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)

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

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, Creator of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT) – October 2016


“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his or her patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the causes and prevention of disease”.  Thomas Edison.


Our counselling/coaching approach to your body-mind

Hello and welcome to our online office.  We are Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, and Renata Taylor-Byrne, Lifestyle Coach.  You can see our specialist services pages here:


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



Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching Division.***


jimnata-counselling-coachingIf you want your mind to be happy and healthy, then you have to work at keeping your body fit and well – (in addition to managing your thoughts and feelings).

If you want your body to be fit and well, then you need to manage your mind – (as well as your diet and physical exercise).

If you want your body-mind to function well in the world – to be fit and well and happy and effective and well-connected in happy relationships – then you need to know that your guts (intestines) are the Achilles Heel of the whole system.  What you eat and drink, and how well you digest it, makes a huge difference to both your physical and mental well-being.

Buddha2So, if you are struggling with any aspect of your body-mind-environment-wholeness, then come and see us and we will use our best coaching/ counselling ‘detective skills’ to help you to identify the key contributors to your current state, and the essential priorities for self-healing and personal growth.

And if there are any habits you need to change, we can show you how to do that.

Dr Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne

01422 843 629

Or email us: Jim Byrne


Renata Taylor-Byrne


August 2017


“The counsellor and psychotherapist of the future will give up splitting off the thinking/feeling of the client as a separate ‘province’, and instead deal with the whole body-brain-mind-environment that we call ‘the individual’, including their diet, exercise regime, sleep pattern, relaxation, work-life balance, and other lifestyle factors”.  Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne


In E-CENT counselling theory, we now recognise and publicise the gut-brain connection.  In particular, a ‘leaky gut’ can cause symptoms of depression and/or anxiety, completely independently of any ‘psychological’ factors: “I discovered there was an entire branch of medical research investigating the links between the gut and the brain.  It’s a rapidly growing field of study.  Ten or so years ago, there were hardly any published studies on the subject, but now there are several hundred academic articles covering the field.  The influence of the gut on our health and wellbeing is one of the new lines of research in modern medicine”.  However: “Most doctors learn very little about this in their training”. Giulia Enders (2014) Gut: The inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ.  London, Scribe.  Page 3.



Holistic Counselling in Practice: An introduction to Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT)

By Dr Jim Byrne

This book summaries the results of Dr Jim Byrne’s nine years of intensive work in developing the key concepts, models and techniques which we use in Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT).  This system of counselling and therapy integrates the best aspects of emotive and cognitive approaches to helping individuals and couples to rethink, and re-process, their disturbing experiences of earlier and later stages of their lives.


Contact form: To send us a message, please use this form:

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

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


Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Services

Hello, and welcome.


Homepage-quoteIf you are in need of a helpful and caring counsellor, then you have come to the right place.

This is the website of Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne, a creative partnership which helps people to grow, change and heal.

A good counsellor means: Somebody who has resolved their own emotional, behavioural and relationship problems from the early years of their lives; and who has also been trained to help you to do the same for yourself.

Thus we are able to help you to change and grow; to think and feel more self-helpfully.

A good counsellor knows how to analyse your problems into meaningful stories, and to suggest strategies for rewriting your story so that it has a more positive future outcome.

We can help you with problems of anger, rage, anxiety, panic, stress and strain; sadness, grief and depression; relationship problems, at home and at work; self-confidence, self-esteem and self-assertion; plus childhood trauma and attachment issues.

We have dozens and dozens of testimonials from satisfied customers from the past.  For example:

♣ “Dear Jim, We are very pleased with the result we got from the couples therapy sessions we had with you.  Our problems are now largely resolved, and we are enjoying our relationship”.

O.A., Bradford, West Yorkshire. (Three sessions of couples therapy; combined with four sessions of individual therapy for one member of this couple).


We are holistic counsellors, so we relate to you as a socialized body-mind-environment whole.  We do not think of you as a ‘floating head’.  So we can advise you on how to optimise your body-mind functioning for physical and emotional well-being.

