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


We can help you with: Anger management counselling – Couples therapy – Lifestyle coaching – Confidence and self esteem – Stress management – Life goals and managing habits and behaviours – Attachment style – Emotional control (depression and anxiety)

Do you want to benefit from our coaching, counselling or psychotherapy services, in Hebden Bridge, or more long-distance?

Would you like to feel better – less depressed, anxious or unhelpfully angry?

Would you like to have better relationships, at home, in work, in business, in college, etc.?

Do you feel under the weather, sad, depressed, or discouraged about the difficulties in your life?

We can help you to live ‘the Good Life’!

We practice the most up-to-the-minute, post-CBT system of emotive-cognitive therapy and emotive-cognitive coaching, which deals with every aspect of the lifestyle and life history and current coping capability of our clients.

Contact one or other of us today:

1. Dr Jim Byrne

drjim-counsellor1Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, and via the telephone system, Skype, and/or email exchanges.

If you need help with problems of anger, anxiety, depression, stress, self confidence, insecure attachment style in relationships, or couple conflict, then I can help you. I have helped more than 1,000 people have a better life, over a twenty year period.

Email: drjwbyrne@gmail.com – Telephone: 01422 843 629 (or, from outside the UK, 44 1422 843 629.

Or take a look at my main web page: Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division.


2. Renata Taylor-Byrne

renata-taylor-byrne-lifestyle-coachRenata Taylor-Byrne, BSc Psychology, Dip Stress Management, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, and via the telephone system.

I am a ‘people grower’.  A lifestyle coach-counsellor. I help individuals to tackle those problems that keep them stuck in unhelpful places in their lives.  People come to see me with problems of stress, self confidence, goal setting and resilience in the face of life’s difficulties; plus self assertion and communication problems.  Sometimes they are struggling with depression or grief or sadness; or anxiety or panic.  I can help you too.

Email: renata@abc-counselling.org. Telephone: 01422 843 629 (or, from outside the UK, 44 1422 843 629.

Or see my main web page: Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division.


Front cover, 8Or take a look at The Books Division.***

For books on stress, holistic counselling;

writing therapy;

how to process and eliminate old traumas;

a critique of rational and cognitive therapy;

and much more besides.

For example, our new book is now available.  How to control your anger, anxiety and depression, using nutrition and physical activity.***

And there are more counselling-related books here: The Books Division.***


Quote of the Day

On counselling, coaching, psychotherapy, psychology, philosophy of psychotherapy, neuroscience, nutritional mental health, and many other related subjects.

In E-CENT counselling, we teach our therapy clients the importance of story and narrative – of reading and writing as aids to thinking and feeling: We do this because “A child not only co-constructs the narrative of his or her life with his or her caregiver, but ideally listens to many other stories as well. We may think this is mainly just for entertainment and bonding, but the repeated telling of stories also helps to form structures in the child’s mind: that enable problem solving, meaning making, optimism and self-soothing.  Wicked-witches get their comeuppance, conflicts are resolved and we learn the concept of ‘happily ever after’.”

Philippa Perry, How to Stay Sane (2012). Page 72. (7b)

It follows from the above that, to grow the adult part of your mind, you could benefit from reading empowering novels and short stories.  Then, to process traumas and unfinished business from the past, write about them, at one remove, (e.g. by slightly fictionalizing them) and rethink and revise them!

Dr Jim Byrne, July 2015 (7c)


Of course, you also have to manage your lifestyle well if you want to be healthy and happy; and that means taking care of your dietary, exercise and sleep needs, as a first priority.

Then there’s the importance of managing your current relationships in an emotionally intelligent manner; and working on any traumatic problems that arose in your family of origin.



Site Map, for information about a broad range of pages of general interest to site visitors.


What is Emotive-Cognitive Embodied-Narrative Therapy (E-CENT)?

By Dr Jim Byrne

Copyright (c) 2009-2016, Jim Byrne

(Updated December 2017)

Posted here on 4th December 2017

This was one of the first things I wrote about Emotive-Cognitive embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT).  I wrote it to try to clarify how the various elements of E-CENT, which had emerged by 2009, fitted together.


In this 22 page paper, the author describes the nature of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied-Narrative Therapy (E-CENT).  He introduces some of the E-CENT models of the human mind; outlines the foundations of the basic theory of E-CENT counselling, by summarizing eight of the nineteen key features, or principles, which characterize this integrative system; lists a small number of the main models that are used to structure E-CENT counselling sessions; and ends by describing the E-CENT therapist’s style.

