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Donald Trump and Fairytales

Written by Richard Casebow Saturday, 17 June 2017 08:05

Donald Trump may not be out of his mind but he may be an idiot and in saying both things, I am actually saying the same thing: that he lacks a sense of community or fellowship, he lacks a connection with his Self.

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On the uses of the Alexander Technique or how to think and adapt

Written by Richard Casebow Thursday, 09 February 2017 14:37

I think I must have been twenty six when I went for my first Alexander Technique lesson. The primary reason for going then, as it is for many people, was to find help with a musculo-skeletal problem. In my case it was the sciatica that was at times crippling and limiting what I could hope to do with my life. While my progress was slow in developing the conscious control whereby I could live a full and active life, there were brief glimpses from the start of something different to what I was then experiencing.

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How to Have A Peaceful Holiday Season

Written by Richard Casebow Sunday, 18 December 2016 18:15

With the holiday season fast approaching, three small but powerful and effective habits to work with, to help ensure a smoother time with friends and family, if things are getting a bit fraught and fractious.

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Getting Into Action

Written by Richard Casebow Friday, 25 November 2016 17:07

I started this blog back during the summer after a conference in Padua where I volunteered to organise the next European Personal Construct Psychology conference here in Edinburgh in 2018. I am coming back to it now, after a gap in blogging that has been too long. As a background it might not seem to augur well for a blog about getting into action and yet that is exactly what I have been doing.

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The Way to Language

Written by Richard Casebow Tuesday, 27 September 2016 19:14

'There is only endurance, and pain.’ So wrote John Aubrey in 1638 on being caned at school. His coping strategy was ‘to go to another place in my head: the bank of the brook at Easton Pierse, or the tree-lined riverbank at Broad Chalke, where I count the flowers and arrange their names in alphabetical order.' He adds: ‘I do not, I will not cry out. I am not in this scene; I am somewhere else, with the soothing sound of water running by.’

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Myth and Heroes

Written by Richard Casebow Thursday, 25 August 2016 13:16

Back when I was fourteen in 1977, the Stranglers sang about there being ‘No More Heroes’ any more. As a proposition, it was no truer then than it is now, although it was at a time of heroism being downgraded and falling in some ways out of fashion. I am old enough to remember, as a child, spending Sunday afternoons watching war films in black and white, colour not having arrived in our household till later, telling stories of remarkable courage and valour from the Second World War.

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Anxiety and the Mechanics of Action

Written by Richard Casebow Tuesday, 02 August 2016 20:40

Looking online, what is most elaborated in articles about anxiety, are how it feels in terms of fear, nervousness, panic etc., the physiological underpinnings of this and the sorts of thoughts that accompany it. One feature of anxiety that can be overlooked is how much it is tied to our anticipations of what is happening or going to happen to us.

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Working with resistance to change 1: The ABC Model

Written by Richard Casebow Tuesday, 14 June 2016 21:36

Saint Augustine's famous prayer to God to help him 'become chaste, but not yet' captures some of the ambiguity and problems around change. We can desire it, long for it, yet struggle to achieve it.

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Magic Time Part 2 – Emerging from Stillness

Written by Richard Casebow Sunday, 24 April 2016 16:48

The other day, I watched a cat disturbed into a startle, run away, jerkily moving, panicked by the threat of having to move from their toilet, by someone who obviously preferred their garden to be left pristine in its manicured state.

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Magic Time Part 1

Written by Richard Casebow Friday, 25 March 2016 09:30

My mother loved food and cooking, it was one of her passions and she spent much of her retirement refining her skills, which gave her great pleasure. In some senses cooking was her religion, cook books were her bibles and, as  in a religious community, you could set your watch by the comings together for breakfast, morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea and supper.

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Would it Help?

Written by Richard Casebow Friday, 29 January 2016 18:44

Teaching this year, I have found myself telling pupils about the scene from Bridge of Spies, where Mark Rylance’s character when asked if he is worried, answers ‘would it help?’ It is a good line and delivered deadpan it is a good gag used again in the film.

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The Long Shadow of The Good

Written by Richard Casebow Monday, 30 November 2015 21:49

A candle is burning as I write, its flickering dancing flame creates shadows; light and shadows dance together, inseparable in a contrasting, blending unity. We forget this at our peril when we most need understanding in our personal relationships and in our conflicts. Too often we claim the light for ourselves, identifying with the good, with the light of our reason, or of our hearts and missing the inevitable shadows, where others are cast with masks that we create for them.

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Stillness

Written by Richard Casebow Monday, 05 October 2015 13:43

A few years ago, I went to hear Paco Peña play during the Festival here in Edinburgh. As well as the flamenco dancers you would expect, he had with him a troupe of African dancers. Both sets of dancers were equally fine, totally different in style and yet had something in common, which I recognise from teaching Alexander Technique. 

