Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Working Clinically with Developmental Trauma

Advance notice of a four day course being held at the University of Wales Newport facilitated by Dr Dan Hughes.

Dr Dan Hughes is a clinician specialising in the treatment of children and young people with severe emotional and behavioural problems, many of whom have histories of abuse, neglect and multiple losses. His method is family-centred, with the parents actively involved in their child’s treatment.

This looks like being a very special event and you can find more derails here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Reflections in Counselling (2nd Ed)

I'm in the process of creating trailers for my Counselling DVDs Shop - here's one I've just made for one that's not a DVD, but a CD Rom - Reflections in Counselling.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Paths to Wellbeing

Many thanks to Alex for pointing this one out. The NHS "Paths to Wellbeing" site offers a series of MP3 files for relaxation - covering a range of themes - beach, cloud, forest etc - and in a range of languages.

You can find them here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Counselling DVDs

Exciting day for me. More than ten years ago I made Newport's first commercial counselling video with Amelia Lyons. It was called "The Client, the Counsellor and the Unsuitable Friend" and we were pretty pleased with it. Since then making videos - and then DVDs - has become a pretty regular part of my life. So much so that when I left Newport this Summer there was a portfolio of some eighteen titles available that we were selling throughout the UK and, to some extent, throughout the world.

I've now taken over responsibility for managing the existing titles and developing new ones, and today I'm launching my new web shop. To be honest there are a few more things I want to do to it - creating more trailers, building up more resources and so on, but I think it's good enough to go now.

I shall certainly be using this blog to publicise the new titles as they come along - first one looks like it'll be another with Peter Jenkins - but in the meantime why not pay a visit to the shop and tell me what you think?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nothing to do with counselling but.....

a little appreciation of a very pleasing architectural joke that I used to see pretty much every day at the University of Wales, Newport. I've always assumed that it's a piece of graffiti and, if so, the student who did it (of course I'm making assumptions here, staff can do graffiti too) must be long gone. Used to make me smile every time I walked past it. You may need to click on the picture to see the joke.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

An infant's first months

Interesting article in the Guardian yesterday outlining the importance of "responsiveness of care" in the early months of an infant's life. Though she's not mentioned, this obviously resonates with some of Sue Gerhardt's work. You can read the full article here 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Peter Jenkins Workshop

Peter Jenkins, the author of UWCN's latest DVD "A Confidential Space" is returning to Newport on the 11th of November to run a workshop on "Counselling, Ethics and the Law". Anyone who's seen Peter speak before - or who's seen the DVD - will know that this is an opportunity not to be missed. The workshops runs from 2 to 4.30 pm and further details can be obtained from the Conference Centre at 01633-432991 or by email.

OCTIA Conference - 17th March 2012

Advance notice of OCTIA's 2012 conference "Online Therapy - The Power of Words and Imagery in Practice" which will take place at Bristol's Watershed on 17th March 2012. There's an increasing interest in online therapy and this looks well worth attending. More information at www.octia.org.uk.

Funny old world, I used to spend a lot of time rollerskating at the Watershed in the 80's......

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Power of Vulnerability

Very many thanks to Alex for bringing this to our attention via SWENT - a video of Brene Brown speaking at a TED event on the power of vulnerability. Love, relationship, connectedness - it's all here -

If you haven't heard about the TED talks then you're really in for a treat, just find you way to their website and start browsing!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Are you Good or Evil?

Fascinating programme on Horizon this week. To quote the BBC -

"What makes us good our evil? It's a simple but deeply unsettling question. One that scientists are now starting to answer. Horizon meets the researchers who have studied some of the most terrifying people behind bars - psychopathic killers. But there was a shock in store for one of these scientists, Professor Jim Fallon, when he discovered that he had the profile of a psychopath. And the reason he didn't turn out to be a killer holds important lessons for all of us. We meet the scientist who believes he has found the moral molecule and the man who is using this new understanding to rewrite our ideas of crime and punishment."