A 4E1 circles

1. Introduction

The following quotation provides a concise flavour of the E-CENT approach to counselling and therapy:

“E-CENT sees humans as essentially (emotional) story tellers, to ourselves and others, and storytellers who live in a world of narratives and scripts, which include reasonable and unreasonable elements, logical and illogical elements, and defensible and indefensible elements.  Humans often tend to push away (or repress) unpleasant experiences, to fail to process them, and to then become the (unconscious) victims of those repressed, undigested experiences.  E-CENT also sees adult relationships as being the acting out of childhood experiences with parents and siblings, because some part of those earlier relationships have not been properly digested and completed”.

Extract from E-CENT Counselling: How to apply Emotive-Cognitive Embodied-Narrative Therapy in counselling and self-help, By Dr Jim Byrne.***

Emotive-Cognitive Embodied-Narrative Therapy (E-CENT) is a system of counselling and psychotherapy which helps clients to work on their brain-mind-body-and-relationships in order to reduce and control negative or painful emotions and behaviours, like anger, anxiety, depression, stress, self-confidence and couple conflict.

…For more, please click this link: What is E-CENT Counselling?***



Attachment theory and neo-Freudian psychoanalysis

Some thoughts by D Jim Byrne


Copyright © Jim Byrne, 2013-2017

DrJimCounselling002Neither Transactional Analysis (TA), nor Rational and cognitive therapy (REBT/CBT), pay much attention to the concept of “attachment” – or how securely or insecurely a child feels in its relationships with its main carers.  Indeed, REBT often seem to deny the impact of childhood on the emotional development of the individual.

Where does E-CENT* theory stand in relation to Attachment theory? (*E-CENT is the acronym for Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy – and this system of counselling and therapy was developed by me, out of a fusion of 13-15 pre-existing systems of counselling and therapy!)

(a) Similarities: E-CENT accepts the basic thesis of Attachment theory, which claims (with considerable scientific support) that each individual begins its life with an urge to seek an ‘attachment figure’, normally mother, initially, and later, father.  And that they become securely attached if their carers relate to them in ways that they can experience as caring, sensitive, and supportive/ reassuring[1].  The apparent function of this innate urge is survival of the species.  New mothers are also assumed to be ‘wired up’ by both nature and culture, to seek to serve the new-born baby in ways that enhance the child’s survival.  These two urges can be seen in all forms of mammals.

…End of extract.  For more, please go to the Attachment Theory and Counselling page.***



Developments in counselling and therapy theory:

From Freud to Schore!

By Dr Jim Byrne, January 2018

Freud-on-dreamsEvery counsellor and psychotherapist needs to understand where their beliefs and attitudes, values and skills come from.  And every counselling and psychotherapy client needs to know that not all theories of counselling and therapy lead to the same kinds of treatment for them, or to the same kinds of curative outcomes.

Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis was the first major manifestation of psychotherapy in the modern sense. It was quickly followed by behaviour therapy, which arose in the UK and Russia in roughly the same era as Freud’s innovation.

Freud emphasized the non-conscious urges of the new born baby, and how it related to its carers with sexual phantasies (in which ‘sexual’ actually meant ‘any manifestation which we would normally think of as love’).  Because Freud craved scientific respectability, he build his system on the back of biology and his experience of neurology.  But his limited perspective was this: Humans evolve sexually, from simple beginnings through puberty to full genital sexual potency.  But this is only one aspect of human biological and neurological development.  The more important ones include attachment urges, from about the age of two months (Schore, 1994, 2003), and the development of the right orbitofrontal cortex, which is the seat of the internalization of social modelling of emotion regulation.

…End of extract.  For more, please click this link: Affect Regulation Theory.***



What is Transactional Analysis, and how is it used in E-CENT counselling?

Four models from Transactional Analysis (TA) counselling, as used in Classic TA and in E-CENT counselling: (1) The ego-state theory and model; (2) Script theory; (3) The Drama Triangle; and (4) the OK Corral.  Quotes and video footage from Dr Eric Berne.

