"I have known Natasha for many years. Though we are separated by the miles
between us we have met a few times. I was happy to discover Natasha to be
as lovely in the flesh as she always was on-line. Natasha was responsible
for helping me through a dark time of my life, and I still use her methods to help
me to this day."
"Natasha is an extremely competent and effective therapist
; her considerable experience and expertise
makes her an exhcellent choice for you. I highly recommend her."
Devin Hastings, president of the Minnesota Institute of Advanced Communication Skills
(www.miacs.net) and author of "21st Century Medicine: Clinical Evidence for
the Healing Power of the Mind"
Please feel free to contact Devin about me on
Giving Up Smoking
I started smoking when I was 12 - from then until the age of about 17, I rarely
got through more than 20 cigarettes in a week, then my parents (who were heavy smokers)
allowed me to smoke at home and I started working in the West End where everyone
smoked at their desks (well it was the 80's). I would say I averaged 30
a day for at least 10 years that I was a smoker.
I dreaded winter colds as I always got catarrh, and awful headache and a cough that
wouldn't go away. As I got older, I tried many, many times to give up
smoking - when my father died of lung cancer, I stopped for a whole year but every
day was torture. Everyone I saw seemed to be smoking and they looked so happy
and content - all I wanted to do was to open up a pack of 20 and join them.
On a drunken night out, my will power evaporated, I lit a fag stupidly thinking
that just the 1 wouldn't hurt, I wouldn't get hooked again, I was in control
and then - lo an behold within a week I was back on 20 a day.
Going out for a meal was torture, all I wanted to do was eat really quickly so that
I could get outside and have a cigarette - I don't think I ate a full meal in
any restaurant where I wasn't allowed to light up. Going on holiday was
hell, 2 or 3 hours on a plane and all I could think about was landing, getting outside
the airport and lighting up. Shopping irritated me, if I couldn't see
what I wanted straight away, I'd leave the shop and stand outside puffing away.
In my early 30's, I developed a permanent sore throat, a cough that wouldn't
go away, rasping breath when I was going to sleep and chest pains. I knew
I couldn't carry on and that I was making myself very ill. On top of this,
the man who is now my husband and I had just moved in together. He was an
ex smoker and, because of my constant puffing, was sliding back into smoking, having
the odd puff here and there, nicking a cigarette off me when we had a drink or a
meal. In an attempt to cut down, I started smoking in the garden - in effect,
all this did was make me smoke more because I went out at every ad break and spent
the 15 minutes between ads thinking about my next cigarette.
I kept trying to give up - on my last attempt, I remember lying on the floor crying
because of the physical pain I was feeling. I lasted four days before I caved
in again. The feeling of failure, mixed with the need to give up just stressed
me out more and I was gradually creeping up to 40 a day.
I had a chat with Natasha about something else and happened to mention how much
I wanted to give up smoking but that I just couldn't do it. She suggested
I came and saw her - I did and we talked through what she would do for me.
I went into her treatment room desperately clutching a pack of 10 Marlboro Lights
and, an hour later, walked out empty handed (having forgotten about my fags) and
a non smoker. It was almost too easy so I spent the next couple of days testing
myself. I went into a pub at 11am the next day and had a drink fully expecting
to be knocked sideways by the longing for a cigarette - but it didn't happen.
I went to work and hung out with the smokers and didn't feel a thing.
I went out for a meal and actually sat and ate all of it.
When I have had the odd twinge (and even people who have never smoked look at smokers
sometimes and fancy a ciggie!), I have the tools to deal with it and have now been
a non smoker for 4 years. I feel so much healthier, my sense of smell has
returned and I no longer struggle for breath. Lots of people I know have tried
to pack up using various methods and have failed. They've suffered misery,
pain and emptiness you feel when you stop smoking, the not quite knowing what to
do with yourself? A lot of people think if you haven't got will power
that makes you weak, I think you are a stronger person if you admit you need help
and wouldn't you rather carry out your life as normal rather than constantly
struggling with the urge to light up? Seeing Natasha was the best decision
I made and I only wish I'd done it years ago.
