(Click on the title to be taken to the review, or reviewer's name for biodata, or simply scroll down the page)

Reasons and Rationalizations  by Chris Argyris - Reviewer Stephen Bray 

Bridging Differences  by William B. Gudykunst - Reviewer Terry Goodwin

Counselling and the Life Course by Lonie Sugarman - Reviewer Mark Edwards

The Psychodynamic Approach to Therapeutic Change by Rob Leiper and Michael Maltby - Reviewer Penelope Waite

American Shaman - Reviewer Leo Rutherford

Fuzzy Grammar edited by Bas Aarts, David Denison, Evelien Keizer, Gergana Popova  - Reviewer Joe Sinclair

Explanations - Styles of Explanation in Science - Reviewer John Ewing

Counselling Children, Adolescents and Families by John Sharry - Reviewer Rob Cumming



Reasons and Rationalizations, The Limits to Organizational Knowledge,  by Chris Argyris.  Oxford University Press   2004.   242 pages.  ISBN 0-19-926807-X.  Hardback  19.99.   

This book is about the defensive reasoning that people use in order to explain failures in organizational and personal development. 

Although scholars document such defensiveness, scant attention has hitherto been paid by them to mitigate its impact. 

Argyris believes this is partly due to defensive reasoning predicated upon the reality tunnel of scholarly research. 

Such reasoning includes the following: 

1.    Its objective is to protect the self interests of groups and individuals against perceived criticism. 

2.      Processes are tested by self-referential logic. (For example a marketing association may evaluate an advertisement by how creative it is, rather than how many products it sells). 

3.      Processes, particularly ones that aren't working, are hidden so they cannot be scrutinised. 

4.      Deception is covered up, and then the cover-up is covered. When this occurs an element self-deception may also be identified. 

Defensive reasoning occurs in order to deny negative feelings, whilst seeming to act rationally. 

Argyris explains that people who reason defensively also reason productively. Productive reasoning results in: 

1.      Validatable data and knowledge. 

2.      Informed choices. 

3.      Transparency of thinking, reasoning and processes. 

Argyris states 'productive reasoning' requires the prior condition of 'defensive reasoning'. This precipitates as a tangled hierarchy in which the more that productive reasoning is applied, the more that 'defensive reasoning' occurs within the organization. 

The book cites a number of examples, notably the 'Challenger' space shuttle disaster, illegal practices within religious and educational establishments, and various examples drawn from accounting practice. 

Both defensive and productive reasoning are explicitly, or implicitly rule=governed. For example, P.9: 

1.      Communicate a message that's mixed 

2.    Act as if it's not mixed 

3.    Make 1. and 2. un=discussable  

4.    Act as if none of the above is happening 

The author contrasts two types of organizational culture. Model 1. may be understood as hierarchical, but in a post T group, post-modern sense. Approval and praise is freely given in order to increase the 'feel-good' factor. Deference is paid to others and confrontation is avoided, especially with respect to people's reasoning.  Model 1 espouses honesty in expressing feelings and thoughts within a rigidity of principle, position and perception. In  Model 1 organizations the aim is to win, whilst of course not to admit to competing! 

Model 2 shares characteristics of what others call Servant[1], (or Developmental[2]) Leadership. This increases other's capacities to confront their own ideas, to open their minds and to help others to act similarly. 

People are assumed to have a capacity for self-examination and self-regulation, which may be openly tested and nurtured. Others and you are encouraged to tell what is known and thought. Principles, values and beliefs are delivered in ways that encourage their examination so that self-inquiry and reflection occur within the core of the organization as well as personally. 

Model 2 organizations use what Argyris describes as double-loop learning. This means that the explicit or implicit procedures which govern communication within the organization evolve as a result of deliberation. Ultimately such changes may be reduced to the respective mind sets or the individuals who comprise organizations. This perhaps accounts for Argyris devoting the second chapter of the book to the topic of 'corrosion of character', which he claims is developed in Model 1 organizations. 

It falls outside the scope of a review to describe the examples by which character is corroded, or to elucidate how 'double-loop learning' is inhibited even though these comprise a major part of the book. 

Two chapters are devoted to the topic 'Facilitating Double Loop Learning'. These are influenced by such concepts as: multiple-causality, circularity, problem-framing and reality testing. These chapters inevitably fall back into further annunciation of defensive reasoning, which interrupts the pace of what might otherwise have been the solutions-focussed section of the book. 

Notwithstanding this minor quibble the book provides a foundation in double loop learning for senior management executives, and organizational consultants. 

