At first glance there would seem to be absolutely loads of reasons why therapists fall out of practice and I bet, as a therapist in private practice, you can relate to all of them at one stage or another along the way. Discovering the one reason why you feel doubtful about your practice, may in fact save it.

Being in business as a therapist

Let’s take Joanna, for example. Joanna is an imaginary therapist  who, for the sake of explanation, I’ll endow with every therapist’s fears. She left her busy whirlwind job in the city with one ambition in mind: to really help and make a difference to the people she worked with.  Full of the joys of spring, she set up practice and only then started to realise that getting clients, seeing clients, running a business and being emotionally well herself was such an isolating experience.  I mean, it’s not as if she can say to her clients: ‘you think you’ve got problems!’.  She is there for them and there’s no one there for  her to share the stresses and strains of her clients as well as all the other bits involved in running a business. Joanna often wonders to herself how she can continue to work in this business feeling so isolated and alone.

Do you know what supervision’s meant to be?

She’s got herself a supervisor which is prescribed by her professional body but she’s not quite sure what supervision is meant to be like and whether it’s doing all it could.  And then there’s that altogether more tricky business of continuing to work on herself which she knows, in her heart of hearts, she really paid lip service to during her training.  She came from a formal educational therapy background and came through it all with flying colours.  Now though she’s becoming aware that a lot of the’ stuff’ that clients are telling her is just like her unresolved stuff – and she hasn’t worked hers out yet!  Suddenly she realises that she’s starting to feel a bit of a fraud.  And then she gets a few clients whose situations seem impossible to relate to!  They tell stories of such great sadness or suffering that are so extraordinary that her words, in the sacred theatre of the therapy room, just seem pathetic.

Fears in practice

She takes all these worries and concerns out of her therapy room and continues to worry about them in the evenings.  She goes over her client notes, reads up on some of the techniques, approaches or case studies that might shed some light.  She takes her clients to bed with her. They knock on the inside of her head all night with ghostly invocations: “Ha, so what are you going to do about me?” or “How can YOU help ME?”. She gets up in the morning and decides to just struggle on one way or another.  She trusts it will all fall into place sometime soon.

She realises that the nightly rituals of worry and fear are constituting a performance anxiety that is dictating how her therapy sessions actually run.  She becomes really grateful for the clients who just seem to get it and full of dread for those that don’t seem to be ready.  She toys with the idea that perhaps her clients aren’t ready to work on themselves – and maybe that’s true – but she doesn’t really want to consider the alternative.  That is, that she’s got her own fears to deal with before she can ‘hold the space’ for anyone else.

I know! Let’s do some CPD

She determines to go on a range of courses to extend her practice and at great expense, books herself on to a CPD course, even diversifying a bit to see if that might offer her that je ne sais quoi.  Subsequently she realises it gave her a few techniques but she’s still lacking that elusive security.

It’s at this vulnerable stage in anyone’s therapy practice when we might be considering going back to the day job.  At least we had some company, were not bound to secrecy, didn’t have to take on the responsibility of running our business AS WELL AS nursing the broken hearts and minds of our clients, and could sleep peacefully at night.

Finding a mentor

Now I’ve experienced all of this early in my practice but how grateful was I to be able to stand on the shoulders of some amazing mentors and inspiring therapists. They gave their time freely to ensure that I continued to do my personal work, facing my fears and fuelling my curiosity about the human condition.  These mentors were humanists: people who broke the rules, who worked with their hearts, who had a well developed intellect, who were not dictated by brittle norms and protocols, who could see the human being beneath the ‘stuff’.  And they weren’t all therapists.  My life-long mentor, the Leader of the humanist Buddhist movement I follow, was an incredible inspiration in those early days of practice: encouraging me through his written word to always look for the human being in myself and in my clients.

The importance of your own journey of awakening

This magical mystery tour from the very outset, has made my therapy practice one of self discovery and sharing, one of fellow traveller with my clients to find their answers with them.  At times I’ve not known the way, but my faith in life, in the process and in people’s capacity to find their answers has ensured that we find A way.  As an eclectic, integrative, transpersonal hypno-psychotherapist – well what else do you call it? – sometimes that process is fast and sometimes slow. Either way, knowing yourself deeply enough means you can know others too and intuitively work with them.

The number one reason why therapists fail

The number one reason why people give up their therapy practice, is because they do not have a mentor to coach and inspire them.  There’s no one to help them seek deeply inside themselves for the answers they think are in the text books or courses that they’ve spent thousands of pounds on. Mentors, according to Richard Rohr, are too few in today’s world.  We are a mentor-less society who behave like the proverbial blind leading the blind.  Mentors hold wisdom not knowledge, courage not strategy, and compassion not control. And in our world of the removing of suffering from others, being one step ahead of our clients, tacitly leading the way by raising our own consciousness, getting to know ourselves and our dark places and knowing that we do not have to deny them, nor deny them to our clients: all this in and of itself, transmits healing. It makes your work effortless and natural. It ensures you never burn out. And it ensures a good night’s sleep!

If I match up to those lofty ideals of being a mentor, I know it’s my job to pass that baton on to the next generation of therapists. Join me at one of our meetings near London. Dates and details all on the Open Mind Therapist home page.

