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Frances Masters • Mental Health • No Comments


Responding to feedback, I’m re sending my latest news letter. The audio is useful for clients, but practitioners really need the visualisation script.
I’ll say a bit more about why good quality, deep sleep is so important in my next newsletter and why depression can be described and treated as a sleep disorder.
But, for the moment, here is the sleep visualisation as a downloadable Pdf. Click on the script to take you to the downloadable document.

I hope it helps…

I was interviewed for a documentary about young people’s experiences of the mental health system this week.
The interviewer’s opening question was challenging ‘In today’s society, mental health is a predominant issue. Seventy five per cent of mental health problems develop under the age of 24, often as a result of trauma. Yet young people’s services receive less than seven per cent of mental health funding. Why is that?’

What could I say?

Mental health has long been the Cinderella service of the NHS and at the back of the queue when it comes to funding. At the close of Mental Health week, we see commentaries from celebrities and royalty alike that raise mental health as a problem… but do not offer the solution.
The result is more and more try to access charities and services that are already struggling and the waiting lists get longer and longer. Corona will undoubtedly make things so much worse.
For my own part, I intend to put as much psycho-educational training out there as possible; making it as accessible as possible, as affordable as possible and free wherever possible.
Online and distance learning certainly present the best opportunity to get essential integrated coach-counselling tools out to therapsits, coaches and mental health workers as quickly as possible.
I’ve noticed demand for the Therapeutic Coaching Distance Learner Skills Certificate has grown significantly during Lockdown. Professionals are using their extra time to upskill and get a nationally recognised award from a prestigious accrediting body with 80 hours of CPD. Their skills will certainly be in demand as the Covid- 19 experience takes its toll.
Because poor quality sleep is at the root of so many mental health problems, I’m updating my free e-book ‘Sleep like a Baby’ at the moment and my training article this week is about how improving sleep quality.
For the first time, it gives free access to my own recording of the Blackboard Technique guided visualisation plus a therapeutic story I wrote many years ago for a client with insomnia.

I hope it helps…

Sleep like a Baby 
Sleep impacts both mental and physical health. Poor quality sleep can take a toll on mood, our brain and heart health, the immune system, our creativity and vitality, our productivity and even weight. But so many of us regularly toss and turn at night, struggling to get to sleep or stay asleep.
Answer the questions below to identify whether your sleep quality could do with a boost.

  • Do you find yourself yawning a lot in the daytime?
  • Do you feel tired and fatigued on waking?
  • Are you edgy or irritable?
  • Do you have low mood?
  • Do you have difficulty learning new concepts?
  • Do you find you are forgetful?
  • Do you have an inability to concentrate or a “fuzzy” head?
  • Do you lack motivation?
  • Have you noticed you are more clumsy than usual?
  • Have you experienced increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings?
  • How we feel during waking hours so often hinges on how well we sleep at night yet the cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in our bedtime routine.

If you answered yes to two or more, you might want to start by reviewing your bedtime routine.
It’s important to give yourself time to decompress from your day but try not to wind down with gadgets as they often have a stimulating back light that wakes the brain up.
You might want to eat a light bedtime snack or take a warm bath two to three hours before bed. Don’t get into bed until right before it’s time to sleep but do try to go to bed at the same time every night. If you do this and you’re still having trouble settling down, it might be time to try something new.

The Blackboard Technique
There’s nothing as wonderful as a good night’s sleep. Yet many people struggle to either get to sleep or stay asleep.
The traditional advice is to get up and do something boring until you feel sleepy. Fortunately there is now a remedy for insomnia which does not involve leaving the comfort of your bed. It’s called ‘The Blackboard Technique’ and it can help you take back control of your sleep pattern.
If you find you are having trouble dropping off or wake up in the night and have difficulty settling back down, interrupt those runaway thoughts by saying ‘STOP’. You now have an opportunity to think your thoughts rather than allow them to think you.
Now, try to imagine, in your mind’s eye, a very large blackboard.
The blackboard is as big as you are. You have a chalk and a blackboard eraser and your task in your imagination is to chalk the number 100 on the blackboard as large as you can.
You then have the job of, in your mind’s eye, wiping away the number with the eraser. Your next task is to chalk the number 99 onto the blackboard, which you must then also erase.
This continues without interruption until you fall asleep or reach zero in which case the task begins all over again.
This insomnia busting technique improves with use until, in the end; you may find you only reach 97 or 96 before falling into a deep and peaceful sleep.

How does the The Blackboard Technique work?
Thoughts and worries catch the attention of the mind and keep it active. Left unchecked, these intrusive thoughts can keep you awake and alert when you would rather be asleep.
When the mind becomes focused on an un-stimulating, repetitive action, it becomes bored, loses interest and settles back down. It’s impossible to think two thoughts at once so the repetetive numbers and images crowd out other thoughts.
Behind closed eyelids; the eyes follow the chalk on the imaginary blackboard which mimics the rapid eye movement observed in dreamers known as REM. The brain is a quick learner. If you repeatedly use the Blackboard Technique, the response becomes quicker and stronger as a new pattern of behaviour and neural pathway is established.
Sleep is a conditioned response. It is easy to become anxious and interrupt the process of letting go. Going to sleep is not something you actively do. It is something which happens all by itself.
So reclaim your right to a good night’s sleep and simply train your brain to quickly let go of the day.

