Okay, you know by now that I'm passionate about emotional and psychological self-care and overall wellbeing, particularly through stress and anxiety management, and through developing the individual sexuality and sexual relating lifestyle that fits the unique person that you are.
But what about my background, life philosophy, broader interests and professional qualifications? Well, I’ve written about these areas below. I've used specific headings that you can scroll through to read only what you wish...simply skip everything else that you find boring!
I was born in the early 1950s, into an unskilled working-class background in the war-damaged, industrially and economically impoverished north west of England. From this I very quickly learned the value of positivity, determination, and developing self-understanding in life! Fact: Your life is only going to change if you actively make it change by changing yourself. And we can all -- each and every one of us -- do this, through modifying step-by-step how we perceive, think, feel and behave.
I love reinventing my life as necessary, and I'm a very autodidactic and nonconformist person across all areas of life. I actively support and encourage this degree of individuality within the lives of everyone I meet throughout my life journey. I am also a strong global environment advocate, and an advocate of human rights and social justice, including sexual and gender equality, racial and ethnic equality, and human sexual and gender rights based on ownership and self-perception of one’s own body.
I've always strongly identified as European in origin, and in addition to my long Europe-based experience as an educator, integrative counsellor, and psychologically-based coach, I also resided for many years in California.
My Fulbright Award international teaching year
I first arrived in California in 1982, having been awarded a UK and US government funded Fulbright Award, my international posting being to teach on exchange for one year at Hamilton Union High School, Hamilton City. My Fulbright award was in international recognition of my motivational teaching and educational leadership at the school in Essex, England, where I had worked for seven years, predominantly with stressful and anxious children and young people experiencing significant levels of social and economic deprivation and educational disadvantage.
It was in my Fulbright year that I also met my 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. Later on, before re-settling together back in Europe, we spent many years in 1980s and 90s southern California, residing for eight of those within the exercise-lifestyle community of the beautiful LA urban beach areas.
MA Counselling and Psychotherapy. I completed my professional master's in integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy in 2002, at the School of Psychology, University of East London, after having completed the BACP-Accredited PgDip requirements in 2000. This training, from which I developed my specialisation in humanistic / holistic and cognitive behavioural approaches, is an open-system process-based model equally applicable to counselling, as well as for working in a strictly non-psychotherapeutic coaching context.
BEd (Hons) Education and Geography (principal subjects). Completed in 1975 at the former Crewe College of Education and at Keele University. My teacher education studies focused on areas highly relevant to my present-day coaching; particularly the psychology of human learning and cognition, developmental psychology, and social psychology. Additionally, my integrative / environmental geography background in climate, meteorology, environmental issues, medical geography, agriculture, trade and commerce, has facilitated my deep understanding of the severe personal, social and socio-economic impacts of climate emergency and associated health pandemics.
anxiety, and sexual / relationship areas
Since 1975, I have accumulated an extensive international background working professionally with stressful and anxious children, young people, adult individuals, and sexual relationship couples, in various educational, private mental health counselling and coaching contexts, on both sides of the Atlantic. This professional background, and postgraduate mental health counselling training, has given me a deep understanding of the causes, effects and management of stress and stressful situations and contexts in all areas of human life.
Between 1975 and 1999 I taught in English and Californian secondary and special education. My teaching focused on working in deprived urban environments with stressful, socially disadvantaged, anxious, low self-esteem and insecure children and young people, often experiencing significant emotional, social, behavioural and educational problems.
By the mid-1990s, I wished to expand upon my work with socially disadvantaged children and young people by making the transition into being an integrative counsellor and coach in private practice, helping adults with their emotional, psychological, sexual and behavioural concerns, and self-development and goal achievement. In 1998, therefore, I commenced my training at the School of Psychology, University of East London.
My focus as a counsellor
Over many years in my counselling practices, I have worked with adult individuals and sexual relationship couples across a wide range of stress and anxiety-creating emotional, psychological, behavioural, sexuality and relationship issues and self-development contexts. My special emphases in relationship and sexuality integrative counselling and coaching have always focused on partner communication skills, especially understanding and negotiating what the relationship is about, including the terms and level of commitment. This also includes how to negotiate and maintain sexual consent and sexual activity boundaries, and other emotional, psychological and physical boundaries. Additionally, I have a strong background in working with clients on anxiety and stressful issues arising out of their survival of sexual abuse experienced as a child or adult. I also have a long-established deep interest in stress management and self-development, goal achievement and self-fulfilment within traditional monogamous and non-traditional and alternative sexuality, including all forms of non-monogamous relating, demisexuality, pansexuality and asexuality. Most recently my work opened up to include stress and anxiety counselling for climate crisis and health pandemic crisis anxieties and stress.
My focus as a stress and anxiety management coach
There has been, from the very beginning, a special focus across all of my psychologically-based coaching on stress and anxiety management, and managing or resolving stressful and anxious personal, sexual and relationship situations through effective self-understanding and self-development. My clients come to me with the goal of better managing their stress and anxiety in life, in order to increase their emotional, psychological, bodily, sexual and relationship wellbeing. Additionally, once stress and anxiety have become less of a blocking problem, our aim together as a team is usually to then also work together to further the client's personal or professional self-achievement and self-fulfilment goals in various aspects of their life, career, education, and / or sexual relating.
