ABC Coaching & Counselling Services, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire; and by telephone, email & Skype

This site  The Web 

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services offers professional counselling, psychotherapy and coaching services, in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire; and by telephone, email and Skype/webcam all over the world.

Plus some CPD courses and learning resources for counselling students; postgraduate students; qualified counsellors; and self-help enthusiasts.

The ABC services are based upon the theory and practice of Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT) - which incorporates CBT/REBT, depth psychology and humanistic (client centred) approaches.  More specifically, we integrate REBT/CBT, Transactional Analysis (TA), Narrative Therapy, Attachment Theory, Object Relations, Zen Buddhism and Moral Philosophy.


Coaching, counselling and psychotherapy in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8HJ, UK

Telephone counselling and Skypewebcam counselling all over the English speaking world.

Email counselling for individuals with good English writing skills, who are not seriously emotionally disturbed.

Academic coaching for counselling and psychotherapy students.


Overview of site content: Counselling and coaching services; and counselling and coaching training courses and informational resources; including video format. Face to face coaching and counselling services; telephone counselling; email counselling; skype counselling; performance coaching; psychotherapy; couples therapy; books on counselling, and on anxiety, anger management, stress management, and happiness. Confidence counselling and coaching: Assertiveness; self confidence; self acceptance. Happiness coaching and positive psychology. Counselling research; and counselling supervision. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT); Rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT); Cognitive emotive narrative therapy (CENT); Transactional analysis (TA); Object relations and attachment theory; Zen Buddhism and moral philosophy.  Training for counsellors; Articles and papers on CENT counselling.  Counselling diploma assignments.  Copy of counsellor's doctoral thesis.  The institute for CENT (cognitive emotive narrative therapy). Pages on attachment theory, meditation, narrative therapy, writing therapy, anger, anxiety, depression, stress, stoic philosophy for counsellors, and much more besides.



Hello, and welcome to

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services



 Established 1998

Helping individuals to grow and thrive


Counselling and Coaching for you: Trust us to solve your problems!

Are you looking for counselling, coaching or psychotherapy help with difficult problems, at home or at work?  If so, we can help!  


We provide high quality help in the form of face-to-face counselling, psychotherapy and coaching - in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire - and by telephone or email counselling all over the world.


We can help you to solve your problems and improve the quality of your life!


In addition to professional counselling and coaching services, we also offer some books, information packs and training courses in counselling and related subjects; ...

"A single conversation across the table with a wise person is worth a month's study of books".   

Chinese Proverb


 Together we can rewrite the story you're living!


Also on this website: Counselling, coaching, psychotherapy; counselling psychology; philosophy of counselling; counselling and therapy services including couples therapy and anger management counselling; cognitive emotive narrative therapy (CENT); and its roots in: attachment theory, rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT), transactional analysis (TA), the id-ego-superego model of Freud, the charioteer and horses model of Plato, narrative therapy, moral philosophy; books and training courses on counselling and therapy subjects; counselling information packs (on anger, anxiety, depression, stress, self-confidence and couples therapy); and hundreds of pages on counselling-related subjects…


All systems of counselling and therapy are broadly equivalent in terms of the outcomes achieved by clients: “There is no shortage of evidence of the significance of common factors across models of therapeutic practice, and among these the quality of the therapeutic relationship is emphasized as central to therapeutic success.  (Counselling and therapy) depend first and foremost on ‘being-in-relation’, not on technical experts with toolbags of techniques for diagnosing and treating specific problems…”

Strawbridge and Woolfe, 2003, Counselling Psychology in Context, page 15. (154)


In CENT counselling, we teach our counselling clients that we have to face up to unavoidable pain in our lives, if we want to get past it.  We have to go through it in order to be free of it.  “Many ways of avoiding pain, learned in early life, are necessary, but they can cease to be useful.  Yet obsolete manoeuvres are often maintained.  They are repeated because of an apparent short-term gain coupled with a deep-seated fear of change.  They foil hopeful exploratory journeys in the quest for love”.  When we try to resist unavoidable pain – necessary pain, such as the pain of an actual loss – we get stuck with it.  When we face up to it, and fully experience it – digest it - it can then dissolve and disappear over time.

Robert F. Hobson, Forms of Feeling: The heart of psychotherapy, Page 227. (155)



Counselling and coaching work:

The solution to your problem is here! 


Our services are organized as follows:

Dr Jim Byrne's counselling and psychotherapy service, in Hebden Bridge, and all over the world:


I counsel people with problems of angeranxietydepressionstressself-confidence / self-esteemcouple conflict and relationship skills.

The system of counselling that I use is called Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT).

I offer face-to-face counselling in Hebden Bridge.

Plus Telephone Counselling all over the world.

Or Online counselling, using Skype and connected webcameras. 

And Email Counselling for those with good English writing ability. 



Renata Taylor-Byrne's Coaching and counselling service, in Hebden Bridge


In a nutshell, I offer: Listening and clarification of problems; clarification of goals; identification of goal-achieving strategies;

application of problem-solving models; insights into how to be healthier, happier and more productive in the world;

coaching and counselling in how to be more self-assertive, more effective at managing stress, and more successful in communication and negotiation contexts, including public performances and presentations.



Self-help resource packs – A quick, efficient and low cost approach to personal development; or how to become your own counsellor


On this page you will find a number of self-help resource packs. Subjects include: anger management; reducing anxiety; overcoming depression; how to meditate; and others.

These resource packs have been designed to help you to solve your own problems; to become your own coach/counsellor.

The advantage of this approach to you is that it is very low cost; you do not have to travel to see me; and - as far as possible - I give you the same quality of answers to your questions that you would get in a face-to-face session.

I have achieved this by using a balance of well-written text and direct video instruction/ coaching/ counselling/ mentoring.



Books and articles by the Institute for CENT counselling...


The Institute for Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (I-CENT) was established in March 2007 to promote the development of a new kind of integration of various systems of counselling and therapy - from REBT/CBT, through narrative therapy, object relations and attachment theory, to Zen Buddhism and Moral philosophy. 

One of the ways that this development has manifested itself is in the production of seven books and dozens of articles on this new approach to counselling and psychotherapy - including books on stress and happiness; an analysis of Albert Ellis's childhood and its effect upon REBT/CBT; and books and papers on how to apply the CENT approach in practice.



CENT Counselling Courses


The Institute for CENT, in collaboration with the ABC Coaching Academy, has been offering a range of counselling courses for many years.

Initially, we mainly offered the Primary Certificate in Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy; the certificate in Supreme Self Confidence; and the certificate in Stress Management.  

At the moment we are mainly promoting a range of courses that cover the range of knowledge and skills that are required to practice as an effective Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapist (CENT).

Other courses are under development, and will be announced as they become available.  See for example, the CENT CPD Certificate in Counselling Knowledge:  

...more on CENT counselling training courses... 


Informational Resource Packs on Counselling-related topics...

Suitable for non-formal study of a range of topics for personal and professional development 

Our range of informational resource packs have been accessed over the years by tens of thousands of counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists; as well as students from those disciplines.  Also social workers, and social work students.  And interested individuals from all walks of life.  These packages are extremely popular modules of information, normally on one (lengthy!) web page – and including a combination of text and video inputs.

Some people like to get a certificate when they study a topic, and some like to study for the sake of learning.  If you want to get a certificate for your studying one of these resource packs, please email further information about the course requirements. Or take a look at the CENT CPD Certificate in Counselling Knowledge:  

...more on Informational Resource packs... 


