I’m an independent counselor, Expressive Arts Coach, and educator, based in Aotearoa New Zealand. I am currently completing a DHSc (Doctor of Health Science) degree at Auckland University of Technology, focused on understanding the unconscious in arts therapy from a phenomenological perspective. My interest in existential-phenomenological psychology brought me to second wave positive psychology, which is becoming an important part of my counseling and coaching practice. Meaning-seeking has deep personal resonance at this point in my own life, having had a 30-year career in arts education before making a career pivot into counseling and therapeutic work. Having found in myself this late-career predisposition to strive for more personal significance in life, my practice encourages others towards their own realizations of untapped potential. I also hold a qualification in advanced career guidance and seek to integrate career counseling and psychotherapeutic approaches to ‘stuckness’ in my clients.
For me, INPM membership affords access to an international network of like-minded fellow practitioners in related fields (the ‘big tent’) and to ideas and research that deepen my own thinking and practice. As an expressive arts therapist who is broadening the scope of his own practice, I am finding PP 2.0 a powerful framework for enabling this growth. From the early days of my career as a school teacher in the north of Ireland, where I grew up during ‘The Troubles’, through later decades of working in community arts and university teaching in several countries, I have come increasingly to see the value of meaning-focused approaches, especially in the field of mental health. Having re-trained as a career counselor and then as an arts therapist, my current doctoral research seeks to extend the understanding of meaning into the domain of embodied, somatic, ‘unconscious’, aesthetic, implicit processes where meaning is lived and experienced in deeply felt ways.
My current practice engages with a range of clients, from unemployed in the Covid-hit creative industries to Afghan refugees re-settled in Aotearoa New Zealand, and I have been developing techniques for better online working—but a consistent focus has become finding meaning in times of change.