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‘What’s it like?’

Written by Richard Casebow Tuesday, 21 July 2015 06:52

It’s rare in these blogs or in my work to talk directly about Personal Construct Psychology (PCP), which provides the theoretical overview of what I do. Having basked in three days of theory and practice with friends and colleagues at the latest International Congress on PCP, that’s not about to change beyond looking at the practical question posed by my friend Marie-Louise Österlind, a researcher from Sweden, with which she frames her research. This is simply ‘what’s it like?’ for the people in their daily life that she is working with.

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Alexander Botox for the Soul

Written by Richard Casebow Monday, 25 May 2015 11:26

The face of decision or, as I some times more colloquially put it, having first warned my pupils of an impending profanity, the ‘what the fuck face', is something that we all share. Charles Darwin observed that it exists across culture, although different cultures will construe its meaning differently. From a functional perspective, it is a psycho-physical attitude, as Alexander would have called it.

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Realising Oneself

Written by Richard Casebow Saturday, 18 April 2015 18:50

I have always been pretty good with words, when it came to speaking, but it was not always the casee when it came to writing. From my twenties onwards, I would meet writers who, on hearing me speak, would urge me to write. I would find ways to demur and avoid the process.

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Anniversaries

Written by Richard Casebow Wednesday, 25 February 2015 09:59

Monday will be the first anniversary of my father’s death and as I approach it I realise what an extraordinary year it has been for me. It is fair to say we did not get on and that throughout most of my life we had a difficult and problematical relationship, the details of which are not really important now. To go into them would not honour the last hours we spent together, and how,in those hours, my life started to change, and has changed for the better, as I have integrated the experience into my life.

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The Sheltering of Love

Written by Richard Casebow Saturday, 22 November 2014 16:57

The consequences for Anton Schmid because he ‘could not think and had to help’ save 250 Jews from the Holocaust was that he was shot. He attributed his lack of thought to the ‘softness of his heart’ and claimed in letters to his wife that he ‘merely behaved as a human being’.

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Learning to Live With Anxiety

Written by Richard Casebow Friday, 12 September 2014 09:09

When Stella* came to see me, things were at the stage that she thought she might lose her job. She was ashamed because she was so anxious, she was finding it difficult to get into work in the morning. She would sit in the car park, sometimes for nearly an hour, before she would get into work. Once there she was checking her email and Facebook page excessively, making it difficult to focus and be productive.

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A Good Life

Written by Richard Casebow Saturday, 12 July 2014 10:20

I have been lucky in my life, in having known a number of people in my early years who, when things were difficult for me in my twenties, provided role models for the life I live now. They were all people who had coped with various difficulties in their own lives and went on to live full lives themselves. One of them, the last one living, was my godmother who died last week.

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On Being Overwhelmed

Written by Richard Casebow Thursday, 05 June 2014 00:00

Back when I was four and a half, I went to have my tonsils out. I do not really remember anything about this. Apparently, for at this point, this is really my mother’s story, I was distressed when she arrived later than promised to take me home. A not uncommon event, but for her this was the time my difficulties started; I was no longer the “good baby” but “difficult” and “problematical” for being upset.

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The Intentional Family

Written by Richard Casebow Friday, 09 May 2014 15:25

Rituals can bind a family together, without them families drift apart. When a couple gets together each brings with them at least one rule book as to how the rituals that permeate family life are to be undertaken. The task they face is not to impose their ritual, their rule book, on the other but together find their own ritual and to form a new family structure together.

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How to Complain To Your Partner

Written by Richard Casebow Friday, 25 April 2014 16:21

Conflict is a normal part of being a couple, and how we manage it determines not just whether our relationship lasts but the quality of our relationship. At times we all have complaints and can feel grudges against our partners. It is important that we learn to raise any issues with them in constructive ways and not be destructive in how we raise them, or let them fester on in the background to emerge destructively later.

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Flooding

Written by Richard Casebow Thursday, 13 February 2014 21:43

The power, damage and chaos that flooding causes is all too evident this week, as parts of England endure torrential rain and people loses their homes to a rising tide of water that carries all before it. The human and financial cost of recovery and repair will be vast. There is another kind of flooding, which is equally powerful, equally damaging, that occurs all the time and often passes unnoticed. Yet it has equally high costs for those that experience it and it is often a crucial factor in the disrupting and ending of relationships.

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Asking the question why?

Written by Richard Casebow Friday, 17 January 2014 19:54

Asking the question ‘why?’ can be a very powerful way of understanding both oneself and others. It is possible to go from something very simple, such as asking a person their favourite colour, to something very core for them about being in their world, in a few simple steps. The following dialogue, which is based on the PCP technique of laddering illustrates this:

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