Established since 1998


ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

We can help you with problems of anger, anxiety and depression counselling; stress management, anger management; and couples therapy; life coaching, lifestyle counselling, and attachment relationship problems

Jim.Nata.Couples.pg.jpg.w300h245 (1)
Dr Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne

Our approach to counselling focuses on the whole person – body-brain-mind-environment.  We care about your feelings and your difficulties.  We care about your relationships and goals in life. We link those concerns to your approach to exercise, 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!”

Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne, practitioners of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT) – May 2019


On this site you will find information about:

ABC Counselling & Coaching
ABC Counselling and Coaching Services

Counselling, coaching and psychotherapy for anger, anxiety, and depression; stress, self-confidence, and self-esteem; self-assertive communication, attachment style problems, and personality adaptation problems; goal setting, habit change, and relationship problems; as well as emotional problems linked to diet, exercise, sleep, and social connection.

Books about counselling, coaching and psychotherapy systems, and related subjects, including: anger, anxiety, depression, stress, traumatic experience, couple relationships, couple conflict, human communication, self-assertion, conflict management styles, marriage problems and couple conflict, lifestyle counselling, writing therapy, holistic counselling, REBT, CBT, Transactional Analysis (TA), Narrative therapy, and life coaching in a lifestyle format.

Counselling, coaching and psychotherapy in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, and all over the world via the telephone system, Skype and email exchanges.

counselling-session7Blogs about personal and professional development issues; including goal directed behaviour; achieving personal and professional goals; confidence building; and emotional self-management; self assertion; communication skills; and much more.

Information about Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling.

Information about Renata Taylor-Byrne, Coach-Counsellor and Lifestyle Mentor


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.


What kind of counselling do we practice?

We are the originators of a new form of counselling, coaching and psychotherapy which addresses the needs of the whole person – body, brain, mind and environmental links. This is a system of Emotive counselling; Cognitive coaching; Embodied psychotherapy; and Narrative counselling.  Hence the acronym: E-CENT!

What is E-CENT Counselling?***


But what are the benefits of this holistic approach to treating the whole person?

Benefits of E-CENT counseling?***


And what are the precise services we offer?


bloom blooming blossom blur

About Dr Jim Byrne’s Counselling/Psychotherapy services.***



photo of sunflower

About Renata Taylor-Byrne’s Coaching/Counselling services.***



Our counselling approach teaches individual clients 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)



About your needs!

Do you have problems of conflict, or communication difficulties, in your couple relationship or other relationship(s)? Or are you unhappy about your situation at home or at work?  Do you have difficulty controlling your thoughts, feelings or behaviours.

All of these kinds of problems can be resolved, with the right kind of counselling, psychotherapy, coaching and guidance; and commitment on your part to make improvements in your life.  But if you come to see us, and then you continue to do what you have always done, then nothing will change in your relationships or your life!  (Change begins within you!)

We offer counselling and advice; psychotherapy and coaching; helpful information; and self-counselling or self-help resources.

Our approach to helping you potentially involves a review of every aspect of your life (as appropriate) –

# your lifestyle – including diet, exercise, and sleep; relaxation, and work/life balance;

# your relationships (in the present and the past – including ‘attachment style’, childhood experiences, and your ‘inner couple’ model);

# your communication style (passive, aggressive, or assertive); stress factors; self-confidence and self-esteem; and couple conflict (including ‘conflict style’).

# And your philosophy of life.

This we call Lifestyle Counselling and Coaching.

The end result of our counselling, coaching and therapy approach is that you learn to think, feel and act more effectively, thus helping you to manage your life and your relationships more effectively, at home and in work. And you become healthier and happier, to the degree that you are able and willing to implement what you learn from us.


Hello, and welcome!

This is the web site of Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne. We are a well-established counselling, coaching and psychotherapy service, with lots of testimonials from satisfied customers.  (See the details on our personal pages).


This is our coaching/counselling space in Hebden Bridge

Dr Jim's photo# For further information about Jim Byrne,

Doctor of Counselling,

please click this link:

Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division.***



Nata-Lifestyle-coach8# For further information about Renata Taylor-Byrne

Psychologist, Coach-Counsellor –

please click this link:

Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division***.



Telephone counselling services

Telephone7If you live too far from Hebden Bridge, near Halifax, West Yorkshire, you can phone one of us,

on 44 01422 843 629,

from any part of the English-speaking world, for a telephone consultation.




Or you can consult Jim (but not Renata) over Skype.


Our approach to counselling 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.



Dr Jim’s Counselling Division

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, Updated: 15th February 2019


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…


Do you want my help with a specific problem, or are you seeking to improve the quality of your life overall?

Do not believe you have to suffer in silence! 

Do not conclude that it is weak to ask for help! 

No person is an island, complete unto themselves!


My name is Jim Byrne.

I am a doctor of counselling, in my twenty-first year in private practice in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire; and all over the world via the telephone system and Skype, and/or email exchanges, etc.

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

I have helped more than one thousand individuals to overcome distressing problems of anger, anxiety, depression, stress, panic, traumatic experience, couple conflict, insecure attachment, and so on.

For more, please click this link: Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division.***


In our approach to 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.


Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division

Hebden Bridge Coaching and Counselling Service


If you want to improve your life, then I can help you!

This helps them to feel safe; to unburden themselves; and to begin to plan changes in their lives to address their immediate goals, specific problems or emotional difficulties.

