Calling all those who have ever had an ‘Exceptional Human Experience’?

Counselling, Exceptional Human Experiences, Survey, Juniper, Mystic, Psychic, Encounter

Be it Mystical, Psychic, Death-Related, Strange Encounters or ‘normal’ exceptional experience…

‘”Get up there’s someone in the house” a voice said, confusion followed as I tried to distinguish if I was dreaming or awake. “Get up there’s someone in the house”. I was awake. Immediately I listened for something. Nothing. I felt tired and irritated I had scared myself awake with a dream. It was 4 am I had to be up in two hours. I flopped back in bed, limbs landing back into the nice warm patches. I put the duvet over my head to try and block out the imprint of the red digital alarm clock, even though the image of the time, now in green, was actually burnt into the back of my eyelids.

“Get up there’s someone in the house”…

“Get up there’s someone in the house”. Who was saying that? It kept saying the same thing, clearly and calmly. I knew for certain at this point, it wasn’t me and I wasn’t dreaming. My heart began to beat outside of itself. It was so deafening I couldn’t hear anything else. Maybe I had better get out of bed and check this out. I crept across the bedroom floor to avoid creaking the floor boards and headed for the closed door. Bare foot across the carpet, tiptoeing as quietly as possible. I reached out for the door handle and pulled the door slowly open as to avoid the sound the carpet made as it caught the underneath of the door. I listened. I heard the creaking of floorboards in the living room. My heart felt like it had stopped. My breath stopped. The urge to swallow loudly increased. “Shit! There IS someone in the house” I said.

I had awoken in the middle of a burglary-in-progress…

This was one of my Exceptional Experiences (EE). I was 19 years old, living with my mother and younger sister. I had awoken in the middle of a burglary-in-progress. I recall it was difficult to dial the police from my mother’s bedroom phone because my adrenaline had kicked in and my hands and legs where moving uncontrollably. I also recall our Jack Russell, who would normally go off like a rocket for urban foxes sniffing around our bin, but who now stood quietly at the top of the stairs watching ‘someone’ undo our snip, bolt and chain on our front door to make good their escape. Two police cars screeched to a halt outside the house, just moments after they made a run for it. The burglar must have only just broken in when I was alerted and managed to leave the unfilled swag bag behind.

The police had several questions for me, and I had two myself that I could not answer…’Who had woken me up?’ ‘Would they do it again?’

I did go on to share this EE with friends and people I met along the way. Some believed my experience was ‘God‘ or my ‘Guardian Angel‘ looking out for me. Others were more logical and told me it was my ‘unconscious‘ letting me know I was in danger. Some shared with me similar experiences they had been through. Of course some people think I am bonkers when I talk about this experience and I can often see eyes glaze over as they go elsewhere. For me, this EE transformed my view of ‘reality’ as now I ‘knew’ I was connected to something bigger than me. This is the moment when an EE becomes an Exceptional Human Experience (EHE), it has a transformational quality.

My EHE Research Project: Would you like to get involved and share your experiences?

I am currently doing a research project for my level 5 counselling diploma on Exceptional Human Experiences by writing an EHE autobiography and I will be presenting it briefly to fellow counsellors in May or Jun 19. Alongside my experiences I am interested exploring other people’s ‘autobiographies’ too. Reading about other people’s experiences helps us understand our own and it may help us realise we have had more than we realise. It may even reveal a common thread. For many reasons, particularly in the western world, we don’t talk about these experiences. Some people dismiss EEs through fear, whilst some people write them off as oddities, impossibilities or find the person recollecting their as experience as ‘questionable’ as what they are hearing doesn’t sit well with their logic. Some people are diagnosed mentally ill or deluded.

Here’s what to do…

If you are interested, I have designed a survey with 5 questions to help with your autobiography. You may not be able to answer all of them as they may not all be applicable. It may take you some time to complete, so its not a one-sitting-kinda-survey. Perhaps you could take the relevant questions to a separate word document for a while. You can ask to remain anonymous or perhaps give me a coded name that I could use if I should discuss any of your experiences or publish any of your experiences in my research. Thank you in advance for your help.

