Members’ Profiles

Catrin MacDonell

An entrepreneur at heart, Catrin enjoys questioning the status quo and encouraging others to see things from a different perspective.  She uses her study of resilience and positive psychology in her coaching as well as bringing a creative, innovative approach. She has worked with business start ups and fast growth companies with their founders and CEOs, listening with fascination about their journeys. More recently her work has been with larger organisations both private and public sector, supporting senior managers who appreciate space to explore different ways of thinking and working especially where better communication and more commercial awareness is needed. She also designs and delivers original, thought provoking workshops challenging participants to think more deeply about management skills, behaviours and attitudes. She has delivered masterclasses for Academi Wales, the Welsh Government’s training provider for all public sector managers and leaders as well as management and resilience training for UK government, private businesses and charities. 

Catrin MacDonnell Coaching 07785 996917

Geoffrey Pye

The majority of Geoff’s career has been in human resources in large corporate organisations operating across the full range of H.R. disciplines. He developed a deep interest in people development and on leaving corporate life worked as an independent consultant specialising in coaching and counselling. He has now retired but maintains his interest in coaching through the Critical Coaching Group (CCG) and the occasional pro bono coaching session mainly in the field of career counselling.

He appreciates the intellectual stimulus the CCG meetings provide and enjoys the open, honest way members discuss and probe the topics raised.

Dr Christine Eastman

Dr Christine Eastman is currently a senior lecturer at Middlesex University’s School of Business. Prior to this, she worked as the Director of Applied Professional Practice and as a literature lecturer with a special interest in nineteenth-century American literature at the University of Kent, both on the Canterbury and Medway campuses. She has over thirty years’ experience in education which include developing and running the Applied Professional Practice programme at the University of Kent, facilitating a comprehensive study skills programme at the University of Sussex, offering literature classes for the WEA in East Sussex and for MIND in London. More recently she has worked with corporate client groups from the Halifax plc, Nationwide US, SAP, Sonymobile, and ToshibaTEC.

She has been an adviser on the Doctorate in Professional Studies as well as conducted workshops on writing and criticality for doctoral students. For the past three years Christine has been a programme leader for the MSc Professional Practice in Leading Sales Transformation and for the Nationwide Coaching MA.

She holds a post-graduate coaching certificate from Nottingham University and has a book on coaching Coaching for Professional Development: using literature to support success coming out with Routledge in June 2018. Her current book Improving Workplace Learning by Teaching Literature(Springer, 2016) details how she endeavours to support professional practice students, both at postgraduate and doctoral level, to express themselves in a personal way with verve and vigour

Daniel Doherty   

1147 UofE Business School

Dr Daniel Doherty has 30 years experience of strategy consulting and executive coaching to blue-chip corporations across a wide diversity of countries and cultures. He has a powerful track record in innovating strategy and people development processes designed to ensure the human side of organisation is aligned with business purpose. He has travelled widely with his work, and coached many people along the way. He has worked in Higher Education settings for the past twelve years, both as an educator, module leader and as programme director. He maintains his independent coaching practice at

A practicing and EMCC qualified Master level coach, he is also a Fellow of the CIPD.  For the past thirteen years he has founded and then led the acclaimed Critical Coaching Group (CCG).  Most recently he has worked with clients in financial services; in building design practice in Dubai; In Higher Education at the highest level in UK; in central government at executive level; in sports coaching and management; and most recently working with Judy Ravenscroft and Louise Hardy of the CCG on a Leadership Programme for junior hospital doctors.

See for full details

Jen Gash

Jen Gash is a minimalist coach and artist

Sky Landscape Artist of the Year and coaching creativity facilitator.

Professor Bob Garvey

Bob Garvey is obsessed with coaching and mentoring in all their forms. He is an experienced coach/mentor working with, for example, musicians, HR Managers, small business owners, young people, academics and executives.

Bob has great experience in a whole range of different types of organisations. These include large and small businesses, the public and private sector, voluntary organisation and NGOs. He has worked in many different industries including financial services, manufacturing, scientific, creative arts, education and health. Bob subscribes to the ‘repertoire’ approach to mentoring and coaching.  He is in demand internationally as a keynote conference speaker.

Bob has a PhD from the University of Durham in the UK. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has published many books and papers on the practice of coaching and mentoring. He is a founding member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) and Honorary President of Coaching York. In 2014, the EMCC presented him with the Mentor award for services to mentoring and also in 2014, he received a life time achievement award for contributions to mentoring. 

Keri Phillips

has enjoyed exploring and writing about organisational dynamics and relationships for several decades. Recently he has had a particular interest in the rapidly evolving roles of the coach and coaching supervisor as agents of organisational change. As part of this he has examined feelings such as betrayal, anger, vulnerability and envy. His early background in training as a transactional analyst proved invaluable. 

