ABC Coaching and Counselling Services, in Hebden Bridge, Calderdale, West Yorkshire, HX7 8HJ, UK:
And all over the world via the telephone system; by email; or via Skype-webcam
Counselling, coaching and psychotherapy with Jim Byrne or Renata Taylor Byrne
Hello and welcome to our website. No matter what your problem might be, we can probably help you to find a solution, or a way forward.
People come to see us (individually) for counselling and coaching with problems of anger management; stress management; couples therapy; lifestyle coaching issues; health anxiety; goal management issues; problems with thinking or feeling, or behaviour; habit formation, or habit change; and problems with self confidence, self esteem, communication skills; etc.
We offer counselling, coaching and psychotherapy services via our two separate divisions, as follows:
For couples therapy; relationship skills and attachment problems; anger management; stress management; habit building or habit change; confidence building; anxiety and panic problems; grief and depression; lifestyle coaching; assertiveness training; and general body-brain-mind integration…
You are a creature of habit – and an interpreting being – wired up by your family of origin, and later by your peers and school teachers, and others, to respond in particular ways to particular triggers.
Most of the thinking/ feeling that determines your habitual responses to other people and things today is stored in non-conscious parts of your brain-mind-body. For more, please go here: Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division
Some lifestyles bring happiness, and some bring pain.
Some lifestyles cause health problems, while others promote vibrant health. What do you want? To be happy and healthy, or ‘under the weather’.
For more, please go here: Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division
E-CENT Counselling focuses on the whole person – body-brain-mind-environment. 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) – October 2016
Extract from ‘Holistic Counselling in Practice’: 1.1 Counsellors and their clients
“Good counsellors and psychotherapists devote their lives to caring for the minds of their clients – the lives of their clients. They wrestle with difficult situations, challenging goals, and with dysregulated emotions (like grief and loss, anger and panic, relationship conflict, and mental confusion).”
However, they also are aware of the importance of diet, exercise, self-talk, relaxation, mediation, life/work balance, and so on.
End of Extract from Holistic Counselling in Practice, by Jim Byrne (with Renata Taylor-Byrne)
Jim Byrne (with the support of Renata Taylor-Byrne) has written an extensive book on the theory and practice of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT). He has also written books on stress management, rational therapy (Albert Ellis’ REBT), and a whole series of books on the use and outcomes of using writing therapy and narrative approaches to counselling and psychotherapy. For more, please go to the Counselling Books page.***
Counselling, coaching and psychotherapy for problems of daily living
Human beings are largely non-conscious creatures of habit. We sleep-walk through our lives, being controlled by the way our past experience shaped us. To wake up to what is not working in our lives, and how to fix it, we could benefit from working with somebody who has already completed this journey (or who is well down the road to growing their wisdom and personal development): a good, reliable, coach/counsellor who can help us to clarify where we are at, and what we could benefit from changing in order to improve our current functioning in the world:
I have been producing an occasional blog for the past four or five years, ever since I reduced my hours at Calderdale College, and began to work part time as a Lifestyle Coach/Counsellor. Then, when I finished at college, two years ago, I went full time at ABC Coaching, and produced more blogs from that time onwards. Most of my early blog posts survived our transition from our old website to our new one, but a few got lost.
Some of my favourite posts were as follows:
# Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach: no glucose – no willpower!
# A ‘Rave review’ of “The Power of Habit – Why we do what we do and how to change”, by Charles Duhigg
# Why meditation is really good for you…
# A rave review of Dr Carol Dweck’s book – ‘Mindset’ – which is about mental attitude, resilience, achievement and success…
To go to my blog page, please click here: Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Blog.***
An introduction to Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT)
For information about the contents of the following book on our system of counselling and psychotherapy, please click the cover image that follows:
For a brief introduction to the content of this book, please take a look here: Holistic Counselling in Practice: An Introduction of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT).***
And/or, please take a look at the video clip (below) which introduces the content of the book:
Dr Jim Byrne presents an introductory talk on this new book (with Renata Taylor-Byrne) on Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT). This book has been designed to be helpful for three audiences:
(1) Counsellors, psychotherapists, coaches, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, educators and others;
(2) Students of counselling, psychotherapy, psychology, psychiatry, social work and related disciplines; and:
(3) Self-help and personal development enthusiasts.
