Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dunure Castle & Labyrinth

Entry for 24-27 Feb 2013:

Last week one of my MSc students told me that there is a labyrinth at Dunure, so of course we had to check it out.  Dunure is cute little seaside village a bit down the Ayrshire coast from Ayr.  At one end is a rather impressive square stone harbour, while at the other end you can find the ramshackle ruin of what was once a grim and imposing castle perched above the rocky shore. 

We started with the castle, and had a ramble about what’s left of it after more than 400 years of neglect and the usual appropriation of building stone by locals.  We’d been wondering where the labyrinth might be, when suddenly, through the remains of one of the castle’s windows, we spied it a bit further along the shore from the castle. 
Because the sun is so low in the south in February in Scotland, the labyrinth was already in shadow.  We left the castle and walked along the top of the bluff until we were overlooking the labyrinth, nestled in a flat ledge, halfway between the bluff and the rocky beach. 

We descended to the labyrinth, and discovered to our delight that it is lovely, compact 7-circuit Cretan labyrinth of the same design as the Murray Creek labyrinth.  As we walked our way, back and forth, first into and then out of the labyrinth, with the cliff above and the rocky shore and sea below, I suddenly remembered walking my first labyrinth on a little island offshore from Goteborg (Gothenberg) in Sweden.  The Murray Creek labyrinth at my parents’ place outside San Andreas, California, also sits near water, the small stream that runs through the valley there.  It seems that there is a natural affinity between labyrinths and water, maybe even going back to the ancient Crete.  

To complete the feeling of being at home, the Dunure Labyrinth even has a mother stone at the centre, part of a kind of altar. If even I get lonely for Murray Creek and need a real wild labyrinth experience, this is a place I can go, a kind of portal of interconnection, the World Wide Labyrinth nexus.

Afterwards, we had a very nice afternoon meal at the Dunure Inn and finally drove down the coast a few miles to check out the Electric Brae, a “gravity hill” where the angle of the road in relation to the slope of the surrounding brae is supposed to create the impression that you are going downhill when actually you’re going uphill, and vice versa.  It’s a pretty shall slope so it’s hard to tell without a ball or a level; mostly it just feels vaguely confusing, which I suppose it the point.

All in all, this made for a wonderful Saturday Adventure on a cool but bright February afternoon.  Diane has now gone to the US for a month to help take care of her mother, so this Adventure will have to last us for a while.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

EFT Level 1 Training Glasgow 2013

Entry for 24 February 2013:

Facilitated by Robert Elliott & Lorna Carrick

Tuesday 27th – Friday 30th August 2013, 9.30 – 17.00
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
(Sponsored by HASS Research & Knowledge Exchange,
University of Strathclyde)


Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) is a humanistic, evidence-based form of psychotherapy/counselling that integrates person-centred and gestalt therapies, with particular relevance to working with depression, trauma, and anxiety difficulties. It has gained international recognition through the work of Les Greenberg, Laura Rice, Robert Elliott, Jeanne Watson, Rhonda Goldman, Sandra Paivio, Antonio Pascual-Leone and others.  The Counselling Unit at the University of Strathclyde is again pleased to offer Level One professional training in this approach to qualified counsellors and psychotherapists (Postgraduate Diploma/MSc Level or above).


Now in its eighth year at the University of Strathclyde, this successful, four-day Level One EFT training programme will provide participants with a grounding in the theory and skills required to work more effectively with emotion in psychotherapy. Participants will receive in-depth skills training through a combination of brief lectures, video demonstrations, live modelling, case discussions, and supervised role-playing practice. We will begin with an overview of EFT Emotion Theory, including basic principles and the role of emotion and emotional awareness in function and dysfunction; this will be illustrated by Focusing-oriented exercises. Differential intervention based on specific process markers will be demonstrated. Videos of evidence based methods for evoking and exploring emotion schemes, and for dealing with overwhelming emotions, puzzling emotional reactions, painful self-criticism, and emotional injuries from past relationships will be presented.

Participants will be trained in moment-by-moment attunement to affect, and the use of methods for dialoguing with aspects or configurations of self and imagined significant others in an empty chair. This training will provide therapists from person-centred, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioural and related backgrounds with an opportunity to develop their therapeutic skills and interests, and provides the first step toward certification as an EFT therapist.

