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

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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!


Counselling and Coaching Quotation No.1: Philosophy of counselling: 

Transactional Analysis (TA) counselling recognises that an individual can change their emotional state by changing their behaviour: “…the most radical idea of (Dr Eric) Berne’s was that you could actually cure people of their emotional problems by showing them how to act differently with each other in their social transactions, rather than by helping them to understand why they were emotionally disturbed”.

Claude Steiner, Achieving Emotional Literacy, 1997, page 4. (35)



Counselling and coaching work:

The solution to your problem is here! 


Our services are organized as follows:

# Dr Jim’s counselling and psychotherapy services:


Face-to-face counselling  in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire;  Dr-Jims-office.jpg

By telephone all over the world;

By email all over the world;

Via Skype/webcam all over the world.




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***  


# Renata’s coaching and counselling service:

Face to face in Hebden Bridge: Two appointment slots (sometimes) available: Monday 10.00am and Tuesday 4.0pm. First come, first served!

What is Coaching? A video clip by Renata Taylor-Byrne:



Click the image above, or click the following link to see this video clip at YouTube: What is Coaching.*** 


# Dr Jim’s specialisms:


1. Couples therapy:
Face to face couples therapy in Hebden Bridge; or via email, telephone or Skype;


Self-help resource pack for successful relationships.





2. Anger management counselling:

Face to face anger management in Hebden Bridge; or via telephone counselling or via Skype/webcam;


Self-help resource pack for managing anger.


3. Anxiety, panic, OCD or depression:

Face to face counselling in Hebden Bridge; or via telephone; or by Skype/webcam connection; for anxiety, panic, OCD;


Self-help resource pack for anxiety;


Face to face counselling in Hebden Bridge; or via telephone; or by Skype/webcam connection; for depression;


Self-help resource pack for depression.


4. Other specialisms include: confidence and self-esteem; stress management; communication skills:

Please click to go to The Counselling Division for details.


Counselling and therapy related publications:


1. Books on Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT) related subjects – including Stress, Happiness, Coping with the Christmas Blues, The Childhood of Albert Ellis, and the childhood of Daniel O’Beeve.



2. Articles and papers on Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT) – including a few on Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT); the social roots of the human individual; the CENT approach to narrative counselling, reframing, and models of the human mind.


Other features:

1. New Writing on CENT.

2. Dr Jim’s Counselling Blog. Updated...

3. We currently are playing host to the Institute for CENT.


4. Links and resources.


5. Site map.




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

Many counselling clients are suffering from ‘status distress’, as they measure themselves against the earning-power, possessions, visual appearance and celebrity of their peers and neighbours: “We have become absolutely obsessed with measuring ourselves and others through the distorted lens of (crass materialist) Affluenza values.  Those values are nothing new.  They go back at least as far as 10,000 BC, ever since the introduction of private property.  They were more or less rife amongst the elites of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Rome, not to mention the course of European monarchs in subsequent centuries.  What has changed fundamentally is that since the 1970s, they have become ubiquitous.  The great majority of people in English-speaking nations (Britain, America, Australia, Canada, Singapore) now define their lives through earnings, possessions, appearances and celebrity, and those things are making them miserable because they impede the meeting of our fundamental needs”. 

Oliver James (2007) Affluenza: How to be successful and stay sane.  Page xvi. (37)





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).

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Eighteen Key Principles of Happy Relationships taught in CENT Couples Therapy

By Dr Jim Byrne

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, ABC Coaching & Counselling Services, 2009-2015



If you are looking for insights into the principles of couples therapy, or marriage guidance counselling; or how to manage an effective sex-love relationship; then this document is a good place to begin.

Over a period of more than sixteen years, working with married and co-habiting couples, I have identified a number of key problems with the way individuals and couples understand (or, rather, misunderstand) what a relationship is.  Because they define relationship inaccurately, they often have grossly unrealistic expectations of their partner and their relationship.

There are many ways to define relationship, and almost any conscious definition is better than allowing yourself to use your infantile – built in childhood – non-conscious model of relationship, now that you are an autonomous adult. 

