"They do say that the best teachers to learn from are those tutors who show you where to look and not tell you what to look at; a teacher who seeks not to interpret the meaning of the image you see there.
Sixty years ago, I first came across the true meaning of meditation and relaxation after having incurred a bad traffic accident and being told that I'd never walk again. Then I learned about the power of the imagination and how harnessing one's images and using one's visualisation can make the body do unbelievable things.
Twenty years later, I first became acquainted with Rogerian counselling; a 'client centred' approach which is 'non-directive and non-judgemental.' This is a therapy where the client is cured through a process of finding and developing self-love. While most observers who are unfamiliar with this process will only see and hear a lot of 'ums' and 'ahs' from the counseller, I know that this approach can and has worked for many people who are prepared to undergo long-term therapy and who need to be listened to more than reasoned with.
As a Probation Officer for most of my working life, I was naturally acquainted with the work of Sigmund Freud in my training and while I found many of his psycho-analytical theories bizarre, I did find some of his work upon neurosis very pertinent. I later learned that often the only way to cure someone of a particular neurosis which badly hampered their life was to teach them to substitute it with a more innocuous one.
Then one night I was watching late night television and onto my screen came a rather inebriated psychiatrist called Ronald David Laing. Although Laing was half drunk at the time of his television discussion, he spoke a remarkable lot of sense. Laing appealed to me because he was a rebel; a revolutionary who held views which ran counter to the psychiatric orthodoxy of the day. He took the expressed feelings of his patients to be valid descriptions of their lived experiences rather than mere symptoms of some underlying disorder. For example, any patient who believed that they were King Henry the Fourth reincarnated was approached and spoken to by him as though they were King Henry the Fourth and not some nut case. Laing knew that if the mind led one to believe an untruth then it was perfectly natural for the body to live out that experience. He also propounded the theory of 'Reframing', taking a problem situation and looking at it anew. For example, don't get upset if you are awake all night and sleep all day; instead think, 'Just look at how much I can get done in the early hours when everyone else is asleep and I can get on unhindered.'
Then I discovered the work of Albert Ellis who worked in the field of Emotional Disturbance and before very long I found myself being fascinated by the Behaviourists of the day. The Behaviourist approach, although largely frowned upon in England in the early 1970s, appealed to me tremendously because they were concerned with changing the effect of a particular form of problem behaviour as opposed to finding the cause and just talking about it! While naturally being interested in 'the cause' of any particular problem behaviour, it was this pragmatic approach of 'What can I do to change this situation/behaviour' which led me to specialise in Behaviour Modification.
Most behavioural work and modification of behaviour necessitates the use of Relaxation Training as an aid towards effecting change and so I became a Relaxation Instructor. Over the years ahead, I became wholly eclectic in my working methods as I derived ideas, styles, approaches from a diverse range of sources, theories and disciplines of working; selecting what I considered to be best practice from this and that along the way. It was this particular eclectic approach which gradually led me on to found the discipline and process of 'Anger Management' which mushroomed across the English speaking world within a matter of two years in the early 70s.
All of this, is to simply say that there is no 'one way' or 'no best way' for all varieties of problems and all types of people. Whereas one person responds better to 'this' approach, another will respond better to 'that.' While one person will more willingly accept the philosophy of one worker, another will instantly reject that of another. So the next time that you hear any purist advocate a universal panacea to counter one condition or another, take my advice and take a wide berth.
Consider:if you were arranging a meal to cater for a wide mixture of people from all four corners of the world next week; some meat lovers, others vegetarians and some vegans, you wouldn't dream of offering them all the same food to eat, would you? And even were you to persuade them all to partake, you couldn't possibly make them chew and digest what you'd served or stop them thowing up later on!" William Forde: April 23rd, 201