Monika Kostera

Monika is Professor Ordinaria and Chair of Management at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland and Linnaeus University, Sweden. She holds two titular professorships awarded by the republic of Poland: in economics and the humanities. She has also been professor and chair at Durham University, UK. She has authored and edited over 40 books in Polish and English, including her last book, Management in a Liquid Modern World with Zygmunt Bauman, Irena Bauman and Jerzy Kociatkiewicz (Polity), as well as and a number of articles published in journals including Organization Studies, Journal of Organizational Behavior Management and  British Journal of Management. Her current research interests include organizational imagination, disalienated work, ethnography and critical organization studies. She has published two collections of poems in English with Erbacce Press and her Polish poetry collection is currently in press with Oficynka. 

Philip Crocker

Philip’s purpose is to encourage and facilitate useful behavioural change: realising potential for individuals, their teams and the wider organisation. He believes successful personal and business development are based on having the right conversations with the right people at the right time – conversations aligned with desired strategic outcomes. Outcomes underpinned by sound internal and external relationships that generate effective leadership in competitive and creative work environments. He works with senior leaders and also those in transition from ‘technical expert/specialist’, all of whom are now responsible for ‘growing the business’ – relationships with clients, colleagues, innovation in new business opportunities – building high performing teams, working across silos – growth which enhances capability, capacity and influence.

Business Experience

Broad hands on experience – Commercial and Public Sector – as client and service provider. Initial corporate career in Banking – HSBC London, Paris, Singapore. Affinity Marketing Services consultancy – founded 2000 – regulated market sector – exited 2013.  Business Development Consulting – current founded 2000 – strategic planning, leadership, executive coaching 1:1 and teams, business development for the non- specialist. Developing coaching and mentoring programme with Ministry Development Officer Diocese of Canterbury. Divisional MD of successful FM services London based plc – P&L responsibility, operations, business development and innovation. (1000 + employees). Sold to International Services co. 1991. Co-founded specialist FM property services co. in Financial and Professional Services Sector – sold to competitor 1999.

Personal Philosophy

Most motivated by realising potential for individuals and teams – with integrity (wholeness), everything belongs – context and desired outcome are key. ‘Busyness is an all-round killer!’

Louise Hardy

Louise usually considers herself to be an interloper at the CCG meetings.  An experienced leadership development professional, she works half the week for the University of Plymouth Faculty of Medicine where she is Programme Lead for a highly successful MSc in Healthcare Management, Leadership and Innovation.  The remainder of the week is spent in leadership consultancy, ranging from team and board development, leadership training and mentor training.   She enjoys the challenge of facilitation, particularly where a team or organisation has knotty and intractable problems on offer.  She loves mentoring and in particular the longevity of it.   Why an interloper?  For years she has avoided calling herself a coach,  not having done any ‘formal’ training.  She prefers instead to describe herself using a range of interesting metaphors which avoid the C word but which offer the same positive intentions of the coach. 

Mick Sital-Sing

Mick is a Director of Cygnet Business Development Ltd whose focus is on leadership and team development. Cygnet is an Approved Centre with the Chartered Management Institute and is able to deliver CMI accredited qualifications up to Post-graduate Level 7.

Mick’s primary skill–set and motivations lie in developing senior and middle level leader-managers, identifying and strengthening their skills in leadership, teamwork, and general management. This has included working with a number of Senior Management Teams and Boards, and advising organisations on how to develop key staff to achieve their organisational objectives.

Mick has worked with a variety of leader-managers from the private, public and charities sector to develop their leadership, facilitation, coaching, inter-personal, team leading and people management skills. 

Mick is a skilled and experienced coach- mentor, consultant, facilitator, and mediator. Mick has coached leaders from across the sectors in one-off sessions right through to maintaining the coaching relationship over several years.

Mick has recently gained an MSc in Coaching and Mentoring from Sheffied Business School, and is accredited by the EMCC as a Senior Practitioner Executive Coach. Mick is a Fellow of the CIPD.

Coaching approach

Mick adopts a blend of directive and non-directive coaching and would describe himself as a Development Coach with a leaning towards Gestalt but will operate as appropriate to the client and organisational needs. Mick favours a holistic approach, taking into account a person’s whole life even though the focus is on job performance. To do so, Mick employs a range of psychometric tools to promote greater self awareness in the client so that self management and motivation can be enhanced.

Jo Beckett

Jo Beckett
Jo is a qualified ILM level 7 Executive coach and has over 25 years’ experience in leadership and management roles, growing organisations and developing income streams. 
She began her career in media working for ITV, Channel 4 and the Capital Radio group. For the past decade, she has worked in the education and charity sectors.  As CEO for the Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IDPE), a charity and professional membership organisation specialising in engagement and professional fundraising in schools, Jo leads IDPE’s partnership and income generation strategy and has turned the charity around from deficit to profit. Alongside her role, at IDPE, sh coaches CEO’s, Head Teachers, Directors and Managers in the education, not for profit and public sectors. 
As a leader, Executive coaching has helped her to overcome many challenges from managing the financial pressures of a relatively small charity, to finding ways to be more strategic to overcoming hard-wired limiting beliefs. Personally, coaching has helped her to move out of her comfort zone, to develop her life vision and live more fully with intention. 
Her approach to coaching is based on positive psychology. She combine walking, using objects and drawing within her coaching practice to elicit ‘whole mind thinking and whole being awareness’ as she finds that this opens up different perspectives and new possibilities for clients. 
She has worked and lived in London, the United States and Australia and is based in Bath and Devon. 