We offer a range of counselling, coaching and psychotherapy services - in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire - and all over the world via telephone counselling, email counselling and computer-webcam-links.

Our services are based upon the theory and practice of Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT) - which incorporates CBT counseling, depth psychology and humanistic (client centred) approaches to counselling, coaching and therapy.


Counselling and Coaching Quotation No.2: Philosophy of counselling:

What is counselling about? “Counselling represents a unique and invaluable form of support with respect to life in complex societies, through making available a relationship which offers a blame-free safe space for reflection on problems in living, and the development of solutions…” 

John McLeod, Counseling Skill, Page 223. (156).


Narrative counselling asks about the story of the client’s life: “(The) Narrative (approach to counselling) is concerned with the human capacity to tell stories.  We use stories to communicate to each other the important or memorable things that happen to us on an everyday basis.  Within our heads, and in our own lives, each of us lives out a story or stories, and constructs our identity and sense of self through creating a story of our life, our autobiography.  Culturally, the beliefs, value and world-view of a set of people are carried through narrative, in the form of myth, scripture, literature and ‘news’.”

Quotation above from: John McLeod, Counselling Skill, 2007, page 3. (157)





For counselling and coaching help, or for further information, please contact us today,

on 01422 843 629 (from inside the UK); or:

44 1422 843 629 (outside the UK)


Or email; or


If you like the content of this site, please share it with your social networking friends (e.g. at Facebook, Bebo, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc).

Bookmark and Share 


Video Introduction to CENT counselling and therapy: 

For a quick introduction to CENT counselling, as practiced at ABC Coaching and Counselling Services, please watch the following (6 minute, downloadable) video clip, by clicking the screen that follows:


Or click THIS LINK***  



 Some recommended pages:

Creating #Joy: How to be much #happier, right now! An e-book on #happiness by Dr Jim Byrne:

Rethinking the #psychological #models underpinning #Rational #Emotive #Behaviour #Therapy (#REBT).

#Psychoanalysis: A Wounded #Psychotherapist: #Albert #Ellis’s #Childhood and the #strengths and #limitations of #REBT #CBT:

How to #Control Your #Anxiety: A #rational approach using #REBT / #CBT.

#Supervision #services for #counsellors, #psychotherapists and counselling/therapy #students:

#Telephone #counselling – UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, etc, and for English speakers everywhere:   

Beyond #REBT #CBT: The case for moving on.

Country Boy Blues – Growing up in a #crazy #culture: A #Memoir of #Childhood in #Ireland’, by Daniel O'Beeve.

#Membership of the #Institute for #Cognitive #Emotive #Narrative #Therapy (MI-CENT).

Additional limitations of the #ABCs of #REBT.

Chill Out: How to #Control Your #Stress Level, and Have a #Happier #Life: #success.


Resource 11 – How to control your anger

Dr Jim’s essential strategies for managing destructive anger

This program is a high quality, 15-page pamphlet, with 4 supporting video clips, and all for just £6.75 GBP! 

By Dr Jim Byrne


Welcome to this quick and easy process for getting control of your anger, and learning to act more calmly and assertively, rather than aggressively…

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, ABC Coaching and Counselling Services, 2009-2014.  All rights reserved.

Have you got a problem controlling your anger?

Has it damagaed your relationships, your career or your stocial standing? 

The costs of destructive anger

A healthy or reasonable level of anger, when appropriate, can help you to assert yourself constructively with others: to ask for what you want; and to say no to what you don’t want.

However, excessive, destructive anger is bad for you and bad for the people in your life.  And if you rely on aggressive anger to get your own way in the world, it will cost you dearly.

Some of the costs of excessive or inappropriate anger include the following facts:

·         Unhealthy anger destroys your credibility - for example, when you lose your temper at work.  It can lead to demotion, disciplinary meetings and job loss;

·         It damages, and ultimately destroys, relationships at home and at work.  It tends to alienate partners and children irrevocably;

·         Excessive anger damages your health, leading to strokes, damage to your arteries, and heart disease, stomach ulcers, and other stress symptoms;

·         It can lead to road-rage which could end in a fight, a road accident, injury or death on the road, or imprisonment and a criminal record.

·         At the very least, aggressive anger will tend to spoil your relaxation and enjoyment of life; and make you miserably unhappy and socially isolated.

Here’s one example of the cost of unhealthy anger, from Dr Jim’s experience:

“My anger cost me the loss of my girlfriend of three years, whom I love very much…  I’m nowhere close to a violent angry guy.  I’m just vengeful and when you mix that with my insecurities and jealousy, you can see why I lost her…  I’m 99% sure I’m never getting her back but I still think it’s time I fix this about myself.  I hate the fact that I’m like this, getting all pissed off for the smallest thing.  Anyway thanks for the video ... I hope to see improvements really soon”.



For more, please go to the Anger Self-help page.***


Principles of CENT Anger Management Counselling

By Dr Jim Byrne

September 2014


Anger is one of the main emotions that humans feel in certain kinds of stressful situations.  The other two are anxiety and depression.

Anger is the emotion that corresponds to the ‘fight response’ when an animal or human feels threatened, or (in the case of humans), seriously frustrated by another person, or insulted by somebody, or confronted by the bad behaviour of others.

In civilized societies, anger can be appropriate to the circumstances surrounding the angry individual, or excessive and aggressive.

In order to teach our clients how to manage their anger appropriately, we have evolved a set of principles which can help to summarize coping self-talk, and coping actions. 

Here is one such example:

Principle 6: Avoid developing automatic, habitual anger triggers – because some situations that look like they justify anger actually do no such thing.  You may often feel affronted in situations where no affront exists and nothing needs to be done by you.  Some contexts in which doing nothing is called for – in which case you should let it go - include:

(1) Situations of chaos, in which nobody could be expected to have prevented the frustration or difficulty – for example, a busy motorway, or a crowded pavement, and somebody ‘gets in your way!’

(2) Lack of intent to offend on the part of the offending party.  Imagine you are boating on a foggy river.  I big white boat comes out of the fog.  It is heading straight towards your boat, and likely to cause a collision and some damage to your hull.  You become very angry. Then you notice that the boat has nobody on board – it is adrift!

Many people are just like that boat. Nobody on board!  Non-consciousness abounds.  Do not assume intentional offence as your default position. 


For information about our Anger Management self-help resource pack, please go to


Or for anger management counselling with Dr Jim Byrne, please go to the Counselling Division.***



Recommended Pages:

#Manage your #anger better...with #anger #Management #Coaching and #Counselling.

#Counselling in #Hebden #Bridge. #West #Yorkshire:

#Bond and #Dryden (#1996): how to scientifically validate the central hypotheses of #REBT. 

#CENT: How to apply #Cognitive #Emotive #Narrative #Therapy in #Counselling and #Self-help.

Reduce your #anxiety and #panic;...with #counselling and #therapy for all forms of #anxiety. 

Updated: What is #cognitive #emotive #narrative #therapy (#CENT)?

The #Theoretical #Grounding of #CENT #Counselling.

#Counselling and #psychotherapy in #Manchester, UK:

#Fairness, #Justice and #Morality Issues in #REBT and #CENT.

How to #Control Your #Anxiety: A #rational approach using #REBT / #CBT.