Scholars take note (P. 213): [Scholarly research dodges responsibility] . . . "by using its own brand of defensive reasoning and by building norms in the scholarly community that support the limits placed on inquiry by the defensive reasoning mind-set. There is a norm that empirical research should focus on describing the universe 'as is' (that is constructed by scholars). Scholarly research does not focus on creating rare events, such as new universes, even though the results of such research can illuminate features of the 'as is' that can illuminate features of the 'as is' that surface when serious attempts are made to change the universe."  

[1] Zohar, D. 1997) Rewiring the Corporate Brain. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

[2] Bray, S. (2000) Proceedings of the Bursa Human Resources Congress. Istanbul: ROTA

 Stephen Bray  



Counselling and the Life Course by Lonie Sugarman. Sage Publications, February 2004.    144 pages.  Paperback.  ISBN 0-7619-6240-9.  16.99.


As a counsellor in training I am well aware that counselling is predominantly a white, middle class profession. Further to this, I think it would be safe to say that it is also dominated by females. It is important, then, to recognise that we bring all kinds of cultural influences to the counselling process and issues of gender, class and ethnicity have an important bearing on this process. This book deals with another important factor, that of age.


Much has already been written about the various life stages and what typically we may expect when we enter each stage. Leonie Sugarman describes the implications of this for counsellors; for example, a counsellor in her twenties may feel uncomfortable in counselling a fifty year old male in the throes of a midlife crisis. She asserts that most counsellors would feel most comfortable when working with clients that are the same age or younger. (This is not merely a supposition but is a reflection of the response of trainee counsellors when asked about preferred age groups.) It is therefore important that counsellors gain an understanding of the different life stages and the concerns of people in them, in order to feel more comfortable with a range of clients, and the book is designed to meet this need.


Sugarman includes activity tasks throughout the book and reminds readers of the importance of not skipping them (always a temptation in my experience!) and these are accompanied by some nice quotes : We cannot live the afternoon of life according to the programme of lifes morning, for what in the morning was true will at evening be a lie. Whoever carries into the afternoon the law of the morning.must pay with damage to his soul. (Carl Jung). There is reference to Eriksons stages of life development and the major challenges that accompany each stage (why isnt everyone taught about these as a matter of course?) and also to the stages that a trainee counsellor will go to, which seem to parallel lifes journey in significant ways. The process is one of maturation and integration.


The book describes each stage of the 'life course' in depth, in terms of the implications for the counselling process. Some older people, for example, may see entering counselling as a sign of weakness. This being understood, the counsellor should be less inclined to suppose that the client is in a state of denial, for example. As I progressed through the book, it became clear that the author is at pains to ensure that the counsellor recognises the wider context of whatever the client is presenting. I found the chapter on transitions and turning points very useful; having gone through a few in my own life it is interesting to learn that there is an observable pattern to what happens before, during and after the transitional experience. That certain transitions are likely to occur at particular life stages seems fairly obvious - childbirth, job loss etc, but how often is the clients age taken into account during the counselling process?


There is a chapter on Life Stories which explains how the personal narrative of a clients life creates an identity for the narrator; this is a particularly rich section of the book which would be of great interest to counsellors who work with metaphor and imagery. The final life course' perspective chapter provides an excellent summary of the previous chapters.


Essential reading for student, fledgling and experienced counsellors alike.  


Mark Edwards

American Shaman by Jeffrey A. Kottler and John Carlson with Bradford Keeney.  Publishers Brunner-Routledge , April 2004.    256 pages.  Paperback.  ISBN 0-4159-4822-3.  11.50.  

When I first saw this book I though Oh no, not another white American fancy-shaman, but I am delighted to say my prejudices are completely unfounded. This is a truly fascinating book full of experience and wisdom.   It is the story of Bradford Keeney, son of a country preacher and one time family therapist and academic, who found standard disciplines did not answer the important issues and questions of life.  This book is about his odyssey around the world experiencing ancient healing practices of the Bushmen of the Kalahari, the shamans of Bali, Credo Mutwa - master shaman of the Zulu, and others.  He is accompanied by the writers who are psychologists and educators of note:  Jeffrey being the author of 55 (thats right - fifty-five!) books, and Jon - a Professor of psychology at Governors state University of Illinois - and author of a mere 30 books.  Between them there is a lively dialogue of what is really what in healing.  What is it really about, what works, what really helps creative change to take place and bring happiness and fulfillment in life.

