Coaching for the Family
'Mental Health' Wellness Coaching Sessions for Partners, Parents and Siblings of people experiencing extreme states of emotional / mental imbalance.
All the focus is on your partner, child or sibling but if you are supporting someone you love through extreme states, you will likely be going through the mill yourself.
In these coaching sessions we can discuss ways both to help you cope better and at the same time enhance your capacity to support your loved one.
Sessions can involve a mixture of conversation and practice, and once we have got to know each other, you are welcome to join my regular support classes.
Why a coaching session with me might be useful
There are several areas in which sessions seem helpful:
Being heard and understood
I haven't experienced what you are going through.
What I am an expert in is my own family's journey with me as the non-ordinary state experiencer and participant in the psychiatric treatment process.
My parents had to go through experiences which would transfer instantly to the cinema screen.
Pretty much the worst nightmare of any parent: a 2am call from the Chinese police on the other side of the planet requesting them to fly over immediately to take me home.
The meeting point being a Chinese psychiatric hospital. And they were unaware of what physical and mental state they would find me in.
I don't want to write more on this here, but we all got through it...
But then we had to deal with the UK psychiatric process, the lack of effective treatment, the side-effects of the medication, my rage sessions, my suicidal despair and depression, all without any proper help or guidance.
My mother and I would walk along the canal every day rain or shine for a couple of hours to do something positive and keep my body alive.
And then there was the time we realised we had to stand up to the psychiatrist and take back control of the healing process, coming off the medication and dealing with the problems ourselves...
And having done this, they then had to deal with the next eight years, never knowing when there may be a repeat crisis call from somewhere on the planet.
As it happened, they were already flying out to Thailand to meet me, when I needed help there in 2004.
I was most impressed with them though, when they said no, when I called from India in 2006.
It is not as if my mother wouldn't jump into a fire to save me, but this was too much stress for me to put on them at the time. We spoke on the phone every day while I went through the crisis and thankfully I was able to make it home independently, still believing I was dead and in another world.
And then in 2008 and 2010, I handled it by myself without calling, flying home while deeply in a non-ordinary state, but faking normality sufficiently to make my way through the airports (just).
I shouldn't need to say anymore.
Inspiring confidence that a positive outcome is possible despite the impossibility of the situation.
As with the experiencer themselves, it is essential that anyone supporting someone going through a mental illness journey maintains an optimistic view of the future and the path to recovery.
Sadly, we live in a weird world regarding mental health right now and the mainstream health services which we generally have great faith in, do not offer a positive pathway to recovery.
Even 'nice' psychiatrists seem to have blinded themselves to any other treatment option than psychiatric medication without appreciating (as someone who took it) that though in the short term it may appear to help with the symptoms, after just two weeks they leave you in a strange state that doesn't feel quite human. Certainly you aren't the person who you are. At best, you transition between low and medium doses, allowing more normal function perhaps in between episodes. There is no healthy recovery here.
My psychiarist was insistent that I continue with at least a low dose of Risperidone for life in 2002 when I said goodbye to him, but he was wrong. It has been a long, at times hard journey of growth in my case, but my life has fully lived and alive and I wouldn't change any of it. And I never considered going anywhere near psychiatric medications again.
It is very hard to find the inner confidence and strength to go against the direction of the 'medical current', but sadly if we were able to look through the long term outcomes of people and families passing through the mental health services around the world, it will be the independent, rebellious ones who have fared best.
This should not be the case, but I am confident, it will not be the ones who follow every word from their psychiatrist, staying on their medication, switching to others to randomly look for something more tolerable, or adding anti-depressants alongside the anti-psychotics to alleviate the depression the latter are causing.
When the latter situation came up for me after six months on Risperidone, even in the state I was in, I called it out saying, "that's crazy...".
Nb. Coming off the medication was a scary nightmare also. So this is a terrible situation, which shouldn't be. But it is and all we can do is our best to deal with it.
The embodied mindfulness practices I share, help. Don't give up hope.
Enhancing the capacity to support
There is a lot that family members can do to support a person going through a non-ordinary state / psychosis experience if they have help to do so.
There is much to learn. Depending on the stage you are at, and how long it has been going on for, you may have found many answers yourself, even if from trial and error and suffering, but hopefully I can speed this process up and take away some of the pain of the learning journey.
Understanding what they are going through is a start.
I teach emotional clearing and connection / resonance practices and when you are able to do this, there is a good chance you can help the experiencer get through tricky states.
No one can say for sure how a particular person will respond, it requires effort from them also, but we can maximize the possiblity of a positive outcome.
Guidance to support you
Probably the most important service I can offer is support for you yourself.
The better resourced you are within your physical, emotional and mental self, the better you will be able to hold space for your family member.
The closeness that you share with them is a resource in itself, and so as you yourself move towards a more positive space, little by little, it will help them to come with you.
Some things are magic in life. And in this case, investing time to take care of yourself, is anything but selfish.
My whole life has been about clearing emotional mess, repairing or rejuvenating my nervous system and body and working to ground myself and strengthen my 'centre' / who I am and I share this through the many different practices in my classes.
