My philosophy for productive therapy and coaching

Many times a day people ask me (over the phone or in emails) “Why should I work with you? What do you that is different from other therapists, counsellors and life coaches?” My answer is always the same, I don’t know how other therapists work with their clients – so, all I can do is tell you about is what I do…..

I thought the best way I could do this is list the salient points that I feel are important and if they resonate with you and you feel comfortable it should be a good match.

My initial supposition

On the whole people are not broken, they often are just running conscious (or unconscious) strategies that don’t serve them well. Many of these strategies and ways of thinking and being were often formed many years ago and have become automatic and ingrained into what the person labels as “it’s who I am, I’ve always been that way…” However, they are changeable and new more productive ways of thinking can make profound changes to a persons life.

To make those changes I take clients on a journey where they discover many new facets about how their mind works, what personality types they are, what beliefs they have about themselves (true and false) and how to manage the noisy and often unhelpful chatter in their mind – at this point they are ready for the unconscious change work, which is updating the old sabotaging behaviours and installing new more appropriate and elegant ways of being in the world.

Another guideline that is important to me is – It’s not my responsibility to fix you! It is my responsibility to work closely with you to help you make the changes that you are looking for, that’s why it is called personal growth, it is personal to you and we are all different. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do everything I can to get you where you want to go, however, the responsibility lies with YOU. (Professional victims need not apply.)

Symptom or problem?

Most people tell me “John, I have this problem, I drink / have anxiety / feel depressed etc.” What they have just explained to me is typically a symptom not THE problem, yes it is a problems to them, however, there is usually something else that is making them anxious or feeling depressed or making them drink too much. This may be circumstantial, environmental, another person, a self belief, low self esteem, an illness or a hundred other causes that may be lurking around in the background. Real profound change happens when we get to the core of these deep rooted problems and at that point the symptoms just slowly dissolve.

This is not a talking therapy – It’s a doing therapy

The way I operate is NOT dependent on you talking and talking about your problems and going over your past time and time again! To me, this just keeps on reinforces old patterns and recalling unhelpful emotions. My style of therapy and education is based on teaching you new ways to act, new ways to think, new ways to connect with your emotions and many new ways to interact with life and yourself. In fact, I do most of the talking for the first few sessions. Of course, we will need to revisit some past events and memories, however, this will be done in ways that allow you to be more detached and more observer like as we loosen the grip they had and install new points of view and new ways of responding.

Homework homework homework

Over the years, three fundamental needs have surfaced that my clients tell me are important:

“How can I remember all the things you tell me?”

“I want someone to tell me what I need to do and give me tangible tasks to complete.”

“How can I reinforce the work we are doing between sessions?”

I actively respond to these hugely important questions by providing a whole raft of handouts, white papers, spread sheets, tasks, assignments, as well as, giving you hours of self help audio mp3 recordings to listen to between sessions. Whether you do this work or not is up to you, however, those that do, those who are serious about living a calmer, happier life, they do it without hesitation.

Personal Growth versus Personal Un-Growth

It has become very apparent to me that before somebody can grow emotionally, first they need to “ungrow” – they need to observe, find and then explore the very behaviours that caused their problems in the first place. Over the course of our lives we have been “domesticated” by parents, school, religion, partners etc. we learned (from others) what was right and what was wrong, but, who’s to say they were right, who’s to say that there isn’t calmer or more effective ways of responding to life?

I show you many differing ways of responding to life, partners, children, parents and colleagues, that improve communication and lessen emotional drama – because to me, if you can live with less emotional drama, more choice, more self-respect and less fear…. This is the path to much more happiness in your life.

Exploring and understanding your personality type

I was always brought up to believe that I should “treat people the way that YOU would like to be treated” it seems sensible, however, it is misplaced and ineffective. If you want clear communication and more empathy in your relationships then you need to “treat people the way that THEY would like to be treated” – for example; a gentle emotional person wouldn’t respond well to being shouted at and a dominant decisive person wouldn’t respond well to a person who was dithering and worrying about making a decision.