From the point of view of Western psychology, Brad has a number of strange ideas which contradict much of what the straight world thinks and does. He has found that common practices amongst indigenous healers include - for example - to seek to honour the Great Mystery as a mystery rather than try to understand everything; to help people who are upset to become more so, more aroused, rather than trying to calm them down.  Instead of Prozac - or meditation - dance and shake wildly with true abandon so the energy moves through you instead of being pushed down again;  that talk doesnt always help but dancing, singing, touching and prayer are where a lot of effective action lies; that the role of healer-helper should include many facets such as guide, coach, minister, counsellor, physician, musician, and trickster;  that trials, tribulations, shamanic tasks are effective and they do not have to make sense to the person;  that play is a very helpful level of interaction to help people to take themselves less seriously, that all healing-helping is a sacred enterprise in which the spirit world and nature play a part and need to be integrated with the body, mind and soul; that ultimately healing-helping are about love and community.

This rings right with me as I too went on an odyssey, albeit a lesser one, and I have found that the straight models, while helpful, only take us so far and leave great riches undiscovered and sometimes even suppressed.  Since I chose to do my own work under the banner of shamanism (though I am not a shaman, just someone who works with those tools), I have felt free to incorporate ways and means from many disciplines so, for example, in working to assist a participant who has returned from a Vision Quest with incompletely understood insights, Gestalt - the empty chair -  might prove a very useful tool.

The authors record that Brad Keeney was hit by a shamanic crisis at the age of 19 when a shaking force entered his body and would take him over.  It took him many years to discover how to live with it - and his dreams guided him to indigenous healers around the world who gave him instruction and sometimes oversaw ritualistic ordeals that served to deepen his capabilities.  He has undergone numerous periods of fasting in the wilderness and in an isolated ceremonial room while supervised by tribal elders.  He is clearly someone who walks his talk.

Here are a few gems from Brad:  The shaman embraces his own humility. He comes to the (healing) encounter with the assumption that he has as much madness, neurosis and sickness as anyone he would attempt to heal  (You know that old saying - your clients come to you with your own problems!). 

Shamanic initiation involves the radical deconstruction of ones self through processes and rituals of ordeal and self-negation.  They bring you to your knees.  Yes - no one in an indigenous culture wants to become a shaman, it is thrust upon them by the Gods, the energetic forces - one is called and has to follow.

When suffering is wed with ecstatic experience, that is when the real transformative action begins. It is at the intersection of bliss and suffering that we find compassion, love and wisdom.

Ho! to that.  I heartily recommend this book to practitioners of all disciplines.

Leo Rutherford      


Explanations - Styles of explanation in science.  Edited by John Cornwell. Oxford University Press.        ISBN 0-19-860778-4.   Hardback, 238 pp.   18.99.

Explanations are what make us human.  Our bodies have few functions that are not duplicated or bettered elsewhere in nature. Beyond the mental underpinnings of these functions, the processes that keep us looking for food, defending our territory and thrusting to reproduce are not much different from those in other animals.  The great difference arises when we look at our surroundings and try not just to discern those things that are around us, but to know why they are there.

Perception demands understanding: as soon as we look at something, we formulate explanations for what we see. We may be happy with them for a while, until we try them out in other circumstances and find them lacking, at which point we must think again. The process of doing this, over and over again for different contexts and phenomena, is what makes us so different from other animals.

So far so trite: but humans are different from each other, not just in drive and intelligence but also in nurture.  And explanation, for a churchman, may seem like so much poppycock to a scientist, and explanation for a lawyer totally different from either.  In court, the set of actions leading up to the commission of a crime may constitute an explanation that will hang a man, but neither a theologian nor a physicist might see anything worthy of mark with regard to the governing patterns of the universe.  Yet again, an expert scientific witness may use such terms as probability and consider that in doing so he is describing something precise and incontrovertible: he might well be astounded to find that a lawyer will seize on such terms and use the laymans understanding of them to worry his evidence to shreds. Explanation reposes on culture, and on context.

Science has, for centuries, worried about what it is and how it works: whether it simply describes, painting ever more detailed pictures of us and our surroundings, or whether it really gets down to the root and explains the reasons behind it all.  Science is probably the greatest of the cultures of explanation, and many the philosophical career has been built on explaining it. The fact that the SciPhi trade is booming indicates, perhaps, that no-one has managed it to date.  Or are they all regurgitating the same stuff in not-so-slim volumes suitable for the layman?

