Way back in the early 1970s, I completed a degree in art before embarking on a career as a newspaper journalist. By the early eighties I had moved to London and embarked upon a successful career in the, then, burgeoning world of corporate and financial advertising where I worked as a writer and creative director for a number of, as the saying goes, "household name" ad agencies. After a few years of this I succumbed to the lucrative lure of the freelance world and started my own creative consultancy. By this time my interests and field of operation had expanded to the realm of motivational and performance coaching together with creative communication strategy and implementation. I was actively involved in planning, directing and developing the design, theme and content of the Body Zone at the Millennium Dome which led to further commissions from organisations and agencies throughout the world.
ALL ABOUT ME
I was born in the baby-booming 1950s and spent my formative years in the industrial West Midlands where, to the dismay of my parents and the scorn of my contemporaries, I obdurately refused to take an interest in sport, engineering, or the prospect of studying for a "proper job" as an apprentice, teacher or civil servant. Instead, I turned, at the precociously (some might say insufferably) early age of 11 or so, to the study of philosophy, psychology, esoteric religion and mysticism, paganism, yoga, meditation, art, poetry, languages and literature.
After leaving school I attended college where I met a group of like-minded misfits and together we spent several pleasant, if not always entirely comfortable, years as patchouli-fragranced hippies discovering and practising a range of meditation techniques at the feet of a variety of gurus in incense-wreathed ashrams and other venues where some of the smoke was often rather less innocuous. It was during this time, and the years that followed, that I became interested and involved in what was then termed "the personal growth movement" - embracing EST, Gestalt, Transpersonal Psychotherapy, Tibetan Tantra, Humanistic Psychology, Psychedelia, Shamanism, Ecology, Gender Politics, and, of course, Vegetarianism.
Part of any effective and all-embracing communications programme of course, is an emphasis on human and personal growth and development. So that by the mid 1990s, by now working with some of the most talented people in their fields and riding pretty high on a wave of personal and professional success, I found myself re-engaging, albeit on a more professional and sophisticated level, with many of the theories and ideas that had inspired me in my teens and twenties.
It's probably fair to say that the mid-life crisis had landed.
So I decided to embark on the long and gruelling road to becoming an accredited psychotherapist - once more to the dismay and contempt of many of my colleages and contemporaries. At London University, working part-time, I had already completed a first degree in humanities and a post-graduate degree in Renaissance Studies where I focused on constructions of gender, sexuality and personal identity in the early modern period. After a year completing a foundation course at Regents College, another three years of study, 300 hours of personal therapy (in addition to the untold number of hours I had already spent privately), 450 hours of voluntary client-work, three years of weekly academic supervision and another two sessions per month of clinical supervision, I eventually graduated with a Masters in Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling from, Sheffield University.
And here I am.