Sunday, 18 August 2019

Exploring ACT training with Leo Hepler, Jaimie Persson & Paul Flaxman - Part 2

Season 3 Episode 5

The conversation continues with a focus on how to introduce the concept of skilfully relating to the content that our minds can produce, which is also known as cognitive defusion. We also how Jaimie uses her experience of the context of the ballet world in a way that is both curious  and cautious - she's keen not to make assumptions based upon her own experience. Paul reflects on the embodied nature of the new protocol, many people we train report feeling quite disconnected with sensations in their body. He also reveals how the Flaxman Manoeuvre was born. Leo, continues to reflect on the impact of the training on his life in his characteristic thoughtful and insightful way.



Show Notes

Images of Leo by Amber Hunt for Photography by Ash

Flaxman Manoeuvre - the note below is our guidance for how to demonstrate this in a workshop.

"...we use two sheets of paper (see photos below). On one sheet we write something like, “Unhelpful thoughts, mood/ emotion, urges/impulses”. On the other sheet we write “Value” or “Personal Values”. To capture the aim of this training we say that these are things have the potential to influence our behaviour. We’ve looked at how personal values can provide a personally meaningful guide to daily behaviour. However, our thoughts and feelings can also influence our behaviour. We may intend to express a value in action, but when opportunities arise we might not feel much like it, or the mind might tell us to put it off until another time.

The trainer then moves the personal values sheet to the front while stating that a basic purpose of this training is to learn how to make personal values a more prominent guide to daily behaviour. Note that the unhelpful thoughts and feelings sheet does not move. The trainer points out that the unhelpful thoughts, feelings, and urges have not gone away. The message is that we will be developing a set of skills designed to help us relate more skilfully to these internal states, to ensure they do have an unhelpful or excessive influence over our behaviour." Flaxman & McIntosh, 2019

A lifetime of gentle returns - here's that quote in full from Kelly G Wilson, 2009.

No one lives in accordance with their values all the time. "Some days, some moments, we will be well oriented within that pattern [of living by our values]. Other days, other moments, we'll find ourselves at odds with our values. In that moment, the moment in which we notice that we're out of alignment with our value, can we pause, notice our dislocation and gently return? It's difficult to imagine a value of any magnitude that will not involve a lifetime of gentle returns."

Kelly G Wilson (2009) Mindfulness for Two

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Exploring ACT training with Leo Hepler, Jaimie Persson & Paul Flaxman - Part 1

Season 3 Episode 4

That's quite a title and this is quite a two parter! I was lucky enough to have a chance to discuss ACT in the workplace training from three different perspectives - with Dr Paul Flaxman, Jaimie Persson and Leo Hepler.

We’re exploring the delivery of training based upon acceptance and commitment therapy in the workplace from three different perspectives. We have Paul Flaxman – together we redesigned an ACT in the workplace training protocol, which was then adapted by our colleague and pal – Jaimie Persson – to deliver to the students at Canada’s National Ballet School. One of the students was dancer – Leo Hepler – our star guest – who came on the show to reflect upon his experiences of receiving ACT training.

In part 1 we talk about the ballet school and ballet company environment and hear how Jaimie (as a former student of the school) presented a compelling case to the Director – Mavis Staines – known for her progressive approach to education – to introduce the students to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. We also hear what Leo took away from the training.


Show Notes

The photographs of Leo were taken by Amber Hunt at

Unfortunately, no photos exist of Paul taking part in his Disco Dancing Competition.

There are photos of Jaimie from her dancing career which I'll add here asap.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Imposter Syndrome with Maddy Scott

Season 3 Episode 3

What fun we had recording this episode! There are two firsts, our first live recording with an audience and our first mash-up with Maddy Scott - one of the co-hosts of the Freaking the F Out Podcast!

After sharing our freaks of the week we go on to share the first mention of Imposter Syndrome that we found in the literature in 1978. We give some example from our lives and them move on the consider what we can do about it. There are some tips from behavioural science as well as a sense of collective compassion - most of us are in the same boat with this experience of feeling like a phoney.   


