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ABC Coaching and Counselling Services, in Hebden Bridge HX7 8HJ, near Halifax, West Yorkshire

And all over the world via Skype, email and the telephone system

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For counselling, coaching and psychotherapy help with anger management; stress management; couples therapy; self-assertion; lifestyle issues (like diet, exercise and sleep); self-confidence and self-esteem; and also anxiety and depression problems.

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Living the Good Life

“How to live well?”  That must surely be the most important question for a human being.

“Why?”  Because if you learn how to live well, you will be rewarded with optimum levels of health, happiness, personal success, connection to good people, and feelings of wellbeing and joy.

And why do I mention this here?  Because this question – “How do I live well?” – is central to the journey that I have been on, with Renata, my wife and best friend, for the past 38 years.

In that time, we have learned a lot about how to live well. And that is the core of what we teach to our counselling and coaching clients; and that is what we describe and publish in our books and blogs.

Do you want to improve your ability to answer that question with wisdom: “How can I live well?”

Or perhaps you are wondering: “How can I improve my life’s direction, or my sense of personal satisfaction as a good, moral, successful person, in a joyful relationship?”

If so, then we can help you!

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Learning to manage your stress response is an important element of Lifestyle Counselling and self-management:

“Don’t save your stress management (strategies) for the weekend, or for when you’re on hold on the phone for thirty seconds.  Take time to do it almost daily. …Eighty percent of the stress reduction is accomplished with the first 20% of effort”.

Robert Sapolsky

(And it is important to note that stress management strategies include: deep breathing [belly breathing]; daily physical exercise [and avoidance of sitting around for too long]; reducing caffeine, sugar, alcohol; moving slowly (not rushing!); listening to relaxing audio hypnosis programs; getting adequate sleep; having positive relationships with significant others; and re-framing experiences so they seem less extreme).

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⊕ About Us:

Hello, Our names are Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne.

We provide counselling, coaching and psychotherapy services in Hebden Bridge, and also over the telephone system anywhere in the world (apart from California).

Between us we have more than 50 years’ experience of helping people to overcome their emotional, behavioural and relationship problems.

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♣  About Dr Jim Byrne

DrJimCounselling002Hi, I’m Jim.  I’ve been in private practice as a counsellor, coach, psychotherapist, for the past twenty years.

In that time I’ve helped more than 1,000 people to overcome problems of anxiety, anger, depression, couple conflict, and general life transition difficulties.

I have a doctoral degree in counselling; a master’s degree in education; and a diploma in counselling psychology and psychotherapy; as well as certificates in counselling, including cognitive behavioural therapy.

To find out more about my counselling and therapy services, please click this link: Dr Jim’s Counselling Division.

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♦  Info pack for Face to Face clients in Hebden Bridge

If you want to consult me in Hebden Bridge, then this information pack will tell you everything you need to know about me in order to make your decision; to know my fees; and my location; my accreditations; etc.

You might also want to look at the following pages:

♦   Schedule of fees for counselling services

See the new reduced fees schedule…

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♦   Counselling client testimonials

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♦   Dr Jim’s accreditations, and ethics codes

I am a Fellow of the International Society of Professional Counsellors (FISPC)

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♦   Dr Jim’s blog

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♦   Jim Byrne’s Doctoral Thesis

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♦  Jim’s autobiographical novel

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Although Dr Albert Ellis and Dr Tim Beck argued that our emotional distress is caused by our own thoughts and beliefs, in E-CENT counselling we argue that emotional disturbances are multi-causal phenomena.  Some of the causal factors determining our emotional state include diet, exercise, gut bacteria, self-talk (or self-story), environmental restimulation of feelings from the past, relaxation, meditation, current relationships, historic relationships, and general environmental stressors, etc.  Here is a brief insight into the gut-brain-emotion axis:

“Anyone who has ever felt nauseous or lost their appetite because of grief, fear or shock, knows that stress has an impact on the gut.  It has been more than a decade since animal studies began making the correlation between stress and changes in gut microbes.  The connection between stress, depression and anxiety is well established, and dozens of studies are now looking at how these conditions affect bugs in the gut.  The big questions – such as which comes first, the microbe shift or the depression – have yet to be answered. Because it’s a two-way street, though, it looks as if correcting the gut microbiome (or gut bacteria population, variety and balance JWB) could be a new way to treat depression”.  (Footnote: Dinan, T.G. and Cryan, J.F. 2013, Sept; 25(9): Pages 713-719: Melancholic microbes: a link between gut microbiota and depression?  Available online).