For more information, please see our page describing the book’s content: Holistic Counselling in Practice.***
Jim Byrne has been producing regular blogs for many years – though they have been a bit intermittent over the past year, due to the change-over of websites, which has been very time consuming.
Initially he wrote a Happiness Blog and a Success Blog every week, for a couple of years; then dropped the Success Blog, because of lack of time; and then changed the main blog emphasis from Happiness to Counselling, with an emphasis on seeking wisdom.
The latest post on Dr Jim’s Counselling blog is this: How to Choose a Counsellor or Psychotherapist.
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.
Counselling for the body-brain-mind-environment-whole:
When Jim Byrne was studying for his doctoral degree in counselling, at the University of Manchester, back in 2003, he was startled to hear Dr William West say: “Can we be sure that counselling in part of the solution, and not part of the problem?” Or: “How would you go about ensuring that counselling is not part of the problem?”
Jim writes: At that time, I was pretty sure that counselling was part of the solution, indeed perhaps “the whole of the solution to the problem of human suffering”. However, I gradually came to recognise that certain aspects of counselling were problematical:
- The CBT inference that “people upset themselves about their problems” – rather than being upset by the existence of objective problems. This suits the neo-liberal promoters of greater inequality, because we can now blame the poor for their own mental suffering. (In this sense, CBT has become part of the problem!)
- The psychodynamic approach tends to focus on the ‘phantasies’ and interpretations of the client, as if the client has “an infinite capacity” to choose to interpret nasty things as being neutral!
- And counselling in general separates off the body from the mind, and assumes that a ‘talking cure’ can heal all problems to do with depression, anxiety, anger, and other apparently ‘psychological’ problems. (Of course, we now know, from recent research, that the guts and the brain are linked, and that depression can be triggered by bad bacteria in the guts; or by a leaky gut, which allows gut toxins to travel through the bloodstream, pass through the ‘blood-brain barrier’, and to cause problems of depression, anxiety, and even schizophrenia! We know that trans-fats can cause a build up of angry emotions, resulting in rageful acting out. In this sense, of separating off ‘the mind’, as if it was not part of the body-brain-mind-environment whole, all of counselling perpetrates the myth that ‘the mind’ can be treated separately from the body – separately from considerations of diet, exercise, sleep, gut health, digestion, environmental stressors, like poor housing, aggressive neighbours, and an increasingly insecure and unequal society/economy!
Second Extract from Holistic Counselling in Practice:
“Innovative counsellors are constantly looking for new ways to help their clients. They mostly begin their careers with a single model of counselling, and many of them add in techniques and models and ideas from any source that seems likely to help their client. After a few years of practice, their system of counselling is a hybrid of many different approaches. Although they normally begin with a very simple model of counselling, and the nature of the counselling client, those perceptions change and evolves over the years.
“For example: eighteen years ago, I would sit in my consulting room, waiting for a counselling client. I had little to think about, because I already knew what their problem would be – the client’s ‘irrational beliefs’ – and my only challenge would be how to get the client to change to more ‘rational’ beliefs.”
Of course, this all changed when I began to develop Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT) which is as complex as any theory needs to be if it is to have any hope of capturing the complexity of our human clients!
For more, please go here: Holistic Counselling in Practice:
The holistic approach to stress management
For more information about the following book on our approach to stress management, please click the cover image:
For a brief introduction to the content of this book, please take a look here: Chill Out: How to control your stress level, and have a happy life.***
Counselling for anger, stress, couple relationships, and lifestyle issues
Many people come to see us because they do not know how to stop angrily destroying their relationships, at home and at work. Or how to get control over the stresses and strains in their troubled lives. Sometimes couples come to see us to find out how to re-find the love they once felt for each other, before it got covered over by unrealistic expectations, bad manners, and lack of care and respect. And yet others come to us because their lifestyle is such that they are destroying their physical and emotional wellbeing, through not understanding the importance of diet, exercise, relaxation, sleep management, and so on.
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. “(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.
Writing therapy is good for you
One of the best things you can do for your own emotional and physical health, and also for your personal and professional development, is to write every day: about what you feel; what you think; what is happening at home at work; what is working and what is not working; your joys and sorrows; and so on. This is a truly miraculous process, which has been described as feeling like “I had two brains” by one businessman who tried it. We have been using writing therapy for many years, in many forms, from the science tradition (of Dr James Pennebaker) and the humanistic traditions (of Gillie Bolton and Julia Cameron).
