Ugly thoughts like a (Mrs) Twit?

I’m loving this funny article from the lovely Kate Ashley-Norman. What effect do ugly thoughts have?

Don’t be a (Mrs) Twit – Let Thrive show you how to take control of your thoughts

I have recently been re-reading some of Roald Dahl’s stories with my seven year old son, and hooting at the antics of that rather repulsive couple, The Twits. I couldn’t help thinking though what kind of life Mrs Twit might have had if she had gone through a course of Thrive when she was younger.

Now Mrs Twit had a ‘fearful ugliness’. But as Dahl was quick to point out, she was not born ugly, she had actually had a nice face when she was younger. She had grown uglier the older she got, and Dahl had a very profound explanation for this. He wrote:

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until it gets so ugly you can hardly bear to look at it.

“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

Now Mrs Twit is a particularly repulsive character being used by Dahl for comic effect, but his words are very wise and we would do well to remember them in the context of the Thrive programme. When someone walks into my office who has all the physical attributes of a successful attractive person, yet their whole body language and spoken language is negative and depressive and cloaked in failure and doom and ugliness, then I just know that their mismanaged ugly thoughts are compelling them to don their ‘ugly’, ‘shit-tinted’ spectacles. When turned onto one-self, these shit tinted glasses can have significantly negative effects on the way you feel about yourself, the way you feel about other people, and ultimately about the way you feel about life as a whole.

As we all know and experience at times, the more negative you feel about life, the more difficult it seems to extricate yourself from that downward spiral. As Lyobomirsky and Tkach (2004) so eloquently put it in their research, – “Numerous studies over the past two decades have shown that repetitive ruminations about the implications of one’s depressive symptoms actually maintains those symptoms, impairs one’s ability to solve problems, and ushers in a host of negative consequences.”

The younger, prettier Mrs Twit had so many ugly thoughts about herself and life in general, that her self esteem only allowed her to marry a man she thought she deserved – the ‘foul and smelly’ Mr Twit. And together they perpetuated each other’s ugly approach to life. Their only ‘joy’ in life was to play cruel and disgusting tricks on each other.

Poor Mrs Twit. You can only imagine how her younger, prettier self may well have once dreamed of leading a happy life. But for those caught in a whirlpool of negativity and stress and anxiety, any chance of happiness can only seem like an increasingly unattainable concept. And once on that slippery slope it is easier to just keep slipping down into a depressed and self-flagellating pool, than it is to stand tall and fight it.

And so you get caught in the vicious circle of unhappy, negative, depressive thoughts, feelings of powerlessness, feeling physically and mentally tired, anxious, stressed and unable to cope, and too weak and unmotivated to do anything about it. As a result your immune system is weakened, and opens you up to every bug and virus going. (Anybody who wants to look into the mind-body connection need just Google psychneuroimmunology, PNI).

So don’t be a Mrs Twit and let those ugly thoughts take control and ruin your life (and looks!). You can be powerful over your own thoughts, and the Thrive programme is uniquely positioned to make you understand why, and how you can take control.

If you want to find out more about the Thrive programme and how it can help you and those you love, you can by following this link

Kate Ashley-Norman

Thrive Consultant and Blogger

Group Personal Training Courses, Watford, October 2016

People enjoying Watford Personal Training Courses

Enjoy learning in Group Personal Training Courses

Personal Training Courses to Overcome Problems with Group Support in Watford?

Personal training courses are a great way for you, or someone you know to learn how to change something about life. Sometimes people get on much better if they learn in a supportive group setting;

  • overcome a fear or phobia,
  • build self confidence and self esteem
  • deal with weight or overcome a habit like smoking,
  • say goodbye to procrastination and lack of clarity,
  • stop being a wallflower or hiding in the corner afraid to join in,
  • get over the sadness, depression or the panic

The truth is, your ability to achieve all of these things is linked to your own personal psychology: the way you think about yourself and the way you think about the goals. How come some people can achieve their dreams but you can’t? What’s different about you?

With health problems like depression and anxiety, pain and OCD, people often feel the only way is through the doctors, and that just doesn’t work for them so they feel powerless. The recent BBC programme “The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs” showed there are other ways! What they also showed was that sometimes we need a little help and some new skills or knowledge as we make a transformation.

Many people want to learn how to thrive but until now, they’ve not known how or they’ve not been able to afford 1:1 sessions. In that case, personal training courses in a supportive group in Watford  may be the right solution.

Joan (who came on the course at the age of 73) said: I found the sessions very useful and the enthusiasm that was shown & the confidence that this course would work for me was very comforting. I now am able to confide in my family and friends what I am going through. It was lovely to be able to confess fears and weaknesses without being judged, the practical sessions were very useful.

