Simon Cole: "In the UK a long-time senior-accredited practitioner of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, I have worked in counselling and therapy for over 30 years. I trained at Newcastle University and the College of Ripon & York St John (Leeds University), being awarded a Masters in Counselling with distinction. I also studied transactional analysis, and relationship counselling in depth with Joseph Zinker.
"As well as working with the Samaritans, I have worked professionally as a psychological therapist, in drug and alcohol intervention services, primary and secondary care in the NHS, as a course director for a counsellor training programme and have maintained a regular private caseload of counselling and supervision.
"I have practised meditation for many years and I have a personal and professional interest in the integration of mindfulness and meditation with the sense of presence in relationship expounded by Martin Buber... the possibility of these providing a channel for the spirituality which is available to us all.
"Coming to France, we wanted to create a place for therapeutic rest and change, grounded in the insights of Carl Rogers and echoing the philosophy of RD Laing. I believe that we have achieved that here."
A selection of Simon's writings arehere
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Janet Cole: “I was a teacher since the advent of comprehensive education and it was - still is - something I believe passionately in. My maxim was from one of my first tutors – “don’t stand there talking about something when the student can be doing it!” It stood me in good stead for 35 years. One important thing I learnt early on is that we all learn by teaching. My philosophy has always been to say 'yes' and accept any challenge or opportunity offered. I started teaching physics and ended up as Head of ICT and responsible for the schools Learning Resources Centre, which was appropriate because I have always loved reading and books.
"Here I enjoy working in the garden - it will never be tidy but it is a wonderful haven for our guests as well as the bees, butterflies, birds, squirrels and bats. Since we have been here I have been developing my herb garden – a must for a lot of the dishes I cook, all based on locally sourced products.
"It’s good to be able to provide the right kind of surroundings for guests to feel at home in and I enjoy cooking for people: our meals times are an important part of the day, a time to relax and share our different experiences.”Click to returnAbout the atmosphere of the centre someone said: “First of all, it was an extraordinary experience… the room was very relaxing and comfortable, there was so much space everywhere and the garden is idyllic.”, and another: “Thank you for the wonderful hospitality… the food (so much and so tasty!), your warmth, the space to do what’s needed, your counsel and acceptance…”
You can look at some of Janet's recipes by clicking here
Of the process it has been said: “It was for me a truly transformative time, in body and soul. I loved the novels and the poetry, the insights of the therapy, the wonderful food and the silence of the forest.”, and “… thank you for long walks and talks and helping me to find balance and a sense of calm.”
Reflecting after her return home, one guest said: “I am so glad I found you… I am happier than I have been for years”, another: “after returning home… people could not believe how relaxed I was after just a short time away.” And another: "Thank you both so much for creating such a warm & caring environment throughout my stay & for the professional & thoughtful support. Not to mention the absolutely wonderful food ..........! All were appreciated more than I can express."Click to return"Stillness in Mind : a companion to mindfulness, meditation and living" (published by Changemakers Books, 2014) : this is the classic 'how to' mindfulness and meditation book, but from the angle of a therapist. Simon offers a framework for understanding what happens in meditation in a way that opens up a path for personal growth.
"Pathways : a philosophic reflection on human relationship" (published 2018) : relating is what makes us human - we do not live alone on the planet. This work offers insights into a spectrum of human relating from the mythological to the 'mundane modern', bringing in the philosophical with 'I-Thou' and with Ubuntu and with the sense of geese! and revealing us humans as we are in our solitude and in our loving.
"Along the Way : themed meditations for day to day living" (published 2017) : a pocketbook of meditation narratives for the discomforts, disillusions and distractions of being alive today - a simple aid for the maintenance of a meditaiton practise.Books website is hereClick to return