Ros Hitchen

An experienced leadership coach and facilitator, Ros draws on over 25 years of business experience in leadership, organisation and talent development as well as project, programme, change management and consultancy.  Her experience spans from the large multi national, IBM, to small entrepreneurial businesses. Currently she is working in Learning and Development at the University of Bristol where she runs leadershipprogrammes, workshops and peer learning communities supporting both professional services and academic staff to develop their skills and potential.

“Ros was a breath of fresh air to our organisation, challenging our conventional thinking and coaching senior managers to approach specific challenges in new and unfamiliar ways. 
Her main interests are challenging people to see things from a broader or different perspective. She enjoys the challenge and new insights she gains as part of the CCG.

Critical Coaching micro seance at Jen Gash’s gallery

late in April, 2019, Jen Gash of our number, and Sky Landscape Artist of the Year 2018, displayed all of her mesmeric work created for the show at a local gallery in Thornbury. Michelle Armitage and Daniel Doherty had the extreme pleasure of a CRG viewing – and a glass of wine – therein. Be like Jen. Create great things.

Katherine Long’s latest paper

Katherine has agreed to join us for our meeting on 20 November 2019, which is excellent news. I am looking forward to welcoming her back among us after two years or so away. Here is the latest version of her paper, ‘Supervision and the 7th Eye,’ soon to be published in final form. her session will not concentrate solely on supervision, but will take a critical, open systems view of the profession.

Keri Phillips latest paper

Haunting as Loving Dislocation – most intriguing as always from Keri

                                      HAUNTING AS LOVING DISLOCATION

                                          Keri Phillips

In this paper I bring together two ideas which can share some common ground even though at first glance they come from different worlds. These are haunting and loving dislocation. I describe each separately and then consider the possible links. My purpose is solely to explore possibilities, believing that following one’s curiosity can open up new perspectives, even when one is not necessarily certain of the direction of travel. I want to emphasise that I do not see them as coterminous, but simply on occasion they overlap and that haunting may sometimes be a loving dislocation.

Loving Dislocation
The idea of the term ‘loving dislocation’ occurred to me some years ago (Phillips, 2008). At that time I focussed on the role of the ‘helper’ – counsellor, therapist, coach – and her role in somehow being a supportive, yet disruptive figure. My definition is, ‘a considered intervention by the helper intended to cause discontinuity for the client, but given with respect and warmth’. The aim of the helper therefore being to prompt dislocation in order to help the client reconnect.  The subsequent reconnection might take place in terms of self, self and one’s body, self and one’s family, self and one’s community. This might include the spiritual dimension regarding core beliefs integral to one’s sense of being. It might also involve stepping into or indeed creating for oneself a whole new world. I imagine this is very familiar territory for a lot of readers, particularly those from the helping professions. 

How does one go about creating such a loving dislocation? Although there are many philosophies and practices in the helping professions, a common theme, although certainly not an omnipresent one, is that of balancing support and challenge in one’s interventions with the client. With this in mind, the loving dislocation offered by the helper may be seen as broadly taking place in two domains, Content and Process; the latter having two facets, Method and Way of Being. These I now elaborate. 

The distinction between content and process, broadly ‘the what’ and ‘the how’, has been around for many years (Schein, 1982). For example, those pioneering the ‘T’ Group experience after the Second World War at the NTL Institute sought to sharpen participants’ awareness of the potential differences between the words and the ‘music behind the words’; that which was verbalised, contrasted with the dynamics which lay behind them. In the context of the ‘helping conversation’, the distinction can be made as follows. 

For example, the client wants to talk about her failures and is somewhat ‘thrown’ when the helper asks that she talk about her strengths and successes. Or in another situation, the client wants to talk about his difficulty in relating to a colleague at work. The coach instead invites him to consider his relationship with himself.


  • Method. This is about using a technique which might surprise the client or make him feel slightly disorientated. For example, he might be somebody who loves logic, debate and rationality. His counsellor wonders whether his client’s cleverness with words might sometimes mean that he gets in his own way and she therefore invites him to draw a picture, using coloured crayons, to represents his concerns. (It may even be that he loves art as a hobby, but that he becomes a totally different person when he comes to work and never considers that in terms of style or sense of self he could helpfully be a bit more flexible with the boundaries of his identities).   

