Joanna Bristow Watkins

Mindfulness

  • Cannon Hill Common, London SW20 9DB

    ForestBathing+Cannon Hill Common, London SW20 9DB

    Full Forest Bathing sessions 2½ hours, £35

    We are excited to announce our new Harmony in Nature therapeutic sessions in the London area at Cannon Hill Common, SW20 9DB near Wimbledon Chase, Raynes Park and Morden. The area is easily accessible by public transport.

  • Forest Bathing+

    General Forest Bathing+ Information - see below for public sessions

    Experience how woodland can help your Physical, Mental & Emotional Health.

    Newands Corner

    To complement Joanna’s spiritual approach to wellbeing, Nature Therapy and Forest Bathing+ combine mindfulness with the beauty and tranquillity of ancient woodlands and local gardens.

    Harmony In Nature is run by Katie Robinson & Joanna Bristow-Watkins; both experienced & insured Forest Bathing+ Guides licensed by The Forest Bathing Institute.  Operating mostly in Woodland near Guildford, Surrey, they offer 2hr+ public & private sessions.
     
    Join us for an inspirational Forest Bathing+ session in local woodlands, where possible utiilsing ancient or semi-ancient sites. Calming, peaceful and yet intensely powerful, you’ll move slowly through a sequence of sensory exercises and deep meditations that lead to an enhanced state of mindfulness and reconnection with nature.

    All Harmony In Nature gatherings for Forest Bathing+ follow the current government guidelines and last a minimum of two hours. Costs from £30 (individual). Private bookings for taster and private sessions available, please enquire for bespoke private or corporate sessions.

    See below for more information on Forest Bathing or listen to our Brooklands Radio Forest Bathing podcast interview with Jill Bennett (8½ mins).

    For our venues and dates available, and to book a session, see the Harmony Shop Forest Bathing Sessions.

    Forest Bathing+

    Forest Bathing comes from the Japanese term, ‘Shinrin Yoku’, the process of immersing the human spirit under a canopy of trees. It was developed to mitigate the high levels of stress experienced by businessmen in crowded urban environments and combines mindfulness, meditation and gentle exercise within an ambient forest location.

    Ancient civilisations frequently venerated nature and gained insight and wisdom from their relationship with the natural world. Despite the fact that society is now more disconnected from the countryside, research supports the physiological benefits of Forest Bathing. Trees emit essential oils known as ‘phytoncides’ which have been proven to evoke relaxation and wellbeing. By immersing ourselves in ancient woodlands, we re-connect with nature and reinforce this relationship with the natural world.

    The Forest Bathing Institute (TFBI) has pioneered the addition of enhanced sensory exercises and deep meditations to create Forest Bathing+, which helps promote mindfulness and reconnects your body and soul to nature. Evidence suggests that Forest Bathing + can:

    • lower blood pressure,
    • decrease stress,
    • improve cardiovascular and metabolic health,
    • reduce blood-sugar levels,
    • enhance concentration and memory,
    • lift depression,
    • lead to better pain management,
    • increase energy,
    • boost the immune system by increasing the body’s natural killer (NK) cell count,
    • increases anti-cancer protein production,
    • facilitate weight loss.

    Jo at NCJoanna's interest in Forest Bathing

    Joanna grew up in an area dense with ancient woodland, and had the freedom to roam. Much of her childhood was spent playing in those woods with her sister, Fiona, largely unsupervised by adults.

    She feels their childish enthusiasm encouraged a love of nature, animals, and woodlands, which laid the foundations for much of her subsequent interests and work.

    Have spent 15 years + in senior management specialising in customer care and training, she was sudenly driven by a desire for inner peace, and became interested in Ancient Egyptian philosophies and natural healing techniques.

    Forest Bathing+ felt like a natural progression. She trained with, and is fully certified, by the Forest Bathing Institute (TFBI), who initiate ground-breaking research on its physiological, immunological, emotional and mental health benefits.

