Personal Counselling

Melvyn first trained as a Rogerian counsellor with the Victorian Foundation on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, then later as a Rational-Emotive Therapist with Dr Albert Ellis from the Instute for Rational-Emotive Therapy, and later still as a sex addiction counsellor at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine (Minneapolis) with Dr Patrick Carnes.

As a recovered alcoholic and addict he is also experienced with the material and programs used by different self-help fellowships, and is able to help his clients make the best use of these groups should they decide to join. His experience suggests that most clients need more than just a counselling session once a week. So he is a great believer in homework, which can include specific exercises, certain books and dvd’s; and possibly checking out an appropriate self-help group. However, he understands that clients have individual commitments and capabilities, and that everybody can only work at their own pace, and this needs to be respected. But he may push them beyond their comfort zone.

After returning from the United States at the end of 1990 he lengthened the time for each counselling session, which now allows for a natural finish, with both current and past matters being given the necessary time. Melvyn works from home with his two cats as co-therapists. Should the client prefer to just go with cat therapy, a minimal fee is charged (usually involving cat food).

Addiction Counselling

There is no common agreement on what the word “addiction” means, but the simplest explanation is probably the one that says addiction is when we continue to repeat behaviour which has bad consequences for ourselves and others, and we are unable to stop that behaviour even though we want to. More information can be found on this link -

Melvyn has been helping addicts to overcome their addictive behaviour since 1976, and from his initial work with alcoholics and drug addicts, has gone on to deal with codependency, gambling, sex addiction, relationship addiction, food addiction, and other compulsive behaviours. There are many explanations of what addictive behaviour is, but Melvyn see's it as a way of coping with life that may have worked in the past, but no longer does, or the unwanted consequences far outweigh the benefits. Furthermore, the addict often needs help in stopping, and staying stopped.

Although many aspects of recovery from addiction are similar no matter what the particular addiction, the differences also need to be addressed for recovery to be successful. Each type of compulsive behaviour has its’s own peculiarities, and each individual brings their own personality to their acting out.

Couples & Relationship Counselling

Whenever possible, Melvyn has found it best to see a couple separately before seeing them together. This allows each person to talk freely, without being inhibited by the presence of the other. When the couple are ready for a joint session, each person must be confident that Melvyn understands their position, and will be seeking to promote a workable outcome for both.

Emotional baggage often gets in the way of relationships, and sometimes there is baggage on both sides; sometimes only on one. Providing there is still goodwill between the couple, then boundaries can agreed upon that will give both parties time to work on what is necessary. Triggers are identified, and ways of dealing with these triggers are learned. All this implies a willingness to minimise conflict whilst individual personal problems which may be sabotaging the relationship are worked on.

Melvyn also teaches the basics of the Harville Hendrix techniques so that a couple can communicate and understand each other better.

See more at

Parenting Counselling

Some of us parent in the same way as our parents did, whilst others strive to do the opposite, and still others try a middle way. But when challenging behaviour presents itself in our children, parents of all persuasions can have trouble dealing with this. Melvyn has spent many years counselling the parents of difficult children, as well as drug using children. He helps parents to get beyond their own emotional reactions, so they can deal with the problem in a more useful way, often using boundaries and consequences. It is not unusual for a parent to have to deal with their own anger, adult child and codependency issues before real changes can be made.

But in the meantime, although it is not always possible to change a child’s actions, steps can be taken to minimise the effect of this on the rest of the family, which often results in better family relationships all round. It is important for parents to have a similar parenting philosophy, so they can support each other, and respond as a couple. This is not always the case, but the changed attitude of even one parent can make a big difference for the better. Single parents do not have this problem, but support for them from family and friends becomes even more important.

Intervention Counselling

It used to be that caring friends and family had to hope that some life event would cause enough pain for the person who was in denial to seek help. Then, in the 1970's, the Johnson Institute in Minneapolis started to develop the techniques of Family Intervention. The concept was to allow the person in denial to feel enough emotional pain for them to see, and accept, the reality of their behaviour. Or at least get them to comply with the purpose of the intervention, which is to initiate some kind of appropriate treatment.

Once you decide that someone you love, or care for, is damaging themselves and others with the results of their addictive behaviour, then intervention becomes an option. Interventions work best with a group of 3 to 5 people who are close to the person in denial, or respected by him or her. Melvyn will then work with these people and train them to do the most effective intervention possible. This will usually take 2 or 3 meetings, together with homework. A dry run involving all the Intervention Team with Melvyn playing the part of the subject will help to highlight possible problems, and give the team confidence in doing the intervention.

The Intervention Team then meets up with the person in denial, and the process unfolds. The intervention can often produce a definite change in the person, so that they are willing to get help. Or it may produce compliance in getting help, which then may later produce genuine change. Or it may not seem to work at all. No matter which way it appears to be going each member of the team outlines the steps they will take to stop their own enabling of the addictive behaviour, and how they will protect themselves in future from that behaviour.

Stopping the enabling behaviour can often break through the denial without a formal intervention being necessary. And bear in mind that not just the addict can have denial; the spouse, the children, the parents, the boss, the work-mates and friends - can all experience denial about some else's dysfunctional behaviour.

For more on enabling see

Prevention Counselling

Violence and sexual abuse do not come from nowhere. When a person starts to think about being violent with someone, or sexually abusing them, they still have the opportunity to avoid acting on those thoughts. But they usually need help in dealing with the beliefs and emotions that have led to the abusive thinking. Preventive counselling is designed to help those who have abusive thoughts and desires, but do not want to carry them out.

Any person who sincerely wishes to avoid hurting those they love, or others, can do so providing they are absolutely willing to do whatever is necessary to avoid acting on those thoughts and desires. This is likely to include counselling and therapy, as well as other appropriate measures that might be necessary.

Links to help in understanding denial -

Denial (Wikipedia)
Vernon Johnson (Wikipedia)
Francesca, Baby
Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4
Family Addiction Intervention
Intervention Resource Centre
There Is No Such Thing As A Dragon (start at 3:37)
and for the last part go to-

and for links to help chose a therapist, how to rate them, and when to say goodbye -

How To Find The Right Therapist
When To Say Goodbye To Your Therapist
Psychotherapy (Wikipedia)