ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

We can help you to be happier, healthier and more successful

A, ABC Counselling 20 year anniversary2

Are you feeling angry, anxious or depressed?

If so, we can help you…

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?

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.

We offer counselling and advice; psychotherapy and coaching; helpful information; and self-counselling 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; relationships (in the present and the past – including ‘attachment style’, childhood experiences, and your ‘inner couple’ model); communication style (passive, aggressive, or assertive); stress factors; self-confidence and self-esteem; and couple conflict (including ‘conflict style’).  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.


A good counsellor should have training and experience in helping clients to solve their own emotional, behavioural and relationship problems: “Counselling denotes a professional relationship between a trained counsellor and a client.  This relationship is usually person-to-person, although it may sometimes involve more than two people.  It is designed to help clients to understand and clarify their views of their life-space, and to learn to reach their self-determined goals through meaningful, well-informed choices and through resolution of problems of an emotional or interpersonal nature”. 

Burks and Steffire, 1979. Quoted in McLeod, 2003, Introduction to Counselling, page 7. (81)


What is Counselling, and how is it practiced?

by Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, January 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 13th January 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?***


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

DrJimCounselling002# 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.


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

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

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


What is E-CENT Counselling?

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

By Dr Jim Byrne

Copyright (c) 2009-2016, Jim Byrne

Posted here on 4th June 2017. Updated on 13th January 2019.

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



In this 22 page paper, the author describes the nature of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied-Narrative Therapy (E-CENT).  He introduces some of the E-CENT models of the human mind; outlines the foundations of the basic theory of E-CENT counselling, by 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, 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?***



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.***

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, 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).


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


DrJimCounselling002Most 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


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

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

Robert Sapolsky

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

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


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

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, Creator of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT) – January 2019


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).

DrJimCounselling002About 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:


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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.***


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

Or email us: Jim Byrne


Renata Taylor-Byrne


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