Back in the late 1970s, Werner Erhard came up with a three part definition of relationship, which is a good starting point, and which went like this:

(a)        A relationship is an understanding and being aware of another person’s way of being.  That is to say, a relationship is the condition of understanding and being aware of another person. (Notice there is no “entitlement” to anything in this statement!)

(b)        Successful relationships are based on agreed on goals.  That does not mean that my partner must agree to my goals, or vice versa.  Instead it means, I support my partner in pursuing her goals; and she supports me in pursuing mine. (Notice there are no “sergeant majors” in this statement; no “directors”; no “leaders” and “led”!)

(c)         If you want to have a really powerful relationship with anybody, you have got to stop making them wrong.  And making them wrong means describing them as being bad/wrong when their ideas/values/goals/behaviours deviate from our idea of what they should be! (Separate the person from the problem; talk about the problem in terms of your interests, not your positions; and aim for compromises and trade-offs, not victories and win-lose outcomes).

If you were to review those three elements of definition, over and over and over again, day after day, week after week, and month after month, you would eventually develop a capacity for relationship which was extraordinary – in the top five percent of the population of the world!  But more importantly, you would be in a durable relationship, and you and your partner would be happy![1] (How do I know that this is the case?  Because that is what I did, back in 1984-86, and that is the kind of relationship I – in cooperation with my wife - was able to build as a result!)

In the process you would have moved into that area of human functioning which was defined by Dr Erich Fromm as: Respect for your partner; Taking responsibility for your side of the relationship; and: Showing care for your partner.

The principles outlined above are very important, but I also wanted to add some of the key gems of wisdom that I have discovered about how to develop successful relationship skills.

[1] For more insights into couple relationships, please see my Couples Therapy page, at


CENT Couples Therapy: Principles, insights and techniques for successful relating

by Dr Jim Byrne 

Over the more than sixteen years, during which I have been providing couples therapy and marriage guidance counselling, I have tried to identify the most helpful insights on managing happy, loving relationships; and I have passed these on to my couple-clients.  At the last count, I had collected, and/or developed, eighteen principles, or things you can do, which make the biggest and quickest contribution to improving your capacity to manage a happy couple relationship.  (The number eighteen does not include those principles mentioned above).  

Let me now present one such principle of couples therapy: 

1. A marriage is a "house" that is built every day.  What actions did you consciously take to build the "house" of your marriage today?

    When you wake up in the morning, remind yourself that all you have is  ‘the foundations’ of a relationship.  You now have to build that relationship all over again; every single day.  The house of your relationship is never complete.  You can never ‘clock off’.

    A relationship is not something you HAVE, it is something you DO!  It is a process rather than a thing.

    If you go to sleep in your relationship, you will wake up to find it has collapsed from want of repair.  Having destructive arguments with your partner about who is right and who is wrong, and especially who is ‘top dog’ and who is ‘under dog’, is equivalent to trying to polish the walls of your “house” with sledge hammers!  You will wreck it in no time.  So I ask again:

    What actions did you consciously take today to build the “house” of your relationship?

    What actions did you take to stop swinging the wrecking ball against the walls of your relationship?

Copyright (c) Dr Jim Byrne, 2015 

For more information on how to consult me, please go to The Counselling Division.*** 

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***  



Principles of CENT Anger Management Counselling

By Dr Jim Byrne


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 CENT counselling 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 9: In Rational Emotive therapy, the main target for anger-reduction is this:

Give up demanding that you ABSOLUTELY must not be frustrated, insulted or wronged.

It may often, or even normally, be the case that you MORALLY should not be frustrated by others, insulted by them, or wronged by them.

But we live in a world of imperfect fellow humans, and each of us has a good side and a bad side.  So, as Marcus Aurelius used to teach, you should tell yourself each morning:

“Today I am going to run into all kinds of difficult, offensive, challenging, frustrating, insulting, malicious, untrustworthy and overbearing individuals.  All of these states have been visited upon them because they (often) lack clarity about the nature of real Good and Evil!”

If you are thus forewarned; forearmed; you will not be surprised when a sleep-deprived individual - who still has too much alcohol washing around in their brain; and who had a big conflict with their partner before leaving home – pops up in front of you in a way that frustrates or insults you.

