Sunday, 25 October 2009

Finding my true north

Was hearing some talk about conscience this morning, and how it's important not to have another influence that could misdirect my conscience. Like a compass sitting beside a magnet might not point north but gets distracted by the magnet.

Got me thinking about how I find my "true north" my own internal direction that is fully me. Is my conscience my guide in this? I have also been Reading about "unconditional positive regard" or "acceptance" today. And the posibility if growing into ourselves if we have the opportunity to be valued for our existence.

I think it's an unselfish valuing that fuels my growth into who I am, but I need the people around me to trust that I am inherently social, even if it doesn't always look like it, or feel like it, I am still doing the best I can, that my "true north" is a direction towards deep connection with others, an energy that fuels me in pursuit of my own passions and needs that are at the same time connected up to supporting others to expeience and satisfy their own needs and passions.

To be fully unleashed on the world I don't need to worry about my conscience being seared or misdirected but I need to be supported as I fully am. My worry about the person who questions my conscience is their desire to control for their own ends.

Let's fuel each others internal energies to be fully ourselves and grow towards our "true north"

-- Post From My iPhone

Where will the journey take me ...

Today i popped into edinburgh to see this exhibition Joachim Koester - Poison Protocols and Other Histories which proved to be a little over my head but I ended up here

As Others See Us both exhibitions enjoyable and fascinating in their own right.

Gets me thinking about opportunities that arise from and during a journey, ones which would never be envisaged at the start and never opened to us if we dont embark ...

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Time Travellers Wife

Just been to see the time travellers wife this afternoon, really enjoyed it and felt moved by the experience!

I love the subject of time travel ... I think it helps me to lift my head up out of my life and think about where I am and what's important to me ... not an easy and perhaps important excercise for me as I can get totally immersed in the present!

One of the key features of the story is the character ... look away if you haven't seen it :) ... time travels back to events with a major emotional and psychological significance. Something that can happen in real life in times of stress, although not actually time travelling (stating the obvious) emotionally I can be right back in a previous experience and responding from that much younger and inexperienced place, everything I have learnt in between becomes innaccessible!

The movie was an interesting way in to this piece of reflection for me!

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Contact & Depth

Spent some time with a good friend yesterday and we spent time thinking about depth in relationship. I surprised myself as I found myself leaning much more toward the idea of contact, and seeing this in binary form, either as on or off.

This is a concept I was introduced to by Keith Tudor during the online conversation we had in June that will hopefully be posted to shortly.

I do like to experience "depth" in my relationships and have noticed at times chasing this to the point where I may try and force it, or perhaps like I am chasing a "fix". And I notice when I don't feel like I am really connected to the other I can feel unsettled, like something is going wrong.

And I surprised myself yesterday how happy I was with idea of contact, at any depth ....

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Working Therapeutically with disordered eating: a conceptual framework

I have just been writing this blog for 20 minutes on my iPhone which just crashed and I lost it all ... Aaargh!

Hmmm what do I do now???

I wanted to write about my experience of organising the lecture that Julia Buckroyd delivered last week "Working Therapeutically with disordered eating: a conceptual framework"

Felt like a real privilidge to spend time with Julia, we had lunch together, spent an hour doing an interview and had some to time to chat following the lecture. I felt like I was in the presence of a person with a great mind, very straightforward and genuinely interested a combination that affected me deeply, and left me feeling nourished by my contact with her.

I was nervous about the interview as this is a completely new experience, but Julia has experienced national media a number of timed, most recently appearing on a BBC documentary and was completely comfortable being interviewed in front of the camera. Julia spoke passionately about her journey from Scottish historian to Emeritus Proffessor of Counselling and some if the significant moments along the way.

Julias lecture was truly impressive from an oratory standpoint, she talked for a whole hour from the most succint outline on a PowerPoint presntation and concluded exactly on time, no mean feat considering we were all inside an auditorium on the hottest night of the year and the air conditioning was clearly struggling! Julia presented her conceptual framework of how to work with clients who are experiencing disordered eating clearly and persuasively, she describes her work as "standing on the shoulders of giants" and her ability to make difficult and often innacessable psychological concepts available for easy understanding and application by practitioners is truly impressive! I don't think anyone left the lecture unclear as to Julia's message and I think most of us felt inspired and excited by what we heard.

This was the first lecture onlinevents has arranged and I feel extremely grateful to Julia that she agreed to participate in such an untested experience, giving onlinevents a wonderful launch into offering full events where we organise, broadcast and record.