All systems of counselling and psychotherapy are broadly equivalent in terms of the results produced for and with the clients:  “If anything can be said of psychotherapy (and counselling), it is maturing.  The days when models and theories arrived and were pursued with all the alacrity (or brisk and cheerful readiness) that only the latest designer drugs could excite on the streets are over. New therapeutic approaches are still emerging, but the fire for the novel, different, and exotic therapies has for the most part been extinguished”.  In that spirit, we do not claim that E-CENT counselling is the only, the best or the sexiest therapy available.  We simply say that it is our best attempt at combining all those elements that we have found to be helpful and effective over the years.

Hubble, Duncan, Miller and Wampold (2011) Introduction, The Heart and Soul of Change: Delivering what works in therapy.  Second edition. Page 24. (141)


Here is a little video clip on the benefits of our system of counselling, coaching and psychotherapy:


We can see you in Hebden Bridge, or we can talk over the telephone.

Blue-logo7Sometimes one or two counselling sessions is enough to help an individual to get back on their own self-directed track. (But it is common for complex problems to take very much longer than that!)

And if you find it hard to relate to the idea of coming for coaching, counsellor or therapy; then you could come and see us for a tutorial – an educational/learning experience to do with your problems of daily living.

“Thank you, Renata, for all the help you have given me in learning to think and feel in ways that were alien to me before I consulted you. I have been on a long journey from suffering to joy!”

P.J.M.  Sheffield, UK (Several consultations for a range of stuck issues, over a period of years).


We look forward to helping you!
natajim-coaching-counselling2For more information, about each of us, and how we could help you, please click one of the following links:

Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division

Renata’s Coaching and Counselling Division

Or phone us today on: 01422 843 629

Or email us: Jim Byrne


Renata Taylor-Byrne


Or use this contact form:


There are many forms of counselling, coaching and psychotherapy: including self-help approaches

Of course, we do not mean to imply that you have to see us face to face for counselling.  In fact:

(a) You could consult one of us over the telephone or email; or you could consult Jim via Skype.  See our page on telephone and email counselling.***

(b) You could consult a coach, counsellor or psychotherapist closer to your home.

(c) Or you could learn how to solve your own problem – using a self-help approach – by studying a suitable book on the problem with which you are grappling.

(d) Or you could learn how to use ‘writing therapy’ to resolve your problem, by reading one of the books in our Narrative Therapy Series.  For example:

NTS eBook No.5 – Facing and Defeating your Emotional Dragons: How to process and eliminate undigested pain from your past

by Jim Byrne

cover-image-finalThis is an invaluable, therapeutic book, because it explains how to rethinkserious traumatic experience from the past; to feel it fully for the first time, but from a position of strength – so that you can face it down; defeat it; control it; and put it in its rightful place – which is to say, cut and dried; done; over; finished; burned out!  Thereafter, it can no longer threaten you or harm you!

This book was designed specifically to help the reader to resolve their emotional disturbances which are driven by old, painful, undigested experiences from their past.

The author describes two potent processes which were developed as part of the core of our system of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT).  Both of these approaches need the support of a healthy approach to diet and exercise!

The first process is a way to reinterpret your past experiences which were too horrible to confront when they happened to you, way back in your childhood, or early life.  These experiences are what we call your ‘emotional dragons’, or ‘undigested traumatic experiences’.

The second process is a way to digest and dissolve those ‘dragons’ so that they can disappear from your life, and no longer cause you any problems in the present moment, or in the future.

drjim-counsellor1These two processes are illustrated via some interesting case study material from E-CENT counselling. And there is supplementary material on how to rate your emotional problems accurately, plus helpful guidelines for the use of diet and exercise to manage your related anxiety.  Also, there are some useful insights into the kinds of personality adaptations we tend to make to our family of origin, because those adaptations are often implicated in our most troublesome early experiences.

The reader will come away with an arsenal of techniques and ideas to help them heal their undigested emotional traumas from the past.  They will thoroughly learn the futility of trying to suppress old, traumatic experiences.  That kind of attempt will be exposed as counterproductive.