  • Way of Being. This is about the helper being alert to the implicit ‘invitations’ which the client may offer about how to be. For example, the coach to notice whether she is at risk of doing too much of the work because the client seems to put an overemphasis, directly or indirectly, on feeling totally lost. This issue is extensively covered in the worlds of the helping professions with concepts such as transference and countertransference in psychoanalysis (Dryden, 2005), symbiosis in transactional analysis (Schiff, 1975) and confluence in gestalt (Joyce & Sills, 2010). In all this the helper may or may not be explicit about what she is doing to handle the situation. For example, the therapist might appropriately decide that giving the rationale for a particular intervention is an unnecessary distraction for the client and that it might merit explanation later or indeed never. The helper and the client’s journey together will almost certainly be about transition, explicitly, implicitly or both. The loving dislocation may therefore take place at any stage. It may, for example, be almost immediate – a few words, unexpected and coming from left-field may suddenly cause everything to fall into place for the client and her way ahead is crystal clear. Equally, the helper may add to the client’s sense of disorientation as increasing numbers of reference points are questioned and may even disintegrate. The helper may be deliberately confusing with his interventions, in a sense forcing the client to work hard to make her own sense of things in the midst of chaos. Perhaps, for example, in a coaching context, this is the skill she, the client, needs to develop in order to contribute more effectively in an organisation beset by turbulence. I am also reminded that the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan would sometimes suddenly end his client’s therapy session abruptly (Fink, 1997). Equally, I remember in the early days of my attending gestalt workshops being told that “You mustrebel!”

In summary, loving dislocation can be seen as an intervention which may take place physically, emotionally, existentially and spiritually. In seeking to offer the reader a ‘taster’ of loving dislocation, below in the rest of the paper I occasionally bring forward ideas which may seem to come out of nowhere, having no clear lead up to them. Of course, there is always the possibility that the reader does not experience them this way. This has clear parallels with that which may also happen in the ‘helping’ conversation. For example, the client is bored and indifferent when unexpectedly faced with an invitation to engage in rebirthing.  Perhaps he had done it before with his previous therapist and found that it had little impact, even though the therapist seemed excited about it. An invitation to complete a personality profile questionnaire might have been rather more unsettling and challenging for this particular client.

As I write this I am in a café where a little girl is playing hide-and-seek with her Mum. They are offering me an insight into the nature of loving dislocation. 

I now move on to haunting.


In moving towards my own definition of haunting I refer to the Collins Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms which mentions ‘evocative, poignant, unforgettable and indelible’ (Collins, 2005). With this in mind, I stress that I do not necessarily see haunting as something scary, tormented or cursed. For example, somebody might refer to ‘still being captivated by that beautifully haunting melody’. So, for the purposes of this paper I regard haunting as capable of holding both light and dark and sometimes, perhaps inevitably, blending the two. For some, it may also be a point between dreaming and wakefulness, as exemplified in the following poem.


Fly hence, shadows, that do keep

Watchful sorrows charm’d in sleep!

Though the eyes be overtaken

Yet the heart doth ever waken

Thoughts, chain’d up in busy snares

Of continued woes and cares:

Love and griefs are so exprest

As they rather sigh than rest.

Fly hence, shadows, that do keep

Watchful sorrows charm’d in sleep !

John Ford 1586-1638.

My own definition is ‘a transmission which resonates and lingers physically, emotionally, existentially and spiritually’. It may be focussed on just one of these elements, but it is equally possible that they are all in-play in varying combinations. My definition is inspired by Stephen Frosh’s book on this topic and indeed ultimately it stimulated me to write this paper (Frosh, 2013).

The haunting may have clear and tangible origins. I visit the house I had as a child, perhaps even holding the same garden latch; an experience mentioned by Gaston Bachelard in his seminal book on the emotional and symbolic experience of the domestic space of a house (Bachelard, 1994).  I may step on the very same paving slabs on which I used to play hop-scotch. The memories, vivid indeed almost tangible themselves, come flooding back. I am haunted by partly becoming that seven year old again, playful, loved, alone, excited, anxious. I fleetingly see Mum standing there, making sure I am ok before she then hurries off into the kitchen to prepare dinner for Dad. The tangible conduit may not be exactly the same as years before, but it is nevertheless a powerful reminder. For example, a passing small child may squeal with delight at a ginger cat perched on the fence and I immediately recall beloved Biscuits, who died a few years before. 

The haunting may happen just once, but the repeated memory of it itself becomes the haunting. 

Some hauntings may be much less evidently traceable but equally vivid in terms of their impact. For example, I recently visited Southwark Cathedral just before the start of a Sunday service and immediately burst into tears and tried to hide by moving closely to the nearby wall and looking at it. Maybe I was in some way touched by the nearby memorial to those who drowned in the Marchioness disaster, though I had not consciously gone to look at it. I truly do not know; it is currently a journey of discovery for me. Perhaps it is related to my past and the rare occasions that I went to church as a child, or the very different attitudes held regarding religion by my mother and father. It may be more focussed on the future and my mortality. In seeking to learn more, I recently visited Manchester Cathedral and again felt tearful. I would probably have actually cried had it not been for the organ which was being tuned and the discordant, apparently random notes were jarring and unsupportive. It was certainly not a beautifully haunting melody! Despite my best efforts I was not able to experience loving dislocation.