Image-3-Intro-TA.JPGResource 3 – How to understand and apply Transactional Analysis (TA) in your life

by Dr Jim Byrne

Updated 13th July 2016. Posted here on 9th January 2018

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2009-2015/2018


Sigmund Freud created the insight that the human individual has three main components to their personality or being.  These are: (1) the part that was born (the body-mind, or the ‘it’); (2) The internalized others (mainly mother and father, etc; which he called the over-I); and (3) The socialized personality (which he called the I: which Anglicized psychoanalysis called ‘the ego’).

Freud’s system of psychoanalysis was slow and difficult, and involved trying to externalize the contents of the non-conscious part of the mind of the patient/client.

Eric Berne was an American medical doctor and trained psychiatrist, who, at the end of the Second World War, was interested in finding ways of making psychoanalysis more accessible to ordinary people, in a way that was quicker and more efficient than Freud’s approach.


Games_People_Play.jpgDr Eric Berne began to develop his popularized approach to psychotherapy somewhere in the 1940’s when he was a US Army medical officer; but his first paper on Transactional Analysis (TA) proper did not appear until 1957 (according to Stewart, 1989)[1].  Much work was done in the 1950’s and ‘60’s, with Games People Play appearing in 1964; and What Do You Say After You Say Hello? appearing in 1972 (after Berne’s early death in 1970).

Transactional Analysis really began when Dr Berne was working with a successful lawyer as a therapy client.  This lawyer felt very much an adult in his work, but he had an occasional tendency to say; “I’m not really a lawyer.  I’m just a little boy!”[2]  Eventually Berne realized…  End of extract… For more, please click this link: Transactional Analysis, by Dr Jim Byrne…***


Jaak Panksepp introduced the concept of Affective Neuroscience in 1990, consisting of an overarching vision of how mammalian brains generate experienced affective states in animals, as effective models for fathoming the primal evolutionary sources of emotional feelings in human beings. This work has implications for further developments in Biological Psychiatry, ranging from an understanding of the underlying brain disorders, to new therapeutic strategies. Panksepp is a Ph.D. Professor and Baily Endowed Chair of Animal Well-Being Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University. His scientific contributions include more than 400 papers devoted to the study of basic emotional and motivational processes of the mammalian brain. He has conducted extensive research on brain and bodily mechanisms of feeding and energy-balance regulation, sleep physiology, and most importantly the study of emotional processes, including associated feelings states, in other animals.


What we are guided by:

Our counselling, coaching and psychotherapy work is informed by the following disciplines, insights and processes: Affect Regulation Theory (Daniel Hill and Allan Schore); Attachment theory (John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth, Mary Main, Peter Fonagy, David Wallin); Assertive communication (Robert Bolton and Helen Hall Clinard); Behaviour modification (reinforcement theories); Cognitive psychology and cognitive science (Antonio Damasio, Douglas Hofstadter); Dietary insights and advice (Leslie Korn, Giulia Enders, Kelly Brogan, Patrick Holford); Emotive-cognitive therapy; Emotions first, cognitions second; Erhard Seminar Training insights; Exercise guidance; Food as the best medicine (alongside exercise and sleep); Freudian (or post-Freudian) insights into completion of experiences that were interrupted in childhood; Gestalt therapy (Fritz Perls; modern Chair-work); Healing relationship approaches; a tiny amount of Jungian insights into personality types; Kantian approaches to event/interpretation; Meditation (before and during counselling sessions, as appropriate); Narrative therapy approaches; aspects of Psychosynthesis; aspects of Psychoanalysis; Physical exercise advice and guidance; Radical acceptance of the person; Reasoning processes (critical thinking skills – but recognising that we are fundamentally emotional beings!); Re-parenting; Sensitive caring (re-parenting and befriending); Sleep promotion; Systematic desensitisation (for traumatic experiences); Trauma processing; Thinking skills (founded on emotional intelligence); Transactional Analysis; Verbal and non-verbal communication of affect-regulating capacities; Welcoming attitude; Yoga (and Tai Chi/Chi Kung) promotion for physical and mental health. And Zen meditation; and perhaps many other elements.


The E-CENT counselling and psychotherapy approach to understanding and managing human emotion

by Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, August 2016

This is a ten page extract from the forty page Chapter 5 of my new book, Holistic Counselling in Practice.  The chapter is titled: Understanding and Managing Human Emotions.

