Chris is a psychotherapist, family consultant and supervisor. He believes that knowledge of what contributes to healthy and conscious relating provides the bedrock for excellence and success in the work of family law. The traditional lawyer/client model highlights the professionals’ role as expert, doing something to or for the clients and/or their children. For the field of ADR practice, where the locus of responsibility is more balanced and shared, he is keen to widen this focus to include relationships between the professionals, the central importance of which has been overlooked. Through the FLiP Faculty he hopes to share some of his knowledge and experience with family law practitioners keen to enhance their understanding of why good relating comes before good advice. Chris's view can be summed up by the mantra, “We can’t facilitate for others what we are unable to facilitate for ourselves.”
Chris has been in continuous private practice as a psychotherapist since 1993, working with individuals and couples. Since 2006 he has also worked in interdisciplinary settings alongside family lawyers, attempting to improve the experience of divorce and supporting the healthy reshaping of post-divorce families. As a clinical supervisor, he is the first in the UK to offer psychologically-based supervision to family lawyers. He is the author of The Complete Guide to Divorced Parenting (Camedia Books, 2014) and a regular contributor to the Annalisa Barbieri column in the Guardian Family section.
QUALIFICATION & SKILLS
BEd (Hons), Lancaster University
Diploma in Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy, BCPC
MA in Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy, Middlesex University
Diploma in Supervision, CSTD
Registration by the UK Council for Psychotherapy
Chris has provided regular staff development courses in counselling skills and managing students in crisis at Bath University (1996-2006) and a range of day trainings in collaborative practice and related subjects for Northern Lights, CFL and the Bath, Bristol, South Wales, Kingston-on-Thames and Manchester Collaborative Pods (2006-2016).
I am passionate about the untapped potential that supervision has to better equip family lawyers to thrive and remain healthy in the face of the trauma and distress they are continually faced with. This is especially true for those professionals wanting to develop dialogical and non-adversarial approaches to divorce, given that this requires deeper relationship building between professional and client, and also between professionals, and a higher dynamic stress level as a result. In my experience many young family lawyers are entering the profession because they are interested in working with people more than just with expert information or advice. Nothing in the organisational culture of family law currently provides them with the tools to achieve excellence in this relational field, critically in the area of self-care. I have already seen psychology-based supervision of the type that is mandatory for psychotherapists make a significant contribution to the professional and personal development of the individual lawyers I work with.
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