Tag Archives: Counselling


And what was that like for you?

Some years ago while working as a mental health nurse I had a client who had been hearing voices (mostly benign) since quite an early age. Mostly she would converse with them, silently, having learned quickly that taking about them would make people regard her with suspicion at best and at worst it would often lead to bullying.

This was in an adolescent in-patient unit and she had been seen in the community for a couple of years prior to being referred to us. One day, I asked her, “What was that like being different and not being able to talk about it?” The question led to tears but also a great sense of relief. She told me that she was not a naturally secretive person but that her experiences had made her very wary of who she would talk to about her experiences, not just of hearing voices but generally. This made me wonder among other things, “How often is paranoia among schizophrenics a learned thing and a means of protecting themselves?”

I was horrified that it had taken this long into her care before that question had been asked. (She told me that no one had ever asked that before.)

As an aromatherapist and massage practitioner, I often find myself being the first person who has asked that question or one very similar to it. I know that a number of my clients who come primarily because of mental health issues rather than physical things find that it is really important that they can share their experience. This also helps me in understanding them and choosing essential oils appropriately. This is not to say that I don’t sometimes say the wrong thing despite my therapy and counselling training. I do though often even mistakes can lead  to breakthroughs in therapy. What it does mean is that I am prepared to take the risk of asking the unasked question every so often.

If you are looking for a massage/aromatherapy session where perhaps what you really need is for someone to ask that question that allows you to say what is really going on give me a call on 07939273569 or email dave@cambridgearomatherapy.com


PTSD and Aromatherapy Massage


This is an area that many shy away from because some suffering from PTSD are touch phobic. This to my mind is a mistake. When I worked at a therapeutic community with adolescents, most of them had PTSD and learning that appropriate touch could be a positive thing was an important part of the healing process for many of them. This may have been a back massage but equally it could be just feet and ankles or just hands or head. In this (even more than in most cases) allowing the client to be in control is important.

Working with complex cases such as these always means having to think about the choice of oils. While it never happened with those I treated there or those I have seen more recently as a private practitioner here in Cambridge, it is always possible that a particular smell could trigger a memory and cause problems. For example, if a client had experienced abuse associated with the Catholic Church I would probably avoid Frankincense, even though for others it might be the ideal oil or one of them. Certainly it was an oil I did use a lot there.

Other oils I have used a lot with this group are Bergamot, Bitter Orange and other citrus oils. I found their ability to bring clarity and free blocked energy, both in the psychological sense and in the Chinese Medical sense extremely effective. I also found Rose was an excellent oil for helping people to come to terms with early trauma, though I did find some clients didn’t like it. Other oils good for this are Melissa, Jasmine and Neroli. I personally prefer these aromas to Rose but because so many find it healing I use it a lot where there is deep psychological hurt.

Would I be as happy dealing with this client group were it not for my extensive experience in counselling and as a psychiatric nurse working with them? I am not sure. What I do know is that this experience helps me when working with them and in fact it is a group I particularly enjoy working with and am not afraid of and I would suggest that it is an area to be avoided for therapists who are afraid of it for whatever reason or who really don’t like it.

If you think this could be a part of your healing do contact me.


or phone, 07939273569