Coaching for Psychologists
'Mental Health' Wellness Coaching for Individuals & Groups of Clinical Psychologists & Psychotherapists involved in supporting people experiencing extreme states of emotional / mental imbalance.
I have been offering education and 'care for the carer' services for clinicians for the past five years in Switzerland, Italy, Brazil and the UK.
These events came about because of personal contacts, that cut through the 'hierarchies' and 'barriers to sanity' that exist within our culture.
So an influential psychotherapy teacher in Switzerland, a Brazilian psychiatrist and nursing professor I met while training in Mindfulness and a clinical psychologist they introduced me to in London facilitated me taking the floor, with their peers and students.
And from them I have met other clinicians, who have been interested in my work and I've had the opportunity to speak 1-1 with some of them.
What they all had in common was an open mind and warm heart. Along with a desire to see mental health care evolve to be more effective in supporting patients to recover.
I am still interested in this presentation / workshop style work, but what I want to offer here is personal one to one and small group coaching services for clinical psychologists & psychotherapists.
Relations with Clinical Psychologists & Psychotherapists
Most of the clinicians I have met in my workshops to date have been clinical psychologists or psychotherapists and I have found it easy to engage and share my work with them.
I found people open to exploring both the personal work, the embodied mindfulness practices as well as the compassionate touch / partner connection work.
I had the pleasure of receiving back a compassionate touch session from one male clinical psychologist I taught over a five day training in Switzerland, and his touch was amazing. I don't believe he had worked in any way other than talking therapy before this.
Nb. My touch based work is about first establishing deep trust and connection and then recognising and meeting the needs of the other. It is not a form of massage. I will write more on this another time.
One senior psychologist, I didn't meet, declined to invite me to present at her centre, based on an assertion that the cognitive behavioural therapy they were offering for people with psychosis alongside medication was enough.
From my perspective, this was flawed thinking, no better than a psychiatrist suggesting medication alone was enough.
I have a few reflections on CBT for Psychosis:
- How does the clinician build trust and help the person to feel safe, so they can engage when they are in an altered state?
- If the experiencer is medicated and unable to think clearly, how well do they engage with a purely cognitive therapy?
- If the client is in a high anxiety state, how is this handled?
- If there is rage, how are they supported to process this?
- If they have trauma or experienced sexual abuse how is this handled?
- What about inner aggression? Is their inner world a warm compassionate place?
- If they have 'insight' issues, how can this capacity be strengthened?
- If there is paranoia, can they feel safe enough with you, to be able to approach the underlying causes for their system being chronically threatened.
- If there are 'delusions', can you build resonance with them to help them face whatever inner pain the 'subjective truth' is protecting them from?
- Can you help them identify subjective truths which are helpful to hold on to for a while and those which need to be let go of?
- Can you equip them to handle interactions between helpful subjective truths and the collective truths of others? Humans traditionally start wars based on these meetings.
- Does the cognitive model support them to frame their experience in a helpful way? Does it includes models for understanding non-ordinary states as well as this 'reality'.
- How does it understand paranormal and psychic experiences?
- If they experience the breakdown of 'separate self' reality, how do you help them navigate this?
- How does the model understand inner voices?
- How does the model understand experiences of entities, dark energies and possession states?
- How do you help them, when your head can't understand all that the person is experiencing?
From my perspective there is definitely a role for cognitive behaviour therapy of some sort, but it needs to be constructed to help people deal with their experience, not just handle daily life chores, though this is also important.
And talking alone, is generally not the most effective way of engaging with people if they are physically present with you. It tends to engage the thinking mind, which will naturally be in a mess.
My attempt to engage with a psychotherapist straight after my 'psychosis' in China, was an anxiety based nightmare. Just engaging with what had happened sent me through the roof and I left more unwell than I arrived.
'Problems' are complexes of bodily emotions and thought patterns and are easier to resolve once the body has softened. In fact the conversation can be a beautiful, heart opening experience for both people. Life in all is beauty and pain.
I was amazed once during a body psychotherapy session, as I had verbal diarhoea the whole time, blabbing about stories of the lives of my wider family and their experiences. Cognitively I didn't feel I held on to pain because of them, but my body was changing during the session and something wanted to express the stories to a warm stranger. I haven't really thought of the stories since.
I have been surprised how well online conversation work has been going over the past year or so, but still, I would rather start by touching people and defusing the trauma and protection systems.
I am happy to discuss...
Nb. There is good work going on in some places. I am not knocking good psychiatric therapy work. It just needs to be universal and can always improve!
Caring for the Carer
Vicarious trauma may be a risk when working with people experiencing extreme emotional suffering, but I think compassionate meeting is an antidote to this, along with mature sensitivity to your own needs, emotions and limitations and sufficient time for practices to rebalance yourself.
When you are able to meet people in authentic compassion, face the emotional pain together, cry a bit together and do something, even if small to help the life showing up through them to shine a little brighter, then this work is a joy and privilege. And you yourself will be enriched by the experience.
General fatigue and burnout is also a risk for clinicians, especially the one's who 'care too much'. The world is full of people in various forms of pain, and we want to ease it, but there is no point in causing pain in one's own life trying to give more than you naturally can.
The more resourced you are within yourself, physically, emotionally and spiritually, the better able you will be to hold space and support others in difficulty.
The embodied mindfulness practices I share based on Chinese Martial Art & Japanese Hara training are relevant both to the needs of the experiencer and the therapist.
Contact me if this sounds of interest. I can also work with small groups if there are several people who want to learn together.
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.
Session Fee: £80, Concessions: First session £80, Further sessions £50
Coaching Sessions are for one hour, but may often last up to 1 1/2 hrs if required.
For small groups, I will charge £40 / hour each for two people, £30 / hour each for three, £25 / hour each for four people.
Please contact me for large scale events in person or online.
I charge £90 for Sei Ki Touch and coaching sessions combined in person usually lasting 1 1/4 hours. At the moment, the venue may vary.
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.
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.
I have also created an online Tai Chi & Qi Gong course to help people maintain their physical and mental health. Enjoy.
This is a series of videos detailing practices I share in my Weathering Storms Mental Health Resilience Workshops.