True growth comes when you can recognise your own character type and accept both the strong and the weak aspects of that profile, then as you become aware of other peoples personality profiles communication and emotional drama lessens. Another aspect that is fundamental to change is recognising that we are born a certain character profile (that is why siblings are often so different) and then we become “moulded” into other profiles of “who we are expected to be” by parents and school – this generates a lot of unconscious emotional conflict and is often at the core of many issues. So I use a range of processes to help you understand your personality type, reveal the emotional conflicts and allow you to transcend the limitations that we unknowingly place upon ourselves.

Quietening the racing mind

This is the sixty four thousand dollar question – “How do I stop all the chatter in my mind?” Most people seem to believe all the voices in their mind, they tell me it is just them thinking, well, if it was them then they would stop when we ask them to – but they don’t! These voices are in us, however, they are not us. They are just all our self beliefs all our domestication of what we think we should or shouldn’t do and on the whole they are a major roadblock when it comes to growing emotionally.

I teach you how to make more sense of these ruminations and endless “what ifs” that loop around stopping us from sleeping and delaying decision making by weaving layers of doubt into every thought. Remember this, the body responds to what you hold in mind! If you have lovely thoughts you get lovely feelings and if you have scary worrisome thoughts you get yukky feelings. Taking back control of your thoughts is a priority and I show you how to do this.

Emotional dexterity

“I think therefore I am” Mmmmmmm I think it should be “I think therefore I have anxiety!” We are NOT thinking animals that feel, we are feeling animals that think – and I can see that many of the problems we saddle ourselves with on a daily basis are completely avoidable. Typically people will do anything to avoid emotions like guilt / shame / embarrassment – Why? Because they don’t like those emotions, they don’t like those feelings. But what if you could be OK with them? What if there was a way you could be more comfortable with any emotion?

I teach you the fact that emotions are not something that just ‘happen’ to us, emotions are absolutely something that we CAN control, we can befriend them and we can choose which emotion to use in any specific moment. This means that any emotion is your friend and you don’t need to run avoidance strategies due to an unwanted emotions, for example; if you are afraid to say NO because you’ll feel guilty for rejecting somebody – and the feeling of guilt is something you dislike – then you are stuck, your emotions are controlling you rather than you controlling your emotions.

Emotional calmness, less emotional drama and a quiet confidence comes from owning your emotions and making them your friend. I’ll teach you how.

Self-respect and self-esteem

Well, this is the basis for everything really. If you can’t love yourself how are you going to believe that anyone else can love you? We humans do this silly thing of assuming that the way we feel about ourselves is the way that others see us! This is so not true. They are too busy worrying about themselves. As I teach you new ways to interact with yourself your levels of worthiness will increase, the way you talk to yourself will change and become far kinder and respectful.

We look outside ourselves for validation of our worthiness and acceptance, when all we need to do is start validating and accepting ourselves – the journey begins within – it’s simple really (not easy) but simple.

Therapist in Buckingham

My office is in Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, half way between Oxford and Milton Keynes.

My guarantees

There can never be full guarantees when it comes to making changes within yourself, however, that doesn’t mean that the therapist (or you) should not be accountable for doing everything possible to ensure a beneficial outcome.

My commitments to you

  • I will be fully prepared and in a positive frame of mind to work effectively with you.
  • I will treat you with respect and in a responsive, professional and confident manner at all times.
  • I will treat all discussions and communications between us with total confidentiality.
  • I will never judge you.
  • If you are not satisfied with my service, then you only pay me what you feel is appropriate for that session.

Your commitments (to yourself)

  • You agree to arrive punctually for any therapy sessions in Buckingham, as they start and end at the agreed times.
  • You agree to take a little time each day to work through any exercises and listen to the CD’s / MP3′s I make available.
  • You agree to be open minded and prepared to try new things.