At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 35

H

INTERVIEW ▲

couples and families who aren't sure
how to talk about a problem as they
are embarrassed about it. I act as a
mediator to help people learn to talk
about things - just getting couples to
talk to each can be very therapeutic
Take for example people who have
chronic pain - it's never talked about,
but explaining to your other half
and talking about the problem
makes a huge difference.
More and more I'm using
pscyhotherapy to treat my patients,
using talking therapy.'

ON BEING HEALTHY

e's TV's approachable doctor, an inspiring
health ambassador, a dapper dresser, and
a thoughoughly nice chap to boot. Meet
Dr Christian Jessen.
With TV shows Embarrassing Bodies,
Supersize vs Superkinny and Dr
Christian Will See You Now under his belt,
the handsome Londoner, 41 in March,
has become an authority on health and
wellbeing. He's also a keen campaigner,
regularly taking to Twitter on subjects
important to him, such as HIV (working
with Aids charity the Terrence Higgins
Trust) and mental health.
'I've tried to change the public's view of
doctors, and make medicine less stuffy
and more accessible,' says Dr Christian.
That, he most certainly has.

ON TALKING THERAPY
'I'm definitely focusing on communication
more than ever. On my latest show, Dr
Christian Will See You Now, we feature

'PEOPLE TEND TO TAKE AN
ALL-OR-NOTHING
APPROACH TO THEIR
HEALTH - THAT THERE
NEEDS TO BE THIS
DRAMATIC OVERHAUL -
BUT THAT'S NOT
THE CASE. ONE TINY
CHANGE A MONTH CAN
REALLY MAKE A
BIG DIFFERENCE'

'People tend to only take an all-ornothing approach to their health -
that there has to be this extreme
dramatic overhaul, but that doesn't
need to be the case. If you make just
one little change a month, that's good,
that will make a difference. So one
glass of wine less per day, then next
month you keep that change going
and you make another small change.
If you keep going like this, then in a
year, you've made 12 significant
changes that will be making a positive
difference to your health, and you
won't really notice you're doing it.
It's a much easier way to improve your
health than a dramatic change in
January or a 'spring clean' as that is
really hard to keep up. Most people
won't cope if you say 'I'm not eating
that, I'm going to the gym every day '
and it's overwhelming, then you feel
like you're failing, so you give up.'

ON SO-CALLED
'EXPERTS'
'People make two big mistakes with
their health - one is doing too much
too quickly, when your expectations
are unrealistic as we're impatient.
The second is the sources we go to for
advice on how to do this - too many of
us turn to celebrities for advice which
may seem glamorous but isn't based
on science and can actually be
downright cranky! Take Gwyneth
Paltrow, for example, her quacky
health "advice"can be quite harmful.
'It does also worry me that some
Instagrammers can just start up and
become "experts" without any real
expertise, those who insist on giving
up meat, or dairy, can be a bit sinister.
But some bloggers and influencers
can be very beneficial in encouraging
people to talk - the bloggers who

document their lives and their
experiences, sharing their stories.
A lot of mental health bloggers and
influencers talk about their challenges
and their experiences, but they know
their limits and don't say that they are
medical professionals. What they are
doing is as important as any expert
- they are pulling people together,
getting them to open up and talk,
helping them get through, which is
a powerful thing to be able to do;
something which GPs - in their
eight-minute consultations - are
not able to. So there is room for
them in the medical community.'

ON EDUCATING KIDS
'I think healthy lifestyles should be
taught from day one. Looking after
your health should be a part of
everyday life or otherwise it becomes
a "thing". Sex education is a good
example - if a child is taught about
relationships and respect and love
and boundaries, then it's not odd or
unusual, it's OK to talk about it. In my
day we had a one hour class with the
headmaster in the sixth form, which
was so awkward. We should make it
natural as it is a big part of life.
'It's the same with drinking. When
you look at birthday cards for 18 year
olds, pretty much every one has some
sort of picture of alcohol on it. The
message is: "Yay, you've hit 18, now hit
the bottle." But if drinking is seen as a
small part of life, and something that
should be enjoyed in moderation,
with food, then it doesn't become this
big thing that you have to binge on as
soon as you are legally allowed to.
'Because the law sets the legal ages
for drinking and sex in the way that it
does, it makes it not a normal part of
life but an extra 'thing' that puts
pressure on the young.'

ON SOCIAL MEDIA
'There are increasing rates of teen
depression, self harm and suicide
which I think is related to social
media. I think we should include
social media etiquette on school
syllabuses, teaching the dangers of it,
about how the people who are posting
the most pictures are the ones with
body issues and self-esteem issues,
seeking affirmation. Kids are growing
up with social media, so we need to
talk to them to make sure they know
how to use it safely. We should talk >

www.athomemagazine.co.uk FEBRUARY 2018 | 035



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of At Home with Chris Jessen 2018

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