    Image shows Katie (left) and Joanna (Right) in Newlands Corner, Guildford.

    Katie's interest in Forest Bathing

    From a young age Katie spent multiple family holidays walking, youth hostelling and being outdoors whatever the weather, particularly in the Lake District and North Yorkshire Moors, so Katie feels right at home with Forest Bathing.

    She has been on two survival courses, and loves learning which wild foods we can forage. She’s been self-employed for much of her working life, so she can do a mix of what she enjoys, which has included editing and dance instructing. 

    One of the most important things to her is managing her and her family’s health care with natural therapies, enabling them to be mainly independent of the mainstream. She advocates always doing your own research. The key components of her approach to health are nutrition, essential oils, homeopathy and walking amongst greenery; with visits to other practitioners as necessary.

    Nature Therapy and Forest Bathing+ Sessions

    Forest Bathing + can take place in multiple locations, but most of my sessions take place at Newlands Corner or in the grounds of the Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary, close to the picturesque village of Shere, near Guildford in Surrey.

    This Sanctuary focuses on Energy Healing which completely aligns with Forest Bathing+. All sessions take place in ancient woodlands and I will gently take you through a number of mindfulness-based sensory exercises and meditations that will enhance your appreciation of nature through all your senses.

    Having spent over two decades working with healing energy (my company, Harmony Healing, was founded in 1999) the importance of nature in health and wellbeing is obvious. I can also run themed sessions incorporating nature angels, which may give you a useful introduction towards spiritual mentoring and expansion, RSE® Egyptian alchemy healing and practitioner training.

    Garden Therapy sessions are also available for private and corporate bookings, either in your own garden (if suitable) or in a beautiful garden setting in Surrey.

    Contact me for group and corporate Forest Bathing+ and Nature Therapy sessions. Blog updates, with seasonal activities, are emailed out to Harmony Healing subscribers.

    Whilst undertaking the mindfulness sensory exercises during the session, participants will be asked to refrain from talking to each other (and avoid other distractions such as mobile phone use) so that all participants can gain the full benefits from the surroundings. Do come along with a friend provided they are keen to adopt the rules (and not seeing it a general catch-up). Please contact me on  with queries.

    DOGS: Regrettably we cannot accept dogs on our Forest Bathing+ sessions unless they are trained Guide Dogs.

    INCLEMENT WEATHER: We operate in all weathers (we just request that you wear appropriate clothing) except winds exceeding 30mph due to safety reasons.

    Private Forest Bathing Sessions are available.

    Listen to our podcast interview on Forest Bathing with Jill Bennett from Brooklands Radio

    For more details about Forest Bathing:-

    See my 8.5 minute chat with Fiona Mason of Cuppa Time

    https://www.facebook.com/CuppaAndAChat/videos/1134876673567721/

    See Emma Reed's reaction after her Forest Bathing+ Session with Joanna

    https://www.facebook.com/248959805155973/videos/2373335036220701/

  • Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary, Shere, Surrey

    Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary, Burrows Lea, Shere, Surrey.

    Image shows 'treelaxation' at Harry Edwards

    We will take you on a 3-hour journey through the private semi-ancient woodland of the lovely Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary. Forest Bathing+ is based on the Japanese art of Shinrin Yoku and involves a slow exploration of nature through your senses. Feel the changes in the air, observe the colours, inhale deeply and savour the smells of the season. 

  • Horsell Common, Woking, Surrey

    Horsell Common

    Harmony in Nature Forest Bathing session, Horsell Common (Woking, GU21), £35
    Tuesday 12th October, 11 am-1.30 pm
    Monday 6th December, 10.30 am - 1pm


  • RSE 1 now available in modular online units - UK & International enrolments invited to commence interactive training either 16th or 18th June

     
    GebNut JTEM
    Reyad Sekh Em® (RSE) is an ultra high vibrational Egyptian Alchemy healing system which harnesses the angelic elemental healing rays of earth, air, fire, water and spirit with etheric crystalline energies plus sound vibration and sacred breathing.
     