Get Help for Self Harm

You can listen to The Blackboard Technique here

Sleep well.

You can still access your free ‘Time for a Change’ workbook here. I hope it is helpful for you and for your clients.

Stay safe and well.

Frances Masters  MBACP accred GHGI
Managing Director Fusion Therapeutic Coaching Ltd

Motivation, resolving depression, the Rewind Technique, Mindfulness Based Mind Management (advanced MBSR), worrying well, solution focus, guided visualisation, resolving addiction, epigenetics, mapping the connectome, polyvagal theory, the reticular activating system (RAS), secondary gain, trauma resolution, coaching for kids, treating depression, worrying well, working SMART, therapeutic stories, insight, psycho education, suicide prevention, affirmations, positive mental rehearsal, imagery, dissociation, goal setting, new paradigms, reframes, fast track learning, perception shifting, self actualisation, positive psychology, reframing, metaphor, personal empowerment, motivational thinking, 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 programmes. 

The Fusion Therapeutic Coaching Distance Learner Skills Certificate* 

Bringing together for the first time, advanced counselling, cognitive behavioural and human givens skills in a solution focused coaching framework. This is the first and only independently accredited distance learning therapeutic coaching course in the UK.

The integration of coaching and counselling is a new paradigm. Fusion is at the leading edge with a fully integrated model which has been successfully used over several years with thousands of satisfied clients.
Do you have an interest in mental health and wellbeing? Do you want to take your career to the next level? Perhaps you’re a counsellor looking to add advanced coaching tools to your therapeutic toolbox or you may be a coach, who wants to deepen and broaden your therapeutic skills? Perhaps you are a hypnotherapist using powerful psychological techniques and would like a safe and solid theoretical frame for your work? You may be working in schools, human resources, the police or the NHS or in another helping profession and just want to be more effective for your clients.
Fusion can help you, with tried and tested training which brings together the very best of coaching and counselling into a powerful new integrated model that really helps and really works.
On completion, Distance Learner graduates will receive a certificate from NCFE, an awarding organisation recognised by the qualification regulators for England and Wales. NCFE’s regulators are the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) in England, Qualification Wales and CCEA regulations. The general Conditions of Recognition can be found at

Order your workbook here

*There is a 10% discount for all NHS workers

The Fusion Model
The innovative Fusion Mental Health First Aid model draws on Person Centred Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Human Givens Psychotherapy and Holistic Life Coaching to bring together a unique toolbox of skills to help you provide the very best support for your clients. This is not just any coaching course or the GROW model in another format. Fusion has an innovative and unique approach to emotional health and wellbeing which has been tried and tested over ten years with thousands of client successes.

On the programme you will learn:

The SAFE SPACE ‘recipe’ for emotional wellbeing

  • How to dramatically accelerate client outcomes
  • How to conduct a ‘life audit’
  • What us the ‘essence of the problem/essence of the solution’
  • The important first session: How to pace, turn and lead your client
  • When and how to use the Fusion Wheel of Life
  • Present, future and super-future focusing
  • How to use guided imagery to effect change fast
  • integration of therapeutic story and metaphor
  • How to successfully treat anxiety and depression, fears and phobias
  • How to deal with panic attacks and anger attacks
  • What to do to resolve PTSD fast
  • The utilisation of powerful brain filters
  • The mindfulness based STOP System
  • Effective goal setting
  • And much, much more…

Frequently asked questions

Who can take Fusion’s Therapeutic Coaching Distance Learning programme?
You may wish to use the programme for continuing professional development, personal development or to gain an understanding of the integrated principles and practice of the Fusion Therapeutic Coaching Model.
You are likely to have good communication skills, experience of working in a caring role and have a deep desire to help others.

How does distance learning work?
Distance learning means you can study at home, at your own pace and in your own time. Learners receive a working course manual and study guide, together with a series of written assignments, reflective tasks and questions.
You will also have access to a professional tutor to provide you with support via email, post or telephone. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have and give you advice on successful completion of the course. Ongoing support will last for one year from the date you receive the course.

Another Student Suicide: How You Can Help Prevent This Happening Again

How long do I have to complete the programme?
12 months. If the course is updated, the information will either be posted on our supporting website or sent to you free of charge. Completion of the course will take in the region of 80 study hours which can be spread over the 12 month period and claimed as CPD hours.

Is there an end of course examination?
No, the programme is completed by an end of course Q and A which you send by e-mail or post for assessment. The Integrated Coaching Academy runs the only accredited Distance Learning Therapeutic Coaching course in the UK.

Do I get a certificate?
A completion certificate will be provided by the Integrated Coaching Academy. If you wish to have Level III NCFE endorsed completion, your work will be assessed by your tutor then internally and externally verified. If successful, a certificate will be issued by NCFE.