Not sure if you have had any EHE’s? Check here…

Rhea White explored over 150 EHE’s using other peoples research, and then categorised them into five broad categories:

  1. Mystical Experiences – an epiphany, peak experience a knowing of unity, in the zone (sports), nondual duality/paradoxical reality.
  2. Psychic Experiences – forms of extra sensory perception (ESP) including animal communication, psychokinesis
  3. Death-Related Experiences – near-death, death bed, seeing or meeting with the dead, ouija board communications, physical death loses its impact
  4. Encounter Experiences – apparitions, alien species, UFO’s, angels, religious figures, crop circles, weeping statues
  5. Exceptional Normal Experiences – of ‘knowing’, ‘being’ and ‘doing’ at the outer limits of ‘normal’ for Western societies to fully accept. Synchronicity, goosebumps, crisis of identity, feeling of ‘wonderstruck’, dreams, inspiration, aesthetic and literacy experiences, witnessing or encountering art, relics, music, nature, noble acts or human performances.

Interview with Georgie McBurney in Equine Leadership Magazine

Equine, Counselling, Equine Leadership, Author Interview

“The biggest wisdom we can give you is to stay in the now moment, to get out of your thinking mind and engage with your body more. Communication and connection comes in through the body and once you feel that, you are connected to your own wisdom, and that is something far bigger than all of us – A Oneness.”

Equine Wisdom

Read the Full Interview here.

The Time is Now

The Oak tree or the eagle would be bemused… “What ‘time‘? The time is now. What else is there?”

In case you missed this book from 1999, here is a little review to see if you may like to have a read or perhaps find it’s a keeper for your book shelf. I bought this book as a gift, and year later ended up married to the person I gave it to. I always feel a book finds you at the right time, and here it was, probably for a second time for me. I say this because its first owner’s review is ‘it’s a whole book telling you the same thing over again, to be present’. For me, I can see why it is on the reading list for counsellors; its a reference book rather than a cover to cover read (although I did read it this way as I couldn’t put it down). I found myself highlighting words that were particularly relevant and I know I will come back to it and then find other words standing out instead, and I can reflect and compare with what stood out before.

It is a book with the message to get present, to Be, get out of the past and the future and realise we only ever have the now. Our power is in the now. Everything comes from the now.

It is also a book which tries to explain and get you to apply this message. Not just a read, but a lifestyle change. It dips back to old biblical scriptures that have been misinterpreted and taken too literally. Although reading it for the first time, there was a sense of already knowing what is being read.

With many clients I often show them Eric Berne’s PAC model and when we get to the ‘Adult’ Ego State; when I say ‘you know you are in this state if you are present‘…well here is a reference book to help you get there.

The mind, which is quite dysfunctional in humans, creates an ego, which becomes a false self, one that has identified with the stories of the past. It also creates the pain body, which seeks out more pain to continue existing. If we can get into the present, we become our essence, our real self and the false self and pain body disappear, we are beyond our mind. The mind however, will attempt to bring you back into psychological time, the past or the future. Which can mean for some of us, the past linking to depression and the future linking to anxiety, our two most common mental health issues. The false self can not exist without time, it can not exist in the now.

You are invited to become present, to accept the now. Become an observer of the mind, note ‘past’ or ‘future’ when you realise you are not here and by acknowledging this, you come back to the now.

Sometimes we may have gone through something in life that is unacceptable. At least some part of us still believes it could or should not have happened. It is too painful. It is too unbelievable. Loss and grief generally bring us to this point where we can not fully accept the past; that it DID happen. Perhaps an unconscious belief that staying with the pain will change the outcome some how. If you are stuck here, and most of us will be, Tolle explains there there is a second way to release yourself. To go within the body and acknowledge the feeling. Sit with the feeling and be present with it, bringing it from unconscious to conscious releases us.

If you find yourself creating the story around the feeling and directing strong emotions to people and institutions, the mind has taken you to the past. Follow your breath into your body, and come back to the actual feeling itself.

Tolle connects our inner world to the state of our outer world, that we can change the outside if we all worked on being present. The outer world being a manifestation of the mind, the collective mind. The mind creates duality, good and evil, creation and destruction, life and death – An opposite for everything. Beyond the mind however, duality does not exist, there is a state of peace, beyond the realms of ‘happiness’ – which again is of the mind. Some of us will have the journey of working through the collective pain body of humanity, which is often connected to the feminine (not women per se) and the collective over-thinker, which is often connected to the masculine (not men per se), and some of us will have both to contend with.

