Friday, 29 January 2010

Fairness, Madenss and Carl Rogers

Hi, I have just now (Friday 29th Jan) updated my Happiness Blog, here:

This is how the post begins:



Last week I wrote about the importance of fairness and justice, and how counsellors and therapists need to be careful not to dismiss the client's ‘unfairness issues'. We need to respect the rights of clients, and to recognize that they may be being victimized by others, and we need to be on their side in teaching them how to defend themselves in life, and how they can become assertive individuals.

Of course, as I said, there will be some immoral actions (committed by others) which our clients cannot control, and once they have definitely established that they cannot control them, they need to let them be. "When it's raining, we just let it rain!" Why do we let it rain when it's raining? Because a human individual, or a human group, cannot push the rain back up into the clouds. And sometimes we cannot push an immoral action back into its source. But we do not thereby excuse that action, or say it is unimportant that immoral acts occur in the world.

We should be concerned citizens, and concerned individuals, and we should (morally) care about the suffering of others. We should (morally) teach people to accept the (immoral) things they cannot control, and to control the (immoral) things they can control.


Best wishes,

Dr Jim Byrne
ABC Coaching and Counselling Services


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Thursday, 28 January 2010

Some Thoughts on Success

Hi, I have just (28th Jan) updated my Business Success Blog with some useful ideas, here:

This is how I began:

Success is paid for in advance, and you cannot get it on the never-never. Success involves setting a goal and functioning towards it intelligently, until it has been achieved. Until the final mile has been completed, you cannot cash in your achievements from the previous how-ever-many-miles you have travelled. The problem is in knowing what to focus upon as being important; what to spend our time working on; and what to drop. We need some principles to guide our actions in life. Recently, I have outlined some of Brian Tracy's principles for dealing with ‘Crunch Points' in your business life. Because I have been so busy recently, I have let that series slip somewhat, but I am now back reviewing the next crunch point, and will publish that soon. In the meantime, I want to share a few simple ideas with you.
Brian Tracy is of course more famous for his work on the psychology of success and on goals as the guiding lights of successful, fulfilled lives. Tracy tends to emphasize principles like purpose, excellence, responsibility and service, as well as integrity.


Best wishes,

Dr Jim Byrne
ABC Coaching and Counselling Services


business success, goals, integrity, business success principles, brian tracy, stephen covey, tom butler-bowden, jim byrne, business coaching,

Monday, 25 January 2010

Dealing with unfairness issues in therapy and politics

I have now updated by Happiness Blog, on 25th January 2010, with a post on dealing with unfairness, especially in counselling and therapy, but also in the wider political context; here:

This is how my post begins:

We humans cannot be truly happy unless we learn how to think about our lives, and live our lives as thoughtful people. ‘The unexamined life is not worth living", as Plato said.Thinking is a process of asking and answering questions; of posing and solving problems. One of the unavoidable problems for humans is that we must each learn what to think - social rules and moral codes - before we ever get a chance to learn how to think. Some people seem to be able to shed those social rules and moral codes and to become quite immoral, and they also seem not to think. They operate at the level of appetite led animals: Greedy, angry and aggressive.

I was raised as a moral person - a ‘good Catholic' - and that moral education has largely stayed with me throughout my sixty-odd years of life. Over the decades I have migrated from Catholicism, via Marxism, to Buddhism. When I was 22 years old, I became a Marxist revolutionary for the very simple moral reason that it is not okay for governments to promote inequality between citizens. We are all born equal and deserve equal treatment; but inequalities have crept into our social groupings, over a period of centuries, and produced very different, stratified social classes. While Marx thought that his philosophy was not moral, but historical/evolutionary, I was always motivated by the importance of the moral principle of fairness.

...more here...


Dr Jim Byrne
ABC Coaching and Counselling Services


fairness, unfairness, rebt, cent, albert ellis, jim byrne, marcus aurelius, morality,

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Happiness and Success

Hi, I have just posted an update to the Happiness Blog, here:

Please take a look and see what you think. this is how it begins:

Hi,Sorry for the delay in posting this blog. My mother-in-law died last week, and life has not been the same, of course.Earlier this week, I completed Paper No.9 in the current series of papers on the development of Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT). It deals with the social roots of the individual.

But how does that relate to the objective of this page, which is to promote happiness by promoting more effective thinking?

Firstly, many clients who come to see me are unhappy about their sense of identity. They may:

(a) Dislike themselves, because they identify themselves with something negative;

(b) Dislike themselves because others seems to relate to them in negative ways;

(c) Be confused about 'who I am';

(d) Lack confidence in themselves;

(e) Lack a sense of self love;

(f) and so on.

The CENT analysis of "who I am" is intended to be liberational for people with those kinds of problems; by helping them to think their way to a better self concept; by helping them to see that they are not what they think they are; and to help them to see that they can change themselves by changing their view of their personal history.

...continued here...

