Thursday, 2 May 2013

Keeping your cool when talking to your ex

Staying in control of your emotions as you divorce or separate

It is not easy to remain calm when you have to talk to a partner about divorce or separation. You know each other so well that you have become expert at reading each other’s body language, tone of voice and even the silences. Your responses are automatic, instant and predictable. While you are getting along this is comfortable and reassuring, it mean that you have rapport and a good understanding of each other.

When you fall out it is these same automatic responses that are irritating and inflammatory. It is as if your partner knows exactly how to press your buttons and they seem to choose to do this the minute you begin to talk to each other. Before you know where you are you have lost your cool and have started to raise your voice and fallen into a now familiar pattern of bickering and point scoring which is hurtful to you both and achieves nothing except to increase the divide between you.

The good news is that you can learn how to avoid this pattern and keep focused, calm and clear on the issues that you really want to discuss.

It is useful to use the parent/adult/child model to understand what is going on when you ‘lose it’ like this. When you are calm, reasonable and respectful you are allowing the adult in you to be in charge. It is only when both you and your partner are in this mode that you will feel heard and be in a position to find a compromise that works for all concerned. When you ‘kick off’ it is the subconscious unhappy child within you that takes control and begins to feel and communicate the emotions that you felt when you were little. Once your partner hears this he or she will automatically go into a condescending or parent mode with you, a move that serves to increase your frustration.(It may, of course, be your partner that goes into child and you into parent or you may both do both at different times).

Once it has been pointed out you can begin to recognise when you are going into either parent or child. You may even get to recognise the flash points that make you do it. Unfortunately, this does not make it much easier to keep control next time it happens. The reason for this is that the response is subconscious and it happens instantly: Several seconds before the conscious mind notices and has a choice about whether it takes charge. Imagine how difficult it is to calm a toddler down once it has launched into a full blown tantrum: It doesn’t want to listen to reason any more, the only solution is to carry it off and wait until it calms down.

As with an upset child, the solution is not confrontation but understanding and communication. The unhappy child within you can be placated in a very few one-to-one sessions of guided mindfulness. It can be shown that its behaviour is not needed and that it can relax and trust the adult to remain in charge. This allows you to stay in adult even in the most challenging of situations.

Your part in the relationship may be to go into parent mode and it may be your partner who kicks off into unreasonable tantrums. Some mindfulness sessions with a coach will allow you to approach interactions with your partner in a more adult way which will allow them to take responsibility, remain in control and stay reasonable.

When you can remain consciously in adult you change the dynamic of your relationship with your partner. They may go into child or parent but you do not meet them with the predicted response any more, you remain in adult and you give your partner the opportunity to do the same. In this happy state of affairs you can begin to work constructively together to take care of your children and other family members and divide your assets fairly.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

What is divorce coaching?

What is Divorce Recovery Coaching? Cheryl Dillon, American coach, explains...........

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Power of The Work

Please read this blog after researching Byron Katie’s own material. Read her book ‘Loving What Is’, visit her website   and see her you tube videos and best of all go and see her. Noting I can put down here will match seeing the master in action.

So what is the big deal about The Work?

It is such a simple process but its effects are quite simply life-changing, reducing stress, self- doubt and conflict . It allows us to get a broader  perspective on our suffering and also to get a moment of insight into a happier approach to life. Practiced often these momentary insights expand and we find ourselves being more open, kind and happy with a stronger sense of self and our own values. This is a state of mindfulness.

How can it do that ?

Well, a momentary insight can happen at any time in the process. The first stage of The Work is to identify the thoughts that are causing a problem. This in itself is a useful process. Most of us have a little voice in our head that mutters at us creating a background negativity to our thoughts. It is often fearful, judgemental and rigid and it has probably been saying the same sort of thing to us for most of our lives. It may be reminding us that we are really not good enough, that we will be found to be a fraud or that we will fail. It may be telling us that we are unlovable, ugly, stupid or clumsy or that we must try harder, do better and strive harder.

Simply shining the spotlight on these thoughts and making them clear allows us sometimes to see that they are ungrounded, unhelpful and have caused us a lot of unnecessary grief over the years. This can be painful as we see how hard we have been on ourselves and what the thoughts have led us to do.