As someone who has studied Animal Minds at university, and worked with animals in a therapeutic setting for humans, the only thing that did not resonate as truth was when Tolle talks about animals not having a mind. Without mind he explains, they are a step down from us, cognitive so to speak, and that rather than take a step down to cognition we need to step up to beyond the mind. I feel this is a disservice to animals, and that they are actually a step up from us. I resonate with the concept of the Earth being an entity, Mother Earth, and animals being our siblings. Our siblings do have a mind, its just not dysfunctional in the way humans seem to be now and they can therefore step into their power. Of course I am talking about animals that are allowed to have their own voice, kept in appropriate ways to their kind and/or able to live as wild as they can in today’s world. They are present and in Being, are connected to their collective wisdom. And as Tolle says himself, anyone in their power encourages others to step into theirs. I believe animals are in this role right now, to encourage us to get into the now, as that is all we have. To step into our real power, find our real connection and peace, and we may just stop the destruction of mother Earth and our siblings in the process. This is a very similar message to that which came from The Sidhe.

Ill leave you with my take on Tolle’s analogy that we are each like beams of sunshine that think we are isolated and have to fight for our very existence. If we could only let the false self die, with that death, we would realise we are all part of the sun, the divine source. Our unconscious (mind) becomes conscious (beyond the mind).

Image: Gallio

The Alcoholic Life Game

Counselling, Weymouth, Alcoholic, Depression, Juniper

Dr Eric Berne (1910-1970) was a psychiatrist who developed a new theory in 1968 called Transactional Analysis and subsequently published a book called ‘Games People Play (the psychology of human relationships)’ which became a classic and world wide best seller. Games are classified into Life, Marital, Party, Sexual, Underworld, Consulting and Good.

Why do we play games?

In his book Berne explains that from birth we need physical intimacy for our well-being on all levels (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) and there are many examples of how damaging it can be if we do not receive ‘good enough’ intimacy from our primary care giver/s. When we grow older, we find the infant intimacy chapter is over and some part of us still seeks out this kind of intimacy for our well-being. There becomes few opportunities for this kind of intimacy in daily life, and when they appear they are sometimes so intense they can be psychologically too hard to cope with, so instead we play games to get this need met (which Berne calls a ‘stroke’). Therefore the primary function of any psychological game, is the payoff (the stroke).  As we are all diverse, some of us need many strokes in one day, whilst others only require a limited amount a month – but we all need strokes. One of the worst punishments for us is solitary confinement, which again has been well documented as to the negative impact this has on our bodies.

So we need to play games for our health and well-being?

We could conclude, games become necessary for people’s health and well-being. As you may have gathered there are good and bad games. Good games such as ‘happy to help’, ‘the good sage’ and ‘busman’s holiday’ are considered ‘good’ when the contribution to society outweighs the motivations of the person. Particularly if the person has become aware of their game playing and accepted their own motivations. Bad games as the name suggests are usually destructive in some capacity.

So more of a case of stop playing ‘bad’ games?

Deprivation of games, even destructive ones, may lead to psychological damage and psychosis without adequate caution and preparation. Furthermore, this caution extends to other people involved in the same game. For example, the healing of one person in a game then leads to the deterioration of another invested in their game.  However, the benefits of living a human life with game-free intimacy however brings a greater pay off than being stuck in a game.

Can we discuss an example of a life game?

In the game of the Alcoholic, interestingly there is no such thing as an alcoholic, but there is a role called the Alcoholic. To remind you, the game is not exploring the biochemical aspect, but the psychological one and who is involved in the game.

This game only needs two players: The Alcoholic and The Rescuer/Persecutor. This game has a familiar feel if you have come across the well-documented ‘drama triangle’. Sadly not as well-documented is the ‘winners triangle’ as a way of stepping out of the drama into a healthier way of being.

The Alcoholic game can involve more players:

  • The Dummy: who is not a rescuer or persecutor, but provides resources and sympathy. This role is attractive to those who are lonely and have something to gain from being nice to the Alcoholic.
  • The Good Guy: similar to the above, but provides resources without being asked
  • The Connexion/Professional: who provides the alcohol, but being professional knows when to stop the supply (e.g. bar tender) unlike the above ‘amateurs’.

In the later stages of the Alcoholic game, the rescuer and persecutor are not needed as much as the supply due to the deterioration of the person.

The pay off for the Alcoholic is not so much in the drinking of drinks; although in certain societies, such as ours in the UK, a person able to drink large volumes of alcohol has an admirable quality, and the sub-game ‘how much did we drink‘ can have a number of strokes.

There is such a role of the ‘Dry Alcoholic’ so drink is not required; the main pay off for the Alcoholic is in the hangover – a hard round of ‘the morning after’ which is basically indulging in self punishment.

Talking in Ego States for a moment, the Alcoholic’s Adapted Child is abused by their Critical Parent. Self worth is low, the childhood belief is they deserve punishment, and it may be so familiar that they seek out strokes of punishment from others. The thesis, if analysing the game, would be ‘see how bad I have been, see if you can stop me‘.