Whilst on the theme of haunting in cathedrals, I also remember visiting Canterbury Cathedral many years ago. I walked in by chance, so to speak and began wandering around. I noticed that I started to feel increasingly sad as I moved to a particular part. Suddenly I realised that I was at the point where Thomas à Beckett was assassinated in 1170. In reflecting on this, it positions all that I have so far written as part of a spectrum within haunting. Sometimes the origins are vividly traceable. Sometimes they are elusive. Sometimes they are a mixture.

My Canterbury Cathedral experience also indicated that although a haunting is always experienced as deeply personal it may also have a profoundly collective dimension. My sadness at Canterbury was, I suspect, at least partly fuelled by the many thousands who visited the cathedral over the centuries to mourn their, indeed perhaps myloss. 

The haunting may be passed on down through the generations. I am reminded of Jenny Erpenbeck writing about Richard who sensed the presence in Berlin of those who were murdered in the Third Reich and he also envisaged their unborn children and also their children’s unborn children walking beside him in the street, on their way to work, visiting friends, sitting invisibly in cafes, going shopping and visiting parks and the theatre (Erpenbeck, 2015).

History may be rewritten and yet an awareness of the distortions and betrayals is passed on down through the generations through what could be called haunting. As Frosh describes, denying a heritage may reinforce it (Frosh op cit). A sense of anger, sadness and loss may be beneath the surface, but is ever more present in time if those with power seek to push it away. The attempted and sometimes apparently successful destruction of cultures and languages has been a key theme of history and yet something remains. 

Such destruction has often been manifest through fundamental changes in the landscape. That which may have held the wisdom and spirits of the past may be literally uprooted. Those vital points of connection and orientation may be gone forever. Total compliance is demanded by the newly arrived powers. Such an operation may also take place where there is not the arrival of new powers, but rather acts of profound betrayal by those who were already the leaders. An example is that which took place in Scotland following the Battle of Culloden in 1746. The clan chiefs evicted their own Highlanders from the glens in order to set up lucrative sheep farms. Those who were evicted had little choice but to emigrate to foreign lands. If they stayed then often they died because of the rampant cholera and starvation (Prebble, 1969). (See also Note at the end of the paper).

A sense of betrayal can echo through the centuries. It becomes a foundation through which one sees the world without even knowing why. There may be those who urge forgiveness or insist that ‘it is now time to move on’. However, in doing so they simply compound and intensify the pain since they are experienced as adding a process of betrayal to the content, that is, the history of the betrayal itself. The energy for the haunting also becomes ever more vivid when faced with those who want to bury it or deny its existence, for example through the re-writing of history. This may relate to the clearly horrifying and terrifying, such as the Holocaust. It may also relate to the creation and perpetuation of myths. For example, Peter Kingsley refers to the belief that the ancient Greeks were ‘a self-enclosed people, unwilling to learn foreign languages, creating western civilization all on their own’ whereas in fact there were important links with the cultures of the East (Kingsley, 1999: p18).

Also, I recently had a chance-conversation with Joshua, a barista who is a lover of ancient languages and religions. He told me that over the centuries the reinterpretations of the texts could often result in the original meaning being lost. Yet the current interpretation would be presented and protected as theabsolute and enduring truth.

As well as the levels of the state and internationally, the rewriting of history is clearly also something that can happen in families. Painful truths may metaphorically be locked in a cupboard and become part of the given fabric of the house. In time they may be absorbed as an authentic reality until an inquisitive family member starts, for whatever reason, investigating.  She finds and unlocks the cupboard door. It might have taken great courage and tenacity simply to discover it. She had not set out with the clear intention of being a truth-finder and truth-teller, but she felt that she could not ignore the insistent hauntings. It could be that the chance discovery of a precious family object triggered her curiosity, which then became a passion; or perhaps the haunting was prompted by the much less tangible, such as an atmosphere or instinct.

‘The others laughed. Lucy-Ann often had ‘feelings’ about things, and really believed them. It was just like her to start having ‘feelings’ about the mountain, when everyone was also having uncomfortable ideas about wolves and other things.’ (Blyton, 1950).

The family history might also involve betrayal. James Hollis, building on the insights of Carl Jung, writes, ‘……….the greatest burden the child must bear is the unlived life of the parent. That is, wherever the parent is stuck, the child will similarly be stuck and will spend his or her life seeking to overthrow such noxious stuckness…..’(Hollis, 2013: p5). This betrayal may take place outside awareness and indeed be beyond words. This itself may increase the intensity and vibrancy of the haunting. Haunting can by-pass language and this can be a crucial feature of its light and shadow, as the burden or indeed the liberation is passed on down through the generations. There may, of course be a mixture of burden and liberation, creating harmonies and cacophonies in the haunting.

