Thrive in Scotlands very own Katie Gow, former emetophobia sufferer, decided to really challenge herself and overcome a lifelong fear…

When I was 11 years old, at school camp, we were made to climb a very tall totem pole which had a platform at the top with the intension to leap off with a harness on and hit a ball that was suspended from the air. All I remember from that moment was getting about three steps up and freezing whilst the teacher tried to nudge me up and the whole class laughing at me. I gave up, climbed down feeling humiliated.

I’d always avoided physical challenges like that – not feeling strong enough or capable enough, not wanting to make a mistake and embarrass myself. I had built this picture in my head of myself being the type of person who just couldn’t do these types of challenges. Always worried, I’d freak out, panic, cry and embarrass myself. So, in order to avoid that feeling entirely, I always declined when opportunities arose.

When I developed emetophobia (a fear of being sick) as a teenager I had even more reason to avoid challenging myself. With challenges comes nerves, with nerves comes butterflies and nausea and it wasn’t a risk I was willing to take.
Nearly 20 years on from that school camp experience I find myself strapped into a harness once more, suspended five stories high in an indoor climbing centre ready and willing to do a free decent abseil. I was no longer that scared, helpless person because I had chosen to break down those beliefs about myself and build new ones. I was now tackling challenges head on with excitement, not bothered about the butterflies in my tummy.

Katie Gow

Feeling the exhilaration of quite literally stepping out of my comfort zone. The person I am today is in no way influenced by the experiences I had as a child or the way I used to see myself, because I choose to see things differently now.

Having done The Thrive Programme, the changes have been visible to me and to those around me. When I told people I was doing the abseil they were surprised and most people said “You wouldn’t find me doing that…good luck!” Instead of letting people’s opinions and comments scare me, I saw how impressive this challenge was actually going to be and that I would feel really proud of myself when I did it.

There were some nerves, as expected, but without the nerves really all it would be is lowering yourself on a rope, where’s the fun in that?! The big difference was that the nerves were exciting to me now – I could cope with them, I was no longer emetophobic so feeling a little queasy on my way to the climbing centre wasn’t an issue. I think my husband was feeling more nervous for me, he had done this exact same abseil before when he was a youth group worker and he didn’t like it one bit.

In the car on the way there we spoke about it and that was when I learnt that the abseil would not be walking down a wall like I had imagined, it would be suspended in mid air. This took me by surprise and after the initial “Why didn’t you tell me that!?” rant, I took a deep breath and just decided to go with it.

At the centre I met my instructor Glen Gordon, who was really great – really supportive and patient. Looking up at where I would do the abseil from was pretty scary but we did a practice on a smaller wall to get me used to the ropes and the lowering process. I really enjoyed the wall climbing, which surprised me a lot. It gave me the boost of confidence I needed to tackle the abseil.

I was so much calmer than I expected and actually really excited when I was getting set up. I just got on with it without any fuss. When I started the descent I found it surprisingly calming, it was so relaxing and I felt more in control than I thought I would. I did the abseil twice more, the last from a slightly trickier spot. Even when the rope was spinning round as I was descending it didn’t bother me at all. This experience had been amazing and I was keen to do it again in the future.

So what did The Thrive Programme do that helped turn this once helpless, frightened, shy girl into the woman I was today? First and foremost, it built up my confidence and self esteem. I started to see myself in a totally different way, and because I was feeling better about myself I felt able to take on challenges and break down those unkind beliefs I held about myself and my abilities.

A belief is really just a thought you keep thinking, so once I was able to be kinder to myself and respect myself more I no longer spoke to myself in such a harsh way. I am now able to support myself through life’s ups and downs and be more resilient.


The Thrive Programme and Cure Your Emetophobia & Thrive teaches people to achieve great mental health and overall happiness, leaving limiting beliefs and habits that negatively affect their ability to enjoy life and Thrive. The programme is available as a book or one-to-one via a Thrive Consultant. If Katie’s story sounds familiar, either from your perspective or a friend’s, get in touch today. 

Katie now works as a Thrive Consultant, using her experience and training to help people with mental health challenges, such as emetophobia. 

City with the most work related stress.

People in Cardiff suffer from more work-related stress than those anywhere else in the UK, according to a survey of 3,000 employees by staff benefits company Perkbox. Wolverhampton came in second place, followed by London. The research found finance workers were the most likely to experience stress, with government and health workers also scoring highly. It also found long working hours were the biggest stressor, followed by office politics and client relationships.

From Linkedin


A Thriving Twelve Days of Christmas!