Quotation from: Celeste McGovern (2017) Bugs in the system. What Doctors Don’t Tell You, Jan 2017, Pages 28-36).

Comment: Our way of understanding this new research is this: Food is probably going to prove to be the best medicine for emotional distress (all other things being equal – including general stress level, current relationships, historic relationships, regular physical exercise, sleep pattern, and so on.  Holistic. Holistic. Holistic!)  And supplementation with friendly gut bacteria, combined with eating the right kinds of foods will prove to be important.  Big Pharma’s drugs for emotional distress have proved to be a social disaster!

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♣   About Renata Taylor-Byrne

Nata-Lifestyle-coach92Hi, I’m Renata. I’ve been in the ‘people growing’ business for more than 35 years.  This has involved teaching, coaching, mentoring and counselling.

For the past six years I’ve been a freelance coach-counsellor at ABC Coaching and Counselling Services.

Over the years, I’ve helped many people with problems of stress management; improving self-confidence and self-esteem; self-assertion and interpersonal communication skills; and lifestyle coaching, including diet, exercise and sleep problems.  To find out more about my services, please click this link: Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division.

Please take a look at the following pages for extra information about my services:

♦   Accreditations, and ethics codes, RTB

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♦   Coaching-Counselling fees scale

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♦  Contact details and location

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Shakespeare knew the important of sleep for “knitting up the ravelled sleeve of care”; but Donald Trump thinks he is doing well on five hours sleep per night!  (He’s not!)

“Far more of our age-related physical and mental health ailments are related to sleep impairment than either we or many doctors truly realise or treat seriously”.

Matthew Walker

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♣   Further information about: Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division

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♦  Couples therapy in Hebden Bridge

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♦  Anger management counselling

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♦  Depression counselling

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♦  Anxiety counselling

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♦  Personal transformation

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♦  Habits and change

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♦  Telephone counselling, plus email and Skype

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◊ Telephone counselling with Dr Jim

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◊ Email Counselling

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◊ Skype-and-webcam counselling

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♦  Counselling supervision services

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♦ Coaching for writers / authors and other creators…

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Our breath is our primary connection to life.  Break it, and we’re dead.  Reduce it and we become ill!

“Fifteen minutes of slow, regulated, deep breathing gives an immediate boost to blood circulation, lowers blood pressure, alkalizes and oxygenates the blood stream, stimulates glandular secretions, improves digestive functions and activates detox and immune responses throughout the body by switching the nervous system into the healing parasympathetic mode”.

Daniel Reid

(This practice can be combined with daily meditation, or with exercise systems like yoga and Chi Kung).

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♣  More information on: Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division

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♦  Intro to Renata’s Coaching Division

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♦   Stress management in Hebden Bridge

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♦  Renata’s blog

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♦  Private tuition in life skills

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Helpful philosophy of life: Epictetus was a Stoic philosopher in ancient Rome.  He promoted some very helpful insights into how to cope with adversity, but some of his advice goes too far.  Here is an example of one of his more moderate and helpful views:

“They are wise people who do not grieve for the things which they have not, but rejoice for those which they have”.

Epictetus

(In E-CENT counselling we teach our clients this lesson: Gratitude can reduce depression, while lamenting losses excessively or inappropriately can induce depression!)

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⊕ ABC Newsletter

We issue occasional newsletters to keep our readers informed of recent developments.

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 Benefits of E-CENT Counselling

Take a look at what you could gain from consulting one of us for help with your current problems.

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⊕ Books on E-CENT counselling and related subjects

♣  Paperback books.***

♣  eBooks on Narrative Therapy and Therapeutic Writing.***

♣  Dr Jim’s autobiographical novel: Metal Dog – Long Road Home.***

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E-CENT counselling theory teaches us to accept our lives; to choose modestly and wisely; and then to leave reality alone.  ‘Mindfulness’; ‘embracing your present reality’; and ‘completing your experience’, all turn out to be the same process. Or as Barry Magid writes, we find it hard to just leave things alone, and accept them as they are: “For most of us, leaving things alone turns out to be hard work!  Without the hard work, we don’t seem to be able to leave our life alone and just live.  Faced with the dilemma of suffering, consciously and unconsciously, we seek an antidote or an escape.  And by seeking to escape our suffering we turn our life inside out, contorting our ‘ordinary mind’ into an ‘isolated mind’ that seeks to distance, control, and dissociate an inner ‘me’ from outer ‘pain’.” 

Barry Magid (Quoted in 365 Nirvana: Here and now, compiled by Josh Baran, page 37).