Thank you Julia Buckroyd!

Interview and lecture available here

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Saying goodbye to Keith Tudor & family at Temenos

Spent a lovely evening at Temenis last night meeting Keith Tudors family and saying goodbye to them as they prepare to emmigrate to New Zealand.

I was very moved to see the depth of connection to Keith and his family from people that he has known and worked with, some for years and others, like myself, who haven't known him for as long.

I notice the difference it makes to me when I see the relationships that Keith has made due to how open and humble he is.

When I hear lots about how disconnected we are and how isolated we have become to see the complete opposite warms my heart and makes me feel safer somehow.

And to experience this in my own life, my good friend from Southampton, Rich Cove drove up to Sheffield with enough time to have lunch and attend the party later on. It is so good just to spend time catching up and supporting each other proffessionally!

At the party we met lots of new people, some doing their training as a counsellor others very experienced and even published. But if you had walked into the lovely and peaceful building that holds Temenos, there was no way to distinguish between who is prominent in the counselling field and those who are starting off.

Was fun persuading Louise Tudor to think about participating in an online interview with and totally surprised to be talking to Colin Lago and his willingness to think about a lecture / interview with

Also met lots of other wonderful people that I hope to stay in contact with and build a relationship with.

The joy of connection!

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, 13 April 2009

OCTIA Preparation

Video of the latest stage of preparation for OCTIA

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Interview with Gill Jones about OCTIA

Today I interviewed Gill Jones about her experience of online counselling and the conference about online counselling OCTIA.

Check out the conference here


Last weekend I travelled go see my very good friend in the south of England.

He very generously along with his wife welcomed me into their home And allowed me to enjoy the delights of the local countryside and eating places. We ate loads and photographed even more including the photograph attached to this blog.

This picture captures my experience of the weekend. As someone who struggles to slow down and relax I was not only offered this opportunity but shown how to do this. By following my friends example and allowing myself to let go and relax I was able to really chill out and recharge my batteries.

This photo reminds me of the beauty and tranquility that can exist around me and a reminder for me to access it!

Thank you to my friends for offering me a very special weekend!

-- Post From My iPhone


I was given the wonderful privilidge of saying a few words to a group of students graduating from a counselling skills course.

Was pretty nervous about standing up in front of people I didn't know and talking about my experience.

I had agrees to talk about my own experience of doing this course at the beginning of my counselling training and it stirred memories of contact.

I remember sitting in the class on the first day so anxious that my body shook, I had left school at 16 years of age and had basic qualifications, and here I was at college with no idea what was next.

As the weeks rolled by I relaxed and started to enjoy the new experiences and relationships that were opening up to me.

I remember being in the group and having a profound discussion about suicide. The anxiety of being asked to draw and express myself using art materials. The challenge of being in a triad and the fear of the other person stopping talking and having to think of something appropriate to say. And I remember being in the encounter group, 3 hours of silence! Well maybe not 3 hours but long stretches of silence where my mind was screaming out for the tutor to say something!

As I thought about those experiences the theme that emerged was "contact", the possibility of an open and honest relationship with another human being and the risk and reward of that experience.

When I was anxious about using art materials to express myself I think it was about the risk of exposure. Something from the inside of me could be seen on the outside.

I clearly remember the feeling I had during the group discussion about suicide and worrying my thoughts wouldn't be acceptable, the risk of putting my feelings out there and the reward of being heard even if not agreed with was very satisfying.

Of course working in triads is exposing, bringing live issues of my own to work with and the exposure of trying to bring myself as a listener was terrifying and thrilling. To experience the contact of relationship in those moments had a dramatic effect on my feelings of wellbeing.

I think this was most felt during the encounter group when there was no set agenda to work to and to speak up in the group with no specific purpose.except to be "there" and to hear each other.

In those moments when I was able to make contact, to hear and be heard without judgement felt so exciting and fulfilling, in those moments in the course I got the bug for contact, my desire to be met in that open and honest way and to offer that to others. This desire for contact has formed the basis of my ongoing training and work, it's what motivated me and shapes what I offer in my professional and personal relationships.