Currently available on the iPlayer for the next 12 days - just click here - but for much longer for those able to access BOB.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Freedom to Heal: Working with Male Survivors of Abuse

Saturday 12th November 2011, 10.00am - 4.30pm
Mike Lew ‘A Freedom to Heal: Working with Male Survivors of Abuse’ One day Awareness Conference

Sunday 13th November 2011, 10.00am - 4.30pm
Mike Lew ‘Victims No Longer’ One day Workshop for Male Survivors

North Wales border – Glyndwr University Wrexham

Mike Lew has worked with thousands of men and women in their healing from the effects of childhood sexual abuse, rape, physical violence, emotional abuse and neglect. His publications include, ‘Victims No Longer’, the first book written specifically for men recovering from childhood sexual abuse, and it continues to earn praise for both its clinical expertise and compassionate tone.  The book educates survivors and professionals about the recovery process, speaking to the pain, needs, fears and hopes of the survivor.

The video above should give you a flavour of Mike and his work.
Further information about the conference from  www.ffynnonppd.co.uk.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Giffords Circus

This has got nothing to do with counselling. It's a piece of advice, so clearly nothing to do with counselling. The advice is this - if you get the chance go to see Giffords Circus. If you don't get the chance, then make it. A cross between theatre, circus and musical, it's absolutely magical. I'm tempted to say that if you don't like it I'll give you your money back myself. The link you'll need is here.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Slippery Slope

Juliet Grayson is running a workshop in Chepstow on October 21st for anyone who finds themselves acting out sexually in an inappropriate way.  The course is called ‘Slippery Slope’ and details are below.  I am sending this to you in case any of you know of clients or people who may be struggling with these areas and need some help/support.  If so please make contact or invite them to attend.   More info on http://www.sexuallyinappropriatebehaviour.org/

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

BOB's your best friend!

I've now left Newport - after some 21 years - and my old blog will be closed in a couple of days time. I've now idea how many Newport students will be follow this blog but I hope that those that do will still find something interesting. This posting is probably only of interest to them - though students at other universities may also find it worth following up -

BOB (Box of Broadcasts) is an incredibly useful resource that allows you to watch, record and archive TV and radio programmes from over fifty freeview television and radio channels.  BOB is available to all University staff, researchers and students. It is available on or off campus but is not available outside the United Kingdom. 

Searching and viewing: You can search for programmes which other users have recorded or see other peoples clips and playlists. Your search results will be displayed as a list of programmes. To view, click on the programme thumbnail and click on the on screen 'click to play' option.
 Recording: There are two ways to find a TV or radio programme to record - you can either perform a search for a keyword or programme title in the search box, or look through a 7 day programme guide to find the programme you want. Users are limited to 3 programmes requests per day.
 Creating playlists and clips: Playlists can be used to collect and manage a number of related programmes. They might be related by title (all belong to the same series), or by topic (Politics etc). Clips can be created from longer programmes for lectures or tutorials.
 MyBob: Is your user account area where you can access and manage your recordings.
How can you access this? You simply need a computer with a broadband connection and an ATHENS account, and you can find out about that here. You can find out more about BOB here. Try putting the word "counselling" into BOB's search box, or "psychotherapy", and see what you find. Clearly this is an academic resource but from looking at the most highly rated playlists that's not all people are using it for - unless an awful lot of them are doing research on The Wire, Blade and NHRA Drag Racing!

It may be that the links above will only work if you're linked in to Newport's system - I'm sorry if that's the case, but it's still worth finding out whether you can gain access to BOB - it's a brilliant system

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sexual Minority Therapy

From Pink Therapy -

Do you offer counselling or psychotherapy to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender clients?
Are you confident that you have had sufficient knowledge and training to work competently with sexual minority clients?
Are you knowledgable about working with a wide range of gender and sexual minorities from different social, and cultural backgrounds? Intersectionality, shame, complexities of coming out are all crucial issues to be familiar with.