How do the four questions help?

Sometimes we continue to believe the thought until we reflect on it more deeply. The question ‘can you really know that is true’ or ‘if you had to answer yes or no can you absolutely know it is true’ and taking the time to reflect a little on the belief will allow us to become a little more flexible in our thinking around it.
So far this has all been an intellectual exercise,  it feels a familiar and comfortable way to work so it is one that most people will be happy to try. This is why I often use The Work in a first session with a new client while I am still building rapport and trust.

The next question can helps us to become a little more critical about the thought. It sometimes feels like it loosens our attachment to it, a bit like digging into the soil around the root of a well- established plant and cutting through some of the roots. The question asks how thinking (and believing) the thought makes us feel and behave and the knock-on effects of this. It is good to spend some time on this as there are often many secondary consequences to consider. It is important to keep the focus on the particular thought and not to expand on it or begin to justify why we have it. Sometimes we get an insight into why we have developed the thought, which is great and is something to come back to after the process is complete.

It may be that we believe we need to keep hold of the thought because it is protecting us from something, this is interesting to notice but it is not necessary to pursue this line of enquiry as it often starts to develop into a story and distracts from the power of the process.  If this appears to be happening I tend to ask what has been the cost of believing the thought. This can be a very hard hitting question but it may be one that is needed to spark a massive realisation – a major ah ha moment. I have had clients get very angry here.

So having nicely loosened the attachment to the thought it is time to ask the big question: ‘And who would you be if you were free of it?’  The wording of this question may be important and I do vary it a bit: ‘how would you feel if you were free of it’, ‘what would life look like if you were free of it’, ‘how would you act if you simply let go of that thought’ and, as Byron Katie says: ’I am not asking you to drop the thought but if you did how would you be?’  And for the very resistant ‘just for the sake of curiosity just for a moment imagine how you would be if you no longer had this thought’.

Once we have a glimpse of what it would be like to be without the thought we can expand on it by repeating the question in different forms. The more we can open into the experience of how free we are when we let go of the thought the better. The mind then starts exploring possibilities for itself. I might ask: ‘how would you be around so-and-so if you were free of the thought?’, ‘ what else would happen’ and, a question I keep repeating because it is a way in to other processes that I will want to use later: ‘how do you feel in your body, in your being, when you are free of the thought?’

Byron Katie then employs the final question: the turn-around, asking what is the opposite to the thought. This may be interpreted in several ways and each version tends to be interesting. I then ask ‘and how would you be if you believed this? How would it feel?’

What are some of the other ways that The Work helps us?

Byron Katie has provided us with an enquiry sheet which asks us to explore our judgements around something.  This is a great tool as it gives us time to really go to town and allow a stream of hugely judgemental thought to pour out on to the page. It is important that this is done without censure and without our reasoning mind intervening as this will lessen the impact of the process. As we become more familiar with The Work we can be aware of the judging aspect of ourselves and we can be sure to allow this part alone to be expressed as we write.

Where the enquiry sheet has been about somebody else it is great to use the sheet to aid the turn- around simply by exchanging the name of the object of the exercise to our own. Hence ‘Jimmy never considers me and makes allowances for my needs, he is unkind and thoughtless’ becomes ‘I never consider myself and make allowance for my needs, I am unkind and thoughtless [to myself]’ . This again can be a hard hitting exercise and often rings all too true. But it shows us that we can take back our power: we do not have to depend on someone else to provide for our needs, we can meet our own and this makes for more adult, healthy relationships.

The main message of the work is that it shows us how painful, damaging and distorting our own thoughts can be. Simply by questioning them and dropping them if they are found to be less than true we become more open, accepting and kind both to ourselves and to others. It gives us freedom and flexibility in how we react to life but most importantly it breaks the cycle of pain that many of us have become trapped within.

As Wayne Dyer said: ‘Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.’ 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Feedback from PRP workshop

What a fantastic workshop! I really enjoyed it, and also found the whole experience so valuable for myself, and learning how to help others with it. I am looking forward to practising it with others so that I can offer it to my coaching clients. Jenny Cooper: Key Steps Coaching            

Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Healing Power of Art and Creativity

Part of The Absolute Specialists Workshop series: Opportunities to network with other practitioners, develop new skills, build your professional network and have some fun!