Counselling and therapy for depression:
Depression is About Loss and/or Failure; with elements of Hopelessness and/or Helplessness

Depression is a painful, discouraging and draining condition.  Life looks bleak and dull, and bad feelings seem to fill our bodies as well as our minds.  Sometimes individuals become depressed because they get stuck in the grieving process.  That is to say, they lose something or someone significant to them, and thus they need to engage in appropriate sadness.  But they push the sadness away, and get stuck with long term depression instead of short term sadness.  The trick with grief is to feel the sense of loss keenly, and thus to complete it.


Good enough counsellors provide a healing relationship for their counselling clients: How can counselling relationships help the client to grow and have better relationships in the real world?  “In the world according to Bowlby, our lives, from the cradle to the grave, revolve around intimate attachments.  Although our stance toward such attachments is shaped most influentially by our first relationships, we are also malleable.  If our early involvements have been problematic, then subsequent relationships can offer second chances, perhaps affording us the potential to love, feel, and reflect with the freedom that flows from secure attachment.  (Counselling and) psychotherapy, at its best, provides just such a healing relationship”.

Dr David Wallin, Attachment in Psychotherapy, 2007, page 1 (3)


At other times individuals are not clear what they have lost, or how they have failed, because it is all symbolic.  This takes some unravelling, but I can normally help people to identify the triggers that initiated their depression, and also the remedies that will lift the black cloud.  Those remedies have to do with how they see some aspect of their life; how they 'frame it'; how they think and talk about it.  By changing the way it is experienced, they can release the hold of depression and move up into much milder sadness and regret, and then on up into calm serenity.

I can help you to retrieve your old vitality, and to remain active and interested in life. 

For more, please go to Counselling and therapy for depression.***



Here are some video clips to help you to get a flavour of the ABC Coaching and Counselling Services approach to counselling and therapy:

1. This first clip is a brief introduction to Dr Jim Byrne, ABC Coaching and Counselling Services, and the counselling services on offer.2. In this second clip, I describe the importance of taking responsibility for your own life, as the essential foundation for any form of successful counselling process.


3. Here is a brief introduction to Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT), which is the form of counselling and therapy created and used by Dr Jim Byrne.  There are at least 16 videos on the 16 Counselling Videos page.4. This is Part 2 of 'What is Counselling?'  It was produced by me to update my statements about the way I think of counselling.  In particular, I mention the importance of Attachment Theory, and the counsellor being emotionally available to the client.


Coaching and counselling quote No.3: Philosophy of counselling: 

Counselling and therapy are not just about talking.  In the course of therapy, the brain of the client becomes re-wired!  “Good psychotherapy does not just boost self-esteem – it changes brains.  PET scan studies clearly show improved cerebral blood flow after therapy for depression.  Insight-oriented psychotherapy may literally rewire the brain, boosting the synaptic connections that are adaptive and damping the maladaptive ones.  …”  This can protect your brain: “For example, psychological counselling has been shown to prevent second heart attacks in patients with depression”.

Jeff Victorofff MD (2002) Saving Your Brain.  Page 92. (152)



Principles of CENT counselling:

Here is the currently featured principle of Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT):


TenthCENT theory represents the new born baby as containing two fundamental potentials: to develop pro-social and caring attitudes; and to develop anti-social and egotistical attitudes. Part of the process of socialization is to ensure that the new person mainly develops their 'good side' (or what the Native American Cherokee people called the 'good wolf') through the moral teachings of their parents, teachers and others; and that their 'bad wolf' is constrained and contained. (It cannot ever be totally or permanently eliminated. We each contain the capacity for significant levels of 'evil' to the ends of our days!) But the happy functioning of social animals depends upon the extent to which we develop our pro-social, moral virtues, and resist our anti-social, immoral or amoral vices. Some clients are clearly operating mainly from 'good wolf' and some are significantly operating from 'bad wolf'. That latter client group needs coaching in moral philosophy; and encouragement to operate mainly from 'good wolf', for both the sake of their community and the sake of their own happiness.


CENT Counselling begins from the position that our counselling clients have a good side and a bad side to their hearts, and we want to encourage the development of the good: “…Following Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott put before us … the view that there is in human beings the germ of an innate morality which, if given the opportunity to grow, provides in the child’s personality the emotional foundations of moral behaviour.  It is a notion which puts beside the concept of original sin, of which psychoanalysts discover much evidence in the human heart, the concept of original concern for others or original goodness, which, if given favourable circumstances, will gain the upper hand.  It is a cautiously optimistic view of human nature, and one that I believe to be justified”.  But we must never forget that we each continue to have a Bad Wolf state (which may be fed or starved!) for the whole of our human lives!

John Bowlby, (1989/2005) The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds. London: Routledge Classics. Pages 22-23. (39).


From 'What is CENT?', by Dr Jim Byrne - Copyright 2010-2014:


Couples therapy and family relationships
with Dr Jim Byrne 


Counsellors and their clients need to be aware that we humans are delusional beings, who cannot see ourselves objectively: “What people say about themselves can … be very confusing, for the simple reason that most of us aren’t very objective about ourselves.  That’s why, when we measure personality, we don’t just ask people point-blank what they think they are like.  We give them a questionnaire, like the Big Five Inventory, carefully designed to elicit telling responses.  That also why (Prof. John) Gottman doesn’t waste time asking husbands and wives point-blank questions about the state of their marriage.  They might lie or feel awkward or, more important, they might not know the truth”.