For more, please go Facing and Defeating Your Dragons…***


In E-CENT counselling, we teach our clients that we are always projecting the past into the present.  Our minds are wired up in the past.  We are creatures of habit.  We try to repeat our old habits in new contexts.  And we classify everything, including other people, on the basis of people we have known in the past.  “(W)e tend to feel more favourably towards strangers who resemble loved parents or siblings.  We expect strangers who remind us of past figures to react to us in the same way as our relatives once did, and these expectations in turn feed back into how we feel.  For example, if a person resembles our brother or sister, beside whom we always felt inadequate, being in this person’s company may make us feel that way.  We project our sibling’s traits on to the newcomer, then reinvent ourselves as inadequate by comparison.  Most dramatic of all, we are liable to manipulate people to behave in ways that actually resemble the originals – so powerful is our need to reconstruct the past in the present”.

Dr Oliver James (2002) They F*** You Up: How to survive family life.  London: Bloomsbury. Pages 82-83. (142)



Or you could become your own counsellor in smaller steps, by studying the basic theory of how to do your own writing therapy:

CoverNarrative Therapy Series, Volume 1 – Narrative Therapy and the Writing Solution: An emotive-cognitive approach to feeling better and solving problems

This eBook begins with a substantial section designed to get the reader quickly and easily engaging with the processes of writing therapy.  Practical exercises are outlined, along with the rationale for doing them, including the scientific evidence of effectiveness in promoting physical health and emotional well-being.

Part 2 then begins by identifying a major problem for humans.  We are born into families within communities, and those groups speak a language and promote a discourse, or conversation, about the nature of life, and our place and role in that world.  We are thus dominated from childhood by narratives and stories that are not our own, in the sense of being consciously chosen or designed by us, individually, to promote our own interests.

The contents are as follows:


Part 1: Quick Guidelines for Doing Your Own Writing Therapy – Summary – 1.1 Introduction – 1.2 – Initial guidelines – 1.3 – Focus on cause, effect and feelings – 1.4 – The Pennebaker scientific tradition – A precise guideline – 1.5 – Further clarification – How it works – The benefits – Self-observation –

Part 2: Therapeutic Narratives and Writing Therapy: The two main traditions and the E-CENT approach – Summary – 2.1 – Humans as storytellers – 2.2 – The scope of this section – 2.3 – What is a therapeutic narrative? – Table 1.1 Areas for personal development – 2.4 – What is writing therapy? – 2.5 – Is writing therapy effective? 2.6 – Who should use writing therapy? – (a) Who is most likely to benefit from writing therapy, and in what circumstances? – Table 1.2: Circumstances in which writing therapy is beneficial, with supporting evidence – (b) Who should be excluded from writing therapy processes for their own protection? – 2.7 – How should an individual guide their own therapeutic writing? –

Part 3 – Conclusion – Key learning points overall



For more, please go to Narrative therapy and the writing solution…***


Our approach to counselling

Blue-logo7The system of counselling, coaching and psychotherapy that we practice is a holistic integration of various pre-existing systems, including cognitive, emotive, behavioural, and narrative approaches. We have both been trained in REBT/CBT, and in a range of other models (including Transactional Analysis, Gestalt therapy, Behaviour therapy, and  many more). And we also teach the importance of effective management of your diet, physical exercise, relaxation/meditation, your relationships, at home and at work, your stress levels, and other holistic strategies.


Counsellors need to re-parent their clients who have attachment problems.  A ‘good enough’ mother is an essential basis for a happy and successful life:  “From the earliest days (of life) there is a reciprocal communication between mother and baby.  The infant communicates by means of positive cues such as cooing, smiling, and quiescence, and by negative ones such as crying, motor uneasiness, apathy, and refusal.  The mother’s skill lies in her ways of responding to these cues, interpreting them correctly as messages of discomfort, satisfaction, hunger, or pain.  She communicates to the infant by auditory, visual and tactile means and there is good evidence that subtle variations in qualities of voice, in ways of handling and of looking, are of great importance in setting the conditions for tranquil behaviour in the growing infant.  In this early conversation the child learns basic trust and hope, the sense that his mother is reliably there and will be consistently responsive to his needs…”  If such a ‘good enough’ mother is not available in infancy, there will most likely be some opportunities later to make up this deficit; but its lack will cause problems for the individual who does not have this kind of ‘secure base’.

