Coping with The Winter Blues

This time of year is tough for many people. Short days cold, wet weather are a long way from the colours and warmth of summer, often leading to depression, or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

Useful tips: What would you enjoy on holiday? Curling up with a good book,  cooking colourful meals such as stir fries, or a spicy curry?  Having time to chill out, or maybe to try a new form of exercise? Try bringing some holiday activities into your day, even for a short time- maybe look at a favourite photo during a coffee break. Lifting your mood by dong something you really enjoy- singing along to a song on the radio, or dancing to a favourite holiday tune.


The weather may be grey, but bringing colour into your life can give you a break from the endless greyness of winter and lift your mood. Wear something colourful for fun, brighten your make-up, paint your nails, wear comedy socks! Dig out your holiday photos for some happy memories and to remind yourself that summer will come- soon!



The Equestrian Counsellor-Your Horse and You

In our sessions, we will  focus on gaining a better understanding about your horse and about yourself. Sessions will include ‘talking therapy’ without the horse, to gain understanding about yourself, and issues going on for you. We will also work with your horse, to improve how you function together.

Horses mirror our feelings and our unconscious processes- being with them and developing a relationship with a horse is very special. Taking time to really notice what is going on for you in relation to the horse develops self-awareness and helps you to understand how you function.

Learning about how you come across to a horse can influence your own life skills: in relationships for example, how you cope with stressful situations, perhaps in work or sports environments. The possibilities are endless.

Horses are very aware of non-verbal communication- our body language, how calm and confident we are, or not. This applies to all aspects of horsemanship – whether we are riding or handling them, or simply in their presence. They pick up things about ourselves we are not even aware of!

We can discuss what comes up for you, and time will be spent on common issues that can turn horsemanship from a pleasurable experience into a nightmare!

I can offer a ‘package deal’ of 6 sessions, for example, starting and finishing with you on your own to notice and understand the change in your relationship with your horse.

50 minute sessions cost £40 each in the ‘package deal’ (travel costs may apply)

Counselling and Reiki in Devizes

Great News! I am a member of the Therapist Team at Life on Top

 at  The Healthy Life Co.

Therapists are located on the top floor of their shop at

4, The Little Brittox, Devizes SN10 1AR.


What I can offer:

Claire Ballardie Dip.Couns. MBACP, Reiki Master Practitioner

 I believe that physical and mental health are very closely linked and have an overall impact on wellbeing: Low mood- low energy, low energy-low mood. Talking therapy (counselling) helps you to explore issues that are affecting you, and to gain clearer self-awareness. The body can be greatly affected by emotional distress, and balancing its energy flow with Reiki encourages a sense of deep relaxation and promotes both emotional and physical healing.

Therapy sessions can be either counselling or Reiki, or a combination of both.

Meditation calms a busy mind, and there is time to experience this relaxing technique as part of a full reiki or counselling session.


As a counsellor, my role is to provide a safe place for you to explore your feelings: providing an outlet for emotions brought up by life events, such as bereavement, or coping with anxiety and depression brought about by the struggle of day-to-day life. Low self-esteem and lack of confidence can get in the way of personal growth. Counselling is about having someone to talk to you can trust, who is non-judgemental and works with you to understand your world.

I work in an integrative way, bringing together different therapies that are beneficial for you personally. I offer short or long term counselling, depending on individual needs.

Therapies I use:

  • Person-centred (about you)
  • Psychosynthesis (understanding yourself)
  • Dream-work
  • Imagery
  • Gesthalt (body awareness)
  • Transpersonal (spirituality)
  • Psycodynamic (childhood)


Our initial 30 minute session is to intoduce you to the counseling process and how we can work together. Further sessions lasts for 50 minutes. We will agree the number of sessions, on weekly basis at a set time.

Counsellling can help with (for example):

  • Anxiety, stress
  • Depression
  • Bereavement (people or pets)
  • Relationships and family
  • Life events
  • Eating Disorders
  • Menopause
  • Low self esteem
  • Loneliness
  • Divorce & separation
  • Affairs and betrayal
  • Spirituality
  • Trauma


Price of Counselling:

Initial session £20 (30 minutes)

Further sessions £40 (50 minutes)



Reiki (Universal life force energy) is an ancient technique, re-discovered by Dr Mikao Usui a Japanese theologian, in the 19th century. It is used to provide that extra boost for the body, promoting the flow of energy helping the body heal itself naturally.