Dr Jim’s comment: When we have taken all the available steps to fix our lives, we have to give up control.  We never had ultimate control over our own lives anyway.  As the moderate Stoic position has it: “We are actors in a play that the manager directs!” And we should only try to control what seems reasonably within our control.

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⊕ Contact us – how to

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⊕ Free Resources

♣  Counselling, psychotherapy and human emotions

♣  Transactional Analysis

♣  REBT: The limitations and errors in this system of counselling and psychotherapy

♣  Writing Therapy Guidelines

♣  Zen Tigers and Dale Carnegie – Or how to control your anxiety and stress

♣ The E-CENT Stress and Anxiety Diet

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E-CENT Counselling focuses on the whole person – the body-brain-mind-environment totality.  We care about your diet, exercise program, relaxation, life balance, and various other factors.  For example, we do not overlook your philosophy of life: “Anybody can read philosophy uncritically, and believe what they read.  But we must develop the ability to critically evaluate what we read.  For example, when Epictetus writes (in the Enchiridion) that people are not upset by their experiences of life, but rather by their evaluations of those experiences, it is important to know the contrary view from Epicurus, which teaches us that ’the cry of the flesh’ to be free from hunger, cold and thirst, is far louder than our weak, little mental evaluations of hunger, cold and thirst!”

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, Creator of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT) – January 2017

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⊕ How to find us, in Hebden Bridge

We are based at 27 Wood End – which is on Keighley Road – just above the Nutclough tavern, but on the left-hand side of the road.  No. 27 is the first house on the Wood End block. How to find us.

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⊕ REBT Pages

We were both trained in Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), which was the original form of CBT.  However, we have both moved on in recent years, into a much broader form of Lifestyle Counselling and Coaching, which straddles all of the major schools of thought in the world of counselling, plus health coaching, nutritional psychiatry, affect regulation theory, attachment theory, and much more besides. In the processing of finding our way out of REBT, we produced a lot of analyses, as follows:

♣ 1. REBT: The limitations and errors in this system of counselling and psychotherapy

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♣ 2. Albert Ellis – A wounded psychotherapist

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♣ 3. Unfit for Purpose: The case against Rational Emotive and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (RE & CBT)

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Acceptance of the inevitable or unavoidable is a key Lifestyle Counselling strategy:

“Be willing to have it be so (meaning, to allow things to be as they are). Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune”

William James

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⊕ Links pages

In order to provide excellent value to our website readers, we have compiled 7 web pages of links to helpful resources in the fields of counselling, coaching, psychotherapy, psychology, alternative health issues, personal development, and much more besides.

♣  Counselling and Psychotherapy links

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♣  Our top 20 coaching links

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♣  Psychology links

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♣  Our top 20 Personal Development links

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♣  Alternative health and related issues

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♣  Hebden Bridge and West Yorkshire sites of public interest

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♣  Other sites of interest

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♣  Counsellors, coaches and psychotherapists in Hebden Bridge

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We hope your enjoy your visit to this web site! 🙂

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In E-CENT counselling and psychotherapy theory, we teach our clients that the body is primary; that the innate emotions are prior to our cultural beliefs, thoughts and perceptions.  We agree with Havi Carel’s view, where she writes: “(René) Descartes defined us as thinking, abstract souls… (But) Merleau-Ponty’s aim was to correct this erroneous view and … to emphasize the inseparability of body and mind, of thinking and perceiving… We cannot divide a person into a mental and a physical part, because the two are de facto inseparable.” Havi Carel, Illness, Page 25.

Dr Jim’s comment: Therefore, a purely ‘talking cure’ is not holistic enough; not complete enough; not adequate enough.  We need counselling and therapy approaches which include a knowledge of diet, exercise, self-talk, relaxation, meditation, relationship security, political awareness, philosophical healing, and much more besides. 

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Work binds us to sanity

“As a physician, I have had the happiness of seeing work cure many persons suffering from (profound psychological difficulties)… (This kind of cure) … results from overmastering doubts, hesitations and fear. … Courage is given to us by our work is like the self-reliance which Emerson has made forever famous”.

Dr Richard C. Cabot

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Footer information

Blue-logo7ABC Coaching and Counselling Services, 27 Wood End, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8HJ, UK. Established since November 1998.

If you want to write to us, then please use our official address above, as used by the Post Office: (27 Wood End, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8HJ, West Yorkshire, UK).

But if searching for us on Google Maps, try 27 Keighley Road.  (Because Google Maps messed up the mapping of this area!)

On the other hand, if you are using a Satnav system, sometimes 27 Wood End will find us, and sometimes 27 Keighley Road.  (Sorry it’s so complicated).

