New Psychlotherapist blog settings…

PA psychotherapy client asked me the other day, “Why, Mark, do you blog? What a strange thing to do.”

It was a very appropriate challenge, and it made me think.

And indeed, I thought so much that I’m changing the public visibility of this blog in a way that allows – for the time being – Google to index and track all pages and posts on this site, but without a menu tab.

So, to get here, you have to have wanted to get here – a bit like the light bulb in therapy that will only change, however good the therapist, if it wants to change.

Self-disclosure is always an interesting edge for therapists, and those who’ve worked with me know that, perhaps, I self-disclose more than most.

I work transparently with my clients, in a real and sometimes difficult relationship, and I believe this serves their growth, and my integrity, better than being too reserved.

It’s a style that works for me, I believe, but it’s one that won’t and doesn’t work for everyone.

So, no more self-exposing blogging for the time being at least, though I hope that the posts I have made here over the years might continue to interest and stimulate.

If we’re f**ked on the climate, what can we do?

Blasted Peruvian uplands, ploughed up and burned for superfood maca.
Blasted Peruvian uplands, ploughed up and burned for superfood maca.

Those who visit this blog know how concerned I am about climate change, and the psychology of human denial of the urgency of approaching catastrophe.

Our 32-year-old son Alastair is now on a kind of retreat in Peru, where we as parents were ourselves recently doing much the same – and where, as picture illustrates, we saw close-up the devastation we humans wreak wherever we go.

So, here – cross-posted from Facebook – are Alastair’s urgent musings on climate change and survival, which I thought were well worth a wider airing.

(I’ve just toned down some of his expletives, but look forward to responses…)

“So, here’s a question.

If we’re f***ed with climate change if we don’t start reducing our economic activity so that emissions can drop at never-before-achieved rates…. how do we do that without huge numbers of people losing their jobs and livelihoods and therefore their ability to feed themselves and their families?

In all the debates around climate change and how politicians and governments aren’t doing enough, I’ve literally never heard anyone ask this question, let alone answer it.

The science is absolutely clear; we need to reduce the rampant churn of resource consumption dictated by our current economic system.

But if the question of how people feed themselves – realistically, right now, today –  if that question isn’t asked, let alone answered, how can we possibly make any coherent yet rapid move on this issue? Either via capital-P Politics or via local direct community organisation.

Read the rest of this entry

On Anglo-German Reunification and Reconciliation

Mark and Jutta Brayne, marriage number 2, November 2013

Being showered with confetti – completely unexpected – at our second wedding, November 1 2013 in the Register Office of North Walsham, North Norfolk.

A hundred years from the start of World War One, I’ve finally found the peg I’ve been seeking on which to hang my first Braynework blog post in nearly a year.

It’s been the most extraordinary year, in which I left Cirencester and my former partner Sue, sold the beloved Wychcroft home which we bought in 2003, moved to my childhood home of Sheringham in Norfolk, divorced, bought a wonderful new house round the corner from my elderly but still sturdy mother – and to cap it all, remarried my first – German – wife Jutta.

Yes, a breathtaking amount of change in well under a year. And a challenge to describe with sensitivity to others involved on a public blog that’s visible to strangers, to psychotherapy clients and supervisees, to relatives near and far – and to friends present and former (for there are those, as is inevitable when couples split up, who sadly did not wish to join me on this journey).

For the two of us, it’s been an exhilarating, entirely unexpected, and enriching journey, involving struggle, challenge and no little screeching of emotional tyres/burning of relational rubber as we rounded the next corner.

There is much that Jutta and I could – and hopefully one day will – write about about our journey away from each other in 2000 after 23 years of marriage, and back together again 13 years later as empassioned psychotherapists and, with luck, rather more settled souls, 

For the moment, though, let the job of public acknowledgement of this odd couple’s new togetherness be done through the memory of an address we co-wrote and read at our local Anglican church in High Barnet on the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in 1995. Read the rest of this entry

Brompton folding bike in New York snow mercy wine-dash

Bruce's Brompton in NY snow Feb 2013Wonderful fellow-Brompton-folding-bike-owner’s email today from my old Dart Centre friend and colleague in snowed-in New York Bruce Shapiro.
Bruce’s Brompton top left. New York top right.
“Mark – I have one more reason to be grateful for your introducing me to Brompton bikes all those years ago:
As you probably know we were hit by a blizzard overnight. Read the rest of this entry

Farewell NZ – for the time being – after wine in Hawke’s Bay & awesome canoeing down the Whanganui River

Well, after five glorious cycling and canoeing weeks, the last two with Kat and Mela, it’s time to leave New Zealand, with a last blast of images (fuller set here on Google+ as usual), and some concluding thoughts about what has to have been the best cycling tour ever (though could of course have been longer!) and this extraordinary country that is now Kat’s home.

The amazing Whanganui River - as we did it, nearly 100km of  almost untouched, virgin rainforest through the most stunning canyons and rapids.

We finished our journey canoeing with a lovely bunch of Kat and Mela’s New Plymouth friends till midday yesterday (this is being posted from the Auckland Museum on Tuesday before a midnight flight home – free WiFi! which isn’t the norm in NZ) down the amazing Whanganui River, nearly 100km of almost untouched, virgin rainforest through the most stunning canyons and rapids.

