Chapter 6 of Holistic Counselling in Practice.

Blog Post No.144

By Dr Jim Byrne

Update on Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT)

Understanding and managing human emotions

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 23rd May 2016


Human-emotionI have just finished proof-reading Chapter 6 of my new book, on Holistic Counselling in Practice.

This is how it begins:

Chapter 5. Understanding and managing human emotions

5.1: Introduction

Because counsellors and psycho-therapists deal with their clients’ emotions – (as well as their behaviours, goals, relationships; plus their environmental stressors, and so on) – every system of counselling and therapy has to have a theory of emotion.  This, however, is a significant problem, for three reasons:

  1. Firstly: Human emotion is hugely complex. For example, Stephen Pinker, in his book on how the mind works, draws attention to a quotation from G.K. Chesterton about the unutterable complexity of human emotional tones and moods and shades, which begins like this: “Man knows that there are in the soul tints more bewildering, more numberless, and more nameless than the colours of an autumn forest”. (Page 367)[1]. Therefore, at the very least, we should show some humility in developing our systemic models of such complexity.
  2. Secondly: As one psychotherapist has pointed out: “The terms ‘feeling’ and ‘emotion’, and ‘affect’ are used in many different senses in psychology. A review of more than twenty theories of emotion reveals a plethora of widely diverging technical definitions. These vary with the technique of investigation, the general theoretical framework, and the value-judgements of the psychologist.  Often, they are so diverse as to defy comparison let alone synthesis”.[2]  So we are not going to arrive at a universal definition of emotion in this book; though we have to come to some working hypotheses, in the form of practical conclusions, which allow us to understand and help our clients.
  3. Third: There is a good deal of confusion regarding whether emotions are innate, or socially imposed or coinstructed; and whether they exist ‘inside the client’ or ‘outside’ in social relationships.

…End of extract.

~~~ Fouor-part-modelIn the course of writing this chapter, I have reviewed the major schools of thought about human emotion, from the time of the Buddha, Plato, the Roman Stoics, and upwards through Darwin, and the behaviourists, neo-behaviourists, cognitivists, the neuroscience of emotion, the affect regulation revolution, interpersonal neurobiology, and so on.  In the end, after a lot of refinement, I present some guidelines on how to manage anger, anxiety and depression in a wholly new, holistic manner, involving management of the body-brain-mind-environment-whole which is the counselling client.


This book is taking longer to proof read than I had expected.  I have two more substantial chapters to proof, and then the Conclusion; and then several appendices.

And then I want to construct an index, to make the book maximally user-friendly.

So, please watch this space for updates.***

Best wishes,


Dr Jim Byrne


Telephone: 01422 843 629 (inside UK) – 44 1422 843 629 (outside)


[1] Pinker, S. (2015) How the Mind Works.  London: Penguin Random House.

[2] Hobson, R.F. (1985) Forms of Feeling: The heart of psychotherapy. London: Routledge. Page 88.



Holistic Counselling Book

My Book on E-CENT Counselling

Book-cover-frontUpdate – 10th May 2016

For the past couple of days I have been in possession of the printer’s proofs of my book on Holistic Counselling.  I intended to quickly check for layout and spelling issues, but have got bogged down in editing and rewriting some bits to make them even better.

I am about halfway through the proofing process, and so I hope to get the book to press very soon.

Watch this space!