How to join these Group Personal Training Courses

Please let Tania know if you would like to join in or to sponsor someone else to do the group personal training courses in Watford. You’ll need to book your initial consultation 1:1 with Tania before the programme starts so be sure to contact her to arrange this. Please note her opening times before calling.

Telephone to book on the Thrive Group Course
Phone: 07717 410 910 to book
Email to book on the Thrive Group Course
Email: to book

Group Personal Training Courses

Learn about the Mind Body connection on Watford Group Personal Training Courses

Understanding the Mind Body connection on Watford Group Personal Training Courses

These short fun courses help you to recognise and change the things that keep you ‘stuck’. You learn to understand yourself, to see the full picture, not just parts of it and to manage your mind and body; so you can build resilience and more helpful behaviour; to feel happier, healthier, empowered and in control; to enjoy life.

The course is delivered in Watford by Tania Clarke, a fully trained psychotherapist with 6 years’ experience as a personal therapist and 25 years experience as a trainer and psychological manager.

You’ll need a commitment to the group in terms of time, energy and contribution. Attend all 7 weeks and do your homework to turn your life around.

Here’s Jean’s story:

When and where is the next Group Personal Training Course?

The next personal training course will run on Thursday evenings 7pm – 9pm
from 20th October 2016
27th October 2016
3rd November 2016
17th November 2016
24th November 2016 and
1st December 2016
We’ll have a reunion session on 12th January 2017

at Reason Coffee Shop, The Parade, Watford Town Centre (next to Hanako’s)

Click through to Chris’s website to read his view of the pilot course here and here and here.

How to join these Personal Training Courses

Please let Tania know if you would like to join in or to sponsor someone else to do the Personal Training Course. You’ll need to book your initial consultation 1:1 with Tania before the programme starts so be sure to contact her to arrange this. Please note her opening times before calling.

Telephone to book on the Thrive Group Course
Phone: 07717 410910 to book
Email to book on the Thrive Group Course
Email: to book

What you will get from Group Personal Training Courses

  1. In depth training in understanding yourself
  2. Strategies that you can practice to build the skills you need
  3. A Thrive workbook
  4. An initial one to one consultation with Tania
  5. Six two hour group sessions led by Tania
  6. A two hour reunion group session to catch up on progress 6 weeks later (12th January 2017)

What do Group Personal Training Courses involve?

People learning together in Watford Group Personal Training Courses

Enjoy learning together in Watford Group Personal Training Courses

The group sessions are great value at £350 per person for a total of 14 hours training (normally £585 for 7 hours 1:1). It’ll be interactive and fun! You’ll be asked to complete some questionnaires and quizzes, put some effort into learning about yourself and practicing some new skills. We’d love to see you there.

Thrive is not a magic wand. It’s not a spell I cast to make you better. What happens is, you learn about the way your brain works and, as a result you get more choices in how to react to things.

How to join these Group Personal Training Courses

Please let Tania know if you would like to join in or to sponsor someone else to do the Group Personal Training Course. You’ll need to book your initial consultation 1:1 with Tania before the programme starts so be sure to contact her to arrange this. Please note her opening times before calling.

Telephone to book on the Thrive Group Course

Phone to book

Email to book on the Thrive Group Course

Email to book

    Tania: 07717 410910 (




Debbi said: Once I got to know everyone I enjoyed the sessions very much – although I didn’t join in very much. Hearing how other people coped (or didn’t) helped me understand myself more. I’m more aware of what I do now, and why I think and react the way I do. I’ve spent all my life trying to deal with the difficulties I’ve experienced. It’s made a huge difference just to realise I have the power to control most of what happens to me! Thank you x

How do I pay?

Please make sure you can attend all 7 dates before you book.
Option 1: Pay by cash or cheque at your initial consultation meeting.
Option 2: Alternatively, pay online. This incurs a booking charge.

Moving On Needs Empathy and Understanding

In this lovely illustration we can see why some people, though meaning well, don’t help when we’re down or miserable or feeling anxious.

People have to be ready before moving on. Sometimes we need a nudge to help us get ready and if we understand why we’re here, sympathy will do. Sometimes getting ready takes empathy and understanding so we build our confidence in our ability to move on.

OCD Help in Watford, Hertfordshire

I’m currently helping two people who’ve suffered with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) for many years. Although Amanda from Rickmansworth and Sally from Abbots Langley (not their real names) both chose The Thrive Programme in Bushey, their recovery from OCD has been as individual as their symptoms.