Something similar may happen in organisations. This is not surprising since organisations often start as family concerns. Also, even when larger they seek to create a culture which is based upon a ‘family-feel’. The contribution of key figures in the early days of the business may be ignored or minimised. The past is not sufficiently honoured and may indeed be scorned. Nevertheless somehow the haunting continues due to a persistent need for an appropriate acknowledgement. There may well, for example, be gender, social or race divides which mean that the person making vital contributions is metaphorically left in the corner of the room. They are not invited to be centre-stage at the point of celebration.  This ‘corner’ can paradoxically be a point of protection, vulnerability, invisibility or punishment. The haunting may itself be a paradox – vibrantly vague or frighteningly engaging – and can therefore sometimes help delineate paradoxes.

Having mentioned haunting in the contexts of both broader cultural history and also organisational life, I am reminded of Shoshana Zuboff’s brilliant book where she draws some parallels between aspects of Google practices and those of Christopher Columbus in 1492 when he established Spanish rule over the island that became Hispaniola. Zuboff identified three phases in common in both settings, even though centuries apart: ‘the invention of legalistic measures to provide the invasion with a gloss of justification, a declaration of territorial claims, and the founding of a town to legitimate and institutionalize the conquest’ (Zuboff, 2019: p176). Inside or outside awareness we may embody philosophies and practices of a significantly distant past and in doing so potentially energise hauntings, including those which had been apparently denied or reframed as light when many of the real consequences were dark. To paraphrase substantially Carl Jung, ‘the more vehemently we proclaim ourselves as the light, the more we enter the dark’. This then opens up that perspective offered by Chris Argyris and Donald Schon where there may be a dramatic mismatch between ‘espoused values’ and ‘values in action’ (Argyris & Schon, 1995). The possible sense of guilt about colluding in hypocrisy may increase the urgency in further concealment of the crypt. This accompanied by an equally urgent need to seek out those who are willing to collaborate in the deception. Such alliances may be formed on the basis of an implicit understanding; no explicit word is spoken, it is simply part of the furniture. The silence may become noisier over time, moving on to be a slight mumble which may then become a scream. It may only be the outsider who can hear it since she has not been inducted into the deafening rituals of groupthink (Janis,  1982). 

 In another setting the haunting may be a nagging and profound sense that ‘something is not quite right’. The haunting may be an occasional, gentle tap on one’s shoulder or a relentless presence which seems to be everywhere. I am reminded of Sigmund Freud’s distinction between mourning and melancholia. That which is not mourned because it is lost in time or somehow buried may evolve into melancholia (Freud, 1917; Frosh. op cit.). Unexpressed grief is in one’s soul. The haunting may be urging us to find the crypt, or at least acknowledge its existence. Mourning can be seen as the celebration of a life. If, for whatever reason, that mourning does not take place then melancholia may be the result. I wonder whether the haunting that can flow from melancholia may sometimes be due to the insufficient celebration of delights and successes. If so, then that which applies to crypts may also apply to treasure chests. As already mentioned, haunting is not necessarily about pain, fear and sadness. 

It seems to me that an important contribution of haunting is challenging the linearity of time, space and history. I am reminded of Rebecca Solnit’s powerful and engaging book, beautifully blending support and challenge, ‘A Field Guide to Getting Lost’ (Solnit, 2017). She suggests that art history has often been written as if it were a simple and direct path. In her words, ‘….the crossroads, branchings and tangles…’ are ignored (Solnit op.cit p59). One of the consequences she describes is that the contribution of women is often disregarded. Haunting may stimulate a stepping aside from one’s usual trajectory of time, space and history and to allow the achievement of valuably different perspectives. A wise grandmother may be present or have a presence. At a challenging time her words of advice are brilliantly appropriate even though they were informed by an age long-gone. Isca Saltzberger-Wittenberg suggests that unresolved issues from one transition are manifest and magnified in subsequent ones (Saltzberger-Wittenberg, 2013). This may be a key source of the grandmother’s wisdom. Her insight provides a story where the granddaughter’s feeling of dépaysement is now seen as an opportunity, a time to move on from confusion to adventure; anonymity and invisibility opening new windows on a different landscape (Watt-Smith, 2016). Also, it may be that the very language used by the grandmother itself resonates with the granddaughter’s soul. Consequently there is a magical combination of intimacy and distance. 

Haunting may equally bring uncertainty alive whilst also suggesting that an excessive concern for understanding and explanation may sometimes be self-sabotaging.