    It is now available as separate modular units which can be taken individually (each course is a stand alone training module) or studied together to complete the RSE 1 syllabus. 
     
    New dates added ongoingly so there will be rolling start dates and the course can be completed at a pace to suit you.
    Booking the complete RSE 1 syllabus (all 3 Units together) = £244

    The units can be spread over time, or the entire syllabus is available over the next 6 weeks.  It works out at £287 if booked separately 

    1 Unit Violet Flame of Amenti (Level 1) = £88 plus admin fee if paid by Paypal
    Includes attunement into Violet Flame of Amenti Level 1
    6 hours: 2 hours per week, 3 x Tues starting 16th June, 7-9 pm UK time (GMT+1 aka UT+1)
    Works for participants in USA/Canada if they are available during the daytime

    1 Unit – Khemitology =  £88 plus admin fee if paid by Paypal
    6 hours: 2 hours per week, 3 x Thurs starting 18th June,7-9 pm UK time (GMT+1 aka UT+1)
    Optional attunement (£23) into RSE Level 1 Kheper (scarab beetle, meaning re-birth) - included in cost if RSE1 complete syllabus booked together
    Works for participants in USA/Canada if they are available during the daytime

    Final ½ unit – Mindful Chakra Healing =  £44 plus admin fee if paid by Paypal
    5 hours: 11am-1.30pm on Saturday 20th June and Monday 20th July
    Chakra Balancing Equilibrium Attunement included 
    (new dates will be added to suit international participants (particularly in America) 
       
    ½ Unit – Essene Angelology = £44 plus admin fee if paid by Paypal
    2½ hours Tuesday 21st July, 7-9.30 pm UK time (GMT+1 aka UT+1)
    Optional personal attunement into your weekday, zodiac and elemental guardian angels - additional £23
    Works for participants in USA/Canada if they are available during the daytime
     
    Reyad Sekh Em can be learned as a natural progression from Reiki, although others learn the system having never felt drawn to learn Reiki. It is a deep system, which for many people, leads to advancement on their personal healing journey and a spiritual awakening, hence most students are not beginners and many are already Masters of other energy healing systems, though this isn't a pre-requisite.
     
     
    CMA CPD logoThis course is ideal for other Practitioners wanting an induction into this exciting and profound healing modality, and is also registered with the CMA (Complementary Medical Association) being valued at CMA CPD (Continuing Professional Development) hours matching the course duration. Suitable for self-empowerment and self healing as well as for unremunerated use on others (RSE Level 2 is the professional practitioner level). 
     

     

    To book all four RSE Level 1 Introductory course online units, at £244+ £12 Paypal admin fee
     
    Payments may also be made by online bank transfer, therefore saving the Paypal fee:
    A/c Name: Harmony Healing
    A/c No: 70660345
    Sort code: 20-90-56 (Barclays Walton-on-Thames)
    Use ref: Your surname/RSE 1 online
     

    If you have a group of three or more interested people and would like to host your own closed online course, or if you would like to study with Joanna on a 1-2-1 basis, please email Jo.

    Harmony Healing is a Mystery School training academy and the courses are designed to help lightworkers and seekers of spiritual truths open up additional perceptions and expand their consciousness. The training methods are intense and best suited to those who are looking for a fast-tracked programme to deepen their esoteric understanding and awareness.  

    A number of virtual courses are now ready and a selection are starting again this month, details on Harmony Healing Virtual Events. Currently, due to Coronavirus, most events will be virtual hence distant readings and healings are proving popular. We don't recommend giving a reading or healing to another person, without first checking whether it would be welcomed.

    Harmony Healing activities are aimed at bringing harmony and wellbeing into your life. If you are looking for spiritually enlightening activities during lockdown, Joanna offers distant intuitive readings (past life and/or aura readings) and distant 1-2-1 healings and virtual healing circles. We also have meditations available.