Jenny Cooper presents:

The Healing Power of Art and Creativity

Understand the value of art and creativity in:

·         Preventing and managing stress

·         Enhancing mental and emotional well-being

·         Boosting energy levels and effectiveness

·         Developing personal resources, self-confidence

·         Handling challenging situations and relationships

Stimulating fresh approaches in your own work .

This workshop is for coaches, counsellors, therapists, nurses, HR managers, psychologists, anyone who values and promotes health and well-being – your own and that of others.

No art skills necessary, just an open mind and a willingness to participate. (Please wear comfortable clothes).  All art materials provided

At: The Holmfield Arms, Denby Dale Road, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF2 8DY

01924 367901

 On: Thursday, 20th September,  9.30 until 1pm, £50.

Facilitator: Jenny Cooper, Key Steps Coaching, creative stress management, coach,

30 years’ experience in the NHS, in general nursing, then art psychotherapy in adult mental health.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Feedback about Absolute Training

This is some of the feedback about the personal benefits of the course from the students nearing the end of the  year long Absolute Programme:

 'These are probably THE most valuable tools I have for my own development and the sense of peace and love I get from doing it is second to none.'

'The last few months have really moved me forward and I have dealt with a lot of old baggage.'

I have benefitted enormously and been able to address some difficult issues.'
'Some very profound personal healing.'

'I have a deeper understanding of my life’s purpose and its impact on those around me when I live it fully. I am more at peace with myself and those I love. I am more open to deep conversation '

'I have deepened my awareness of what holds me back and my trust in the process of connecting with emotions and letting go. The work we do deepens my understanding and awareness and reinforces my individual practice.'

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Absolute training programme 2012/2013

The accreditation programme  for Absolute Specialists May 12

The accreditation programme for Absolute Specialists offers training in mindfulness techniques and heartful practice. Accredited practitioners will:

  • Have a deep, experiential  understanding of heartful practice
  • Use the practice appropriately to support clients in their own journey of self-awareness
  • Be confident in using the techniques in a creative and responsive way
  • Work according to Absolute’s ethos and ethics
  • Continue to develop their own heartful practice and offer their best to their clients

The programme consists of the following:

  1. 10 half-day workshops
  2. 8 two hour discussion sessions 
  3. 10 one to one supervision sessions
  4. 6 peer group supervision sessions
  5. Telephone support
  6. Bi-monthly networking with Absolute Specialists and others interested in heartful practice
  7. A reward system for introducing clients and practitioners to Absolute
  8. An Absolute manual with scripts of the techniques
  9. Accreditation as an Absolute specialist
  10. Presence on the website, use of the Absolute brand, opportunity to collaborate with other Absolute Specialists

1.The workshops -  3-4 hour sessions introducing:

Healing Meditation

This guided meditation will help you to connect with your body and acknowledge any emotional or physical pain that is present. You will be guided to bring to mind the time that you first felt this pain and may identify its original cause. You can then go through a campfire and heart to heart process and begin to heal the pain.

You will benefit if you have an illness or are in physical pain, if there is a trauma in your past that you feel is unresolved or if you are a practitioner interested in learning more about this powerful healing tool.

You do not need to have had any experience of mindfulness or spiritual work to benefit from this meditation, it is a gentle introduction to The Journey and to the work of Absolute Specialists. You will be paired with an experienced practitioner who will support you as you embark on this healing journey.

The Enquiry

This is an opportunity to practice active listening and exploration with a client to help them become aware of a deeper, and often unconscious issue that is influencing their current dis-ease. This workshop introduces supervision in practice, person-centred supervision, triads, peer supervision and  mentor-led supervision as ways to deepen your own heartful practice. You will work in triads and experience the role of client, practitioner and observer in this supportive and insightful workshop.

The Pain Release Process

The Pain Release process is a simple mindfulness meditation. It brings profound and immediate results in clients suffering chronic physical pain such as fibromyalgia, arthritis and wounds as well as emotional pain such as acute anxiety, grief, anger and depression.