You’ve heard of the 12 days of Christmas…well here’s the Thrive version!

On the first day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…strong foundations.
Foundations are the starting point to learning to thrive. Confidential questionnaires (evidence-based) mean you to can make an objective assessment of ‘how you tick’ and then track your progress. Building psychological foundations is why The Thrive Programme is effective. This sets it apart from other mental health treatments and interventions.

On the second day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…a sense of self-awareness.
Self-awareness is good. Self-sabotage is not good, and neither is self-obsession. Getting to know yourself can be a complete revelation – as long as you’re holding the telescope the right way round. This is a core skill within The Thrive Programme.

On the third day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…tools for raising my self-esteem.
High self-esteem is central to good mental health – just as eating ‘five a day’ is important for physical health. Did you know you can build your self-esteem in just a few weeks (even if it’s really low at present)? The Thrive Programme shows you how.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me… a sense of perspective.
Working through the Thrive Programme gives you a new frame of reference. Your thinking is influenced by many things – why not learn the language and tools of the Thrive Programme to help maintain perspective? A sense of perspective helps you to be proactive in dealing with pinch points, highlighting any unhelpful habits and thinking styles you could need to address.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…an attitude of gratitude.
Studies show that grateful people are happier. Feeling grateful is both a habit and a necessity, and it comes more readily when you’ve built strong psychological foundations and robust self-esteem. All possible with The Thrive Programme.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…confidence in my skillset.
Life is full of ups and downs, and once you’ve learnt to thrive, you’ll feel confident in the face of challenges. “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s own wings.” When you’re thriving you’ll feel able to make powerful changes in your life knowing that you’ll be able to cope, without feeling anxious or fearful.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…a sense of calm.
Knowing how to minimise your stress levels has advantages for physical and mental health. The Thrive Programme shows you how to calm yourself down at the first hint of a red flag, so you can maintain perspective and feel relaxed.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…a few honest truths.
That is: the world owes you nothing; the world does not even know you exist. Nietzsche was correct in saying that ‘Nobody can build the bridge for you to walk across the river of life, no one but you yourself alone’. Fear not, The Thrive Programme teaches you all the skills you’ll need for this, and working with a Thrive Consultant means you’ll be encouraged all the way.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…the ability to tolerate.
Thriving is all about optimising your emotional and cognitive skills to the point where you are not only resilient, and you create minimal stress and anxiety so you can positively flourish. Sometimes this means tolerating difficulty and hardship, without overreacting and panicking. Thrive Consultants are experts at teaching you how to tolerate situations to make them manageable.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…resilience.
Resilience is a process, not an event. Having a strong sense of resilience is like having a ‘mental buffer’. Negative events do not have a negative impact on your thoughts and emotions when you feel resilient. You need to expose yourself to opportunities to build resilience – Thrive Consultants are trained to challenge and support you with this.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…a sense of optimism.
Joy is the journey! Churchill said, ‘Success is never final; failure is never fatal: it’s courage that counts.” We agree, but let’s go one step further: it’s courage AND JOY that count.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…the ability to spread the word!
Our video reviews show real people just like you: People who’ve changed their lives more than they ever dreamt by completing The Thrive Programme. Your story could inspire others to learn to thrive.

Why Language Matters It Comes To Mental Health…

The language we use matter when it comes to our mental health!


“That makes me so DEPRESSED / ANXIOUS / SAD…”

“I can’t COPE!”

“This is IMPOSSIBLE / I CAN’T do this…”



“I don’t BELIEVE it…”

“I SHOULD be able to do this…”

Let’s play a game. Over the course of the next few days or weeks, listen out for the above language or phrases (or variations) and see how many of the your friends, family and colleagues actively use versions of them in their daily lives. I bet that it’ll be more than you imagined, a lot more.

Everyday use of language like this is so common, but incredibly unhelpful when it comes to managing mental health. They make every day occurrences, things that are just normal events or minor problems, seem far worse than they actually are.

And, like water seeping into the ground, this slowly infests our mindset and attitudes with negative thoughts, thinking styles, emotions and views of our lives. You will, if you hear it often enough, believe that it really is a disaster, a real living nightmare or a serious illness.

But let’s be honest, when you heard your colleague, parent or friend say something is a “disaster” or a “catastrophe”, it’s usually not. Losing your home to an earthquake, catching ebola or personal bankruptcy would be a big disaster or a nightmare… a bad day at work, catching a cold, forgetting a birthday or spilling a drink is not. They are just part of everyday life – something that everyone experiences around the world, regardless of who they are.

