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26th March 2019 


Okay, you know by now that I'm passionate about stress management and mind-body wellness, but what about my background? Well, I was born in 1951, into an unskilled working class background in the war-damaged, industrially and economically declined north west of England. From this I very quickly learned the value of positivity and determination in life! I've always strongly identified as European and I'm very internationalist in my approach to life, shortly planning to relocate to gorgeous County Galway, Ireland. In addition to my years in the UK, I also spent many years in California, having first arrived in northern California in 1982 as the teacher recipient of a prestigious US-UK Fulbright Award. Later on, for eight years I was privileged to live within the dynamic exercise-lifestyle community of the beautiful Los Angeles urban beach areas. At heart I’m a very individualistic, nonconformist and autodidactic person, and I love feeling free to explore and reinvent aspects of my life.

My personal mind-body wellness lifestyle
and personal interests

Obviously, in order to enjoy life to the fullest in the second half of my sixties and for decades to come, and to be able to work effectively and in a relaxed way with my clients, I need to be aware of maintaining my own emotional and bodily wellness. So, how do I achieve this?

Well, a central element of my life since the mid-1970s has been developing a consistent and fun involvement with regular intense cardio exercise and, since the 1980s, a healthy relationship with food. In addition to the organic wholefood vegan lifestyle that I've chosen for myself, since 2011 daily Strala Yoga has become a crucial part of wellness for me! In fact, deep breathing exercises, positivity and Strala Yoga were, and still are, central to me managing my blood pressure at optimum / good levels since 2014. Strala has created balance, flexibility and a range of movement which I’ve never had before. It's also rebuilt my physical core, creating a pain and sciatica-free lower back, and has increased my pelvic stability and pelvic strength. Consistency is the key here, and since 2011 I’ve completed approximately 2,000 hours of personal yoga, mainly Strala, in my daily practice. In fact, I do Strala for at least 40 minutes every day, not counting those spontaneous outbreaks of Strala which occur anytime, anyplace, several times each day! Each week I also complete three intensive music / movement-based cardio sessions, working at vigorous levels between 75%-85% of maximum age-adjusted heart rate.

In addition to the above, I'm a passionate photographer, I love living by the ocean, sea, or river mouth, and coastal and beach walking. I also adore music -- especially new age, smooth jazz, rock, alternative, Patty Larkin's folk music, electro-swing and other electro(nic) music of many kinds. Having past or present-day professional involvement in areas of human behaviour / psychology, human sexuality, education, geography and the history of social and technological change, these are areas that still fascinate me. I am politically active in many of these areas, including human rights, women’s rights, sexual rights, and environmental and climate issues. Above all, I always bear in mind to focus consistently on making sure that the quality of life's journey, not necessarily the final goal, is uppermost in my mind.

My background as
a teacher

Between 1975-1999 I mostly taught in UK and US secondary and special education. I completed my BEd(Hons) Education and Geography, with qualified teacher status, at Keele University. Later, I added a Social Science Teaching Credential / MA History from California State University, Long Beach. I specialised predominantly in working with stressful, anxious and insecure children and young people experiencing significant emotional, psychological, social, behavioural and educational problems.

Fulbright Award and other international
recognition as a teacher

* In 1982 I received a prestigious US-UK Fulbright Award in international recognition of my UK teaching with seriously disadvantaged children and teenagers, many of whom were experiencing extensive emotional, psychological, social and educational problems. This award took me to teach on a US-UK government exchange for the year 1982-1983 at Hamilton Union High School, Hamilton City, California. The biggest award was still to come, however, because it was in this Fulbright year that I also met my incredible Pilates and Sports Yoga teaching life-partner, Lynne-Marie, then vice-principal at Hamilton, and formerly a PE and biology teacher, state lifeguard, sports coach, and water safety instructor!

* My history dissertation, on sexual censorship in the US arts and media, completed as part of my social science / history teacher program at CSULB, was selected for inclusion in the American Art collections of the Smithsonian Libraries, Washington DC, and by the Osgoode Hall Law School Library, York University, Toronto.

My background as an integrative counsellor / therapist and coach,
and my change of focus to stress management and mind-body wellness

Having lived by the beautiful Los Angeles beaches for many years, by 1995 it was time for Lynne-Marie and myself to re-engage with a more European lifestyle, return to the UK and reinvent ourselves. For me this long-planned reinvention was to be into an integrative counsellor / therapist and coach, and I duly completed my professional MA Counselling and Psychotherapy at the School of Psychology, University of East London. For thirteen years I specialised as a UK-based integrative counsellor and therapist, with an international client-base as far afield as Vietnam. My expertise was in working with adult individuals and couples on issues of stress, anxiety, depressive feelings, sexual abuse, and insecurity. I also specialised as a relationship and sexuality counsellor for traditional as well as LGBT, alternative and non-monogamous lifestyles. Concurrent with my counselling, I coached clients experiencing severe stress, as well as clients having sexual relating self-development needs or goals.

In 2013 I retired from counselling / therapy to further develop my increasingly strong professional interests in stress management coaching and overall mind-body wellness, including through mind-body exercise such as Strala Yoga. I am committed to ongoing mind-body exercise training, particularly Strala Yoga leadership training. All Strala courses completed, or currently in progress, are listed here. My Strala Yoga training (online or in-person) has been designed, taught and assessed personally by Strala NYC founder and creator Tara Stiles, and by co-founder Michael Taylor.

Strala Yoga Leadership Trainings completed to date, or in progress:
*Strala Yoga 100+ hours Online Leadership Training (to be completed 2019).

My writing

As a professional, and as a human being, I occasionally become somewhat concerned about areas that I find myself involved with. On these occasions my response is usually to write an article on this, nowadays mostly for internet sharing but, sometimes, for print publication locally or internationally. Two examples of the latter are:

"Heterosexual HIV transmission: ethics of disinformation and the importance of adhering to an evidence-based approach in psychotherapeutic practice", Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 23:4, 419-432 (2008). In 2007, as a counsellor / therapist and coach, concerned by the stress and anxiety-creating content of public health disinformation regarding HIV transmission in opposite gender sexuality, I researched and wrote my peer-reviewed evidence-based debate article on this topic.

"The causes and dangers of American parochialism", Guardian Weekly international edition, February 15, 1987, p8. As an educator living in Los Angeles, I was unsettled by the focus in US schools on being -- or becoming -- American, and the almost non-existent wider-world geography curricula. This seemed to go hand-in-hand with a widespread uninformed, anxious and dismissive view of other countries, peoples and cultures exhibited by so many Americans. Because of this, and in response to an earlier Guardian Weekly article written by London-based Michael Goldfarb, now one of my favourite American journalists, I published this long article exploring these educational and cultural themes.

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