Category Archives: Blog

Why I do what I do (By Susan Murray)

Most Mickel Therapists have a recovery story to tell; most have been very ill with ME, CFS or Fibromyalgia, have been through the process of Mickel Therapy, recovered their health and their lives through it and then trained to become therapists in order to help others to do the same.

Since I am different, I am often asked why I became a Mickel Therapist. I have never suffered from these conditions…but my Mum did.

My Mum had ME and Fibromyalgia and IBS and, what seemed like, every single physical symptom ever linked to these conditions. She was largely bed-bound for long periods of time, registered disabled, medically retired and had to be pushed in a wheelchair any time she was able to get out of the house for a while.

I spent most of my teenage years caring for her, with the help of my brother when he wasn’t away at university. It was a difficult time because watching someone you love suffer, day in day out, is heartbreaking. I felt completely helpless. I wasn’t helpless – I did plenty to help; for the most part, I did the housework, took care of meals, made endless cups of Earl Grey tea, helped her get dressed, took her shopping, and generally did whatever she needed as much as I could.

But I still felt helpless. Because, no matter how much soup I made her, how many cups of tea I brought her, how many gifts and cards I gave her, to try and bring some joy into her life, how many times a day I asked her if there was anything she needed, or how many things I did so she wouldn’t have to struggle to do or hurt herself doing, I couldn’t take her pain away. I couldn’t relieve her of her many symptoms. I watched her struggle through every day for years and struggle through the frustration of having to struggle through every day.

And, as far as I, or she – or anybody – seemed to know, at that time, there was nothing that was going to take this away or make it any better. She was prescribed a horrendous cocktail of medicine to take every day but none of it appeared to ease any of it. So, no matter what I did for her, it wasn’t good enough to ease her suffering and I continued to feel helpless.

I loved my Mum, dearly, but her partner had been living with us for a few years and I was desperately unhappy at home, so I left at the age of 18 to go to college and study music. I went from there, with my then partner, down South where I went to university and found work after graduating. Despite frequent visits back during this time, I felt very distant from my home life and family. I had a new set of issues to deal with in my adult life which, I guess, was my main focus at the time.

So, when my Mum tried Mickel Therapy, I knew little of it; I only knew she had started a new type of therapy that involved her having to be honest about her emotions and that it seemed to be making a huge difference to her after only a couple of sessions. I don’t remember being aware, at the time, that she couldn’t continue because she couldn’t afford any more sessions and her partner (who was now her husband) refused to pay for them. I just remember that, instead of continuing to get better, she developed stomach cancer and was gone a couple of years later.

I realised something when she was in the hospice in the couple of weeks before she passed; I realised that she wouldn’t be there if certain things had been different. I suddenly saw the effect certain people had on her and how much they drained her energy.

She had had a traumatic childhood and a difficult adult life. She was not happy. She tried to be but it was as if she didn’t know how, or didn’t have the confidence or support to make certain changes; changes she would have had to make to regain any of her emotional and, by extension, physical health.

I recognised myself in her, at that time, and it scared me. I started to recognise I had fallen into similar patterns and there was someone in my life who was draining me the same way my mum had been drained.

When you watch your Mum die at the age of 57 and you suddenly realise you’re on a similar path and headed the same way, it makes you sit up and pay attention. It makes you question whether you have so little self-worth that you are going to keep yourself in a miserable situation until you also die too young or if you are going to help make your Mum’s life and death mean something.

Was I going to let her die in vain by letting the cycle repeat itself? Was I going to ignore the way she brought me up and everything she taught me? Was I going to ignore all the signs shown to me as I watched her on her deathbed? Was I going to pretend I didn’t have all of her strength and the knowledge, wisdom, ability and will to change the course of my life? Was I hell.