Robert F. Hobson, Forms of Feeling: The heart of psychotherapy, Page 213. (143)


[1] Online description…


We look forward to helping you!

natajim-coaching-counsellingFor more information, about each of us, and how we could help you, please click one of the following links:

Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division

Renata’s Coaching and Counselling Division

Or phone us today on: 01422 843 629

Or email us: Jim Byrne


Renata Taylor-Byrne


Or use this contact form:


NTS eBook No.2 – Healing the Heart and Mind: Two examples of writing therapy stories, plus reflective analysis, by Jim Byrne

cover-imageThis book describes the weak connection, emotionally, that I had to my mother (and father), and the negative effects this had on all my later relationships, especially with girls and women (but also with my male peers).

Because of the intensity of my distress, I eventually had to seek help to make sense of my barren life.  This began the journey of therapy, including much writing therapy, which I describe in this book. Here’s a brief extract from the book’s ending:

“It was only the extreme nature of my childhood experiences, combined with an acute intelligence, and a dogged determination, plus some incredible good luck, and years of hard work, that I eventually was able to complete my analysis of what happened to me and my mother, and how that shaped me.  I hope you do not need to do this work, but if you do, then do it diligently, for the reward is that you get your life back!  You no longer feel the need to die – to achieve non-consciousness – in order to escape the pain of utter wretchedness and a sense of total isolation and worthlessness.  You step back into Paradise, from which you were so cruelly ejected all those years ago.”

…For more, please go to Healing the heart and mind…***


Holistic Counselling in Practice: An introduction to Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy, by Dr Jim Byrne

Book-cover-frontDr Jim Byrne spent six years (from 2001 to 2007) exploring the possibility of reformulating Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT): to remove some fundamental weaknesses, and to ground it in psychological science, and in moderate Stoic and Buddhist philosophy.  Out of this work came the Complex ABC model of Reformed REBT.  But the ABC model (of REBT) continued to be a problem, because it asserts that only the client’s beliefs (or B’s) play a significant role in human disturbance; or they play the determining role.  But Dr Byrne knew that diet, exercise, relationships (in the past and the present), plus socioeconomic circumstances and other, external, environmental stressors, play a major role in determining the emotional state of socialized-individuals.

drjim-counsellor1Therefore, he spent a further nine years (2007 to 2016) developing a new system, called Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT)*** – which has at its core a new, updated, Holistic SOR (Stimulus-Organism-Response) Model – which can accommodate all of the multitude of factors which affect human emotional and behavioural functioning.  In the process, he also developed the Six Windows Model*** (for re-framing difficult circumstances and problems) – and adapted a whole range of new and borrowed models, into a unique system of holistic counselling, coaching and psychotherapy.

Now you can learn this whole system from Dr Byrne’s latest book: Holistic Counselling in Practice: An introduction to Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy***.




ABC Coaching and Counselling Services, 27 Wood End, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8HJ, UK.  Telephone: 01422 843 629 (from inside the UK): and 44 1422 843 629 (from outside the UK).


Dr Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor Byrne


Google maps for this area are inaccurate; so if you want to get directions to 27 Wood End, it’s necessary to search for 27 Keighley Road, HX7 8HJ, Hebden Bridge, instead.  This may also apply to some Satnav systems. (But the actual address is 27 Wood End!)


Counselling and literature

Counselling and psychotherapy have their roots in many traditions, and counsellors and therapists engage with many sources of self-development, in order to become useful to their clients.  One of those sources of self-development which is not often mentioned is this: A good therapist is somebody who has been changed by great or inspiring works of literature, and who (often, though not always) has gained from writing poetry , short stories or novels. This has certainly been a feature of the long developmental journey upon which Jim Byrne has been engaged, and here is one of the products of the journey from autistic boy to healed man:

Fiction writing as ‘narrative writing-therapy’

NTS eBook No.3 – Daniel’s Devilish Daydreams

by Jim Byrne

This novel was inspired by some elements of my own story, combined with some elements of the life of a fellow psychologist/ psychotherapist; plus some obvious fictional drama, and the universal quest for meaning, connection, relationship, sex and love. (There will be a sequel to this novel later!)

For more on this book, please go to Fiction writing as ‘narrative writing-therapy’***


Dr Jim’s Counselling Division

About Dr Jim Byrne – Doctor of Counselling



In that time I have helped more than 850 individuals (many of them in couple counselling) to overcome a range of problems, from anger, anxiety and depression, via poor self-confidence and stress and strain, to insecure attachment style and couple conflict.

