Matthew O’Connell (INLPTA)
I started out as a person-centred counsellor and progressed to coaching, hypnotherapy and Life Coaching with NLP in the late 1980s and early 90s. Later, I trained in Core Shamanic counselling and have gradually included Buddhist meditation as clients have requested it. After exploring and mixing different systems and sources in working with others, I have increasingly found myself offering what can perhaps best be defined as Holistic Counselling; meaning an inclusive approach that considers growth and maturation to necessarily include all aspects of our life, eventually opening up personal work to the social spheres and wider contemporary concerns. This ought to be a no-brainer but contemporary spirituality is rife with avoidance and moral stories about what is inherently good or bad and we can all fall for these stories from time to time and lose touch with our own autonomy and sense of authenticity. Even atheism and humanism tend to deny the value of certain, less rational aspects of our being and aligning ourselves with one system or another, one ideology or another, can cause us to inhabit idealised fantasies of who we must be and what we cannot allow ourselves to do. Coaching involves an attention to theory but it is at heart a practical system that prioritises experience, ongoing evaluation and the application of theory to lived experience.
I coach and guide clients in working with specific goals within a comprehensive approach to growth and change that can additionally follow either a meditation or shamanic based pathway. I support clients in finding emotional and psychological balance, and exploring human freedom, whilst finding greater confidence in their relationship with the world. For Buddhist and ex-Buddhists who wish to find balance and evolve their practice, I may be of help in humanising practice and developing unattended areas of self and life.
I use a coaching model which views practitioner and client as a team so if you need to be saved, I am not the right person to come to. The working relationship typically follows four session cycles and is renewed as and when needed. I mainly work through Skype these days. I am additionally motivated to support young adults and older teens find their way and address existential questions and concerns.
My meditation background spans a period of more than 25 years. I work with a variety of approaches to meditation and have many years of experience practising Theravada meditation and a variety of practices from different Tibetan traditions. The approach I take, however, is strictly post-traditional, rooted in first-hand experience and ongoing exploration, rather than the enactment of idealised and abstract images of perfection.
My background in Shamanism and neo-Animism spans a period of 16 years, though finds it roots in childhood when I first was taught to meditate and journey with the White Eagle Lodge at the tender age of 10. I create ceremony and ritual based on the paths I have followed and within a framework that appreciates the symbolic and performative nature of human habits. I have also trained in Core Shamanic Counselling, which is based on the notion of the Shamanic journey and accessing altered states of consciousness. I do not view Shamanism as exotic or foreign, but rather as a means for restoring conscious relationship with the embodied, incarnate, relational being that we are through the organic ties which form the basis of our physical existence.
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