I dramatically changed the direction of my life shortly after my Mum passed away. I left my partner and moved back up to Scotland to be near friends and family again. I started being true to myself. I became me and spent some time getting to know me and accepting me for who I am. I found a wonderful partner and a new direction, career-wise. I decided I wanted to help people and, so, started on a path to become a Counsellor. While on this path, my brother mentioned Mickel Therapy to me; he said I should look into it as he thought I could help a lot of people. I didn’t know what it was but when he told me it was the treatment for ME that my Mum had started, my interest was peaked.

I wasn’t able to help my Mum recover as I didn’t know how, but here was my chance to learn how to help others recover. I looked into it and jumped at the chance to do the training. After starting to practise as a Mickel Therapist, I realised that was where my passion lay and I left my Counselling training behind.

Starting from scratch in private practise and trying to build a reputation and client base is not an easy road, but the difference I have already started to make to people, and the knowledge that I can, and will, help more people avoid further and needless suffering makes it all worth it to me.

If you would like to get in touch with me, you can do so by emailing, or visiting my website, or my Facebook page



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Journey out of symptoms by Clare Caldwell 

clare caldwell

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I survived M.E. now I’m thriving.

Saul Levitt, Mickel Therapist






Advanced Mickel Therapist and Trainer

2006 seems like a long time ago. I guess it is!

That’s the year I fully recovered from M.E.

Let’s back up a little…..

In the late 90s while studying a degree in Marketing at Plymouth University, I was struck down with a horrendous bout of the flu. It meant I couldn’t return to university for over a month.

I remember my first day back at university, everyone excited to see me and welcoming me back and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. I had to drag myself around with zero energy, the lights in the student common room hurt to look at and I felt dizzy.

Things didn’t get much better for the next few years. I developed food intolerances, couldn’t drink alcohol, had excruciating muscle pains, stomach problem…I could go on and on.

Now, I was never someone that found studying that easy, possibly as I have dyslexia but trying to study for a full on degree while experiencing the effects of M.E. was nearly impossible.

I, as so many others do, tried all sorts of things to get better. I particularly remember my housemates disgust at the smell of me boiling herbs having tried Chinese medicine…let’s just say the taste was less than great.

A few other things I tried: Osteopathy which relieved my aches to some extend but they would have returned by the end of the session, counselling, naturopathy, antidepressants…the list goes on.

Some how I managed to push through to get my degree (a 2:2) and even go on to get a job, meanwhile still struggling with multiple symptoms.

Some years later, looking for a move in career and something different, I decided to travel to Australia for a year. This is something I’d always wanted to do but was pretty daunting given my illness, even though I was somewhat improved by this point.

Anyhow, I went ahead with it and unlike my usual approach to travelling, went without a plan, other than knowing I was staying with some friends on my arrival.

Now I won’t bore you with my tales of travelling but sometime into my stay my sister back home told me of a friend of hers who had got better using Mickel Therapy.

I immediately looked up the website, downloaded the eBook and devoured it. Unlike so many other treatments I tried, there was something about this that connected and clicked with ‘M.E.’

At this time (2006), there weren’t any Mickel Therapists in Australia but there was training in a months time in New Zealand to become a Mickel Therapist Practitioner and something told me that I had to do it.

I applied and after an interview with accepted onto the training and the rest as they say is history.

I remember on the last day of the training having a beer with the other trainees (something I wasn’t able to do during my illness) and feeling fine, so much of my energy was already returning and over the coming weeks and months things continued in this direction, so much so that I thought I’d share a list of a few things I’ve achieved since my recovery:

  • Cycled 65 miles from London to Brighton

  • I have two children both under the age of 5 (neither of which are great sleepers!)

  • Skydived, bungee jumped and everything in between

  • Helped other people like myself around the world also struggling with M.E.

  • Held an art exhibition jointly with my wife and sister

  • Enjoyed simple things like watching a movie without feeling exhausted or in pain

I’m not sure what’s next on my wish list but I know helping anyone I can who’s gone through something similar or worse is part of it.