It takes only a few minutes and can be used during the consultation to:

bring immediate relief from mental anguish or physical pain

ground the client so that the pain can be viewed more objectively

open the client to a deeper awareness and understanding of their pain

It can be taught to the client who can then use it when they need it. Feedback is very positive with most clients enjoying better sleep, less pain and a more positive mood and less reliance on pain killers, sleeping pills and other medication.

By the end of the workshop you will:

Have an experiential understanding of the technique

Be aware of the depth and potential of the process

Be clear about the benefits of using the technique in your own practice

Questioning judgements

Often our clients are stuck because they have fixed judgements and beliefs that they accept without question. This wonderfully simple technique allows them to see how unhelpful these fixed thoughts can be and how much freer they would be if they dropped them.

The workshop is based on 'The Work' developed by Byron Katie: In it you will have an opportunity to experience and gain confidence in the technique and explore how you can integrate it in to your practice.

Of all the techniques I have learned in recent years this is the one that has transformed my practice the most dramatically. You can use it with people who are very 'in their heads' and cannot connect with their heart, you can use it with people who are highly intellectual and unwilling to do 'spiritual stuff' and with those who are still stuck 'in their story' despite years and years of therapy. The results are profound and after realising that they have a choice about whether they follow the dictates of their minds or not your clients will have made a permanent and irreversible shift and will be more open to other modes of healing.

The Wounded Child

The Wounded Child process is a gentle meditation that allows your client to recognise the part of them that is in need of support and then to give it that support. When a part of us is in pain we close off and our minds become separated from our hearts and our deeper wisdom. This process allows the mind to open and access the loving support that the heart offers, we can then be more trusting, free and loving.

Sounds simple, and it is, but the results are profound.

In this workshop you will see a live demonstration of the technique and then get to give and receive a process. Afterwards there will be an opportunity to explore how you can use it in practice to give added support to your clients.

 Know Your Own Mind (PRP2)

Do you know your deepest fear? What unconscious belief drives you? What this costs you?

Find your ego's nemesis and explore it, challenge it and let it go.

In this workshop we will identify the four basic fears of the ego and you will get to recognise which is yours at the moment. We will then explore the many subtle ways that this fear has affected your life's path and how it has separated you from love, truth and happiness.

Then, having exposed it you can be guided through a process that will allow you to surrender to it, experience freedom from it and gain access to your own inner wisdom.

We will be working in triads and using the Pain Release Process, so you will need to attend a PRP workshop before attending this one.

The Heart to Heart

The heart to heart is a guided meditation. It has profound healing potential.

The heart to heart gives clients an opportunity to say what they really needed to say in a painful situation but couldn't at the time. It is a wonderfully healing process for someone who is grieving, feels disempowered or abused. It allows them to express themselves and let go of harboured feelings. Once the pain is released the client’s heart will open and they will feel freer and able to gain a more objective and loving understanding of events. As with all the other processes in the heartful practice series it is gently but profoundly healing and offers an opportunity to resolve and move on from painful events.

The Memory Reframe

The Memory retake is a guided meditation. It has profound healing potential. When we are faced with a situation that overwhelms us we tend to suppress the emotions it evokes and return to 'cope' mode as quickly as possible. Having successfully supressed it we tend to leave it there and just carry on with our lives, yet the unexpressed and unacknowledged emotion remains frozen in time and can have a profound and lasting effect on our health. When we close of to our feelings we close off to our hearts and this makes us feel separate, unsupported and fearful leading to irrational fears, judgements and inner conflict and to physical and mental dis-ease.

Where this suppression occurs in early childhood there may be no conscious memory of it yet its effects can be particularly debilitating.

The memory retake meditation can be used on people of any age from about 7 upwards. It gently accesses the memory and the associated emotions and then it allows the sufferer to put the event into a healthier perspective and realise that they need no longer fear it. They are then able to open to their hearts and feel a profound sense of peace, safety and happiness. The technique is particularly useful after trauma and, along with other techniques, for people who have been bullied or abused.

The Life Visioning Process

Having cleared away pain, fear, saboteurs and conflicts using other heartful practices the thinking mind often needs some convincing that things have happened subconsciously and that the change is permanent. The life visioning process allows us to physically experience how different the future will be now we have cleared the dis-ease and we are in touch with our hearts.