Pink Therapy would like invite you to undertake our well respected Six-day Essentials in Sexual Minority Therapy. This 3 weekend training programme is  BACP endorsed. It is also a core component to our year long Certificate in Sexual Minority Therapy accredited by the Middlesex University (we still have a couple of places left for this Sept 2011 intake, interview dates have been set and so please contact us soon if you want to join the programme).
The Essentials program includes:
Sat 22 Oct: Contemporary Models of Sexual & Gender Diversity - with Dominic Davies & Lyndsey Moon
Sun 23 Oct: Developing Models of Sexual Minority Therapy - with Dominic Davies & Lyndsey Moon
Sat 19 Nov: Working with Shame and Internalised Oppression - with Tim Foskett
Sun 20 Nov: Understanding Externalised Oppression and Intersecting Identities - with Havva Mustafa
Sat 10 Dec: Coming Out issues - with Deirdre Haslam
Sun 11 Dec: Professional and Ethical Issues & Resources - with Dominic Davies

What previous participants said about this training:

"This course really has been ESSENTIAL to my personal and professional development as a gay man and a counsellor to Gender and Sexual Minority clients. What a bonus to find a group and space where I belong."
"It will underpin the work I am currently doing..."
"It's good to have the opportunity to explore those issues, be challenged but also affirmed."
"I would like to encourage more heterosexual therapists to come along."

This is an intensive learning experience and there will be extensive guided pre-course and post course reading which is optional and encouraged.

Fees are £600 for all six days or £220 per w/e for members of the Directory of Pink Therapist (£240 per weekend for non-Directory members)  Priority given to whole course bookings and for weekend modules.

For all details and a booking form: http://www.pinktherapy.com/training/essentials

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Black Men on the Couch

From UKCP -

Despite attempts within the psychotherapy and counselling profession to achieve change,  there are still very few Black psychotherapists and the same is true of those who seek therapy. The UKCP’s Diversity, Equality and Social Responsibility Committee present Black Men on the Couch, the first of a series of events aiming to change the status quo surrounding counselling and psychotherapy and open it up to those who would previously have never considered it, either for themselves or as a profession.

Join us for this unique event at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, where we’ll be in conversation with black men in the public eye about their challenges and successes and their views on the value of talking therapies. During the evening, the audience will be invited to ask questions of our guests(s) and the therapist.

Afterwards, there will be an opportunity for networking and a chance to find out some more about the world of counselling and psychotherapy.

Ticket prices: £10 or £5 concessions
To book your ticket, please contact the
Theatre Royal Stratford East Box Office
T: 020 8534 0310 (open Mon – Sat, 10am –6pm)
Typetalk: 07972 918 050
E: tickets@stratfordeast.com
W: http://www.stratfordeast.com/
For further information please contact: events@ukcp.org.uk · 020 7014 9966 or visit our website: www.ukcp.org.uk/events

Monday, June 27, 2011

Talk in the Bay

Here's Talk in the Bay's workshop programme for 2011-12 - looks like there are some interesting events going on.

10/09/11 or 21/04/12 - The Psychology of Sexual Offenders and the Impact on Survivors – Part 1 (this is a stand alone workshop)
08/10/11 or 09/06/12 - Understanding PTSD and Working with Flashbacks
15/10/11 - Honing your CBT Skills with Clients: An Experiential Workshop
22/10/11 or 12/05/12 - The Psychology of Sexual Offenders and the Impact on Survivors – Part 2 (attendance at part 1 is recommended)
12/11/11 or 14/07/12 - Resilience Training: Helping Clients Find Lifetime Coping Strategies
28/01/12 - Understanding Personality Disorders
11/02/12 - Motivational Interviewing
25/02/12 or 16/06/12 - Let’s Talk about Sex: Discussing sex, intimacy and relationships with clients
10/03/12 & 11/03/12 - An Introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (2 day workshop)
15/04/12 - Understanding and Working with Anxiety and Panic

Cost: £75.00 (£150.00 for 2 day workshop) including a light lunch
Book and pay for 2 or more workshops together and save 10%
For further information and terms and conditions visit www.talkinthebay.co.uk
Enquiries: e-mail talk-in-the-bay@hotmail.co.uk or telephone Allyson on 07753180166

Friday, June 24, 2011

Unashamed Self Promotion

OK, a little ashamed at least! Just to say that I'm setting up a business creating simple web sites for therapists. It's called, wait for it, "Simple Sites for Therapists" and you can find more details here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Very new DVDs of very old tapes!