Here’s a little video introduction to my system of coaching/counselling:


What is coaching about?

“Clients come to coaching because they want something to change. Essentially they want to be more effective. The role of the coach is to help them achieve this increased effectiveness”.

Jenny Rogers



“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.”

Dennis Waitley


What do you need?

If you’re struggling with problems to do with…

* handling unexpected or demanding changes in your life circumstances

* changing one of your habits, or starting a new one

* reducing your feelings of being under pressure

* clarifying your thinking or feelings

* achieving important goals; or:

* working to change a difficult emotional or relationship problem…

…then I can help you with these and similar challenges.

For more, please click the following link: Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division.***


Our approach to counselling explores the narratives and stories of our 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, May 2019


What is Counselling, and how is it practiced?

by Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, May 2019

Counselling is a chance to rethink your feelings, and to re-feel your experiences; and to digest what needs to be digested, and then move on.

Resource Pack R1: What is counselling and how is it done?

by Dr Jim Byrne

3rd October 2014 (Updated 19th May 2019)


Image-1-Whats-counselling.JPGIn simple terms, counselling involves one person (the counsellor) helping another person (the client) to work through some difficult or painful emotional, behavioural or relationship problem or difficulty.  That is the form of individual counselling.

In practice there are probably almost as many definitions and descriptions of the process called ‘counselling’ as there are theorists who have written on this subject.  At one stage, the number of systems of counselling and therapy was said to be more than 400.  So narrowing down our definition to manageable proportions is going to be our major challenge.

Therefore, let us begin in a modest manner, with a new, five-minute video introduction to counselling specially designed for this page, and not available anywhere else:


definition-of-counsellingIf you were not able to take notes from the video clip above, then here are the notes I made as a script to record the video.  Of course, I embellished it as I went along, but the core ideas to be presented were these:

1. To counsel somebody is to help in a way that emphasizes the needs and goals of the person asking for help.

2. The modern world is full of stresses and strains, and this accounts for the rise, growth and popularity of counseling.

3 Counselling can be defined in many ways, from one school of thought to another. …

For more, please click this link: What is Counselling?***


Our approach to counselling teaches this lesson: Parental love is a hugely important aspect of the developmental foundations of every individual.  If you don’t get it, or not enough of it, then you are left with a wound or scar that has to be healed somehow, at some later date: “The time and the quality of the time that their parents devote to them indicate to children the degree to which they are valued by their parents.  Some basically unloving parents, in an attempt to cover up their lack of caring, make frequent professions of love to their children, repetitively and mechanically telling them how much they are valued, but not devoting significant time of high quality to them.  Their children are never totally deceived by such hollow words.  Consciously they may cling to them, wanting to believe that they are loved, but unconsciously they know that their parents’ words do not match up with their deeds”.

Scott Peck (1983/1990) The Road Less Travelled: The new psychology of love, traditional values and spiritual growth. Page 23. (1)


Jim and Renata comment: We all benefit from ‘good enough’ parenting, which includes a real sense of being loved and cared for. This is where our ‘attachment style’ (secure or insecure) comes from, and this is what determines our future happiness or unhappiness in romantic and marital relationships.


CBT and drugs aren’t working

How effective is Cognitive Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy?

A brief review of five pieces of evidence, by Dr Jim Byrne, November 2018


A 2013 study using therapy trainees in Sweden suggested that CBT was an effective form of treatment… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3888554/

However, we know from the Common Factors approach, that all systems of counselling and therapy that are tested against each other prove to be about equally effective! So, ‘being effective’ does not mean ‘being better than other therapies’. (Source: Wampold, 2001, etc.)[1].

Indeed, the government of Sweden, having invested heavily in training people to deliver CBT, and investing heavily in making CBT available to all of their citizens, to prevent people retiring from the labour force with anxiety and depression, have found that, after investing three billion crowns (or £255 million British Pounds) in this CBT project, that it made no positive contribution whatsoever to reducing their national problem of anxiety and depression.  (See the article that follows):

For more, please click this link: CBT and drugs not working.***


What is E-CENT Counselling?

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

By Dr Jim Byrne

Copyright (c) 2009-2016, Jim Byrne

Updated on 19th May 2019.

This was one of the first things I wrote about our approach to counselling, coaching and psychotherapy (which is known as 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 summarising eight of the nineteen key features, or principles, which characterise 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.

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 Holistic Counselling in Practice, By Dr Jim Byrne.***

E-CENT integrates elements of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), Transactional Analysis (TA), Attachment theory, moderate Zen Buddhist philosophy, moderate Stoicism, Gestalt therapy, affect regulation theory, moral philosophy, and some other cognitive, narrative and dynamic therapies. And E-CENT goes beyond those systems, to create some original emotive-cognitive techniques, models and perspectives.

How does this model link up with the ABC model (of REBT/CBT?)

What are the necessary implications of assuming that there is substantial truth in both models?

The same process was conducted with Transactional Analysis and cognitive science.  The resulting model was then compared with the implications of the Object Relations School.  Moral philosophy and Zen Buddhism were also interrogated in this process of model building.  That work of model building is described in Papers No.1(a)[1] and No.9[2].