Many ideas to help the Alcoholic were based on changing the role from Victim (Alcoholic) to Rescuer. Berne suggested the psychological cure of an alcoholic lies in stopping the game altogether. The former Alcoholic should then be able to drink socially without putting themselves in danger.  But this game is played hard and therefore difficult to stop but can happen with the right preparation and noone willing to play any of the other roles in the game.

Interestingly those playing this game in the ‘Rescuer’ position found Berne’s rational approach more alarming than the ‘Alcoholic’ did. There is a tendency of the Rescuer in this game to play ‘I’m only trying to help you’. Incidentally, the Persecutor plays ‘Look what you have done to my life’. 

Is game playing innate or do we learn games?

We are born autonomous and game free. Games are passed down from previous generations. Raising children becomes a matter of teaching children which games to play; being candid or honest is usually frowned upon in society. There are a lot of things frowned upon in society so the learning of games is essential to fitting in and being accepted in at least the first two decades of our lives. As you may expect different cultures and social classes have favoured games. We actually befriend those people who play similar games to us. Any group member who doesn’t know how to play or even attempts to change the game will be excluded.

So the children of alcoholics learn how to play that game?

Interestingly children, of alcoholics in particular, tend to use a characteristic of the Alcoholic game called ‘See if you can stop me‘, which manifests as lying, hiding things, seeking negative comments, looking for helpful people, seeking out allies and so on.

The self punishment aspect if the game generally comes into play when those children become older.

How do I step out of the destructive games I play?

Berne suggests three things are needed:

  • Awareness – being in the here and now (this is the Adult Ego State)
  • Spontaneity – the freedom to choose and express feelings (from Parent, Adult and Child Ego States)
  • Intimacy – candidness, liberation (basically our Free Child Ego State).

We all had to adapt to our parents/primary care givers so none of us grow up with a true ‘Free Child Ego State’, however as we are born autonomous and game free, we can choose to return to this state. The more we can engage in the here and now (Adult Ego State) and not allow the mind to take us into the past or the future, the more we are able to step out of the damaging/unhealthy Ego States of the Critical Parent (constant criticism which leads to depression) and Nurturing Parent (constant worrying which leads to anxiety). This allows space to express feelings from the Inner Child that are trapped in the body, things such as journalling, sounding, movement, body work and so on are helpful. As we begin to release blocked emotions/energy, we begin to re-write our negative self-beliefs, relinquish the need for self punishment and we can switch from Adapted Child Ego State to the Free and enjoy things like creativity, imagination, spontaneity and so on. Our Parent Ego States become healthier, instead of criticism there is self-development and instead of over worrying there is self-care. Inner work is hard work, but Berne believed everyone capable of autonomy.

Further Reading:

Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships – Eric Berne

The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle

TA Today: A New Introduction to Transactional Analysis – Ian Stewart and Vann Joines


Featured Image: George Becker

The Sidhe: Wisdom from the Celtic Otherworld

We believe this is what makes you fearful of the states you call past and future, and makes you reluctant to see the present with clear sight.  Invite both the past and future into the present, so that all would become a seamless web. ” – The Sidhe

The Sidhe : John Matthews : 9780936878058

A short book by archaeologist and scholar John Matthews who was invited to Ireland by a colleague to an excavation site and there he encountered a connection with The Sidhe who imparted their wisdom gained from a world or dimension that runs in parallel with our own. John writes the book in order of his encounters with The Sidhe over about a month, and explains the use of a glyph to help his connection to The Sidhe once leaving the site. Interestingly, the Sidhe mention that some of the crop circles are glyph’s from Gaia for us to connect with our planet in a similar way as John to The Sidhe; other circles they acknowledge are created by fellow humans who perhaps wish their own form of connection. At the end of the book John extracts the six exercises for us all to practice ‘awareness’ and ‘meditating’ to help us connect us to our own inner wisdom and that of the Great Web (or whatever you wish to call that wisdom that is bigger than you or I).

The Great Web that connects all life: it is vital that you learn how to make contact with that form that links us all. Be reconnected to everything, end that state of fragmentation that exists in you and that is everywhere in your world” – The Sidhe

Juniper Relaunch

Counselling, Dorchester, Weymouth, BACP, Equine Therapy, Horse Course

Photo: Janos Borbely

As some readers may recall, Juniper has been on hold as a business for quite some time. Originally starting in 2010 as an Animal Health and Well-being business and a couple of years later incorporating natural therapies for people. In 2014 I ceased trading due to my 14 year old niece, whom I was fostering single-handedly, becoming paralysed whilst at school. She recovered, almost fully, over the following year with the help of a brilliant chiropractor and our pony Jac. During her recovery year I began training as a counsellor and inspired by Jac’s healing ability also trained in Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy/Learning with LEAP.

