Do you have any of the following symptoms?

fast & shallow breathing

a churning feeling in your stomach

heart racing

feeling irritable or wound up

constantly worrying

feeling restless

trouble sleeping or staying asleep

tense or clenched muscles

These are just some of the symptoms of anxiety

(and you don't need them all to be affected)

Read on to see how I can help you reduce your stress & anxiety and overcome your depression.

Counselling for Stress, Anxiety & Depression

My name is Keith Fernandes and I run a private counselling service based in Leeds city centre with a special interest in Stress, Anxiety & Depression.

I’m going to provide you with some free but valuable information to help you understand the difficulties you may be experiencing but also some simple ways to tackle them.

I will also explain how, through counselling and other techniques, I can help you reduce your stress & anxiety and overcome your depression.

What is Stress?

Stress is everywhere.  We encounter stress when stuck in rush hour traffic, when our train is delayed and we’re running late, when we’re having a disagreement with someone.  Stress can be good for you in low doses, for example when completing a deadline.   Yet too much stress or chronic stress can lead to anxiety and depression.

"Like email and spam email, a little stress is good but too much is bad; you'll need to shut down and reboot," says Esther Sternberg, MD, a leading stress researcher and the chief of neuroendocrine immunology and behaviour at the National Institute of Mental Health.

Do You Have Any Symptoms of Stress?


  • grinding your teeth
  • clenching your jaw
  • headaches
  • muscle tension or pain
  • poor sleep
  • sore eyes
  • feeling tired all the time
  • change in appetite
  • constipation or diarrhoea


  • irritable
  • overwhelmed
  • uninterested in life
  • lack of self-esteem
  • lonely
  • anxious


  • racing thoughts
  • constant worrying
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty making decisions


  • drinking or smoking more
  • snapping at people
  • biting your nails
  • eating too much or too little
  • picking at your skin
  • avoiding things or people you are having problems with

Stress Bucket Analogy

We all have a different capacity for stress in our lives. Imagine this capacity is represented by a bucket. Everyone will have a different size bucket which can be dependant on various factors such as genetics and social background as well as life events.

Now imagine a tap above the bucket and this represents all the sources of stress in your life. The source of stress can be such things as your job, relationships, finances, moving home and even getting married. Yes, its worth noting that stress can even result from positive experiences not just negative ones. This points to the fact that NOBODY’S life is going to be stress-free.

Now as long as your bucket can hold the amount of stress in your life, there are no problems and you’re coping fine. You could even have a tap on the side of your bucket which allows the stress to drain away. This might involve coping strategies like exercise or meditation. As soon as your bucket starts overflowing however, thats when things can start to go wrong and so its important to stop that from happening.

How Do I Keep My Bucket From Overflowing?

Whilst you might not be able to alter the size of your bucket, below are a few simple strategies you may be able to introduce to reduce your stress.

  • 1


    Keeping active can be a great way to combat stress. Doing exercise releases endorphins and other chemicals that help us feel better and reduce stress.

  • 2

    Mindfulness / Meditation

    These ancient techniques help us to create the space in our minds to choose what is essential and what isn’t. Just practicing for 10 minutes a day can retrain your brain to increase your mental resources and cope with stress more peacefully.

  • 3

    Eat Well

    When we are stressed we often feel pressed for time and then turn to quick food such as takeaways. This can be the worst solution as such foods can make us feel lethargic and less able to deal with stress. Eating low-fat, high-fibre, carbohydrate-rich meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help as they soothe us without sapping our energy and give us the nutrients we need to boost our immune system.

  • 4

    Get Enough Sleep

    People that are stressed often don’t make time to get a good restful sleep each night. So maybe less screen time just before bed might be a good place to start.

  • 5

    Reduce your alcohol/nicotine/caffeine.

    Alcohol is known as a mood suppressor and all three are known to activate the fight or flight response which increases the level of cortisol in the body (also known as the stress hormone).

What’s the link between Stress, Anxiety and Depression?

Dealing with stress is normal part of life but when your bucket begins to overflow and you become overwhelmed it can cause mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is when we have a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.  So basically we worry or are afraid about things that we think are going to happen e.g. I'm going to look really bad giving this presentation.