Before that system of integration of models was begun, I had studied thirteen different systems of counselling and therapy, including: Freud and Jung, Rogers and Perles, Behaviour Therapy theory and practice, Cognitive Therapy and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, Reality Therapy and Transactional Analysis, Existential Therapy and Logotherapy, Multimodal Therapy and Cognitive-Humanistic Therapy; and also committed myself to the proposition that all systems of counselling and therapy that are designed to be therapeutic are broadly equivalent in terms of the outcomes achieved for the client, as argued by Wampold (2001)[3], and Messer and Wampold (2000)[4].

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


Anxiety counselling in Hebden Bridge:

Understanding and managing anxiety

Copyright (2017) by Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne

27th January 2019



The E-CENT theory of anxiety says that we are born with an innate sense of fear: (Darwin, 1872/1965; and Panksepp, 1998).  Babies begin to display a pronounced sense of fear from about the age of six or seven months.  This sense of fear is of something that is present – like loud noise; a furry animal; something that looks like a snake; etc.  In time, we learn to feel anxious, which is to say, fearful about things that are not present, but which we ‘think-feel’ (consciously and/or non-consciously) might represents threats and dangers just a little while in the future.  Many fears begin in childhood.  For example, as one psychologist writes:

“I have experienced such (anxious) emotions myself… My parents divorced when I was four, and although detailed memories of the separation and disruption are foggy, one memory is as clear to me now as it was those late nights and early mornings while lying awake: I had an almost vertigo sense of spiralling down and shrinking into my bed, as the room I was in expanded outward in all directions, leaving me feeling ever smaller and insignificant, frightened and anxious, about.. well … everything, including and especially being loved.  And although the ever-shrinking-room experience has mercifully receded, today there are still too many late nights and early mornings when lost-love anxieties return to haunt me, emotions that I usually wash away with productive work or physicl exercise, sometimes (but not always) successfully”.

Michael Shermer, The Believing Brain…


People feel different intensities of anxiety, depending upon the seriousness of the threat or danger that they are anticipating, and how that degree of seriousness interacts with their felt sense of ‘coping capability’.  And people who are anxious tend to worry endlessly.  This, of course, does not help, as shown by Dr Tom Miller:

“Worry is a magical attempt to control something which cannot be controlled by worry!”

Dr Tom Miller.


But also, note, that worry is not ‘all in the mind’, and that you often have to work on your body to wash the stress hormones out of your system, before you can begin to relax and stop worrying.

For more, please click this following link: Anxiety counselling, Hebden Bridge.***


Depression counselling – Hebden Bridge

Defining and Describing Depression:

Some insights for depressed or grieving individuals

Copyright (c) 2017, Posted here on 27th January 2019.

Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne


Depression is difficult to grapple with, and depression can be defeated!

Our emotive-cognitive theory of depression says we have to distinguish between transient grief and stuck depression.

Grief is born into us, and was born into our ancestors.  We did not invent it.  And we do not cause it in ourselves.  It is triggered by particularly significant losses (and sometimes serious failures).  Grief is ‘depression’ which is appropriate to some significant loss or failure in the recent past. While depression is stuck-‘grief’ which is inappropriate to loss or failure in the more distant past.

Inappropriate depression could also come from exaggerating the degree of badness of a current or recent loss or failure; or refusing to accept its inevitability; or trying (in your mind) to reverse an irreversible loss or failure.

For more, please click the following link: Depression counselling in Hebden Bridge.***


Couples therapy and relationship counselling, coaching and psychotherapy in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8HJ

And all over the world via telephone, email and Skype

“Couples therapy and relationship counselling is particularly important in the modern world, because we have reached a 50% divorce rate, and family misery is greatly increased by couple conflict.  Many couples (in marriages, cohabiting, and civil partnerships) expect to be able to ‘operate’ a successful relationship without having the slightest idea what a ‘relationship is’, what ‘marital commitment’ means, or even how to ‘actively love’ their partner (other than in a brief, amorous, sexual manner, on an occasional basis).  Amorous and sexual love comes naturally to all primates, and many other animals, but the ability to achieve a happy relationship in a human community has to be learned!”

Dr Jim Byrne, May 2019


Modified Couples Therapy Service

Posted here on January and May 2019

To make an appointment to work with me, please:

Telephone 01422 843 629


Or email me at jim.byrne@abc-counselling.com



Unsolicited client testimonial

♣ Verbal feedback: “Every time we come to see you, our relationship gets better and better.  We did not expect this.  We have now reached a kind of comfortable plateau, and we don’t know if things will get any better.  But we have talked about it, and we don’t know what you said or what you did to help us to get to this much nicer place in our relationship”.

Dr. A.D.; North Halifax, West Yorkshire. UK. (Five sessions of face to face couples therapy).


At the last count, I had collected, and/or developed, eighteen principles, or things you can do, which make the biggest and quickest contribution to improving your capacity to manage a happy couple relationship.

For more, please click the following link: Couples Therapy in Hebden Bridge.***


Anger management counselling, coaching, psychotherapy in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8HJ

By Dr Jim Byrne

Posted here on 28th January 2019


Principles of E-CENT Anger Management Counselling

By Dr Jim Byrne

October 2018

Anger is destructive of your physical and mental health, as well as your relationships

Anger is one of the main emotions that humans feel in certain kinds of stressful situations.  The other two are anxiety and depression.

Anger is the emotion that corresponds to the ‘fight response’ when an animal or human feels threatened, or (in the case of humans), seriously frustrated by another person, or insulted by somebody, or confronted by the bad behaviour of others.