Judge for yourself. This book presents a dozen different pictures of explanation in science, contributed by a cast of scientists in high standing.  In doing so it manages to be a pretty good explanation depiction? of science.  It is not a very easy read: the first essay, on the very meaning of the words explanation, understanding, cause and effect, is straight SciPhi sans merci, and requires a clear head and a fair amount of concentration.  If you can achieve this and maintain it, youll be off to a fair start with the rest of the book.  Its a rewarding trot, accompanied, in the case of this reviewer at least, by many a satisfied chuckle as the tumblers click into place.  These people are good.

John Ewing


Fuzzy Grammar, a reader,  edited by Bas Aarts, David Denison, Evelien Keizer and Gergana Popova.  Published by OUP.  April 2004.    526 pages.  Paperback.  ISBN 0199262578.  24.99.

The first aim of the book, according to its editors, is to bring together a number of classical and recent writings from philosophy and linguistics in the area of vagueness and fuzziness.

To this extent alone, merely to judge by the quality of the contributors, the editors have been remarkably successful.  I was delighted to discover so many of my personal  favourites in the areas of linguistics and philosophy listed in the Table of Contents: Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, George Lakoff, Otto Jesperson, John Lyons and Noam Chomsky, to name but a few.

How successful have the editors  been, however, in their further expressed aim of  giving an idea of the richness of thought in this area and [. . . stimulating . . . ] further cross-disciplinary work?

I shall defer my conclusion.  First some definitions.

What is grammar? 

One reference work proposes that it is a formula or set of formulae used to describe logical relationships between lexical items or other terminal symbols, used in language, mathematics and logic to describe (or prescribe) the structure of a human or artificial language.

What is fuzziness?

Definitions are not always as clear-cut and precise as we might wish, mainly because we all differ in our perceptions and experiences of things and events.  How large is large?  How loud is loud?  When does a heap become a hill?  When does a puddle become a pond? 

In most of our interaction the imprecision of such predicates makes little difference.   It may only be when a precise definition is required, for instance in litigation, that indeterminacy may not be tolerated.

But in everyday language imprecision is not only tolerable, it is often desirable.  When we use such expressions as typically, usually, potentially, as a general rule (and theres a nice oxymoron for you!), this is not simply sloppy writing or speech, it can actually play a useful role in communication.  Indeed, introducing fuzziness into teaching or training can be useful in making a notion acceptable to students and trainees, where imposing a concrete and specific concept, that is inevitably subjectively based, may meet with resistance.  

Vagueness may appear to be a linguistic disability, but when used intentionally. it can contribute effectively to the desired communicative message.  Its use, in fact, is as much governed by rules of tactics as rules of grammar. 

Dr. Ravi Zacharias, author of The Will to Do describes our present generation as one that hears with its eyes and thinks with its feeling.  This is the result of an over-exposure to "the fuzzy grammar of media".  Everything in our media-controlled culture is subject to interpretation; all truth is presumed to be subjective.  This is the essence of fuzziness.

Fuzziness introduces an element of improbability in that it measures the degree to which an event occurs, not whether it occurs.  An amusing paradoxical example was one given by philosopher Bertrand Russell who described his barber as a be-whiskered man who shaves a man if and only if he does not shave himself. The question is: who shaves the barber? If he shaves himself, then by definition he does not. But if he does not shave himself, then by definition he does. So he does and he does not.

I seem to have wandered far and wide away from the task I set myself of defining fuzziness and grammar as relating to the way they are described in this book.  But that, I guess, is a measure of the beauty and value of this "reader" - at least to this reader - in that it has sparked off a veritable multitude of thoughts and ideas, to say nothing of the reminiscences it has triggered.

For me therefore it has fulfilled the promise of its editors.  Without being too precise and determinate about it, I would suggest it would probably do the same for you.

Joe Sinclair


The Psychodynamic Approach to Therapeutic Change by Rob Leiper & Michael Maltby.  Sage Publishing.  February 2004.  192 pages.  Paperback ISBN 0-7619-4871-6.  Price 17.99.

What an amazing chap is Windy Dryden.  Whenever I'm offered a book for review it's almost certain to be either written by him, edited by him, or published in a series for which he is the editor.  How he has the energy and resources, I simply don't know, but whatever hat he wears, he's rarely disappointing.  This book is no exception, and although his input is at one remove as he is (merely?) the series editor, the entire Sage Therapeutic Change series continues to impress.

Nevertheless honesty compels me to admit that I didn't really want to review it.  I'd applied to review another book in the series, The Rational Emotive Behavioural Approach to Therapeutic Change (this one actually also co-authored by the prolific Mr Dryden) . . . but someone beat me to it!