Yes, Sue and Claire, I (with Mela in the prow) did fall in – we had different ideas of which side of a pretty solidly large rock to steer our Canadian canoe, so managed to strike it full on in the rapids…

But the water was warm, the barrels holding our camping and photo gear (largely) watertight, it was all in the spirit of the three days and no harm was done.

Indeed, the stretch of river with the main rapids is known for its 50:50 chance of tipping occupants out of their craft – in a country which remains (largely, again) gloriously free of our European and American Health and Safety culture. Here, they let you take sensible risks, and there’s almost no nasty financial litigation.

The result?

Amongst other things, hiking and canoeing and bungy jumping and river-boating and biking and tramping (hiking, to you and me) and jetboating and the rest that makes NZ the adventure capital of the world. And huge fun for all ages, including as I can confirm the near-geriatric. Read the rest of this entry

Soooo close!!! To doing the mountain bike circuit…. Vid on YouTube

You might enjoy – more than I did at the final denouement, though we had a fabulous day – this video, captured by Kat, of yours truly attempting (about 20th go) a circuit of the mountain bike obstacle course at PanPac forest nr Napier in NZ.

View video, then photo….. Enjoy!


Ouch that hurt

NZ biking – a final two-day solo ride along Forgotten World Highway, through spectacular rainforest, and… sheep. Oodles of.

I’m going that way. In the heart of Forgotten World Highway country.

OK, my name is Mark and I’m an internet addict.

And this is positively (probably) my last post (sounds of trumpet) from solo biking in NZ, with a map to show you where I started and where, on this last Saturday in 2012, I’ve ended up.

Which is, slap bang in the middle of the North Island ready for car collection by Kat and Mela and transport on East to Napier and the vineyards of the East Coast.

Read on beyond the map below for some concluding thoughts and some pix of an amazing two days and 160km/100 miles from Stratford (near New Plymouth and, yes, complete with a mock Tudor clock tower that plays, supposedly, lays from Romeo and Juliet) to Taumarunui. And as ever, a fuller set of pictures on Google+ here.

Starting this collection of pictures with proof from my cycle computer that I really did cross the 1000-mile mark, just in time before the end of my solo biking in NZ.

Which started in Queenstown three weeks ago today ( Saturday Dec 29th) via the South Island West Coast, and up via three days Christmas rest in New Plymouth with daughter Kat and partner Mela to where I am now.
Read the rest of this entry

Daughter Kat and Mount Taranaki both reached. 900 miles in 16 days. One chuffed psychlotherapist.

Mount Taranaki, spied suddenly on rounding a bend towards New Plymouth.

As always, fuller set of photos here.

I said I probably wouldn’t blog again very soon, but rounding a corner yesterday on the final stretch into Kat’s home province of Taranaki, seeing the local volcano looming above the clouds just stopped me in my tracks, and I couldn’t resist sharing a couple of views.

A real volcano. Though the clouds are clouds and not fire and brimstone. At this point.

So, a final day of 90 miles/146km saw me spinning up the south coast of Taranaki with a fabulous tailwind in burning sunshine, a bit up and down, but allowing self and Raven to complete the first part of this amazing journey in speed and in style.

Kat and partner Mela, with Mela’s Mum Laura, had prepared a fabulous, and thanks to a couple of Tui beers also a cooling and liquid welcome at Mela’s childhood home in Normanby, just off the main highway out of Hawera north towards New Plymouth. Read the rest of this entry

NZ Biking: Days 13-15, Nelson in S Island to Bulls in North

A long and winding road. Queen Charlotte Drive down to Picton.

First, for a fullish set of photos from today, follow this link

So, approaching the end of the heavy riding of this New Zealand tour (just 85 miles or so to go tomorrow, bringing me in 16 days to nearly 900 miles in total since Queenstown, before joining Kat and Mela for Christmas and then some gentle biking a trois around Hawke Bay), this last Saturday before Christmas finds me…

a)      not vapourised in the end of the world that didn’t happen (at least here in NZ. Did your world end by any chance? If so, please let me know as it may affect my return plans to the Northern Hemisphere…) and

Direction signs in Bulls. Do read more closely.

b)      in a lovely little place called Bulls, about half way between Wellington and my immediate destination tomorrow in Normanby, where Mela’s parents live just south of Mount Taranaki volcano.

The three days since I last posted have continued – surprise, surprise – totally fabulous.
Read the rest of this entry

Murchison to Motueka and on to Nelson – 200k in 2 days & wit wit wit.

Tui Birds at Dawn – here drinking nectar from a flax plant.

Before I go ANY further, you must listen to what’s been waking me up pretty much every morning at five for the past two weeks of camping.

Tui birds chattering to each other, and quite clearly having a conversation. The most lovely – unsleepable-to – sound, captured on my mobile phone today. About a minute long, and do listen all the way through.

So, back to what I was going to say…

First, here are the pictures for the last two days on Google+. Also, click on any of the pictures in this post, (except the Tui, which will bring up the recording) and they’ll take you to the album. I hope.  Read the rest of this entry


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