Online Skype or by Phone in Central London

I am delighted to announce that I am extending my hypnotherapy practice to include delivering hypnotherapy by Skype (or VSee) and phone. This will be more convenient for many people and offer a discount on the usual fee. Whether you need hypnotherapy for anxiety, or stop-smoking hypnosis, using the internet will be preferable to some people.

When you want to change something about your life, it is sometimes a good start to get out of your familiar surroundings. Visiting me at my pleasant clinic (which is very clean, comfortable, modern etc) is the ideal place to start making changes. However, there are several reasons why online or phone therapy might suit you better: Read More

Fertility Problems, Stress & Hypnotherapy

Fertility Problems, Stress & Hypnotherapy in Central London

The relationship between stress and fertility is a complex and fascinating topic. Hypnotherapy for anxiety might be one way to help.

My PhD explored psychological aspects of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a condition in which fertility problems are relatively common. I have researched and developed a Stress Management programme specifically for PCOS (Barry et al, 2017), which significantly reduced anxiety, depression, and stress hormones. Read More

How to Overcome Insomnia with Hypnotherapy

How to Overcome from Insomnia with Hypnotherapy in Central London

The word ‘hypnos’ is the name of the Greek god of sleep. This in itself would suggest that hypnotherapy will help with sleep problems, and indeed there is research evidence for this (see meta-analysis by Lam et al, 2015).

Although people under hypnosis are not literally asleep it is a relatively fast, safe and effective way to improve insomnia. Another benefit is that hypnotherapy helps without the use of medications, which is a especially useful to people who would otherwise take medications that can be addictive or have unpleasant side effects. Read More