And further confession (supposed to be good for the soul) is that I'm not really a psychodynamic type person - more a humanistic psychotherapist of the Rogerian client-centred school.   So I wasn't looking forward to what I anticipated would be a lot of oral, anal and sexual stuff.  But although the Freudian background is certainly covered in the early part of the book, it quickly goes on to introduce and discuss the development of psychodynamics in a clear and elegant way, via Anna Freud, Melanie Klein and the neo-Freudian school, and subsequently explores the "six core processes of expression, understanding, relationship, regression, differentiation and creation" in a final section on the Spiral of Change.

I'm sorry that it's not really my "thing", but it says a lot for the book and its treatment by the authors that it held my attention throughout.  It is well written and well organised and I'm sure it will be of help and interest to researchers and practitioners concerned with the therapeutic action of psychodynamic treatment.

Penelope Waite


Bridging Differences - Effective Intergroup Communication by William B. Gudykunst.  Published by Sage Publications, 2003.  426 pages paperback. ISBN: 0-7619-2937-1.  Price 26.99

My beaker is overflowing.  After the splendid Cultural Intelligence I was asked to review for the last issue, I've now been given the 4th edition of this book by Gudykunst . . . and I don't know how I came to miss all the previous three editions.

First let me state what's been added or changed in  this latest edition.  Not that I was in a position to notice, but it will be of interest to those of you who are acquainted with the earlier version.  Apart from several sections that have been expanded, new material has been added on civic engagement, community in public life, diversity and community, the content of stereotypes, communication in romantic relationships, cultural differences in effective communication, and theoretical explanations for prejudice.  There are also end-of-chapter study questions, self-assessment questionnaires, and written skill exercises.

This is a book about communication.  As, indeed, was the book I reviewed previously.  But whereas Cultural Intelligence was intended to meet the practical needs of, particularly, overseas travellers, and was effectively a do-it-yourself intercultural communication kit, Bridging Differences is much more didactic: it's a work of scholarship, an excellent workbook,  and a reference manual for the serious student - and none the worse for that.  It simply addresses a different readership in a much more in-depth style for the satisfaction of other aims.

I was particularly impressed with the numerous source references and the appropriate examples extracted from them.  Early in the book Gudykunst quotes from A. Beck (Love is Never Enough, 1988) five principles to illustrate defective communication:

  1. We can never know the state of mind attitudes, thoughts, feelings of other people.

  2. We depend on signals, which are frequently ambiguous, to inform us about the attitudes and wishes of other people.

  3. We use our own coding system, which may be defective, to decipher these signals.

  4. Depending on our own state of mind at a particular time, we may be biased in our method of interpreting other peoples behaviour, i.e. how we decode.

  5. The degree to which we believe we are correct in divining another persons motives and attitudes is not related to the actual accuracy of our belief.

I hope I am not giving the impression that this book will be of interest only to serious students.  I'm sure it will also interest a much larger general audience; indeed anyone concerned with the development and practice of interpersonal skills, verbal and non-verbal behaviour, and the intergroup and intercultural aspects of interpersonal communication. 

After all, even when people speak a common language, and share common experiences and background knowledge and traditions, the communication process does not always work as effectively as we might like. Adding the extra dimension of cultural difference, the process becomes even more complex. To the possibility of communication breaking down because of language differences, must be added the additional complication of cultural barriers.

We all have built-in patterns of behaviour: ways of thinking, feeling and doing that have been learnt throughout our lifetimes, firstly in early childhood and then reinforced by school, peer pressure, work, social institutions and the media.  Developing from these patterns of behaviour come different ways of dealing with similar tasks and different meanings which different cultural groups attach to similar events.

Developing from this enculturation is ethnocentrism, that is the conviction that one's own culture is best and the inability to accept the view of another culture.  The other side of this coin is cultural relativism: the understanding that one culture cannot be judged by the standards of another and a difference in values does  not imply that one is better or worse.

Gudykunst has a very interesting and useful section on intergroup attitudes which discusses at length both ethnocentrism and cultural relativism and applies those concepts to prejudice, sexism and ageism.  He stresses the importance of understanding the differences between individualist (ego-centric) cultures and collectivist (socio-centric) cultures in learning about other people and in promoting intercultural communication. Individualists emphasize individual goals promoting self realization. Collectivists require individuals to fit into the "group".  His aim is to improve communication effectiveness between people from groups that differ in, for example, culture, ethnicity, gender, disability, age, or social class. 

