Category Archives: Fiona & Fiona

Autumn at Physis Scotland

This month, Fiona Cook PTSTA, one of the Directors of Physis Scotland reflects on the beauty of Autumn, with a focus on change and new beginnings.

I looked up the meaning of Autumn when I was thinking about writing this blog hoping for a bit of inspiration if I am being honest, as I am not overly fond of this season. The definition Google provided for me was ‘the season after summer and before winter’! Well I could have just about defined it myself! That’s a no brainer and perhaps not really a definition? Just a fact! Reality! An inevitability.

Pondering over what I am not fond of at this time of year, I know it is the beginning of the longer and darker evenings which I hate, having to put more clothes on and start wearing socks and tights as it is becoming colder! And those are just for starters! However, I do have to concede that the colours of autumn are absolutely stunning and I am blown away every day as I see incredible tones and hues of red, yellow, orange and brown on trees and bushes as they prepare to ‘die’ for a season before the wonder of nature brings them to life again. Apparently in literature autumn can refer to ripeness, change, maturity, beauty, sadness, or preparing for an end or decline. Such a range of meaning and interpretation. And thinking about ripening, maturity or ending, how amazing that the final burst of life, or the beginning of nature’s death results in such exquisite beauty and where trees can show us how lovely it can be to let things go.

The season following summer is also a time when there is change and new beginnings, all of which we are experiencing at Physis Scotland. We continue to be thankful for our beautiful, well equipped and warm home where students can learn and thrive – it is nearly a year since we signed the lease for Drumsheugh and we continue to love working there! We have a new Foundation Year group of 18 students who have already started with us and a Senior Training Group (STG) of 16 students whose first weekend of the new academic year was held recently too. We welcome Susie Hewitt to the Physis Scotland team who is the new trainer for the STG and it is wonderful to have Susie on board with us. We also welcome Carol Remfrey-Foote who is our new Academic Student Support Advisor as she begins to work alongside us this new academic year. We are about to start a Diploma in Counselling Supervision which our friends and colleagues Bev Gibbons and Ronen Stilman will be teaching on our behalf. The final piece of good news is the return of Deirdre Gillespie! Deirdre was a wonder in her previous role with Physis Training Ltd as many of us can remember. There was not much she did not know about all the systems and processes and we are thrilled that she has agreed to join the team again in a very part time capacity starting soon!

We feel surrounded by friends and colleagues as we build a team of experienced and knowledgeable professionals in a wonderful way. It feels safe and strong. We feel we are building on a solid foundation. In our rooms are many pieces of art work which not only have been chosen because of their beauty and significance to us, but they also represent us being surrounded by people we value who are in the room with us and who we have perhaps introjected into Physis Scotland. So, for example, we have a few paintings on our walls which the lovely Alison Ayres has painted! They are beautiful and inspiring and remind us of the many years of her life she has given, and continues to give, to the TA community in Scotland and beyond. There is also a beautiful print of a wild woman standing bare back on a galloping horse which Barbara Clarkson gave us when she stepped down from Physis Training. Their presence is in the room with us. Not in a ghoulish way at all, we feel our predecessors with us and this stirs us with courage and determination as we grow Physis Scotland and hold our breath and our nerve at times!

So. Autumn. A time for change. A time of beauty. A time of decline? Yes to the first two – a time of change and beauty, but certainly not of decline in Physis Scotland. We are on the up and thriving! And long may that continue……



Endings and Beginnings

This month, Fiona Cook PTSTA, one of the Directors of Physis Scotland reflects on endings, with a focus on the ending of our academic year and in particular the stepping down of our esteemed colleague and friend Barbara Clarkson as Director of Physis Training.

I wonder what your thoughts and feelings around endings might be? I imagine they will be linked to the many and varied endings we all experience throughout our lives; and how we feel about endings will be linked to our experience of the experience, if you understand what I mean. Whatever our experience, endings always involve change and something different happening from that time onwards.

So, speaking personally and generally, in the past I have often found endings quite tricky as there have been many endings in my life that I have had no control over. Endings that have not been my choice or decision, when my life and feelings have been affected by the decisions of others or the universe and I have had to regroup and take my life in a different direction.

So, are there ever ‘good’ endings? Or are they all ‘bad’? Does how I categorise or feel about them depend on whether it is my choice to initiate the ending or if they are planned well in advance? Possibly. But maybe not as there are so many variables to consider in each and every ending we experience. So how can I consider each ending in their own way and also consider the beginnings and opportunities every ending brings for me and others, so that I can feel and experience what I am feeling and experiencing without dread or reproach. Definitely a re-decision for me!

This last weekend at Physis Scotland we had many endings. Firstly, it was the final training weekend of the academic year and our Foundation year students completing their first year. For some, the decision to end their journey had been made at the beginning. They only ever wanted to complete Foundation Year as a stand-alone programme and so they have ended. It was sad to say goodbye and we were also able to celebrate with them, so a juxtaposition of emotions – sadness and joy. At the other end of the training taxonomy, our Advanced Year 3 students completed their 4-year journey towards becoming a Certified Transactional Analyst. Another ending, but also one to celebrate with them as they leave this part of the journey. We will miss them and we are proud of them.