Here’s a little video clip that explains some of the benefits of consulting me about your problems of daily living:

I have received dozens and dozens of unsolicited testimonials from satisfied clients.

♣ “Thanks for all your help Jim – I found our sessions really insightful – and they’ve really helped me understand my passive behaviour, and how to become more self-assured in situations of work conflict. So far I’ve read the depression leaflet every day – I absolutely intend to continue every day for several months.  My depression has lifted and I feel great.”

T.L., Todmorden, Lancs.  (Three sessions of counselling for depression about work related stress).


For more, go to Dr Jim’s Counselling division…***


Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire


Some lifestyles bring happiness, and some bring pain.  Some lifestyles cause health problems, while others promote vibrant health.  What do you want?  To be happy and healthy, or ‘under the weather’.

In E-CENT coaching and counselling, we ask our clients: Why would you take potentially dangerous, addictive, pharmaceutical drugs for depression when physical exercise can cure you?  “… (A) study was carried out on patients diagnosed with a major depressive disorder.  The first group was given medication alone, the second (group was given) exercise alone and the third (group was given) medication and exercise together.  The results showed that exercise is as helpful as medication in combating depression, as all three groups showed statistically significant and identical improvement in standard measurements of depression”.

Philippa Perry, How to Stay Sane. (2012). (44)


Life can be very tough, and people can really benefit from developing a wiser approach to life.  Marketeers spend a lot of time, creative energy and money misleading you, and causing you to chase health-reducing goals; and happiness diminishing lifestyles.

That’s where I come in. I currently provide help to individuals who may be struggling with any one of a whole range of personal and/or professional problems. I have spent a lifetime learning what works and what does not, in terms of personal decisions, values, goals and lifestyle options.

Seeing people achieve their goals, to be happy and healthy, and in secure relationships, is greatly rewarding for me, and I am always researching and experimenting with how you can achieve your goals and overcome your problems and difficulties more efficiently; and how the barriers to your optimum health and happiness can be removed.

Unsolicited Client Testimonial

“Dear Renata, Thank you for the help you gave me during my recent upset.  You provided great hope and encouragement.  I particularly liked the exercise on what I can and cannot control.  That really brought me out of my depressed state.  I also felt that you could feel my pain!  Thank you.”

L.B., Taunton, Devon.  (Four sessions of telephone counselling for grief and depression and relationship problems).


For more, please go to Renata’s Coaching Division.***


E-CENT Institute Homepage

Welcome to the Institute for Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT)

The core mission of the institute is to review the most prominent and most promising models of the human body-mind, created by the major philosophers and psychologists, from the time of the Buddha and Plato to modern times.

These include the models of Plato, Aristotle, Freud and the post-Freudians; Ellis and the cognitive-behaviourists; Attachment theory, Object relations, and Affect regulation theory; Interpersonal neurobiology; Transactional Analysis, Zen Buddhism and Moral philosophy; and many other useful ideas and theories.

In E-CENT counselling, we teach some of the core insights of Buddhism and Stoicism.  Here’s a simple example of how that works:

The Buddha said: “Get a grip on your mind”.

The core of the work of an E-CENT counsellor is designed to help our clients to get a grip on their mind; their thinking; their feeling states; their behaviour patterns. (2b)

However, unlike the Buddha, and because of historical changes, we emphasize that you will never get a grip on ‘your mind’ unless you realize you are actually a body-brain-mind-environment whole; and you have to take seriously the self-management of each of those elements, especially by paying attention to diet, exercise, nutritional supplementation, (which were not big issues in the time of the Buddha), as well as meditation and self-discipline of your thinking-feeling (which were!)

Dr Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne


We work very hard to promote awareness of the links between diet, exercise, relaxation, meditation, on the one hand, and the quality of our mental functioning on the other.

So, in addition to being a secure base for our clients; and teaching them more empowering ways to think, and to manage their emotions; we also introduce them to: Meditation; relaxation; physical exercise; balanced diet; vitamin and mineral supplementation; and other important elements of body-mind hygiene.

