Reverse Therapy

Bodymind healing and awareness

Health is what you don’t notice

Health, like happiness, is something you only notice when you haven’t got it.

This points to something important. It tells us that when we are healthy (or happy) we are absorbed in other things. When I look back at all the best times in my life (writing novels and poems in my twenties, falling in love with my wife, getting started as a therapist, founding Reverse Therapy) they all coincided with opportunities for exercising my passion. This meant, in turn, that I had no time for worry; that I was absorbed in self-actualizing what potential I had.

The route meaning of the word ‘health’ is the same (in Anglo-Saxon) as the word ‘whole’. So the healthy person is a whole person – someone who is making the most of all their talents, their emotions and their desires. Our capacity for love, our work and our emotional truth come together. And when that happens Bodymind sees to it that the organism is kept in a vital state, ready for more fulfilment.

So often Headmind tries to put a clamper on this – saying that we can’t do this and we have to do that, or we don’t deserve to be who we really want to be. If we give those thoughts any air-time at all we will quickly be on the road to illness.


March 8, 2007 Posted by | Health, Reverse Therapy, Wellbeing | Leave a comment

How your head f**ks you up

One of the daftest things you will ever hear is the statement that someone is looking for ‘peace of mind’. In fact some people spend their lives looking for it – and paying other people to help them find it.

By definition, Headmind cannot be at peace. Its function and purpose is to question everything we do and keep us looking for the answers. It wants us to be ‘right’ when Bodymind just wants us to be ok.

Headmind (what some people call ‘Consciousness’) goes about promoting your survival in the wrong way.

Bodymind keeps you alive by running the different systems – sensory, endocrine, immune, nervous, muscular-skeletal, digestive, excetory – in good repair. It also uses emotions to signal changes of action needed on your part in order to be loved, safe and happy.

Headmind is only concerned with its own survival – by making you into something you are not – your ego. And all the ego is, is the sum total of all the things everybody else ever wanted you to be or thought you should be. Your Head installed all these injunctions and plays the same scripts over and over again.

This keeps us running around like a ghost in a machine, forever trying to catch up with the person we think we ought to be. Yet it is the Body that creates the real self – our passion, our emotional truth, our desire to just be who we are without any conditions. We can see this in young children before the adults get to work on them. A child is blissfully unaware of having to pretend to be someone she is not. A child just is.

In Reverse Therapy we teach that people can reverse out of Headmind and find genuine peace by learning to live in the body, in awareness, in the moment.

One very strong influence on Reverse Therapy was Zen Buddhism. In my next post I will say more about this.

February 14, 2007 Posted by | Headmind, Reverse Therapy, Wellbeing, Zen Buddhism | Leave a comment


Anxiety is sometimes called ‘the modern disease’ (or at least when I was a twenty-something poet I liked to think so). In fact this is not true. Chronic anxiety, according to a consensus of studies, only affects about 16% of the population.

The reason many of us think Anxiety is more common than it is, is that we get it mixed up with Fear. But Anxiety is not an emotion – it is a symptomatic state. Fear is an emotion.

Bodymind creates a fear response when we are confronted with an immediate danger that requires action on our part. It is a strong, visceral, emotion and we are being aroused to do something about the problem in that moment – find out more about it, talk to others, get help, do something about the situation. As we swing into action the emotion dissolves.

Anxiety is created by Headmind and relates to situations that have either not happened yet, or future situations we are worrying about. Anxiety comes up when we avoid taking action, dwelling instead on the ‘disaster movies’ Headmind cooks up for us. The symptomatic state that ensues – chest constriction, gut changes, sweating, rapid heart-beat, panic – is a warning that we are spending too much time in our Heads, thinking about the problem rather than getting involved. In fact, as research often shows, worries rarely come true.

Anxiety worsens with avoidance. The more Headmind worries about what will happen to us the more ‘obvious’ it seems to stay away from situations. Unfortunately, the more we stay away, the worse the anxiety gets, as Headmind has more unknown problems to feed on.

This difference can be clearly seen in shyness. Shy people are not fearful, they are anxious. They get trapped in the heads worrying about what people will think of them, of having nothing to say and drying up, of being rejected, etc. The remedy is to get some coaching and learn how to slowly make social situations easier. But avoiding society will only make the problem worse.

Sometimes fear and anxiety go together (now it gets really subtle!). So – we can be scared when we receive a tax bill and when that happens we are being motivated to talk to people who can help us find a solution. And we can also get anxious – a sure sign that we are avoiding action and hallucinating calamity. So when your tax bill arrives at the end of this month be sure to have your bank manager’s phone number handy.

I wish all my readers a Happy New Year!

January 9, 2007 Posted by | Anxiety, Headmind, Health, Reverse Therapy, Stress, Wellbeing | 1 Comment

The Rasputin Guide to Healing

Years ago, before I discovered Reverse Therapy, I wrote a spoof on psychotherapy called The Rasputin Guide to Therapy. The joke was that Rasputin – the so-called ‘Mad Monk’ of legend – might have had something more useful to say about getting people well than po-faced psychologists. In particular I was critical of the tendency of most forms of therapy to focus on Headmind, with complicated theories about why people get broken – not how they can be helped to get well. Specifically, how they can be guided towards connecting to Bodymind and accessing emotions. And then doing something about them.

Although I never published it there were some good things in it. In one chapter ‘Rasputin’ talks about the way people get trapped in convention and can become ill if they lose track of their passion. In another he discusses how so-called ‘intelligent’ people can actually become stupid if they get trapped in the intellect. In still another he advocates teaching people how to dance when they get stuck. In general Rasputin advocates that we will be healthier when we take time out to appreciate the simple things of life: friendship, love, nature, travel. In real life Rasputin once walked 2000 miles from Siberia to Jerusalem, along the way feeling inspired by the sea, the mountains, the lakes and the changing seasons on the way.

Here are a few of ‘Rasputin’s’ tips for a healthy life.

• Never give away your power to another person. This applies to partners, employers, children, parents, teachers and – most especially – gurus who claim to have better answers than you do to life’s problems. As human beings they will be struggling with their own problems and will not know more than you do about your own best way forward in life.

• Trust in yourself. Learn to recognise what is true for you and be guided by your own emotions about things.

• Learn to dance, sing or play music. At the very least you will get an endorphin rush.

• Whatever you do for a living, or if you care for others, then do it with a passion. If doing things is an obligation rather than a pleasure then be sure to balance these chores with other activities for which you do have a passion.

• Never look back. If things go wrong, or if you are sad and disillusioned, then move on and find a better way of life.

• Take risks – often. You will never find out what you are capable of unless you experiment. And the more you move outside the comfort zone Headmind has circumscribed for you the more confident you will become.

• Seek the humour in things. If you are not very good at doing that then spend plenty of time with people who are.

• Make time for people you love.

• Be honest. Don’t compromise on the truth just to keep someone else in their comfort zone. Practice gently opening your heart to others.

• Cultivate enlightened selfishness. If you don’t take a break or go easy on yourself from time to time you won’t be able to care for others. Even Christ and the Buddha needed time off from their mission.

Finally, here are some of Rasputin’s mistakes to avoid:

• Don’t drink too much
• Don’t give away all you have
• Don’t trust strangers who invite you to their house at midnight (they might want to shoot you)
• Don’t get mixed up with the Royal family

December 18, 2006 Posted by | Bodymind, Health, Reverse Therapy, Therapy, Wellbeing | Leave a comment