As John Mulligan – a famous Vietnam War survivor, (known as The Shopping Cart Soldier), suffering from war-induced post-traumatic stress disorder – put it:
“I was an empty shell walking around the street, and writing made me feel like I had a soul.”
He cured his PTSD by writing about the horrors of his wartime experiences.
Writing therapy helps us to ‘process’ our experiences; to ‘complete’ or ‘digest’ them; and to learn from them. It also helps us to review our progress towards our goals; and to plan and control our future actions. In this process, we heal and grow, and move closer to being our ‘ultimate’ selves.
To read a description of our introductory text on writing therapy, please click the image that follows:
or click this link: Narrative therapy and the writing solution.***
Counselling and coaching for healthy body-minds
In the early days, we mostly focused upon the power of the mind to influence the body, and the feeling of our daily lives. This led us to practice regular meditation, to engage in positive thinking, and to manage the ideas that entered our minds. But soon we realised that the process also works the other way around: from body to mind. That was when we began to explore yoga and Chinese exercise systems, like Chi Kung (Qi Gong). Now we teach our counselling clients to manage their body-mind-environment complex. (and, of course, your guts are intimately connected to your brain, and so what goes on in your guts, in terms of ‘leaky gut’, toxicity, and friendly/unfriendly bacteria, blood glucose level, and so on, all plays a part in what we ‘think of’ as our ‘thinking’ and our ‘willpower’).
In E-CENT counselling we teach that emotions are ‘narrative emplotments’ – or stories, which live in our body-mind. That is to say, emotional states are constructions created by the individual during relational experiences, and what is constructed can be deconstructed: “The strategy adopted in (constructivist) therapy is a step-wise one in which the client is encouraged to move on to a new level of self-observation only when stability has been achieved at the level previous to this. During the initial focus on the client’s immediate experiences, the client comes to appreciate that emotional states are constructions associated with perceived imbalances in an affective relationship. The next stage is generally a reconstruction of the client’s ‘affective style’ involving analysis of the client’s history of affective relationships…”
David Winter (2003) The constructivist paradigm. In: Handbook of Counselling Psychology, edited by Woolfe, Dryden and Strawbridge. Page 252. (12)
Albert Ellis came and went
One of the many theorists of counselling and therapy who influenced us over the past three and a half decades was Albert Ellis, the creator of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) – which was the original form of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). However, after a ten year ‘love affair’ with this controversial individual, we parted company. The basis for that split is explored in the following book. For more information on this book, please click the cover image:
Counselling and coaching for habit change, courage building, grit and willpower!
While most systems of counselling and coaching stick to the old mantra of changing your thinking in order to change your life, we continue to explore the cutting edge of psychological and neuroscience research.
See, for example, Renata’s blog post on How to change your negative habits!***
We have worn grooves in the carpets in Waterstone’s book stores in Manchester and Leeds, especially in the psychology, philosophy, self-help, personal development, and the mind-body-spirit sections. We have had lots of success in helping people to focus upon themselves as creatures of habit, who need courage, will-power, and grit to bring about behaviour change in the real world.
In E-CENT counselling, we attempt to teach our clients to face up to their problems; to complete their experience of them; and to reframe them. But many clients don’t want to know about their problems: “Most of us are not (wise enough to face up to having problems). Fearing the pain involved, almost all of us, to a greater or lesser degree, attempt to avoid problems. We procrastinate, hoping that they will go away. We ignore them, forget them, pretend they do not exist. We even take drugs to assist us in ignoring them, so that by deadening ourselves to the pain we can forget the problems that cause the pain. We attempt to skirt around problems rather than meet them head on. We attempt to get out of them rather than suffer through them”.
This is the road to hell!
Scott Peck (1983/1990) The Road Less Travelled: The new psychology of love, traditional values and spiritual growth. Page 14. (16)
Your past is alive and well in the present moment
Some people think you can get rid of the past by shutting it out of your conscious awareness. This is called various names, such as denial, repression, defence, and so on. But the normal effect is that, although you are now unaware of the existence of a problem from your past, nevertheless, it bothers you – emotionally and possibly also in the form of psychical symptoms – from below the level of your conscious awareness. We teach that these ‘defence mechanisms’, like denial, do not work; and that you have to dig up the disturbance from the past, and digest it in the present moment. In the following book, we outline exactly how to do that, so that you can come into the present, undisturbed by past traumas and other negative experiences:
Counselling and coaching for better diet, exercise, relaxation and meditation
A couple of months ago, we produced our book on Holistic Counselling in Practice. In that book, Renata wrote two sections that have proved to be very helpful for some of our clients. One is on the role of diet and nutrition in emotional and physical well-being. The other is on the effects of physical exercise on the body-mind. The rest of the book focused upon our models of re-thinking, re-deciding, and how to manage human emotions.