We've now reached the point where it seems as if nobody is using VHS tapes anymore, so when the library prepared for it's move from the AYY campus it told us that it was going to start disposing (ie putting in the bin) a number of VHS tapes which, though once popular, were no longer being taken out.

 Francesca Inskipp & Brigid Proctor
This seemed to be a bit of a shame, so we've had a number of the tapes transferred to DVD. These are not commercial products but simply records of things that have taken place at Newport over the years. For the most part they're of very poor technical quality but they should still be of interest. The following DVDs will be finding their way back to the library over the next couple of weeks -

Brigid Proctor & Francesca Inskipp filmed in 2006 running a workshop on "making the most of supervision.
Gerard Egan running a workshop in 2001
The Smoking Tapes - the work that formed the basis of our first commercial product "The Client, the Counsellor and the Unsuitable Friend"
Michael Jacobs running a workshop in 2003
Windy Dryden running a workshop in 2002
Pete Sanders running a workshop in 2004

I think it's fair to say that the technical quality improves as time goes by but it's still very much the message that should impress you rather than the medium!

Praying away the Gay

Interestng article in the Guardian recently describing how an undercover journalist visited a therapist with the wish to be "treated" for his homesexuality. This resulted in a BACP hearing which concluded that the therapist had demeonstrated "professional malpractice". I learnt about this via the South Wales Email Network of Therapists bulletin board -  Interesting stuff, and thank you to Alex for bringing it to our attention.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tragic Life Stories

Just looking for something else (always the way) when I came across this, a photo I'd taken in W H Smith's a year or two ago. I found myself being vaguely bewildered. A section for tragic life stories.....interesting stuff.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wonderland: The trouble with Love and Sex

Just watched the programme which I'd recorded earlier in the week and thought it was excellent. Informative, funny and moving. I'd strongly recommend it and you can catch it on the BBC iPlayer here. I'm not sure how long it will be up there but if you're a student at the University of Wales, Newport, then you can also catch up with it on BOB - Box of Broadcasts. If you're not sure what that is you can find further details back on my old blog here

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Boundaries and Electric Fences

 Our garden sits right next to many acres of farmland, and is divided from that by a fence. Last year we planted a hedge against the fence - hawthorn, blackthorn, holly and so on - to act as a habitat for wildlife. Until recently the other side of the fence has been the home to potatoes, oil seed rape and cereal, but a few weeks ago things changed - we now have thirteen Hereford bullocks as neighbours. They look great, and we enjoy watching them. They, in their turn, enjoy our hedge. It had grown to about three feet high before they arrived but very quickly went down to half that.

I took action. First I shouted at them. They shifted from foot to foot a little and regarded me with keen interest, but nothing much else happened. I went into the field and waved my arms about. They moved, but only towards a different part of the hedge. I tried shouting. Nothing. I think one of them may have huffed a bit. Ultimately we took advice and bought an electric fence.

The Herefords learnt about it incredibly quickly. One by one they approached it, ignored it, went for the hedge, got a shock and quickly jumped back. I don't like causing animals pain of any sort - I've been a vegetarian for the best part of fourty years - but it really does seem that with a minimum amount of discomfort they've learnt that our hedge is off limits. This got me thinking about boundaries and bringing up children.

If we want out children to behave appropriately then we have to help them to do that. The Free Child of TA theory is no respecter of other people's feelings or property, and that child has to learn - has to become "adapted" to some extent - if it's to fit into our society. We help them to make this transition by getting them to understand what's acceptable and what's not. We set boundaries and try to get them to observe them. "If you do that again", we say, "then you won't be going to Zoe's party this afternoon". If the child does that - again - and we don't take them to the party then they learn something about consequences. If we do take them to the party then they learn something quite different - that our threats are hollow, and can be safely ignored. They push the boundaries, we shout and wave our arms about, but no learning takes place. A vicious circle starts to develop whereby child care becomes more and more of a challenge.