Educational Objectives
Participants on the training programme will learn:

1.  To implement the basic principles of EFT
2.  To identify different types of emotional response;
3.  When to help clients contain and when to access emotion;
4.  To help clients reprocess difficult emotions;
5.  To facilitate emotional processing to resolve self-critical splits and unfinished    business.
Programme Outline

Morning Session
Afternoon Session
Foundations, Emotion, Empathy, & Alliance Formation
• Distinctive features of the EFT: neo-humanism & therapeutic principles
• Process-experiential emotion theory: emotion schemes
• Emotion response types & emotional change principles
Therapeutic Tasks, Accessing and Managing Emotion
 • Therapeutic tasks and process formulation
Emotion regulation 
• Focusing and Clearing a Space
• Skills practice
Reprocessing Problematic Experiences
• Empathic exploration, evocative empathy, empathic conjecture
• Evocative unfolding
• Skills practice
Accessing Primary Adaptive Emotions & Restructuring Emotion Schemes; Empirical support
• Empty chair dialogue and unfinished business
• Supporting the emergence of primary needs
• Helping clients use adaptive emotions to challenge core problematic emotion schemes
• Letting go of unmet needs
• Skills practice
•Research evidence for EFT and Humanistic therapies
Active Expression Processes - I
• Dialectical constructivist models of self
• Two chair dialogue and splits
• Accessing adaptive and problematic emotional responses
• Skills practice
Active Expression Processes – 2
• Accessing core problematic emotion schemes
• Varieties of splits
• Adapting two-chair work to different kinds of clients
• Skills practice
Identifying Tasks; Open Marker Work
• Review of tasks
• Strategies for identifying and selecting tasks
• Skills practice
Personalized Applications
• Summary of Research evidence
• Practical parameters
• Application to depression, PTSD, social anxiety, borderline processes
• Question & answer period

About the Facilitators:

Robert Elliott, PhD
Robert is professor in the Counselling Unit at the University of Strathclyde, where he teaches on the postgraduate diploma and MSc courses in Person-Centred Counselling.  He taught at the University of Toledo 1978-2006, where he was Professor of Psychology, Director of Clinical Training and Director of the Center for the Study of Experiential Psychotherapy. He has also been a guest professor at the University of Leuven, Belgium, University of Sheffield, UK, and La Trobe University, Australia. He is co-author of Facilitating Emotional Change (1993), Learning Emotion-focused Therapy (2004), and Research Methods for Clinical Psychology (2003), as well as more than 130 published scientific articles or book chapters.  In 2008 he received both the Carl Rogers Award, Division of Humanistic Psychology of the American Psychological Association, and the Distinguished Research Career Award, Society for Psychotherapy Research.  He is editor emeritus of the journal, Person-Centered Counseling and Psychotherapies and directs the Strathclyde Centre for Psychotherapy and Counselling Research. 

Lorna Carrick, MSc
Lorna is a lecturer in the Counselling Unit at the University of Strathclyde. She is the course director for the Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Skills and teaches on the Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling. Lorna’s background is in mental health and project development and as a founder member of the first Health Board-funded person-centred counselling service in Scotland, Lorna has over sixteen years experience in counselling, supervision and service development within the field of counselling and psychotherapy. Lorna is currently Chair of the Counselling Unit’s management group. Lorna’s research has focused on working with clients in crisis within the Person-Centred-Experiential approach and the use of counselling and Pre-therapy skills in the field of autism services. She has been practicing EFT within a broadly Person-Centred relational approach since 2006, and has also participated as an EFT therapist in the Social Anxiety research protocol of the Counselling Unit’s research clinic.  She is committed to helping counsellors/therapists bridge the perceived gap between EFT and nondirective Person-Centred ways of working with clients and to developing a truly Person-Centred approach to psychopathology.

Application Information
If you would like to reserve a place on this training course, please complete and return the application form overleaf. Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.  After 1 March 2013, you can also register and pay online at

The fee for this four-day event has been set at £495. Please note that to keep costs to a minimum, catering is not included in this fee.