Apple Podcasts

Show Notes

Clance, P. R., & Imes, S. A. (1978). The imposter phenomenon in high achieving women: Dynamics and therapeutic intervention. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 15(3), 241-247.

In psychological terms, it is known more accurately as the ‘impostor phenomenon’, an “internal feeling of intellectual phoniness”, and was first noted by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978. Clance and Imes called it the “impostor phenomenon” because they noticed that high achieving women were believing their success was down to luck, or that they had somehow fooled others and therefore felt fraudulent and unworthy of their success.

Here's the passengers on the bus cartoon with speech bubbles - have a go at printing this off and adding some of your own everyday, unhelpful thoughts.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Dr Guy Meadows : The Sleep School - Part 2

Season 3 Episode 2

I was so pleased to have Guy as a guest - he's such an inspiration. This episode is packed with goodies. We discuss The Sleep School's approach to working with organisations, tracking devices and Guy generously offers a bumper selection of takeaways. I also get some personal advice on my coffee consumption which might be useful to more of the P-Soupers.



Apple Podcasts


Show Notes

You can find The Sleep School website here with links to their blogs and apps. 

If you're on the itunes or google play store just search for The Sleep School - there is an app for Insomnia and an app for professionals.

Some great quotes from Guy

"It's the most powerful natural performance enhancer known to human kind."

"Sleep is what makes us brilliant during the day."
Takeaway Top Tips
  • Make sleep a priority
  • Have catch up nights
  • Avoid the long lie-ins to avoid social jetlag
  • Keep your sleep pattern regular
  • 87% of people could now be considerd to be "shift workers" - because of the impact of their lives which results in irregular sleep patterns
  • Stimulants - Not anti-coffee - but try to frontload in the morning

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Dr Guy Meadows : The Sleep School - Part 1

Welcome to Season 3 Episode 1. It's the first part of my conversation with Dr Guy Meadows - co-founder and clinical director of The Sleep School.

We hear about Guy's background in sleep research and insomnia and what led to the formation of The Sleep School. It's fascinating to hear the series of events that began in the sleep laboratories of Imperial College. There's a glimpse into some of their research and an insight into the behavioural science behind The Sleep School.

Guy noticed that "the more people struggle to get to sleep the more awake they became".  Once he discovered ACT everything began to slot together. 


Apple Podcasts



Radio Public


Check out The Sleep School

Survey of 25000 working age adults in UK - 51% didn't know what to do to improve their sleep.
Half of that population were sleeping between 5 and 6 hours.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Bonus Episode - Season 3 Preview

Yes! I've decided, given that there's been a natural break, that it's the ideal moment to launch a new chapter - Season 3 is on its way!

In this Bonus Episode - I reflect briefly on the events of the last few months - primarily the death of my dear Mum. The photo is of some of the flowers from her funeral. I'll talk more about my experience of grief in a future episode. I also provide a glimpse of some of my plans for Season 3. Knowing that my Mum was so proud of my work helps to remind me of what's important.

Next week's Episode (the first of Season 3) is an interview with Dr Guy Meadows - the co-founder and clinical director of The Sleep School.


Sunday, 14 April 2019

Sarah Bonner - Part 2 - Tapping into Black Magic

Season 2 Episode 23

Here's Part 2 of my conversation with psychologist, Sarah Bonner. 

We focus in on Sarah's research into the experience of black women in the creative industries, it's called "Tapping into Black Magic."

Sarah's brings her research to life using words from her research participants. She articulates the issues in a really clear and accessible way and talks about individual differences. The issue for us all is can we recognise what we do when we notice a difference - how does it show up in our behaviour?

Sarah's research revealed two overarching themes - empowerment and disempowerment - you can hear more about the themes in this episode and also see them on the poster below.

Sarah also talks about two exciting findings which are ripe for further research - 'intragender and intra-racial conflict' and 'the confidence curve'.

Can we all recognise that talent and intelligence comes in different packages. Can we all:

  • be curious,
  • have an open mind,
  • and look beyond what we expect to see?


I mentioned a future guest - Dr Guy Meadows - you can find out more about The Sleep School here.