What I do
I am a psychotherapist, writer, international trainer, and world expert in imagery based therapies. I am Co-founder/Director since 1979 of Skyros Holistic Holidays, which has pioneered community-oriented holistic health holidays worldwide. More recently, I have founded and directed the Aurora Centre in Southern Italy, to train therapists, counselors, and consultants in ImageWork.
I am a course leader on the Faculty of the MA(Clinical) in Psychotherapy of the Tivoli Institute in Dublin, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Humanistic Psychology (Britain).
I have been a pioneer in ImageWork, a method of using inner imagery to understand ourselves and guide our lives and those of our clients, am the Honorary President of the International ImageWork Association, and the author of the classic Life Choices, Life Changes, an essential introduction to all aspects of imagery, as well as You Are what You Imagine which is a guide to the three steps you need to take from where you are to where you want to be, using ImageWork.
I’ve also specialised in burnout, having burnt out myself and understood its underlying message to me, and am the author of The Joy of Burnout , which offers a visionary new approach to burnout as a positive step in a soul journey. I have also done research into fears of the future, where they come from, and how to heal them.
I have also written a memoir, Into the Woods and Out Again which is an account of key moments in my journey, ranging from having an experience of madness, to starting Skyros Holidays, to pioneering ImageWork, to dealing with marriage, motherhood, divorce, and all manner of life events.
I have taught courses and workshops and given keynote talks at conferences all over the UK and in almost every major European country including Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany and Greece, as well as in the USA, Russia,Thailand, Cambodia and Japan, and have had a presence on UK radio and television.
My most recent book, being launched on April 7, 2022, is ImageWork: The Complete Guide to Working with Transformational Imagery (PCCS Books). This is a training book for psychotherapists, counsellors, coaches, consultants, supervisors, and helping professionals in working with the imagination to enhance learning, health and healing, creative achievement, and practical wisdom.
Dr Martin Rossman, leading imagery author in the USA, has said about ImageWork “In my 50 years in the field, this is the best book I have read about working with imagery for healing, creativity and personal transformation. A landmark book—I shall be studying it.”
I am also launching a training programme online and at the Aurora Centre to train practitioners in ImageWork.
The Skyros experience
One of the things I am best known for is Skyros Holistic Holidays in Greece, Thailand, and Cuba, which I co-founded in 1979 and still co-direct with Dr.Yannis Andricopoulos. The first alternative holiday centre in Europe, Skyros offers wide-ranging courses in beautiful locations with a unique community atmosphere. A central principle is the creation of “soul community” – a sense of belonging and authenticity such that everyone who comes can immediately feel at home and feel seen and recognised for who they are and who they are becoming.
Skyros quickly became internationally known as a kind of greenhouse for personal and spiritual development, as well as a cultural experiment in a creating a model for a healthy temporary society. It has been the subject of novels, films, short stories, and poems, featured in almost every major UK and European newspaper and magazine, and it started a trend in alternative and holistic holidays that spread throughout the world. It has also been the starting point of life change, career change, geographical change, not to mention lots of marriages and new babies for thousands of the participants who have shared the Skyros experience.
Today there are two centres on the Greek island of Skyros, both with a community atmosphere, and courses by world class teachers. One is the Skyros Centre, in the village, which offers not only personal development courses but also health and healing, a writers lab, and creative courses. The writers lab attracted some of the most well-known writers of their time, including Sue Townsend, Steven Berkoff, Margaret Drabble, Hanif Kureishi, DM Thomas, Bernice Rubens, Alison Lurie. Atsitsa, between pine forest and sea, is a holistic holiday, and offers a wide range of courses from including dance, music, comedy, yoga, art, windsurfing, kayaking, writing mosaics, personal development, and many others.
More About Me
Being a New York Londoner with an international soul
Originally a New Yorker, I’ve lived in London since 1968, and have two children and three grandchildren. I now also live partly in Monopoli, Puglia South Italy where I go to write, walk by the sea, drink espressos at the local café, and renew myself . This is where I’ve established the Aurora ImageWork Training Centre. This is also where I wrote ImageWork over an 11 month period. My fascination with community, imagery, turning points, burnout and soul work have always guided my life, and taken me down some unusual directions.
What I’ve loved being and doing
I have loved creating environments like the Skyros holidays where turning points happen all the time in the midst of the fun and companionship and unique sense of community. Creating and directing Skyros has been one of the most magical of my life experiences and a great gift to me and to others.
I love also living in different worlds, dividing my year as I do between London, Puglia, Skyros and New York, with a smattering of Cham in Switzerland for reasons that vary from work to family to enjoying life.
I also meditate endlessly on how to reduce the suffering caused by our limited understandings of who and what we are, and on how to increase our clarity, love and courage. I love working with people, in courses, therapy, coaching, or communities, and sharing the road maps I have gathered through my life and work.
I have a strong academic background, with a BA Honours from Brandeis University, an MA from University of Michigan, and a PhD from Brunel University, London and have lectured for over 20 years in UK universities. This gives me some theoretical and research frameworks for understanding the structure of our experiences.
And I’ve loved having children and now grandchildren. I wouldn’t be me without them.
Being part of something bigger than me is also central, whether it be the human community, nature or soul and spirit. I would say that my spiritual life is at the very heart of who I am.
Caterpillars and butterflies
For me, life at its best is a series of expansions, or turning points. In between, it can be wonderfully peaceful and joyful or just normal, but it also may be stressful, boring, frightening, painful or confusing. Is this what it’s like for a caterpillar inside a chrysalis, not knowing what it is to become?
Perhaps I like being a midwife for caterpillars.
More generally, I am passionate about life and very adventurous, always looking for a new challenge, and often finding myself breaking old molds in order to create new ones. Intuition, imagination, communication and creativity are probably my strongest points. Ethical politics, social justice and universal human values are central to my approach to life.
All this gives you an idea of who I’ve been and where I might be going. But since turning points and new beginnings are the love of my life, who I am remains to be discovered every day. This is one of my greatest joys.