Let it go!  You already knew you would run into him or her!  Do you want to demonstrate that you are just as stupid, uncivilized and evil as they are proving to be? 


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.***



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 clients should be told that facing up to legitimate, unavoidable suffering is much less painful, in the longer term, than trying to run away from suffering: “The tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human (emotional distress).  Since most of us have this tendency to a greater or lesser degree, most of us are (emotionally distressed) to a greater or lesser degree, lacking complete ‘mental health’ (or emotional wellbeing).  Some of us will go to quite extraordinary lengths to avoid our problems and the suffering they cause, proceeding far afield from all that is clearly good and sensible in order to try to find an easy way out, building the most elaborate fantasies in which to live, sometimes to the total exclusion of reality.  In the succinctly elegant words of Carl Jung, ‘Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering’.”

M. Scott Peck (1983/1990) The Road Less Travelled: The new psychology of love, traditional values and spiritual growth.  Pages 14-15. (33).



Writing therapy and reading therapy... 

Fictional writing of interest to counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists, philosophers, coaches, teachers and trainers; and especailly people who deal with children, or with adults who had a difficult childhood.

It is well known that writing about traumatic experiences is an effective form of self-therapy. It is less well known that reading fiction can improve your emotional intelligence.  

Daniel O'Beeve's new book combines those elements.  He used the writing of his autobiography to work on his own process of becoming his own counsellor; and now he is sharing his story with the world, to help others to benefit from exploring his journey.  This is the new title: 

The Mysterious Roots of Half a Life

An autobiographical novel

By Daniel O’Beeve


Edited by Dr Jim Byrne




I was delighted, some four years ago, to be chosen by Daniel O’Beeve to edit and publish the story of his fascinating life.  In particular, I was very happy that Daniel had been influenced by some of my writings about my own childhood.  This encouraged him to take the bull by the horns, and face up to the highly dysfunctional family history which had distorted most of his life.  By writing the story of his life, he hoped to dispel some of his demons; and also to help others to come to terms with some quite common human problems and difficulties.

Initially, we published the first eighteen years of his life, which was sub-edited by BM, a mutual friend in Brighton.  (I am still very grateful to BM for that favour!)

However, Daniel has become unhappy with that cut-off point, and he has now extended the story to a more satisfying end point, where he is between thirty-five and forty years of age.  In the process, he tells us, he also had to shift from pure memoir, with a few fictional pieces, to a more fictionalized autobiographical format.  The whole story now has more of the feel of an autobiographical novel.


Dr Jim Byrne, Hebden Bridge, January 2015 - Updated again on 17th February 2015


For more, please go to The Mysterious Roots page.***


Principles of CENT counselling and psychotherapy

By Dr Jim Byrne

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2015

If you want to review the general theory of CENT counselling, then please go to What is CENT?***

CENT was developed by this author over many years of study and application, in private practice with almost 800 clients.

Here I would like to present just one key features of CENT, which I will update from time to time:

CENT-Institute2.JPGFirstly, we do not make the mistake of extrapolating from adult functioning in order to understand the psychology of human nature.  Instead, we begin with the baby in the mother’s womb (where the mother may be more or less stressed, and more or less well nourished, depending upon the actual circumstances of her life).  We then move on to the baby post-birth, which is colonized by a carer (normally mother) who may be more or less sensitive to the baby’s signals of comfort and discomfort; more or less responsive to the baby’s needs; and more or less caring.  And we also take account of how stressed the mother was, by her life circumstances, even before the baby was conceived.  These are the foundations of human psychological functioning.  And out of these foundations we develop an attachment style…



Blog Post No.119

Saturday 21st February 2015

Dr Jim’s Counselling Blog: A counsellor blogs about ‘Living in the Present’…

Copyright © Jim Byrne, 2015


A fly in my ointment


About one week ago, I got up, ate my breakfast, meditated and did my physical exercise, as normal.  But something went wrong.  Just before I mediate, I am in the habit of reading some ‘thought for the day’ from a Zen source (normally).  On that occasion, I read a quote from Chögyam Trungpa.[1]

This is what it said:

“…Once you begin to deal with a person’s whole case history, trying to make it relevant to the present, the person begins to feel that he has no escape, that his situation is hopeless, because he cannot undo his past.  He feels trapped by his past with no way out.  This kind of treatment is extremely unskilled.  It is destructive because it hinders involvement with the creative aspect of what is happening now, what is here, right now…”

This quotation was concerning for me, because it seems to support Dr Albert Ellis’s advice to “forget the god-awful past” – which I have rejected several times in recent years, in various pieces of my writing.