    To receive regular Blog updates (headed with a title detailing the occasion or event so that you can choose whether to open it or not), featuring New and Full Moon, meteor showers, eclipses and other meteorological events, interesting anniversaries, ancient festival dates plus notification of dates of numerological significance, sign up for the Harmony Healing e-newsletters above or at the top of any page of this Harmony Healing website. The nature of the Blog means that whenever there are several key dates in close succession, there will be frequent mailings. The sender e-mail address is (and the sender will show as Joanna Bristow-Watkins @ Harmony Healing). You may need to add this email to your safe list and check your junk filter initially.

  • Sunday 21st March, International Day of Forests

    International day of ForestsSunday 21st March is International Day of Forests, sponsored by the United Nations. The 2021 theme for International Day of Forests is "Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being." 

    Forests are home to more that 60,000 tree species; comprising about 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.

    In fact, 1.6 billion people are directly dependent on forests for their shelter, food, medicines, income and energy. Alarmingly, we are losing around 10 million hectares of global forest annually (the size of Iceland) and this is said to accounts for 12-20% of greenhouse gas emissions thought to contribute to our climate change.

    Whilst some have retained a strong affinity with nature, many have become disconnected. Ancient civilisations venerated the natural world, gaining much wisdom from observing in nature. Contemporary research is now highlighting the physiological benefits of time spent in natural surroundings. Trees emit phytoncides, which we are now refining into essential oils into the atmosphere, which have been proven to encourage relaxation as well as other wellbeing benefits. By engaging with natural forest environments, we can re-connect with nature, renewing our relationship with our natural habitat and appreciating any wildlife within it.

    As a qualified Forest Bathing+ guide, I am delighted to see Forests being recognised for their wellbeing benefits and valuable biodiversity and efforts being made to protect dwindling international woodlands. 

    Forest Bathing is the traditional translation of the Japanese term ‘Shinrin Yoku’, which refers to immersion under a canopy of trees. Practised for over 30 years to alleviate high levels of stress felt by Japanese executives in busy urban districts; Forest Bathing combines meditation and mindfulness with gentle exercise; all within an ambient forest environment.

    Offering a unique chance to reconnect both with nature and with ourselves, there is growing evidence that Forest Bathing can:

    • Reduce stress
    • Regulate blood pressure
    • Improve metabolic and cardiovascular health
    • Improve anti-cancer protein production
    • Support weight loss
    • Increase concentration and memory
    • Lower blood-sugar levels
    • Lift depression
    • Alleviate pain thresholds
    • Improve energy levels
    • Boost the immune system by increasing the body’s NK (Natural Killer) cell count

    In the UK, the Forest Bathing Institute (TFBI) has added sensory mindfulness exercises including a 'treelaxation' and group sharing opportunities all within ancient woodlands, to pioneer an enhanced experience known as Forest Bathing+.

    See you soon in Surrey Woodlands?

    We are now able to take bookings from April onwards, and I am offering a 3-hour session within the private grounds of the Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary (close to the picturesque Surrey village of Shere) on Saturday 17th April and a 3-hour session at Newlands Corner (a beautiful AONB - Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - in Ancient Woodland near Guildford) on the 22nd April.  Both events cost £38.32 per session and are bookable through Eventbrite.

    We are so lucky to have woodland making up around 25% of our landscepe here in Surrey. If you aren't local to us, make an effort to go and connect with your local woodlands and beautyspots and naise awareness for the need to appreciate our natural resources. It takes hundreds of years for woodland to build their ecosystems and create an effective communication network; it's a misnomer that we can make up for cutting down established woods with a few newly planted trees.

    If you run a local meet-up or social group and are looking for professsional speajers (virtual or in person when venues re-open), please contact me if you would like a presentation on Forest Bathing.

    Harmony Healing activities are aimed at bringing harmony and wellbeing into your life. If you would like to experience one of our spiritual offerings (meditation, reading, 1:1 healing, a Forest Bathing+ session or a full mentoring course), why not ask for a Harmony Healing gift voucherfor a birthday or other celebratory occasion? 

