Physis Video

Hear directly from the Physis Director of Training, Barbara Clarkson. In this short video, Barbara explains what’s distinctive about the training at Physis. If you’re thinking about training to be a counsellor a therapist, why not take a few minutes to check it out. Barbara also explains why there are so many giraffes on the website…

Open Morning at Physis

Preparations are well in hand for the first ever Physis Training Open Morning on Saturday 13th August from 10m til 1pm. Click here for your Free Open Morning tickets

Have you ever wondered whether training to beome a counsellor or a psychotherapist could be the new adventure you have been waiting for? Have you always been fascinated by people and how they tick? Have you found yourself taking on the role of supportive listener with friends and family? Are you interested in finding a career that will offer you ongoing satisfaction and variety? Come along and discover what we have to offer.

Recent newspaper articles are saying that there has been a 40% increase in the number of people seeking psychotherapy. Organisations offering low cost counselling are reporting huge waiting lists, in one case over 200 people waiting for counselling! Counsellors and therapists in Edinburgh describe full practices. There is certainly a demand for what trained counsellors and psychotherapists have to offer.

Maybe you have questions about whether counselling training is really right for you, or whether that dream you have had of working with people to help them heal, recover and become stronger in facing life’s challenges could ever become a reality. We are ready to discuss how we can help you.

Come along on Saturday 13th August and chat to our trainers, support staff and some of our students to get the low down on the courses we offer. There will be refreshments available and a variety of short presentations during the morning. Curiosity killed the cat so they say, but perhaps it is really good for giraffes?! (You can even discover what this strange obsession we have with giraffes is all about!) Click here for your free ticket Free Open Morning tickets

If you can’t get to the open morning then please get in touch with us anyway at and we will be happy to help.

See you there!

Barbara Clarkson, Director

Finding Adult

This blog post was written by Lynn Esslemont.  Lynn is a trainee in the Advanced Year 1 group.

In the midst of the essay writing process it occurs to me that one of the biggest hurdles I face is in finding Adult.  As has so often been the case in my journey, the hardest thing to do is also the necessary thing to do.  Due to the training process and all it throws up, I have consciously attended to my inner chatter around the non-negotiable coursework.  I recognise the familiar dialogue between Controlling Parent and Adapted Child.  It goes along the lines of not being smart enough, having not read enough, needing to do more, be better.  It is very familiar and in hindsight very destructive to my emotional wellbeing.  My core belief that I am not enough has influenced my life in numerous ways and has turned me into a doer.  Always needing to do something or be someone else in order to be ok.

I was recently faced with that first awkward silence as I sat in the room with my new therapist.  I became acutely self-conscious and aware of the space I was taking up in the room and my Little Professor went into overdrive figuring out who or what I needed to be to meet my therapist’s expectation of me in that moment.  She recognised my discomfort and named it; the squirmy feeling, the heat rising, and she continued to sit with me through the challenge of the uncomfortable.  Powerful stuff.  On reflection, I realised this merely mirrored my experience of being in the outside world.  I am aware of having this implicit sense of needing to be or do in order to be ok.  Further reflection has me reeling at the significance of this in my ongoing journey.  If I am unable to sit with the silence and discomfort as a client, how will this translate into my practice as a therapist?  I brace myself for the willingness to work through this next piece of the puzzle.

Once again my self-awareness and willingness catapults me into another transformative period in my life.  As a result, the idea of “just being” becomes a regular visitor to my life.  I am given the opportunity to practice sitting with the discomfort of realising that I do not need to do or be or help or change or fix in order to be ok.  I begin to pause before action.  I notice my need to do what I think I should do.  I ponder the alternatives – the scariest of which is to do nothing. To just be.  And my intrapsychic process kicks in with the if’s and buts, the possible consequences, and potential backlash of doing something different, of doing nothing.

Painful and uncomfortable feelings begin to flutter in my gut.  My desire to soothe the unwanted  feelings ignites and instead I pause, I squirm, I breathe.  I notice the urge to focus on the other and take care of their needs in order to feel ok.  I become aware of the compulsion to smoke a cigarette or eat something to change the way I feel.  I acknowledge and sit with all this brings up for me.  And it passes.  It may take minutes, hours, days or weeks but the discomfort ebbs and flows and a sense of ok-ness temporarily rests in its place.  And I breathe.  And I reassure my vulnerable and scared Somatic Child that she is ok, she is enough.  Until the next time…

The idea of being enough is a real challenge for me and finding Adult is a weighty issue in my training journey too.  Essay writing, group process and issues around transference all invite me to rubberband back into scripty behaviours and my ‘default’ position of Adapted Child.  Thankfully, my desire to have authentic and connected relationships and experiences encourages me to step up to the plate.  To find enough Adult to own and share my experience in group process.  To find enough Adult to recognise and understand transference and be willing to move through it to see the real person in front of me.  To incorporate some Free Child and Nurturing Parent into my process and begin to enjoy the experience of writing my essay.   Finding Adult is a continual challenge for me requiring continued willingness, courage and effort.  The rewards, however, are bountiful.  When I find Adult I discover I am enough exactly as I am.