In business matters or political dealings it is essential to understand the values and traditions that shape people's behaviour. Even in our own environment, we interact daily with people from a range of cultural backgrounds. Even though our peers in the playground or at work apparently share the same values as ourselves, they may still be embedded in home culture traditions. 

So how do we avoid, or deal with, intercultural misunderstanding?  Well Gundykunst has the answers, and where he does not provide the answers, he provides very revealing questions to enable us to provide our own answers.

Successful intercultural communication requires enthusiasm and a willingness to overcome cultural barriers. It is a two-way process.  When such barriers are overcome then stereotypes will not prevail, and hopefully the many racist, sexist and ageist attitudes around the world can be addressed.

And that wouldn't be a bad thing.  William B. Gundykunst's Bridging Differences can play a part in helping to bring this about. 

Terry Goodwin


Counselling Children, Adolescents and Families by John Sharry.  Sage Publications 2004.   ISBN 0-7619-4951-8.  P/B  183 pages.  Price: 16.99 

John Sharry is gaining a reputation, among my colleagues and myself at least, for producing down-to-earth texts which 'locate' Solution-Focused Brief Therapy and other recent developments in collaborative therapies, as fundamental models for workers in counselling and helping agencies. The book under review here has Sharry offering us theories, models of practice, not to say literary and poetic quotes, from much broader sources than 'pure' Solution-Focus. His citations are from sources as diverse as Carl Rogers, Aesop and David Letterman!  He explores and illustrates contemporary ideas such as 'multi-systemic practice' as they are applied within state-run family services. In all this, his own enthusiasm and voice comes through. This eases the task of reading the book considerably and makes it convincing.

The book is laid out in three parts. Part I covers basic principles, working with families, structuring of sessions of counselling, and so on. The relative powerlessness of many children coming in to family services is well dealt with; I particularly found the section of Chapter 1, 'who are the clients?' heartening and valuable. The thorny problem of how to approach diagnosis and its hazards and potentialities is also well taken care of, in Chapter 6. Here the author puts balanced cases for and against diagnosis and for and against the social constructionist (and seemingly more radical) view which underpins his approach. I felt invited in to an informed neutrality on this issue, an attitude which might well be of use in teams where many, trenchant views on this issue can be found!

Parts II and III of the book deal with specific applications including parenting groups, groupwork with young people, and some more difficult professional areas such as child protection and working with suicidal young people. There is an interesting case-study (Chapter 10) where one of the main techniques used is Externalising the Problem, from Narrative Therapy. This practice can fit specially well in to work with young people (and old). I was pleasantly surprised to see the author give quite a thorough account of externalisation, including the preliminary steps which its originators utilise, rather than offering a 'light' version which misses out some vital steps. This is an auspicious sign, and this is a valuable book, worth attention in every child and family service. My own agency has ordered a copy!

Robert Cumming


Reviewers' Biodata

Terry Goodwin was a senior marketing executive at Finexport Ltd in London and Bangkok until his retirement in 1992, since when he has been in private practice as a marketing consultant.

Mark Edwards was a head teacher, who still teaches part-time but combines this with writing articles, educational consultancy and entertaining people who like to hear badly performed rock, pop and music hall classics.

Leo Rutherford was an engineer and a business executive for 20 years before a mid-life crisis forced him to take stock. After several years of therapy and studying holistic psychology, he discovered shamanism and discovered his true path.  His contribution on the subject in an earlier issue of Nurturing Potential may be found at

Penelope Waite retired from full-time teaching some years ago.  She now divides her time between her homes in Brittany, France and south-west England.  She continues to be interested in developments in education, particularly in special needs, and does some EFL tutoring in France.  Her interest in psychotherapy is academic rather than professional.

Joe Sinclair is a writer, editor, publisher, and non-executive director of a shipping line - amongst other activities - one of which is the publishing of Nurturing Potential. His several websites may be accessed via

Stephen Bray's career spans thirty years, beginning in social work and encompassing Adult Education, Business Consulting, Counselling, Journalism, Photography and Psychotherapy.  He is a consultant editor for Nurturing Potential.

Robert Cumming is a therapist, supervisor and trainer working from, and continuing to work on, an integration of brief therapy and other therapeutic models.  His website is at Links to many resources in Solution Focus and related approaches, as well as Robs training work, can be made there.

John Ewing is a Systems Engineer who has worked in various domains ranging from implantable cardiac devices to the measurement of low-intensity radioactive emissions.  He currently runs his own company in Alsace, France.