We are pleased to offer an Early Bird Discount of £50.00 to those who book before 1st July 2013.  To take advantage of this offer, applications and full payment must be received by this date with no exceptions.

For further information on this event and for a copy of the application form, please contact Jan Bissett, HASS Research & Knowledge Exchange (, 0141 444 8415).


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Emotion-Focused Therapy Minimum Training Standards

Guidelines for EFT-Individual Therapist Certification
(International Society for Emotion-Focused Therapy, 12/12/2012 version)

[Notes: The board of the new International Society for Emotion-Focused Therapy (ISEFT) has been meeting by Skype on a monthly basis since last July.  One of our chief activities has been the construction of a set of minimum training standards for EFT-Individual therapy training.  As of our most recent meeting in December, these have finally reached the point where they can begin to be disseminated.  In the not-too-distant future these will be posted on the new ISEFT website (, which is still under construction, but for now I am posting them here for general information and comments.  –Robert]

A. Principles:
1. The ISEFT Board evaluates trainings to make sure that they meet basic minimum standards or better.
2. Approved local training institutes determine any additional criteria and the specific ways the minimum criteria are met; they also administer the certification of therapists who come under their training program.

B. The basic minimum standards: Minimum 24-training units
Training unit =
• 1 workshop/group supervision day (6 - 7 hrs)
• 2 hrs direct personal supervision of own recorded work with EFT certified supervisor/therapist

1. Minimum prior training: Must have a professional training in some form of therapy
a. If not humanistic-experiential therapy (eg person-centered, focusing-oriented, gestalt), recommend additional empathy training.

2. Basic didactic/experiential workshop training (=Levels 1 & 2): Minimum 8 days/training units (but can be longer), run by certified or approved EFT trainers, covering at least:
• Empathy/relational skills
• Emotion theory, emotion change principles and emotional deepening
• Basic markers/tasks: focusing/clearing a space, unfolding, two chair (conflict and self-interruption splits, self-soothing), empty chair
• EFT case formulation

3. Direct Personal Supervision of own work: Minimum 8 training units = 16 hrs supervision of own work
• 2 hrs of supervision of own work=1 training unit
(a) Supervision standards:
• By a certified EFT supervisor, in either individual or group formats
• Including review by supervisor of session recordings
• Different training centres will use different combinations of workshop and individual supervision
(b) Individual format: 16 hrs = 8 training units
(c) Group format: When supervision is in group format, only count time in direct personal supervision of own clinical work,
• A day (6-7 hrs) of group supervision will also count as a workshop (nonsupervision) training day (= 1 training unit).  Two hrs of group supervision will count as 1/3rd of a (nonsupervision) training unit.

4. Electives to make up a total 24 training units, including:
(a) Additional workshop days, including level 3 training and specialized workshops (eg trauma, depression, anxiety, eating difficulties)
(b) Additional expert direct personal supervision
(c) Additional group supervision
(d) Approved process research projects involving review of EFT sessions recordings (max 4 units)
(e) Assisting in teaching or running EFT training (= 1 training unit per training day)

5. Client experience: See at least two individual clients in EFT for a total of at least 30 sessions, including a minimum of: (a) audio or video recording; (b) process notes summarising what happened and use of active tasks; (c) ongoing supervision by an approved EFT supervisor.

6. Evaluation of competence:
(a) Produce two sessions with active task work in them
(b) Translate/transcribe
(c) Brief case description, including a case formulation
(d) One certified EFT supervisor (certified EFT therapists to start with) listen to and rate for competence on the EFT Therapist Evaluation Form

EFT Therapist Evaluation Form items
Demonstration of EFT Skills in:
(1) Empathy
(2) Marker identification
(3) Emotional deepening
(4) Ability to think about clients in EFT terms (case formulation, process identification, mark identification, experiential formulation)
(5) Use of appropriate EFT tasks, such as focusing, reprocessing, enactment/active expression work, alliance/interpersonal/relational work 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dust: A Lenten Meditation

Entry for Ash Wednesday week, 13-17 Feb 2013

Remember you are mortal;
From dust you came
And to dust you will return. 
        –Ash Wednesday Liturgy

“I am significant!” screamed the dust speck.
        -Calvin & Hobbes comic strip

1. Ash Wednesday

What’s dust?  Dry powder of earth,
Smallest bits of matter we see
Unaided, lowest common denominator
Of our existence, atoms of our experience.