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A flash of insight last Thursday

Two to three days ago I stood in my bathroom, bare topped and was intending to look, from the side, at how my hair sat pulled up onto my head. I had a business meeting in London where image was important.  As I turned side on with a mirror in my left hand to reflect against the static mirror on the wall to my right, the first thing I noticed was the loose skin around my chin and jaw – a sign I that I would never see 21 again.

 
But as I stood and absorbed the sight, suddenly I felt I was no longer looking at my body in the mirror. While I could see my naked breasts, a sign of my femininity in this lifetime reflected back at me in the mirror, it felt I could suddenly see beyond the visual. I studied again, perplexed by the body that was standing there. I looked at my head and thought I could sense something masculine about my jaw – perhaps an echo of my father. And then it struck me that this physical form, this body, was just the vehicle that carried my ancient spirit in this lifetime. As I allowed that moment to grow and flourish, I saw that my wounded spirit was burning very brightly – it was almost untouchable. As I saw the spirit that held this body upright, and held the mirror in my hand while I could view its ageing host, I saw the beauty that was beyond the body. I saw the soft, warm, true nature of not just my spirit, but of the timelessness of life’s cycle of birth and death.  I felt a tenderness, a sudden surge of forgiveness, an acceptance of whatever form my spirit had taken on in this incarnation.
I didn’t want the moment to end.  The body’s wounds and its mental and emotional traumas in this lifetime had been great teachers. Lessons that, once unwelcome by my blind consciousness, had nevertheless caused my spirit to sing. They had given me all the fuel I would ever need to wake up and cause others to wake up. My mission, now more clear than ever before: to share of my journey and the insights that have led my subtle spirit to manifest and show how to return to our source – to the joy and wonder we were born with as children, and transform my corner of this crazy world we live in. This is my mission.
The whole event took no more than about a minute or two to hit my consciousness and etch itself into my life. And it wasn’t the first recognition of my spirit. But it was an enduring one. One where I looked with my “eyes” and saw what I saw. I didn’t have to seek or to focus. I just had to allow this psychic opening to be.
I determined to record this insight, this almost indescribable sentient experience, as best I could so I could always remember it.  As I sat in the grassy enclosure in the sunshine at Stainsby Folk Festival last Saturday, these words flowed from my pen, threatening at any moment to not quite capture the essence of the experience, and therefore interrupted only by my frequent need to break away and re-experience that clarity and wonder, so I could describe it as fluidly and as clearly as possible.  I hope it leaves you with a sense of your own spirit and wonder. 
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Walking your talk is the calling that therapists must respond to or they will end up doing mediocre therapy with good intentions. Our fear based, intellectual or technical way of doing therapy cannot reach people on an experiential or spiritual plane.  As a result, operating from our thinking brain, we may keep people in therapy for years while we dance around our own fears and anxieties as therapists. Profound change work is demonstrated and lead by the therapist from the heart.  It is the capacity for the heart to connect that restores equilibrium and wellbeing in ourselves and then our clients.  Sometimes the client cannot accept that connection and sometimes they can.  Wisdom and intuition come from walking your talk as the therapist and developing a fearlessness that is open to the vulnerability of connecting in the moment. Join us in our leadership and mentorship groups.
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I have met over the years dozens of mediocre therapists who, driven by theory, intellect and techniques, appear to need more therapy than their clients. And I have met a few who have really inspired me to pursue my own creativity and resourcefulness. These eclectic, inspired, integrative and intuitive therapists seem to be driven from a deeper knowledge of themselves and the human condition. They seem to create value just by being themselves and seem to resonate in an energy field that bristles with a richness and depth that cannot be easily described or advertised.
These same people, though they are professional therapists and are in it for the long term – and sometimes for many years – I’ve noticed, still haven’t really separated their message from their ego. Let me explain.

The ego, fragile thing that it is, the bit of us that is wounded and vulnerable and defends ourselves mostly inappropriately by false grandeur or fearful retreat, causes us to believe that if we were to tell anybody about our insight and intuition that we might be accused of being arrogant. So as a result, we keep ourselves small, doing our little bit to change the world in our own little way. We may earn a small but sustainable income, and our ego convinces us that we are not worth any more.

Meanwhile, the technicians, academicians and intellectuals, who speak the currency and language of society, ego driven and in their earthbound consciousness, group together and publish their papers, journals and books knowing that they are competing in a game, the rules of which are very well established. How much real human value is created by this head driven, chest beating is another question and yet they will command the respect and financial reward that is due to them. We know that no sooner has one medical classification of mental health surfaced, than of course there’ll be another so called mental health disorder. And in all this there is still one great deception, the real truth of which hasn’t yet reached Jo Public: that is, there is as yet, no evidence that brain chemistry is the cause of mental health issues.

That the medical model of health and wellbeing is still valid, was challenged just recently by the British Psychological Society which stated there was a lot more going on than the medical model could really continue to claim. Dr Lucy Johnstone, clinical psychologist, is quoted as saying: “There is now overwhelming evidence that people break down as a result of a complex mix of social and psychological circumstances – bereavement and loss, poverty and discrimination, trauma and abuse.” I would argue the finer point of spiritual dislocation – all of the above cause us to question who we are and what we are doing here.

Nevertheless, it’s interesting, isn’t it? Any one of those mediocre, let along those highly intuitive, heart-driven and insightful therapists could have told you that one hundred times over. But so driven is our understanding of the scientific causes of poor mental health, with all of its cudos, superficiality, acceptability and rigour, that learned society has almost entirely overlooked this very human and meaningful perspective. And why? Because it doesn’t attract funding? Because it cannot be scientifically evidenced? When did science gain the pseudo religious authority that it has?