    A number of virtual courses are now ready, details on Harmony Healing Virtual Events. Currently, due to Coronavirus, most events will be virtual hence distant readings and healings are proving popular. We don't recommend giving a reading or healing to another person, without first checking whether it would be welcomed.

    Joanna offers distant intuitive readings (past life and/or aura readings) and distant 1-2-1 healings and virtual healing circles. We also have meditations available.

    To receive regular Blog updates (headed with a title detailing the occasion or event so that you can choose whether to open it or not), featuring New and Full Moon, meteor showers, eclipses and other meteorological events, interesting anniversaries, ancient festival dates plus notification of dates of numerological significance, sign up for the Harmony Healing e-newsletters above or at the top of any page of this Harmony Healing website. The nature of the Blog means that whenever there are several key dates in close succession, there will be frequent mailings. The sender e-mail address is (and the sender will show as Joanna Bristow-Watkins @ Harmony Healing). You may need to add this email to your safe list and check your junk filter initially.

  • What's on this spring: Unity Consciousness, Lunar Cycle alignment course, forest bathing ...

    Spring Equinox 20th 1Last weekend was the Equinox, so at last, Spring is in the air and we can feel optimistic about the summer.

    Things have been very hectic for me having embraced a transition to Zoom virtual format shortly after lockdown a year ago.

    Since last March, there have been continuous enrolments for my RSE (Reyad Sekh Em©) Egyptian Alchemy healing training courses. Especially the Introductory Level although 10 have gone onto become qualified RSE Practitioners and are working towards advanced practitioner training. I couldn't be happier on that front, after almost 23 years in the healing fraternity, the most amazing community of healers and trainee healers has emerged. I dreamt of this but to have it materialise is fantastic.  And the talent amongst them is incredible; if you are looking to develop latent (or extend existing) healing skills, do join us.  Here's two of the recently qualified super capable practitioners telling their stories on You Tube: Benjamin (a hairdresser, aged 21, unable to work during lockdown) and Agata (a practising NHS physiotherapist) tell their stories (less than 15 mins in total). 

    Most important is the desire to run an active team of lightworkers and make a difference in the world, especially considering the desperate global environment.  If you are familiar with the work of David Hawkins and Owen Waters, you will know that working on your own spiritual consciousness is one of the most productive steps we can make as individuals regarding improving global wellbeing. See my short YouTube presentation for more on this. 

    Monthly Full Moon Meditation 

    We hold monthly Full Moon Virtual Guided Meditations, the next ones are Sunday 28th March, Monday 26th April & Wednesday 26th May. Other dates are listed on the Harmony Healing website until the end of the year.  These cost £22 via PayPal (£20 if paid via BACS bank transfer) and act as a great low investment introduction to my work. 

    New Moon New Vision: lunar cycle connection programme

    Very soon, Monday 12th April - Tuesday 11th May, we have our coveted New Moon New Vision; lunar cycle alignment programme re-starting, cost is £155 (+ £7.50 admin fee if paid via PayPal). This was run earlier in the year featuring daily angelic affirmations, weekly meditations and several distant attunements to enhance your energetic connection to the sun, moon, earth, planets and stars plus the current Western and Chinese zodiacs. We simultaneously learn, though 10+ hours of virtual Zoom mentoring, to work with the energies of the moon cycle and each person creates a Vision Board for 2021 & beyond. Multiple participants found it a 'life changing for the better'. More at Harmony Healing Website and a YouTube informational video (about 15 mins) with feedback from three of the group members and here's what another had to say as the last course reached the final week: 

    "As we're almost at the end of the course, but still the beginning of a journey, I thought I'd share a few of the things that have changed for me during this moon cycle.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 

    I have more space within... I can literally feel it - possibly as a result of the Soul Star and Earth Star Chakras attunement, and also because of the releasing that has been happening over the last 2 weeks.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 