Malcolm Gladwell: Blink: The power of thinking without thinking.  (1bii) 

~~~ is where we all begin our lives, and it is crucially important to ensure that the relationships we create for our children are the best possible start in their lives.  It is important to model good communications skills; negotiation of solutions instead of the use of aggression and verbal conflict.  It is also important to each of us to be in loving relationships in which we each get a chance to win, and a chance to support others in winning.  Loving relationships are about give and take.

If you are involved in an unhappy relationship, with parents, siblings, friends, peers, or with a marriage partner or lover, then I can help you to straighten out your communication, and to learn how to get rid of the destructive tendencies that bring a relationship down and produce misery in the lives of all involved.

Call me today, on 01422 843 629 (from inside the UK),

or 44 1422 843 629 (from outside the UK).

I can be consulted by telephone or email from any part of the world;

or face to face in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

Dr Jim Byrne

Doctor of Counselling

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services



For more, please go to Couples Therapy and Relationship Counselling.***


 Recommended Pages:

#Improve your #communication #skills and #succeed with #people... through #counselling processes.

#Counsellor offers #narrative #therapy in #Leeds, #West #Yorkshire:

#Self #acceptance and #other-acceptance in relation to #competence and #morality.

How to #Reduce and #Control Your #Stress Level, and to Have a #Happier #Life: The #CENT approach.

#Reduce your #stress #level... with #stress #management #coaching and #counselling services.

An introduction to the #Six #Windows #Model of #CENT.

How to #Reduce and #Control Your #Stress Level, and to Have a #Happier #Life: The #CENT approach.

#Develop #better #relationships with your loved ones using insights from #counselling and #therapy

A journey through #models of #mind.  The #story of my personal origins. #Narrative #self-therapy:

#CENT: How to apply #Cognitive #Emotive #Narrative #Therapy in #Counselling and #Self-help.


Counselling for greater self confidence and self esteem:

You are OK exactly the way you are

The beginning of our loss of self-confidence is the beginning of the recognition that we are limited in our abilities and skills, and sometimes others perform better than us in certain tasks.  We may also compare our physical appearance, strength, voice, income level, and so on unfavourably with another, and put ourselves down (inappropriately) for our "poor showing".  The destruction of our self-confidence begins when we decide "I am an X and I should be a Y", where X and Y can be any juxtaposed qualities, traits or personality features, or identification with particular behaviours.  The beginning of self-confidence is the recognition that I am okay, and you are okay, just the way we are; and just because we choose to define ourselves in that way.  That we are not our traits or behaviours.  That we are the aliveness that animates these bodies of ours, and that we all have our own "acres of diamonds", or our pools of talents, which we can develop, regardless of what other people think of us or our abilities.

I have helped many people to completely rethink who they are, how they 'show up' in the world, and how they can completely accept themselves as being okay, no matter how they look, sound, walk, or what talents they happen to have or to lack.


 For more on growing your self confidence and improving your self esteem, please go to Improve your self confidence.***



How to be your own counsellor, using Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT).  CENT counselling and self-help principles can be used to tackle any kind of emotional or behavioural problems at any time of year.  However, we can illustrate the power of CENT by showing how it can help to resolve some typical Winter Holiday problems, incluidng Christmas upsets: 

Beat those Christmas Blues!

Emotional First Aid:

How to think your way through problems this Christmas, New Year, Yuletide or Winter Holidays…

By Dr Jim Byrne




This little book represents a First Aid Kit for handling the stresses and strains of the Winter Holidays - (Christmas, New Year, Yuletide, etc.)

Every Christmas / Thanksgiving / Hanukkah / New Year - or what I like to call the Winter Holidays - many individuals become extremely depressed, or angry, or anxius, jealous or envious; or find themselves succumbing to a sense of intolerable loneliness. Most of these disturbances are a result of real disappointments, frustrations, unmet needs and desires, and so on; but many of them could be greatly reduced in intensity by thinking ahead, and getting our expectations in line with reality.  (Easier said than done?  Of course!  But we can teach you how to do that!)


The purpose of this book is to teach you how to anticipate and deal with a range of Winter Holiday problems (which could equally happen at other times of the year), so that, even if you face very real difficulties and deprivations, frustrations and disappointments, you will be able to handle them in such a way that you will not feel miserably unhappy, and you might even manage to enjoy yourself, and have a peaceful and tranquil holiday, despite all the hype, hassle and difficulty.


For more details about this book, please go to Beat those Christmas Blues!***



Featured web pages:

Because this web site has more than 300 pages on counselling and coaching related topics, we have decided to have occasional displays of six featured web pages. Here's the first one:

Couples Therapy and Marriage GuidanceCounselling and Therapy in Hebden Bridge HX7 8HJ, West YorkshireHow Can Counselling Help?
The coaching services offered by Renata Taylor-Byrne   What is Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT)? The Institute for CENT counselling and therapy  


This will hopefully help visitors to find previously concealed material


The ABC Counselling Members’ Club


We are pleased to offer you exclusive membership of the newly formed ABC Counselling Members’ Club, for a modest monthly fee.

Membership of this club entitles you to:

1. Unlimited access to a range of more than 20 self-help and self-study resource pages, covering subjects from ‘What is counselling?’ through ‘What is TA?’ and ‘What is REBT?’, to expert inputs on how to control anger, anxiety and depression; and many others;

2. A monthly Club Newsletter, containing valuable information and advice on various aspects of the field of counselling, psychology, psychotherapy, and self-help;

3. A monthly video presentation, by Dr Jim Byrne, on his latest thoughts, his writing, and his theories.  (These videos will never appear on YouTube – and are exclusively available to ABC Club members).

These informational pages, or packs, have been developed over a number of years through the research work of Dr Jim Byrne – and revised and updated recently - as an expression of his commitment to exploring the philosophy of psychotherapy, and to developing new and creative approaches to the integration of different systems of counselling and therapy.

For further information about this offering, please go to The ABC Counselling Members Club page.***


Recommended Pages:

Improve your #self #confidence and #self #esteem: #confidence #coaching & #counselling #support.

The status of #autobiographical #narratives and #stories: Human #non #conscious #functioning.

The #Theoretical #Grounding of #CENT #Counselling.

How to #analyze #autobiographical #narratives in #Cognitive #Emotive #Narrative #Therapy.

How to #Control Your #Anxiety: A #rational approach using #REBT / #CBT.

Some questions and answers about #Cognitive #Emotive #Narrative #Therapy, and its creator.

Kulchie Kid - A #Memoir of #Childhood in #Ireland by Daniel O'Beeve.

The "#Individual" and his/her #Social #Relationships - The #CENT Perspective.

How to #Reduce and #Control Your #Stress Level, and to Have a #Happier #Life: The #CENT approach.


The Counselling Blog: Dr Jim Byrne aims to publish at least one blog post each week on some subject(s) related to counselling, psychotherpay, psychology, pesonal development, wisdom, ethics, research, and so on...

Here's a recent example:

Blog Post No.104

24th October 2014

Dr Jim’s Counselling Blog: A counsellor blogs about spirituality and counselling

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne 2014



Making sense of life is an endless struggle for each of us as individuals, trying to find, or create, a path through our own lives.  Hopefully, the more we struggle with the Big Questions of life, the more progress we make towards becoming wise.

However, wisdom cannot be measured on any kind of objective scale, or by any kind of ‘verification process’; and one person’s wisdom may be another person’s folly.

Over the past seven years, I have been busy integrating a number of counselling, therapy, philosophy and psychology models together to form Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT): (What is CENT?)

This has been a long and lonely, and tiring process.  (See ‘New Writing on CENT’; and CENT Books and Papers).

Somewhere along the way, about a year or two ago, a colleague who likes to integrate REBT and TA; and who has a background in theology; asked me: Where does CENT stand on the question of Spirituality?

At that time, I had not developed a position on spirituality.  I have practiced Zen meditation since 1980, but as a “refugee” from Irish Catholicism, I was reluctant to look too closely at the question of ‘God’.  I had read M. Scott Peck’s book, ‘The Road Less Travelled’, liked it enormously, apart from the bits about God, which I had to skip to avoid intellectual indigestion. 