What happens is we avoid doing the activity.  Whilst that reduces the fear initially, it usually returns the next time we encounter the difficulty.

Another way to look at it is, stressful situations can come and go for example moving home or changing job.  Once you’ve moved home, your stress levels tend to go down once you get settled in.  Anxiety on the other hand can persist whether or not the cause is known to the sufferer.  

Fight or Flight?

Anxiety is your natural response to stress protecting us from danger.  Most people have heard of the fight or flight response. 

In cave man days when we were under threat from a woolly mammoth our bodies would respond to protect us from danger. Our bodies release various chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline.  These have the effect of increasing our heart rate, quickening our breathing and tensing our muscles all to ensure we are ready for action or to run from danger.

Humans have evolved since then but unfortunately our ancient fight or flight response has remained.  Whenever we get anxious that is our fight or flight response kicking into action, often unknowingly, to everyday stressful situations.  Once the situation has passed, our bodies release more hormones to relax the body.  What happens in today’s world is that stress can build up, causing us to feel more anxious and have that fight or flight response continuously activated.  The consequence of this is chronic stress which affects us physically and mentally.

What about Depression? defines depression as: a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life.

We all have times when our mood is low, and we’re feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually these feelings pass in due course.

But if the feelings are interfering with your life and don't go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back over and over again for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you're experiencing depression.

When we experience chronic stress (when our bucket is overflowing), or when we experience a stressful life event like loosing a job, these can trigger depression.  Chronic stress in particular, leads to elevated levels of cortisol, which is often referred to as the stress hormone, and reduced levels of serotonin and other chemicals which have been linked to depression.

When we are functioning healthily these chemicals help maintain biological processes such as like sleep, appetite, energy, and sex drive, and permit expression of normal moods and emotions.

The mood self-assessment provided by the NHS can help you determine if you are anxious or depressed. Please note this is not designed to replace a GP.  If you need further medical advice please contact your GP.

I've Tried Everything That You've Suggested Above And I'm Still Struggling.  What Now?

Now Might Be The Time To Speak To A Professional.

So How Can I Help You?

Through counselling I can help by:

  1. Helping you understand the root cause of your stress and anxiety.
    Sometimes we just feel stressed and anxious but don’t even know the cause.
  2. Helping you gain the autonomy to make the changes you want to make to lead a happier life.
  3. Providing the non-judgemental space for you to offload your difficulties.
  4. Helping you express your emotions which will help reduce your stress.

How Much Does It Cost?

Sessions will usually take place on a weekly basis and are charged at £40 per session. 

Sessions last 50mins.

I'm Interested. What Do I Need To Do?

All you need to do is click on my email address below and send me a short message

with your name and brief description of the difficulties you are experiencing.

If you prefer you can send me a text me on 07935 566 085

After that I will:

- contact you within 48 hours.

- arrange to give you a brief call

- arrange a free initial meeting

The initial meeting just gives you a chance to meet me and see if you feel comfortable working together.

After that the choice is yours.

A Big Step!

Getting help can be a big step.  If you are still a bit unsure or have any questions, send me an enquiry anyway - it's free!!! You can always change your mind later or scroll down to the Testimonial section and read about the experiences of some of my previous clients.

Got Any Questions?

Here are some common questions & answers but if there is anything I haven't covered please contact me and let me know.

Okay, I think I might need some professional help but are you qualified?

Yes I am a fully qualified counsellor and am a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and work within their Ethical Framework.  The BACP is the professional body that sets the standard for therapeutic practice and provides information to the public.

You can check my details on the BACP website here.


How much does it cost again?

Sessions are charged at £40 per hour.


What is the free initial meeting for?

A therapeutic relationship is just like any other when you meet someone for the first time.  You may or may not get along.  For this reason I offer a FREE 30min initial meeting where we can both see how comfortable we are working together.  After that meeting you are under no obligation to choose me as your counsellor.


I also understand how difficult it can be finding a counsellor and ultimately I just want to help you get you to where you want to be.  For this reason if you don’t feel we can work together i’ll be happy to suggest some alternative counsellors.