In civilized societies, anger can be appropriate to the circumstances surrounding the angry individual, or excessive and aggressive.

In order to teach our clients how to manage their anger appropriately, we have evolved a set of principles which can help to summarize coping self-talk, and coping actions.

…End of extract.  For more, please click the following link: Anger management counselling principles.***


Affect regulation theory

Developments in counselling and therapy theory:

From Freud to Schore!

By Dr Jim Byrne, January 2018 – Posted here in February and May 2019.

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 (OFC), which is the seat of the internalization of social modelling of emotion regulation.

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


Attachment theory and neo-Freudian psychoanalysis

Some thoughts by D Jim Byrne


Copyright © Jim Byrne, 2013-2017

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.

Defining Attachment Theory more clearly

What is attachment theory?  How does it relate to post-Freudian or neo-Freudian approaches to psychotherapy?  And how are these ideas used in E-CENT?

Firstly, attachment theory was originated by Dr John Bowlby, a British psychoanalyst, based on his observations of the negative impact of protracted separation of young children from their parents, especially their mothers[2].  This is how it was described by Gullestad (2001)[3]: In a documentary film made by Dr John Bowlby for the World Health Organization, he reports on “…the mental health of homeless children in post-war Europe.  The major conclusion was that to grow up mentally healthy, ‘the infant and young child should experience a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship with his mother (or permanent mother substitute) in which both find satisfaction and enjoyment…’.”

…End of extract.  For more, please click the following link: Attachment theory in E-CENT counselling and Freudian analysis.***


A Kindle dBooks image

Take a look at the full Counselling Books Page.***


Or take a look at our Site Map for further information or services, links, etc.


Or, visit our recent Counselling and Coaching Blog Posts.***


Consult us for stress management counselling, anger management counselling, couple’s therapy, confidence building, self-esteem issues, marriage guidance counselling, life coaching, lifestyle coaching, or problems with anxiety, depression, panic; and so on.


What is Transactional Analysis (TA), 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

12th September 2015. Updated 13th January 2019

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2009-2015/2016


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 1940s 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 1950s and ‘60s, 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 that the lawyer operated from ‘different places’, or ‘different states of the ego’ – different parts of his personality.  Berne and a group of collaborators began to investigate those ‘ego states’, listening to audio recordings of psychotherapy sessions, and identifying the ‘places’ that the patient and the therapist were ‘transacting’ from.  Out of this research/practice process came the insight that we humans operate from different ego states, depending on the external circumstances of our social encounters, and our personal life histories.

…For more, please click this link: What is Transactional analysis?***

[1] Stewart, I. (1989) Transactional Analysis Counselling in Action.  London: Sage.

[2] Berne, E. (1947/1986) A Layman’s Guide to Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis.  Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.  Page 328 (Chapter Nine, Transactional Analysis, by John M. Dusay, MD).


A Personal Journey Through – and out of – Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT)

…End of extract. For more on this subject, please go to: The REBT pages.***


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

by Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, Updated on 10th October 2018, and posted here on 12th February 2019 (Reviewed on 19th May 2019)

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 complexity of 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:

…End of extract.  For more on this subject, please click the link that follows: https://abc-counselling.org/counselling-psychotherapy-and-human-emotions/***


Written counselling resources

If you are not yet ready for face-to-face couples therapy, you can consult our book on how to build a successful relationship, which has just been published by Dr Jim Byrne:

The content of this book

– Some guidelines for building a successful relationship;

– Some insights into how to manage your emotions for more effective regulation of your side of a happy sex-love relationship;

– How to love, actively and sensitively; Plus:

– How to communicate about anything that comes up in your relationship.  Also:

– How to avoid getting into the wrong kind of relationship, or for the wrong reasons; And/or:

– How to avoid holding unrealistic expectations of a sex-love relationship. Plus:

– Insights into your conflict-management style, and how to improve it; And:

– Strategies for changing any of your unhelpful relationship habits.

You will also get:

– A very interesting introduction to the theory that our marriage partnership is shaped, for better or worse, in our family of origin; and how to reshape your ‘inner map’ for finding a suitable partner; Or:

–  how to change the way you relate to your current partner; Plus:

– Insights into how to manage boundaries in relationships; And:

– Some illuminating case studies of couple relationships that have gone wrong; and what you can learn from those mistakes.

What you can gain from studying this book:


This book is packed with useful information, presented in a ‘training manual’ form. If you follow this study program, you will gain:

– A greater capacity to love;

– Skills to help you to communicate more effectively with your partner;

– Insights into your conflict management style, and how to change it;

– Helpful strategies for changing your relationship habits; And, ultimately:

– Greater happiness in love and relationship, resulting from the fact that the love you create will be returned by your partner; and you will have lots more peace and harmony in your family life.

For more information about this book, please click the following link: Top Secrets for Building a Successful Relationship.***


Or you can find out how to manage your diet, nutrition and physical activity level.***


Or you can go deeper into the nature of Lifestyle Counselling for diet, exercise, sleep and mind-management.***


Or you can find out how to use therapeutic writing (as self-counselling) to solve your emotional, practical and relationship or career problems.***


Counselling and therapy come in many forms. And *Lifestyle Counselling* is the growing edge of counselling and psychotherapy today…

An informational post by Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling


Dr Jim's photoMost counsellors were trained in one school of counselling psychology. We then spend years adding various ‘loan elements’ to that system, and modifying it in the light of our ‘clinical experience’.