The sense of being haunted may cause the person to seek help but not necessarily from a professional helper. It might be about exploring and talking through with friends or learning more about the treasure chests and crypts, both literal and metaphorical of one’s families or cultures. In this I am reminded that feelings can remain vivid even when particular associated memories have faded or been lost. In this case, the insights of the outsider may help. This might lead to a reframe. For example, somebody might feel between cultures and be faced with the challenge of having a heightened sense of self, whilst desperately wanting to belong.  A chat with a trusted friend or even a wonderful conversation with a ‘heaven-sent’ stranger on a long train journey may be liberating in prompting him to look to himself for confirmation rather than being on super-alert regarding the real or imagined judgement of others. That is, he accepts that his personal haunting is at odds with the collective one. ‘This culture truly is not for me’.  I am also reminded of Diana Athill writing of the moment when, ‘…..familiarity had made the touch of his hand feel so much like my own that it no longer conveyed a thrill’ (Athill, 2008 p23). The excitement had gone and she then faced the challenge of whether to fake it or face up to the new reality. Haunting, as mentioned can be equally tangible and in-the-moment.

I now move onto the overlap between Haunting and Loving Dislocation.

The Nature of Haunting as Loving Dislocation 
Before narrowing the focus I want to make some broad points about the shared nature of Haunting and Loving Dislocation.

As indicated, any haunting is likely to be experienced as personal. This, even though it may well come from a distance in terms of linear time, geography and history. This has parallels with the role of the helper in being both a part of and apart from the client’s world. That is, being intimate with the world as described by the client, whilst at the same time being able to step back and be an observer of oneself and the client.

Closely linked to the point above is that with both haunting and loving dislocation boundaries are shaken up. I may suddenly flip into a time many years before; it may be from my own past or even that of earlier generations. Boundaries are reassessed, discarded, emphasised and redrawn. This may sometimes happen as an almost out-of-body experience. False or obsolete coherences in stories and histories are exposed. 

There can be an intense polarisation in terms of light and dark, good and evil, tangible and the spiritual. This may help the person find the third position, since the intensity of opposites may create a map where one can locate some solid ground in order to survey the landscape. In other words, it is a place from which she can be an observer of herself in relation her concerns and her world (Gilbert & Evans, 2000). This may, on occasion, be a route to an epistemological break – namely a fundamentally different way of seeing things (Althusser & Balibar, 2009). 

Rituals, including those which can be a feature of both haunting and loving dislocation, can be a conduit for spiritual insight or a path to enduring superficiality. That is, beliefs have become mere introjections. Each may evolve into the other.

I now narrow the focus to rather more specific elements within the overlap of haunting and loving dislocation. In doing so, I simply invite the reader to notice whether anything resonates:

  • A presence that indicates an absence – something precious, important is missing. 
  • An acidity which brings lucidity; a sharp pain which brings insight. This house is probably no longer a home and it certainly is not a sanctuary. 
  • Uncanny/ das Unheimlich – both strange and familiar. A reflection prompting reflection. Being between identities and cultures. Perhaps also being various ages simultaneously.
  • A gentle tap on the shoulder which is also a face-to-face confrontation, and vice-versa.
  • A sense of being lost in order to find oneself; needing to find oneself in order to know that one is lost.
  • A chance moment which is inevitable. e.g. random gifts from the universe; sliding doors.
  • A sharpened sense of self, whilst also being a representative; that is, being both subject and object, holder and held.
  • A bright sunlight which enables one to see clearly, but which can be temporarily blinding if it shines directly into one’s eyes. 
  • By holding the child within oneself one can be held by that child’s wisdom.
  • Sometimes one needs to embrace in order to be able to let go sufficiently.

The haunting may come from the crypt or the treasure chest, but the surrounding aura may mean that one may be mistaken for the other. 

I am now sitting and writing in another café. A small girl, perhaps six years old, is smiling and carefully walking back to her Mum’s table carrying a very full glass of water. Her smile broadens as she undertakes some tricky navigation. Close to her destination she gets stuck. Her Mum gets up and takes the glass from her. They both smile before sitting down at the table.

I have been haunted by the idea of haunting for many months. I am pleased to have been able to begin to put some ideas together in this paper. There is still more to fall into and probably out of place. I look forward to it.

‘And the gesture of closing is always sharper, firmer and briefer than that of opening’ (Bachelard op.cit p74). 

Verse from Echo

Come to me in the silence of night

Come in the speaking silence of a dream;

Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright

As sunlight on a stream;

Come back in tears

Oh memory, hope, love of finished years.

Christina Rossetti 1830

In the mid-1960’s I worked in the Old War Office library located in the basement of the Old War Office, Whitehall. Recently I walked to the building, along a familiar route hoping to add to my vivid and happy memories. I ended up being disorientated and rather upset to discover that some extensive rebuilding work was taking place. The façade was retained, but internally a major conversion was taking place – a boutique hotel and flats. (Sometimes organisational change can be like this – the same façade, but dramatically different behind it all). Somehow I found myself haunted by the lack of haunting. An important part of my past had been lost, probably forever. The experience dramatically brought alive for me the wider and much more intense and deeper sense of loss for those who, for whatever reason, lose the landscape which had been part of their family and culture for many centuries. The sanctuaries of wise spirits lost forever.

Althusser, L. & Balibar, E. ( 2009). Reading Capital. London. Verso.

Argyris, C. and Schon, D. (1978). Organizational Learning: Theory and Practice. London. F.T. Press.