I'm not advocating the use of electric fences as a means of child control, but there is a parallel here. With firm boundaries everyone knows where they are. With no boundaries we're all in trouble. Us because our children become more and more demanding, them because they're not learning to fit into society. Our Herefords have settled into an easy relationship with the boundary we've given them. They know where it is and respect it. I've not see one of them stung by the fence since the day we installed it, and they haven't seen me waving my arms about and shouting. Life in our part of rural Herefordshire is calm again.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wonderland: The Trouble with Love and Sex

This is a TV programme that looks like it could well be worth watching. It's on BBC2 on Wednesday 11th May at 9pm. To quote the BBC - 

"The first full-length animated documentary made for British television takes us inside the counselling rooms of Relate, as clients wrestle with champagne soaked fantasies and impotence, with dark family secrets and shocking confessions of infidelity.
With their true identities hidden behind the animation, thirty-somethings Ian and Mandy reveal they can barely stand to be in the same room together. Long-term singleton and serial romantic Dave is falling in love with yet another woman he can't bring himself to ask out. And fifty-one year old Iain is struggling to work out why his wife isn't having sex with him. Can Relate counselling help any of them"

I've got a lot of time for Relate. I worked for them as a counsellor, trainer and training development officer in the late eighties and nineties, and was a client with them before that too, so I've pretty much got the full set! There's something very exciting about working with a relationship in the room, and I'm now wondering whether I'd like to go back to that sort of work again. Either way, this is a programme that I'll be watching.

You can find out more about the programme here and here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Students' thoughts wanted

I've been working on a book for counselling trainers for a number of years now and have finally completed it and had it accepted by a publisher - something that I'm pretty pleased about. I say "completed" but one thing I'd really like to add is some comments from people who are going through - or who have gone through - counselling training. My book covers a number of clearly identified topics - everything from Anxiety to Videoing, with Handbooks, Registers, Regulations and a good deal more in between - and I'm looking for people to give me very brief comments on their experiences relating to those topics. If you had a residential weekend what's your strongest memory of it? How do you feel about skills assessments? and so on.

I'm interested in hearing from any students (or ex students, come to that) who would like to take part, so please contact me if you'd like to. Maybe I should stress that this is not a course evaluation. Though your comments might be similar to those you might give in an evaluation the purpose here is very different - it's to help me with my book rather than to give your lecturers an insight into how they could make your course better.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Pretty much every counsellor gets to see the "Gloria Tapes" at some time in their training. One Client and three therapists who were absolute giants of their time - Rogers, Perls and Ellis. I've watched them dozens of times over the years and learn something new every time. I love Perls's reference to "The safe emergency of the consulting room". This is where it's safe to take risks. Here's one clip for you to watch - of Carl Rogers - but a quick search of Youtube will find you segments from the whole programme - including that Perls clip.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding

I probably need to get out more. When I wasn't pondering around various issues relating to transference - who are these people? who do they represent? how are the significant to us? etc etc I was envying the brilliant remote control video cameras the BBC were using in the Abbey.

I tried doing something vaguely similar with the "Creative Exercises In Group Supervision" DVD I made some years ago with Brigid Proctor and Francesca Inskipp. We wedged a domestic camera into the studio roof, switched it on and hoped for the best. The system at the wedding was just a little more sophisticated. Think what sort of video we could make of a Personal Development Group with a few of those BBC cameras.......

A Confidential Space

The latest DVD, "A Confidential Space - Ethical Considerations when Counselling Children and Young People" is now on the market and it looks as if it's going to be well received. The DVD features an interview with Peter Jenkins (by Judith Mulcahy) on the issues relating to confidentiality in therapeutic work with children and young people. This is a complex topic, but Peter conveys some key messages about the value of this counselling with force and clarity. The interview covers a broad range of issues which will be of direct value to practitioners in this challenging field, whether as therapists, trainers, lecturers, managers or supervisors. Peter provides a strong case for building and maintaining high levels of confidentiality in therapeutic work with children and young people, based on research findings and on recent case law.

The DVD is available from our online shop but, as ever, students at  the University of Wales, Newport, will be able to take out a copy from the library.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Another Year

I've just been watching Mike Leigh's new film "Another Year'. It's one I'd strongly recommend and you can find out more at IMDB (which I'd also recommend!). I'd be interested to hear what you make of the counsellor we see working at the start of the film - she's played by the incomparable Ruth Sheen but I'm not sure that I'd want her as my therapist!