Anyway, because the question had been raised – Where does CENT stand on the question of spirituality? – I set about answering it.  This I did here: CENT Counselling and Spirituality.***

Some conclusions


CENT has strands of Zen*** and Stoicism***, as well as elements of moral philosophy***; and Positive Psychology***; but that the CENT form of spirituality is secular.  We do not have any gods, so in that sense we are, like Zen, non-theistic rather than atheistic.  We do not seek to deny the possibility of a god or gods, but we do not advocate the seeking of, or veneration of, any god or gods.

The combined counselling and spiritual goals of CENT involve self-transformation and spiritual enlightenment; and not submission to an external authority, whether human or divine.  However, we do consider that we are inevitably and invariably social beings, dependent upon community and the natural world.  Therefore we must be both ecologically and morally conservationist - conserving and sustaining nature and the human community.


In the second part of that paper, I wrote this:

I want to introduce some ideas from Philip Sheldrake, the author of ‘Spirituality: A very short introduction'.  (Oxford University Press, 2012).  In his conclusion, Sheldrake makes three points:

"First, spirituality expresses the reflective human quest for identity and meaning beyond a purely pragmatic approach to life."

When a person is able to satisfy their basic needs for safety, security and some kind of social connection; some form of work; and so on: they are then likely to focus their minds on the meaning of life:

"Who am I?"  And "what is life all about?", are questions that often come to mind.  Pursuing those questions - plus the Platonic/ Socratic/ Stoic question, of how to live the good life - takes people into that area of contemplation called ‘the spiritual'.  It does not necessarily have to do with gods or goddesses, or afterlives or reincarnation.  But it does involve trying to find some kind of understanding of, and satisfaction with, the transitory and fragmented nature of life for a human ego.

To continue reading this blog, please go to: Dr Jim's Counselling Blog.***


Recommended Pages:

The #Story of #Relationship: Or coming to terms with my mother (and father).

#CENT: How to apply #Cognitive #Emotive #Narrative #Therapy in #Counselling and #Self-help.

#Understanding #Anger in Yourself and Other People: What the #experts say.

The #Theoretical #Grounding of #CENT #Counselling.

Some clarifications of the parting of the ways: An open letter to Dr #Albert #Ellis, on the fourth anniversary of his death.

How to #Control Your #Anxiety: A #rational approach using #REBT / #CBT.

#Completing your #experience of difficult events, perceptions, and #painful #emotions.

#Counselling in #Hebden #Bridge. #West #Yorkshire:


The Foundations of Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT) 

The main papers which laid the foundation for the development of Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT) were as follows:

CENT Paper No.2 (a):

What is Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT)?

By Dr Jim Byrne

Copyright (c) 2009-2013/2014, Jim Byrne

(Updated April 2014)


In this 25 page paper, Dr Jim Byrne describes the nature of Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT).  He introduces the CENT models of the human mind; outlines the basic theory of CENT counselling, by summarizing the nineteen key features, or principles, which characterize this integrative system; lists the seven main models that are used to structure CENT counselling sessions; and ends by describing the CENT therapist's style. 

1. Introduction

"CENT sees humans as essentially story tellers, to ourselves and others, and storytellers who live in a world of narratives and scripts, which include reasonable and unreasonable elements, logical and illogical elements, and defensible and indefensible elements.  Humans often tend to push away (or repress) unpleasant experiences, to fail to process them, and to then become the (unconscious) victims of those repressed, undigested experiences.  CENT also sees adult relationships as being the acting out of childhood experiences with parents and siblings, because some part of those earlier relationships have not been properly digested and completed".  Extract from CENT Counselling: How to apply Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy in counselling and self-help, By Dr Jim Byrne.***

Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT) is a system of counselling and psychotherapy which helps clients to work on their brain-mind-body-and-relationships in order to reduce and control negative or painful emotions and behaviours, like anger, anxiety, depression, stress, self confidence and couple conflict.


CENT integrates Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), Transactional Analysis (TA), Attachment theory, Zen Buddhist philosophy, moral philosophy, and some other cognitive, narrative and dynamic therapies. And CENT goes beyond those systems, to create some original cognitive-emotive techniques, models and perspectives.

CENT is not an eclectic system which has merely bolted elements of different counselling systems together.  It is a truly integrative system which began by revisiting the basic model of the human personality developed by Sigmund Freud and asking: How does this model link up with the ABC model?  What are the necessary implications of assuming that there is substantial truth in both models?  The same process was conducted with Transactional Analysis and cognitive science.  The resulting model was then compared with the implications of the Object Relations School.  Moral philosophy and Zen Buddhism were also interrogated in this process of model building.  That work of model building is described in Papers No.1(a)[1] and No.9[2].


For more on this paper, please go to What is CENT?***


Byrne, J. (2009) An introduction to the 'Windows Model' of CENT.  CENT Paper No.3. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for CENT. Brief extract: The Windows Model is the core model of Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT).  It is predicated on ‘frame theory', which suggests that all of our perceptions are interpretative, and that our interpretations are driven by non-conscious, habit-based ‘framings' of incoming stimuli, through our senses.  The ‘frames' that we use to interpret incoming stimuli are nested sets of inferences, which are derived from past experience.  Depending upon the negativity or positivity of the frame through which you are perceiving an incoming stimulus, you will produce a correspondingly negative or positive emotional/behavioural response.  Pages: 16. Available online: The Six Windows Model of CENT counselling***

Byrne, J. (2009) The "Individual" and his/her Social Relationships - The CENTPerspective.  CENT Paper No.9.  Hebden Bridge: The Institute for CENT.  Brief extract:  This paper begins with a recapitulation of the author’s approach to rethinking the model of the human individual implicit in Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, using some of the core concepts of Freudianism to provide a structure.  Next, the text returns to Freud’s writings to review some of those concepts, and in particular to challenge Feud’s view of human sexuality.  The result is a more general view of power relations between children and parents, and emotional difficulties arising out of those conflicts, rather than through psychosexual stages of development.  The text then reviews the theory and perspective of the Object Relations school of psychology/psychotherapy.  This psychodynamic orientation sees relationship as being central to what life is about.  It is not an optional extra.  Human babies are ‘born to relate’.  Relationship is integral to the survival urges and survival strategies of humans.  Pages: 48. Available online: The roots of the 'individual' are social and relational*** 

For more, please go to the CENT Articles and Papers page.***


Featured video No.1: On counselling and psychotherapy, and related subjects:

Humans are creatures of habit.  Once we develop a set of beliefs, we tend to gather towards us evidence that supports those beliefs, and to push away evidence that undermines those beliefs.  (This is 'the confirmatory bias', in the words of Dr Daniel Kahneman, in his impressive work, 'Thinking Fast and Slow'.)  In this way we become deluded and prejudiced, and biased towards a particular set of beliefs – a particular story or narrative.

In this series of 'featured videos', I want to explore some issues that are relevant to counsellors and counselling clients, including the nature of wisdom, how to become wiser, how to think better, emotional intelligence, and similar subjects.

Here is a quote that helps to indicate the value of continuing to seek wisdom, and to continue to seek an understanding of what wisdom is:

“Wisdom means keeping a sense of the fallibility of all our views and opinions, and of the uncertainty and instability of the things we most count on”.  Gerald Brennan.

Today, I will continue this series of videos by offering you one of my own video-logs:

From Plato to the ABC Model:

Models of Mind for Counsellors and Psychotherapists - Part 1

A video presentation by Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling 

