interesting articles, podcasts and info

Podcast with Steven Porges on social distancing

I really enjoy Steven Porges’ wonderful contributions from the field of neuro-science. His studies of our nervous system have helped to deepen the scientific and therapeutic understanding of what actually happens between people. What he describes is a process common to all mammals, co-regulation, where being together allows us to calm down and assess danger/safety by perceiving (or Neuroception) another’s nervous state. In this time of physical distancing and isolation, we have increased need for contact. By contrast, texting, emailing and “social”media remove the vital elements of vocal tone and facial expression which have evolved over time to help us sense what each other feels, wants, needs, fears etc.

Thanks once again to Serge Prengel’s Relational Implicit podcast for a clear and timely conversation.

Personally I prefer the term physical distancing  because we need to work hard retain the social contact, as Porges says. We need to keep a safe distance to prevent possible viral transmission, but we need to maintain contact to reduce unnecessary anxiety and counter the feeling of isolation. So we talk, we make jokes, send love,… I heard of people dressing as animals and dancing outside their neighbours window on a child’s birthday…we do what we can to make contact and keep connected.

To this end I am seeing clients online using the various video/phone calling methods to meet and work with people. In some cases I am meeting clients outdoors, in the beautiful surroundings of the Calder Valley. This may not always be appropriate, but I am happy to discuss this with new clients.

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Exhibition of Drawings and Paintings 14/15th Sept 2019

For one weekend only – 14/15th Sept 11-5pm

As part of the Todmorden Open Studios Popup

At Todmorden Therapy Space, White Rose Mill, of Rise Lane, OL147AA

Works by Simon Manfield  –  prints available to buy

for more info on Simon see

Copyright Simon Manfield

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Todmorden Therapy Space

A quiet and peaceful therapy room. With space to talk, create, move and explore.

Sometimes used for art exhibitions and also available for hire.
Click to enlarge pictures.


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Men affected by suicide – discussion.

This even has finished, but if you have been affected by someone’s suicide or threats to end their life you can contact me through this website and arrange a free phone call.

A free discussion group as part of the Pushing up Daisies festival 2019    May 16th at 7pm

at Todmorden Therapy, off Rise Lane, Todmorden. OL14 7AA

The death of someone close to us can be devastating and disorganising, and loss through suicide can be especially complicated.

If you have been affected by someones suicide or an attempted suicide, or if you yourself have had thoughts of ending your life, please join us for an open, non-judgemental discussion.

This group is for men because they are a group at high risk of suicide and who may also find it hard to talk about such issues. Please join us to help explore or unburden, to illuminate and understand this complex issue. Whilst the subject is serious, we often find that humour and solidarity can make these sessions uplifting and life affirming.

Link to the PUD website for map and lots of other sessions.

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Article: Telling young survivors of suicide…

This essay summarises the ideas and research in a well written and researched book Suicidal: why we kill ourselves by Jesse Bering. It speaks of the effect a suicide can have on children, and in particular, how the information about the death is handled. It resists oversimplification and instead details subtleties, evolving narratives and different possibilities, using many examples and case histories. I found it a very good read.

Clicking this link should take you to the article on the AEON website which has many interesting essays on Psychology and more.

This link for info on a men’s discussion group

If you have been affected by someone’s suicide or threats to end their life you can contact me through this website and arrange a free phone call.

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Open discussion on Art and Mental Health

Archive info of  event at Todmorden Therapy Space 2018

Saturday 8th September 2.30-4pm at Todmorden Therapy Space. White rose Mill, off Rise Lane, Todmorden. OL147AA

As an addition to the exhibition of Geoff Read’s collaborative portraits we will host an open discussion broadly around the theme of expressive arts and mental health. More specifically we are interested in how people use expressive activities to understand and tolerate difficulties in their lives.

This is part of the Todmorden Open Studios 2018 event where artists across the town open their studios and invite the public to see their work and workplaces. 

Geoff’s work opens up the traditional role of artist into one of collaborator – he involves his subject in decisions about their portrait – and in some ways, this brings him closer to my role as a counsellor. He offers his skills and experience to facilitate expression, as do I. Non-verbal expression can be as important as words, so I was intrigued to see how Geoff’s work opens up these possibilities to people who may not consider themselves artists, or even creative.


A self-portrait can be a statement of identity and a message to the world about the subject’s experience. A person experiencing difficulties may really appreciate some help or assistance in making such a statement and through the process they may also get new perspectives or acquire strength , self-confidence and resilience.

portrait of a father feeling pride and love for his two children.

We hope you can join us to share your ideas and experiences of how expression has helped you in your life, or how you might view your role as an artist, or how you use art and non-verbal mediums to understand your experiences, or how art can be used to impact or change society…

Geoff describes his approach and ethos very well here.

Feel free to contact me via the contact page for enquiries.


All info Different types of therapy

Transactional Analysis concepts

Transactional Analysis or TA is a great way of understanding yourself and how you relate to the rest of the world. It uses simple concepts to help you understand your personality. People use it in many ways, eg to work out why they keep getting into difficult relationships, or why relationships keep stalling. They find interpersonal issue that previously seemed unchangeable can become freer, less scary or less upsetting. Some people use it in work or schools, or even to change an entire organisation. It can go deep into childhood or you can stay in the here and now to analyse your own behaviour, thoughts and feelings.

My training was based in this model of understanding personality and human relationships developed by Eric Berne. Whilst I have added other models and approaches to my work, I still enjoy the simplicity and thoroughness of TA. There are 3 youtube videos by Theramin Trees which explain the basic concepts. Books on TA cover a huge range of topics, too numerous to mention.

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Conversation with Pat Ogden on body posture

A conversation between Pat Ogden of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute and Serge Prengel.   I like the way Pat speaks about the body and I feel like my way of working has some crossover with hers (although I have not trained at her Institute). I also run workshops on Body Language and non-verbal expression (see The Human Cry)

This is one of a series of interviews or conversations as Serge prefers to call them. I think he is an excellent interviewer who skilfully summarises what he is hearing and often helps the subject to open up and share what needs to be shared. See also

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Find me

See more pictures of Todmorden Therapy Space

During Corona virus restrictions I am very cautious about meeting people indoors. So I am offering clients online sessions for now. I am also meeting some clients outdoors in the natural surroundings (and weather) of the Calder Valley. If you might be interested in doing therapy outdoors you can contact me through this website to arrange a phone call.

But in normal circumstances I work from 2 places in Calderdale – White Rose Mill, Rise Lane, Todmorden OL147AA a ground floor space, see map below (not currently wheelchair accessible). Very close to Todmorden Train Station.

and Hebden Therapy Center, Wragley House, Valley Road, Hebden Bridge HX7 7BN – an upstairs space with a lift and accessible toilet.

Both places are quiet and comfortable with plenty of space to move around work in other ways than a traditional talking therapy, if wanted.


Different types of therapy

Relational therapy

We all live continuously in relation; to others, to ourselves and to our environment – we are created and shaped by our experiences of relating and thus our complex and layered personality structure is formed. Therapy allows us to learn more about the workings of our unique structure and to work through problems – in relation. Relational therapy pays attention to our relationship, using you and I, in the moment, as a way to observe in real time how we are reacting to another person. We can also then observe what is happening internally; our relationship(s) to ourself(selves).

We may look into the past or think about the future, but there are many clues in the here and now, in what happens between us. How you are in the world and what you want from life can be explored in the safe space we create each week, through openness, compassion and non-judgemental exploration.