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In 2009 Amadis Cammell and Guy Gladstone began to envision a personal development trajectory to foster the emergence of twenty-first century self-actualisers. Humanistic Alchemy is the fruit of several years of planning and a lifetime of becoming. The first intake began at the start of 2012. In 2013, Richard Lawton joined the team and guided the launch of HA2. Read our biographies to discover how we reached this point.
Biography: Amadis Cammell
I started my journey of personal and spiritual growth in 1975, my professional exploration in 1981. Since then I have trained in several styles of healing, psychology and spirituality; researching various related philosophies and practices over the years. Combined they create a distinct entity, Core Realisation, an integral system of personal and spiritual development and healing.
Relational Integral Therapy is the psychological and personal healing application of this modality. It features most of the components of Core Energetics, Neo-Reichian Bodywork, Alchemy of Transformation and Bioenergetic Analysis. It also incorporates the enquiry and felt-sense practices of Diamond Logos.
The primary trainings and explorations contributing are Human Potential modalities, Oriental Medicine studies, Qigong practices, somatic and transpersonal psychologies and spiritual approaches. They have progressively been incorporated into my work with people since 1982. Within the medical field I have trained in Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine and Oriental Massage. In the healing field I have trained in Cellular Healing, Medical Qigong and Bu Qi. My education as a Somatic Psychology practitioner chronologically includes Bioenergetic Analysis, Core Energetics, Neo-Reichian Bodywork, Ritual & Healing Theatre and Alchemy of Transformation; as well as long-term exposure to Analytical Body Enquiry and Radix. Assisting John Pierrakos in 2000 in his last Core Energetics retreat and Siegmar Gerken in the European Core Energetics Training 2000-2005 were also important to my professional development. Contemporary spiritual perspectives such as Chan, Pathwork and Diamond Logos also influence my work, as do transpersonal experiences catalysed by traditional Daoist, Buddhist, Sufic and Gnostic practices.
My professional trajectory over the years has reflected my personal development and vocation. From 1977 till 1984, I travelled across the UK and Europe, worked with people with learning difficulties, designed clothes and made jewellery. I spent a large proportion of this period living in counter-cultural and spiritual communities, a formative experience in who I am today.
I started a private practice in Oriental Massage in 1983, in acupuncture in 1986 and Chinese Herbal Medicine in 1989. From 1990 for seven years I was a lecturer and clinical supervisor at the London Academy of Oriental Medicine and have taught Qigong free-lance since 1995. I have worked as an acupuncturist for the NHS in South London since 1991, preferring this to private practice, treating people for medical conditions divorced from financial considerations.
I have been working therapeutically with people in London since 1999, offering individual sessions, workshops and courses; at first solely in Core Energetics and more recently in Core Realisation and Relational Integral Therapy. Since 2001 I have led and taught various Core Realisation groups and modules for the School Of Energy Healing and the Holistic Counselling College. In 2008-2009 I run the first two-year Core Realisation Foundation Course, followed by in 2012 by the Core Realisation Facilitators Course, currently running in London.
My perception of inner and outer reality is shaped primarily by three disciplines:
- Daoist Internal Alchemy which accesses the reality of nature and the cosmos, educing a perception of the Five Elements and the Three Treasures: life force, essence and spirit
- Core Energetics, with its transpersonal component Pathwork, which provides a practical and demonstrable understanding of how somatics, psychology and spirituality are interrelated
- Diamond Logos, which facilitates an embodiment of non-egoic essential being through the practice of meditation, enquiry, felt-sense and presence
My vocational interest is forging a synergism of all the above into an integral mode, with an intention to meet others in a place of engagement, vitality, heart and soul.
On a more personal note, my comfort and joy are my dogs, children and partner. My challenge is showing up fully, living authentically and expressing myself with integrity. My main accomplishment, despite my conditioning, is creating and being involved with what moves and inspires me. My endeavour is coming to know more of the unified field of being: the integral matrix and fundamental connection of all life. My great hope is to actualise this alchemical project and realise my vision of a community of kindred souls.
Biography: Guy Gladstone
The years spent as a hippie, where I played at avoiding work in the sense of wage slavery, led to an immersion in The Work, Gurdjieff's severe teaching, through which I realized how deeply compromised my own and other's lives are by illusions, and that I personally needed to enter and traverse my emotional 'mess'. I am most deeply grateful to my first therapist, Glyn Seaborn Jones, for initiating this journey and returning me (a damaged public school boy) to a creative contact with my emotional life, through several years of his eclectic Bodymind Therapy.
As a cowboy removalist serving first the trendy 70s London middle classes, accessed through the now legendary Gentle Ghost collective, and later as Flux Trucking Company taking the expatriate Irish community back and forth, it turned out I was unconsciously rehearsing for a culminating role in attending to a multitude of moving stories, shifting bodies and psychic contents in all directions. 'Passengers will travel on the night ferry in both directions' intoned the psychedelic poster. Along the way a fringe theatre performer, clown and corporeal mime artist, also of course trying to lighten the load of transgenerational loss afflicting my family, got lost, only to reappear in media between therapy and theatre, and from time to time as the trickster.
Other aspects of my personal tragi-comedy are suggested in my chapter within the recently updated 2nd edition of 'Implausible Professions', entitled 'The Making of a Therapist and the Corruption of the Training Market'. This book, subtitled 'Arguments for Pluralism and Autonomy in Counselling and Psychotherapy', along with the trailblazer by my colleague at The Open Centre, Richard Mowbray, ('The Case against Psychotherapy Registration') was seminal for my recent four year engagement as a founder member of 'The Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy against State Regulation', a campaign that for the time being has successfully held the line.