For more, please go to The Institute for E-CENT.***


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

12th September 2015 Updated 13th July 2016

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2009-2015


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 internalised others (mainly mother and father, etc; which he called the over-I); and (3) The socialised personality (which he called the I: which Anglicised 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.

For more, please go to What is Transactional Analysis (TA)? page.***


The best kept secret of counselling and therapy

Blog Post No.146

10th  July 2016

Dr Jim’s Counselling Blog:

The best kept secret of counselling and therapy: The role of the client…

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling


One of the best kept secrets of counselling and psychotherapy is this: The qualities of the client are at least as important as the qualities of the counsellor, in terms of determining the outcome (positive or negative).

But how can we refine this insight, this secret, so that it becomes clearer and more helpful or useful?

Defining client qualities

  1. If the client knows they have a problem that they cannot resolve for themselves; and theyrealize that they are committed to resolving it nevertheless; and they twig that somebody else might have some kind of expert knowledge which could help them to solve their problem; and they realize that a counsellor or therapist could be just such a person: then they have a fighting chance of being able to access counselling, and to make good use of a counselling relationship and related processes.
  2. If this person then becomes a willing counselling client, and they have had the kind of experiences of being parented – when they were a child – which allows them to ask for help, and to take advice and guidance – then they have a good chance of being able to find out what their counsellor has in their toolbox which they could use to resolve their own most important problem(s).

For more, please go to Dr Jim’s Counselling Blog…***


How can having a coach help anyone?

Blog Post No. 37

20th July 2016

Copyright © Renata Taylor-Byrne 2016

Renata’s Coaching & Counselling blog: How can having a coach help anyone?


          “If I am through learning, I am through”. John Wooden

It’s not dead obvious how a coach can help you, and many people think that coaches are only for footballers, rugby players, tennis players and other sports-people, business people – but not for ordinary people.

But why not?

Ordinary people face massive challenges which are just as crucial, if not more so, than the challenges faced by people who are preparing for the Olympics!

Ordinary people (and extraordinary non-athletes!) face great challenges as they work to provide for themselves and their loved ones

Here are some of the massive challenges people face in ordinary life, as they try to create a decent life for themselves and their families:

…For more, please go to Renata’s coaching and counselling blogs.***


Couples therapy and Marriage guidance in Hebden Bridge

Dr Jim's photoCouples Therapy and Marriage Guidance in Hebden Bridge,

near Halifax, West Yorkshire;

and all over the world via the telephone and Skype.

Counselling services for couples –

help with conflict and communication problems –

It has often been said, including by Werner Erhard, that people can’t communicate because what they call communication isn’t communication at all; and they cannot manage relationships, because their definitions of relationship are naive and simplistic.  I can teach you how to communicate effectively with your loved ones, and to have great relationships at home and at work.

Dr Jim Byrne, Couple counsellor

May 2016



Couples Therapy and Marriage Guidance in Hebden Bridge

By Dr Jim Byrne – Doctor of Counselling

May 2016



I have now been in private practice as a coach/ counsellor/ psychotherapist for more than seventeen years, in Hebden Bridge, near Halifax, West Yorkshire; and all over the world via the telephone and internet systems.

During that time, I’ve been pleased to help dozens and dozens of couples with all kinds of marriage, relationship and communication problems. Here’s a little video introduction to the kinds of ideas that I teach to my clients in couple’s therapy:

Here are just three of the testimonials I’ve received from some of those couples:

♣ Email feedback: “Dear Jim, … PS: We consulted you by telephone a few years ago, for relationship conflict, involving a very serious rift … And we are now happily married with a nine month old child.  Your help was fantastic, and we still use the phrases and descriptions you used then.  In fact, we have a list of insights on a laminated poster on our living room wall, to keep us on the straight and narrow! We will always be grateful for those insights.”  S.W. (and P.W), Sheffield. (Six sessions of telephone counselling [using speaker phone] for couple conflict and relationship advice).


For more, please go to Couples Therapy with Dr Jim Byrne in Hebden Bridge.***


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

By Dr Jim Byrne

July 2016


Principles of E-CENT Anger Management Counselling

By Dr Jim Byrne

July 2016

Angry-manAnger 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.