Counselling and psychotherapy have been morphing and evolving since their earliest emergence.  There are now more than 400 forms of counselling and therapy in existence; and those forms are (probably) subdivided further by the number of individuals practising each form (since it is arguable that no two counsellors practice *identical systems*. All counsellors probably practice variations on one or more of the main theories – in a highly individualised form).  And even as I write, the drift continues…


Imagine a person who decides they need counselling, and that they need to ‘interview’ three counsellors to find the one who suits them best.  This client then meets, individually, with three counsellors, and makes the following notes:

Counselling-div-quoteCounsellor No.1 concentrates on early childhood influences on personality formation, and how those influences can be detected in the way the client responds to environmental stressors or problems today.

Counsellor No.2 concentrates on the present moment; on how the client processes (cognitively and emotively) their current problems or stressors.

Counsellor No.3 uses a long checklist of potential influences upon the client’s happiness and health: from early childhood; various transitions; developmental challenges; and current stressors and lifestyle choices (in terms of diet, exercise, sleep, relaxation, stress management strategies, etc.); plus their philosophical stance in life; and their life script, or story.

If you were this client, which counsellor would you choose to work with: No.1?  No.2? Or No.3?  And why?

The Lifestyle Counselling Book
The Lifestyle Counselling Book

We have written a book on the subject of *Lifestyle Counselling*, which teaches any practitioner of talk therapy how to incorporate elements of the lifestyle approach of Counsellor No.3 into their current practices.  It provides the necessary information about the kinds of foods that damage mental health and emotional wellbeing; plus those that improve the general functioning of the body-brain-mind of the client. It also provides guidance on physical exercise approaches, and sleep hygiene practices that support good mental health.

Counsellors who have read this book have commented that they benefited enormously from knowing these new areas of knowledge about the healthy and unhealthy functioning of the body-brain-mind of their clients.  To read more about this book, please go to *Lifestyle Counselling and Coaching for the Whole Person.***

Or: Get your paperback copy – or your Kindle eBook version – from one of the following Amazon outlets:

In the USA and elsewhere: Amazon.com In the UK and Ireland: Amazon.co.uk In Canada: Amazon.ca In Italy: Amazon.it


In Germany: Amazon.de In France: Amazon.fr In Spain: Amazon.es  Anywhere worldwideOr Amazon India


Emotional distress is not a disease of the brain-mind, and can be helped by counselling and psychotherapy.  It is most often an expression of a stressed or strained nervous system, often with a significant social dimension.  In our system of counselling we teach our therapy clients that unreasonable social ideologies can make matters worse. For example:  “The Affluenza Virus is a set of values which increase our vulnerability to emotional distress.  It entails placing a high value on acquiring money and possessions, looking good in the eyes of others and wanting to be famous.  Just as having HIV virus places you at risk of developing the physical disease of AIDS, infection with the Affluenza Virus increases your susceptibility to the commonest emotional distresses: depression, anxiety, substance abuse and personality disorder (like ‘me, me, me’ narcissism, febrile moods or confused identity)”.

Oliver James (2007) Affluenza: How to be successful and stay sane.  Page vii. (20)

For counselling or therapy for stress problems, please contact Dr Jim Byrne or Renata Taylor-Byrne


Some general dietary guidelines for physical and mental health

An informational post by Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling



Some foods cause physical and mental health problems; and some foods promote good health and emotional well-being.  It is obviously important to know what those foods are, otherwise we cannot live well; and we cannot advise others on how to maintain their health and happiness.


If we can generalise at all, it is advisable to eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit: seven or eight portions per day (mainly vegetables, and much less fruit [because fruit contains fruit sugars, which can raise your blood glucose levels to problematical levels]!)

brain-maker-cover.JPGMany experts recommend the Mediterranean diet.  Some recommend the Okinawa diet. Or the Nordic diet. And some the Paleo diet, though we have reservations about the Paleo/ Atkins/ Ketogenic diets, which will be discussed later.

The safest way to begin is probably to follow the UK National Food Guide (or the US equivalent ‘food pyramid’), or our variation on that set of guidelines. (See the start of section 3(a) of Part 1, above).

Eating organic wholefoods is one way of minimizing the chemical pollutants that get into our bodies and impair our ability to function healthily in the face of the pressures and strains of daily life, according to Bart Cunningham, PhD.[i]   Patrick Holford (2010) recommends that we eat (gluten-free) wholegrains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables, and avoid refined, white and overcooked foods. (But we think he should have emphasised fish and vegetables before grains, lentils and beans. [Fish twice per week is probably optimal for most people.  Some might be able to handle three times.  But others need to be careful they do not provoke an allergic reaction to fish!]).

There is also recent research which suggests a link between trans-fats (including hydrogenated fats in processed foods) and aggression, irritability and impatience.[ii]

Salad bowl 7But which fruits and vegetables should we eat?  Patrick Holford (2010) recommends dark green, leafy and root vegetables.  He lists spinach, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, green beans, and Brussels sprouts. He favours eating (as much as possible) raw or lightly cooked.  Salad vegetables make an energizing breakfast. Holford suggests, also, that we choose berries, apples, melon, pears, or citrus fruits.  He suggests moderation in the consumption of bananas, because of the high sugar content.  For this reason, we should also limit out consumption of dried fruits (to something like 6-10 raisins or sultanas, etc., per meal).  Kiwis and blueberries are low GI (Glycaemic index, or sugar content).  Variety is the key.  Keep the sugar content low, especially if you are particularly sensitive to fruit and vegetable sugars.  (See the FodMaps diet, and the Anti-Candida diet).