Challenge Accepted!

This blog post was written by Lynn Esslemont.  Lynn is a trainee in the Advanced Year 1 group and her article is the winner in our 2015 Student Blog Competition.  

Challenge Accepted!

These were the words that ran through my mind when I read the request for blog submissions.  I’m not a terribly competitive person so the lure of a prize was not as compelling as the kudos of having my writing ‘published’ and read by others.  The idea of starting a personal blog is something I have toyed with for a while but to date has never progressed from an idea.  I saw this as an opportunity to test the waters.  I guess my lack of progress with this interest has a lot to do with my fear of being judged and ultimately rejected.  There is an important piece here for me where my fears are familiar and comfortable and hiding behind them prevents me from being open to the unfamiliar and uncomfortable idea of being heard and valued.  Is this really the scariest part of the journey? To be appreciated exactly as I am.  To know that I am enough, that I have the potential to be whatever and whoever I desire.  If I have learnt anything over the last few years it is that everything can be a learning opportunity.  An invitation to step out of my comfort zone and try something different.  An opportunity to learn more about myself, my process and my reactions to people, places and things.  So with pen in hand (call me old fashioned) and an open heart I set about creating something to share a piece of my journey and my love and appreciation of TA.  Letting go of the need to be witty, intelligent and entertaining and harnessing the idea of being me; open, honest, real.

I was unaware of TA until I hit an emotional rock bottom and a good friend suggested I go see her counsellor.  I knew I couldn’t carry on as was, and needed something else to support me.  Off I went, little knowing the transformational impact this decision would have on the rest of my life.  I bonded very quickly with my counsellor and she was very transparent about her use of TA theory and models from the start.  I quickly grasped the ideas of ego states and script and was able to apply them to myself, my past experiences and my current situation.  For me, the simplicity of the language used and the idea of taking personal responsibility for the past and present were big hooks.  I found the idea of script very liberating.  It helped me to exchange existing feelings of blame and regret for an awareness that we are all doing the best we can with what we have.  I had real AHA! lightbulb moments while understanding ego states.  Becoming conscious of the dynamic shifts between Controlling Parent and Adapted Child explained a lot about my inner chatter and how I consistently reacted to the world around me based on archaic feelings of fear and shame, built on the core belief that I am not good enough.

Throughout my 3 ½ years of counselling I was continually ‘invited to…’  At some of these invitations I baulked.  I grew up in a home where it wasn’t ok to have feelings and needs so it will come as no surprise that I developed a significant Be Strong driver.  It felt too risky to be honest, to say how I really felt; to ask for what I needed.  But the power of permission in the therapeutic relationship enabled me to feel the fear and do it anyway.  So with my ‘Challenge Accepted’ head on, I said my prayers and set off to do something different.  Sometimes I enthusiastically jumped in with both feet, and at other times I cautiously dipped a toe in the water.  Whatever my approach and whatever the outcome, I learned and I grew.  Somewhere along the way I realised I needed to know more about TA and how I could share it with the world, and so my journey with Physis and the wider TA community began.

16 months after completing my TA101 I found myself at the STAA Unconference as an Advanced Year 1 trainee.  Despite not knowing anyone in the room when I arrived, I had a real sense of being ‘part of’.  The hugs, smiles and connection of the others around me, and the warmth, honesty and willingness expressed by everyone throughout the day made me feel like I was ‘home’.  As I continue on my journey I have an emerging sense of being enough which is helping me to build new foundations that support me in holding my OK-ness throughout the highs and lows of life.  Allowing you to read this now is the next step in my willingness to connect with others and let them see and know me.  Not the me that hides behind fear, shame and doubt.  But the me who is open to being vulnerable and letting her light shine.  I suspect my next challenge is in my ability to hold the OK-ness of others.  No better, no worse, no more, no less.  To continue to break down my walls and build bridges to let others in.  To be willing to let others be ok with my vulnerability and for me to see others for who they are, unclouded by my insecurities, judgement, and prejudice.  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!