I found myself in a meeting in London a month or two ago listening to Sarah Lloyd-Hughes talk about how to be as compelling as a TED speaker. She asked us to spend all of 30 seconds preparing to talk from the heart for 2 mintues about our core message and what we were here to achieve. As I spoke, I realised that I had been sitting on my message for fear of being marginalised or sidelined by respectable society. I had allowed my poor fragile ego to stop the transmission of a truly powerful message the message being not so much a missive as a demonstration of who I am. The capacity to stand tall and own the space I stand in without fear of rejection or judgement. Chastened I hurried home to start my book, revamp my website and share my insights with my inspired supervisee colleagues.

Knowing we do not have to edit ourselves and that our very existence is worth more than we could have ever imagined has been a revelation, a truism and a humbling experience. This is the new paradigm that we so desperately need to replace the current soulless assessment of spiritual distress. I’d love to share more with you in one of my mentorship groups. We meet this Friday 24th in Great Dunmow. You’ll find more details on the home page.

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Crossing over the Precipice leaves no way back

How do you know when someone has crossed over?

Crossing the precipice

I use the concept both in my blog post and in my youtube video about ‘crossing over’ a precipice.  The precipice is a spiritual point of no return.  It’s a concept that is difficult to pin down and perhaps only those who have already crossed over will identify with it fully.  So I’d like to explain what I mean by the term crossing over firstly and then to describe what signs to look for when you are in the company of someone who has “crossed over”.  I use the concept of crossing over a portal or going through a doorway or gateway that once crossed, you can never return from.  It is usually followed by a significant change in outlook or circumstances or both.  Richard Rohr, who I’ve become a great fan of these last few months calls it the death of the constructed or false self. He suggests that the false self is constructed to protect the perceived vulnerability of our core selves.  The fear of the false self is that the little person inside will be annihilated without the false self.  This is what makes our jobs as hypno-psychotherapists at times challenging when we cannot get through the defence of the false self.  It is also the false self that has to identify tribally with social, religious and interest groups to maintain a false identity.  Lacking insight in itself, the group constructs a reality from the outside in, seeking comfort and identity in its mores, ethics or code of conduct. The threat of being too much your true self in an identity group, you can imagine, could risk destabilising the cohesion of that group.

 

Characteristics of the ‘crossed over’

The Buddha’s energy

People who have crossed over have had a profound change of perspective on their pasts.  Instead of nursing and storing past hurts, crossed over people realise the futility of living in the past. They stop looking for answers in their past, that is, trying to re-work or re-frame what happened.  They stop re-running scenes, even positive ones, and free up their energy to look forward.  People who have crossed over sit with great ease and great acceptance with their pasts.  The past no longer presents an all pervasive sense of injustice or loss, but rather transforms into a calmness, perhaps sad at times, but simply an acceptance that life has been what it has been. With real acceptance comes self love.  The acceptance that I am only human after all, and everything I thought I had to be or do to earn my place here was always irrelevant. Crossed over people are grounded.  They look for the positive.  They keep an open mind and a curiosity for life.  They look for solutions, not problems.  Their criticism is constructive.  Their presence is stabilising and accepting.  They are philosophical and know how to laugh at themselves.  They tend to ask questions. They tend not to take what others say about them too much to heart – and this is because they are in communion with everyone else on this planet and sense without words the kinds of self limiting ideas people have. They tend not to worry if someone else has or knows more, because they know their inherent self worth. Their energy is bright and positive. They are free to create the future they want. They tend to have a natural wisdom born of their experiences. These people are modern day buddhas who feel the flow of the times and still remain firm in their inner reality. Crossed over people are few and far between. If you meet one, you will know. Crossed over people pass through a portal and can never return to how they used to be.  They will however stray from the path at times. Yet, now that they have not just seen, but witnessed the promised land, they will always know where they are headed.

 

Characteristics of the ‘un-crossed over’

Disconnection from self

Those on the other hand, who have not yet crossed over are still deeply wed to their past.  Living the injustices of the past, they spend large amounts of energy looking backwards or even, trying not to look backwards. They look for confirmation around them that their past is just how life is and all manner of events are construed and interpreted to confirm that view. They have an attitude of complaint which is often repetitive. They are sometimes resigned and hopeless, almost childlike and vulnerable as the future threatens to be more of the same already experienced from their pasts. There is no acceptance of themselves as whole people, nor of the people who figure in their backward looking experiences. The thought or memory of their parental figures still causes an internal anxiety that remains unexpressed. They can be cynical and closed minded – even if they profess to have a spiritual calling. They look for problems, not solutions.  Their criticism is at worst destructive and at best unproductive. Their presence is a responsibility to others.  They compare themselves with others and feel threatened when others are ahead of them materially or spiritually. They can take themselves too seriously at times and take too much to heart from others’ throw away comments. Their decisions seem at times to lack a sound basis.  They see the world as they are.  People who have not crossed over are everywhere.  Our society in particular, relies upon people who are subject to comparing themselves with others, to trying to shore up the false self, to living an outside in life: our whole media machine is geared up to keeping us in this relationship with ourselves that looks for external validation.

 

So how on earth do you ‘cross over’?

