We are always looking at new ways to improve our Counselling & Psychotherapy services to you.   Geoff Miles and Helen Payne-Kumar are delighted to announce that from 01 July 2017 their new address and phone number will be:


Unit 1, First Floor, Fordbrook Business Centre, 

Marlborough Road, Pewsey,  Wiltshire,  SN9 5NU



01672 562560

Mobiles remain the same

article miscommunication

'This article was first published in Private Practice, Winter 2016 issue, published by BACP. ©'

Is depression a kind of allergic reaction?

A growing number of scientists are suggesting that depression is a result of inflammation caused by the body's immune system

Barely a week goes by without a celebrity "opening up" about their "battle with depression". This, apparently, is a brave thing to do because, despite all efforts to get rid of the stigma around depression, it is still seen as some kind of mental and emotional weakness.

But what if was nothing of the sort? What if it was a physical illness that just happens to make people feel pretty lousy? Would that make it less of a big deal to admit to? Could it even put a final nail in the coffin of the idea that depression is all in the mind?

According to a growing number of scientists, this is exactly how we should be thinking about the condition. George Slavich, a clinical psychologist at the University of California in Los Angeles, has spent years studying depression, and has come to the conclusion that it has as much to do with the body as the mind. "I don't even talk about it as a psychiatric condition any more," he says. "It does involve psychology, but it also involves equal parts of biology and physical health."

The basis of this new view is blindingly obvious once it is pointed out: everyone feels miserable when they are ill. That feeling of being too tired, bored and fed up to move off the sofa and get on with life is known among psychologists as sickness behaviour. It happens for a good reason, helping us avoid doing more damage or spreading an infection any further.

It also looks a lot like depression. So if people with depression show classic sickness behaviour and sick people feel a lot like people with depression – might there be a common cause that accounts for both?

The answer to that seems to be yes, and the best candidate so far is inflammation – a part of the immune system that acts as a burglar alarm to close wounds and call other parts of the immune system into action. A family of proteins called cytokines sets off inflammation in the body, and switches the brain into sickness mode.

Both cytokines and inflammation have been shown to rocket during depressive episodes, and – in people with bipolar – to drop off in periods of remission. Healthy people can also be temporarily put into a depressed, anxious state when given a vaccine that causes a spike in inflammation. Brain imaging studies of people injected with a typhoid vaccine found that this might be down to changes in the parts of the brain that process reward and punishment.

There are other clues, too: people with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis tend to suffer more than average with depression; cancer patients given a drug called interferon alpha, which boosts their inflammatory response to help fight the cancer, often become depressed as a side-effect.

As evidence like this continues to stack up, it's not surprising that some people have shifted their attention to what might be causing the inflammation in the first place. Turhan Canli of Stony Brook University in New York thinks infections are the most likely culprit, and even goes as far as to say that we should rebrand depression as an infectious – but not contagious – disease.

Others aren't willing to go that far, not least because infection is not the only way to set off inflammation. A diet rich in trans fats and sugar has been shown to promote inflammation, while a healthy one full of fruit, veg and oily fish helps keep it at bay. Obesity is another risk factor, probably because body fat, particularly around the belly, stores large quantities of cytokines.

Add this to the fact that stress, particularly the kind that follows social rejection or loneliness, also causes inflammation, and it starts to look as if depression is a kind of allergy to modern life – which might explain its spiralling prevalence all over the world as we increasingly eat, sloth and isolate ourselves into a state of chronic inflammation.

If that's the case, prevention is probably the place to start. It's not a great idea to turn off inflammation entirely, because we need it to fend off infections, says Slavich, but "lowering levels of systemic inflammation to manageable levels is a good goal to have".

The good news is that the few clinical trials done so far have found that adding anti-inflammatory medicines to antidepressants not only improves symptoms, it also increases the proportion of people who respond to treatment, although more trials will be needed to confirm this. There is also some evidence that omega 3 and curcumin, an extract of the spice turmeric, might have similar effects. Both are available over the counter and might be worth a try, although as an add-on to any prescribed treatment – there's definitely not enough evidence to use them as a replacement.