I met Natasha almost a year ago now. I remember the first time we met and
I was in a seriously dark place. I had been attacked by someone at my workplace
and had been given no help by the company I worked for. Previous to meeting
Natasha I had seen two other counsellors, and after meeting them, I felt counselling
was really not for me (as the previous
ones did nothing but ask me 'how I felt about this'). Sitting here
now I really cannot remember what I was like when I first met her. But she
tells me I was scary. I was numb, I didn't care what bad things may happen
to me, and you could say I was in 'bring it on' mode. I was very selfish
and was just consumed with anger, frustration and mostly fear. I was very
apprehensive about meeting another counsellor as the last had been a big flop, but
even from the first meeting she was so comforting and just asked me to go through
what had happened to me. It turns out it was not just the attack that had
made me the way I was, it was an awful lot of contributing factors from my childhood
(although I'm only 18). I have seen her once a week for almost a year,
and every 2 weeks I have a joint
session with another girl my age, and we get on really well
as we have similar feelings about things. I have improved so much since seeing
Natasha. I used to have panic attacks at most 4 times a day if someone made
me jump or just if something or someone reminded me of the attack. I now and
again get down about everything, but I cannot remember the last time I had a panic
attack. I also used to have serious trouble sleeping on my own so I was sleeping
on tablets for a long time, but now I find it much easier, and I haven't been
sleeping on tablets in over 6 months. It's been about a year and a half
since my attack and I still work in the same place and hardly ever get worried about
going to work. (As I used to dread it every day) Natasha is a counsellor
when I need help and she is a friend when I need a friend, she is always there for
me no matter what time of the day, and I would not want anyone else to share my
I was 17 when I first met Natasha. I was struggling with intense depression
and self harm as well as suicidal thoughts and actions. I was never convinced that
I could ever be simply 'ok' or that I would survive the rest of my life
before I took it from myself. Everyday was an intense struggle to cope and deal
with my issues and emotional abuse. Natasha helped me through one of the darkest
times of my life and with that I highly praise her and approve her for other people’s
services. I am now 19 years old, the last 2 years I have spent with her have
been truly the happiest times of my life so far. She alone has helped my in ways
I never thought I would be able to express, I now wake in the mornings not fearing
if it would be my last but that it is simply another day, which to me brings a smile
of joy to my face. Not only do I consider Natasha to be highly professional,
I also consider her my friend, someone I trust and can confide in. I have told her
some of my darkest secrets and memories of my past and never once has she judged
me or questioned my actions, she has simply helped guide me on the right path to
where I am now. Although I am not fully ok within myself just yet, I have
come leaps and bounds from when I first started seeing her. I am now going to university,
which I never dreamt imaginable for myself and have started a new relationship with
someone who I feel comfortable with to express my feelings and confident that I
can make it work and not let my past interfere. Natasha has, in my eyes, saved
my life from the destructive path I was once on. She has encouraged me to follow
my dreams and never give up. With that, I wish she could give the same outcome to
others who are struggling like I myself was so they can be confident within themselves.
Thank you for everything Tash!
I met Natasha in 2010, on a recommendation from a friend who had been a client of Natasha. It had taken me some time
to admit to myself that I needed some help, I wasn't someone who needed help I was the person who gave the help, people
came to me with problems not the other way round but eventually I had to admit to myself I wasn't coping too well but
I thought I knew why, I recently had a very bad breakup and I was angry, lonely, ridiculously thin, stressed and didn't
like my own company or space, didn't really like me at all. What I didn't realise was the problem was so much deeper
routed than I'd imagined, it went back to childhood.
At my first meeting with Natasha I was sceptical and not sure how it would go and what she would think of me! but what
an easy person to get on with and confide in. I really connected and over the following weeks was able to discuss anything
with ease which was a huge step, there was no leap of faith it was a natural progression with someone who didn't judge and
was there 101% for me. I felt very comfortable and happy to chat, I found I was coming out with stuff I didn't know was
bothering me. One occasion I can remember saying to Natasha that if I had to describe how my family made me feel from a
young age it would be that if there was a room full of my family, my siblings at the centre with family tightly circled around
protecting them and I would be in the doorway looking in, it was all so much more deep rooted. Natasha helped me realise that
it was events and other people who had made me feel like this.
Later, I started to write notes when I got home on what we talked about. One of my notes says, "that Natasha has a knack
of chatting/asking me something and I go into Duracell mode, all charged up, raring, so much to say, a torrent of thoughts,
xx years of frustrations, anger, hurt and confusion.. Five weeks later I have gone from feeling heavy, sad, weighed down,
to lighter, standing tall, happier, its not over but I an so much better, I'm in a lighter, fluffier, bubblier self confident
I'm not totally sure how long I saw Natasha for but it was probably in the region of 6 - 8 months, it was sometimes
emotionally painful and upsetting but so worth it, I am so much happier. Natasha has inspired me and she had helped me discover
me, and I quite like me, I'm not a bad person. Nor an I angry at the past, I am however having a better future.
From time to time I still read my note book, to remind me how far I have come. I will always feel grateful to Natasha
for the help in finding the real me and dealing with demons but more due to the faith she had in me.
JG Chelmsford, Essex