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John Sackett Services

Fears & Concerns

When a traumatic event occurs in our life it quite naturally causes us a great deal of anxiety. Our feelings and emotions at times like this are in turmoil because we feel out of control, powerless, unsure of the future, lost, empty and alone. We may question our beliefs or our faith, everything that was normal is now changing and that can be very frightening. If not addressed, this anxiety can develop into stress and lead to depression.

When we are worried or fearful over a period of time, this negative thinking becomes an unhealthy and unwanted habit embedded in our thoughts, influencing our emotions, our moods, our physical reactions and ultimately the way we perceive things to be and our actions are then guided by this perception.

Counselling can help by empowering you to understand that these feelings are your own personal responses to the trauma and are perfectly normal, enabling you to accept them as part of your grieving process, which then helps to release these emotions, bringing a clearer and calmer understanding of your thoughts and feelings.

I am here to support you and help you to understand the process you are going through. Having someone who will listen empathically and without prejudice can be such a powerful experience, enabling you to release the negative thoughts and reach a place of acceptance within yourself.

Pain Management

When I first started to study Hypnotherapy in 2007 I was very excited to learn that it can be used to control pain, mainly due to my previous experiences and training in the ambulance service. When I achieved my hypnotherapy diploma, I immediately booked myself on a specialist course in Pain Management where I learned many techniques that I have used and developed since that time. When I later started working with Palliative Care Clients, it was an obvious progression to adapt these skills to help alleviate the constant pain suffered by so many people, to help give them back some control and dignity in the time they have remaining.

This is a specialist area of hypnotherapy which merits a little explanation. Pain is basically a message from the brain to let you know that there is a problem somewhere in your body and as such should not be ignored. If you stub your toe or cut your finger it is obvious what is causing the pain and it can be easily dealt with, but if the cause is unknown, then it should always be properly diagnosed by a suitably qualified medical professional before any treatment can be determined.

With this understanding, the long-term pain associated with terminal illness seems to be an unnecessary burden, you are already acutely aware of the illness or disease, so why should you still need the pain as a reminder? Unfortunately, this is a flaw in the human make up. As long as the problem persists, the nervous system will still send signals to the brain and as the condition deteriorates the signals become stronger so the pain becomes worse. You may be interested to learn that it doesn’t have to be like that.

Within hypnotherapy, there are many tried and tested methods of reducing the amount of pain that is experienced and these can be particularly beneficial to long term and chronic sufferers. I can teach you simple self-hypnosis techniques so that you can do this for yourself, giving you a degree of control over the pain, which is very empowering and will help to enhance your quality of life, restoring your confidence to do the things that you need to do or had given up on.

Hypnotherapy is also very useful in coping with the anxiety of anticipated pain such as surgery or perhaps dental treatment. By learning how to control the level of pain through self-hypnosis the anxiety will be reduced, leaving you much more calm and relaxed and it is also proven to reduce recovery time after the procedure.

Pet Bereavement

The death of a pet is one of the most underrated forms of bereavement, but can be devastating for the owner. Seeing an animal pass away that you have loved and taken care of over many years can be equally as traumatic as losing a human member of the family, but most people do not acknowledge the effect Pet Bereavement can have.
The normal reaction from people is to say things like “are you going to get another one?” or “at least it wasn’t your parent or child” which can make you feel as though your grief is dismissed and unwarranted

The bond with our pets is different from human relationships because of it’s very nature. Animals will love unconditionally, they do not make demands, change their moods or opinions, argue or expect anything in return except to be fed. They can bring great comfort when you are feeling sad and join in with your joy when you are happy.

As with any grief, the first reaction in Pet Bereavement is shock and many people are themselves surprised at the intensity of their grief. I can assure you now that this is perfectly normal and is simply the initial stage of the grieving process. From there is sometimes takes a different course because there are different considerations. If you have other pets, how will they react and how can you help them. What to say to small children who have no real understanding of the concept of death and may not have had to experience the loss of a close family member.

Throughout my life I have always loved animals. As a child there was always at least one pet in the house and in my adult life I have had many pets of my own and have inevitably experienced Pet Bereavement along the way. If you need to talk to someone about the loss of a pet, I can help you to understand the grieving process, to accept and feel more at peace with your loss. Please feel free to call or email to discuss your particular needs in Pet Bereavement or to make an appointment.

Bereavement Therapy

Coming to terms with the loss of a loved one is never easy, it’s not something that you can recover from like an illness, but rather something that you come to terms with over time. Statistics show that this process takes an average of two years, but like all statistics this is infinitely variable depending on so many factors both within us and outside us.

The grief process itself will bring up many emotions, feelings and thoughts, from despair to anger, feelings of guilt or blame and of course there will be regrets and deep sadness. The resulting build-up of stress and anxiety can even lead to depression. These and many other feelings will come and go in varying degrees and can often seem overwhelming, but over time and with the right help, these feelings will give way to feelings of acceptance and resolution.