For years I approached Ash Wednesday
With fascinated dread, took it as a tonic:
A moment of memento mori for my soul’s good;
Ash and the smoke of burnt out fires.

But think on this: everything’s dust,
Packed together to look substantial,
All of it an illusion of solidity:
The feathery down from flown birds.

2. A Brief Catalogue of Dust

Domestic dust:
Mostly mites and human skin,
Bread crumbs and beard bits.

Atmospheric dust:
Borne by the wind, turning sunsets red,
Or the great gray peat-dust storms
Of my childhood, blowing off the Delta.

Road dust:
It clings to us as we arrive;
Perhaps on leaving, we shake it from our feet,
Shedding the taint of an unfriendly place.

Mortal dust:
The ashes of my cat and my father, resting
In the little shrine in my study in Ohio,
And the ashes of my mother, dead since June,
Scattered in the Labyrinth at Murray Creek.

The gift of dying stars to us,
Fusing the atoms of which we’re made,
Children of ancient supernovae.

Holy dust:
Caught, suspended, in a shaft of sunlight,
In a childhood memory of church in Lodi,
Hanging like a song in Brownian motion.

Visionary dust:
My old, dead friend Margaret’s
Vision of herself as insubstantial dust,
Before God’s pervading permanence.

3. Song of the Dust

On Ash Wednesday this year I found
Not dread but joy in not just facing,
But embracing my dust-ness, my ash-self.

Dust to dust, that is us:
We do this together, ash to ash.
Not stupid dust, dying alone,
But smart dust, a connected cloud.

Just or unjust, dust is our mortality,
And also our morality: Always we die,
But always reborn in one another.
Joyous mortal dust, for sing we must;
For us, the song of the dust is eternal.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Saturday Adventures Redux: Blackness Castle & Celtic Connections Wrap-up

Entry for 2 February 2013:

Saturday morning: 7+ mile run along the canal, as far as the Scottish Waterway Centre not far from Speirs Wharf.  A cold but beautiful, sunny morning, with a lot of runners out; I counted 28 along my course.

Blackness Castle.  After a late breakfast, we headed off to Blackness Castle, on the south side of the Firth of Forth near Linlithgow.  It’s named after the black “ness” or “nose”/peninsula.  Unlike most of the Scottish castles we’ve seen, it’s not a ruin and it’s not someone’s fancy house; this was a working castle, a military installation, built for its strategic location and fortified over the centuries with three separate towers, thick walls and cannon emplacements. 

It was not too bad for early February in Scotland: breezy and not warm, but sunny and bright, with clear views of the two Forth bridges to the east and recent snow frosting the Ochil Hills in the distance, across the Firth of Forth.  The central tower, used at various times as a prison and a military barracks, offers a commanding view up and down the Firth, great for photos.  The rear or “stern tower” faces the land, was also a royal residence in parallel to Linlithgow Palace in the 16th century and was the most heavily fortified.  The “stem” tower is the smallest and faces the water; it also served as a prison at one time.  Dour and austere as it is, there is a lot of castle here to ramble around in, including 19th century loading ramp that juts out into the Firth.  However, the most interesting feature is the rampart walk that runs along the top of the outer walls. 

Celtic Connections. That night, after we got back and had a quick dinner, we took the train to Charing Cross station and walked over the M8 to the Mitchell Library to see our last Celtic Connections concert of the 2013 season: A six-person all female group named The Shee, supported by Fiona Hunter (who also sings with Malinky) and her band.  I liked them both, especially Fiona’s repertoire and The Shee’s musicianship and energy. 

However, our favourite CC concert this year was by far the one we saw last Tuesday: Songs of Struggle, feature Arthur Johnstone and a bunch of mostly older leftist singers.  It was a great evening of powerful and melodic songs, with a lot of audience participation.  For me a high point was Rab Noakes singing Bob Dylan’s powerful song, “Dignity”.  Another high point was the Carlos Nuñez concert a week earlier.  Nuñez is a charming Galician piper with infectious energy and amazing chops.  That was another of our favourites this year.