Welcome to Personal Effects for August……this month I thank my friend Eleni for the opportunity to work with her in her native Greece, wonder where there are ‘locked doors’ in my mind, Pat Mason considers what it is to be truly effective………and a TED talk on ‘lollipop’ moments you MUST watch……..

Thank you to Eleni Sarantinou of Life Spheres !

Eleni and I on our way to ‘work’ on a ‘secluded’ beach !

Once again this summer I had the privilege of working with my friend Eleni on her NLP Master Practitioner programme on the beautiful island of Amorgos in her native Greece.

As you can see………Eleni took advantage of all the learning locations this balmy island has on offer !

For her other fabulous training locations check out her website:


Will she join me in The Lake District soon ? I hope so !!

(In the meantime if you have holiday to take…………Greece is open for business and welcoming and fabulous as ever.)

What are the locked doors in your mind ?

The following article appeared in The Otago Daily Times in New Zealand last December………………

“An Alexandra couple hope others can learn from their near-death experience after being trapped in their new ”keyless” car in their own garage for almost 13 hours recently.
Mollieanne (65) and Brian Smith (68) are still coming to terms with the early November incident when confusion about operating their Mazda 3 hatchback led them to believe there was no way to get out.

The pair were stuck after a series of ”Murphy’s Law” events, including leaving the car’s manual in the house, leaving the transponder outside the car and a combination of stress, night-time, and what they called a lack of information from a car salesperson.

After becoming trapped about 7pm on November 5, their attempts to escape included sounding the horn and trying to smash a window with a car jack.

When they were freed by neighbours about 7.45am the next day, she was unconscious and her husband was struggling to breathe.

She said they were told by emergency services if they had spent another half hour in the car and they could have died.

Afterwards, Mrs Smith spent three days in Dunstan Hospital. Mr Smith, who considered himself ”very methodical”, said he could not find the unlocking mechanism.

”Once I found out how simple it was to unlock it I kicked myself that I did not find the way out … I had this mind-set that I did not have the transponder [so I could not get out].”

The car salesperson had made it seem the car would not work without the transponder, he said.

He now knew the manual lock was the same as the inside door handle on many other vehicles.

Mr Smith said his message for owners of ”keyless”cars – not just Mazda models – was to educate themselves on how to operate their car before using it.

Mrs Smith said she had decided to ”go public” as people needed to be aware of the risks of keyless cars, particularly older people inexperienced in new technology.

She had received phone calls from about five people reporting similar keyless-car experiences.”

I met this story with some amusement until I considered…………how is this restricted thinking true of me ? A sobering thought !

Reflections in a different mirror………or Presence is Everything.

Pat Mason of Shen Dao Awareness
Somatic Re-Integration Psychotherapy, Senior Hypno/Psychotherapist, NLP Master Practitioner

I also participated in the Robert Dilts experience with Florence. For absolutely that’s what it was. I have been working as a therapist using different modalities since 1989 and I am, thankfully, still learning.

My work with people began with their bodies. I trained; I was certificated; I was insured; yet I had not been taught what it was that would make me into a truly effective therapist and yet I had learned it by working with my clients. I was soon to notice that bodies carry so much of what ails us in the realm of the emotions and spirit. (Spirit in this context meaning the spirit or vitality of the person.) But it wasn’t that, that’s kind of obvious.

So what is it that makes a truly effective therapist?

It became clear through my practice and life experience and my general outlook on life, that there was no artificial separation of body from mind, and given that my training had been in the physical arts I felt it was now time to train in the psychological arts. Rather than keep referring those clients with whom I had built trust, to another practitioner where they would have to start again.

Again I trained (hard): in different disciplines and again was certified and insured to practice – and yet I still had not been taught what it was that would enable me to become a truly effective therapist….at least not directly. Not directly being the key.

So what is it that makes a truly effective therapist?

The Dilts week-end was run by two people who embodied the difference that makes the difference………..They kept it sublimely simple, wrapped up in the unusual or even the obtuse, they used every which way to convey the basic message, including dance. The upshot was that the whole group went away with individual learnings and benefits. The biggest benefit was that at several points throughout the weekend – the Robert & Deborah Dilts made sure that that each person worked within their personal ecology and that each and every one of us was truly seen.

They achieved this in good measure through using the difference that makes the difference, and using the two things that makes a truly effective coach, therapist, manager, teacher, leader:

  • They gave their absolute authentic, grounded and congruent presence to the whole room throughout the whole weekend – and made sure that each and every one of us at some point got their absolute attention and was truly seen and celebrated as a unique individual.
  • The course did have a programme attached to it (a protocol) AND it was tailored as they went along, to meet what they met with the group.

Both of those things are what make a person who is involved in change work, truly effective.

It matters not what technique you might use AS EQUALLY important in effecting change, is the absolute authentic, grounded and congruent presence of the practitioner with the client, colleague etc. It is all about the relationship.

That’s what makes a truly effective therapist (coach, manager, teacher, leader etc etc) !!

Christian Keysers’ work on Mirror Neurons in his book ‘The Empathic Brain’ and Antonio Damasio’s work on Emotions in both ‘The Feeling of What Happens’ and ‘When Self Comes to mind’, reveal the science behind what holistic therapists have known for eons…….

It is the person of the therapist (etc) that makes the difference in as much measure if not more; as any technique that person might be using………….. So it turns out that the therapeutic practice of “presence” is thousands of years old.

If you want to be effective and get busy – get present!

For further reading see:
‘Psychotherapy Relationships That Work’ by John C Norcross
‘The Web That Has No Weaver’ by Ted Kaptchuk.

Pat’s website is www.shen-dao.com

Coming Soon………..NLP Coaching Diploma !

Currently being assessed for certification by ANLP, is my new Coaching course based on the NLP Diploma syllabus. Offering participants a first level NLP qualification it is set in a coaching context.

The course will run on an ‘open’ or on an in-house basis for clients ………..Watch this space for more details !

You might be interested in…………

6 minute TED talk by Drew Dudley ‘Everyday Leadership’. I have been blown away by how powerful, empowering and frankly obvious his message about ‘lollipop moments’ are……………..click on the link and acknowledge your own impact:


Thank you to my friend Jenny Mackness for this and telling me about a ‘lollipop’ moment she had with me………she has returned the ‘lollipop’ many times since……….have I told her ?