    I have recovered a routine which brings about a more productive day.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    My brain has tuned into the fact that I need to lose weight... I've let go of snacking, I'm having beautiful detox baths and have done the oil pulling. I am doing daily dance exercises.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    I am meditating more and got back on track with daily self-Reiki.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    I'm seeing the bigger picture.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    I am generally more focused.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    Such positive stuff for everyday living! ♥"⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    Yvonne Oaks, Light From Within, London, 10th Feb 2021🎈 

    Forest Bathing+ Sessions in leafy Surrey

    Earlier this week, Monday 21st March was International Day of Forests and I'm delighted to announce that we will be able to offer Forest Bathing+ sessions in Surrey again, starting on 17th April at Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary (Shere) and 22nd April at Newlands Corner (near Guildford).See event dates listed up to July on the Harmony Website, please do join us for one or more of these enjoyable and therapeutic experiences.

    I will also offer another series of RSE (Reyad Sekh Em©) Egyptian Alchemy healing training courses over the summer. Our current course finished yesterday (25th March), so I will wait and see whether they want to progress immediately onto RSE 2 Practitioner which will mean a delay before the next introductory series.

    So that's a summary of what we are offering for the next 3-4 months, if you aren't already and feel inspired to join our active Lightworker Community, think about joining one of the activities above or sign up for the Celestial Forecast Blog email updates.  Subscribers receive reminders of the New Moon, Full Moon, Meteor showers, dates of numerological significance (three '555' dates coming up in May, one of which is included in the New Moon New Vision Course), Pagan, Egyptian, Roman and other religious festivals as well as international celebrations.

    Whatever you do, have a happy spring & summer.

    If you would like to experience one of our spiritual offerings (meditation, reading, 1:1 healing, a Forest Bathing+ session or a full mentoring course), why not ask for a Harmony Healing gift voucherfor a birthday or other celebratory occasion? 

    A number of virtual courses are now ready, details on Harmony Healing Virtual Events. Currently, due to Coronavirus, most events will be virtual hence distant readings and healings are proving popular. We don't recommend giving a reading or healing to another person, without first checking whether it would be welcomed.

    Joanna offers distant intuitive readings (past life and/or aura readings) and distant 1-2-1 healings and virtual healing circles. We also have meditations available.

    To receive regular Blog updates (headed with a title detailing the occasion or event so that you can choose whether to open it or not), featuring New and Full Moon, meteor showers, eclipses and other meteorological events, interesting anniversaries, ancient festival dates plus notification of dates of numerological significance, sign up for the Harmony Healing e-newsletters above or at the top of any page of this Harmony Healing website. The nature of the Blog means that whenever there are several key dates in close succession, there will be frequent mailings. The sender e-mail address is (and the sender will show as Joanna Bristow-Watkins @ Harmony Healing). You may need to add this email to your safe list and check your junk filter initially.

  • What's the Big Deal With Metaphors? What Metaphors Reveal About You.

    As someone who likes Etymology – the study of the origin of words – I’ve always striven for a wider vocabulary.  As such, I listen carefully to people, and it is apparent that a person’s choice of words in everyday conversation is coloured by their interests, educational background, profession, beliefs and even state of mind at the time.  Pilots talk of navigating their way around a problem, projects taking off, contracts landing, taking flight from a situation etc. Rally drivers refer to racing out to the shops, a poor quality product being a heap of rusted metal, a difficult route to success being a rough road. Chefs pepper their conversation with talk of sweetening a situation in their life or news being a bitter pill to swallow.  Yet most of us know what they mean because our mind is able to decipher the comparison into a meaningful statement; somehow we are able to translate the general understanding to the relevant context.  As a result all of the above examples of metaphors, although they may have originated from the stated professions, are now used by people from all backgrounds and occupations.