Stressed-woman9The Stress Management Society gives the following advice: “If you want a strong nervous system, boost your intake of vitamins B, C and E, together with minerals magnesium and zinc. The best source of these nutrients is from food, rather than supplements. So eat a balanced diet of meat, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables and oily fish. If you need to snack during the day, try pumpkin or sunflower seeds and fruit, particularly bananas. Fresh organic food is the best source. If you can’t get fresh, frozen vegetables are a reasonable alternative as much of their nutritional content is retained.” [iii] (However, it may be that a low-meat, high vegetable, moderate carbohydrate diet is best: Greger (2016), page 67 and 201-203).

Nata-Lifestyle-coach8We suggest you follow most of the advice of the Stress Management Society, except for the supplementation of vitamins and minerals; and it’s probably best to keep your meat consumption low.  Unless you are on a wholly organic diet, your food will be largely denatured and devoid of much nutritional value; therefore you need to use vitamin and mineral supplements of a good, natural-source quality.

It seems to be important to keep your meat consumption low – not just for red meat, but also for white meats.  Meats seem to increase the omega-6 fatty acids (including arachidonic acid) in the body (perhaps because they are mostly grain fed, instead of grass fed). Dr Michael Greger writes that: “…Maybe the pro-inflammatory compound arachidonic acid found in animal products can ‘adversely impact mental health via a cascade of neuro-inflammation.[iv]

Diet,exercise book coverAnd Greger also states that (non-organic) chicken and eggs are also a problem because of their omega-6 (arachidonic acid) content!  So perhaps you should eat those foods in moderation. (And only the organic variety, because grass-fed animals are high in omega-3 fatty acids, while grain fed animals are high in omega-6).

For more information, please take a look at this page of information: *How to Control Your Anger, Anxiety and Depression, Using nutrition and physical activity***.




[i] Cunningham, J. B. (2001) The Stress Management Sourcebook.  Second edition.  Los Angeles: Lowell House.

[ii] Yu, W. (2012) High trans-fat diet predicts aggression: People who eat more hydrogenated oils are more aggressive.  Scientific American Mind, July 2012. Available online:        http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/high-trans-fat-diet-predicts-aggresion/

[iii] Stress Management Society (2012/2016) ‘Nutritional stress and health’: The “Think ‘nervous'” box. Available online: http://www.stress.org.uk/Diet-and-nutrition.aspx

[iv] Dr Michael Greger quotes the following paper in defence of his view that vegetarian diets are better for emotional health:

Beezhold, B. L., Johnston, C. S., & Daigle, D. R. (2010) ‘Vegetarian diets are associated with healthy mood states: a cross-sectional study in Seventh Day Adventist adults’. Nutrition Journal9, 26. http://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-9-26


Writing therapy for counselling clients: Writing about your problems, in a diary or journal, can help you to process them and resolve them: “Diarists reported better moods and fewer moments of distress than non-diarists.  Those, in the same study, who kept a journal following trauma or bereavement also reported fewer flashbacks, nightmares and unexpected difficult memories.  Writing can itself be an act of emotional processing so it can help in many situations of danger, extremity and loss of control.  People who keep diaries are admitted to hospital less often and spend fewer days there than those who do not (keep a journal)…”

Philippa Perry, How to Stay Sane (2012). (22)



Lifestyle Counselling and Coaching for the Whole Person:

Or how to integrate nutritional insights, exercise and sleep coaching into talk therapy

Draft-cover-3By Dr Jim Byrne, with Renata Taylor-Byrne

Updated on 9th January 2019

This is the book that many counsellors, psychologists and psychotherapists have lauded and applauded in numerous comments on LinkedIn and Facebook, over the past few months.  But why are they so interested and excited by this new book?

Because this book explains how to integrate diet and nutrition, inner dialogue, physical exercise, re-framing of experience, and sleep science into *Lifestyle Counselling* practice. And lifestyle counselling practice is the most likely future direction of all systems of counselling, coaching and psychotherapy. 

Lifestyle counselling broadens talk therapy by including consideration of the nutritional state of the client; their approach to sleep hygiene; and their level of physical activity.

We explore the scientific research which demonstrates definite links between those and other lifestyle factors and emotional problems and mental illness. We see this as the core of most healing practices of the future, combined with talk therapy, and emotional self-management.

For some years to come, this form of practice will be a novel service offering for clients who have realised that:

…End of extract.  For more, please click the following link: https://abc-counselling.org/counselling-the-whole-person/***



Understanding the human mind:

And how it relates to the body and the rest of the world

Understanding just who you are, and who those other people in your life happen to be, can protect you from wasting your potential, in your career and in your relationships.  Knowing who and what you are will enhance your personal power, and reduce your vulnerability to emotional distress and mental dysfunction.