This is how it begins:

5.1: Introduction

Because counsellors and psychotherapists deal with their clients’ emotions – (as well as their behaviours, goals, relationships; plus their environmental stressors, and so on) – every system of counselling and therapy has to have a theory of emotion.

This, however, is a significant problem, for three reasons:

  1. Firstly: Human emotion is hugely complex. For example, Stephen Pinker, in his book on how the mind works, draws attention to a quotation from G.K. Chesterton about the unutterable complexityof human emotional tones and moods and shades, which begins like this: “Man knows that there are in the soul tints more bewildering, more numberless, and more nameless than the colours of an autumn forest”. (Page 367)[i]. Therefore, at the very least, we should show some humility in developing our systemic models of such complexity.
  2. Secondly: As one psychotherapist has pointed out: “The terms ‘feeling’ and ‘emotion’, and ‘affect’ are used in many different senses in psychology. A review of more than twenty theories of emotion reveals a plethora of widely diverging technical definitions. These vary with the technique of investigation, the general theoretical framework, and the value-judgements of the psychologist.  Often, they are so diverse as to defy comparison let alone synthesis”.[ii] So we are not going to arrive at a universal definition of emotion in this book; though we have to come to some working hypotheses, in the form of practical conclusions, which allow us to understand and help our clients.
  3. Third: There is a good deal of confusion regarding whether emotions are innate, or socially imposed; and whether they exist ‘inside the client’ or ‘outside’ in social relationships.

With regard to point 3, which is the most fundamental question we face, we should resolve that issue up front:

(a) In E-CENT counselling, we use the insight from Dylan Evans’ (2003) book on emotion, about ‘degrees of innateness or learned emotions’. This means that we accept the conclusion that some basic emotional wiring is innate, at birth.  However, those basic emotions (or feelings) are inevitably shaped by the culture of the mother (and father [normally]) into acceptable and unacceptable expressions of affect – or observable manifestations of feelings – over time. The main concepts we use are: …

…For more, please click this link: The E-CENT counselling and psychotherapy approach to understanding and managing human emotion


Should counsellors accept their clients ‘unconditionally’, or offer then ‘unconditional positive regard’?

Sigmund Freud clearly began his work by trying to help his ‘hysterical patients’ to recover from their traumatic experiences (which seemed to mainly be sexual abuse within their family of origin).  However, in 1897, he shifted ground, and began to blame the client’s ‘phantasies’ – the ‘wish-fulfilments’ – for the sense that they had been abused.  Melanie Klein carried on this form of ‘blaming the client’, by pointing to their ‘phantasies’ as the source of their suffering. John Bowlby, in the UK, was the first professional to step outside of this ‘blaming culture’, and to point a finger at the actual social environment as the source most human misery found among the children he encountered in his professional work.  In America, Eric Berne was closer to Freud than to Bowlby, with his idea of ‘the games people play’.  But at least he saw the childhood experience of the client as the foundation of the games they ended up playing; the scripts the inherited/constructed; and their OK/Not-OK life positions.


Berne tried to teach people to operate in life from the egalitarian position that “I’m-OK and You’re-OK” – where OK means ‘not to be denigrated or blamed’; ‘acceptable just as you are’; ‘unblemished’; and so on.  Then along came Carl Rogers and messed that up by swinging to the other extreme from Freud and others.  For Rogers, the entire problem for counselling clients was that they had not been cherished and prized by their parents.  There is, of course, a lot of truth in this idea, but Rogers arguably took it to an extreme.  He thought that, just by prizing his clients, they would figure out how to ‘rewire themselves’ for better psychological functioning.  And he set out to offer his clients ‘unconditional positive regard’. Albert Ellis followed this pattern by (trying to) offer his client ‘unconditional acceptance’, and to encourage them to unconditional accept themselves, no matter how well or how badly they behave – “and some of them do dreadful things”, he acknowledged. What Rogers and Ellis have in common is this: They lack any sense of morality.  They do not watch the moral behaviour of their clients,and distinguish between right and wrong; good and bad; and what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in a social context.

I have written at length on this subject in my recent book on REBT.  This is how the relevant chapter begins:

Chapter 11 – Self-acceptance, Competence and Morality issues


Cover444This chapter was originally published as E-CENT Paper No. 2(c), in March 2010. The writing of that paper marked the emergence of my loss of faith in Albert Ellis’s concept of Unconditional Self-Acceptance (USA).