Dr Jim Byrne explains his rationale for working on Models of Mind.  He has found it necessary to explore these models in order to better understand the mind of the counselling client, especially those who come to him for help.  He also talks about some of the weaknesses and errors in some existing models of mind - including the idea of the "core of goodness"; and the way the ABC model leaves out of account the body of the client; their diet; physical exercise; and so on.  He talks about Freud's models, especially the Eros and Thanatos model; and Plato's tripartite model which uses the metaphor of a charioteer and two horses to describe the mind's 'agencies'.  Dr Byrne relates many of these ideas back to the theories of Dr Albert Ellis.

To view this video clip, please click on the screen image below:


Or Click on this link.***

For information on CENT papers, please go to:

For information about Dr Jim Byrne, please go to  and/or


Counsellors who engage in regular meditation may be able to be more helpful to their clients, by being more attuned to them: “Bishop (and others, 2004) report that in a mindful state, (counselling) practitioners are better able to observe thoughts, feelings, and sensations dispassionately and without attachment.  This dispassionate state of self-observation, according to Bishop (and others), may introduce a delay between one’s perceptions and response.  Mindfulness (including meditation – JWB) may therefore enable practitioners to respond to situations more reflectively”. 

Steven Hick and Thomas Bien, Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Relationship.  2010, page 15.  (1)


 Principles of Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT) – 3


Albert Ellis, the creator of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) was keen to argue that childhood experience has little or no effect upon the personality of the individual.  He had a naïve view of the individual counselling client as being both conscious and free to choose their own beliefs and actions, unconstrained by the past.  (I have done an analysis of Ellis's childhood, and found the source of his own attachment problems which led pretty well inevitably to his theory of psychotherpay.  See: The Childhood of Albert Ellis.***)

In CENT we do not make those mistakes.  Our principle number 3 says:

“…, the first five or six years of life are taken to be determinants of what kind of life the individual will live.  Very largely, the narratives, scripts and frames that the child learns and forms during this period – which manifests in the form of moods and emotional states, expectations, beliefs and habitual patterns of behaviour - will determine its trajectory through life, all other things being equal.  There is, of course, some degree of malleability of the human mind, and so what was once shaped badly (by relationship experiences) can to some extent be reshaped into a better form by subsequent ‘curative experiences’, with a love partner or with a counsellor or psychotherapist.”

One of the ways that we apply this principle is to help clients with particularly bad childhood experiences to both write the story of what they know of their childhood, so they can ‘complete those experiences’, and also we help them to ‘cut the ties’ to parents who were not ‘good enough’.  See these two papers:

Byrne, J. (2010) The Story of Relationship: Or coming to terms with my mother (and father).  CENT Paper No.10.  Hebden Bridge: The Institute for CENT.  Available online:

Byrne, J. (2011) Completing your experience of difficult events, perceptions and painful emotions.  CENT Paper No.13.  Hebden Bridge: The Institute for Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy.  Available online:

And of course, we also serve as parent-substitutes and good attachment objects for our counselling clients, in the beginning of therapy; progressing towards being supportive and informative companions towards the end of therapy.



A new book on the childhood of Albert Ellis and the impact of his suffering on the shape of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT)

A_Wounded_Psychother_Cover_for_Kindle.jpg‘A Wounded psychotherapist’ is the latest book by Dr Jim Byrne.  It is an analysis of both the childhood of Dr Albert Ellis (the creator of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy [REBT]), and how some of those childhood experiences most likely gave rise to certain features of his later philosophy of psychotherapy.  If you have ever wondered what the roots of REBT might have been, then this is the book for you.  it explores the childhood difficulties of Albert Ellis, and links those difficulties forward to the ways in which REBT was eventually shaped.  It also identified the strengths and weaknesses of REBT, and proposes an agenda for reform of this radical system of psychotherapy.To read more, please go to: A Wounded Psychotherapist: Albert Ellis’s childhood and the strengths and limitations of REBT.***



Q&A Mini-paper No.C101

An Introduction to Counselling

by Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, University of Manchester

8th October 2013      


This mini-paper includes a reflective review of Chapter 1 of a specific book on counselling, which is commonly used in counsellor training.  Here are the book's details:

McLeod, John (2003) An Introduction to Counselling.  Third Edition.  Buckingham: Open University Press. Pages 1-19.


Dr McLeod's seventeen page introduction is, in my opinion, slightly too long and detailed to be optimally useful for getting a quick overview of the answer to the question: What is counselling?

I have therefore boiled it down to four pagesin an effort to distil the essence of Dr McLeod's message.  I began by taking notes and then thinking through the various elements of his presentation, to arrive at an optimal structure for my presentation of his insights and conclusions. 

Next, I wrote a four page summary of his chapter; and then boiled that summary down to the following one-paragraph summary.

(I also answered some of the post text questions and sub-questions, and I have appended them at the end of this mini-paper).


Click the link above, or the screen below, to view this video clip


Brief summary

Counselling is a process which begins when a person (the client) approaches a professionally trained person (the counsellor) for help with a problem of everyday living.  The counsellor actively listens and works collaboratively with the client to help the client to arrive at a satisfactory resolution of their problem.  That covers the person centred approach.  To adequately cover the two other major schools of thought in counselling, we must also add: A psychodynamic counsellor will look for the roots of the client's problems in their early childhood experiences (as well as how the handle their current thinking, feeling and behaviour) - and help them to digest previously undigested experiences.  On the other hand, a cognitive-behavioural counsellor will look for the roots of the client's problem in their current approach to thinking and behaving in response to their environment - and encourage them to change their system of beliefs about troublesome aspects of their environment.

...End of extract.


For more, go here: What is counselling, and how is it done?***


Counselling and coaching quotation No.4: Strike while the iron is hot!

The quality of the relationship between the counsellor and the client is the single most important predictor of positive outcomes in counselling practice: “Among the most consistent findings of psychotherapy outcome research is that the therapeutic relationship is vital in contributing to client progress.  Even recent technological developments in neuroscience support the importance of developing and maintaining a therapeutic relationship through activation of areas of the brain related to the attachment system…”

Lambert and Simon, in Steven Hick and Thomas Bien, Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Relationship.  2010, page 19.  (7)



Recommended Pages:

The #psychology and #philosophy of #happiness.

How to #Reduce and #Control Your #Stress Level, and to Have a #Happier #Life: The #CENT approach.

What is the #CENT approach to #Narrative #Therapy?

#CENT: How to apply #Cognitive #Emotive #Narrative #Therapy in #Counselling and #Self-help.

#Counselling for #Health (1): #Chronic #Pain - How #Tim #Parks' journey can help us to #heal.

#Telephone #counselling – UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, etc, and for English speakers everywhere:  

The #Theoretical #Grounding of #CENT #Counselling.

#Counselling for #Health (2) - #Exercise is good for your #body, #brain and #general #health.

#Counselling for #Health (3): How Your #Mind Can #Heal Your #Body.



Principles of CENT Couples Therapy:


Here is the currently featured principle of Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy for happy relationships:

10. Couples are either in (1) a state of occasional dissatisfaction (or ‘reasonable upset); (2) a state of disturbance (or over-upset); or (3) are experiencing an emerging incompatibility.  Dissatisfaction is normal some but not all of the time: i.e. occasional sadness, disappointment, frustration, etc.  Disturbance is due to irrational beliefs interacting with noxious activating events: e.g. anger, rage, hostility, depression, intense jealousy, etc.  And emerging incompatibilities mean you no longer seem to have an adequate basis for the continuation of your relationship. 

    However, regarding incompatibility, it is important to know about what Dr Erich Fromm said about incompatibility.  He argued, in The Art of Loving, that perfect compatibility is impossible, and that seeking perfect compatibility is a good way to avoid intimate relationships totally.  Rather we should seek to establish relationships with individuals with whom we are broadly compatible, and to learn to tolerate the ways in which they deviate from perfect compatibility – theirimperfections of fit with our values/goals/beliefs/expectations.

