ADVANCED psychotherapist and clinical hypnotherapist CLAIRE GASKIN sees clients in Essex and in London’s Harley Street. She is now bringing her expertise to the problems of our readers as our agony aunt. If you have a problem you’d like Claire’s advice with, email work, visit


I have got a major spending problem which I have not told anyone about and it is spiralling out of control.

I live way beyond my means and up until now I was able to cover what I owed on my credit cards on a monthly basis but even that is becoming a struggle.

I work full-time but this week rumours started circulating about possibly redundancies which has sent me into a blind panic because if I lose my job, which I have not been at long enough to get a meaningful pay-off from, I will almost definitely lose my house.

My parents may be able to help with my debts but I am too ashamed to ask as I am in my late 20s and have not lived at home since university. I don’t know where to turn.


You have taken the important first step. Because you already feel out of control it’s understandable that the threat of redundancy has sent you into a blind panic.

Reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by separating each issue - excessive spending/debt/ fear of the future - and deal with them one by one.

When spending gets out of hand it can indicate an underlying problem, so it is vital that you make an appointment to talk to your doctor.

They may recommend a course of treatment, including therapy to tackle why you have been unable to manage your outgoings.

Then, contact the National DebtLine (0808 808 4000) who will talk you through your options, such as working with a specialist to devise a Debt Management Plan.

At the same time, decide who you trust to confide in. The burden of shame is a heavy load to carry but you don’t have to face all this on your own.

Talking to a supportive friend can really help to feel better about things.

Redundancy isn’t certain but once you have a plan, and are in control of your spending, you’ll have a clearer mind to focus on finding a new job if you need to.