Telephone: 01422 843 629 (UK): 44 1422 843 629 (from outside the UK)

Or email us: Jim Byrne

or

Renata Taylor-Byrne

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We teach our counselling and coaching clients the following lesson: If you did not have a body, you would have nowhere to experience sensations, feelings, and hence, emotions.  “Grumpiness, happiness, insecurity, wellbeing, and worry do not originate in isolation in the mind.  We are human beings, with arms and legs, genitals, a heart, lungs, and a gut.  Science’s concentration on the brain has long blinded us to the fact that our ‘self’ is made up of more than just our grey matter.  Recent gut research has contributed significantly to a new, cautious questioning of the philosophical proposition (from Descartes – JWB), ‘I think, therefore I am’.” Giulia Enders, page 131.

Our brain creates an internal map (or movie) of every aspect of our felt, physical existence, (and our feelings about those sensations), which is managed from an area of the brain called the insula.  “It may be time to expand René Descartes’ proposition along these lines: ‘I feel, then I think, therefore I am’.” Giulia Enders, page 133.

Giulia Enders (2014) Gut: The inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ.  London, Scribe.

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Dr Jim’s comment: “Perhaps I am just this physical organism, with all of its cumulative, interpretive experiences, including internalized representations of good and bad aspects of significant others (e.g. mother, father, etc.) and all of my good and bad adaptations towards them, and all of my good and bad reactions and rebellions against them, which gave rise to my Internal Working Models of how they related to me, and how I related to them – including my attachment style(s) and my personality adaptation(s).  All of which is stored in long-term memory, in the form of electro-chemical representations of schemas, scripts, stories, frames and other narrativized and non-narrativized elements; below the level of conscious awareness; and permanently beyond direct conscious inspection”.  But also my history of eating, drinking, exercising, relaxing, and so on.

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Persistence is one of the most important aspects of the quest for success in any area of life:

“Giving up on your goal because of a setback is like slashing the other three tyres (on your car) because you had (one punctured tyre)”.

Allan and Barbara Pease

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Counselling and coaching ethics: We operate according to a range of ethical codes – see our respective divisional pages for details.

We provide highly effective and highly rated coaching and counselling and psychotherapy services for adults aged 18 years and above.  We do not offer any services to children, nor to anyone below the age of eighteen years.  Neither do we publish anything that could be harmful to the interests and needs of children.

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Our approach: We offer a system of post-CBT coaching, counselling and psychotherapy.  We have both moved on from REBT.  We combine various systems, such as: Transactional Analysis, Attachment theory, Affect regulation therapy, Person-centred counselling, Lifestyle coaching, the Skilled Helper approach, and many more.  We straddle all three of the major schools of psychotherapy.

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In E-CENT counselling, we are busy ‘adding back the body’ (to the ‘disembodied mind’).  In holistic medicine, progressive doctors are busy adding back the mind (to the material body).  For example: “When someone’s belly hurts”, writes Dr Thomas Delbanco, “I ask very quickly what’s going on in the mind as well as in the abdomen.  When someone is depressed, I think also about what might be going on in the body that’s leading to the depression.  Mind and body are inextricably woven together”.

Quoted in page 8 of Healing and The Mind, by Bill Moyers, London, Doubleday, 1995. (-3)

Dr Jim’s comments: I have treated a good number of men who have been depressed because of systemic candidiasis (or overgrowth of fungus in the gut), resulting from eating a junk-food diet high in sugar, salt and transfats.  I have treated some women who were anxious because of a lack of physical exercise and overuse of caffeine and sugar. And I have had clients whose psychological symptoms were more directly related to life stressors, unworkable relationship arrangements, inadequate sleep, and so on. Sometimes the main problem is about what the individual is doing with their thoughts and attitudes; but life is most often much more complex than that! (-4)

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Dr Robert Sapolsky has studied stress in animals and humans, and has written extensively on his insights.  Here is one:

“Those who cope with stress successfully tend to seek control in the face of present stressors, but do not try to control things that have already come to pass.  They do not try to control the future events that are uncontrollable, and do not try to fix things that are not broken, or are broken beyond repair”.

Robert Sapolsky

(PS: This particular insight is linked back to the ancient world.  It crops up in both Buddhism and Stoic philosophy).