    Metaphor is how the Unconscious relates to and expresses reality. It is a method of using language to bridge from one way of understanding to an alternative. Metaphors can provide a bridge between one familiar item and another. We state that we are "drowning at work," bridging between the idea of being unable to cope in water and the idea of being unable to cope at work. Similarly we may refer to being ‘out of depth’ in a work situation yet we realise this doesn’t mean that we are wading through a pile of paperwork that is literally taller than us!  In a therapy situation, we might observe that this phrase ‘out of depth’ is dropped into the conversation casually, maybe even with reference to someone else, but the clue is there to the active listener that the client’s unconscious mind is dropping us a hint that this description is apt for his or her work or home life.  It will take a little detective work on our side to determine which.

    However, metaphors are not just a feature of our spoken language. We also use metaphors, both consciously and unconsciously, every day in our non-verbal communication through gesticulations, movements and behaviour. We don’t realise what pointers they are giving to outsiders about ourselves. We can learn to 'listen out for' and 'read' these metaphors to glean insights about our clients and colleagues.  They can even be expressed in our manifestation of ailments; shoulder pain can represent difficulties with ‘shouldering’ responsibility and joint pains can indicate an issue with flexibility.  Louise Hay was one of the first to document this back in the 1970’s with her book ‘You Can heal Your Body’, which is still in print.  Louise, who died last year aged 90, identified links between a host of health conditions with specified emotional causes and went on to suggest ‘affirmations’ to help alleviate them. Whilst Louise’s work has produced many loyal fans, she is not universally applauded as some feel that her interpretation of all ills being created by our own inner turmoil somewhat simplistic and patronising.

    However, professional bodies do concur that metaphors play a key role in uncovering suppressed emotions.

    “Over the past 30+ years, it has become clear that metaphor is not simply a literary phenomenon; metaphorical thinking underlies the way we make sense of the world conceptually. It governs how we think and how we talk about our day-to-day lives.” …
    Researchers at the School of Critical Studies, Glasgow University.

    "The ‘metaphor transfer effect’ undoubtedly affects our feelings".
    The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

    “Like any science, psychology depends on making links from the known to the unknown. Throughout the history of psychology, metaphors have proved an invaluable way of gaining purchase on the unobservables of human cognition. Indeed, a history of metaphors of mind might look very much like a history of psychology.”
    The British Psychological Society Report

    Last October, an advert for a ‘Random Dialogues’ Meet-up caught my eye. I was intrigued and decided to go along to meet the hosts Arthur Partridge (Aypee) and Jane Tyson. 

    Aypee quickly established that we both used metaphors extensively in our work, helping us to determine underlying explanations for our client’s behavioural and/or physical manifestations.  It’s certainly a technique well known in the fields of counselling and psychotherapy, where stories are often used to illustrate an explanation, both by the client and practitioner.  A client who finds it hard to verbalise how they feel might find it easy to say ‘life is an uphill struggle’ telling us instantly that they lack strength, energy and/or stamina and that they are finding it difficult to cope. It’s also indicating that they feel ‘low’ compared to others.

    Since a slumped body posture is likely when people feel sad, metaphors relating depression to a burden are common.  Interestingly even the word ‘depression’ is itself a metaphor as it is derived from the Latin deprimere, translating as “to press down,” indicating the suppressing of emotions.

    Aypee’s many qualifications included being a Metaphors of Movement Practitioner, which he had studied with Andrew T Austin. Aypee explained how when he was coaching he used the positioning of events and situations in his client’s mind to determine all sorts of metaphors which he could apply to his/her coaching journey.

    In contrast, I discussed with Aypee how I used Past Life ‘glimpses’ and symbolic images which came to mind when I energetically ‘tuned into’ a client, to create metaphors which I could apply to his/her healing journey.

    So Aypee suggested that we joined forces on a joint Metaphor workshop.  It was agreed that we should collaborate on an event and promote it via Harmony Healing and Random Dialogues.