For information on our Couples Therapy Self-Help Resource, please go to


Or, to find out about couples counselling with Dr Jim Byrne, please go to The Counselling Division.***



Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy - Articles and papers

Jim-in-Harrogate-001.jpgFree Papers on Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT)

There are now 27 papers on various aspects of the theory and practice of Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT) available on this page.

This includes 9 papers on REBT (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy), under the heading "The REBT birth-mark on the embryo of CENT"*** click here...

Updated: 7th July 2014: 

CENT Paper No.25 was recently added... On the subject of good and evil...

We are currently working on CENT Paper No.26, which is a review of models of mind by major theorists from Plato, through Freud, Jung, Adler, and the behaviourists, cognitive behaviourists, object relations and attachment theory, and on and on...  Watch this space; or go to for a preview... 



What is Counselling?



About Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling



Counselling and Therapy in Hebden Bridge HX7 8HJ, West Yorkshire



Couples Therapy and Marriage Guidance



Information Pack regarding Jim Byrne's face-to-face counselling services...



How Can Counselling Help?



16 videos on counselling



Counselling Research



Jim's Counselling Week: A counsellor blogs



Telephone Counselling


Coaching and counselling quote No.3: Philosophy of counselling: 

Re-parenting is a hugely important part of counselling and therapy for people with attachment problems from childhood.  For example:  “Ferenczi came to believe that, if change is to occur (in counselling and therapy), then the infantile situations should be ‘re-lived’, but with a difference – a difference directly experienced by the client.  The (counsellor/therapist), as a parent-substitute (unlike the real parent), should supply personal warmth and acceptance.  There is a need for an antidote in a new situation, given by a parent who is genuinely and vividly tender”. 

Robert F. Hobson, Forms of Feeling: The heart of psychotherapy, Page 212. (109)


The post-Freudian psychodynamic approach to counselling emphasizes the way the past experiences of the client distort their present, through the operations of the non-conscious part of their mind:  “People find themselves in relationships or in situations, even in relation to themselves, which are unproductive but somehow compulsive, leaving them in pain, (or) tense, (and) confused.  They simply can’t understand it.  And their failure in understanding has to do with the fact that the motivation behind (their relationships, actions and attitudes) is often unknown; they are (in fact) unconscious feelings, experiences, and intentions which were relegated to the unconscious because they were painful at the time (when they originally occurred).  They remain there, shut off from modification or reality-testing by later experience”.

Brigid Proctor (1978) Counselling Shop: An introduction to the theories and techniques of ten approaches to counseling.  London: Burnett Books.  Page 25. (110)




Email Counselling - with Dr Jim Byrne



The five main counselling services



Seven counselling specialisms



The ABC Coaching Division



About Renata Taylor-Byrne



The coaching services offered by Renata Taylor-Byrne



Renata's  coaching fees...



Contact Renata Taylor-Byrne



Search this site



What is #Cognitive #Emotive #Narrative #Therapy (CENT)?


Understanding the mind of the counselling client:

CENT Paper No.26 on Models of Mind

Annex D1 – Primary process (or innate processing capability); non-narrativized elements of the self; and what we can learn from the approach/avoidance problem

By Dr Jim Byrne

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 17th September 2014


1. Introduction


In my 2009 paper[1] on the nature of the human individual, as conceived or hypothesized in Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT), I adopted two basic approaches to describing, illustrating or modelling the human mind.  Those two elements were as follows:

(a) Illustrations: A range of graphical models (or illustrations), which began by adding back the human body to the ABC model of REBT; and then proceeded to add back the social environment as a primary formative element of the baby’s brain-mind.  (See Figures 2 and, below).  Plus:

(b) Verbal description: A summary statement (or verbal description) of those elements that I could use to define or describe my ‘self’ (as a typical human being), based on my studies of psychology, elements of cognitive science neuroscience, and philosophy. (See Addendum 2 below).  From this statement, we can infer the nature of any human being.

In order to keep refining my own understanding of the nature of human beings, I tend to review the graphical models from time to time; and I review the ‘summary statement’, or verbal description, almost every day. 

…End of extract.

To keep reading, please go to New Writing on CENT.***


[1] Byrne, J. (2009) The ‘Individual’ and its Social Relationships - The CENT Perspective.  CENT Paper No.9.  Hebden Bridge: The Institute for CENT.  Available online:

Counsellors must have a good model of the counselling client's mind:

Annex D2: How Freud refined Plato’s Tripartite Model of the Psyche: and Jim Byrne updated them both

By Dr Jim Byrne

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2014

25th September 2014 



There is an apparent mystery in the fact that Plato developed a tripartite (or three-part) model of the human mind, but could not satisfactorily account for the nature of the third element – the ‘Spirited’ part of the person – also called ‘the Black Horse’.

There is an equal mystery around the fact that Freud developed a tripartite model of the human mind, but in practice could operationalize only two parts: the ‘horse’ and the ‘rider’.  However, using the horse and rider model took Freud back to before Plato’s innovation; to a time in ancient India when they used the ‘elephant’ and the ‘rider’ as analogies for their understanding of the two components of the human mind.


This is how I described Plato’s model, in Appendix A:

“Plato’s tripartite model of the mind, or soul, is essentially quite simple.  He sees the mind as being split between competing powers, like a charioteer striving to control two conflicted horses. The charioteer is the reasoning faculty in the individual.  The more materialistic ‘horse’ is an expression of our most basic appetites, or our appetitive self.  The third element is a bit more complex.

“Plato’s story is long and involved, but, reading between the lines, and reading from several sources, over a number of years, I have reduced his story of the horses and the charioteer to a simple formula.  This is how it goes: Imagine a charioteer (Reason) who has two horses as his sources of pulling power, and they often wish to pull in conflicting directions. The function of the charioteer is to control and regulate the two horses.  The first horse (Spirit or wilfulness) is represented as being black (and sometimes as a tiny image of a lion); and the second horse (Appetite or desire) is represented as being white (and sometimes as a tiny beast).  The charioteer (Reason – represented by a tiny human form) is assumed to have the best chance of being in control if s/he can form an alliance with spirit/will against appetite. (Plato 1999; and Plato 2007)[1].”


Plato’s model makes a lot of sense, in at least two of the elements.  We each have an appetitive part – our desire for food, drink, sex, rest, companionship, status, and so on, is beyond dispute.  We also all seem to have some capacity to reason about our goals and desires; to weigh up the pros and cons; to consider the risks; and so on.  This capacity for reason is often exaggerated, and we often fail to notice just how much we all function as creatures of habit, driven by our desires and appetites.

To those two elements are not controversial.  However, the third element is very hard to relate to relate to.

I have wrestled with this problem for some time, and recently had an insight that cuts through the Gordian knot: Plato’s epistemology prevented him seeing that what he thought of as the ‘spirited horse’ is the same element that Freud was pointing to when he talked about the ‘over-I’ – the internalized mother/father – which English translators rendered as ‘the superego’.


To keep reading this annex, please go to Annex D2: Freud and Plato.***


Zen Tigers and Strawberry Moments



Counselling processes need the support of Attachment theory...



About David Wallin's book: 'Attachment in Psychotherapy'



Counselling needs the support of physical exercise: reviewing the benefits



Accepting and learning from our problems



Philosophy, Happiness and Success



Maps of Halifax and Hebden Bridge and route planner:



Contact Dr Jim Byrne



Contact Renata Taylor-Byrne



Confidence Coaching



Kulchie Kid: Growing up in a crazy culture, by Daniel O'Beeve...



Counselling for Chronic Pain



Stress and anxiety diet used in CENT counselling

Philosophy of counselling and psychotherapy:

Annex D3(a): Some contrasts between the psychological theories of Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein and Jim Byrne (CENT) - Part 1

By Dr Jim Byrne, 27th October 2014

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, October 2014