Here are the first three (of ten such principles):

Innate-angerPrinciple 1
: Anger is natural, normal and innate, or inborn into each of us. So you should not try to get rid of all traces of your anger.

Anger can keep us safe in a dangerous world. But it can also lead us to engage in conflict that is against our best interests.

Anger can help us to know when we are being threatened, exploited or exposed to danger, and help us to fight our way out.  And it is good to learn a system of self-defence which will reduce your aggression, and keep your powder dry until you absolutely have to use it!

It is often the case that what is required is a moderate level of anger, directed in the form of assertive actions or assertive communications.


Here’s a little video clip on anger management:

For more information on anger  management, please to to my Anger Management Counselling – Hebden Bridge – page.***


REBT Unfit for Therapeutic Purposes

The book that reveals the fundamental falsehoods at the heart of REBT/CBT

Cover444At a moment in history when thousands of counsellors and therapists are being coerced and cajoled into using the ‘flavour of the month’ therapy – CBT – in order to keep their jobs and incomes, everything is changed by one action! Dr Jim Byrne has produced a devastating critique of the original form of CBT: known as Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT).

Many of his criticisms of REBT apply equally to all forms of CBT which utilize the ABC model of human disturbance.

Dr Byrne begins by showing that Dr Ellis was wrong to claim that he had evidence that people are upset by their thinking, plus their thinking about their thinking.  In a line by line analysis of the relevant text from Dr Ellis, Dr Byrne destroys the basis of this false claim.

He then explores the value and veracity of some of the core principles of Stoicism , which are built into REBT/CBT, and find that they do not stand up to scrutiny!

There are at least seven key errors in the foundations of REBT, many of which overlap CBT practice.

This madness which denies the impact of the social environment upon the body-brain-mind of the client.  This madness which blames the client for their emotional disturbances.  This madness which copies the delusions of a first century Roman slave, instead of the research evidence of modern social psychology, neuroscience, and interpersonal neurobiology!

…For more on this subject, please go to Unfit for Therapeutic Purposes.***


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

About Albert Ellis and REBT

Reflections upon some features of Ellis and his Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

20th July 2016


Ever since the death of Albert Ellis, in July 2007, we have posted some annual, reflective thoughts on his life, around the date of his death.

This year, my main conclusions are these:

Wounded psychotherapist1.Albert Ellis was seriously neglected by his parents – at times virtually abandoned to his fate, as when he spent almost ten months in hospital on his own, at the age of just six years.

2. He seems to have saved himself from the emotional pain of these experiences by engaging in denial of his feelings and needs.

3. When he became a teenager, and discovered Stoic philosophy, he latched on to extreme Stoical denial of the impact of the environment on human beings – especially in his adoption, and promotion, of the statement from Epictetus to the effect that “people are not affected (emotionally) by what happens to them!”


Here’s a brief video introduction to this book on Albert Ellis’s childhood and the impact upon the development of REBT:


4. I found Ellis’s (extreme Stoical) philosophy of life appealing in 1992, when I was going through a major career crisis. I was slipping into anxiety and depression, and his philosophy reminded me to “be strong”! That seemed to me to be a good thing, for a good number of years.  And I could not at that time see any downside to his philosophy.

(a) From him, I learned to accept myself as being OK, even though my career and income were falling apart. (It would be a few years before I realized that his promotion of ‘unconditional self- and other-acceptance’ was a form of dangerous amoralism).

(b) From him, I learned to refrain from describing my dire circumstances as ‘awful’, ‘terrible’, or ‘horrible’ – even though they were actually, in terms of the strict dictionary definitions, awful, terrible and horrible! However, my circumstances were not 100% bad; and I learned that from Dr Tom Miller, an acolyte of Dr Ellis.  (In effect, Ellis [through his writings and audio program {Albert Ellis, Live at the Learning Annex}] taught me to be indifferent to my needs and my feelings of suffering.)

…For more, please go to Albert Ellis and REBT.***


Benefits of E-CENT Counselling & Coaching

The benefits and outcomes of E-CENT coaching, counselling and therapy[1]

By Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne

Posted on 5th June 2016 (Previously posted on 30th November 2015)


Counselling-session7.jpgWhat follows is a brief list of some of the main benefits you could gain by consulting us for help with your on-going problems of daily living.  Perhaps you are feeling angry, anxious or depressed; or involved in couple conflict; or struggling with your career or your family relationships. Whatever your problems, we can help you to clarify them; and to develop stronger muscles for dealing with them.