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A story of hope…




Leisa Zakeri, MSc, BA (hons), MBPsS ; Advanced Mickel Therapist; Supervisor and Trainer.


“If you learn from your suffering, and really come to understand the lessons you were taught, you might be able to help someone else who’s now in the phase you may have just completed. Maybe that’s what it’s all about.”



Mickel Therapy practitioner training

“I never get angry” I explained to Dr Mickel as I sat in front of him six years ago.  Little did I know the negative impact this unconscious habit of suppressing emotions was having on my physical body.  During the first session Dr Mickel handed me a piece of paper with a message on it – ‘My symptoms are here to tell me to stop running from emotions and start responding honestly to them’. The realisation of what I had been doing to myself for years all of a sudden hit me like a big slap in the face.  His theory fit in with my life story and my gut knew it.  In that moment I realised that my body was a reflection of the sum of my life experiences to date. Along with a sense of relief that he could help guide me, came a surge of secondary frustration, guilt and shame – ‘What on earth have I done to myself?’  However, Mickel Therapy is about taking responsibility without blame.  No one should be blamed if they succumb to illness, but I came to realise that the more I learnt about myself, the less prone I was to becoming passive.  I had not suppressed emotions for years on a conscious level – I was completely oblivious to the detrimental emotional and behaviour habits that had become the norm.  At a young age I was taught (on an unconscious level) that certain emotions should be suppressed, especially anger.  I became the ultimate people pleaser, the yes person, always striving to ‘keep the peace’ and make sure everyone else was ok.  What happened could be described as the paralysis of negative emotions, especially anger.  These behavioural patterns continued into my adult life and as a result I paved a path that did not allow me to express my authentic self and in turn my emotional pot continued to fill.  It got to the point where on some level I experienced what could be described as an emotional ‘shut down’, I was being guided through life solely by my ‘head’, paying no attention to my body’s wisdom and kept stuffing those pesky emotions in my overflowing pot.   It was only a matter of time before the pot was going to blow – for me M.E. was a time bomb waiting to happen!

The pot blew at the age of 26! My body eventually said NO in the form of chronic physical illness.  The physical sensations in my body, which were  a protective mechanism, merely trying to grab my attention to warn me that I wasn’t being true to myself became louder and LOUDER and LOUDER to point where I had no choice but to stop and listen.  I lost my health, my job, my independence and worst of all my sense of self.  I was eventually diagnosed with M.E. and atypical facial pain. The best part of a year was spent either in bed or lying helplessly on the couch. I experienced a long list of debilitating physical symptoms, the worst being a chronic fatigue that on some days made walking 5-10 minutes a battle that I lost.

Fast forward six years…..thanks to Mickel Therapy I have returned to full health and completely turned my life around.  I can now do all the basic things that I struggled with back then – walk, shower, cook.  I have also returned to full time work in the world of Psychology in a role that covers the North of Scotland.  At one point, I never thought I would be able to work again, let alone have a job which involves travelling.  On my journey of recovery through Mickel Therapy I have learnt that while experiencing M.E. was the loss of me, the recovery from M.E. was the re discovery of me. A better version of a me, one that embraces emotions as a guide and as a result allows me to embrace authenticity.  I no longer see negative emotions like anger as taboo but instead a call for action.  My emotional brain centres now lead the way and my ‘thinking brain’ has been kicked into second rank, as it should be.  I can now honestly say M.E. was not only the worst but the best thing that ever happened to me.  This may seem like a controversial statement but illness for me was a great teacher and it had the ability to profoundly shift my perspective on life and change the way I interact with my environment.  It forced me to look within and it gave me back myself.  For this I am eternally grateful.