Despite nine years of psychoanalysis, more than half of which was five times a week, I am also known for an unresolved exhibitionism, not to mention a degree of narcissism, evident both from this account and from my nostalgia-laden fins and chrome lust-objects from the early 60s. I am less well-known for more ecological enjoyments, such as swimming with cetaceans, wind surfing, and on dry land, jiving and sunbathing. The marine references herein and the dedication to groupwork contain a buried reference to my father, a onetime admiral in the Australian navy.
The model for HA's throng of workshop leaders was my very first training, in the late 70s, with the Institute for the Development of Human Potential (IDHP). Much later I posited the Maverick Factor, that my real training had occurred through a series of apprenticeships or trial identifications with a number of advanced independent practitioners, many in their various ways beyond the pale of today's mainstream psy field. HA, in turn, offers you a range of such figures to learn from.
As for my own offerings within HA, I learnt most of my bioenergetics from Glyn Seaborn Jones and David Boadella, and then from Sander Kirsch and Jacques Berliner during the five year training cycle of the British Association for Analytical Body Psychotherapy; my psychodrama from Ari Badaines, plus some from Francis Batten ('Magister Ludi'); Pulsing from its originator, Curtis Turchin, and Bodywork in Water from the creator of Watsu, Harold Dull of the Harbin Hot Springs Community; Authentic Movement from Linda Hartley and Helen Payne; The Rainbow of Desire from Augusto Boal; and Selbstdarstellung from visits to the AAO communes in Berlin, Geneva and Friedrichshof, Austria.
Most of all I would acknowledge my clients from twenty-nine years work at The Open Centre, both one to one and in ongoing groups and one-off weekends, as a major continuing source of my learning; together with my long term supervisor from the Institute of Group Analysis, the late Norman Vella; and lastly my trusted colleagues at the barge Leonard Piper, an IPN group, with whom I have been meeting for ten years for the purpose of intervision.
Biography: Richard Lawton
The founder of Gestalt therapy, Fritz Perls, provocatively declared "Lose your mind and come to your senses." This has been the story of my life. Thus far I have managed to come to my senses, but haven't quite lost my mind.
The intellect and the senses, the mind and the body, abstraction and people - these are the twin threads in my story. I gained an Honours degree in Philosophy at York University, while becoming heavily involved in paint, mud and bouncy castles as a volunteer playleader with children's playschemes and PHAB clubs. After university I spent some time as a farmer (more mud) and an archaeologist, helping excavate what is now the Jorvik Viking Centre but was then a massive hole in the ground (even more mud). During a career in I.T. within the Civil Service I discovered that software design satisfied both my desire for intellectual challenge and my creative longings, but I also enjoyed teaching Youth Training participants who joined my team, and became Chairman of the Cabinet Office Playscheme Committee.
These two threads came together after I completed several years of personal psychotherapy. While this process truly changed my life, it became clear that there were aspects of self that conventional psychotherapy simply could not address. This led me to investigate the interaction between mind and body, during which I discovered a passion for hands-on bodywork and trained as a massage therapist. Whilst training I noticed the emotional effects of massage; it was apparent that I was not just touching people's bodies as I worked, but also their hearts, minds and memories. Through this I discovered the work of Wilhelm Reich and the world of body psychotherapy.
I continued training in various bodywork and subtle-energy modalities, including Pulsing Rhythmic Bodywork with Guy Gladstone, and entered a 4-year training in neo-Reichian process-oriented Deep Bodywork with Silke Ziehl at The Open Centre. I am a qualified Deep Bodywork practitioner and a certified Postural Integrator, and one of the few people in the world to be certified as a Pulsing Master practitioner. I have also undertaken training in Gestalt and Psychodrama groupwork with Ari Badaines, and in groupwork at the Gestalt Centre. I did post-graduate training in Somatic Trauma Therapy at the Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre with Babette Rothschild.
My reflections on sexuality led me to explore Tantra, through which I gained powerful insights into both personal and societal attitudes towards sexuality. I am indebted to Brigitte Ariel for extending and deepening my understanding of the mind-body split and the spiritual dimension of sexuality, and also for guiding me through the magic of liminal spaces. On this path I also left behind a conventional Christian upbringing (and a hiccup of charismatic evangelism), and became a pagan. For me, connection with the natural world and the energetic flow of the Wheel of the Year mirror our inner relationship with the body and our own natural rhythms. Macrocosm and microcosm.
I am now a humanistic Somatic Psychology practitioner in private practice. My journey of personal and professional development has taken me on many paths. Until my daughter was 3 years old I was a stay-at-home dad, a delightful, demanding, profound and insightful hands-on experience that perhaps few male therapists share. Over the years I have trained in and explored many styles of healing, bodywork, psychology and spirituality, and I have melded these into an integrated approach to personal development and transformation that I call Bodymind Integration. I have a passion for helping people find greater capacity to be fully alive, to help them on their journey of becoming all that they can be.
My previous career as a freelance I.T. consultant is not wasted. I still enjoy designing websites, and in addition to my therapy skills, I also bring my web and design talents to the HA team.
My life now balances the personal and the transpersonal, the abstract and the earthy, the mind and the body. I've come to my senses.