The process is useful when we want to set an intention for the future and then work towards it.

This will be a joyous and affirming workshop which will support us all as we move closer towards living a life that is truly congruent with our deepest values.

Accreditation, CPD, ethics and safety in practice

This workshop will look at you as a practitioner. What are your skills and experience, what do you offer clients, which areas could you develop further and how will you support yourself in practice so your presence in grace can inspire your clients.

On a more practical level we will be looking at the accreditation process, ethics, safety and the law.

2.The discussion groups – 90 minute structured sessions

Heartful boundaries: looking at our ego response in sessions and how we honour and support ourselves and others in the group. Introducing the Four Agreements.

Heartful being: how do we live with integrity in our social lives and in our personal relationships. Introducing Ho oponopono

Heartful practice: how do we work with integrity and bring integrity to our work. Introducing the Optimal Healing Technique

Heartful networking: effective communication and relationship building

Heartful marketing: attracting clients

Heartful charging: honouring what we offer and bringing integrity to our fee structure and contracting

Heartful involvement with Absolute: what level of involvement do we want with Absolute after accreditation

Heartful CPD: what will support us and develop us heartful practitioners in the future?

3. One to one supervision

These are currently with Clare and other supervisors will be offering this support in the near future.

4. Peer group supervision

These will be groups of 3 to 5 people who are at a similar stage of their progress through the accreditation programme. They will be structured triad sessions where each person has the opportunity to practice the role of client, practitioner and observer.  The chief purpose of the sessions is to deepen your experience with the techniques but as everyone has a chance to be a client there will be an opportunity to bring an issue to work on. Part of the learning is to keep the issue within the time boundary to be fair to all. As a rule the sessions will be held in one of the group’s home or clinic, perhaps in rotation.

5.Telephone support

Clare and other Absolute specialists  will be available for support over practice and personal development issues throughout the programme.

6. Bi-monthly networking with Absolute Specialists and others interested in conscious practice

There will be time to network and socialise at all Absolute events: we are a team and offer friendship and support to each other. Please meet outside of these events as well and get to know everybody.

This is valuable in itself and helps build a supportive network of like-minded friends. It is also a way to get to know your fellow associates and to understand what they offer so you can refer to your contacts with confidence.

7. Referral reward scheme

If you secure work for another absolute specialist you will be rewarded with a percentage of their fee. If you bring a guest along to a workshop you will receive a £10 reward. Further details on charging and rewards will be discussed with you if you decide to practice as an Absolute Specialist.

8. Manual

As the year unfolds you will receive sections of a manual so by the end of the year you have a written reference for all the processes.

9. Accreditation

Accreditation will be granted upon receipt of a written reflective piece completed once you feel confident in using the techniques with clients in an appropriate and creative way. The piece will include examples of how you have applied the techniques in practice and a critical appraisal of the results achieved and how you might have improved on the process. The piece will also consider your own heartful journey thus far and your CPD needs and plans for the following year. You will be offered an annual review with an Absolute Supervisor and an annual workshop where you can reflect on your CPD in the previous year and on your needs for the following year.

The Director of Absolute Specialists reserves the right to withhold accreditation until you have  undertaken further personal development work to address any areas where this is deemed necessary. You have the right to appeal.

All Absolute Specialists – associates and accredited practitioners- must hold appropriate public liability insurance and agree to abide by the Absolute Specialists code of ethics and conduct.

10. Presence on the website, use of brand and premises

As an absolute specialist you will be entitled to a page on the website and you can use the Absolute brand on your promotional material and you can use the Absolute offices to hold workshops and see you clients

The workshops: PROGRAMME 2012/13

23.09.2012           Healing Meditation

21.10.2012           The Enquiry

25.11.2012           The Pain Release Process

27.01.2013           Questioning judgements

24.02.20013        The Wounded Child

24.03.2013           Know Your Own Mind (PRP2)

28.04.2013           The Heart to Heart

19.05.2013The Memory Reframe

23.06.2013           The Life Visioning Process

21.07.2013           Accreditation, CPD, ethics and safety in practice