The everyday language we choose to use reflects our mental health

The everyday language we choose to use reflects our mental health – but we can change this very easily, especially by doing The Thrive Programme…

The above phrases and words are examples of a catastrophising or black and white thinking style, which promote a very critical, all-or-nothing view of ourselves and the world. There are 30 or more further thinking styles in this vein – often learnt at an early age from parents, family, colleagues and friends – but adopting most, inevitably, lead to a downturn in our mental health because they make us feel powerless and negatively alter our view of our lives.

You are in control of the language you use!

But, rather than being powerless in this regard, even though someone may feel like this, we have a very real control over the language we use and, thus, a large proportion of what makes up our mental health. Consider the fact that we have roughly 40,000 thoughts a day, and the language we choose to use is a direct expression of these thoughts. The important word here is ‘choose’. We have the choice, when it comes to the language we use, to catastrophise and exaggerate events and occurrences in our life beyond their real impact, just as we have the choice to not do this. It’s all about how you process the events around you.

But, when you change your mindset and language to to be more positive, those 40,000 thoughts begin to change too. Thoughts and beliefs affect our language, and our language affects our thoughts and beliefs. Don’t believe me? Look up Pennebaker and King (1999) or Wolf, Sedway, Bulik and Kordy (2007) – all cited in the The Thrive Programme book. These and many other studies concluded that the language, words and phrases we choose to use and our personality traits and attitudes to life are closely linked.

A very negative person might have 10,000 unhelpful, catastrophising thoughts a day, but when you change your daily use of language (both spoken and the things we silently say to ourselves) to leave no room for the sorts of words and phrases used at the top of this article, those thoughts will start to disappear as well.

So when the language we use is a real, more positive reflection of our everyday life – not a catastrophised or black and white version of it – we can very easily make a big step towards a more thriving attitude to life.

Christmas or any big occasion is a great time to start practicing this because it’s a time of heightened emotion when we’ve all heard a raft of the above phrases used in relation to an unlikeable relative coming to stay, burning the turkey, forgetting to get a gift for someone or finding out that the kid’s toys don’t have batteries included. So, take those phrases at the top of this article and turn them around: I CAN deal with this, this is NOT a nightmare, this is just a SMALL problem, I can OVERCOME this etc.

Teaching this change in attitude is one of the key pillars of The Thrive Programme, and something that, as the research cited above suggests, is a key barometer of how someone is doing in life before, after and during the course. For example, often during a first consultation, we hear very negative phrases like those at the top of the page – the person most likely feels helpless in the face of severe depression, anxiety or similar.

However, as they begin to learn how their mental health is a thing that they create – rather than it happening to them – then their language changes dramatically. They feel in control of their emotions, feelings and mental state and their language reflects this.

You’ll be shocked at how much anxiety, stress and broodiness you and others are causing themselves to experience just by allowing negative phrasing and thoughts. But, you’ll also be surprised at how much more enjoyable Christmas, and life in general, can be if you adopt more positive language around your experiences – it really is up to you…

After discovering a terrible, traumatic family secret, Marilyn struggled for years…then she found this programme

12th December 2017

Marilyn is a truly inspirational person. She’s CEO and founder of a brilliant charity called Enough Abuse UK – they work to prevent child abuse and family trauma – and she recently completed The Thrive Programme.

Marilyn had a tough few years following on from discovering that her children were being abused by a family friend. For 12 years Marilyn has been searching for a treatment or therapy that would help her to deal with the trauma of this event and she tried everything… after eight courses of treatment or therapy she was still struggling with feelings of guilt, anger and anxiety.

Thankfully, Marilyn met James – a Thrive Consultant – and she completed The Thrive Programme in just six weeks. During this time, she experienced a remarkable transformation, gaining confidence and self-esteem as well as defeating the demons that had blighted her life since the abuse took place.

Actually, within two weeks she noticed a big change in herself as she completed the exercises and absorbed the straight-forward lessons during her sessions with James.

Her husband says she’s a different person compared to before the programme and she deals with any tricky situations easily now she’s got a positive outlook and mindset. Her outstanding charity work is just one way this has changed her life.

An incredible transformation by a very brave lady, who recently won an award at the Inspirational Women 2017 ceremony, saying: “It was an awesome night and thank you all for voting for me but special thanks goes to James Woodworth and the Thrive Programme – James is THE person who helped me overcome so much and in just 6 weeks! The Thrive Programme is amazing and THIS AWARD is THRIVING in action. Thank you!”

Check out Marilyn’s video below for her verdict on how The Thrive Programme has helped her overcome family trauma and more on her story.