I was born and raised in Sheffield, England; aged 20 I moved to the Heidelberg area of Germany where I have lived for over 40 years.
I began learning to play the piano at the age of seven, and as I was growing up my world and my thinking revolved around music, playing classical pieces, listening to rock music, writing songs, playing in bands and improvising.
After moving to Germany I studied psychology at Mannheim University (’78 to ’80) as well as a four year course of study and a Diploma in Piano Playing and Teaching at the Mannheim College of Music (1980-84), followed by a postgraduate Artistic Piano Diploma at the Heidelberg College of Music (1985-87). In ’84 I was a prizewinner at the European Frank Martin Chamber Music Competition in Utrecht, Holland.
My piano teachers were Hildegard van Landenberg, Adelheid Lechler, Ulrich Eisenlohr (song accompaniment and body work), Jürgen Uhde and Renate Wieland (Master Class). I also took further training with Renate Wieland from ’91 to ’98. I continued to study aspects of psychology alongside music and have also spent many years practising body work: Tai Chi (with Dr Victor Chu), Qi Gong, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, and Ilse Middendorf’s ‘The Breathing Experience’ (Der Erfahrbare Atem).
I studied Dr Thomas Gordon’s method of effective communication and conflict management without the use of power, and became a licensed Gordon Trainer in ’88. I undertook further training in ’93,’97, 2003, ’03 and ’05 with Dr. Karlpeter Breuer (Head of Gordon, Germany) and with Dr Thomas Gordon and Linda Adams (founder and president of Gordon Training International).
Key psychological approaches that have influenced my outlook and my work have been Family Constellations (with Dr. Victor Chu from 2001-07) and Relational Psychoanalysis, which emphasises the role of relationships in human growth, (with the London Psychotherapy and Trauma Centre, since 2009).
Amongst many other explorations I have worked with Friedemann Schulz von Thun’s ‘Talking to One Another’ (Miteinander Reden), a communication model based on humanistic/systemic psychology; also the ‘Crucial Conversations’, ’Crucial Confrontations’, ’Influencer’, ‘Change Anything’ books by Patterson, Switzler, Grenny, McMillan and others on interpersonal skills and their potential to promote healthy relationships and positive change.