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The Integrated Coaching Academy

Where Coaching and Counselling Connect

Prince harry, grief and how to really help

Prince Harry has gone very public about his mental health struggles resulting from the death of his mother, Princess Diana. In Apple TV’s ‘The Me You Can’t See’ he says he ‘boxed up his emotions’ for 20 years.

It’s true; people often attempt to deal with life’s losses and traumas by disconnecting and switching off their feelings.

The ‘box-it-up’ method can work for a while, as it did for Harry, but what tends to happen over time is that the lid of the box begins to lift all on its own and the anger and despair begin to tumble out in an uncontrolled way. For Harry, the lid of the box seems to have really started to open after his marriage to Meghan and the build up to the birth of his first child created a psychological pattern match to the trauma of his mother’s death.

Harry was filmed in an EMDR session with his therapist. It seems to have really helped. I wish he could also experience the Rewind Technique which was originated by Dr David Muss in the 1970s. It can be even more effective. I did some training with David. As a newly qualified psychotherapist many years ago, I was so amazed by the successes I was having for my PTSD clients that I wrote a book about it. It works in a similar way to EMDR by grounding the client and setting a cognitive task that anchors the brain into the neo cortex. It’s less well known simply because it hasn’t attracted the research and funding of the EMDR programme originated by Francine Shapiro.

Here, an EMDR therapist gives a succinct explanation about the underlying mechanism. She says:

‘The therapy works by the therapist creating a safe and trusting space. We identify the experiences … and bring them into the room in a gentle way to reprocess those memories so the past can be in the past and our past life experiences do not continue to create stress, anxiety and triggers in our current life’

The subconscious mind

What stays in the subconscious mind has the ability to control us. Allowing suppressed emotions to safely surface can actually process long term grief in just one session... if that is what the client wants.

Sometimes, however, the bereaved just want to speak, to be allowed to explore and express their emotions in their own time and in their own way. Fortunately, a Fusion Therapeutic Coach will have the empathic attunement to understand what the client needs from their practitioner.

Yes, if they want resolution, the Rewind Technique can achieve that quickly and efficiently but if they need to talk, a Fusion Coach knows how to offer the time and space for that to happen. It’s about making the model fit the client rather than the client fit the preferred therapy style of the practitioner.

My article this week looks at suppressed grief and how the reaction to unprocessed emotions can take us by surprise many years later.

I hope it helps…

Grief and how to really help

As James sat in front of me, memory after memory of his father’s death surfaced, released, and ran softly down his face.

‘He died when I was 10’, said James. ‘It was an unexpected heart attack. He went to work one morning and didn't come home. Mum thought I was too young to go to the funeral so I went to school on that day just, like any other day.’

James's mum wasn’t being cruel. She had hoped to protect her young son from the pain of seeing her so desperately upset at the grave side. She wanted him to escape somehow the turbulent and intense range of emotions that are a part of the journey through the grieving process. So she made life as normal as possible for him. She compensated by taking him on lavish holidays, buying him the latest gadgets and putting on her ‘I'm fine’ face in the daytime.

Crying alone

She had removed all the pictures of James's father in the house and he was now rarely referred to.

The mother-who-meant-well stayed strong and kept going. She was doing a good job she told herself. After a year, James seemed fine, was doing well at school and never mentioned his father at all.

But the grief hadn’t gone away and it was only after she put James to bed at night that she allowed herself to cry. What she didn't realise was that, in bed at night, James could hear his mother crying and would often cry himself to sleep too.

Both mother and son were going through an intense range of emotions they did not want to communicate to each other, for fear of causing more upset. They had both become isolated in a shared grief for the most well-intentioned of reasons and they were making a mistake that many of us make.

I must keep going

There are plenty of laudable reasons for not dealing with grief. People have to go to work to keep their job. They have to get the kids off to school. They have to mow the lawn, do the shopping, cook and pay the bills. They think if they give way to grief, it will be like a dam has burst. They won’t be able to cope with the deluge and will drown in a flood of their own tears.

But deferring grief is like living with an undetonated bomb. We fool ourselves that if we tiptoe around it, perhaps it won’t go off.

An open wound

However the loss and grief remain as a concealed, but still-open, wound. Although we may have put a plaster over it, it will not begin to heal until we acknowledge its presence and let some light and air onto the injury.

As Prince Harry has observed, death has become a sanitised business.

We try to ignore it. We clean it up with phrases like ‘passed over’, or ‘slipped away’ rather than saying someone has died. Or we wrap it up and leave it on a shelf in a darkened room that we try not to visit.

We are taught, in the face of adversity to stand strong. We must stay in control. We have to keep a very British ‘stiff upper lip’.

But grief is not an illness. It’s a fact of life. We will all lose someone we love and we will all feel the pain. Being able to ride the intense waves of emotion that come with bereavement is an example of mind management and asking for help or talking to someone about how we really feel is a sign of emotional intelligence, not weakness.