So why not book a coaching session with me.
Wellness Coaching: I am offering 'wellness / life coaching' sessions as an 'expert by experience'. I am not a regulated psychotherapist or counsellor. I have professional training and up to date insurance to work with individuals as a Mindfulness teacher, a Bodywork therapist and as a Tai Chi teacher.
This is a legal disclaimer: What you take from a session and put into action in your life is your personal responsibility. By engaging my services, I will assume you understand and accept this.
Personal Responsibility: I expect individuals to take responsibility for themselves. I cannot take this on myself, though I will support people as best I can. If the individual cannot do this then family members need to take responsibility. If there is a situation in which no one is able to take responsibility, then sadly this is where the mental health services play an important role in our society.
Psychiatry: In my experience the psychiatric profession plays an important health and safety role for the society. I must acknowledge that for some people the use of some form of anti-psychotic medication may be appropriate despite the side-effects. When something better is available the treatments should be updated.
But I also believe that there are individuals with more sensitivity who could be helped in other more gentle ways and right now these options are not available to them. Treatment with anti-psychotic medications may prevent them from living out their full potential in life and this is very, very sad. Most people will prefer to look away unless it is their own life being ruined or that of someone they love but this cannot be ignored and needs to change in our society and mental health systems.
So while the pharmacology path may be the only option for some people, as a kindly psychiatrist once told me, if you can find any other path, take it...
Dangers - I am not naive as to the dangers inherent in non-ordinary experiences, but am not afraid of them in the way perhaps the majority of humanity are, including psychiatric professionals. We will discuss this, and if in the end you need 24hr support (which I did the first time), then the options will include psychiatric care, hopefully for a short time.
Trauma & Suffering - In my experience, people experience mental health difficulties for a reason, not because of a random 'act of God'. Whether anyone wants to face the 'reason' is another matter. A benefit from having been 'cruxified' in my own journey is that I have a capacity to be with suffering in others. We may even be able to make light of it...
Practical Details & Fees
I would suggest people make an initial contact with me through this website.
We can then arrange a first paid session if you are clear you want to work with me.
I have found with Experiencer coaching that we need 1 1/2 hours for a first session, the fee is £75.
Any subsequent sessions will be £50 for 1 hour.
Coaching for Family members or Clinicians will be charged at £50 / hour. First sessions can be 1 hour.
For small groups, I will charge £30 / hour each for two people, £20 / hour each for three, £15 / hour each for four to ten people (open to discussion).
I charge £80 for Sei Ki Touch and coaching sessions combined in person usually lasting 1 1/2 hours.
Payment can be made by bank transfer or credit card via Paypal. I will send details. I request payment to be made before the agreed session.
Hi Anthony, I just wanted to share with you how humbled and moved I was after our conversation yesterday.
After we stopped talking, I felt a deep sense of relaxation and peace, which was very welcome.
I was highly impressed by how deeply and intuitively you understood the problems with the children.
I find it strange, and sad in a way that spending a couple of hours talking to you was more helpful and insightful than all of the hours combined that social workers and GPS have contributed to our family.
And I feel strongly that your voice deserves to be heard,
Because you have direct experience of these sort of issues, which most people do not.
Thank you for being there.
Hint: 'Borderline'...John, UK
Through Anthony's own lived experience of heightened emotional states, he has been able to help me understand what my partner has experienced.
Anthony has shed light on how I might really support my partner in times of crisis without having to rely on conventional psychiatry and medication, something we're both keen to be the way forward for us.
Anthony's wisdom and warmth have made me feel much more confident in my ability to take care of both myself and my partner in future.Frankie, UK
I have attended the embodied mindfulness and rejuvenation sessions which Anthony runs and during the class have found the insights he has gained from his own experience about 'altered states' / 'psychosis' really helpful to consider in relation to my son's experiences which have been frightening (and much more), for him but also for me and the rest of the family.
Anthony shares and communicates with authenticity and sense about what has helped him on his journey, shedding some light on what, for those 'alongside' someone experiencing these states, can be hard to understand.
His wisdom and practice provide hope that, with support and work the path is not bleak but one of discovery and evolving. This hopeful perspective is in contrast to the often negative one which carers may have encountered and can help equip carers to better navigate the journey....
Anthony's website contains a wealth of valuable resources for experiencers and those supporting them.
Glad you are there to share and that I was lucky enough to hear about you and your work.
Thank youSue, UK
HeartTouch: Mindfulness & Compassionate Touch Training for Anxiety, Emotional Pain & Trauma.
These workshops are open to people experiencing extreme human states, whether that be labelled as psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar, manic depressive along with people with personal histories of sexual or emotional traumas.
They are also open to people experiencing milder forms of anxiety and emotional pain, however it expresses itself.
This can include co-issues such as addiction or eating disorders, though I would request people to find additional support for the side-issue as this is not part of my experience.
The workshops are also open to people interested in enhancing their capacity to work with people experiencing this kind of distress, whether as a bodyworker, psychotherapist, clinician or family member.