How images and symbols can create profound and illuminating insights
“I’ve been to see lots of therapists in the past and none of them have ever helped me.” This was the opening statement of my new client Melissa, a successful accountant in her late forties who came to visit my practice one afternoon.
“What is it that you need help with?” I asked her.
“I can’t speak about it,” she said, “I’ve never told anyone before and it’s just too terrible to speak about”.
Psychological and Behavioural Assessment and Treatment Strategies for People with Sleeping Problems and Insomnia
Teaching the World to Sleep was written on the back of a presentation delivered to a group of around 120 psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors and others in London in December 2014. This presentation had been delivered many times over the previous decade, mostly to healthcare professionals and, on occasion, to members of the public and other interested parties. At the event in London in December 2014 there was, sitting in the audience, an associate editor from Karnac. After the event Rod Tweedy, editor-in-chief at Karnac, contacted me and suggested that I might consider translating the presentation that his associate had heard into a book for Karnac to publish. I roughed-out an outline for the book and, in due course, contracts were signed and the work was commissioned by Karnac in February 2015. Writing took one-year and the final manuscript went to publication in November 2016, after some great support from Rod Tweedy, Constance Govindin, Cecily Blench, Kate Pearce, Oliver Rathbone and the rest of the team at Karnac.
Regressing to move forwards
My search for healing began many years ago, when I was experiencing unhappiness and extreme anxiety with panic attacks. I entered into a therapeutic relationship which at the time was supportive and useful and helped me through some difficult times. Some years later I trained in psychotherapy, partly to understand myself, and entered into therapy again. This time the work was at greater depth and began to address the source of my pain, my early infancy and the relationships in my family. During my training I came to understand my object relations and the failed dependency I had experienced in infancy and so continued to search for. Fortunately for me, my therapist was open to wherever I wanted to go and was not afraid of my developing dependency. This relationship and my response to it has healed me. My personal interest and my need to develop my practice to aid clients with similar difficulties led to my research into this area, and to my book – Better Late Than Never.
Living in the Breath: Breathing as a tool for professionals in health care, interpersonal work, teaching and guidance
When introducing people to the breathing school method, I have often started by describing my professional background and the history of psychophysical breathing therapy, because I believe these explain why I use breathing as an important tool and pathway in my psychotherapeutic work.
The Objectified Body as a Transitional Object in Anorexia and Body Dysmorphic Disorders
False Bodies, True Selves: Moving Beyond Appearance-Focused Identity Struggles and Returning the the True Self is a book embedded in Donald Winnicott’s idea of the false self and true Self. Winnicott, an English paediatrician and psychoanalyst writing in the 1950s and 60s, described the development of a false self within the mother-infant relationship when the infant’s spontaneous impulses are met with non-acceptance.
Symptom as symbol: the metaphors of the soul’s true story
Many psychotherapists and general medical practitioners subscribe to the popular understanding that psychotherapy is a treatment for those suffering from mental health problems. They earnestly believe that psychotherapy might offer some relief and insight to those patients who are suffering from problems that do not respond well to mainstream biologically based medical treatments. They value the fact that its effectiveness can be demonstrated by an evidence base, and consider it to be an important addition to the repertoire of mainstream medicine.
Healing Between the Lines: How doing and being go hand-in-hand
My book (I feel inclined to say “my first book”), Being With and Saying Goodbye, has just been published and is on the shelves. This is an exciting, but teetering, position from which to reflect; I am still asking myself if the book is any good. True, Karnac Books invested in it and I still bask in the extremely positive comments of the book’s endorsers. The only criticism I have received so far has been that the book may reflect an unrealistic hope, and that the first chapter might give the impression that the whole is about Zen Buddhism.