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Tuning in to strangers having couples therapy could fix your love life

The latest way to perk up your love life? Tuning in to strangers having couples therapy with this series of remarkable podcasts

  • Free, bite-size audio shows are downloaded by five million Britons every week
  • Health is at the forefront, with wellbeing-related shows rarely out of the top ten 
  • For the first time, this summer a health podcast soared to the top of iTunes chart
  • The Where Should We Begin podcast focuses on sex and relationship therapy 
  • Each episode is recorded fly-on-the-wall, with a real-time counselling session

Forget boring posters, predictable TV ads and pamphlets that nobody reads. These days, health information travels far and wide – and rapidly – on digital highways. And the route proving particularly popular in 2018 is podcasts – free, bite-size audio shows being downloaded by five million Britons every week.

Health is at the forefront, with wellbeing-related shows rarely out of the ten ‘most downloaded’ list.

For the first time, this summer a health podcast soared to No 1 in the iTunes chart.

In You, Me And The Big C, BBC presenter Rachael Bland shared her breast-cancer struggle with the nation alongside two co-presenters. – both of whom also had cancer.

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Miles apart: But podcasts may help warring couples get back together. Dr Hazel Wallace, a podcast presenter, discusses some of the best around

Rachael’s death in September sparked nationwide grief and hundreds of thousands of loyal listeners tuned in for her final broadcast, recorded days before she died.

As a podcast fan and qualified doctor, I too have launched an audio show, The Food Medic, in which I interview experts in everything from fitness to fertility. It has already raked in almost 20,000 listeners and reached the No 1 slot on iTunes for health programmes.

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So, if you’re ready to tune in to this revolution, here are the podcasts I would recommend as the perfect place to start…


Where Should We Begin, presented by Belgian psychotherapist Esther Perel, author of Mating In Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

What’s it about?

Each episode is recorded in a fly-on-the-wall format, involving a real-time counselling session with an anonymous couple.

One gripping episode features a couple struggling with the impact on their relationship of a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Others touch on infidelity, impotence, infertility and addiction.

Esther’s ability to get the couples to communicate more effectively is striking; her approach provides invaluable psychological tips for any couple – whether blissfully happy or otherwise.


You, Me And The Big C, presented by Deborah James and Lauren Mahon (and lately Rachael Bland) – breast-cancer victims who called themselves ‘the coolest club you never wanted to be part of’

You, Me And The Big C is presented by Deborah James (right) and Lauren Mahon (centre) and formerly Rachael Bland (left) who recently passed away from cancer

What’s it about?

Living with breast cancer, including how chemotherapy can wreck your sex life and impact finances. But it’s not all downbeat: Deborah, 35, has talked about a new treatment for her stage-four bowel cancer – targeted therapy called cyber knife treatment.


Talk Medicine From BMJ, presented by editors from the British Medical Journal

What’s it about?

The team from the British Medical Journal, the UK’s respected research publication, look at current healthcare topics, often unpicking grandiose health claims in the news.

Recent highlights include a debate on the evidence for e-cigarettes (a must-listen for vapers) and medical insights into the potential health impacts of industrial food production – which could make you think twice about indulging in ready meals.


Calmer You, presented by Chloe Brotheridge, hypnotherapist, anxiety expert and author of The Anxiety Solution

Chloe Brotheridge, author of The Anxiety Solution, presents a podcast with advice for coping with symptoms of anxiety and stress

What’s it about?

Advice for coping with symptoms of anxiety and stress, such as heart palpitations and racing thoughts. Chloe guides her 50,000 fans through stress-relieving activities including hypnotherapy and mindful-eating – learning to listen to hunger and fullness signals, rather than eating according to temptation.


The Doctor’s Kitchen, presented by GP, author and social media sensation Dr Rupy Aujla

What’s it about?

Quite simply: how healthy eating can prevent illness. As well as what to eat for specific conditions like diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome, expect tips on foods to boost parts of the body. Dr Aujla has a wonderfully direct style and, crucially, he’s not afraid to ask a ‘stupid’ question.


Griefcast, presented by comedian and actor Cariad Lloyd, whose father died of pancreatic cancer when she was 15

What’s it about?

Podcast of the year winner at 2018’s British Podcast Awards, Griefcast is a wonderful mixture of dark humour and sadness, featuring Lloyd and comedian friends with experience of significant loss talking frankly about their experiences of bereavement.

Many people listen to podcasts on their way to work, and podcast of the year winner at 2018’s British Podcast Awards was Griefcast

I cried when guest comedian Adam Buxton broke down talking about his father’s death – and the interview was played 20,000 times in three months.

Other noteworthy guests have included comedians Robert Webb, David Baddiel and Sara Pascoe.


Sigmanutrition, presented by nutritionist and boxing coach Danny Lennon

What’s it about?

Even if pugilism isn’t your thing, the ‘Sigma Nutrition’ podcast is worth a listen – especially if you’re in training or want to boost performance in the gym. Danny goes into nutrition and body composition, interviewing researchers, academics, coaches and athletes. Recent hot topics include comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, blood sugar regulation and what to eat before a run.

What to read, watch and do  


How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body, by David Hamilton

This ten-year-anniversary edition features new scientific research and real-life stories of people who have visualised themselves back to health from disease, viruses, sporting injuries and chronic fatigue.

£12.99, Hay House  

How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body, by David Hamilton is this week’s ‘what to read’


The Contraceptive Pill: How Safe Is It?

What is the truth about the Pill’s effects on mental health, cancer risks, blood clots or libido? GP Dr Zoe Williams investigates with scientists – and reveals some surprising results.

BBC2, Wednesday, 9pm  


Bacterial World Exhibition, until May 2019

Learn about the secret lives and hidden stories of the smallest of organisms and their effect on our health, diseases and the planet.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History, free.   

This jaw-dropping exhibition documents the secret lives and hidden stories of the smallest of organisms 

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