    Jo Aypee at Clandon Wood with bucket better croppedOn 21st December, we met up at an early morning Winter Solstice celebration at the Clandon Wood Nature reserve and decided to take some photos together for our event.

    Our friend Annette asked us to pose and noticed that a metal bucket was very close to our feet, she remarked “Mind you don’t kick the bucket, Aypee”, to which he laughed and suggested that we embrace the bucket and bring it into the picture.  We did.  The next day I started promoting the event on social media, using the picture with the by-lines “Is your life beyond the pail” and “Have you got any bad habits which you need to kick the bucket?”  As I was sharing the posts, an SOS from Jane alerted me to an emergency, and when I called her, she relayed the shocking news that Aypee had just suffered a fatal heart attack.  Obviously, I instantly withdrew the photo campaign and workshop promotion.

    As time passed, in consultation with Jane, we began to realise that this bizarre photo synchronicity could have been Aypee’s final cosmic joke to leave his epitaph in the form of a metaphor.  It also felt like a strong message from ‘beyond the grave’ that the workshop should go ahead because metaphors are not to be underrated.

    My friend and colleague Geoff Rolls immediately came to mind as my new collaborator as he had known Aypee for many years and was a fellow metaphor practitioner and enthusiast.  He was more than willing to share knowledge that can help us on a daily basis, when we observe, listen and witness more around us.

    Here’s what Geoff had to say about the use of metaphors as a life tool:

    Storytelling and use of metaphors allow us to explain complex subjects relatively easily. This is because when we tell stories people’s defences drop, maybe they metaphorically “take off their armour,” making is easier for us to connect and communicate efficiently.

    Have you ever seen the wonder on a child’s face when you begin to read or recite a story to them? Often they relax, their breathing slows down, the pupils dilate and they begin to play out the story in their own mind, giving characters qualities that maybe have never been there

    Metaphor has been used by generations to convey messages, to reframe situations that may have been difficult and to learn from others’ pursuits to indicate simple ways of growing and developing.

    Metaphor is so powerful that actually uttering certain words, phrases and sentences have a dynamic effect on people’s minds and bodies. Within Touch for Health Kinesiology we can recognise the shifting of muscle integrity when considering a new concept, or even focusing on the function of part of the body. The promotion of an altered state can be hugely beneficial and if we learn to speak on purpose, by using metaphor, maybe we can easily promote manageable and enjoyable change.

    Metaphors make it possible to:

    • Help clients to understand why they are stuck in repeated behaviour patterns and aid their aches, pains and chronic conditions
    • Produce a framework for releasing blocked emotions and reboot their life plan
    • Free them from their distractions and get them to feel good, no matter what.
    • Access their commitment, satisfaction, happiness, contentment, increase their resilience and confidence.

    Together, Geoff and I will show how to use metaphor in therapies, coaching and healing to quickly and easily improve life for our clients. Furthermore, this skill can be implemented in our daily life to improve our interaction with others.

    Article by Joanna Bristow-Watkis with input from Geoff Rolls, April 2018

    We are offering our first workshop on Sunday 29th April, 10am – 4pm at the Hoebridge Golf Club, Woking Surrey, GU22 8JH.  Cost is £75.  This will be an eye-opening (there's a great metaphor), collaborative and fun workshop which will enable you to communicate with others more effectively.

    To enable us to maximise our personalised interaction with the participants, thus sharing tools for each attendee to use in the future, we are offering this pioneering workshop to no more than 10 people. See Harmony Healing Training for details and to book you place.

    Here are a couple of Videos we've made looking at 'what the metaphors you use tell others about you'. It's especially useful for therapists but actually the skills discussed are transferable to business and home use too. The videos are 7.5 & 11.5 mins long respectively.

    1/. You Tube/Linked In video, featuring how alchemy metaphors can be applied in a corporate setting.

    2/. Facebook live from Monday 23rd April 2018, which discusses some metaphors which have come up in our therapy work, pinned to the top of Joanna's Harmony Healing Facebook Page.