A Work History

I am interested in discussion about any of the following, all of which have been part of my professional and life experience.

Emotional Education, Counselling, Therapy

Personal Work Support (Consultancy, Coaching or Supervision)

Working with Organizations

Personal Development in Psychodynamic Thought and Applications (including Scientific Thought)


Emotional Education, Counselling, Therapy

The internet seems alternately tantalising, informative, distorting or off-putting, or exciting, enriching and infuriating and frustrating, or, all of these together. However, it seems that it may have as much potential as other communications to be communicative or interactive.But, the work I believe in is founded on intra-personal and inter-personal relationships, so this new way of communicating is either supportive or destructive of that, and which it is will depend on how the net is used.

The counselling/therapy side of my work, and the supervision/consultancy to individuals or groups concerning their work and their organisations uses inner world understandings, for example, to resolve conflict. Although there are overlaps of content with Emotional Education, the biggest difference (for me) lies in the nature of the contract with the other party to the work being done. There is a difference of ‘figure and ground’ regarding the balance taken between what is happening in the client’s inner world and what is happening outside, although both inner feelings and external events can be attended to in either case. Whatever the kind of work, the aim is that the client finds their own way of making meaning.

I look forward to contacts and a start to dialogue. I hope that ‘conversations’ can develop around theories, kinds of practice, trainings and professional issues, including ethical issues.

What is the difference between “flourishing” and “achieving”?

How does inner world psychoanalytic stuff avoid becoming “precious” and bring its deep understandings into the real world?

What are the benefits as well as the dilemmas of things like accreditation and working with other professions?

These are also some of the interests of the Scottish Association of Psychodynamic Counsellors, and of a new organization, Human Development Scotland.

You may want to respond to other pages concerning emotional education as well as, or instead of, this page. Please do!

Personal Work Support (Consultancy, Coaching or Supervision) and Working with Organizations

There are a lot of words used, like ‘consultancy’, ‘coaching’ and ‘supervision’, which do not have clear meanings about what the actual practice means, the Consultancy page offers a little more detail about what working with a consultant like me might be like. There is no substitute for meeting, a pre-retirement CV is here. I have learnt a lot more since which can be discussed if anyone should approach me. Some questions in my mind as I work with the ‘client’ so that he/she/they can make their own decisions about their actions to come, and evaluate where they are. My most important asset cannot be described; it is present and can be felt (or not).

What does this person want? And can I meet, really, as a whole person, so that this ‘what’ can be found?

Is the ‘client’ an individual, who wants to engage better at work, for personal or altruistic reasons or both?

Is the ‘client’ a group, within an organization, a department within a school, say, or the training section in a company, or whatever?

How many roles do individuals hold, officially or unofficially, and are these roles inside or outside the job spec, or the group?

What is the ‘unit’ in which this person can work as if it were a secure enough space, where do they work ‘on the edge’ of security?

Where is the stress/challenge, inside or outside or both?

What is fairly settled and what is moving, the dynamics, their rate, the feelings and the effects, ..?

A personal perspective: I have been interested for a long time in how psychodynamic thought applies in a variety of situations which are not therapeutic, and not one-to-one.

There are many reasons for seeking personal awareness, understanding and development, which vary from deep pain or crisis to more diffuse feelings that life seems not quite what it could be. Psychodynamic (for me) means that my training and experience is grounded in having had personal analysis myself, and that I believe that relationships evolve through present experience and the traces of past experience brought into new encounters. I work from the evolving ideas of “object relations” in the 21st century, particularly the developments which follow from Klein and Bion. (In other words, not a Freudian, however great an historical figure Freud is). I have explored my own unconscious ways of being and developed accordingly. I believe that this kind of exploration is what enables one to give up wanting to control life, or have power – over – others say. As I become more and more able to have influence, paradoxically, I have less and less need of it personally. What I like most about psychodynamic work is the way in which it is ‘observational’, of the present, so that conversation jumps from place to place, comic to tragic, is happy or angry, about childhood or dreams or present worries, whatever. There is no way of knowing what will happen, but the ‘proof of the pudding is in the eating’ as over and over again, a picture suddenly emerges and life makes more sense, or the choice to be made about something becomes more clear. I believe my development became part of awareness when I began therapy, and continued through the work and living experiences I have had, more than through being trained. Especially I have made leaps in understanding through teaching, helping people learn a ‘subject’, as well as teaching about counselling or psychotherapy. The dialogue which occurs with students is rich with meanings of ‘development’. (for example, Ralph’s Poem. I also write poetry, which can be found here.)

We know emotional life is everywhere in life, whether we attend to it or not. See the Philosophy and Psychodynamics and Ways of Thinking page, and also the History and Philosophy of Science page. Particularly, if it is indeed a way to understand what being human means, then it is applicable to the ways we organise ourselves, our cultures and our societies; our professions and our management of them. Equally importantly in this many cultured world, it could become an evolving and adapting way of thinking about being human, about politics, about social justice in a global sense (not the “thought” version of western white imperialism). This thread runs through all the work I have done, described on other pages. As I have said, I have made leaps in understanding through teaching, helping people learn about counselling and therapy as a ‘subject’, or using theory and literature, as well as teaching to be in experience and feel what it is to be a counsellor or therapist. The dialogue which occurs with students is rich with meanings of ‘development’. The continued weave of thought, feeling, practice, skill and ethical aim has fed into other parts of work and living also, especially leading to a deep conviction of the importance to all of human rights, morality and justice. (See Social Justice and Emotional Education pages also.)

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