Bet you don’t know what an NDSA is!

No, not the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, or the Northumberland and Durham Swimming Association or one of the other 39 abbreviations on Google!  This NDSA is something you can do for yourself every day and live happier, more content and with less emotional pain.  I know, sounds … interesting?

For anyone in the mental health world, either as a patient, therapist or GP, an NDSA is a godsend.

‘ND’ stands for ‘Non-Drug’.  Anything non-drug means you are not going to suffer any pharmacological side effects from taking a drug. Whether those drugs are illegal substances or whether they are legal, prescribed or not, you won’t get ANY side effects. Indeed a godsend when unwanted side effects are one of the biggest challenges the medical profession has to face.

The ‘SA’ stands for ‘Sensory Adjustment’ and that is good news for anyone who is easily overwhelmed, has to handle high workplace or domestic stress, tends towards bi-polar behaviour, or just wants some peace thank you.

So there we have it:  Non-Drug Sensory Adjustment, NDSA.  You can make those adjustments yourself or get some Powerchange coaching to avoid the pitfalls (and occasional impossibilities) of DIY psychology. And there will be more on the Powerchange website in the next few days. I’ll keep you in touch via Twitter if you’re into that.

NDSA is set to make a significant difference to those who are hunting for a more relaxed approach to life, without surrendering their futures to drugs – from caffeine to …  Exactly.

It means just what it says. Your brain uses over a hundred different carefully balanced chemicals to keep you thinking straight. Sometimes they don’t work as we want and the traditional approach is to intervene with a drug – from “I need some strong coffee” and  and “I must have a cigarette” to a visit to the doctor for a course of anti-depressant or sleeping potion. But more often than not there is another way. With an NDSA you change the sensory input into that brain so the chemical balance is restored naturally.

A physical comparison would be an injured leg. Few people would resort to wearing a calliper when your leg can be helped to grow strong and support you properly with some physiotherapy. NDSA coaching is a kind of ‘physiotherapy for the brain’. Instead of needing constant support well into the future (with all the chafing arm-pit side effects of a psychological crutch or the pressures of a wheelchair), you grow strong, reducing the sensory impact of past experiences or ongoing present stress, and moving forward in your life as an emotionally healthy person.

If you are a health professional and you want a downloadable pdf on Powerchange Coaching, that will be on the website sometime next week. Or email me direct: and I’ll send you a copy.  It explains the bio-technical neurological principles behind NDSA. Here’s a great pic that says it all:

Here’s to a non-drug and side-effect-free future for many more people in the UK.

Imagined Elephant Disorder

It is in the news again today, with a report out saying care for schizophenia in the UK is terrible.

Here is a quote worth reading: ‘Schizophrenia’ is a scientifically worthless, stigmatising label, which falsely groups people with a wide range of conditions together. It also fails to inform prognosis and treatment, and actually reduces people’s chances of recovery. (Bentall, Hammersley & Romme, Manchester University, 2006)

It is now being argued by an increasing swell of enlightened medics that these peoples’ behaviour is the natural reaction to a whole spectrum of overwhelming or catastrophic life events that cause clients to find ways to avoid facing the agonising realities of a particularly unattractive life. (Who can blame them?)

I agree. Here is my prescription:

1. Dispense with the stale old label – however professionally convenient it may have been to have it – and along with it get rid of the crippling thought that you’re stuck with it for life. You’re not.

2. Sort out those damaging life events, the limiting beliefs and thinking that result in a self-reinforcing feedback loop of deep personal emotional pain.

3. Provide an increase in resilience and personal power, and create new resourceful alternatives to current auto responses.

In other words, deal with the CAUSES. There are some amazingly powerful tools now available to the ‘talking therapies practitioner’ that mean the client/patient is free from the persistent unhappiness and suffering incurred by the retention of those things in their neurology. Often for ever.

And as a little bonus for all concerned, it will not cost the NHS (ie, the UK taxpayer) the estimated £12 billion a year. That’s £461 a year for each of the 26 million UK income tax payers.

“An elephant in the surgery waiting room?  Yes, yes, my dear, of course there is!” (Hmmm. Andrew is suffering from Imagined Elephant Syndrome. DSM IV No: 54321. Now the pharmaceuticals rep. who was in last week said there’s a new drug available for that. What was it again?)


1. An increasing number of GPs are putting their professional lives at stake  – and some have lost their jobs – by staying curious about the elephant, asking themselves how it is others can see something that is invisible to them. (Perhaps they are recovering from Elephant Blindness Syndrome?)  More seriously, I just want to honour their honesty and thank them for their courage and invite them to keep looking. There is a whole herd of elephants in there.

2. If you can’t find anyone near you who can help you with this, email me or give me a call. Powerchange (check it out) is developing a healthy track record for Therapeutic Coaching, with NHS doctors using and recommending our services. (We don’t do ‘five minute miracle cures’ but we have a growing dossier of success testimonials.)

For the hardy, here are some links:

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