Best wishes,

Dr Jim Byrne
ABC Coaching and Counselling Services


Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The social roots of the individual

I have just posted my latest paper on the development of Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT) here:

This is how it begins:


The "Individual" and its Social Relationships - The CENT Perspective

Copyright (c) Dr Jim Byrne, 30th December 2009

1. Introduction

Somewhere around the beginning of 2009, I was working on the development of a set of models that were taking shape as the core of Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT). I had reviewed my earlier work, from 2003, on the complex A>B>C model and was still unhappy with the way the "individual" shows up in my models as isolated and separate from others. (See CENT Paper No.1(a)[1])

I had begun with the Stimulus-Organism-Response model, and then built up a model of the A>B>Cs which included overlapping cognitions and emotions at point B in that model, as follows:

Figure 1 - A complex A>B>C model

In this model, the beliefs are assumed to be in the head of an individual, but note that the model does say that the A1 is "socially agreed". However, how this social agreement comes into effect, or gets represented at point B in the model is not discussed.
Much later in that paper, I went on to present a model which takes account of the body of the individual, as follows, but still no real social dimension:

Figure 2: The A>B>C Model Related to the Y-Model

Figure 2 shows a weight lifter, thinking-feeling-behaving in relation to his task. This image suggests that, when something happens at A1, it is interpreted at A2 (not shown), which triggers cognitive-emotive processing of the A2 signal at B (1, 2 and 3). At the same time, the B1 (unconscious cognitive-emotive processing) sends a signal to the Y-model (visceral, facial, physiological arousal), which responds by sending a signal to the C1 (not shown) where it combines with the output from B, and together these signals produce the emotional-behavioural response at C. As it stands this could seem to be a fairly straight restatement of the James-Lange theory of emotion. (Kagan and Segal, 1992, pages 321-322).

However, this still shows no connection of the individual to the social background from which he sprang.

I had lived my own life - at least up to the age of thirty, and a little beyond - as an (emotionally) isolated individual who did not understand relationship - or so it seemed to my analyst and me (back in 1968) - and yet I now (1980 onwards) knew from Zen philosophy that every "thing" is just a small distinction within "everything". In other words, Zen sees the individual as being distinguished from, but not separate from, everything else. There is only one "life" and it is all of a piece. So why did my psychological models show "separate individuals".

I had written to Dr Albert Ellis (probably around summer 2000) to say that, because REBT did not have a personality theory, I normally used Transactional Analysis (TA) when trying to understand the personality structure of my clients. TA postulates that we each have a number of ego states, primarily the Parent, Adult and Child ego states; and that our thinking, feeling and behaviour is determined by whichever ego state we are ‘occupying' (or ‘acting from') at any particular point in time. However, I still could not quite see how the TA Ego State model could be incorporated into the A>B>C> model of REBT, and I kept returning to that challenge from time to time. (This will be described in detail in Section 7 below).

...continued here...

Jim Byrne
Doctor of Counselling
The Institute for CENT Studies
ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

Email address for Jim Byrne


Monday, 11 January 2010

Integrating Freud, Ellis and Berne's Therapies

I have now updated the Happiness Blog with a new piece on my process of integrating the mind models of Sigmund Freud, Albert Ellis and Eric Berne. Here's how that blog begins:

Reviewing REBT, Positive Psychology and Sigmund Freud

The great strength of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) is that it teaches a philosophy of life. In a nutshell, this is it:

"If you will just give up ‘awfulizing', ‘demandingness', ‘low frustration tolerance', and ‘condemning and damning yourself, others and the world', then your life will become calmer and happier".

Let us now look at what is involved in implementing such a philosophy in your own life.

To give up awfulizing you have to develop a way of accurately rating the degree of badness of those noxious events and situations by which you are beset. The best system for this kind of accurate rating, that I have seen, is that developed by Dr Tom Miller. In Self Discipline and Emotional Control (which is available online as an audio or video programme), he developed something called The Johnny Carson Scale which helps us to put a realistic, numerical degree of badness on any adversity with which we are faced. By becoming more realistic, be also become less disturbed.

To give up demandingness is a more complex problem. In moderate forms of REBT, giving up demandingness means giving up extreme forms of demands, such as: "I must be loved and approved by all significant others, all of the time, and if I'm not, then this is awful, and I am no good". This is clearly illogical, and for this reason we say it is irrational. In extreme forms of REBT, on the other hand, all forms of usage of the words "should", "must", "have to", "ought to", "got to", "need to" are outlawed, proscribed and prohibited to ourselves - except for their use to describe "reality". For example, I would be able to say: "My life should be the way it is, because it is!" Unfortunately, this means we cannot make any moral prescriptions, or realistic demands upon ourselves, others and the world. (Although Tom Miller is very good on teaching how to get rid of awfulizing, he is an extremist when it comes to eliminating demandingness!) My own view is this: We should give up all unrealistic and unreasonable demands on ourselves, others and the world; but keep our moral prescriptions and our reasonable demands about our own behaviour, the behaviour of others, and the nature of the social world. (To learn my form of giving up demandingness, see in particular my pamphlet: Overcoming Fear and Anxiety).

Continued here:

Hope you enjoy this post.
Best wishes,,

Dr Jim Byrne
Email Address
Happiness Blog
ABC Coaching and Counselling Services