Assessment of your work
The assessment of your coursework will be carried out by your tutor. A sample of assessments will be referred to an internal verifier.
These are available to be seen by an external verifier from the accrediting body, NCFE.

Is there tutor support?
The course is supported by a friendly and accessible tutor who appreciates the needs of distance learning students. If you experience any difficulties with the course, or need clarification on some points, then please get in touch. We are here to help.

Order your workbook here

What is covered in the programme?

The 70,000 word, 426 page work book covers a broad range of theory and skills.

Module 1
The Therapeutic Coaching Timeline
Professional evolution
The Therapeutic Coach: A new paradigm
The big experiment
What is therapeutic coaching?  Is it different from counselling?
About the NCFE accredited Therapeutic Coaching Diploma
Effective Therapy: Affordable training

Module 2
Work Book
Zen philosophy; an auspicious beginning
Setting SMART Goals
Self Reflection
Learning something new
Recognising emotions

Module 3
Communication Micros Skills
Mirroring and reflection
Open questions
Carl Roger’s core conditions
About Carl Rogers
Look back, but don’t stare

Module 4
Human needs
Create a SAFE SPACE to get your emotional needs met:
The work life balance
Attunement and the therapeutic alliance
Accelerated rapport
Information Gathering: Using Clinical Measures and feedback
Taking an emotional needs ‘audit’
Actualising tendency versus learned helplessness
How to restoring hope

Module 5
A first session with a client
Confidentiality in therapeutic work
Positive expectation
SUDS scaling

Module 6
Dealing with anxiety and panic attacks
Fight or flight
Pattern matching
Thinking errors or cognitive distortions
Resilience and Base Stress
Diaphragmatic Breathing
The Observing Self and Meta awareness
Misuse of the Imagination
What else do I need to know?

Module 7
Setting therapeutic goals
The Magic Question
The Reticular Activating System (RAS)
RAS and focused attention
What are your Hobbies and Interests?
Developing metaphor therapeutically

Module 8
Psycho Education
Triune theory
Pattern matching and neural pathways
Patterns of response

Module 9
Supervision and the helping professions
Diversity: Celebrating Difference, Celebrating ‘Sameness’
Challenging the labels

Module 10
STOP: GO Bridging the gap between counselling and coaching
Holistic Life Coaching
Ploughing new furrows: Counselling in a coaching context
Where are you on the wellbeing continuum?
React or respond?
Thought stopping
Neuroplasticity and the changing brain

Module 11
The STOP System
STOP and diaphragmatic breathing: How to test your own breathing
STOP and ‘Taking a Step Back’
STOP and the Observing Self
STOP and Emotional intelligence
STOP and interrupting old or habitual patterns

Module 12
The Wheel of Life
Case study: Geoff #1
Using the coaching wheel of life
Assessing and scaling life as it is
The life wheel protocol

Module 13
Case study: Geoff #2
Wheel of life doc 1
A holistic view of the client
The preferred future
Story: What a bird should look like
Write it down-make it happen

Module 14
Case study: Geoff #3
Wheel of life doc 2
SMART goals
Case study: Geoff #4
SMART goals doc

Module 15
Describing guided imagery
Visualisation: a history
Meditation and mindfulness
Metaphor in guided imagery

Module 16
Case study: Geoff #5
Therapeutic time travel
From problem focused to solution focused
A progressive relaxation and bespoke visualisation for Geoff

Intelligence plus intuition equals ‘whole brain’ learning
The Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting
A privilege
TASK documents
Therapeutic stories

Therapeutic Coaching in practice
First session questionnaire
SAFE SPACE audit sheet
CORE 10 questions
Case study: Shelly
Case Study: David; coaching a client with M.E.
BACP ethical guidelines
Association for Coaching: coaching competencies
Articles Is the Therapeutic Coach a ‘brain mechanic?’
What do you do if you don’t like your client?
Smile and the world smiles back.
The Top Five Regrets of the Dying
Swim towards the light.
A Nice Result
Better to do something imperfectly than nothing flawlessly
No need for my services?
The Super Organising Idea
All boxed up?
Working at the cutting edge
Mapping the connectome
The gut microbiome
Polyvagal theory
The seven pillars of mindfulness
Mental health first aid

Find out more about the NCFE accredited FusionTherapeutic Coaching Distance Learner Skills Certificate and order your workbook here *

Therapeutic Coaching Professionals

If you are a coach who counsels, a counsellor who coaches, a teacher, doctor, nurse, mentor, priest or hypnotherapist; if you work in any of the helping professions or are interested in studying in a helping profession, you can be invited to join the ‘Therapeutic Coaching Professionals’ private Facebook forum, by clicking ‘like’ on the Fusion Therapeutic Coaching Face book page) and applying to the ‘Therapeutic Coaching Professionals’  Facebook forum. It’s a supportive professional group where we share tips, tools and the kind of interventions that really help our clients move forward quickly.

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.

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