Do you do it? Or is it done to you?  It is an interesting question, how to cross over.  In my experience, it comes from an intense pain. In fact, to quote Khalil Gibran

“Your pain is but the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding”

In order to ‘cross over’ one needs to feel a pain that the false self has been trying to protect you from your whole life.  The fear of feeling the pain can be so great, that we’d rather carry on with what we know than  risk feeling pain.  So surrendering to our pain is not only important but essential if we are to release ourselves from the past and cross over into the present.  There could never be a more relevant truism than the oft quoted phrase: “What you resist persists. What you feel heals”.  There are a range of questions to ask yourselves when faced with the prospect of finally releasing your pain. Questions like, “What would my life be like if I could release this experience?” “What will be the outcome if I don’t?” “What would be the worst thing about holding onto this pain?”.  Questions like these can be really scary questions. And ones that you need to spend some time answering.  The heart and soul of the human condition cannot cope with too many of these questions at once.  The answers to all of them come in layers of conscious and subconscious thoughts and feelings.

I’ve crossed over in various layers of awareness.  Each time, I’ve peeled off another layer of consciousness. For a fair while, maybe months, sometimes a few years, it feels like I am completely whole and grounded. I need very little effort to keep myself in a very open and receptive state of life.  Over time I realise often I need to keep refreshing the experience, and in my case I attempt to do that daily with my spiritual practice. However, at times I stray from the path too. But I know where I’m headed and my compass keeps leading me there.  Where is that place?  Into the heart and soul of people, myself, others.  I’ve been told I have xray vision.  I don’t have x ray vision. I just understand the hurts and wounds that we so zealously guard for fear we are nobody without them. The irony is that we are so much more than we could ever imagine if we just let go of them.

Can you teach this insight as a skill?

You can. But not technically or academically.  This awareness is by definition experiential. It is about getting to know yourself inside and out. It is about revealing your true self and learning to love, without great overtures, the person that you are.  It is nothing short of a spiritual awakening and one I believe we as therapists need to be constantly in pursuit of.

Mental and emotional health – or spiritual health?

I believe, our 2 dimensional society has misunderstood what they are describing when they talk about mental and emotional health.  This assumes there is not much more driving us than mere thoughts and emotions.  No wonder our medical system is creating drug dependency and, in their relying upon clinical cognitive procedures, causing such isolation in those with so-called ‘mental health’ problems.  I believe what they are trying to treat is of a spiritual nature and by definition, medical ‘science’ cannot yet venture there.

True essence

What is spiritual then? I’d like to challenge that the spiritual is about belonging. It is much more than just the release of trapped emotions, or the correction of negative thinking.  The spiritual is about belonging right here, right now, in this body in this life and in these circumstances. It is about understanding our gifts, our hearts, our purpose and our community. It is about being connected to our friends, families and communities meaningfully.  It is about valuing our intrinsic worth and realising how valuable we are to others as well as to ourselves.  It’s about coming home to our true self, the self that was there from our birth into this world. In short, it is about living a truly human existence. And now we might understand why our media driven society, that depends upon the continued hypnosis of what we THINK is valuable, has become so powerful an influence in the culture of our times.  I dare you to step back from it.  To stop engaging with it. And deepen your inner journey to the centre of your self.  You can re-engage once you realise who you really are and perhaps then see the media for what it really is.

And in crossing over into your true selves, you’ll find a treasure you remembered once, from so long ago you’d almost forgotten: from a time when you hadn’t yet learned all the ways to keep yourself trapped into a false self. A time when you played freely and joyfully just for the sheer hell of it. And if you find it, please let me know. I’d love to hear your story. Join me in one of my supervision and mentorship groups, sign up to my newsletter on the about page.  Or just leave a comment below.  Let’s get to know each other.

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The day came yesterday. I was lying in bed actually, deciding whether it was worth getting up early or not when the phone rang. It was the doctors surgery. The medical records I requested from 1987 had arrived and were ready for collection. 1987 was my final year at college in Liverpool and the year I was diagnosed schizophrenic.

I had asked to see them because before I started talking about my past too publicly. I wanted to make sure I had the ‘facts’ that the doctors were working with at the time. I don’t have my full record, just my transfer letters from one hospital to another which were filed with my GP.

Who I used to be

Reading the letters sent me on a journey to another time where other people defined my reality for me, assuming they knew what was going on in my head and my heart. It sent me back to a time where I struggled to define my own reality because nothing had prepared me for being isolated  in my life and alone with my higher education ambitions. Inside my head and heart was my family’s calling to stay small, deny my larger self  and quash my ambitions. And yet a part of me felt so suffocated that despite the existential discomfort, I had to break away from my roots. The breaking away left me with internal contradictions, a tortured heart, and a desperate need to explore my inner world, to gain mastery over it and to find peace and equilibrium. It feels somehow now like I had to plunge into a dark and terrifying world of ‘schizophrenia’: I had to meet my darkest fears, in order to see what I was up against.

Did anyone really know who I was?

Some of the facts of my life are wrong in the letters. The assumptions that have been made about my life and background are superficial snapshots of me with no depth of insight. It’s sobering to realise that such big decisions should be made about my health and welfare and big socially dangerous labels used without knowing who I am.  In the early stages of my loss of contact with concensus reality at least, my reality, my history and circumstances had to be reported by parents and other people who also didn’t know me.  I can see how those opinions of others could come to be internalized by less fortunate individuals who fail to go deep enough to find their true selves.  And therein lies the dissonance: head versus heart, external versus internal realities.