  1. Introduction

In this chapter I will explore the concept of unconditional self-acceptance (USA), developed by Dr Albert Ellis (1962[i], 1994[ii]).  In order to understand the background to the development of this idea, I will investigate the concept of unconditional positive regard (UPR), developed by Dr Carl Rogers[iii].

I will then relate the idea of unconditional self-acceptance (USA) to some of the most important concepts of moral philosophy, including the ideas of praise and blame.

I will then relate all of these ideas to the newly emerging field of study of ‘moral emotions’, and show that Albert Ellis was (at least theoretically) in the ‘ethical rationalist’ tradition created by Jean Piaget (1952, 1954), which holds that moral judgements are driven by linguistic reasoning, rather than by emotional intuitions (as argued by Haidt, 2001[iv], 2003[v], 2006[vi]).  I say that Ellis was ‘theoretically’ an ethical rationalist because, in practice, he is not actually a moralist of any description, being mainly a pragmatic promoter of prudence rather than moral codes and rules.  He expressly forbids all forms of the moral imperatives: should, must, have to, got to, need to, ought.  And he insists that nobody should ever be blamed for anything.

…End of extract.  For more, please click this link: Unfit for Therapeutic Purposes.***


Dr Jim’s Counselling Blog:

Contrasting moderate stoicism against extreme stoicism in dealing with life’s adversities…


Why people become upsetEvery counsellor, and every counselling client, needs to be aware of the pitfalls of following the most extreme elements of Stoic philosophy!

When important things go wrong in a person’s life, they predictably and understandably become emotionally upset.  This was a common-sense perspective until rational and cognitive therapy resuscitated an ancient Roman slave’s perspective which asserts (wrongly) that people are not upset by what happens to them!

And that is precisely the problem.  Epictetus was a slave in ancient Rome.  Not only was he a slave, but his mother was also a slave; and he was born into slavery.  Imagine how low his expectations of life would be – the slavish son of a slavish woman!  And then he was released by his slave-owner, to preach Extreme Stoicism to the masses.

Today I want to present you with a little story of a recent adversity that I had to face – (which I am still having to face) – as a way of teaching a particular point about philosophy of life, and how it fits into emotional self-management. Needless to say, I will be trying to avoid Extreme Stoicism, while at the same time showing some resilience in the face of adversity.

For more, please click this link: Dr Jim’s Counselling blog, on Resilience and Extreme Stoicism…***


[i] Ellis, A. (1962) Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy.  New York: Lyle Stuart.

[ii] Ellis, A. (1994) Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy: revised and updated.  New York: Carol Publishing.

[iii] Rogers, C.R. and Stevens, B. (with Eugene T. Gendlin, John M. Shien and Wilson Van Dusen) (1967/1998). Person to person: The problem of being human; a new trend in psychology. Lafayette, CA: Real People Press.

[iv] Haidt, J. (2001) The emotional dog and its rational tail: a social intuitionist approach to moral judgement.  Psychological Review, 108(4): 814-834.

[v] Haidt, J. (2003). The moral emotions. In R.J. Davidson, K.R. Scherer, & H.H. Goldsmith (Eds.), Handbook of Affective Sciences. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 852-870.

[vi] Haidt, J. (2006) The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting ancient wisdom and philosophy to the test of modern science.  London: William Heinemann.



Dr Jim’s Counselling Blog:

Regarding some announcements about depression and medication

Some research results that should be known by all counsellors and psychotherapists, as well as their clients

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2018


Then the magazine, What Doctors Don’t Tell You, produced an article which we liked, and we posted a link to that article, on Facebook, as follows:

“Antidepressants are a family of drugs that are bad and dangerous to know – and now researchers have named Effexor (venlafaxine) as the baddest of the bad. Patients are much more likely to attempt suicide while taking Effexor than any of the other antidepressants, a new study has found.

“The news comes as no surprise to those who’ve already been exposed to the drug. It’s considered to be one of the most powerful antidepressants, and one of the hardest to tolerate. In fact, around 19 per cent of patients stop taking the drug early because they can’t stand the side effects, which include anxiety, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, high blood pressure and thyroid depression. One patient even reported a sudden change of hair colour. …”

For more on this topic, please click the link that follows:



Footer information

ABC 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


Renata Taylor-Byrne


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.


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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