How many sessions will I need?

I usually suggest 6 sessions to begin with but I review how the work is going after 3 sessions.

You may only need half of the sessions, the full 6 or maybe a few more after that.

Ultimately I leave the decision to you and when you feel that you’re ready to finish.


Do you work with children?

Unfortunately I only work with adults at the moment.

Where do you practice?

I work from two different therapy rooms in the centre of Leeds.  Both are approximately a 10min walk from Leeds train station.  Both sites offer a quiet and calm space away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.  Click on the name of the therapy room to view the location on google maps.

Please Note: when you enter the postcode for Spark therapy rooms the marker points to Little Queen Street and not Queen Street.


Spark Therapy Rooms

4 Queen Street




The Coaching Collective

St James House

Lower Ground Floor

28 Park Place


LS1 2SP.



Here are some of the experiences of my past clients.

21st November 2018

The obstacle that prevented me from getting the counselling was the stigma behind it in terms if admitting defeat by asking for help. Also i was actually unaware of the benefits of what counselling can achieve.

After every session I found that i felt better in myself and went back home to research some of things that we discussed to which I have now got a great interest in the human mind.

The specific feature I would say that I liked most was the fact of there being no judgement in the issues I raised.  I also felt I had a good rapport with you which made it easier to talk. 

A huge thank you for all the help that you gave me over the sessions.

19th April 2018

I really appreciate your input over the past couple of months.  I'm grateful for you professional approach to my needs.  Thank you for helping out and all the best for your future endeavours.

2nd March 2018

Before I decided on counselling I had a preconceived idea that it wouldn't help me, personally.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and effective it was. I'd like to note that I tried other counsellors beforehand and found everything forced and futile. This was never the case with you.  I liked that the relational approach allowed me to discuss and explore my problems myself.  Through leading the discussion I naturally tended to hit on areas causing me more worry and anxiety. I found that you were unbiased but logical and supporting. This gave me more confidence to challenge issues in my life, which had become miserable and difficult.  You are a genuine person and easy to confide in. This is surprisingly difficult to find, even amongst counsellors. You are accommodating and professional. Also, your website was very insightful, you were easy to find.

I would definitely recommend you. I support your attitude and approach as a counsellor. I found that, through sessions with you, I could reorient my life and become healthier and happier. I was worried that I might never achieve that.

I, again, wish to acknowledge the excellent service that you provide. From the initial introductory phonecall, to the sessions and follow up e mails. Thanks for all of your effort and help.

29th January 2018

The only obstacle that would have prevented me from gaining support, would have been around my own insights to counselling, it would normally be me sitting in your chair. As a trained counsellor it appeared to be a little unusual for me, however the experience was very valuable as it allowed me to acknowledge that I needed that support regardless of what I did for a living. It was refreshing to find someone who I could feel relaxed and open with and I really appreciated your your listening ear and non-judgemental approach. I would most certainly recommend you, for your listening, empathic and warm approach, along with your vast knowledge and understanding.

Just to add, that you you even laughed with me, when i shared my funny stories.

3rd October 2017

I felt so lost and lonely at the start of therapy and now feel strong and more focussed. I don’t know what I would have done without this assistance.  It has been such a relief for me to have somewhere to turn.  Through counselling, I have been able to rebuild some of my confidence, help me focus on myself.  Ultimately, it’s me that has to make the decisions, but I feel in a better place to do that.

6th February 2017

I have found coming to our sessions over the last 8 weeks has been such a comfort. You’ve helped me enjoy Christmas when all I was doing was dreading it as my mum’s first anniversary approached. You have helped me beyond words and I feel much more positive about the future.   You do an amazing job and I feel through my sadness you helped to bring joy into my life again.

14th November 2016

Just wanted to say a massive thank you Keith for all your support over the last 6 weeks.  You have helped me gain an understanding and a different way of thinking about my grief and my way of coping, which I now feel I am doing with your support.

15th April 2016

Keith, thanks a lot, you’ve helped me a great deal.

Counselling for Stress, Anxiety & Depression

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