The latest book by Dr Jim Byrne – (as at 9th February 2019) – is now available as an eBook, and as a paperback, from Amazon outlets around the world:


A counsellor reflects upon models of mind


Integrating the psychological models of Plato, Freud, Berne and Ellis


Dr Jim Byrne

Published by the Institute for E-CENT Publications;

In association with KDP-Amazon


Copyright and publication details:

Copyright © Jim Byrne, 2019

Published by the Institute for Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT), at 27 Wood End, Keighley Road, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8HJ, UK.

Telephone 44 01422 843 629.  Email: dr.byrne@ecent-institute.org

All rights reserved.



This book was written with the interests and needs of counsellors and self-help enthusiasts in mind.

By the generic label, ‘counsellors’, I mean to indicate people in the following roles: counsellors, psychotherapists, certain types of coaches, psychologists, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, social workers, and so on.

The content will also be helpful for students of any of those disciplines, and also for self-help enthusiasts who want to understand themselves better, and to change their mental organization for the better.

My assumption is that a high proportion of counsellors cares deeply about helping their clients, for which purpose they hunt high and low for new, helpful models, techniques and strategies to help with the broad range of issues and problems that their clients bring to them.

This book involves a review of four of the most influential models of mind – or theories of human mental functioning – in the history of psychology. Those models were developed by:

– Plato (and we’ll take a quick look at Aristotle’s deviation);

– Sigmund Freud (and we’ll take a peek at Melanie Klein’s deviation);

– Eric Berne (who created Transactional Analysis, and the Parent-Adult-Child model); and:

– Albert Ellis (who created the ABC model of human disturbance).

…End of extract. For more information, please click the following link: https://abc-counselling.org/models-of-mind-for-counsellors/


Daily journal writing can raise your personal awareness in a “nearly magical way”, as well as reducing the hectic pace of life and making it “more balanced and manageable”.

Writing therapy for a better life…

Writing Theapy book coverIn my book on expressive writing, I have included more than twenty exercises for dealing with a broad range of problems and goals.  The first two deal with daily planning and reflection.  The third deals with a start of the day system of ‘stream of consciousness’ writing.

I have noticed a recent resistance in myself to that writing of stream of consciousness in my journal. Sometimes I do it.  Sometime I resist doing it.  I seem to prefer doing some of the more structured writing activities from my book; such as exercises designed to achieve a particular goal; or to manage my emotions; to plan my time; or to produce a particular piece of work-based writing.

However, Julia Cameron (in her book, *The Artist’s Way*) advocates stream of consciousness writing on a daily basis – every morning.  And this is *mainly* a form of open-ended, self-reflective writing, as opposed to specific goal-directed writing – (although goal setting and review can be part of it).

Dr Jim's photoAbout one month ago, I was reading something by Dr Jim Loehr – in Timothy Ferriss’ book, Tribe of Mentors (which Renata is currently reading) – and this reminded me of the importance of self-reflective writing as such:

“The daily ritual of self-reflected writing has produced priceless personal insights in my life”, writes Loehr.  “For me, daily writing heightens my personal awareness in a nearly magical way.  I see, feel and experience things so much more vividly as a consequence of the writing.  The hectic pace of life becomes more balanced and manageable when I intentionally set aside time for self-reflection.  I am able to be more in the present in everything I do, and, for whatever reason, more accepting of my flaws”.


I found this statement very motivating, and so I have been doing stream of consciousness every morning since that day; and it has paid huge dividends.  I have discovered that I was driven by two drivers: ‘Hurry Up”, and “Be Perfect”.  I now write an affirmation every morning that says I do not have to hurry up, and I do not have to be perfect, and this has had a hugely calming effect upon my life.Draft cover jimnearfinal (2)

I  also use some of my own exercises, from my book, How to Write a New Life for Yourself; and I and getting a lot of value from this daily journal writing activity.

So, if you want to develop a cumulative collection of personal insights; creative ideas; personal growth gains; and greater self-acceptance; the thing to do is to make sure you write at least a couple of pages of ‘stream of consciousness’, or personal reflections, every morning, before the commencement of your working day.

Three pages would be even better; and this is a great way to process stressful life events; and to produce creative ideas; and to solve your practical and emotional problems.

This stream of consciousness process is just one of the more than 20 writing processes described in my book, How to Write a New Life for Yourself.  There is a writing process for most of your likely personal and professional development needs included in the main text.

For more information, please take a look at the page of information about *How to Write a New Life for Yourself*.***


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.


Albert Ellis did not understand the nature of human emotions…

Cover444In this book, I have presented a range of critiques of Albert Ellis’ system of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT).

For those who think that this is ‘impossible’ (because Albert Ellis can do no wrong!) , or self-delusional (because I must be mistaken to think that REBT is actually unfit to be a mainstream system of psychotherapy), let me present in full, below, one of my key critiques.

This is a brief extract from Chapter 2 of my book, Unfit for Therapeutic Purposes: The case against RE&CBT – Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2017:


Get the eBook version here, now:

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Get the paperback here, now:

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia Amazon Netherlands Amazon Germany
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Amazon Spain Amazon Brazil Amazon Japan


A case illustration from Ellis’s work

Let us now present an example of how Ellis applies his ABC model in a therapy encounter.  (I have numbered each statement to make it easier for me to refer back to them in my subsequent analysis, and I have substituted the word ‘client’ for the word ‘patient’; and I have substituted the word ‘Ellis’ for the word ‘Therapist’.) This is how Albert Ellis introduces the topic on page 126 of Ellis (1962):

For more click the following link re how REBT is unfit for therapeutic purposes.***


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.