I made a promise to myself when I was unwell that I would shout loud about any intervention that assisted me in regaining my health. I spent close to ten thousand pounds engaging in both conventional and unconventional treatments that had little or no effect.  Therefore, in a week dedicated to M.E. awareness I would like to shout about Mickel Therapy and give people hope.  Mickel Therapy not only helped me to recover but it continues to help me sustain my health and live a happy fulfilled life.  It has had such an impact that I feel it would be a profound disservice to the M.E. community not to share my experience and assist in the quest to inform people of the links between emotions, stress and physiology.

Leisa Zakeri, MSc, BA (hons), MBPsS Advanced Mickel Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer.


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‘Plus ca change plus ca reste la meme chose’








By Dr David Mickel MBChB MRCGP

EMP – A&E Dr Gray’s Hospital, Elgin



It seems a lifetime ago that I developed an interest in ME/CFS. I left my General Practice job and devoted my time to studying the condition and designing a treatment. It creates great sadness in me that 16 years later we still have to dedicate a week to raising awareness rather than fund-raising for people to receive treatment.


The reasons for a lack of any tangible progress are numerous. There are conflicting agendas, conflicting theories and a distinct lack of cohesion amongst those offering treatment.


As a medical doctor, I feel that there needs to be a paradigm shift in how ME is viewed. The age-old division of illness into physical or mental has evolved very little. There seems to be an attempt to remove the stigma of ‘psychosomatic’ illness by calling it ‘functional’. This is inadequate and also, in my opinion, inaccurate.


‘Psychosomia’ is an accurate term if it is understood from its linguistic origins. The ‘psyche’ is soul and somia is the body. This should translate psychosomatic into meaning problems within the soul affecting the function of the body, surely? Frustratingly it has become understood as mental problems manifesting as imagined physical disease!


A great deal of time and money has gone into studying the complexities of our organic Being but very few academics explore the intelligent life forces within us. Perhaps that is unkind. I think that many do but their work is not published nor supported in the mainstream.


The valuable insights of ancient philosophers and our medical forefathers need to be married with cutting-edge modern day science to raise awareness and understanding of conditions such as ME. I learned the hard way that this does not happen easily. Mickel Therapy will continue to fill the gap until ‘awareness’ is reached.


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The Great Mistake: renaming Chronic Fatigue to Systemic Exertion Intolerance

ME CFS Awareness








Recently there has been a move in the U.S to rename Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also referred to as M.E to instead be called Systemic Exertion Intolerance.

As someone that suffered with the condition for over 6 years, neither term makes sense to me.

I always felt that ‘Fatigue’ was a poor way to describe the mind crushing exhaustion I felt. Tests have shown the lactic acid in the body of sufferers to be that of marathon runners. Also the term ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ misses out the multitude of other symptoms sufferers may experience including cognitive impairment and severe muscle pain. Plus I never really wanted to have a syndrome!

The Good

So to ‘Systemic Exertion Intolerance’….well, I welcome the fact that this illness is being talked about when so often it hasn’t been recognised or properly understood. I guess that’s progress.

The Bad

‘Systemic’ it certainly is as it can affect the entire body, but ‘Exertion Intolerance’ it isn’t. One of the things that was pivotal in my recovery from this horrendous condition was casting aside the ideas around pacing and graded exercise that are so unhelpful.

I always thought being in tune with my body meant resting when I was tired and then using the little energy I had left to do chores or other things.

The thing is, this is where the body can confuse us. Yes, it wants us to rest, but only when we get a regular type of tiredness.

The ‘Fatigue’ with this condition is not for the most part regular or healthy. So what I started to learn that instead, my body wanted me to do fun and fulfilling activities to address underlying messages it was sending around boredom and lack of fulfilment, this gave me energy rather than taking it away.

In fact, when I started following a comprehensive programme I was able to show my body that it had things to look forward to, I no longer got symptoms in the morning or after physical activity – something I’d always viewed as payback. That just wasn’t the case. My body was just saying ‘Hey, I really enjoyed that activity…what is coming next’ and if it couldn’t see anything fun or different, BAM…more symptoms.