Amanda’s OCD liberation

John, a mutual friend recommended that Amanda see me after he did The Thrive Programme with me last year in Watford. I met Amanda first at a social event in Watford. She was surprised at how helpful some of my comments were, even in that brief chat. John bought Amanda a gift voucher to encourage her to get some help and she came for a free initial consultation. We had a more private chat and Amanda chose to put her gift voucher towards doing The Thrive Programme in my group course. She wanted to share her journey and learn from others, seeing their progress and sharing her own. So the group was a great option for her.

Even with that positive start, on the morning of the first group session Amanda told John “I’m not sure what to expect, and I’m doubtful that anything can be changed when you get to my age, probably a waste of money”. She’d had OCD all her life. Her mum has OCD and her grandmother has it too. She thought it was probably genetic.

After the first session she was buzzing, already she could see a way out and she started reading the book immediately. She told John that evening “I’ve had an epiphany series… it’s like the book was written for me… two situations where I can see clearly where my errors in thinking were… honestly everyone should go through this! Week 1, can’t put the book down… no one ever teaches you how to use your brain to create the life you want… why don’t we do that?… don’t our kids deserve this?… hang on… don’t we deserve this?”

Amanda’s improvement started immediately and each week she was getting happier and healthier and letting go of more and more of her OCD related habits.

On week 5, Amanda shared a real fear with the group. She explained her main OCD habit was cleaning her home. Although she had a small apartment, each evening, after 12 hours at work, she’d spend 2 hours cleaning her home. Each Thursday, she’d do a deep clean, pulling all the furniture out and really making sure everything was spotless. Her fear was, she’d not be able to do a deep clean this week as she was going out with John in Watford on Thursday night. In the supportive and non judgemental atmosphere of our little group, Amanda had been able to share a deep concern and we respected, felt honoured, that she’d been able to share that fear. We talked through the issue in “Thrive terms”, to put some structure to her understanding. And Amanda decided she’d challenge herself to skip cleaning on 2 nights that week. We all left the meeting feeling empowered and energised.

The following week we started the meeting and Amanda said excitedly “I’ve so been looking forward to seeing you all, I wanted to share, I only cleaned once this week! And that wasn’t a deep clean, it was just a normal clean! I’ve been walking with my neighbour, I’ve just got home and enjoyed a glass of wine, I’ve watched TV, I’ve pottered…” Amanda was thrilled and so were we.

The group’s now on a 7 week break, putting their new skills into practice, enjoying their new freedom and identifying any last issues for us to share at our reunion meeting. I happened to bump into Amanda last weekend though and she’s simply stopped the obsessive cleaning. There are still some areas of her habit she’d like to work on, that’s normal. Once the change has started it’s easy to see other areas of life you’d like to improve. Now she knows how, Amanda’s confident in her ability to overcome those unhelpful behaviours too. She’s using her brain to create the life she wants.

Sally’s OCD revelation

It’s not always that quick, and sometimes, if something’s not quite understood, people slip back into old habits.

Sally had seen another Thrive Consultant 2 years ago. Her sessions had been fantastic and she had made massive changes to her habits. However, very soon after her last session she moved out of the area. She found the move difficult and her new habits were not strong enough to get through a new home, temporary employment and relationship difficulties so she went back to OCD, the relationship broke up and she moved back to Abbots Langley 2 months before seeing me. She knew Thrive had worked before so she was reading the book again. But Sally was just not getting better this time. To her history of anorexia, IBS and OCD, she now added depression.

Sally booked a free initial consultation with me and decided to do 1:1 sessions. We agreed, we’d go back to the beginning of The Thrive Programme. I advised her that it’s important to get the foundation right and there were some foundation bits that weren’t quite hanging together in Sally’s mind.

To begin with, Sally did well, progressing as we’d expect. Then she started to hit barriers, delaying her progress. She had difficulty moving forward. We agreed to slow the pace so that she could really understand what was going on. We spent longer on certain sections of the book and explored some recent events in more detail. One week we explored her reactions and beliefs around feelings of guilt. It was a pivotal moment in her journey and moved her understanding on brilliantly.

Another week, Sally came in and she was so pleased to tell me she’d been “putting things into perspective”. Her high desire for control meant that she checked windows and radiators and the handbrake on her car obsessively to make sure there was no risk of burglary or fire or accidents. She told me “I’ve spent 2 days rethinking things in a more positive perspective and I realised I’ve already reduced all those behaviours. I haven’t touched the handbrake obsessively for weeks!” Her work relationships were improving and she’d even started to be a little more confident with those around her. Sally was much happier and feeling proud of her achievements.