I’d been up to that point on a journey of self discovery all my life. For some curious reason, even when a child I was always sensitive to having others attempt to scramble my reality.  And even as I lay writhing around in a living hell of my own confused fabrication in my early 20’s, my parents apparently believed it was just pressure of exams.  I grew up deeply contemplative, curious and angry when my reality couldn’t be heard.  Although I don’t ‘do’ past life stuff, it’s interesting to muse why I sensed injustice and contradiction so keenly.  I see that thread from the present to the past so clearly now. It’s what drives me today to continue to seek my authenticity and to resonate with others who are seeking theirs.

Seeing the real person inside

I still react strongly to incongruency, to artifice and to insincerity.  To me they are like enormous neon signs plastered across a persons identity. I can detect it from a 100 paces. I don’t care for it. I can’t take it seriously. I want to know YOU not a substitute or understudy. For many that’s scary. Seeing into someone’s life and looking at their real selves can threaten to dismantle the false self they’ve carefully constructed to survive an outside in existence.  And people will fight to maintain their right to their false self.  And of course, they can do what they wish. Yet our capacity to witness our own true selves and to see others clearly is the key to developing real human intimacy and to healing hearts and souls of slights and hurts.  Having xray vision can be both a blessing and a curse.

The gift is my personal journey to the core of my being

I have crossed over a precipice more than once in my life.  Once traversed one can never return.  Each milestone takes you through a new portal, a one way gateway forward and the rules that used to guide you and govern your thoughts crumble behind you. There is no going back.  There is only forward.  And as you step into the new comfort of knowing and trusting yourself instead of the rules, your faith in life expands and incorporates others.  As it expands it senses rather than thinks.  It tends to check our experience against our inner reality instead of outwards appearances or social conformity.  And it brings great fortitude and groundedness on the one hand and great human fragility on the other.

I see this insight now as a gift I have invested in over 30 years and more and one that I want to share with as many people as possible. With clients and supervisees alike, it is my desire only to show you your own heart, so that you can come to trust yourself, and know that whatever else happens out there, your unique human expression is your greatest and most valuable possession.

So I’ve decided to start writing. I have a book in my head that describes how we therapists, as the uninvited mentors of society, need to come home to ourselves if we are to help other people come home to their true selves. And despite all academic or intellectual pursuit, there is one fact we can never deny: We are healers of the human soul and spirit and no amount of intellectualising about that will make it any different. Find mentors who can help you on your inner journey of awakening.

Our experiences in life, however adverse or tragic, are never wasted. All experience, can be used for the awakening of our fellow human beings.
My message today? Seek mentors in life who are seeking their own authenticity. The soul of our world needs it. And if you resonate with me, I’d love you to join me.  Click on the links  to join my mentorship group or my telephone mentorship and supervision service.

 

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This is more than just therapy..

First of all, thanks to those who took me up on my invitation to send me your telephone number for me to call you. I’ve had some fantastic telephone meetings with you and a couple of face to face meetings too. What’s amazing for me is that those that I speak to seem to be looking for someone who can understand and empathise with their quirkiness! I really like that. I’ve written about we ‘loners’ needing to get together and it feels like slowly you’re showing up! (message me below if you still want to make contact).

Out of those discussions with you so much has come up. I often joke that I’m in my ivory tower in my little rural Essex town and I deliberately insulate myself from too much news and media brain washing! As a result I sometimes forget that how I think may not be quite so mainstream as others. So following another inspiring conversation with one of you last night, I’ve written another article below on forgiveness. But before I take you to that let me remind you about Dr Chadha’s day with me in April.

Dr Pradeep Chadha’s Science, Spirituality and Therapy Day

On 20th April we have the distinguished Dr Pradeep Chadha coming to London from Ireland to deliver a one day revelation on his drugless psychiatric work.

The reason I resonate so much with Dr Chadha is because he’s worked it out for himself too. And what drives people like Pradeep to work it out for themselves, is that they feel an empathy for others and

have a deeply seeking spirit. Underpinning that is a knowledge that full physical, mental and emotional health is not only possible but probable if we can understand how people have come to be the way they are and moreover, teach them how to return to their true selves. And we talk of people, not diseases or symptoms.

Click here to register for the day

To understand others you also have to seek deeply into your own life and ask some deeper questions, questions that Pradeep is all too practiced at asking. To him psychiatry poses more questions than it answers. It’s ‘solutions’ are not tackling the human root of the psyche, but instead dabble in superficial brain chemistry. And if that’s all that was really wrong, then drugs would cure. But it isn’t. And they don’t.

Click here to register for the day

Dr Chadha’s story is an inspiration in itself and how he came to conceive of mental and emotional ill health and how to treat it is really quite revolutionary and more so because of his medical background. But I believe Dr Chadha is a healer in the truest sense. Join us on this special day in London on 20th April. So many of you are talking to me about joining us and we’d love to have you with us. And remember, feel free to hit return and ask me any questions you need answering about the event and I’ll see if I can help.

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Keep your feedback coming. I can’t tell you how valuable it is to know that you are reading, listening and learning something from the energy I put out there. It truly inspires me to keep working for you. Hit return and reply or just fill in a comment form on whichever page on the website inspires you. https://www.theopenmindtherapist.com

Article: How do you forgive?