Ironically, now recovered my niece ran away from home several times and social services ended the placement unexpectedly. I was faced with a decision to quit counselling training so I could work full time and sell Jac, or quit my flat by the following month. I took the latter option as I promised Jac a forever home and I was quite determined to become a counsellor. I was only able to stay in Dorset for 6 months, and then a friend thankfully offered a room and place for Jac in Glastonbury. Together we set about creating an Equine ReWilding business with her amazing herd of ponies and horses. I travelled back to Dorset weekly to continue counselling training, and wore down two old cars in the process of both this and travelling to voluntary placements to gain my 100 client hours. Through one of my placements I eventually gained my current job in primary care which being part time fitted around my diploma, the horses and gave me a small income. With it I attempted to live independently in a mobile home.

After one of the wettest winters, with the horses off the land for nearly 5 months my hands and shoulder began to deteriorate with the manual work and this it began to effect my ability to type and do other simple tasks in my paid work. Financially, physically and emotionally things became impossible and thus ended my chapter in Glastonbury. Sadly, this caused Jac and I to end up in different counties, he in Gloucestershire and me back in Dorset.

It was hard going not seeing my best friend daily and also being back in a place that had broken my heart. As Mick Jagger once indicated ‘you don’t always get what you want, but you often get what you need’. So I embraced this change and set about making the most of it. I completed my client hours, finally passing my two year diploma, sat a proficiency exam to become a Registered Counsellor and even got married. Whilst visiting Jac, I began to get creative about setting up Woodland Retreats at his new home and helped a friend (who now looks after Jac within her herd of native ponies) set up Equine EARTH.

With ongoing chiropractic, physiotherapy and sports massage, I got the use of my hands and shoulder back and with that my ability to get back into painting and creating websites for others now with very little pain. I recently redesigned my own website from a blog site back to a website ready to relaunch Juniper. Thank you to those who have supported me on this challenging journey; from those who gave me a home to those who simply sent good wishes; and a special shout out to the British Legion who helped me fund half of the diploma fees.

With no further ado, I would like to introduce my two new venues for Juniper:

If you are local and would like to book a counselling appointment please contact me and for more information on what to expect from counselling please click here.

I also offer online counselling for those who are not local or just prefer the comfort of your own home.

I look forward to meeting you soon.

Best wishes, Georgie

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD, Juniper, Counselling, Dorset

What is the cause of PTSD?

All humans are complex organisms who constantly strive to adapt to the demands placed on them by their physical & social environments. When threatened they react with fear & distress – a survival function. We learn from danger and once passed we ponder on characteristics of the threat (Yule, 1999).

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Zodiac Gateways

Counselling, Dorset, Weymouth, Yeovil, Zodiac

During the first Gateway of the Zodiac Wheel (April) I met the author of ‘Your Zodiac Soul‘ John Wadsworth in a cafe in Glastonbury. He randomly asked my friend if she would take a photograph of both him and his friend and they held up a book. I noticed the book title and I was intrigued so asked if one of them had written the book. John replied that he had; it was 14 years worth of his work and he had managed to capture it into his first book and was embarking on a UK book tour to promote it. Naturally, I bought a signed copy of the book as did my friend. I was not expecting such an experiential and fascinating book, a book that explains the wheel of life, from birth to death to rebirth, rather than the linear idea of birth to death.

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Free your Inner Child

Transactional Analysis, Counselling, Glastonbury, Inner Child, Meditation,

According to Eric Berne’s and his Transactional Analysis (TA) Theory we have 3 parts of us: Parent, Adult and Child Ego State and all have thoughts, feelings and behaviours to help identify which is at the forefront and in charge. We switch between ego states but often can find we are in a certain one most of the time. We may find it changes depending on who we are with.

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A Cup of Tea

Equine Therapy Counselling Light Love Inspire Juniper Counselling Therapies

In basic Transactional Analysis we have 3 ego states: Parent, Adult and Child, three different parts of us. I have noticed that some people find it difficult to get into their adult ego state, which is about being fully present in the moment, only interested in the here and now. A guided meditation or yoga class seems to hard to fit in a chaotic week. What came to mind was a Buddhist ceremony around a cup of tea that I had read in my 20s.

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