Dealing with tensions and contradictions

As a principled practitioner and researcher, I therefore felt obliged to address this statement by Trungpa; to investigate it; to see how it is constructed; and to come to some kind of resolution of the tension between Trungpa/Ellis, on the one hand, and myself on the other.

I was very busy during that period, for perhaps the past two weeks – with much of my time going into editing Daniel O’Beeve’s revised autobiographical novel, when not seeing clients.  (See Mysterious Roots of Half a Life.***)

Yesterday, I completed the current editing task for Daniel, and today I wrote a little 29-page paper on the question of which is supportable: the suggestion of ‘forgetting the past’; or the suggestion of ‘processing the past’.


Please see: Personal history and the mind of the individual counselling client. The (frequent) importance of processing the past in counselling and therapy.***  

In this little blog post, I want to take Trungpa’s quote apart to see what it is made of.  Let us begin with the first element:

“…Once you begin to deal with a person’s whole case history, trying to make it relevant to the present, the person begins to feel that he has no escape, that his situation is hopeless, because he cannot undo his past. …”

This statement is:

(a) Not in line with my clinical experience. I could, given the time, write up lots of my client cases to show that many of my clients experienced dramatic levels of relief once they had finished processing some past, traumatic experience.

(b) Misleading.  The second clause – “…trying to make (the past) relevant to the present…” - is not a therapeutic task that has ever been proposed by any of the major therapists that I have studied.  This is either a misunderstanding or a red herring presented by Trungpa.

...End of extract..

for more, please go to Blog Post No.119.*** 


Annex D4

To CENT Paper No.26

Personal history and the mind of the individual counselling client. The (frequent) importance of processing the past in counselling and therapy. 

By Dr Jim Byrne

Copyright ©Jim Byrne, February 2015



This paper is concerned with how to help counselling and therapy clients to resolve their emotional distress.  The author explores the habit-based nature of human functioning; and the unbreakable link between the past of the individual and their current psychological state.  In the process, he rejects the REBT (and Northern Buddhist) approach of always dumping the past - and sticking rigidly to the present. He outlines the CENT position, which is a middle way between 'endless whining' about the past, and trying (hopelessly) to forget (or repress) the past. And he presents evidence from three disciplines to underpin the scientific nature of the CENT position.

Key Words and phrases: Catharsis; completion; acceptance; Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, REBT; Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy, CENT; past, present future; Buddhism; Freud; repression; denial; processing past experiences; Jung; trying to forget past experiences; Albert Ellis; completion of your experience; habits; humans as habit-based beings; humans as feeling beings; whining; blaming; empathy; healing; attachment theory; experimental psychology…



Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT) is involved in an ongoing evolution of ‘models of mind’ – and theories of mind – which are relevant to the work of counsellors and psychotherapists.

We have reviewed and integrated various models of human mental functioning, which involve attention, perception, memory, language, thinking, feeling – and the integrated concept of ‘perfinking’ (or perceiving-feeling-thinking in one ‘grasp of the mind’).

We have reviewed some models, and contrasted them against each other – for example, Plato’s and Freud’s tripartite models – and synthesized them, and extrapolated from them.

The purpose of this current paper is to review the relationship of the human mind to two concepts:


1. Is the human mind based in the past – in our personal history? 


2. Is the human mind based in the present moment – completely detachable from our past history?

Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT) holds to the first statement: Our minds are products of our past history.

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), and some eastern theorists (e.g. Northern Buddhists) adhere to the second statement.  For example: “Everything is right here, so we do not have to go any further than this to prove who we were or are or might be.  As soon as we try to unravel the past then we are involved with ambition and struggle in the present…”.[1]



End of Extract.  For more, please go to Annex D4 to CENT Paper No.26.*** 


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




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)?




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




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




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...




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