During a treatment, I will channel this energy through my hands and use it to rebalance the chakras, or energy centres.

Reiki is a non-invasive, complementary therapy using the energy that flows through all living things, which Eastern medicine has worked with for thousands of years. You will be fully clothed lying on a couch or sitting on a chair. I will place my hands just above or lightly touch, different areas, concentrating on where the energy is most needed. Your body will take as much energy as it requires. It has the ability to heal itself, but sometimes this healing process becomes weak, or blocked. Your energy can be affected by stress, anxiety, life events, or illness. Reiki helps to bring balance to your mind, body and soul, encouraging deep relaxation, promoting self-healing.

I offer Reiki as a one-off session, or combined with counselling sessions.

Reiki can help with (for example):

  • Anxiety and Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Poor circulation
  • Balancing emotion
  • Immune system
  • Digestion
  • Respiratory issues
  • Skin problems
  • Migraine
  • Menopause
  • Insomnia


Price of Reiki:

Taster session £20 (30 minutes)

Full session £40 (50 minutes) 

Contact Claire:

Telephone: 07710 420357





Beating the Winter Blues

The aftermath of the festive season: tired decorations and wilting trees consigned to the recycling centre, exhaustion from the effort of keeping the peace between family members, or from travelling miles to see as many relatives as humanly possible.

For some, being single at this time is a pleasant relief, but for others it can be a lonely and desolate time of year.

Building time for yourself into each day is so important for your self-worth, fading the ‘merry-go-round’ of festive frenzy to a distant memory. Try to slow down, and to be mindful of everything you do – focusing on one thing at a time and doing it well, and slowing your breathing, can bring a sense of calm and achievement to daily chores.

Exercise can be a really good way to bring balance back into you life- physical movement is as good for your mind as your body.

Sharing problems with someone you trust, who has been through similar circumstances and will not judge you, is so important for your self-esteem and to feel that your are not alone. A close friend, family member or a qualified counsellor can be really supportive.

Claire Ballardie Dip.Couns. MBACP

Find out about counselling with me

sunset boat


Tarot and Psychotherapy

Carl Jung, was a pioneer in psychotherapy, worked with myths and symbols, and the relevance of dreams as being a window into the unconscious mind.

The images on Tarot cards are symbolic, and their meaning can be interpreted in many ways. What is important as a therapist is to explore with the client what the images and archetypes means to them, and how it makes them feel, what it represents. For example, when looking at a tarot card closely, notice what you are drawn to as being the most obvious image- how does it make you feel? What does it bring to mind for you?  Looking more closely at the card, what does each thing represent, either in the past or present? Reading tarot cards is not about predicting the future, but to recognise elements about yourself, your thoughts and feelings around the images, and what they symbolise and mean to you at the moment.

What is an Archetype?

An inherited pattern of thought or symbolic image that is derived from the past collective experience of humanity and is present in the unconscious mind of the individual, such as Gods or Godesses, the image of a hermit, or a fool.

Personal development can get ‘stuck at any stage in our lives. Using tarot cards in therapy can help to tap into the unconscious processes, and to explore the ‘stuckness’, maybe seeing things from a different perspective, can precipitate a change in our fears and self- doubt, to put back what was missing in our psychospiritual development.





As a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist (CPCAB Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling) I am able to support you if you need time to talk during any one-to-one session (e.g. reiki/personal training). If there is something you wish to share in a non-judgemental and confidential environment, just let me know.

counselling-room-webI am a counsellor for Wiltshire Mind, and Mental Lead for The Fitness League to promote the benefits of exercise for mental health.



Self Awareness

Self awareness

Stressed? Anxious? Lack of confidence? Developing self-awareness helps to identify triggers which cause anxiety. Once we notice what happens to us, both mentally and physically, we can start to  learn how to keep calm and focused on what we need to, improving our ability to concentrate. This in turn improves self-confidence and feeling more able to cope with daily life.

Self-awareness can be helped by the following:


  • Meditation
  • Relaxation and breathing techniques.
  • Fitness and posture.
  • Learning to trust your intuition.
  • Learning more about yourself as a person.

Venturing into the realms of self-awareness takes bravery. Are you brave enough to open the door into the world of self-discovery?