The manner of the death will also have a profound effect on the grief process. A sudden or violent death, such as an accident is likely to cause shock and trauma with all of the additional, associated stresses added to the grief and will usually take longer to resolve. Conversely, the death of someone who has been suffering a long term, severely debilitating illness can often seem like a relief, due to the fact that their suffering has ended. On the surface, this may seem easier to deal with, but there are often deep feelings of guilt that we have any sort of positive thoughts or feelings around the death of a loved one.

There are many other forms of loss, which can cause similar reactions. Losing your home or job, losing a loved one due to breakdown of a marriage, partnership or close friendship or losing a pet that you have cared for and loved for many years can leave you feeling bewildered, lost and unloved. Indeed, any significant loss will have a detrimental effect on your normal life and a negative impact on your emotional health.

The important thing to remember here is that all the above feelings and emotions are a perfectly normal part of the grief process and you are not alone in suffering them in this way.

Talking things through with close family and friends can be very helpful, but is not always as easy as it sounds because they will be at different stages in their own grieving process and their feelings may conflict with your own because of this. Some may not want to talk about it at all, maybe because of their own feelings, or maybe because they don’t want to upset you by bringing up the subject. Family members often attempt to protect each other by denying their own need to talk.

Talking to a professional counsellor, trained in this area, can make the process much easier, more comfortable and extremely re-assuring. There is no family history to get in the way, no judgements to be made and you can be assured that anything you want to talk about will remain confidential.

I would be happy to help guide you through this most difficult period in your life using the training and experience that I have gained in this field, working at Forest Holme Hospice, a palliative care unit attached to Poole Hospital for over 9 years and also in private practice both here and at Swans Therapy, a general therapy practice that my wife Joy and I run together. For more information visit

Palliative / End Of Life Care

When we are born, the only thing that is certain is that one day we will die. Yet there are no lessons in school, no college courses or university degrees to teach us how to prepare for this certainty. In our western culture, dying is not discussed around the family dinner table or in the local pub, in fact it is barely mentioned in any aspect of our lives unless forced upon us by a death in our family or of a close friend. How then can we be expected to cope when we are told by our doctor that we have a terminal illness and there is no hope of a cure?

The main thing I have learned in my experience of working within this field, is that every person reacts differently as this devastating news affects them in so many different ways. Mentally, emotionally, physically, practically and spiritually It will change their self-image and their lifestyle and also change relationships within their family and within their larger community of friends and colleagues. Depending on the nature of the illness or disease, this will have its own progressive, debilitating effect, both physically and mentally.

So how can counselling possibly help with all of this?

It is a well-researched and documented fact that people who are prepared for death will die much more peacefully and I see my role as supporting, informing and helping you to prepare for that time as much as possible. As a counsellor/psychotherapist, I will always be open and as honest as possible whatever you wish to discuss, non-judgemental about any regrets you may have and explore with you, ways to help resolve any practical matters or concerns that are troubling you. As a qualified hypnotherapist, I can teach you relaxation techniques and help with sleep problems. I can also teach self-hypnosis to enable you to reduce your own pain levels, giving you back some amount of control in this most trying time.

When someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness it affects the whole family, partners, children and parents can all need help to cope with all the changes it will bring to their lives. The carers can often feel neglected as they struggle with a very difficult and unexpected situation with no preparation or training and they are often the ones that need the most support. I am happy to work with family groups, or one to one with any individual family members that feel they may need help.

The service I offer is one of therapeutic support having gained specialised training while working at Forest Holme Hospice, a palliative care unit attached to Poole Hospital, as part of the volunteer bereavement support team for over 9 years.

The term ‘palliative care’ derives from the Latin word palliare, which means ‘to cloak’ and this relates to the medical process of administering drugs to mask the symptoms or pain of an illness or disease for which there is no cure. While this is the accepted term in hospitals and hospices, therapeutic support does not really fall into this category. In my experience, people want or need to talk about many different things, sometimes family matters, work related issues, memories from the past, both good and bad, financial concerns for those they are leaving behind and sometimes you may simply want to talk about the latest news from politics to sport and while this could be perceived as avoidance, it may just be that there is no-one else to talk to about these things. Some people will want to talk about the medical side of things in great detail and while I am not a doctor or consultant, I will not ‘cloak’ or avoid the difficult questions and while I may not have the answers, I will always do my best for you.

The therapy sessions are normally held in our ‘Peacehaven’ therapy room, a very comfortable, calm and private space in the garden of our home. I understand that some clients will find it difficult or even impossible to visit a therapist and in these cases I do offer home visits for a small additional cost within a reasonable radius. Alternatively, the sessions can be conducted by telephone if you prefer.