In between five to 10 years, says Carmine Pariante, a psychiatrist at Kings College London, there may be a blood test that can measure inflammation in people with depression so that they can be treated accordingly. Researchers have already come up with a simple finger-prick test that reliably measures inflammation markers in a single drop of blood.

And as for the stigma – could it really be killed off by shifting the blame from the mind to the body? Time will tell. This is not the first time that depression has been linked to a physical phenomenon, after all. A recent survey found that despite wider awareness of the theory that "chemical imbalances" in the brain cause depression, this has done nothing to reduce stigma; in fact, it seemed to make matters worse.

This time, though, the target is not any kind of brain or mind-based weakness but a basic feature of everyone's body that could strike anyone down given the right – or wrong – turn of events. And if that doesn't inspire a greater sympathy and understanding, then nothing will.

Caroline Williams

The Guardian, Sunday 4 January 2015

Its amazing what treasures you can find when you peel away the layers!


Filming " Communication and Anger Management" at Seeformiles in our Marlborough offices. Come and see us at the BACP Conference on 24th September 2016.





WORKING WITH RELATIONSHIPS ... Can't live without them! By Geoff Miles

Working with Relationships.front cover copyWorking with Relationships.back cover copy

Geoff will be running a workshop and here are the details of the event;

Private Practice Conference 'Relationships:why do we bother?' - London, 24 September 2016

Private Practice Conference 'Relationships: Why do we bother?' - London
Taking place in London at the Amba Hotel, Marble Arch on Saturday 24 September 2016, the conference, titled 'Relationships: why do we bother?', will focus on how we work with individuals finding meaning and facing challenges in their personal relationships. The programme is designed and tailored specifically for therapists working in private practice with individuals, but will also be of interest to those who work with couples.

Keynote speakers include Mary Morgan of the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships (TCCR), who teaches on couple relationships around the world, and Emmy van Deurzen, philosopher, existential psychotherapist and principal of the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling. Delegates can choose to attend two options from a varied programme, including the following workshops and presentation series:

Workshops (1 hour 30 minutes):

  • ‘Communication and conflict management’ with Geoff Miles
  • ‘Sexual issues in relationship counselling’ with Stephanie Palin
  • ‘Domestic abuse’ with Gary Williams
  • ‘Transitions’ with Perine Morran
  • ‘The Drama Triangle’ with Mark Head

Presentation series (Two 45 minute sessions, involving presentations followed by Q&A):

  • ‘Relationship breakdown’ with Julia Greer, followed by ‘Helping clients make better relationship choices’ with Anne Power.
  • ‘Fertility’ with Gerry McClusky followed by ‘Supervision around gender and sexual diversity clients (GSD)’ with Keith Silvester.

Looking for a Counsellor in Wiltshire, Berkshire, Hampshire. Look no further.

At the start of this New Year we, at See For Miles, are entering our seventh year and we are looking forward to continuing the work we have done and progressing and developing it even further.
We have been seeing clients from all walks of life, as well as running our Courses for therapists.Our students have been coming from all over the world.
Being established in Marlborough, we have developed good working relationships with other professionals and organisations in the local area.
In advance of our spring "Train to be a Couples Counsellor" course we are endeavouring to have our book published - "Working with Relationships". [see below]
Wishing you all the very best for this coming year.
Geoff and Helen

We are fast approaching the time when, for thousands of years, we celebrate the short, cold days of winter by staying indoors with family and friends. We feast, play, offer gifts and reconnect. A good time should be had by all. Whatever is going in our lives, it is never easy to switch into festive mode with everyone huddled around our table. With lives now being lived at a faster pace, and with the challenges we are all faced with it can sometimes be difficult to unwind and this can put quite a strain on Relationships. However, there are one or two things that you can do to avoid this.Be aware of what the festive season means to you.