Top secrets for

Building a Successful Relationship:

 Volume 1 – A blueprint and toolbox for couples and counsellors: C101

by Dr Jim Byrne.

A, New Cover, Couples book, Oct 2018The main text of this book is now complete, (as at 16th August 2018).

So I am now (still, as at 7th October) doing the final edit and polish; and then I might construct an index (but it might not need it, since the contents pages are very detailed).

And Charles is working on a revised and updated cover design, ….


On this page you will find information about our new book on couple relationships.  We have posted the full Preface; plus the full set of (revised) Contents pages; plus an extract from each of the main chapters (1-13).

Pre-publication review

“I have recently finished reading Dr Jim Byrne’s immensely useful book: about couple relationships.  This book is full of cutting edge thinking and priceless wisdom about couple relationships; which inspires us to believe that we can undoubtedly shape and improve our most important relationships.  The approach is comprehensive (despite being Volume 1 of 3), covering as it does: the nature of love and relationships; common myths about love and relationships (which tend to lead young people astray); some illuminating case studies of couple relationships that have gone wrong; and very helpful chapters on communication skills, conflict styles, and assertive approaches to relationship; plus a very interesting introduction to the theory that our marriage partnership is shaped, for better or worse, in our family of origin. I particularly liked the chapters on how to manage boundaries in relationships; and how to change your relationship habits. I can highly recommend this ‘must read’ book to couples and counsellors alike”.

Dr Nazir Hussain

Positive Psychology and Integrative Counselling Services, Whitby, Ontario, Canada.

September 2018


A2, New Cover, full, Couples book, Oct 2018

Here’s a sneak preview of part of the contents of Chapter 1:

…For more, please go to this link: Top secrets for Building a Successful Relationship.***


Facing and Defeating your Emotional Dragons:

How to process old traumas, and eliminate undigested pain from your past experience


Updated: 17th January 2019: (Posted here on 6th March 2019)

Post-traumatic stress (PTSD) is probably best addressed in counselling and psychotherapy.  However, since many individuals cannot afford therapy, or the amount of therapy required to address their deep-seated problems – and some people are not well placed, psychologically, to attend therapy sessions – it is worth considering the possibility of a self-help approach, using writing therapy, or journal writing.

There are some classic cases in which this approach worked very well – even though many professionals warn against using writing therapy if you are depressed or suffering from PTSD.  Here are some examples that I cited in another of my books on writing therapy:

front cover, dragons# A former soldier, who lives out of a shopping trolley, and survives by sleeping rough on the streets of San Francisco, heals his wartime traumas by writing in a journal for a period of months.  (Mulligan, 1997).

# A woman who is severely depressed, and stuck at home with a two-year-old child, cures her major depression by writing about previously denied emotional pain.  (Schiffman, 1972).

# A college lecturer processes the stresses and strains of working in an unreasonably intense and high pressure teaching situation, for decades, by digesting her daily experiences in her journal.  (See my book, How to Write a New Life for Yourself, 2018).

# A creative author writes about his childhood trauma, and converts it into a novel, while also learning to feel more secure and more loving and more fulfilled in his life. (See my book, How to Write a New Life for Yourself, 2018).

# The creator of Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling) was on social security, stuck at home with a young child, and suffering from severe depression, when she began to write her Harry Potter books.  She attributes her overcoming depression to this writing work.

# A professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, turns to writing to overcome the pain of depression, and discovers that it not only improves his mood and emotions, but also his immune functioning (as scientifically measured!) – and this gave rise to the Pennebaker Method of writing therapy, (which is discussed in page 159 of Levy and Monte, 1997).


In this new book, I have presented two powerful processes for recovering from serious problems driven by buried traumas. Those two processes are: re-framing of experience; and ‘completing/ digesting’ those earlier experiences.  This book contains detailed guidance about how to manage both processes for yourself.  (And some counsellors and psychologists may want to learn these processes, in order to help their own clients).

Available from Amazon in two formats: Kindle eBook and paperback:

…End of extract.  For more information about this book, please click the following link: https://abc-counselling.org/processing-old-emotional-traumas/


And we are also promoting a psychological thriller which has much to offer as a model of how to use fiction writing to complete undigested parts of your own life:

The Relentless Flow of Fate

By Kurt Llama Byron

An Inspector Glasheen Mystery

For more, please click this link:

The Relentless Flow of Fate.***


Paperback only at the moment, for £11.95 GBP

Fiction is a great vehicle for teaching about social relationships, and the law of karma.


Footer information

If searching for us on Bing Maps, or Google Maps, then please search for 27 Keighley Road, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8HJ, UK.

The reason for the current confusion is that most mapping systems have mismanaged the mapping of this area! (To be fair, it’s not an easy area to map!)

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For further information, please:

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

Or email us: Jim Byrne


Renata Taylor-Byrne


A1, Jim and Nata counselling homepage

We follow a set of ethical codes which are described on our personal pages.  We help adults only, aged above 18 years, and preferably above 21 years of age.  We do not do any work with children.


Link to free self development resources: Self Improvement from SelfGrowth.com

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Link to free self development resources: Self Improvement from SelfGrowth.com

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Or on Google Maps, at this location: 27 Keighley Road, HX7 8HJ



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