As a therapeutic coach, I have a range of skills in my professional toolbox. But for James, as with most of my clients who are grieving, I used the simplest, yet most powerful of them all.

I listened.

Frances Masters MBACP accred GHGI

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist, coach, training consultant and author of the book PTSD Resolution: Reclaiming life from trauma.

In 2009, Frances founded the charity Reclaim Life; training its volunteers to work in the new, integrated coach-counselling model, Fusion.

As founding Principal of the Integrated Coaching Academy Frances gained accreditation for her training from NCFE as Customised Awards; 'The Fusion Therapeutic Coaching, Counselling and Training Diploma in Therapeutic Coaching and the distance learning programme Certificate in Therapeutic Coaching Skills'

Training programmes also include

The Integrated Coaching Academy certified Fusion Mindfulness Based Mind Management Skills Certificate

and new online training Breathe Stress Away

Fusion® Therapeutic Coaching is an approved NCFE training centre, an organisational member of he British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Association for Coaching


Do you want to be a happiness and resilience trainer?

Posted on February 8, 2016 at 6:50 AM



In the last few weeks, I have found myself close to tears on more than one occasion. Assessing the portfolios produced by recent Diploma delegates has proved quite an emotional experience for more than one reason.

Accredited training


When I first constructed the Diploma, I deliberately avoided making it too easy.


It's all about quality control.


When putting the course together, I drew on thousands of hours of experience, both of being a psychotherapist and coach, and also of tutoring the level V Counselling Diploma at a local College. I wanted to create a course that was fast track….. but challenging too.


Apart from attending the five full-day workshops, students are asked to complete three 3000 word assignments.


In the first assignment, they are asked to compare and contrast three books relating to the treatment of anxiety. One book reflects the traditional Rogerian paradigm; another, the CBT model and a third, the Human Givens approach.


This direct juxtaposition throws up an interesting ‘compare and contrast’ between directive and nondirective therapeutic approaches, as does the experience of being asked to work in three very different models with feedback, during the workshops.


I do not think there are any other courses out there that expect their students to move from working in a reflective, then interactive, to a very proactive approach, all in one weekend. Students also present a 3000 word case study to give evidence of their ability to translate the underpinning theory of the Fusion integrated coach-counselling model into working practice.


Despite all this, it is the cross-criteria referencing which often really raises anxiety levels. Students have my sympathies here. As a right-brained, holistic thinker, my head actually ached when I sat down to construct the referencing grid.

Why so emotional?


But it was the reflective journals which made a real impact on me, as students shared deeply personal experiences and related their own moments of insight that occurred as the course progressed. Signing up to the Diploma means signing up to a very experiential program, where participants learn the skills of a therapeutic coach, but also go through the complete therapeutic coaching experience themselves.


And it is this process which can have a dramatic effect, as busy people take time out to review their personal and professional lives, look at what's working and what's not; imagine a preferred future and embed that in guided visualisation.


It is my absolute privilege to assess the portfolios when they arrive, delivered either by hand or by post, and I find myself reflecting on the huge personal investment and leap of faith that people make when they sign up to a course such as this. The process also makes me consider the long journey I have been on myself, in bringing this to fruition.



An essential part of running an accredited training programme is the strict and essential adherence to standards.


After my own assessment of portfolios, a sample is sent to another experienced assessor for internal verification. After that, the National College of Further Education send an external verifier to check again. It's like a mini annual OFSTED. It's fair to say, following the comments of the EV this year, Fusion would probably have been granted ‘outstanding’ status.


It’s not often you hear an EV use the words, ‘fabulous’, ‘inspirational’ and ‘you should be very proud of what you’ve achieved’

Launching the Breakthrough program


The Breakthrough Train the Trainer programme will launch on April 4th.


There has been a lot to do and still more to complete. And, as I bring together a psycho-educational handbook for delegates, a trainer’s manual, Power Points, scripts and exercises, I am very much reminded of the process I went through in 2008 as I began to deconstruct my own working methods as a brief psychotherapist and coach, in the hope they might be replicable by others.


In doing so, I created a fast-track program to accelerate learning; saving both time and money for trainees, to not restrict training to a privileged few, who have both the time and the money, to invest in extended, expensive, exclusive and excluding training.


The Fusion model was test bedded for five years in the therapeutic coaching charity I founded. The combination of a training program of less than 30 hours, alongside a prescriptive manual which, as precisely as possible, replicated my own working methods, produced client outcomes that would have been the envy of other mental health agencies.


The concept was blindingly simple, audacious and unique.

Flying outside 'the box'


My motivational driver has always been the heartfelt belief (through unsettling personal and professional experience) that our mental health system is broken, and our traditional training of mental health practitioners, flawed.


My own training, first as a counsellor and then as a psychotherapist and coach, took years, and cost me thousands of pounds. This is a breakdown of the length and cost of just some of my training: •Introduction to Counselling course and

Higher National Certificate Took 2 years and cost £1000

•Advanced Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling Took 2 years and cost £3000

•Human Givens Psychotherapeutic Diploma

plus the books, travel and accommodation to do it Took 2 years and cost £9500

Yet, after all this, when I sat down in front of my first clients, I still didn't know exactly what to do and did not feel skilled.