In this document, I want to look at some differences between Freud, Klein and CENT theory.  In particular I want to explore:


1. Sigmund Freud’s view that the father had a greater impact on the development of the child than did the mother. 

It turns out that this highly counter-intuitive conclusion came out of his theory of psychosexual stages of development, in which Freud infers that the son wants to kill his father and to marry his mother (a highly unlikely state of affairs, as a general human pattern), and that, when the father defeats the son’s sexual ambitions, the son acquires a super-ego (or set of rules from the father) and enters a period of sexual latency, until puberty. 

(Freud inferred this unlikely universal scenario from his own ‘disguised dreams’ of lusting after his own mother!)

2. Melanie Klein’s view that the mother is a more important influence on the child than is the father. 

This is intuitively obvious, because of the physical proximity of the mother and baby; the history of daily caring for the baby by the mother; and the relatively substantial absence of the father from the child’s young life.  But Klein seems to fail to fully grasp the power of the mother to affect the feelings of the child.  Instead, she focuses upon the child’s alleged tendency to create internal phantasies about internalized objects, which exist in internal tension with each other.  In this way she downgrades the significance of the external environment (in a way which parallels the later Albert Ellis’s overemphasis on the greater power of beliefs over external stimuli).


3. Some commentators have emphasized how nice and friendly Melanie Klein was to everybody. But should we assume that Klein is thus a sensitive mothering type, who will care for her own children. 

If we do we will be mistaken; for she attributes her own sons upset and anxiety, following one of her long periods away from him, to his unaccountable phantasies, and not to his very real loss of his sense of connection to her.  And it will not be until Dr John Bowlby comes along with his attachment theory revolution, breaking away from Klein, that there is any serious advocacy of sensitive caring for children in the history of psychoanalysis. (And for his sensitive caring about children, he was ostracized for decades (!) by all the ‘real analysts’, who accused him of abandoning analysis!)

4. REBT/CBT takes us back before the time of Bowlby to a relatively insensitive approach to children; blaming them for their own upsets. 

Just as Freud and Klein saw children as being upset by their phantasies about their parents; Albert Ellis saw all human beings as upsetting themselves by their beliefs about the world, and not as the victims of the actions of others; or the ‘shape’ of the world; such as unequal power relations, class divisions, poverty, relegation to boarding school, lack of love and affection, and so on. 

To continue reading this document, please go to New Writing on CENT Counselling.***


A Story of Origins - by Dr Jim Byrne - Applied narrative therapy in therapeutic writing



CENT Paper No.5: The Status of Autobiographical Narratives and Stories in CENT writing therapy



CENT Paper No.6: How to analyze autobiographical narratives in CENT writing therapy



CENT Paper No.10: My Story of Relationship Attachment - or how I came to terms with my mother



Narrative Therapy - What is the CENT approach to narrative counselling?



Narrative Therapy & Writing Therapeutic Narratives



How to meditate - A brief introduction



Zen Buddhist ideas used in CENT counselling



Meditation can reduce stress and combat depression...

Blog Post No.110

17th November 2014

Dr Jim’s Counselling Blog: A counsellor writes about…

Writing time; Freud and infantile sexuality; Knitting a personality…

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2014


1. Introduction


Life is pleasantly busy, and I am making gradual progress with some of my writing assignments.

On Sunday afternoon I did half the new writing I needed to do on my piece about Freud and infantile sexuality (more below).

One exciting development is this: In future, I will set aside one week each month for my writing projects (including any fiction I want to write).  I begin next week.  Unfortunately, I will not get any of my own personal writing done for a couple of weeks, because of my commitment to edit Daniel O’Beeve’s latest edition of his memoir.***


2. Freud (1926) on infantile sexuality


I have almost finished my work on Freud’ theory of psychosexual stages of development.  Here’s a brief extract as a ‘taster’:

Freud did not discover the ‘unconscious’ – or the non-conscious functioning of humans.  It was around in the work of philosophers and poets before him – and French psychiatrist Pierre Janet had written about it.  What Freud claimed as his innovation was that he invented a process for exploring the unconscious.  This involved the analysis of dreams, slips of the tongue, and the statements made by his patients.

However, in CENT theory, we teach that the non-conscious levels of mind are “permanently beyond direct conscious inspection” – and this conclusion is based upon what we know about the limitations of the mind to introspect into itself.  (Gray (2003), Gladwell (2006), Maier (1931), Bargh and Chartrand (1999), Haidt (2001), Byrne (2014a) and many others)[1].

Freud was wrong to think that he could delve into the unconscious processes of his patients, because all he had was his (reasonable or unreasonable)interpretations of what it might mean that the client tells a particular story in therapy.  “It might mean (this)…” – that would be reasonable.  However, “It might mean (that)…”.  But we can never get inside the ‘sealed box’ of the ‘adaptive unconscious’ (Gladwell, 2006) to check the contents against the story.

Before 1897, at which point Freud was analysing his own dreams, he had theorized that all of his hysterical patients had actually been sexually abused.  But the processes that he had used to arrive at that conclusion were highly flawed and not at all reliable.  (See Byrne, 2014b)[2].

For more, please go to Counselling Blog No.110.*** 


The ABCs of REBT applied to Anxiety



The Complex ABC Model of REBT counselling and therapy



Debating and disputing irrational beliefs in REBT counselling practice



REBT and Research



Who Controls You? An article about the ABCs of REBT, by Wayne Froggatt



The Essence of REBT, by Dr Albert Ellis



E: An effective new philosophy for counselling clients



Asking the counselling client for a problem to work on...



What is Transactional Analysis, and how is it used in CENT counselling?



#Transactional #Analysis #counselling (TA), and Reality Therapy

Counsellors, psychologists and psychotherapists need to understand the Freudian roots of modern theories of human disturbance:

Annex 6 to Appendix B:

Freud's theory of psychosexual stages of childhood development – Consideration and rejection

Copyright (c) Dr Jim Byrne, 2014

1. Introduction


I have previously written about Feud’s position on sexual matters – the so-called ‘psychosexual stages of development’ – in Byrne (2009)[[1]], as follows:

‘In theory, Freud's model could have been developed to inquire into how the socialization processes in general resulted in a particular kind of ego development; how tensions could build up between the three components of the model from many sources to do with power, distorted perceptions, maladjustment of relational factors between parents and their children; and so on.  However, Freud narrowed his focus down to one phenomenon: the sexual history, and especially sexual maladjustments. 

‘This is how he announced his conclusion:

"I now learned from my rapidly increasing experience that it was not any kind of emotional excitation that was in action behind the phenomena of neurosis but habitual ones of a sexual nature, whether it was a current sexual conflict or the effect of earlier sexual experiences": (Freud, 1995)[[2]]. 

He then went back and re-examined his earlier patients’ records and came to the conclusion that:

"I was ... led into regarding the neuroses as being without exception disturbances of the sexual function, the so-called ‘actual neuroses' being the direct toxic expression of such disturbances and the psychoneuroses their mental expression.  My medical conscience felt pleased at my having arrived at this conclusion". (ibid, page 15).


2. Sex as the sole distressor

And just in case you want to allow that Freud may have modified his position somewhat in a later publication, no such thing ever happened.  Indeed, in Freud (1926) – about a decade before his death – he announced that no psychoanalyst had ever found a case of neurosis which had not been caused by sex. (Page 27).  And this text (Freud, 1926) was selected by Anna Freud (1986/2005), after his death, to be prominent among the texts she recommended as a curriculum for studying his psychoanalytic theory ([3]).


To continue reading this document, please go to New Writing on CENT Counselling - Freud's Errors!***


The Institute for CENT counselling and therapy 



Quick Intro to the Six Windows Model of CENT counselling



CENT Paper No.3: An Introduction to the Six Windows Model of CENT counselling



I-CENT Publications: articles, papers and books on counselling related topics



How to apply CENT in counselling and self-help: an ebook



Chapter 1: What is CENT?



Some questions and answers about CENT counselling



What is Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT)?



About Dr Albert Ellis - Creator of REBT Counseling



Misunderstandings about the simple A>B>C model of REBT counselling