As much as I was bitten by the experience of contact I had much to learn! I had the idea that the harder I worked, the more I developed and the more therapy I received perhaps I could be fixed, yes you can see how much I had to learn :)

As I noticed this week how difficult it was to stop and think about what I would say in this talk, in fact my mind was refusing to think about this, I noticed the issues that I am struggling with in my personal life and my working life. Standard issues that we all have to deal with. And I realized that the risk of contact by offering my thoughts via this presentation and the risk of exposure was keeping away from getting to grips with what I would say. To put myself in front of others as a trained and experienced professional while at the same time struggling with how screwed up I still am! I realized that I was having the same reaction as I had the first day of the course when I was sitting there shaking, a part of me trying to protect myself from the risk of contact and another part if me that needs and wants this and can allow myself to be seen as I am.

For me this is the real challange and value of contact, when it is offered while being "screwed up". To me this is the thrill and challenge of being alive, to make contact in an open and honest way from where I am, which isn't perfect or fixed or finished but flawed and struggling and mixed up and yet still available to meet and be met as much as I possibly can.

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, 8 March 2009

CBT Course Module 1 Week 5

We have now completed week 5 and are officially through half of module 1 and spent the evening as part of a supervision group.

CBT supervision was described as both client focused and has space for self reflection. That most CBT supervision is face to face and one to one, and that group supervision is also available with and without facilitation, although if supervision is required as part of an accreditation process the supervisor or group facilitator needs to be accredited themselves.

We were also introduced to the term "live" supervision which describes bringing a recorded part of a piece of work with a client to supervision. Recording sessions with clients can really get me feeling anxious mostly due to the fantasies I create in my head about how offputting this might be to clients. I say fantasy because this might not be a client reaction, in fact it might be helpful to have a record of the session. And how helpful to my work to be able to listen, and perhaps watch myself, if I was brave enough to think about video recording sessions.

I feel sure that what I would see and hear of myself working would be painful and embarrassing, as it often is as we see ourselves. But hopefully as difficult as it is to see myself it will be as helpful to my practice.

Wondering if you are a therapist who records sessions or maybe you have experienced therapy that has been recorded, maybe you could share your experiences with me?

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, 7 March 2009

CBT Course Module 1 Week 4

I can't believe that we are at week 4 of the course already! How time flies when you are enjoying yourself :)

We spent a lot of time thinking about assesing risk to the client, to the therapist and to others. I really enjoyed the time that I spent in the small group focused on risk to the therapist and the buzz of bouncing ideas off others, then bringing this back to the larger group and experiencing just how much wisdom and experience there is around me.

I always feel like there is a real value to talking about boundaries and I think it heightens my valuing of myself and of everyone I work with.

The thinking about boundaries on this course and the need for clear and concise communication within the CBT model are filtering through to my current client work. Boundaries and explicit communication are important parts of all counselling modalities and I can find my self slipping into fudged communication and boundaries that are more relaxed than they might be than if I was thinking clearly about them.

I am still not sure whether I am potentially an effective CBT therapist but focusing on risk this week has been helpful in my current work.

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Thursday, 12 February 2009

CBT course Module 1 Week 3

I have come away from the course tonight thinking about how much education there is in CBT therapy and noticing that I have primarily been focused on supporting people to feel strong enough to learn for themselves.

With CBT my impression is that the therapist offers this education to the client. And I think this is the bit I really want to learn, there are excellent strategies within CBT that can help people to cope and function in their everyday lives that I also want to learn and be able to pass on to the people I work with.

I often find myself looking at the big picture of my own life and struggle to work with the details and perhaps that can happen in my work, and there is a real value to learning and teaching coping strategies while still being able to meet people in a way that is satisfying and helpful for their life.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

CBT course Module 1 Week 2

Spent some time this week thinking about assesment tools, setting an agenda and how focused working with a CBT model needs to be.

As someone who struggles to be disciplined and focused I feel anxious about using these strategies and curious to see how clients respond to this kind of framework.

And I realize that working in a time limited way needs requires me to be able to be disciplined and focused, I guess there is lots for me to learn!

Next week we will begin to practice on each other and I am looking forward to finding the language to present these concepts.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, 2 February 2009

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Interventions Course

Started a new course tonight CBT interventions runnings for 3 hours on a Thursday evening for 30 weeks. Didn't feel so much like going back to school but the first day of school. As a person centred trained counsellor, learning to work in a CBT is like starting all over again, at least those were the thoughts and feelings I was having today.