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E-CENT counselling theory teaches that we have to dedicate ourselves to reality at all costs; to accept the things we cannot change; and to only try to change those things that seem highly likely to be changeable. This involves the ‘completion’ of our current experiences: embracing them.  Or, as one mindfulness writer says: “When we let go of wanting something else to happen in this moment, we are taking a profound step toward being able to encounter what is here now.  If we hope to go anywhere or develop ourselves in any way, we can only step from where we are standing.  If we don’t really know where we are standing – a knowing that comes directly from the cultivation of mindfulness – we may only go in circles, for all our efforts and expectations.  So, in meditation practice, the best way to get somewhere is to let go of trying to get anywhere at all”.

Jon Kabat-Zinn (Quoted in 365 Nirvana: Here and now, compiled by Josh Baran, page 36)

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Learning how to communicate assertively with the significant people in our lives is an important challenge for all human beings:

“For every person in this society who is suffering physical abuse, there are hundreds suffering the effects of verbal violence. With verbal aggression there is no agency that you can call for help.  We get little or no training in verbal self-defence. Informal training outside the school system is given to most men…  Women receive no instruction at all”.

Suzette Haden Elgin

(PS: It is important not to exaggerate the training given to men.  Most people, men and women, have no idea how to ask for what they want in an assertive manner, as opposed to an aggressive or subservient manner.  And most men and women do not know how to say ‘No’ to what they do not want, in an assertive manner.  But this is the area where men do get some (inadequate) training.  Many men are ‘competent’ at saying ‘No’ in an aggressive manner – but assertive communication is much more constructive and much less destructive.  Thus men and women in general could benefit from studying forms of assertive, levelling communication!)

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In E-CENT counselling, we teach the importance of the connection between body and mind.  We do not relate to our clients as free-floating ‘heads’ or minds.  Dr Ron Anderson, in describing his approach to mind/body medicine says this: “I try to have people understand wholeness if I can, because if you don’t understand the mind/body connection, you start of on the wrong premise.  You also have to understand the person within their family and community because this is where people live”.

From ‘The Healing Environment’ by Dr Ron Anderson, in: Quoted in page 25 of Healing and The Mind, by Bill Moyers, London, Doubleday, 1995.

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According to Sigmund Freud: “Work binds us to sanity!”  Many of us have discovered the truth of that claim for ourselves.  Here is just one supporter of that idea:

“Never retire! Do what you do and keep doing it.  But don’t do it on Friday.  Take Friday off.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday, do fishing, do sexual activities, watch Fred Astaire movies.  Then from Monday to Thursday, do what you’ve done all your life (unless it’s lifting sacks of potatoes off the back of a truck.  I mean, after 85 that’s hard to do).  My point is: Live fully and don’t retreat”.

Mel Brooks

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E-CENT counsellors explore the narratives of their clients, with a view to helping them to manage their feeling-stories better: “Creating a consistent self-narrative (or personal story) that feels true to ourselves is a challenge at any stage in life.  Our stories give shape to our (unformed, fragmented), fleeting impressions of everyday life.  They bring together the past and the future into the present to provide us with structures for working towards our goals. They give us a sense of identity and, most importantly, serve to integrate the feelings of our right brain with the language of our left”.

Philippa Perry, How to Stay Sane (2012). Page 74. (-2)

Our comments: But we must never lose sight of the fact that the maintenance of those stories depends upon the state of our physical well-being – our body-mind – through diet, exercise, sleep, relaxation, relationship support, and environmental stressors, and so on. It is not about free-standing stories in a ‘floating head’.

Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne, November 2015

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E-CENT counselling and psychotherapy theory emphasizes the integrity of the body-brain-mind-environment of the ‘socialized individual’.  We do not buy into the Western capitalist creation of the ‘separate individual’, the ‘free floating mind that wills its own destiny’.  “Instead of artificially separating mind and body, Merleau-Ponty emphasized the centrality of the body and gave an account of how the subject inhabits it.  This more organic and biological view of the human being as a human animal (which also has culture, sociality and a meaning-endowed world) sees the body as the seat and sine qua non of human existence.  To be is to have a body that constantly perceives the world through sight, touch, smell and so on. … Human existence takes place within the horizons opened up by perception”. Havi Carel, Illness, Page 26.

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Dr Jim’s comments: Of course, Carel does not here clarify the fact that perception is itself mainly non-conscious and habit-based – dictated by past experiences!  But this is still a step up from the Western notion of the free-floating ‘mind as self’, or ‘self as mind’.  We are body-brain-mind-environment interactional wholes; and we are strongly affected by our economic and political contexts – so promoting greater social inequality harms humans!  Ignoring economic deprivation harms humans!  Treating humans as ‘assets’ harms the world!

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To contact us with a comment, or to ask for information about our services, please use this form:

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