Athill, D. (2008). Somewhere Towards the End.London. Granta.

Bachelard, G. (1994). The Poetics of Space. Boston. Beacon Press. 

Blyton, E. (1950). The Mountain of Adventure. London. The Thames Publishing Co.

Collins Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms. (2005). Glasgow. Collins.

Dryden, W. (Ed). (2005). Handbook of Individual Therapy.London. Sage. 

Erpenbeck, J. (2015). Go, Went, Gone. Cambridge. Granta.

Fink, B. (1997). A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis Theory and Technique. Harvard. Harvard University Press.

Freud, S. (1917). Mourning and Melancholia. The Standard Edition of theComplete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol 14. London. Hogarth Press.

Frosh, S. (2013). Hauntings: Psychoanalysis and Ghostly Transmissions. Basingstoke. Palgrave Macmillan.

Gilbert, M. & Evans, K. (2000). Psychotherapy Supervision. An integrative relational approach to psychotherapy supervision.Buckingham. Open University Press.

Hollis, J. (2013). Hauntings. Dispelling the Ghosts Who Run Our Lives.Asheville. Chiron Publications.

Janis, I. (1982). Groupthink: psychological studies of policy decisions andfiascos.Michigan. Houghton Mifflin. 

Joyce, P. and Sills, C. (2010). Skills in Gestalt Training and Therapy. London. Sage.

Kingsley, P. (1999). In the Dark Places of Wisdom. Point Reyes. The Golden Sufi Center.

Phillips, K. (2008). Fragmentation at Integration. Handforth: KPA. 

Prebble, J, (1969). The Highland Clearance. London. Penguin.

Saltzberger-Wittenberg, I. (2013). Experiencing Endings and Beginnings. Karnac. London.

Schein, E. (1982) What to Observe in a Group. Reading Handbook for HumanRelations Training. Porter, L & Mohr, B. (eds). Arlington. NTL Institute.

Schiff, J.L. (1975). Cathexis Reader. Transactional Analysis Treatment of Psychosis. New York Harper and Row.

Solnit, R. (2017). A Field Guide to Getting Lost.Edinburgh. Canongate.

Watt-Smith, T. (2016). The Book of Human Emotions. London. Profile. 

Zuboff, S. (2019). The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. London. Profile.

©Keri Phillips 2019

Speakers for 2019 – 2020

Wednesday 20th November 2019 

Katherine Long on a critical systems view of coaching practice through lens of the many changes occurring in our world

Mick Sital-Singh Impact of life in  the digital economy on coaching practice  

Wednesday 19th February 2020 

Simon Westernon Systemic approaches to systems wide change through coaching – given how fortunate we are to have Simon among us for the first time in a while, this will run as a one day event

Thursday June 18th 2020
Keri Phillips on Haunting as Loving Dislocation.

Daniel Doherty A retrospective on fifteen years of critical coaching practice as represented in the CRG.

Next Conference 20th June 2019

next session 20th June
Our next conference will occur on 20th June 2019 starring our very own Philip Crocker  and from Middlesex University Christine Eastman. Please ensure you have this date firmly in your dairies – and keep it there despite competing attractions and diversions. 

Philip Crocker – Creating conductivity in Coaching to generate willingness or ‘actitude’

Dr Christine Eastman –  “Coaching Lessons from Tel Aviv University: how seafaring stories from nineteenth-century American literature captured the imagination of Israeli students

CCG schedule for 2019 – 2020 year

Wednesday 20th November 2019 

Katherine Long on a critical systems view of coaching practice through lens of the many changes occurring in our world

Mick Sital-Singh Impact of life in  the digital economy on coaching practice

Wednesday 19th February 2020 

Simon Western on Systemic approaches to systems wide change through coaching – given how fortunate we are to have Simon among us for the first time in a while, this will run as a one day event.

Thursday June 18th 2020

Keri Phillips on Haunting as Loving Dislocation.

Daniel Doherty A retrospective on fifteen years of critical coaching practice as represented in the CRG.

notes from last meeting

it was so good to see you in fine spirits last week for what proved to be a really absorbing day in the capable hands of Peggy Marshall and Julian Danobeitia.  I attach Peggy’s material and will put material from Julian up on the website in due course. It is so satisfying to register that both these fine humans have signed up as members of our illustrious crew – so we will be hearing much more from them I feel sure. Thanks to them for their contributions – and to all of you for making them so welcome. 
A highlight of the day – at least for me – was the performance of the hotel both at breakfast and at lunch. `For the welcome coffee – croissants appeared.  At lunchtime an initial catering mistake – when we were served enough sandwiches to feed the whole of the local Conservative Association – was remedied immediately by the appearance of a cornucopia of fries and overflowing bowls of salad to supplement our sandwiches – plus mixed olives. yes olives!!! what a time to be alive. I take all credit for this uplift in service, if for nothing else that occurred on the day. 

archive 2006 – 2019