  1. What do you want from it?
  2. Be realistic about your limits.
  3. Be realistic about your expectations
  4. Plan your time. Pace it.
  5. Share the chores – including cooking the feast!
  6. Whatever the weather, take time for yourself, get some fresh air, go for a walk.
  7. Take time to talk to your partner. Are you both ok?
  8. Remember to get some early nights with restful sleep.
  9. Stay within your financial limits.

Remember that in pre Industrial Revolution days you were kept in check by natural restraints such as how good the autumn harvest has been. Post-war you were rationed but still able to enjoy the few things that you could have.

Have a really good time, keep things in perspective and do things in moderation.

As Mindfulness is very much in the news at the moment and the positive impact it has on people suffering from stress, anxiety, depression or just "life", we, At See For Miles thought you might like to know a bit more about it. We have been using Mindfulness techniques for many years as part of our Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy framework. So, let's ask the question ...
What is Mindfulness?
"Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience". (Psychology Today]
Practice Mindfulness – says mental health charity
[An article in The Independent by Sophie McIntyre, Saturday 16 May 2015]

YouGov and the Mental Health Foundation have reported that 29 per cent of people are stressed; whilst 24 per cent suffer from anxiety.

A mental health charity has suggested that mindfulness treatments should be more widely available on the NHS, after revealing the results of a new YouGov survey.
Originally an ancient Buddhist practice, mindfulness is a form of therapy aimed at increasing people's awareness of themselves, their emotions and the environment around them, through meditation, yoga and breathing.

As part of Mental Health Awareness week, the Mental Health Foundation has called for the NHS to make the practice available in all areas of the country to help those suffering from anxiety, stress, and depression.
According to a new survey, that is a significant number of us.

Marlborough Town and Country Magazine July 2015

A Common Misconception about Divorce.

All too often our Family Clients here at DGR Law are told by their estranged partners: “You can see the children when you agree the finances”!

This is however very wrong on several levels including the legal one.

The Legal process of obtaining a Divorce begins with the first step into a Solicitors Office. I mention that because it can be a very emotional time to make the decision to start Divorce Proceedings and takes great courage to pick up the telephone and make an appointment and then take yourself to that appointment.

So, having made the step, it is now over to our Family Team to guide you through the next few months and the forms and the divulging of information, some incredibly private. The Divorce Petition has a section which asks for details of the Children in the Family however it is purely for statistical reasons and arrangements for Children are dealt with separately. Since March 2015 all Divorce Petitions are dealt with through the Southampton Central Divorce Centre which unfortunately for those of us in Hampshire is causing delays and in some cases lost Petitions, but that is the topic for a different article.

We, at DGR Law, try to be ahead of the process and reduce timescales by asking our Clients to start thinking about finances and the future while we process the Application for Decree Nisi and subsequently the Application for Decree Absolute. It helps to focus on the future and what each party needs to carry on with living and providing for Children. We give them a copy of the “dreaded Form E” which details all property, assets and income while at the same time addressing future needs for property, schooling, and day to day expenses. Often we agree with the opposing Solicitor to make a voluntary exchange of Form E to start the negotiations without the need for the intervention of the Court.

It is the delay in this exchange that seems to bring out the worst in couples with accusations of delaying tactics and hiding something. And it often causes couples to use the phrase “Sign the Form E and you can see the Children”. We then have to gently remind them that the two issues are certainly not connected.

Arrangements for Children are to be dealt with between parents either through mediation or through Solicitors. DGR Law is pleased to be working with local Counselling Team Geoff Miles and Helen Payne-Kumar of See For Miles Ltd who offer Couples Counselling to deal with the problems of Separate Parenting.

At no point would Solicitors advise their Clients to withhold contact because of Finances. If arrangements cannot be agreed then either party can make an Application for a Child Arrangements Programme under S8 Children Act 1989. These Applications are made to The Family Court in Swindon.

There are processed separately and as such Couples working towards a Divorce should treat the 2 separately. Apart from the fact that Children are not bargaining tools, it is a stressful enough time for all concerned especially Children.

If you are having difficulties working through Divorce Finances or Child Contact arrangements please make an appointment for our free 30 minute consultation to see if we can help clear up any Misconception.

Karen Salmon


01672 511797

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