Discussing self-help therapies with Author Kay Hutchison: Sitting on the Riviera basking in the sunshine, Kay Hutchison turned to her husband of 20 years and felt that something was not quite right. Despite being in the dreamy holiday setting that the couple had enjoyed for years, Kay felt unhappy and unfulfilled, all she wanted was to escape from the life she had worked tirelessly for years to build.
Following her realisation, she packed up her things and left her husband in their Monte Carlo Hotel suite, and so began a journey that would take her around the world, exploring everything from voodoo, silent retreats to colonic irrigation on a quest to overcome her self-confessed midlife crisis.
Despite having built a successful career as a television producer, with a glamorous lifestyle and comfortable level of wealth, Kay felt empty and restless, she now recognises that this was the delayed effect of two traumatic life events. The unresolved emotions following the death of her Mother and cancer diagnosis of her husband, were the catalyst for her yearning for change. Over the next five years Kay embarked on a voyage, trying a range of alternative treatments, which she has detailed in her book, My Life in Thirty Seven Therapies. In this post we’ll explore which self-help therapies Kay is currently raving about and how putting pen to paper was possibly the best therapy of all…
Exploring Self-Help Therapies
Saying Goodbye To Burn Out
Q. You founded a successful media company and have experienced burn out, what 3 practical tips would you give to someone currently suffering burn out due to work?
Tip 1 STOP
If you haven’t already hit the wall and been forced to drop everything, it’s time to stop. It’s possible not to know you’re suffering from burnt out – perhaps you have just kept running on the treadmill even though you know something’s not right and your tried and trusted old ways of coping just aren’t working for you any more. Give in, jump off – now’s a great time to change your ways.
Tip 2 PLAN
If you’re finding it hard to feel motivated, fearing the future, have no energy, you need to start planning. Set your alarm, make your bed, go for a nice walk, listen to the birds or some calming music and when you return sit down with a blank piece of paper and write down all your thoughts and ideas. Don’t judge, just write. Read it over and focus on the things that make you feel good – this will be your way forward.
Tip 3 PRACTICE SELF-CARE
Stop beating yourself up. Everyone does it but during burnout self-criticism and judgement can become quite overwhelming and counterproductive. You need mental clarity at a time like this and the best way to do that is therapy – choose from guided meditation (try Mooji for grounding thoughts), sonic gong therapy and yoga for clearing the mind and health-giving exercises that make you feel good. If you look after yourself first by doing what feels good, you will be more able to function out in the world.
Silence is Self-Care
Q. Of all the self-help therapies you tried, which helped the most during your midlife crisis?
SILENT RETREAT. Although it was challenging and seemed ridiculous at times – 10 days, over Christmas, 50 women staying in dorms, 8 to a room with one bathroom between us, no talking, no looking at each other, just meal breaks and a few short periods for exercise outside and over 10 hours of meditation daily in a darkened hall starting at 4.30am – it was the most beneficial of all. For the first time, I experienced complete rest, not only for my body physically but for my mind. By the end I was comfortable with silence, I knew how to calm my mind, I was happy being alone and I felt healthy after days of vegetarian food and slow, mindful chewing, savouring each taste. I’m normally chatty and had no idea if I’d make it to the end, but it improved my wellbeing in so many ways.
Your Favourite Therapists?
Homeopathy: Lynne Ringuet
Lynne practices in West London and is a highly experienced homeopath. I attended fortnightly and Lynne was generous with her time and expertise, always finding just the right remedy for my situation and mental state at that particular moment in time.
Holistic Massage Therapist: Shailu Karia
Shailu is highly skilled and runs the Bharti-Vyas Salon in Chiltern Street, London. I mention Shailu’s unique massage in the book. She is one of the most knowledgeable and multi-talented massage therapists I have encountered. It’s a family business founded by her mother Bharti, and, together with her sister Priti, they are always pushing the boundaries and improving the business. In the Asian Beauty Industry Awards 2020 just announced, they won ‘Beauty Salon of the Year’.
Yoga Teacher: Valentina Candiana
There are many great yoga teachers, different styles, different emphasis, but it’s hard to top Valentina as she has a variety of complimentary skills which make her a unique teacher. She is a dancer, nutrition expert, cranio-sacral healer as well as an intuitive yoga teacher.
Q. Did you find that writing your memoir was therapy in itself? How did reflecting on your journey impact you?
It’s possibly one of the most important therapies that I would recommend. It helped me put down everything that I experienced, but in a structured way. It helped me organise my thoughts, think about the timelines and put everything into some perspective and context. The book introduces reflections on my childhood and upbringing which is often so important in sending you down a particular path in life, for better or worse. I only realised that once I had been through the experience and started writing and working with the editor. I loved telling the stories of some funny incidents from my childhood that shaped my thinking in later years. The writing helped me appreciate how far I’d come, and what wonderful experiences I’d had along the way.
The Power Of Therapeutic Writing
Q. Which part of the book did you find most challenging to write and why?
Writing about very personal experiences, particularly the sad times, brought it all back. Although these events needed to be explained, including the death of my mother to cancer after several years of suffering and then leaving my husband of many years, it was hard to write about these without reliving the grief. But I also wanted to explain as far as I could my mental state at the time. The whole family went through a deeply emotional time and it changed us in the process.
Q. What’s the latest therapy you’ve tried?
Sonic Reset Therapy. I went to a number of counsellors and psychotherapists during the period covered by the book. I found talking with professionals helpful in trying to identify the source of my problems and taking responsibility for my own part in creating the problem too. But it had its limitations. It can be exhausting going over and over past issues and not resolving anything. When I first tried Sonic Reset Therapy just last year, it was a revelation as there is less talking and better results. After a brief description from the psychotherapist, I was taught how to use the sound frequencies to ‘reset’ traumatic memories and lessen their impact. You decide what memories need to be released and set the frequencies required to effectively ‘rub out’ their impact. I haven’t looked back.
Part memoir, part guide, My Life in 37 Therapies chronicles Kay’s quest for self-discovery, looking at how she overcame burnout and tackled her midlife crisis with homeopathy, astrology, silent retreats and reiki while also dabbling in past-life regression, sonic therapy, shamanic retreats and other alternative therapies. A positive, often humorous and upbeat look at how to reevaluate your life and create opportunities from the dark moments of a mid-life crisis.
The audiobook version of My Life in 37 Therapies, RRP £14.99, written and read by Kay Hutchison is available to download from on Audible, Spotify and YouTube.