News & Updates

Can gardening improve the nation's health?

At the Hampton Court Flower Show this year experts from the public health horticulture and academia explored the links between health and horticulture as they have found that a growing body of research suggests gardening is good for both physical and mental health.

We at Marie Church Cognitive Behavioural Services are looking forward to reading more about the links, as soon as they are published, but in the meantime we are following an Amanda Miller, who created a garden at Hampton Court Flower Show which "aimed to communicate the isolation of depression through gardening"  Article from the BBC


Medics' Sick Note Plan Is 'A Skiver's Charter

GPs say doubling the time workers can sign themselves off as sick will free up appointments for people in urgent need of care

Workers should be able to sign themselves off sick for up to two weeks to cut the number of unnecessary GP appointments, doctors will say.

Later today, medics at the British Medical Association (BMA) annual meeting will vote on a motion calling for the "self-certification" period to be extended from seven days to 14 days.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the BMA's General Practitioners Committee, said: "It's about empowering patients and trusting patients and reducing unnecessary appointments with GPs.

"If you've got a patient who very clearly has an illness that is going to last 10 days to two weeks, why do they need to make an appointment with a GP just to get that note to tell their employer what their employer probably knows already and what the patient should be trusted to be able to pass on?

"This is just a motion that is trying to do something to reduce the unnecessary appointments that GPs have and thereby increase the number of appointments that are available for people who genuinely do need to see a GP."

However, Neil Carberry, director of employment and skills at the Confederation of British Industry, said: "When someone is sick enough to be off work for a week, they should try to see a doctor.

"The electronic fit note is a simple process to enable employers to understand how sick their employee is and what they can do when they return to work."

Joyce Robins, co-director of Patient Concern, said: "The real problem is getting to see a GP, it's hard to do that in a week or a fortnight.

"I certainly don't think nurses should be able to stand in and sign notes.

"But two weeks off work without a sick note is far too much - that sounds to me like a skiver's charter."

Dr Vautrey believes most people would not want to be off work for a significant amount of time, adding: "We just have to trust people to do the right thing."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said of the current one-week system: "We believe it supports individuals and employers without overburdening GPs. We have no plans to change the existing policy."

 Source Sky News 22 June 2016




Heat-wave Plan for England

We feel at Occupational Heath Matters that summer is just round the corner and with this comes increase in temperature. Whilst there is no legal upper limit in the work place for temperature, Health Safety Executive defined the guidance for thermal comfort - Quote:  “ an acceptable zone of thermal comfort in the UK lies roughly between 13ᵒC (56 F) and 30ᵒC (86 F)”

We have listed a few links and guidelines for temperature control, for your information please see below

This gives you General Information about Temperature

Advice on General Heat in the work place

Advise on the Risk of Over Heating

Heatwave Plan for England 

In the meantime, and for a couple of quick guidelines here is a few hints and tips

Make sure all employees stay hydrated, encourage employees to drink regularly.
Substitute  a 11am biscuit break with a piece of fruit, high in water content!
If working outdoors wear appropriate clothing, a hat for one ! and don’t forget sunscreen even on grey days
Although it may be impossible, if you work outside try to avoid working in the mid-day sun, perhaps take your break at this time
Lastly enjoy the sun, just sensibly, it is full of vitamin D ! 







Employees bring their skills, aspirations, burdens, and vulnerabilities to work

A systematic review of  effective workplace interventions for people with common mental health problems (British Occupational Health Research Foundation) has found that these interventions should be cognitive in nature. The evidence found that early psychological interventions comprising Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) principles, to increase activity and coping skills may be effectively delivered in the workplace for those off sick.

It found that CBT is most effective for jobs that already involve a high degree of decision latitude; jobs with low decision latitude should prioritise increasing control potential accompanied by CBT interventions.  Our experience tells us that it is common mental health problems which are the major causes of sickness absence and poor health in the workplace. We know for example that individuals bring their skills, aspirations, burdens, and vulnerabilities to work. Our focus over the last 14 years has been to promote work as a means of improving psychological well-being and we have developed workplace based rehabilitation services to treat common emotional problems such as stress anxiety and depression.

NICE recommends CBT to help people with emotional health problems remain in and/or return to work. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is an active-directive approach to psychotherapy which sets out to accomplish a number of things:

It aims to teach people that emotional disturbance is not caused by events, but are based on the self-defeating beliefs that people hold about these events
It sets out to teach people to identify, evaluate and change these self-defeating beliefs to those that are healthier for both the individuals and the organisations in which these people work
It encourages people to act in ways that support these healthy beliefs
It helps people to identify the obstacles to change that will help both them and the organisations in which they work

Marie Church, 26 March 2016


We are currently updating our lovely premises in Chantry Wynd in Richmond, North Yorkshire.  Please come in to visit to see the range of therapies and services we offer and to see how the revamp is progressing!


We offer the following range of courses:

  • Mindfulness taster days
  • Equine Assisted Mindfulness
  • Resilience Workshops
  • Perfectionism in the Workplace
  • Improving Self Discipline
  • Women in Leadership
  • Improving Self Confidence
  • Improving Assertion Skills
  • Optimising Team Interaction Skills
  • Maximising Potential
  • Management Masterclass
  • Insight
  • Hindsight

Dates are available for all of these courses from June 2016, please check the Workshops and Courses link for full details of all courses, including course dates and costs.  If the course of your choice does not currently display any dates, please call our team on 01748 824942 or by email at to find out when the next course will be running.

7th November 2018

Today we turn our minds to the many workers and non workers who are suffering from stress and stress related illness such as anxiety and depression. The theme this year is does Hi-tech cause hi stress? Having struggled to get my web cam working on Skype today I can honestly say I feel really frustrated, why is everything I do such hard work??? Al...

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15th August 2018

As heart-breaking as this story is, you cannot help admire the skills and dedication of the police officers, legal and forensic teams involved. What they must they see is unimaginable, but to do what they do with such integrity and commitment, day by day, in the pursuit of these offenders and the protection of their victims, is extraordinary. Sue B...

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12th August 2018

Absence data is fundamentally poor intelligence. Not all absence is attributed to sickness, there is disengagement, revenge, avoidance etc etc. I have had employees referred to me for anxiety and persistent short term sickness and when you dig deep it’s been any number of social barriers, for example, not being able to afford to put fuel in t...

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Latest News

7th November 2018

Today we turn our minds to the many workers and non workers who are suffering from stress and stress related illness such as anxiety and depression. The theme this year is does Hi-tech cause hi stress? Having struggled to get my web cam working on Skype today I can honestly say I feel really frustrated, why is everything I do such hard work??? Al...

Read more >


"Our business required some ad hoc occupational health advice and we came across Marie Church CBT following a strong recommendation from another company. Marie and her team guided us through the referral process and our query was dealt with in a prompt, confidential and professional manner. The advice given was very clear and relevant to our manual work environment. I would definitely recommend Marie Church CBT to any business who is looking for occupational health support whether it be on an adhoc or contractual basis. - Armstrong & Son Ltd ."

~ Armstrong & Son Heating & Plumbing Ltd - In association with Biomass North East Ltd

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