Although most of tonight was introductions and getting to grips with course requirements and learning outcomes we did get to spend a little time looking at a CBT model. And I think it looks great! Using a systems model it was very easy to see how a persons thoughts, feelings, behaviour and physiology are all connected and changing one thing in the system changes everything. This feels exciting and empowering as I think of my role as a counsellor and my experience as a client.

There are definite challenges though including starting every session with a written agenda and setting people homework. And yet this is not far from what already happens in my counselling ro as I ask people how they want to use the time and we explore what emerges in sessions and how it might affect their day to day life.

Feels like a good start tonight and I look forward to learning loads!

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Streaming News

Today I have managed to stream video to and then back to Simple steps but has felt like a mamoth task when I have no knowledge of coding or anything much more technicalbthan email :)

Next stop how to make a secure page for ticket holders ... Watch this space!

-- Post From My iPhone

OCTIA Streaming News

Streaming has begun

I managed to stream video from my webcam to the server at last night and view the video on their server.

Next step to see if I can view the live feed on the flash player on, should help now I have the right code :)

Any comments on using for live streaming?

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, 25 January 2009

OCTIA website now has video

After many hours of frustration and confusion finally has video.

I have been struggling with the excellent embedded flash player from and eventually managed to get it working, as usual some silly mistakes from me greatly slowing down my progress but this did not dilute my satisfaction when I saw video playing on the website!

I promptly recorded my first ever vlog (video podcast) and posted it to the site. Feels like a lot of firsts tonight and feel like I have really achieved something *beaming*

The next piece of learning will be how to get the video player to recieve streaming video, hopefully much easier to learn :)

-- Post From My iPhone

First OCTIA Vlog

Saturday, 24 January 2009

First ticket sold

Today is a big day for OCTIA as the first ticket to the conference was sold, and it was bought by an online delegate!

Feels like Online Counselling is coming of age in a whole new way. As a group of people who specialize in forming meaningful relationships through the Internet, it seems really fitting that we are enthusiatic about connecting to each other as proffessionals regardless of the distance between us.

I am thinking that the distance may be measured in miles, perhaps we are not able to afford to travel or have other circumstances that prohibit our physical presence. But our ability and willingness to overcome these obstacles at OCTIA reflects what we are able to offer individuals who seek a therapeutic relationship with us!

This is just so exciting!

Please join us and share the excitement at

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


Well what a busy few days it has been for the OCTIA team!

We have booked a venue, built a website and started to talk to speakers for the first conference to be held in the UK for online counsellors.

So I am not surprised that I woke up this morning at 4.30am thinking about OCTIA!

I am really excited to be part of this project as I am sure we are pushing the boundaries of the technology as we look for solutions to stream live video and audio in and out of the conference and connect with Second Life.

Not that this technology hasn't been used before but more that is is becoming accessible to the ordinary person who isn't a technical expert.

I think that is part of what is making online counselling more accessible to everyone as computer technology gets more friendly and less terrifying .... some of the time :)

Check us out here I am sure you wont regret it!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Outliers finished

Finished Reading outliers and loved it! Fascinated by a school in the Bronx that challenges the idea that children need plenty of rest and play time and adopt the rice growing culture of intensive hard work making a difference to individuals.

I am really warmed by the conclusion that what we need most if all is a chance! And given that chance we can all be "Outliers"

Experiencing this potential in another human being is one of the special privilidges I experience as a counsellor and wondering if what I offer could be one of those "chances"

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Who is good at maths?

Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers cites a theory that you could preside someones maths ability from the length of time that they spend wrestling with a problem.

I am excited to think that perhaps I struggle with maths not because I am not capable but because I am not spending enough time.

Is this what happens in the therapy room? Ring fencing time to think usefully about problems and allowing ourselves to find a way forward that's right for us?

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, 13 January 2009


I have been listening to Malcolm Gladwells book "Outliers" as an audio book from today and really enjoying it.

He describes success not being the product of an outstanding individual rising effortlessly to the top of their field but as a "good enough" individul accruing advantages through such things as heritage, early family life, coaching, practice and opportunity.

I am wondering whether counselling could become one of those advantages, or even make up for the lack of some of those advantages?

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Well ... its the new year and I am starting it by chilling out ... I think :)

Spending some time gardening in Second Life and you can see some of the results in the pic here.

Just realising how much my creative juices can be stifled as I worry about putting tree's in the "right" places, managed to loosen that a little and put some out randomly, how risky hehe

Feels good to start the year in the garden!

Have a good one!