Sally wanted to know “why” though, “why do I always feel as if I’m doing something wrong?”

We spent most of that session talking about stages of brain development in childhood and how these behaviours were maintained now with current belief systems. We discussed ways to change this sort of ingrained belief. The Thrive Programme and the skills she’d already learnt were one option to enable that belief change. Or we could add in a session of CPI (Cognitive Processing and Integration) to get a different perspective. Having understood the foundations of The Thrive Programme, Sally chose that option, she already understood exactly what to do and was happy to go away and challenge some of the remaining unhelpful beliefs she was now recognising.

Sally finished the book last week and was feeling much better. Many of her behaviours were changing but we both wanted to make sure her foundation was strong. She decided on a 2 week break before seeing me again.

Your OCD is different from my OCD!

Both Amanda and Sally had OCD, although Amanda told me on session 2 that she didn’t believe in it anymore!

Their OCD was different and created in a different way so their OCD treatment had to be different to enable both to progress at their own speed.

However, the psychology underpinning OCD is the same for all sufferers and follows some very predictable patterns. That’s how The Thrive Programme provides help to overcome OCD. The book explains the underlying psychology in a really accessible way. Then the Thrive Consultant helps the trainee to apply that understanding to themselves.

Instead of wasting time with OCD behaviours, Thrive trainees learn new skills and get new insight to enable them to use their determination and focus to create success in business or in life or in sport or … whatever they want to use it for. I’m pleased to be able to help both Amanda and Sally to overcome their OCD thinking so that they can create health, happiness and success with skills they learn through The Thrive Programme.

If you know someone suffering with habits and behaviours that they want to change, please ask them to call me to book a free initial consultation in my comfy Watford office:

B Spa
177, The Parade,
High Street,
WD17 1NJ

Watford wellbeing and life change centre

Watford wellbeing and life change centre

Parking is easy in town (Sainsbury’s car park on Albert Rd South and the Council car park at The Avenue, Hempstead Road, Watford WD17 4AJ are closest). Other transport links are great too. Just 5 minutes walk from Watford Junction train (mainline from Euston and London Overground) and bus stations. Easy access to the M1, A41 and M25.




It’s dark. I was fast asleep. (I’d still like to be fast asleep really! This is just rude!) That BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR was the water pump. That’s not normal. That pump normally only goes when someone’s running a tap. Maybe I’ve got a leak? Maybe the water tank is nearly empty?

I checked the clock, 3.30am. I had a late night, I’ve been asleep since midnight and this is the first time it’s gone off. I’ll turn over, go back to sleep and see if it goes off again.


…. Mmmmm. 5.49. It’s still too early for this. I got up to see if there’s a dripping tap? No. The central heating burner has just started. I don’t think there’s a connection between the two. I’m going back to bed. I’ll fill the tank in the morning and see what happens tomorrow night.


An anxious couple

Insomnia is stress related

For someone with insomnia, this would be a nightmare. They’d lie awake tossing and turning getting anxious because they can’t get back to sleep. They’d then lie awake for night after night getting more and more tired and frustrated.

Actually, I lay dozing for a while and then decided to get up early and get my busy day underway. I knew that sleeping would be easy the following night and I’d handle the day fine even though I’d had a disturbed night’s sleep.

Perversely, your beliefs and thoughts as you set yourself to doze off are the most powerful influence on your ability to sleep. Any ‘chatter’ and frustration during the day or while you prepare to go to bed, actually makes it more difficult to slip off into a relaxed refreshing deep sleep. This chatter and frustration is a symptom of unhelpful thinking. The Thrive Programme helps you to learn how to think more helpfully, recognise your skills and abilities and live a more healthy happy life.

If you’re fed up of worrying about sleep then give me a call. At your free initial consultation you can tell me a little more about you and we’ll chat about whether Applied Positive Hypnotherapy, Cognitive Processing and Integration or The Thrive Programme would be best for you. Then you can make an informed choice to help you start looking forward to a great night’s sleep, night after night.

L, 45, Watford, wanted to get rid of Insomnia

I found my sessions very helpful & enjoyable. It was great to ‘see the light’ with problems I had been experiencing for years. The sessions really helped me to be kinder to myself.

I am much calmer and not nearly as stressed as I used to be. One of the biggest improvements is that I worry so much less about things than I used to.

There is nothing I would change about the sessions, I really enjoyed sitting here & talking to Tania. Sometimes what we talked about was difficult but that was all part of the learning process.

The 6 week course has been great for me & my family. My kids have definitely benefitted from having a calmer Mummy!

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