Forgiveness is one of those heavily loaded christian words that seems to suggest doormat or victim. “Forgive thine enemies” sounds like a mug’s game, doesn’t it!? Why should you? So what on earth does ‘forgiveness’ actually mean? Why should we seek it? And how can you interpret that effectively through a christian or religious filter?

Firstly, a lack of forgiveness causes bitterness and resentment. So if a person is bitter, it’s usually because they’re holding on to the memory or behaviour pattern that was set up by an outside influence. That means they’re holding onto something mentally, emotionally, spiritually and even physically because of the behaviour of someone else. The mind is probably telling them to hold onto it because it believes it can then spot the same behaviour again easily as a form of self protection. Or it may be holding onto it because the child in us still wants to show the world how unfairly treated we were and we wait fruitlessly for someone else to apologise or make it better for us.

However, the more this bitterness or resentment becomes part of who we are the more likely we are to attract the very thing we least want to us. (I’ll talk one day soon about the law of cause and effect). This bitterness is hurting no body except ourselves. It is wearing down our psyche and making us feel worthless and fragile. AND the likelihood is that we’ve been doing it for years: years and years after the initial cause. I speak from personal experience in this. I held onto a deep existential brittleness for many years. It was so part of who I was I didn’t even realise it was holding me hostage. Until my disastrous marriage brought me face to face with my own existential rage. I had to deeply confront it and insodoing, not only liberated myself from a deeply held belief about my self worth, but simultaneously I was free to develop a new way of being that has been nothing short of transformational.

So I often ask the question, who, in our current lives, is causing us harm? You’re right. It’s us. We are doing it by perpetuating the bitterness and resentment that was initially provoked by someone else, potentially years ago.

At that point we have relinquished all control and volition of our own and we are saying we are not in charge of our minds, but that someone else is. And we think hypnosis is worrying! Many people who are stuck like this are already in hypnosis – living a kind of dream.

So forgiveness is in my opinion, less related to someone else, and more related to ourselves. We need to be able to find some peace in our own hearts, stop judging ourselves by other people’s standards, start nurturing the real person we are and establishing some meaningful and respectful boundaries. As Oprah said once, ‘Forgiveness is giving up the hope, that the past could have been any different’.

From a buddhist perspective, if we do not treat ourselves with deep respect we are not honouring the buddha that we are. And from a Christian perspective, God’s work cannot be done through you if you deny yourself the love and respect that is yours. And from a lay person’s perspective, stop beating yourself up and start loving who you are.

Forgiveness has to start with you. It’s useless trying to ‘forgive’ others first. This will lead to frustration and even more bitterness.

In Buddhism we have a term called ‘zange’ (pronounced zangay). This is a deep and soulful realisation of the harm you are doing to yourself and a reverential apology for doing it. On its heels comes the determination to never do that to yourself again. Daily practice can ensure that that becomes a growing reality day by day. In keeping bitterness you remain vulnerable and brittle. In casting it off, there is wisdom and strength.

The end result is? That what was once done to you becomes irrelevant. You won’t forget it, but it will carry no emotional charge. In fact, at that point you can actually find the capacity to ‘love thine enemy’ because invariably, people are blind to the harm they cause. And even if there was an intent to harm, to coin another christian phrase, ‘forgive them for they know not what they do’ – and in seeing it this way, their negative power diminishes and your soft power for yours and others humanity grows.  This is more than just therapy.  This is heart to heart communication. Share this lesson with your clients. It’s relevant to most people at some point on their journey.

Looking forward to much success and renewal in the New Year.

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It’s been such a momentous year this last year.  I feel I’ve crossed over a portal in my work that I can’t and don’t want to return through. I have taken such inspiration from so many amazing people and have felt encouraged to become who I truly am more and more.  It’s a see saw of toe in, toe out when you first realise there’s no one stopping you being you except you.  And the habit can be hard to kick.  And I find myself wavering at times.  You can blame society or the professional ethics, or the models or whatever else you want to lay blame at.  But ultimately you’ve made the decision to limit yourself and be affected by it.  The dilemma has been for me do I dare to really tell you and show you who I am?  That’s the false self telling me I’m not worth it.  Fortunately I’m listening more and more to my inner voice that is telling me to celebrate the best of myself even out there with you guys, and let the faults that I have pale into insignificance.

Thank you to all those brave hearts who have taken part in this amazing year of transformation with me.  Thanks for touching my life and for sharing your brilliance with me so openly.  Thanks to those who resisted taking part because you were really just reflecting my own reticence at ‘coming out’ with my own unique self. I have you to thank for the earlier part of my journey this year.  The resistance was a big wake up call and caused me to deeply reflect on how you might just be a reflection of something I was missing.  When I released the block, you responded amazingly.  Thank you for having faith in me somehow.

I’ve increasingly taken on my true self the second half of this year and it’s quite new, uncharted, and scary at times, and other times it’s absolutely exhilarating.  So many ups and downs and constant polishing of the self.  I so want to inspire you to live this way and to bring your intuition into your practices so that you can be the real mentors that our clients are so desperately in search of.