Secondly, this past weekend marked the ending of Physis Training Ltd under the directorship of Barbara Clarkson and affirmed the successful transition we have made morphing Physis Training into Physis Scotland over this past couple of years. Despite the fact we knew this ending would come and has been planned for a number of years, it was still tough to say good bye to Barbara who has single-handedly been at the helm of Physis since 2010. Our Celebration Party to mark this event was a lovely evening where past students, colleagues and friends gathered to celebrate the many achievements of students and friends, to say a huge thank you to Barbara for helping to grow the TA community in Scotland this far, and also to say goodbye to this inspirational lady as she stepped down. It was a bitter sweet affair with tears of sadness, joy and celebration for many.

So where am I with endings now? Experiencing them is still tough and emotional, but I have learned they also come with change and opportunities for growth, the chance to review and perhaps do things differently. So they are not all bad, are they?

We hope all of our students positively grab the opportunities their endings will provide; we wish Barbara our gratitude and very best wishes for the next phase of her life and for Physis Scotland? Well, we will continue to maintain, sustain and grow the TA community in Scotland and take every chance this new opportunity brings us.
Endings are beginnings……

A Sense Of…

Well, what a start to 2019 for us. We signed the lease agreement for our new home in 22 Drumsheugh Gardens, furnished the place from scratch, started seeing our clients there, held
an Open Evening for colleagues, students and friends, and ran our first training weekend for our trainees in Foundation Year and Senior Training Group.

It was quite something to see our place full of people and feeling so at home. Special and emotional. What is it about having a home? Well to use the Senses Framework (Nolan 2009), it has given us a Sense of Security, a Sense of Belonging, a Sense of Continuity, a Sense of Purpose, a Sense of Significance and a Sense of Achievement.

Sense of Security – there is something that feels solid and safe about having our own space and not having to try and find suitable accommodation for training weekends, 101s and CPD events. So as long as we keep paying the rent, we will continue to feel safe!

Sense of Belonging – everybody has commented on the ambience of the space we have created. It feels like home, like somebody’s sitting room and it feels warm and fuzzy. It is ours.

Sense of Continuity – this is very important for us, especially in this time of transition between Physis Training and Physis Scotland. We are so grateful for the legacy that Barbara Clarkson Director of Physis Training has created in her time at Physis and it feels incredibly important to acknowledge this as it has helped set us up for today and the days and years ahead. We have felt supported and encouraged on our journey and will not lose contact with Barbara when she officially steps down from her position as Director and hands the reins over to us.

Sense of Purpose – we have a strong sense of purpose as we move forward to continue the high standard of success and quality of training which Barbara has established. It helps us with energy and excitement and a drive and motivation to be the best we can be.

Sense of Significance – without sounding somewhat narcissistic, there have been a lot of strokes offered to us in terms of what we have achieved in a relatively short time frame. However, we would not be where we are without the support of our many colleagues, trainees and families who have helped us with this sense. It has been hard work and so worthwhile.

Sense of Achievement – when we look back to see where we were 12 months ago, when we were tentatively beginning to market our Foundation year programme, homeless and dependant on a range of spaces to run programmes, we never expected to have achieved so much in such a short space of time. Well, somehow we have and we want to thank all of you who have helped us, encouraged us and stroked us on the way.

Feel free to come and see us if you have not done so already. There is something happening every weekend!

My Therapeutic Journey

This month we are delighted to include a blog from one of our colleagues Paul Redpath, PTSTA about
his therapeutic journey.

Everyone’s therapeutic journey is different. Unique to them. As unique as their face or their fingerprint. There is no right way of doing therapy and there is no one reason for starting therapy.

I grew up in a very unhappy environment. My parents were unusually unhappy together. And so my training as a therapist started in childhood. I learned early on to wonder what the hell was going on. I tried to make sense of a situation which really didn’t make any sense.

And years later I copied the same dysfunctional behaviours in my own intimate relationships with the same level of success that my parents had achieved.

I needed therapy to help me understand what was going on and to start to think about how I could do things differently.

Therapy helped me make sense of why I did certain things and why they didn’t work. It gave me options…I learned that I could choose to do things differently. It helped me relate to my anger differently and express it in a more useful way. And it helped me develop a calm island in the middle of a stormy sea where I can rest and think about how I want to respond to life.

Therapy has helped me deal with anger issues and it has helped me deal with loss and grief. So much of life is about loss and how we deal with it… the loss involved in getting older and knowing there will be an end to this journey.

Therapy has helped me make meaning of the life I lead. It is not for the faint-hearted. It can be fun…after all…it is all about you…but it also can be gruelling…gut wrenching work. It involves taking a long hard look at yourself in the mirror and not looking away. There is always the possibility of laughter and tears and the delight in being surprised by yourself.

I am trained in a number of therapeutic modalities but in terms of learning to think about yourself and the world I would strongly recommend Transactional Analysis. It is unique in its theoretical framework which provides a way of seeing and understanding the world and it offers an alternative way of relating to yourself and others.

I have been in therapy for a long time but this isn’t necessary for everyone. Some people have short-term therapy and manage to get what they want from that. But if you are considering having therapy…I would say…do it. It is the best thing you can do for yourself. After all, there is no-one more interesting than you…you are the person you are having a life-long relationship with…you deserve to get to know who you are and to be living the life you want to live.