Thursday, July 24, 2014

PCE Conference in Buenos Aires

Entry for 24 July 2013:

Wonderful PCE conference in Buenos Aires!  I was overwhelmed by friendliness and care of our Argentine hosts. The weather turned cold (3C this morning), but that did not take away from the warmth of our Latin American colleagues.  High points:
• Unstructured large group (150 - 200 people) that inevitably ended up focusing on intercultural issues, some tragic, like the Malvinas-Falkland War and the Fukushima accident, other charming like the young American grad student who said she was going to tell her father how nice all the people she met were.
• The charming conference site (a private primary school with small desks that made me feel like I was 10 again).
• Keynote talks by the likes of Charlie O'Leary (who charmed everyone's socks off) and Shoji Murayama (who reviewed 50 years of building a person-centred community near Kyoto).
• A varied and interesting program that included sessions by Margaret Warner's session on fragile process and fragile relationships (including a very personal and moving account of her own journey) and Sylvia Lombardi's very helpful sessions on doing PCE therapy via Skype (just to pick two idiosyncratic choices)
• Oh, and my two presentations went very well, also:  The Counselling for Depression Workshop was popular enough that many people were very disappointed when they had to be turned away (they asked me to repeat the session on Thursday morning but unfortunately I had to miss the final half day of the conference), while the session on the Personal Questionnaire content analysis study was also well attended and successful, in spite of research not really being the South American PCE therapists’ thing.
I’ve heard many wonderful stories over the past few days, and hope I will be able to remember some of them, because many were very much worth retelling.  The sequential translation in large group and break out sessions provided me with a Spanish crash course, so that by the end of the conference both my receptive and expressive Spanish had greatly improved.  This should be very helpful as we move on to Ecuador today for several days of EFT training in Quito.  I’m looking forward to coming back to South America again before too many more years have passed.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Prospects for the Next Year: An I Ching Reading on Turning 64

Entry for 1 June 2014:

My brother Willy reminded me that 64 is the number of hexagrams in the I Ching, the ancient Chinese book of divination. His email gave me the idea of consulting it about the prospects for the next year: Unfortunately, I left my yarrow stalk oracle (actually they are chicken skewers but they work just fine) in Ohio. However, it's all on line now, and I found a yarrow stalk oracle site I kind of liked, although I'm not completely sure of the readings (as usual). 

Any way, I got hexagram 37, Jia Ren/The Family, moving to 33, Dun/Strategic Retreat/Save your bacon. I don't remember ever seeing either of these hexagrams before back in my I Ching consulting days in the late 1960's/early 1970's. 


Hexagram 37:  Wind over Fire: The Family: There is a lot here about first protecting one's family, however that may be defined, by perseverance even in hard times.


Hexagram 33: Heaven over Mountain: Strategic Retreat: This then moves to making sure to hang onto the valuable essential things that sustain one's life. 

 Together, these seem like really good advice!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dundrennnan Abbey Adventure on my Birthday

Entry for 31 May 2014:

Many, many warm thanks to all my friends and family who have wished me happy birthday in various way. We had lovely Adventure near Kirkcudbright visiting Dundrennnan Abbey, a ruined 12th century Cistercian abbey with wonderful stonework.  As is so often the case for us, the high point was our interaction with the Historic Scotland docent/caretaker.  Glyn, an enthusiastic retired stone mason from Yorkshire, kept dragging us around the site to show one wonderful piece of stone work or architectural feature after another.  
 Right before we left, he took us to an iron gate in the south side of the cloister, which he said had been the door to the kitchen at some point:  "Do you seen that bottom stone on the right side of the door frame?, " he asked, pointing to a lovely carving of flower that stands out against the straight vertical groove carved through the stack of stones there.  "That were just some guy who decided one day to cut t' stone that way.  He didn't get paid for it, he just did it to say he were here.  And here he still is, you can read him in t' stone, all these hundreds of years later!"  The big smile on Glyn's face showed his vicarious pride, empathically resonating with his fellow craftsman across more than 800 years.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring 2014 EFT Network Meeting

The Spring 2014 EFT Network meeting will take place
Saturday, 3 May 2014: Video: Rhonda Goldman: EFT Case Formulation
Time: Saturday noon - 5pm

If you are interested in attending please contact me for more details.

Agenda/Approximate Timings:
1. Check-in/update on your practice, including EFT News Update (1 hr)
2. Video (1 hr)
3. Break: Please bring a wee snack to share; we will provide tea/coffee/juice (.5 hr)
4. Skill practice: open marker work; unless otherwise agreed (1 hr)
5. Group supervision (1 hr)
6. Processing (.5 hr)

You don't have to tell me if you're coming; but it would be helpful to know numbers.