I’m looking forward to working with Alexia in January who is also sharing a new phase in her life of just saying it as it is, and letting the world know what you stand for.  I am looking forward too to being inspired by her.  And Dr Pradeep Chadha in April.  What amazing feedback we had from our call earlier this year.  Pradeep is coming to London on 20th or is it 21st (I’ll check and will publish his day on this site over christmas) to share with us his unique take on mental health and what really makes people well and happy.  Both of these amazing people are such an inspiration to me.

And I have some really new projects that I’ll be working on this year.  Watch this space.

Thanks to all my Soul members and visitors to the groups this year.  We’ve had a truly revelationary year.  So much transformation in group.  How powerful are groups of people?  I’d love to welcome anyone of you into our groups and pray that you take whatever personal or professional inspiration you are looking for from our members who are each, of themselves, truly characterful, insightful and passionate therapists.  It’s been a pleasure to work with you throughout the year.  Thanks for being part of the journey.

Remember to get yourself some downtime this Christmas and spend some time with your heart and your unconscious.  Listen to your heart’s moods and tune in to who you are and what you’re about.  This is your real treasure – not all that stuff out there that passes as important. It’s from this kernal of innate wisdom that we can transform our lives and our work.  It’s only the illusions that we have believed are real that has stopped us finding our inner wisdom. Once you get beyond the illusions, wisdom, courage and compassion are just waiting to well up and to be expressed in your lives.  Listen to it and make a determination to invigorate and inspire yourselves to your highest good.

Signing off brave hearts!  Have a great rejuvenating Christmas.

 

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What’s sabotaging your practice?

Jenny LynnI was in an inspirational meeting with fellow journeyers in London a few months ago which was looking at how we sabotage ourselves and what kinds of excuses we use to do so.  The litany of excuses and fears that we all contributed to our discussion was really quite amusing.  What was even more amusing was being asked to consider what kind of messages we must have internalised throughout our lives to allow these seeds of sabotage to take root.  Things like “who do you think you are?” or “you’re not clever”, “bright enough”, “pretty/handsome” enough.

It got me thinking about the fears that most of us experience, certainly as a starting-out therapist, but often, after many years in practice too.  And those fears are things like: “Did I push my client hard enough?” “Did I push my client too hard?” “Did I step over the line there by touching their arm, or saying this to them?” “Did I miss something important?” “Are they feeling hostile that I said this or did that?” I shared these insights in my authenticity day just recently – which, if you missed it, you can listen to by joining us on Mind level.  I remember having my fair share of these fears too until an epiphany moment in the first year of my practice: I haven’t been fear-less ever since but things changed for me significantly from that moment.

When I reflected on these fears and where they come from  I realise they are from our ideas of social acceptability and our need for social approval.  We tend to observe certain social games: ie: don’t draw attention to a person’s idiosyncrasies, don’t upset people, don’t step into someone’s space uninvited, don’t bore people with your story, don’t impose yourself on others.  We all know these games of fitting in and need for respectability really well.
What are our professional ethics
How are you sabotaging your therapy practice?If we were to write a set of professional ethics based on these social fears, what would we write?  Think about it.  Would we say, it’s unprofessional to self disclose, or that it’s unprofessional to touch your client?  Would we say it’s unprofessional to push your client too hard and you need to respect your client’s uncertainty on their journey? 

Now I don’t wish to throw the metaphorical baby out with the bath water. Professional ethics of some description are a useful guide. I merely ask you to reflect on which part of the professional ethics you have internalised that may be actually sabotaging your practice.  Which part of your internalised idea of professionalism are you crucifying yourself with?   Because it could be those internalised ideas you have of what you think being professional is that is stopping you being authentic, stopping you making human contact with your clients, stopping you accepting that you’re already doing a great job, and ultimately stopping you from having a full and thriving practice.  

Join me on Mind to listen to the Authenticity Day audio which seeks to dispel the fear of being our authentic selves in our therapy practice and get also 36 hours of practice supporting audio to inspire you. https://theopenmindtherapist.com/events/authenticity-workshop/  And remember, future discovery days are discounted from £97 to £67 for members of Mind and Heart. Soul members go free.

What’s your experience?

Well, did you do it?  Did you make a note of all the things you’ve learned in life that help you directly with your work?  Did you ask your friends and colleagues to tell you what they think of you? (Yikes!)  Do share. I really want to know.  I’ve put this last email up in my blog section on http: so feel free to leave your comment below.https://theopenmindtherapist.com/2012/11/28/are-you-using-your-experience-of-life/

I met Alexia in London Yesterday

I met with Alexia Leachman on Wednesday in London which was absolutely lovely. We’d met on the phone of course and on our call, so it was lovely to see and feel the energy of the person I’ve come to know only over the wire.  She’s bold about her beliefs, comfortable in her skin, authentic and real in her message.  We resonate quite strongly and I’m really looking forward to working with her in our Discovery day in January.  For more details go to https://www.theopenmindtherapist.com/events/ and join us.Starting out in practice audio masterclass

The number of people who I seem to be speaking to at the moment who are just new in practice and they’re falling foul of all the regular advertising scams that promise you the world and deliver nothing.  With this in mind I’m thinking of doing a 90 minute audio masterclass in setting up in practice: the do’s and the don’ts.  Interested?  It’ll be sometime before christmas.  I’ll look in the diary and let you know.  Just fire me off an email saying “Yes please to Starting out in practice audio masterclass” and I’ll know you’re interested.
But remember: MAKE YOUR LIFE HAPPEN! Don’t wait any longer for someone to deliver a truth to you. You have to seek it out. 
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Are you using your experience of life?

