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ABC Coaching and Counselling Services, in Hebden Bridge, Calderdale, West Yorkshire, HX7 8HJ, UK: and all over the world via the telephone system; by email; or via Skype-webcam

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ABC Coaching and Counselling Services is owned and staffed by Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor Byrne

Hello and welcome to our website.  No matter what your problem might be, we can probably help you to find a solution, or a way forward.

People come to see us with problems of anger management; stress management; couples therapy; lifestyle coaching issues; health anxiety; goal management issues; problems with thinking or feeling, or behaviour; habit formation, or habit change; and problems with self confidence, self esteem, communication skills; etc.

jimnata-counselling-coachingWe have been partners in research and practice since 1980, when we both explored Gestalt therapy, Zen Buddhism, Meditation, Transactional analysis, Positive mental attitude, and many other approaches to personal and professional development. We applied all of those ideas in our own lives, and found what worked well, what did not work so well, and what we should do to move forward.

Over time, we became expert in various aspects of personal and professional development, and we then moved on to use various approaches to coaching, counselling and therapy on ourselves, each other, and eventually to support our students, trainees, and coaching/counselling clients.

Today we have our own specialist divisions as follows:

Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division

Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division

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E-CENT theory teaches 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)

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Counselling, coaching and psychotherapy for problems of daily living

Human beings are largely non-conscious creatures of habit.  We sleep-walk through our lives, being controlled by the way our past experience shaped us.  To wake up to what is not working in our lives, and how to fix it, we could benefit from working with somebody who has already completed this journey: a good, reliable, coach/counsellor who can help us to clarify where we are at, and what we could benefit from changing in order to improve our current functioning in the world:

Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division

Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division

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An introduction to Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT)

For information about the contents of the following book on our system of counselling and psychotherapy, please click the cover image that follows:

Book-cover-front

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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.

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The holistic approach to stress management

For more information about the following book on our approach to stress management, please click the cover image:

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Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division

Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division

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Counselling for anger, stress, couple relationships, and lifestyle issues

Many people come to see us because they do not know how to stop angrily destroying their relationships, at home and at work.  Or how to get control over the stresses and strains in their troubled lives. Sometimes couples come to see us to find out how to re-find the love they once felt for each other, before it got covered over by unrealistic expectations, bad manners, and lack of care and respect.  And yet others come to us because their lifestyle is such that they are destroying their physical and emotional wellbeing, through not understanding the importance of diet, exercise, relaxation, sleep management, and so on.

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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-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, November 2015

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Writing therapy is good for you

One of the best things you can do for your own emotional and physical health, and also for your personal and professional development, is to write every day: about what you feel; what you think; what is happening at home at work; what is working and what is not working; your joys and sorrows; and so on.  To read a description to our introductory text on writing therapy, please click the image that follows:

Cover

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Counselling and coaching for healthy body-minds

In the early days, we mostly focused upon the power of the mind to influence the body, and the feeling of our daily lives.  This led us to practice regular meditation, to engage in positive thinking, and to manage the ideas that entered our minds.  But soon we realised that the process also works the other way around: from body to mind.  That was when we began to explore yoga and Chinese exercise systems, like Chi Kung (Qi Gong).  Now we teach our counselling clients to manage their body-mind-environment complex.

Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division

Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division

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In E-CENT counselling, we teach our clients to explore the stories they are living, which mainly come from their family of origin.  Even some novelists understand this process, as illustrated by Donna Tartt, writing about the family of Charlotte Cleve: “…the Cleves loved to recount among themselves even the minor events of their family history – repeating word for word, with stylized narrative and rhetorical interruptions, entire death-bed scenes, or marriage proposals that had occurred a hundred years before… … (T)hese family discussions were how the Cleves made sense of the world. Even the cruellest and most random disasters … were constantly rehearsed among them, her grandmother’s gentle voice and her mother’s stern one merging harmoniously with her grandfather’s baritone and the babble of her aunts, and certain ornamental bits, improvised by daring soloists, eagerly seized upon and elaborated by the chorus, until finally, by group effort, they arrived together at a single song which was then memorized, and sung by the entire company again and again, which slowly eroded memory and came to take the place of truth”.

Donna Tartt, 2003. The Little Friend, London: Bloomsbury. Pages 3-4. (-1)

Jim’s comments: In reality, every family follows something of this kind of pattern of story-creation, and the result is both helpful narratives (that help to guide us safely through life) and unhelpful, neurotic narratives.  But the family stories you can remember are not the dangerous ones.  The ones that do the most damage are wholly non-conscious (and false maps of the world); but these are responsible for controlling some of your most unhelpful emotions and behaviours!

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Albert Ellis came and went

One of the many theorists of counselling and therapy who influenced us over the past three and a half decades was Albert Ellis, the creator of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) – which was the original form of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).  However, after a ten year ‘love affair’ with this controversial individual, we parted company.  The basis for that split is explored in the following book.  For more information on this book, please click the cover image:

Wounded psychotherapist

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Counselling and coaching for habit change, courage building, grit and willpower!

While most systems of counselling and coaching stick to the old mantra of changing your thinking in order to change your life, we continue to explore the cutting edge of psychological and neuroscience research.  We have worn grooves in the carpets in Waterstone’s book stores in Manchester and Leeds, especially in the psychology, philosophy, self-help, personal development, and the mind-body-spirit sections.  We have had lots of success in helping people to focus upon themselves as creatures of habit, who need courage, will-power, and grit to bring about behaviour change in the real world.

Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division

Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division

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Counsellors who engage in regular meditation may be able to be more helpful to their clients, by being more attuned to them: “Bishop (and others, 2004) report that in a mindful state, (counselling) practitioners are better able to observe thoughts, feelings, and sensations dispassionately and without attachment.  This dispassionate state of self-observation, according to Bishop (and others), may introduce a delay between one’s perceptions and response.  Mindfulness (including meditation – JWB) may therefore enable practitioners to respond to situations more reflectively”.

Steven Hick and Thomas Bien, Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Relationship.  2010, page 15.  (2)

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Your past is alive and well in the present moment

Some people think you can get rid of the past by shutting it out of your conscious awareness.  This is called various names, such as denial, repression, defence, and so on.  But the normal effect is that, although you are now unaware of the existence of a problem from your past, nevertheless, it bothers you – emotionally and possibly also in the form of psychical symptoms – from below the level of your conscious awareness.  We teach that these ‘defence mechanisms’, like denial, do not work; and that you have to dig up the disturbance from the past, and digest it in the present moment.  In the following book, we outline exactly how to do that, so that you can come into the present, undisturbed by past traumas and other negative experiences:

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Counselling and coaching for better diet, exercise, relaxation and meditation

A couple of months ago, we produced our book on Holistic Counselling in Practice.  In that book, Renata wrote two sections that have proved to be very helpful for some of our clients.  One is on the role of diet and nutrition in emotional and physical well-being.  The other is on the effects of physical exercise on the body-mind.  The rest of the book focused upon our models of re-thinking, re-deciding, and how to manage human emotions.

Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division

Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division

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E-CENT counsellors teach the following lesson to their clients: We have to manage our self in order to lean towards the Good Side and to avoid Evil.  Why is this the case?  Because: “’Humanity’ does not exist.  There are only humans, driven by conflicting needs and illusions, and subject to every kind of infirmity of will and judgement”.

Prof. John Gray (2003) Straw Dogs: Thoughts on humans and other animals.  Page 12. (3)

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I (Jim) found ‘Straw Dogs’ to be a very powerful insight into the nature of humanity, especially the limitations of consciousness.  I think you would benefit from finding out some more about this book, and so I have added this video clip for your consideration:

You might have to watch all three (brief) videos in order to get the core point – that we are delusional beings, who are habit-based automata, who think we are wholly conscious.

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Personal history and early relationships shape the individual’s life

My own (Jim’s) experience of my early life was a major form of distortion of my life prospects.  And it was only after I failed to live well using my earliest ‘psychological wiring’ that I could then begin to analyse my story or origins, and my story of relationship (to my mother), and to begin to reform and heal myself.  I explore both of those stories in the following book.  To find out more, please click the cover image:

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Counselling and coaching for an emotionally healthy life

We like the psychological insights of Dr Oliver James, and we use those insights in guiding our coaching and counselling clients towards better approaches to managing their lives.  We promote self-reflection and insightfulness; We meditate and practice mindfulness, and encourage our clients to do likewise; We engage in egalitarian relationships, and teach the importance of equality to our clients; and we promote helpful approaches to careers, work and parenting.

Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division

Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division

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E-CENT counselling can help you to become optimally emotionally healthy.  Dr Oliver James presents a list of features of emotional health, but these are ideas to strive for.  Almost nobody ever achieves them perfectly: No.1: “Emotional health is the sense that what is happening is happening now.  It is experiencing the world at first-hand, immediate, rather than only knowing what was experienced when you reflect upon it later.  You are, as the sports commentators put it, ‘in the zone’.

No.2: “You feel real rather than false.  You are comfortable in your skin: you do not wish you could be someone else, nor do you look down on others for not being like you.  You know what you are thinking and feeling, even if sometimes that only means knowing that you don’t know”.

Oliver James (2014) How to Develop Emotional Health.  Page 1. (4)

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In E-CENT counselling theory, we would prefer to begin our indicators of emotional health like this: You are emotionally healthy when you function at low levels of stress in most situations, and you show signs of being able to cope in highly stressful situations.  Also, you show signs of emotional-flexibility.  Your feelings adjust to the social environment in which you are engaging: but not so much that you become a doormat or a passive pawn in the games of manipulators.

Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne. (5)

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If you get hold of a copy of Oliver James’ book, How to Develop Emotional Health, you will find it deals with five subject areas: Insightfulness (especially insights into how your childhood affected your adult development); Living in the present (including a sense of self); Fluid, two-way relationships (or what we like to think of as the importance of egalitarianism in relationships); Authenticity in our careers; and Playfulness and vivacity in our parenting roles.

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Write the story of your life, and become who you should have been!

As a result of our work together, I (Renata) helped me (Jim) to explore early childhood experiences, as writing therapy, which we have now produced as a novel:

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And there will be a second part of this novelisation of Jim’s life very soon.

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Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division

Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division

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

Telephone: o1422 843 629 (UK): 44 1422 843 629 (from outside the UK)

Email: Admin at ABC

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There is a problem with Google maps for our area: To search for 27 Wood End, you have tyo substitute 27 Keighley Road, HX7 8HJ.  (But the accurate address is 27 Wood End).

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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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