These areas continue as my main current-day coaching focus. I approach my stress management work through, either, targeting the actual stressors themselves (sometimes using cognitive behavioural coaching), or, alternatively, as a more holistic / humanistic stress release using mind and body-based strategies (e.g. mindfulness training; controlled gentle breathing techniques, etc.) for parasympathetic nervous system response. Frequently, these approaches may be very effectively combined for the best possible outcome.
My focus as a coach for sexuality and relationship self-care and self-development
In addition to coaching traditionally monogamous individuals and relationship couples in limited areas, I particularly specialise in coaching for client self-care and self-development within all areas and orientations of non-traditional / alternative lifestyle consensual sexuality and relating. This includes all aspects of monogamish, LGBT, non-monogamous / open, polyamorous, BDSM, pansexual, demisexual or asexual relating. Or, of course, simply working with my client(s) on a "no-labels" sexual and gender fluidity approach to helping each person develop something very different -- and uniquely special to them -- that they wish to have as their sexual and relating lifestyle.
Coaching for stress and anxiety caused by climate and health pandemic crises
Most recently, I have become more focused on developing my stress and anxiety specialisation to include stress management / stress reduction in the stressful and anxiety-inducing scenarios of climate emergency and planetary health degradation, including viral and other health-related pandemics.
Sadly, human beings possess an inordinate capacity for various forms of denial, especially confirmation bias against evidence-based facts, and, therefore, dangerously defer the point in time at which they’re willing to confront the essential reality of what simply must be dealt with. From this background of unpreparedness, confrontation with the harsh reality of these phenomena is emotionally, psychologically and physically traumatising, resulting in serious levels of mental and physical stress across all aspects of life, sexuality and relating, both during the crisis and post-crisis. In this new era of global climate and health crises, we enter, in fact, a permanent era of insecurity, inconsistent change and uncertain health protection.
So where now do we go from here? Well, from my professional counselling and coaching experience, combined with my regularly updated geography training, I can offer a knowledgeable background for providing effective stress and anxiety management regarding personal and wider-ranging climate emergency and health pandemic impacts, personal adaptation requirements, and potential vulnerability. This help is mainly comprised of some (very positive) insights; some well-needed self-empowerment; understanding of the problems and their associated risks; positive thinking and helpful day-to-day decision-making strategies that are emotionally, psychologically, socially and environmentally sound. This all helps clients to reduce their stress and anxiety, increase their understanding of global and local climate emergency / health pandemic events, and cope with life more positively in our ever-changing, and increasingly riskier world.
and, occasionally, for print publication or other sharing
As an evidence-based and psychologically informed practitioner I keep myself well updated on relevant research. This includes studies coming from practitioners and researchers in many areas of the social sciences, environmental sciences, and exercise and health sciences. And, in the spirit of sharing with others, as a helping-professional, I have also written many articles for the internet. These have covered such topics as stressful and anxious thoughts and behaviours; stressful aspects of sexuality and sexual relating; stress and anxiety management; and, holistic mind-body approaches to stress management and wellbeing. Occasionally, I have also published print articles and publicly-shared research on stress and anxiety-creating areas of professional concern to me, three internationally distributed examples being...
* 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, stressful, anxious and dismissive view of other countries, peoples and cultures exhibited by many of the less-well-travelled and less-well-educated Americans that I met. Because of this, and in response to an earlier very excellent Guardian Weekly article on this topic, written by London-based American journalist Michael Goldfarb, I published this long article exploring these educational and cultural themes.
* An historical study of the role played by US courts in defining and regulating the law on artistic sexual expression, 1821-1994. In 1993, as a teacher living in LA, and completing a US history “add-on” to my BEd (Hons) qualifications, I was deeply concerned about the censorship regarding sexuality and alternative / non-traditional sexual relating throughout US sex education curricula, the media, and the arts. This repressive attitude to sexuality, finding its broadest expression in the Comstock Laws (the original law being initiated in 1873), had constrained even the dissemination of medical birth control, sexual health, and women’s health information way into the twentieth century. Even the most basic contraceptive information was unavailable until 1938. By 1994, California high school sex education curricula still mandated teaching that the only legitimate context for sexual activity was between a couple related by heterosexual monogamous marriage! In this very same year, US Surgeon-General Dr Jocelyn Elders was sacked by President Bill Clinton for mentioning that masturbation should be regarded as safe and healthy and included in the school sexual education curriculum (yes, that really happened in 1994, not 1894!). Such stress and anxiety-creating control, suppression and denial of informed access, regarding sexual description, ideas and imagery, fired my professional response to explore this further. My resulting research on the role played by US courts in regulating the law on sexual expression in the arts and media between 1821-1994 was adopted as a reference source by the Osgoode Hall Law School Library, York University, Toronto, and by the American Art collections of the Smithsonian Libraries, Washington DC.
* 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 an integrative counsellor and coach concerned by the stress and anxiety-creating content of UK public health disinformation regarding HIV transmission in opposite gender sexuality, I researched and wrote my peer-reviewed, evidence-based and intentionally contentious and strongly-focused debate article on this topic.
*My vegan lifestyle *My daily practice of breath-fuelled non-linear movement, stretching and balance, based around Strala yoga and other flow yoga forms *Present-day and historical attitudes towards sexual rights and personal choice of expression in sex and relating *Gender and age discrimination *My three-times weekly movement and music-based intensive cardio exercise *Music of all genres *Photography and photographic art *Social history *Human rights, social and environmental issues *Cycling *Reading of all kinds *Exploring our planet, places, cultural and environmental diversity *Alternative ways of living and being