Of course this can’t all be done in isolation. There will be other underlying messages the body is sending which need to be dealt with but you start to see why ‘Exertion Intolerance’ is just nonsense.

The Ugly Labels

So this M.E / CFS Awareness Day, let’s cast off the stigma of the illness but also take back some empowerment that we can change our fate and be well and not defined by some silly label.

Saul Levitt, Mickel Therapist

Saul Levitt is a senior Mickel Therapy practitioner, trainer and owner of Intuitive Health. Since recovering from CFS he has completed a 60 mile bike ride, travelled, had two children and holds down 2 jobs!

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Rethinking the role of emotions.

“The missing piece in the puzzle of achieving maximum health and wellbeing”

clare caldwell




By Dr Clare Caldwell

Head Practitioner

Mickel Therapy


Mickel Therapy practitioner training





One view of emotions prevalent when I was growing up was that you should be able to put a lid on your emotions and be in control of them.

There were all sorts of sayings around which emphasised this:- don’t rock the boat, don’t make waves, I have a broad back, button it, too many saying to mention here.


All of these ‘words of wisdom’ taught us to be stoic and just put our heads down and get on with what ever life was throwing at us without showing how we felt or making a fuss. Or changing what was going on. Everyone had to cope with difficulties I was told. Don’t let people who are upsetting you know how you feel.


If we were not in control of our emotions it was viewed as a character defect.


This approach emotions was passed down through the generations going back to Victorian times and possibly earlier than that.

Emotions have been seen as irrational feelings and just in the mind. One dictionary definition of feelings is ‘ an idea or belief especially and irrational one’


But is this true?


We have laboured under these assumptions for a long time. What effect does it have on our health and wellbeing if any?


To answer this we need to look at recent research about the connection between the mind/emotions and the way the body works. Commonly known as the mind-body connection.


What are the purpose of emotions and is it a problem that many of us have been taught to bottle up how we feel when it comes to our emotions?


Candace Pert in her peer reviewed research has explained that emotions are neuropeptides.

There have physical substance and are electrical and chemical messengers within the brain and body. They transmit messages.

She is not the only scientist to realise emotions are much more important than we realised.


Research shows emotions can activate old survival circuits and generate the fight or flight response. When activated for too long this causes stress.


Most people will be aware of the damage long term stress does to the human body. Not just the emotional pain of it.


Web med lists the following:-


10 Health Problems Related to Stress

  • · Heart disease.
  • · Asthma. …
  • · Obesity. …
  • · Diabetes. …
  • · Headaches. …
  • · Depression and anxiety. …
  • · Gastrointestinal problems. …
  • · Alzheimer’s disease
  • · Accelerated ageing
  • · Premature death


To this list we need to add ME CFS IBS and Fibromyalgia. There are many more.


In what other ares of our lives would we ignore an important communication?

If someone tells us to move our car because it will get towed away as we have parked in the wrong place we would do it. We would not want to have to deal with the consequences.


The attitude to emotions as something irrational and to be controlled has got to change.


Emotions are not a weakness of character but a physical fact and a form of communication meant to guide us to ensure we are physically safe and as far as possible living a happy healthy life.


We need to become aware that until we learn to listen to our emotions and speak their language we cannot experience full health and wellbeing.


I developed ME as a result of not listening properly to the message behind my emotions.


Mickel Therapy gave me the tools to understand the message behind my emotions and the tools and the courage to take the actions I needed to take to reclaim my health and my life.

Goodbye 15 years of dreadful ill health and unhappiness.

Hello the rest of my happy healthy life with full energy and no symptoms! 11 years and counting!


Clare Caldwell

Former ME sufferer

ME awareness





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Does emotion influence our health more subtly than we realise?











