About me

I was born and raised in a small market town in the Midlands. I began working life training as a British Rail engineer; then switched to study Psychology. My first work after graduation was with the probation service setting up and managing community service projects as alternatives to custodial sentences.

In the early 1980’s I travelled and lived as a busker in the United States and Europe after which I settled to live in back in Yorkshire in my university town. I trained as an FE teacher and taught first in a ‘communication workshop’ – an open learning facility at an FE college. I also delivered basic education to travellers’ children from an on site classroom I created in the back of my van. In the mid 80’s, following my first intensive meditation retreat, I became a traveller myself. I left my situation in Yorkshire to live on a peace camp at Molesworth common. I found a role as a musician and facilitator amongst the wide range of people and motivations on the ‘peace convoy’. I lived the homeless life for a few years; travel included 7 months around the Indian sub-continent where I sat another couple of intensive 10 day meditation retreats.

My return from homelessness was gradual; I settled in Bonnington Square, south London, living for years in a vibrant, artistic squatting community where I worked to establish a housing co-operative which eventually provided secure tenancies for myself and my, then, 10 year old daughter.
Return to work was also gradual – I began as a playtime assistant at my (then, 5yr old) daughter’s school – soon I began working there as a music teacher. Later I worked as a P.E. teacher sharing my understanding of Tai-Chi in a Lambeth ‘special needs’ school. At around this time (late 80’s) I first began working in the prison system as a music teacher.
I took advantage of the rich opportunities in London for personal development groups; becoming involved with the co-counselling movement, various meditation centres and transpersonal development groups. Ten-day meditation retreats, with a variety of Buddhist teachers and traditions, became an annual tradition that I maintained for well over a decade.
I had kept contacts in the traveller community and I spent the summer months in the countryside working as a musician and group facilitator on the festivals and ‘alternative camps’ circuit. Here too I was involved in a rich eclectic mix of personal development practices: shamanistic journeying, bodywork, voice-work, rebirthing, 5 rythms dance, and a plethora of approaches from the ‘human potential’ movement. I began facilitating mindfulness workshops on the healing field at Glastonbury festival in 1987 – this I have continued up to the present. In 1990, with my colleague Jacob Jones, I co-founded the “Passages Camps” community: a series of gatherings in Somerset and the Black mountains in Wales – repeated annually – in which we sought to integrate the themes of therapy, mindfulness, ceremony, music, bodywork, dance and play. I continued to work with this intentional community until 2002.

Meanwhile, back in London my interest in co-counselling continued to develop; I became a teacher (and eventually a teacher trainer). This interest led me to training in ‘one-way’ counselling. In the early 90’s, I completed a three year diploma in Person-Centred counselling and a couple of years later set up a counselling service for Brixton prison which I continued to supervise & manage until summer, 2010. At around the same time I was appointed, by Angulimala (the Buddhist Prison Chaplaincy Organisation) as Buddhist Chaplain to a number of London prisons; I continued in this role until summer, 2008 at HMP Brixton and at HMP Hollesley Bay in Suffolk.

My last temporary home in Bonnington Square was above the vegetarian cafe. It was spacious; I was able to put one room aside exclusively for running groups and workshops. I ran a weekly meditation group and taught co-counselling fundamentals training courses from there. After I was finally relocated in secure housing, I worked with the cooks and community activists to establish what eventually became the Bonnington Centre Community Association; I was a founder member and Chair of the organisation – which continues to host the cafe and a wide range of therapeutic and community events – until I left London.

In the mid 90’s, with the prospect of starting afresh as a family man, I determined to professionalise myself. I took a Masters in Counselling Psychology, followed by a 4 year period of intense training and practice culminating, in 2002, with my achieving Chartered Psychologist status (via the ‘independent route’) with the British Psychological Society. During this period of independent training I participated in a 5 day Mindfulness training retreat with Jon Kabat-Zinn. I also completed a mediation training course with Lambeth Mediation Service, and a year long training in counselling supervision.

In the summer of 2001 I moved with my family to live in rural, coastal Suffolk. My main place of work in Suffolk is currently the Ruby Centre – a psychological therapies centre working from Felixstowe and Woodbridge, the latter based at the Windmill Natural Health centre. I am also working in private practice from my home, and from Framfield house medical centre, in Woodbridge offering psychotherapy, one to one and group supervision. I am co-director of BWIS, a newly established community interest company (CIC); a collective of coaches, psychologists, trainers and therapists who live, love and work towards a holistic vision of wellness: an integration of personal health and fitness in mind, body, soul and spirit.

I still make & take opportunities to work as a musician and I continue to play in various festival bands and a local acoustic band. In the summers I work as musician and facilitate a mindfulness group at various summer camps and festivals, including the healing field, Glastonbury festival since 1987. Here’s a recording of a 2005 guided mindfulness meditation against the background sound of 5 rock stages:

I’m married with four children – my eldest daughter has promoted me to grandfather of two boys!

 

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