We've also scheduled the next two EFT Glasgow Quarterly Network Meetings:

Summer: Saturday, 30 Aug 2014: Video: EFT for Depression, part 1
Autumn: Saturday, 29 Nov 2014: Video: EFT for Depression, part 2

All EFT Network Meetings are free and open to everyone who has completed at least one level of EFT training and is interested in developing their EFT practice.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Emotion-Focused Therapy Masterclass: Emotion Focused Therapy for Anxiety

Friday, 2 May 2014 9:30-17.30
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Openings remain for the next EFT masterclass.

In general, the results of using humanistic experiential psychotherapies with anxiety difficulties have been generally disappointing.  However, this is beginning to change, with the emergence of Emotion-Focused Therapy for social anxiety and generalized anxiety. In this session I provide an overview of experiential processes in anxiety and key EFT tasks in anxiety, including a recently developed integrated task model that incorporates problematic reaction points, anxiety splits, self-criticism splits, unfinished business and self-soothing. 

In this session I provide an overview of anxiety difficulties, a review of different person-centred-experiential theories of anxiety difficulties, and the EFT approach to working with anxiety, emphasizing anxiety split work and self-soothing.

Individual sessions of the new Emotion-Focused Therapy Masterclass Series are open to counsellors and psychotherapists (Diploma level or above) who have completed Level Two or Level Three training in EFT.  If it’s been a while since you did EFT training, the masterclasses can serve as a refresher course and enable you to catch up on more recent developments in EFT theory, practice and training.

This session will include videos or live demonstration, supervision of client work, and small group skill practice.  Participants are encouraged to bring in material from their anxious clients.

·      Enrolment is set for a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 15.  The balance between supervision and skill practice will depend of number of participants.
·      Course fee: £120.
·      The course could be taken for continuing professional education credit.

Contact: or 0141-444 8415 for further information on this training, the facilitator, ways of applying for this course or other APT events.

Al Mahrer, Eccentric Humanistic Psychologist, RIP

--> Entry for 16 April 2014:

Word reached me today that Al Mahrer has died.  I can’t find any record of a birthdate, so I don’t even know how old he was, probably in his late 80’s, given that he got is PhD  1954.  Al was a wild & crazy guy.  Also quite annoying at times.  I suppose lots of people have Al Mahrer stories.  In one of his books, he claimed his therapy could cure cancer.  Some of my Al Mahrer stories I don’t feel are appropriate to record here, so I will just say that I was pretty outraged at the time.   

At the same time, tonight, as I reflect on his passing, I find myself wondering how it was in 1980 that he thought to invite Clara Hill, Bill Stiles and me to be part of an APA symposium on the future of psychotherapy research.  For some reason, he saw us as promising young psychotherapy researchers who might have something useful to say to the rest of the field. I don't think too many other people were paying attention to us then.  I didn't even know that about myself, until he slapped a grandiose title ("Fitting Process Research to Practicing Therapist"!) onto my untitled APA submission, a title that I then felt I had to live up to.

So, in spite of the nonsense, I also think he was brilliant -- and not just for "discovering" Bill, Clara and me.  He certainly changed the way I think about and do therapy and therapy research.  And I'm sure that his method of bodily resonation is one of the main sources of how I think about empathy as an embodied process in which it is possible at certain times to deeply enter the client's experiential process.  That means that every time one of my clients and I are able to do this, there is a wee bit of Al Mahrer there with us, in the room.  He was certainly one of a kind.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Craigmillar Castle: Edinburgh's other castle

Entry for 12 April 2014:

Diane’s back from the US, so yesterday we went off for another Saturday Adventure, this time to Craigmillar Castle, on the east side of Edinburgh.  With the oldest bits built in the 14th century, it’s almost as venerable as Edinburgh Castle to the west.  In fact, from the upper ramparts of Craigmillar Castle, you can see Edinburgh Castle in the distance.  As abandoned Scottish castles go, Craignmillar is a remarkably well-preserved.  It sits at the top of a ridge, with wonderful views in all directions:  Panning clockwise from Edinburgh Castle, you see the old town of Edinburgh, St Giles etc, then just before you get to Holyrood Palace, what you get instead is the back side of Arthur’s Seat, which is highest point in the area.  After that, the Firth of Forth, East Lothian, and finally the Pentland Hills.

The castle is nicely symmetrical, yet complicated and disorienting in its internal structure, where you go back and forth between the large central tower and the two adjacent, flanking ranges of more recent origin without realising you are doing so.  There are stairs everywhere, large and small circular ones, even straight ones.  The most unusual feature of the castle is the remains of a ornamental pool in the shape of a large letter “P” (for “Preston”, one of the families to own the place at one time) in what used to be the garden below the castle.

Although very windy when we visited, it would be a great place to go back to with visitors looking for a satisfying castle experience without the crowds and over the topness of Edinburgh’s other castle.

(Amusingly, we were startled in church this morning when a Craig Miller got up to read the lessons.  We’re reasonably confident that there is no relationship between the person and the castle.)