What I wanted was a more detailed structure for my work. What I needed to be really effective and efficient was a ‘toolbox’ of interventions. What I actually needed, and went on to construct......was a system.


In reality, my steepest and most profound learning occurred in true master-apprentice style, as I began to work with real people and real issues under the supervision of a very experienced practitioner. And my PhD (when I have the time to do it) will focus on some of the unsettling questions this raises about the nature and quality of current training of our mental health practitioners.




Quality is very much at the forefront of my mind as I now begin to prepare for the launch of the Breakthrough program.


With its fast-track, integrated training and manualised sessions, it's fair to say The Fusion Model has broken new ground and challenged the received wisdom about the content, duration and cost, of learning the art and science of a ‘helping conversation.’ I am ready to break into new territory once more, with the Train the Trainer programme. This will also be fast track but, again, not at the expense of quality, linked as it is, to both the Distance Learning Skills Certificate and the Therapeutic Coaching Diploma.


Here is a breakdown of the program •Fusion Breakthrough Trainers: Will be licensed to run training workshops, seminars or groups, teaching the skills of wellbeing linked to the STOP System™ and the Fusion Little Book of Mind Management.

To become a Breakthrough trainer, you will need to complete the Distance Learner Skills Certificate prior to attendance at a Train the Trainer day in Bedfordshire.

NCFE accreditation will not be required for Breakthrough Trainers.

Distance Learner Skills Certificate (£375) + 1 day Train the Trainer (£295) = Total investment £570

•Fusion Breakthrough Master Trainers: In addition to the above, Master Trainers will be able to offer Breakthrough’s unique ‘1 day can change your life’ group coaching days or weekends, creating excellent income opportunities whilst helping people take a uniquely holistic view of their lives.

To become a Fusion Master Trainer, you will need to attend the 5 day Diploma training which runs in Lancashire in July or in Bedfordshire in September 2016.

NCFE accreditation will not be required for Master Trainers.

Fast track Diploma (£995) + 2 day Train the Trainer (£295) =Total investment £1290

Fusion Therapeutic Coaches: Work alongside individual coaching clients using the tried and tested Fusion practitioner manual. Coaches must successfully complete the NCFE accredited FusionTherapeutic Coaching Diploma. This requires completion of the additional post-course assignments and payment of the £50 NCFE accreditation fee.

Fast track Diploma (£995) + accreditation fee (£50) = Total investment £1045

Print out training pdf here

After successful completion of the accredited Diploma course, those who wish to be Fusion Therapeutic Coaches may apply, if they wish, for the unique 5 year test bedded session manual used in the establishment of the Therapeutic Coaching Charity.


Important note: Breakthrough Trainers and Masters Trainers will be be able to purchase The Little Book of Mind Management for their work shop delegates through the Fusion website.


No other purchases or payments will be required, making the Fusion Breakthrough Trainer program an excellent business model for those wishing to work in the rewarding world of wellbeing, offering genuine and effective emotional management skills training, whilst earning a good income in their own work shops, in schools, organisations such as the NHS and in industry too.

The trainer’s package will include: •A comprehensive trainers' manual.

•Bespoke and unique Breakthrough PowerPoint presentations.

•Training with me personally on both product and presentation with the opportunity for follow-up one-to-one coaching and ongoing support.

•Links to Fusion national advertising, website, blogging and social networking, ensuring brand awareness.

•A Fusion professional networking group.

•Access to the Fusion Little Book of Mind Management' for your workshop delegates.

•Alumni listing with links to your own website

•Ongoing product and professional development.

The first Train the Trainer day will run on Monday 4th April at Chalgrave Memorial Hall, Bedfordshire.


Prior to attending the day, training applicants will need to have completed the Fusion Therapeutic Coaching Distance Learner Skills Certificate (non accredited course)


Register your interest here


The date for the first Master Trainer day will be announced soon. Master Trainers will first need to attend the Diploma course which runs from September in Bedfordshire or in July in Lancashire, before attending two Train the Trainer days post completion.


Register your interest here


NB. As the uptake for the Diploma course is likely to be high (there are already several places taken) and the early booking discount of £100 will close at the end of February, it is recommended that you do not delay if you are considering the option of doing either the accredited or the non accredited Diploma course.


So, if you are ready to 'fly outside the box' and take your skills to the next level....


Register your interest now

Goal setting, therapeutic story, mindfulness, new paradigms, reframes, fast track learning, perception shifting, self actualisation, positive psychology, reframing, metaphor, personal empowerment, psycho education, affirmations, motivational thinking, lifting depression, the happiness principle, resilience and resourcefulness, human flourishing, anchoring, rewiring your brain, the STOP System, the SAFE SPACE happiness recipe, holistic coaching and working on the continuum of wellbeing plus many other professional theories, tools and techniques underpin the content of the fast paced, fast track, Fusion training.

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