Dr Pamela Mills (BA Hons, DClinPsy)

Clinical Psychologist and Mickel Therapist


Mickel Therapy practitioner training





On M.E awareness week, I feel so much for anyone out there, currently experiencing M.E, CFS, fibromyalgia, etc.  I know all too well how awful it can be, as I was once there myself.  Having CFS (the term I was diagnosed by) is by far, the most difficult thing I’ve ever gone through.  And yet, I feel so, so incredibly fortunate that firstly, I didn’t get any worse than I was and secondly, that I found a way back to health.

A process

When I look back now on the two plus years I was unwell, I can see I went through a process.  The first part of this process was lengthy medical investigation, and not knowing what was wrong with me.  Then there was a gradual awareness that I was being given a post-viral fatigue/CFS diagnosis, which I found extremely difficult, as I knew there was no known ‘cure’.  I tried any treatment I could think of in the hope of getting well.  Then there was the fact that I worked in healthcare and knew of what is called ‘the mind-body connection’ – the fact that mind and body are so interrelated you cannot really separate the two. I therefore was also going through the process of wondering – could there possibly be anything going on emotionally that could be contributing to my ill health?  I found this a terrifying thought.  I considered myself to be happy – life was generally good: I had a loving, supportive partner, fantastic family and friends, a job I loved, all my studying was behind me… So how could any of this be affecting my health, especially to the extent of experiencing such awful, debilitating symptoms?  It didn’t make sense, and so I discounted this idea again for a while.  I then came across a book of CFS recovery stories by Alexandra Barton.  It is through this book that I learned of Mickel Therapy.

What Mickel Therapy helped me to see

I embarked on Mickel Therapy two years after my initial ill-health and I was blown away by its effectiveness.  Mickel Therapy made me realise how subtle emotion can be – and how much I was either ‘missing’ the emotions I was experiencing or not acting upon them in a way that best met my needs.  I realised there was quite a lot about my personality that had led to this occurring.  I was very driven and hard working. Interpersonally, I had always been easy going, and would typically avoid conflict with others. If something bothered me, I’d usually let it go (or complain about it to someone else! – not the most constructive!) I give these as personal examples, but I know I’m not unique.  In our society we are not taught how important emotions are.  If you look at young infants, they freely express all emotions they feel spontaneously –which leads to them having their needs met.  But as cognitive development advances, we begin to learn to suppress our emotions – dampening them down, either consciously or unconsciously.  In our culture we also often think about what we should do in life, rather than tuning in to how we feel about things.  It is only through Mickel Therapy that I realised the extent to which any of this could be detrimental to health.

What Mickel Therapy is

Mickel Therapy is a talking therapy, developed by Scottish GP, Dr David Mickel, in the 1990s. The therapy teaches you how to tune in to subtler emotion and act upon it in a way which best meets your needs.  Remarkably, when you do this, over time, your energy increases and symptoms start to reduce, until they go completely.  It is, at first, a very new way of thinking and yet remarkable in its effectiveness.  It made a huge difference to me personally – I regained my health.  Professionally, I was so impressed, I trained in the therapy myself.  It still continues to amaze me, how effective it can be in turning symptoms around.

So, does emotion influence our health more subtly than we realise?

My experience of ill-health and Mickel Therapy has shown me that yes – emotion does influence our health much more subtly than we realise.  The idea that ‘stress’ can influence our health is quite well established (for example, through studies into heart disease, etc).  What has amazed me, however, is that everyday emotions and the degree to which we do/do not act on these effectively can play a role here too.  On regaining my own health, and witnessing it occurring for clients, I feel obligated to share this with others.  Our hope within Mickel Therapy is that the therapy can soon be formally evaluated in a clinical trial, in order for an evidence base to be determined – in addition to the countless reports attesting to its effectiveness with these conditions.

In the meantime, I write this for anyone out there who, like I was, is searching for a sign of something that may help.  For me, Mickel Therapy was just the thing.  I hope you find your answer also.

Dr Pamela Mills (BA Hons, DClinPsy)

Clinical Psychologist and Mickel Therapist

ME awareness

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