1-to-1 support

Why is psychology important in physical activity and exercise?

Taking part in sport, exercise and other active pastimes can give meaning to your life in many ways.  As well as the “feel good factor” many people get from exercise, being physically active can help you feel in control, overcome challenges, and feel connected to others – which in turn helps you stay mentally healthy. 

But sometimes it isn’t enough to know exercise is good for you. Even if you know how to exercise and why it is important, if your mind isn’t in the right place exercise can become challenging. 

Perhaps you struggle to keep up a regular routine, feel self-conscious exercising around others, or lack motivation to get out the door.  Or perhaps you’re not enjoying the exercise you do, are concerned you’re exercising too much, or feel pressured to do more and more.  

Sometimes the most challenging (but most important) step is reaching out and asking for help.   This requires acknowledging to yourself that something doesn’t feel right.  This isn’t easy, but acceptance can be a huge step to moving forward. And with the right support and opportunity, I truly believe anyone can enjoy physical activity. 

I don't enjoy exercise, but does that mean I need a psychologist?

Sometimes there is a stigma around “psychology”. People feel that seeing a psychologist means there is something wrong with them, or this implies their mind needs “fixing”. 

This isn’t the case.  

Psychology refers to anything to do with the mind and behaviour.  In the same way that it is important to promote good physical health, it is important we look after the health of our minds.   The role of psychologists is to help people develop and maintain a healthy mind so they can lead a fulfilling life.  

In exercise psychology, the link between mind and body is central (i.e., if we have a healthy mindset for exercise, we can then stay physically active, which in turn helps keep our body and mind healthy).   Therefore even keen exercisers and mentally healthy individuals can benefit from working with an exercise psychologist. 

You’re not alone if you hated school PE,  don’t like your body or put pressure on yourself to “be the best”.  Exercise psychology support can help you work through and overcome these difficulties, and find a way of being active that you enjoy and keep up. 

What kind of concerns can exercise psychology help with?

As an exercise psychologist, I offer 1-to-1 support to help you with the mental aspects of exercise, physical activity and related health behaviours (e.g., diet, sleep). Exercise is a complex behaviour and often the problems people seek support for are not clear cut.  You might not even be able to pinpoint what the problem is when we start working together.  But this is ok – we will spend the first couple of sessions helping you explore your concerns and identify what it is you’d like to change. 

You might benefit from exercise psychology support if: 

  • You are struggling with motivation
  • You always have good exercise intentions, but they never seem to happen
  • You don’t enjoy exercise (or perhaps you used to enjoy it and have lost your passion)
  • You’re an “all or nothing” exerciser, and would like to get into a more stable routine
  • You lack confidence or feel anxious about exercising
  • You have a poor body image and feel very self-conscious around others
  • You are worried you are over-exercising and this is negatively affecting your health
  • You are trying to lose weight and struggling mentally with the process
  • You are trying to become more active and would like some support with this
  • Any other feelings related to exercise that are not sitting right with you

I also have experience of working in family-based weight management, and can help with health behaviour change in other areas, such as diet. 

What does 1-to-1 support involve?

The services I provide are all underpinned by the latest research evidence and psychological theory.  I believe you are the expert in your own life and I will support you to take ownership and believe in your capabilities of change.   I will do this through listening, guiding and supporting you to find a way forward that works for you.  Whatever you are struggling with, we will explore different strategies to help you develop a healthy relationship with exercise that stays with you in the long-term.  

Each session will last 1 hour and will either take place online via Zoom, “walk and talk”, or face-to-face (from Autumn 2021 – subject to Covid restrictions).  In the first few sessions, we’ll reflect on where you’re at now and what it is you would like to change.  We’ll talk about your current exercise behaviour, thoughts and feelings, and what you would like to achieve through working with me. 

We’ll then discuss the most appropriate way forward depending on your needs.   You may feel you’ve already benefited from the sessions and decide to end the support there.  Or we may agree to further 1-to-1 sessions.   If your concerns aren’t something I can help with, I may signpost you to other individuals or services who will be better placed to help you.   

How do I find out more or book a session?

To help you decide whether I’m the right person to help,  I offer every client a free 20-minute introductory chat (via Zoom or telephone, whichever you’d prefer).  This is a no-obligation chat to give us a chance to “meet” each other and decide whether we will work together.   I’ll ask you to describe your main concerns, I’ll let you know if it’s something I can help with and you can decide whether you’d like to go ahead or not.  

If we decide to work together, I’ll then ask you to read an information sheet, complete a consent form and provide me with some further details about yourself.  This will help me tailor sessions to your needs, and make sure I’m aware of any mental or physical health concerns that may affect your sessions.  

How much do sessions cost?

Online Zoom 1-to-1

1-hour session: £40*

1-hour session (low income, students, or unemployed): £15*  

Walk and talk (Liverpool only)

Walk and talk sessions involve meeting in a park at a convenient location for both of us, and walking while we talk. 

1-hour session: £40*

1-hour session (low income, students, or unemployed): £15*  

Face-to-face (Liverpool only)

Face-to-face sessions will include a room hire charge on top of the online price. I am not yet offering this service, but hope to do so from Autumn 2021. If you are interested in face-to-face sessions please contact me for specific prices. 

*All session prices will be discounted by 30% for referrals from NHS, community, charity and health sector partners.