Welcome to my blog.
If you have logged on here in a state of stress or distress you may like to look immediately at the article Five minute stress reduction note
Or maybe the note of the workshop I ran very recently for other child care lawyers. Workshop at the 2022 Annual Conference of the Association of Lawyers for Children
And – excuse the dramatic note if it doesn’t apply to you– if it is more urgent that that – the Samaritans are on 116 123 or email@example.com
I set up this blog as a convenient place to explore and store ideas and papers that I had developed and written about over the last few years. I hope you find something of interest and value here.
It was originally only about my area of law – relating to children cases – but for some years has been mainly about therapy – and a combination of those two subjects: for example articles and workshops about psychological and therapy issues for lawyers and judges. I have sometimes labelled these as about Stress Management as that is language that is recognised and accepted. In fact it is about emotional health and resilience.
More recently I have been working with NHS front line staff – via Frontline 19 – https://www.frontline19.com/ and I have made a note about that work here: My experience of working with NHS intensive care staff. which explains that I found the work within my capacity and immensely rewarding. There is also a list of terms and abbreviations that I have developed in order to be able to listen without interrupting: List of medical terms and abbreviations for Frontline 19 March 2022 I hope these articles may be of use to therapists and counsellors who are hesitating about signing up with Frontline 19. Please do. There is quite a waiting list of nurses, doctors and others who really need our support.
A bit about me: For over 30 years I have been a solicitor, initially with a more general practice, but for a long time specialising in childcare work – which, with tragic irony, actually means legal work around child abuse and neglect.
I have written a certain amount about that, run some workshops and contributed to various government enquiries. That legal material is tucked away at the very end of this website.
About 20 years ago I also trained as a psychotherapist with Spectrum Therapy and I started to bring some therapeutic aspects into the issue of skills with legal clients as explained in Article in Family Law September 2010 (Please excuse the rather boastful sounding introduction – it was insisted on by the editor.)
I have also offered those ideas and increasingly ideas about stress management and emotional health to people through working one-to-one with clients, many of whom are lawyers. My most recent development is running workshops for lawyers including judges – see the one mentioned above.
Steve Biddulph. Also quite recently I have been writing articles for legal journals and one of those interested my friend Steve Biddulph who has recently published a new book called “Fully Human“ which contains many of his really interesting and valuable ideas. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/jun/03/supersense-secret-steve-biddulph-become-healthier-happier-more-fully-human
He has kindly given a bit of a plug to some of my ideas and it is possible that someone looking at this website might have come here because of that reference.
He introduces me as a friend and colleague and says “One of his most intriguing ideas is that trauma does more than just cause massive anxiety it also may act as a break in our development. Trauma can freeze us at the age when it took place, at least on some dimensions of maturation which requires trust, learning and physiological calm to proceed well. As a consequence we see many adults today who are emotionally frozen in an infantile stage of development, for example, or an adolescent one. If this is very widespread, then the whole society can be skewed towards certain kinds of immaturity.… we have a somewhat adolescent culture today.“
This is a partial summary of some ideas which are contained in one of the articles on this website – Our culture of permanent adolescence – anger, stress and other addictions By the way, I am very aware that this article is long and dense. Too much so for a website. So I have now inserted a much shorter summary at the beginning of the article.
Parenting note. This idea fed into my note about parenting on this website. Having benefited hugely from attending a parenting course many years ago, (as well as reading books and attending a workshop with Steve) I went on to train and then deliver such courses at various schools and organisations. The notes that I used and offered to participants are at Some ideas about parenting
Workshops. As I mention, over the last few years I have been running workshops. These were initially within my own firm and subsequently for other firms and barristers’ chambers and national organisations like the Association of Lawyers for Children and the Family Law Bar Association (FLBA) and Immigration Law Practitioners Association. These offerings were initially along the lines of a somewhat simplistic “stress management model“. Please see the various articles here on stress busting or “How to be a Happier, Healthier, more Efficient and Ever Youthful Workaholic!” Stress and looking after ourselves – a 15 minute read
And that includes a suggested routine of Breathing Stretching and Bending – which I have pulled out as a separate article. This is what I see as the essence of yoga but it’s only standing postures so it’s easy to do at home: no mat, no fee, no self consciousness from being in a class: Breathing, Stretching and Bending – the essence of Yoga
More recently the workshop for the FLBA was recorded and is the first article on the website My first webinar 6 May.
As it says at the beginning, this is my first webinar and is really amateur, with rather unhelpful interruptions by various people and some really retro visual aids – paper and felt tip! (The next one had PowerPoint which can be a mixed blessing and happily wasn’t recorded.)
Most recent events have been workshops I have ran for judges. Text of the presentation with additional material is at: Workshops on Stress and Judges: 2021
That is really quite long and I have done a one page summary: Three short take home messages from Workshops on Stress /Psychological Health for Judges.
Controversial Articles. Finally I have written some articles for the Journal of the Family Law Bar Association including one for the Christmas Issue examining the emotional side of the law and asking Why are we so stressed? Why are we family lawyers anyway?Article in the Christmas Edition of Family Affairs, the journal of the Family Law Bar Association (Answer in brief – we are fascinated by family dysfunctionality in other people …. and … having put it in those terms it may suggest the obvious idea which is that we hope to bring order to it because of difficult aspects our own formative experiences in childhood; experiences that we are in denial about partly because they are so normal. And that is why the article will make such uncomfortable, even unacceptable reading for some people.)
Do you find yourself motivated to care for everyone and care about everything… to the extent that you are exhausted? and might even dare to be resentful? If so, maybe in fact you are driven to rescue – have a compulsion to rescue. In which case you may find the Drama Triangle is a useful model to understand yourself. (and others – it’s often easier to see this in others first!) The Drama Triangle was developed by Stephen Karpman in the 1960s and is used in many fields. I find it really helpful in understanding others and myself. I offer this version – as the point is not just to notice unhealthy behaviour but to move from that compulsive, often unskilful behaviour to a more mature and effective motivation. The Drama Triangle. A very useful model
I would welcome feedback on anything on this website to me at firstname.lastname@example.org