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

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

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

Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne, November 2015


Jim-Renata-Counsellors.jpgList of benefits

The main benefits that clients gain from our coaching, counselling and psychotherapy services include the following:

1A listening ear.  We all know that a problem shared is a problem halved.  And being listened to by a professional coach, counsellor, psychotherapist can halve your level of distress, and help you to clarify for yourself exactly what is bothering you, and what your goals are in relation to that clarified problem.  This helps to be clear about the solutions that are available to you, and the actions you need to take to move forwards.

2A teaching /learning experience. When clients come to see us, they often think they know precisely what their problem is, but fail to recognize that they are looking at their life from a limited frame of reference.  We can often teach our clients new ways of looking at their strengths and weaknesses; their blind spots; their potential for change; and we also teach them many new ways of thinking and feeling about their problems.


…For more, please go to Benefits of E-CENT Counselling.***


Writing Therapy Guidelines – Becoming your own counsellor!

Guidelines for Writing Therapy

by Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling,

Writing Therapy Applied to Stress

which manifests as anger, anxiety or depression, or dysfunctional behaviour 

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne (2004-2011) – Updated in 2012, and in May 2013 and August 2016


drjim-counsellor1Whether you are struggling with problems of anger, anxiety or depression, you could benefit from writing out your difficulties, so you can see them on paper.  Think on paper, as advised by Brian Tracy.  Write about two or three pages each day, as recommended by Julia Cameron[1].

At the very least, try to write for fifteen to twenty minutes each day, for three or four consecutive days, as recommended by Dr James Pennebaker.

Try to make sense of your problems: look for cause and effect; pros and cons; options and possibilities; try to identify possibilities for change or improvement.  Try to produce “an empowering narrative” rather than a “de-powering story”.

Writing-therapy3Develop your awareness: If you are ever going to manage your stress level, then you have to become aware of the external sources of your stress, and your contribution to it.  One of the best ways to develop your awareness of the sources of stress in your life is to keep a stress diary.  The purpose of the stress diary is to track down the specific stress problem(s) you are confronting.

Get a large notebook to use as your stress diary.  Set some quiet time aside, just for you to work on your stress diary. (Since this activity will inevitably improve your productivity, it is legitimate to take this time out of your working day!)  Try to identify your problems in this order:

…For more, please go to Guidelines for Writing Therapy.***


Counselling supervision

Dr Jim Byrne provides supervision and peer support services for counsellors and psychotherapists


I have been in supervision myself for more than seventeen years – (which is the British system: lifelong supervision regardless of status or competence level, or years of experience) – normally spending three years with each supervisor before moving on.  If you want to know what I learned from those years of being supervised, I cannot do better than to quote James Rye, from the BACP journal, Therapy Today, in which he describes his least favourite and most favourite supervisor:  For more, please go to my Counselling Supervision page.***

My approach to counselling supervision is emotive cognitive; strongly influenced and shaped by modern attachment theory, and Allan Schore’s affect regulation theory:


For more, please go to my Counselling Supervision page.***


Counselling, psychotherapy and human emotions

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

by Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, August 2016

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:

For more, please go to the Counselling, psychotherapy and human emotions page.***

And here’s a link to a little video clip – by Dr Daniel Siegel, author of The Developing Brain – on the process of naming an emotion in order to tame it:

Footer information

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services, 27 Wood End, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8HJ, UK.

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




*Footnote: There is a problem with Google maps for our area: To search for 27 Wood End, you have to substitute 27 Keighley Road, HX7 8HJ.  (But the accurate address [according to the Post Office] is 27 Wood End).  See the Directions for finding us.***


Counselling and coaching ethics

We operate according to a range of ethical codes – see our respective divisional pages for details.

We provide coaching and counselling services for adults aged 18 years and above.  We do not offer any services to children, nor to anyone below the age of eighteen years.  But we do not publish anything that could be harmful to the interests and needs of children.


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