Keith Nathaniel Partington MA (Couns and Psych) Stress Management Coach & Cognitive Behavioural Coach
Inverness & Great Glen Region

About Keith. Leaves4

About Keith

Okay, you know by now that I'm personally and professionally passionate about stress management, self-fulfilment, and overall mind and body wellbeing. This is the case whether it’s attained through psychologically informed evidence-based coaching, or by practising various aspects and elements of yoga and tai chi, or through combinations of both. But what about my background, life philosophy, broader interests and professional qualifications?

Well, I was born in 1951, 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 and determination 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 how we perceive, think, feel and behave. And, as a psychologically informed and evidence-based professional, that process of self-change and self-development is exactly what I offer to guide you through.

I've always strongly identified as European, and as a firm advocate of European unity, and I'm very internationalist in my approach to life. In addition to my long Europe-based professional experience as a coach, integrative counsellor, and educator, I also resided for many years in California.

I first arrived in northern California in 1982, as the recipient of a prestigious Fulbright Award, to teach there for one year on exchange from my school in England. It was in my Fulbright year that I also met my incredible, adventurous, Pilates and Sports Yoga teaching life-partner, Lynne-Marie, then vice-principal at my exchange high school, 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 Los Angeles, residing for eight of those immersed within the dynamic exercise-lifestyle community of the beautiful urban beach areas.

At heart I’m a very individualistic, highly nonconformist and autodidactic person, with a deep thirst for knowledge. I love feeling free to explore and reinvent aspects of my life, and encouraging and supporting this degree of self-development, personal change and individualistic self-expression in others also.

My wellbeing and self-care 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, psychological and bodily wellbeing. 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 1983, a healthy, well-researched and informed relationship with food. In addition to the organic wholefood vegan lifestyle that Lynne-Marie and myself have evolved together for our wellbeing (and as a truly sustainable option for continuation of life on Earth as we know it), since 2011 daily yoga has become a crucial part of self-care for me! In fact, since 2014, deep breathing exercises, positivity of thought and action, yoga and, more recently, Strala flow yoga, have also become central to me managing my blood pressure at safe levels.

Strala yoga, a gentle fusion of yoga and tai chi, has created a level of balance, flexibility and a range of movement which I’ve never experienced previously. Building on all of my earlier yoga, it's completed the process of healing and developing my physical core, creating a pain and sciatica-free lower back, and has increased my pelvic stability and pelvic strength. This has the obvious benefits of regaining a youthful and vigorous lifestyle, with the added bonus of eliminating the serious and health-damaging emotional and psychological stress, tensions and negativity that otherwise arise from restricted mobility. Consistency is the key here, and since 2011 I’ve completed in excess of 2,400 hours of yoga (much of this Strala Yoga inspired) in my daily practice. In fact, I do my favourite flow yoga for 15 to 45 minutes every day, and sometimes much more. This usually includes a get-out-of-bed 15 to 30 minute gentle stretch / warm-up sequence, often followed by a circa 15 to 30 minute session later in the day. I also enjoy several flow yoga "outbreaks" which I slip into spontaneously anytime, any place, several times each day!

Completing my exercise regime, each week, along with my partner Lynne-Marie, I also undertake three intensive music / movement-based non-yoga cardio sessions, based on both linear and non-linear movement, working for 60 minutes per session at between 75%-85% of maximum age-adjusted heart rate.

In addition to my enthusiasm for the above, I'm a passionate photographer, I love living in "blue space" (either alongside, or within a couple of miles of, an ocean, sea, lake, or river mouth) and coastal / 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. Additionally, personally, and as a former sexual relationship counsellor and present-day coach, I have a longstanding interest in how people create excitement, pleasure, love and intimate fulfilment from a wide range of ever-evolving kinds of consensual sexuality, sexual expression and alternative / non-traditional sexual relationship lifestyles. Particularly encouraging is how, in recent decades, and across much of the globe, alternative expressions of sex (or non-sex) and intimacy are becoming more widely socially acceptable and recognised. Allied with this, and with my fascination in the history of social change, I also have a strong interest in the history and psychology of discrimination and oppression based on sexual lifestyle, gender or age. And, stemming jointly from my professional training in geography and psychological therapy, I'm deeply concerned by the stressful, anxiety-creating and life-threatening impact on human society (and other life-forms) resulting from mass human-denial-influenced anthropogenic climate change and other environmental degradation. Not surprisingly, I'm politically engaged in all of these social and environmental areas.

Within all of this, I always bear in mind to focus consistently on making sure that the quality of my life's journey, not the final goal, is uppermost in my mind.

What was my professional life before I became focused on mind & body
stress release, self-care and wellbeing?

From my earlier years, since 1975, I have an extensive international background working professionally with stressful children, young people and adults in various educational and psychological contexts, on both sides of the Atlantic. Between 1975-1999 this was originally as a Fulbright Award-winning educator, working in English and Californian secondary and special education, predominantly with socially disadvantaged, stressful, anxious, low self-esteem and insecure young people, experiencing significant emotional, social, behavioural and educational problems. I completed teacher training programmes at Keele University, and at California State University, Long Beach, specialising in geography and history education.

Between 1998 and 2002 I trained in integrative counselling and psychotherapy in the School of Psychology, University of East London. I completed my BACP-accredited core training in 2000, and my MA Counselling and Psychotherapy in 2002, with my chosen practice focus being the integration of humanistic and cognitive behavioural psychological approaches. Since 2000 my private coaching work for adults has centred on various combinations of stress management coaching, life skills coaching, sexuality and relationship coaching, and cognitive behavioural coaching. From 2000 to 2013, in my integrative counselling / therapy practices in England, I focused on helping adult individuals with a wide range of stressful emotional, psychological and behavioural issues. And, in areas of sexuality and relationship counselling / therapy, my work with individuals and couples was focused particularly on surviving sexual abuse experienced as a child or adult, resolving communication problems in relating, and resolving / managing issues and self-development in non-traditional sexuality and relating.

I also love writing professional articles for the internet
and, occasionally, for print publication

I keep myself well updated on relevant research coming from practitioners and researchers in coaching studies, psychology, sexuality and relationship studies, and broader areas of the health and exercise 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 sexual relating; stress management; and mind-body exercise and wellbeing. Occasionally, I have also published printed articles and research on stress and anxiety-creating areas of professional concern to me, such as...

* 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 coach and counsellor 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 intentionally contentious 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, 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.

And finally, my international awards
and recognition as an educator

* US-UK Fulbright Award In recognition of my motivational teaching and educational leadership with children and young people experiencing significant emotional, social, behavioural and educational problems, in 1982 I was selected for a prestigious Fulbright Award administered by the US and UK governments. This fully-funded international scholarship took me to teach at Hamilton Union High School, Hamilton City, California, on exchange from my school in Essex, England, for the school year 1982-83.

* International recognition of my history of US law research As a history teacher in Los Angeles, my completed MA research dissertation (1994) was adopted for inclusion in the history of law, arts and media collections of the Osgoode Hall Law School Library, York University, Toronto, and by the American Art collections of the Smithsonian Libraries, Washington DC.

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