What’s your experience?

You know, we’ve all had life experiences, haven’t we? I often look back and wonder how I ever got through what I got through! Do you know that feeling? How did I get to be 40 something and still have a sense of humour? My daughter says I’m hard as nails but somewhere underneath there’s a little bit of softness! She says that because of times for example, when my friends have jokingly (I hope) texted me: “Jenny, you’re a weirdo!” and it makes me titter or because of times when I don’t show much social grace with people I have no time for! She literally curls up in a mixture of admiration and embarrassment sometimes at my cavalier audacity.

There’s no doubting though that life knocks the rough edges off you and if you learn the lessons you were sent here to learn, you become more and more adept at understanding the broader human condition. Just as much as I can feel sorry for myself at times, I can also feel huge; massive actually. I can feel like I have an insight that has only come about because of my experience in life. Had I not had the schizophrenia, the near death experience at the birth of my daughter, the messy divorce, the career changes, the heart breaks and the highs and lows of life, how on earth could I be qualified to do what I do?

So today I want to encourage you to discover the value of your experiences. Write them down and describe all of the things you’ve learned that help you directly with your work. Text your friends and colleagues and ask them to tell you what’s special about you. Do it today. Tell them it’s an exercise you’re doing for your work! And let me know how you got on with it. I’ll remind you Thursday evening by email and I’d love to hear some of your stories.

Mind Level Subscription

Wow! When you get out of your own way it’s amazing what happens! Thanks to all of you who have subscribed to my Mind Level. And just to recap what is on Mind: all of our past teleseminar guests audios are in there plus all of my counselling skills, psychotherapy and buddhist audios over the last nearly 2 years! One of my Soul members said a few months ago that she sat down and made a concerted effort to listen to them all within a week or two’s time frame and she said she felt so much lighter and happier. I think there’s no doubt, when you hear other people describing the life of the therapist, it is incredibly comforting and reassuring. And remember, that Mind members can get all my Discovery days: including Alexia Leachman’s – Using your story to market your therapy practice – on January 26th for just £67. Tell your colleagues. I hope to be meeting her this Wednesday for a prelim in London. She inspires me and I want her to share her knowledge with you on this special day.  Click here to find out more.

(Last January I went on a “Mindfulness in therapy” day in London which was the biggest waste of £140 I’ve yet made in doing CPD. I don’t mean to sound dismissive, but it was a bit like asking Jenson Button to test drive a noddy car! – still I learned what passes for Mindfulness in a CBT style training and at least I can say I already practice it only more spontaneously and authentically.)

So please join me and subscribe to my Mind level at just £7 to get nearly 40 hours of audio which will challenge you and cause you to ask deeper questions of yourselves. You see, together we are stronger than if we stand alone. And my vision is to have Open Mind Therapists (that isn’t trade marked by the way!) all over the country who get what it means to be their own mentor and example to all the clients they meet. Click here to find out more about Mind

This Friday’s meeting in London

As usual our Soul Group meets this Friday in the Millfield Arts Centre, Edmonton this Friday 30th November. It’s our last meeting before Christmas so I’d love to see you there 10 till 3pm. I’ll need to remind you all direct who have said they are coming and round you up! Regardless how busy you are, you’ll learn to value the time out and get as much out of it as you can in terms of support, camraderie, and guidance. I’m here to share what I’ve learned in life, to encourage you to share your learning too and to show you some new things you may not yet have in your repertoire. Click here to book on.

7th December meeting in Great Dunmow – have you been a member before?

We’ll be meeting in Dunmow again on 7th December and we’ll be having our usual christmas lunch out somewhere. If you’ve been a member before, why not join us for lunch? Email me and I’ll let you know details.
Next year we have changed venue again to the Maltings in Great Dunmow which is a beautiful grade II listed building right in the centre of town. And along with this change of venue is a change of time: We’ll be starting at 12 and finishing at 5pm. If you’re running a busy practice already, you may benefit from a couple of hours client work in the morning before you set off for the meeting….and remember, it’s a much more respectable time to go out for a drink after the group!

Starting out in practice audio masterclass

The number of people who I seem to be speaking to at the moment who are just new in practice and they’re falling foul of all the regular advertising scams that promise you the world and deliver nothing. With this in mind I’m thinking of doing a 90 minute audio masterclass in setting up in practice: the do’s and the don’ts. Interested? It’ll be sometime before christmas. I’ll look in the diary and let you know. Just fire me off an email saying “Yes please to Starting out in practice audio masterclass” and I’ll know you’re interested.

But remember: MAKE YOUR LIFE HAPPEN! Don’t wait any longer for someone to deliver a truth to you. You have to seek it out.
Jenny
To try one of our groups click here.
Jenny has been working as an Integrative Hypnotherapist/psychotherapist for 11 years and has practiced Buddhism for most of her life and is also a Fellow of the National Council of Psychotherapists. After many years of teaching her various courses on integrative therapy for hypnotherapists, which included the now well known course, Unlocking the Mysteries of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, she is now focussing on the personal and authentic journey of the therapist from all talk modalities. She aims to teach life lessons in intuition, insight, and authenticity for those who are ready to take their work to the next level and demonstrate as well as counsel others, what it is to show up in the world and take charge of your life.

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