E-CENT counsellors teach the following lesson to their clients: We have to manage our self in order to lean towards the Good Side and to avoid Evil. Why is this the case? Because: “’Humanity’ does not exist. There are only humans, driven by conflicting needs and illusions, and subject to every kind of infirmity of will and judgement”.
Prof. John Gray (2003) Straw Dogs: Thoughts on humans and other animals. Page 12. (3)
I (Jim) found ‘Straw Dogs’ to be a very powerful insight into the nature of humanity, especially the limitations of consciousness. I think you would benefit from finding out some more about this book, and so I have added this video clip for your consideration:
You might have to watch all three (brief) videos in order to get the core point – that we are delusional beings, who are habit-based automata, who think we are wholly conscious.
Personal history and early relationships shape the individual’s life
My own (Jim’s) experience of my early life was a major form of distortion of my life prospects. And it was only after I failed to live well using my earliest ‘psychological wiring’ that I could then begin to analyse my story or origins, and my story of relationship (to my mother), and to begin to reform and heal myself. I explore both of those stories in the following book. To find out more, please click the cover image:
Counselling and coaching for an emotionally healthy life
We like the psychological insights of Dr Oliver James, and we use those insights in guiding our coaching and counselling clients towards better approaches to managing their lives. We promote self-reflection and insightfulness; We meditate and practice mindfulness, and encourage our clients to do likewise; We engage in egalitarian relationships, and teach the importance of equality to our clients; and we promote helpful approaches to careers, work and parenting.
E-CENT counselling can help you to become optimally emotionally healthy. Dr Oliver James presents a list of features of emotional health, but these are ideas to strive for. Almost nobody ever achieves them perfectly: No.1: “Emotional health is the sense that what is happening is happening now. It is experiencing the world at first-hand, immediate, rather than only knowing what was experienced when you reflect upon it later. You are, as the sports commentators put it, ‘in the zone’.
No.2: “You feel real rather than false. You are comfortable in your skin: you do not wish you could be someone else, nor do you look down on others for not being like you. You know what you are thinking and feeling, even if sometimes that only means knowing that you don’t know”.
Oliver James (2014) How to Develop Emotional Health. Page 1. (4)
In E-CENT counselling theory, we would prefer to begin our indicators of emotional health like this: You are emotionally healthy when you function at low levels of stress in most situations, and you show signs of being able to cope in highly stressful situations. Also, you show signs of emotional-flexibility. Your feelings adjust to the social environment in which you are engaging: but not so much that you become a doormat or a passive pawn in the games of manipulators.
Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne. (5)
If you get hold of a copy of Oliver James’ book, How to Develop Emotional Health, you will find it deals with five subject areas: Insightfulness (especially insights into how your childhood affected your adult development); Living in the present (including a sense of self); Fluid, two-way relationships (or what we like to think of as the importance of egalitarianism in relationships); Authenticity in our careers; and Playfulness and vivacity in our parenting roles.
Write the story of your life, and become who you should have been!
As a result of our work together, I (Renata) helped me (Jim) to explore early childhood experiences, as writing therapy, which we have now produced as a novel:
And there will be a second part of this novelisation of Jim’s life very soon.
ABC Coaching and Counselling Services, 27 Wood End, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8HJ, UK. (But if searching for us on Google Maps, try 27 Keighley Road. See *Footnote below).
Telephone: o1422 843 629 (UK): 44 1422 843 629 (from outside the UK)
Email: Admin at ABC
*Footnote: There is a problem with Google maps for our area: To search for 27 Wood End, you have to substitute 27 Keighley Road, HX7 8HJ. (But the accurate address is 27 Wood End). See the Directions for finding us.***
We operate according to a range of ethical codes – see our respective divisional pages for details.
We provide coaching and counselling 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. But we do not publish anything that could be harmful to the interests and needs of children.