My passion is to facilitate change in myself, other individuals and the world through personal development work. To learn more about the methodolgies and approaches I use click on the headings below.
MY CORE VALUES
Humans are good at core. Although we often behave in ways that are not good and we are responsible for our behaviour, that is not the whole story. This is a precept of humanistic psychology.
When things get difficult for me with other people, blame and negative judgement are often unhelpful. I can look first at how I am affected rather than hoping the other person will change (they may, but that is up to them). If I do my own emotional work, sort out my own responses, and take responsibility for myself, that will help.
Strong emotions are OK in the right place and releasing them can be the key to moving on.
As humans, we do our best under the circumstances.
If you give yourself and your needs a central position in your life and think of them first, then your actions to help others will be more successful.
The courses I offer have a focus which varies. Assertiveness is primarily about communicating what you need: Co-counselling is a contract where two people offer mutual help to each other in very specific ways: Helping and Listening is about a method (6-category work) to offer to help other people learn and to find out when that is appropriate and warranted.
ME... YOU... YOU & ME
ME: The central person whose life you can affect is yourself. I have taken a long time to come to that realisation. Working on yourself, the "ME" part of your life, using perhaps co-counselling or assertiveness or both, can start a process of developing confidence and emotional competence that can help you feel better about yourself than you may ever remember. I can help you with this. From that place you start to reach for your inner power, your ability to know and choose your options and make them into a reality.
I used to (well, still do, sometimes) wish that other people would be different from how they are. That is a vain hope. Consider how big a challenge it is to change your own behaviour. Of course you can influence what others do and that can include helping them to change if that is what they want and we shall come to that, but for you, from outside, to change how they are? No. What you can change is your own responses to them.
Assertiveness will help you to communicate as an equal with others and come across more clearly, engaging their natural talent for co-operation (after all that is one of the things we humans are good at) and hence giving you the greatest chance to get what you would like in a given situation.
ME & YOU: Co-counselling is done primarily and centrally for yourself. If you find this idea "selfish" and you think selfish is bad, remember the airline injunction "fit your own oxygen mask before you help someone else". Attending to your own needs centrally, perhaps at a level you have never tried before, will give you access to new ways to have the life you want, including to support others. The second aspect of co-counselling is that you offer the same opportunity to other people, your peers, to use your attention and skill for themselves.
So. taking care of your own needs, without that being at another's expense, is an art worth acquiring. You can have choices, know what they are, and have the confidence to decide which option to go for, in any situation. It is your life and you are in charge of it.
YOU: What about when you want to help another person beyond the other methods above? Many of us are trained from an early age to put others first and I am not knocking helping each other and co-operating.. Those things still make the world go round even in this individualistic age. We humans come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours. We have different likes and dislikes, talents and abilities, beliefs and values. We eat different food, wear different clothes and lead different lifestyles. If I intend to help someone else to learn, (and I may decide not to) I can most usefully start from where they are and offer a helpful contribution if I can. This is the province of Helping Skills.
I hear it said that "everyone knows all about Assertiveness. After all it has been around for decades, hasn't it?" Based on 4 categories of communication with others, Anne Dickson,who taught the first assertiveness training class in the UK, invites us to examine our behaviour in terms of Aggression, Submission and Manipulation. These three approaches tend to be unhelpful in a number of ways.
The fourth approach, Assertiveness, is based on the equality of all humans. I can state honestly and openly what it is I want and don't want, respect, disclose and express my feelings, and learn to persist and take myself seriously. Considering oneself first and centrally is essential in order to help anyone else effectively. Although Anne Dickson's book is largely addressed to women, actually everyone can use and benefit from it.
If Assertiveness is 'old hat', how come people coming to my co-counselling tasters so frequently say "Well, of course I could not possibly ask for this or say 'no' to that"? . This was the motivation for Anne Dickson to write the revised 30th anniversary edition of " A Woman in her own right: Assertiveness and you" (view details). This book addresses questions of communication in the 21st century and is the basis of my courses on assertiveness, both for co-counsellors and for others.
Co-counselling is reciprocal peer counselling:
- ♦ RECIPROCAL: co-counsellors take it in equal turns to be client and counsellor.
- ♦ PEER: everyone is equal, there are no "experts" trying to "sort out" other people.
- ♦ COUNSELLING: it is a bit like other forms of counselling in that one person listens while the other talks (or "works" in other ways), but there the similarity ends. It is the person being client who is in charge of the session and the person being counsellor mainly gives very good attention.
Co-counsellors in particular develop emotional competence, that is they become comfortable with emotions and the expression of emotion both in themselves and in others. Co-counsellors find that they can: release pent up emotions in ways and situations that feel safe; allow their emotions to do what human beings evolved them for, to help them to handle danger, aggression and abandonment more effectively, to have fun and feel more loving; relate with other more clearly and effectively because they do not have to do all the things that people do to avoid emotions.
Co-counselling is for anyone who wants and is ready to make changes in their life to realise their potential, increase their life skills and gain personal support; is willing to "open up" and take risks in order to do so. You may not be ready for co-counselling if: you need alcohol, medicines or other substances which affect the mind; you are unable to give your undivided attention to another person, for example because you need a lot of attention yourself just now.
Co-counselling can be used to help us get better at most things and in most ways. It can be used to deal with day to day life problems or it can be used to deal with deep personal distress. It is a highly effective tool for personal development.
The full co-counselling training is 40 hours. It is also possible to arrange a course of 3 days, in which you can learn a simpler version and start, for example, a work support network.
I practice the Co-Counselling International (CCI) style.
The above description of co-counselling courtesy CCI (UK). See our Links page for information on sites where you can learn more about co-counselling.
John Heron and Peter Reason developed "Six-category Intervention analysis" with a group of doctors in the 1970s as part of the Human Potential Research Group at Surrey University .It is meant for situations in which you intend to help someone else to learn - for times when you have enough of what you need and would like to give someone else a hand with whatever might be bothering them. It applies particularly in caring professions or work with clients. It is also helpful in parenting.
The structure helps you learn to THINK first before responding. Then when you respond, you do so with a lot of awareness about how your actions are received, to notice if the other person is finding them helpful or not. (and by the way even if they are not pleased about them they may still be finding them helpful). This may feel a little cumbersome at first and you may feel that you do a lot of it intuitively. However as you practise you will find there are many advantages.
The responses I might consider making are divided into the following groups:
- ♦ giving information ( informative )
- ♦ showing the person you think well of them and appreciate them (supportive )
- ♦ making suggestions for action or approaches (prescriptive)
- ♦ helping someone to make a change in how they think about something ( catalytic)
- ♦ helping someone release their emotions (cathartic )
- ♦ saying something which will raise the other person's awareness of something in themselves that they may not be aware of and often may not want to hear (confronting)
These six ways of thinking about my intention to help someone else learn, are the basis of my Helping and Listening Skills courses.