All the testimonials I have included below are from clients who have recently worked with me. I have not given the names of the individuals concerned as I am ethically bound to maintain client confidentiality. The wording below is not edited by me as I wanted to accurately represent the comments made by my clients.
We sought help from Howard Widdicombe ("HW") earlier in the year because we were very concerned about our elder son aged 12. He was very unhappy with himself and had a lot of worries, especially about germs; he was concerned that if he touched certain things or smelled them it could be harmful. He was also experiencing difficulty in getting to sleep at night as his worries disturbed him. He was also tending to wash his hands excessively to the point of causing soreness. Another problem was that he felt overburdened with school work and felt that he did not have enough time left for himself. He had always been a high achiever at school and liked to get good results in everything.
In our first session with Howard, we discussed how to proceed. We decided that we were keen to include our son in the sessions so he attended the following series of sessions with us. These proved to be very useful. Howard made us aware that our thoughts were merely abstract and therefore cannot hurt us. A series of exercises demonstrated that in our relationship to our son we had not been giving him enough space to work in the way he wanted, when we suggested that it was time to stop working we had been interrupting him unnecessarily. We learnt to trust him to work in the way, and for the length of time, that he wanted, not to impose our own ideas. One helpful suggestion was to ask him simply whether he had time to talk to us, giving him the option to say "no" or "not now", rather than just butting in !! . Our son learned how to stop himself working when he wanted to, which gave him more control over his evenings and weekends.
Howard also taught us practical exercises such as focusing on an object for several minutes to clear the mind of worries about the future. Another exercise demonstrated that our posture can determine out moods, rather than vice versa - which surprised us!
Our son has now stopped reciting (or reading) a list of his worries every evening. He seems more relaxed about life and his school work is going well. We have all benefited from our sessions with Howard
I felt that I should write and thank you for all the support and help you have given me over the past few years.
When I first came to see you I was in despair and I never imagined that I would have the peace of mind I have today, which has mostly been due to your care, patience, and understanding and I find that I am looking forward to the future with joy in my heart.
Thanks for your support and hug. I couldn't say so at the time but it made all the difference. What you are able to do for me, and I'm sure others, is marvellous. Thank you for all you have done with me this year. Thank you for your care.
Hi Howard It's Tues pm and just some thoughts following today's (lovely) session. Want to express them in words - my favourite way of course. We'll discuss next time perhaps, along with everything else! My! We could talk both hind legs off a donkey.....
Today I said that because you had said I was beautiful, I felt beautiful.
Actually what happened was that you saw the part of me that is beautiful. You saw that clearly, entirely, without clouding it with your own ideas of what I should be, or anything that you wanted me to be. You saw past everything that was getting in the way. You reflected what you saw back at me. I saw the beautiful part of me through your eyes and I could see that indeed I was. It was a revelation. Because of what you saw, I could see it too.
I am aware that these new emotions and ways of being have rather a life of their own just now. I understand that the work is to contain and draw on them as necessary. But for now I feel that I want to embrace this new sense of myself and let it run me for the time being. So that it becomes deeply a part of me. It's the opposite of what I have been all the while so I'm letting it take over for now.....
THANK YOU for enabling me to see all this and to finally get a sense of myself and my worth. There are a few tears just now because I can't believe you have done this for me and that you care for someone else so much to do this. It is the most anyone could ever do for another person. Thank you for being who you are, and doing what you do.
Will go now and sleep like the baby I once was, a long, long time ago!!
As you would say 'go well' and please accept all my good thoughts towards you! See you next time
Apologies for not updating you a few months after our sessions together finished. The time has just disappeared so it is now 18 months since we saw you.
We found the first few months quite difficult. The injuries E sustained in the car crash have still not been resolved and this causes problems as she was diagnosed with depression last September. A couple of months earlier P had found anti-depressants that worked for him, and both of these things have made it easier for us.
We rarely have disagreements any more. Since the autumn we have been more able to use the techniques you gave us to listen better to each other and to try to avoid arguments. We have found that we have both developed some skills in terms of recognizing when communication is going awry, and addressing the issue at hand in a constructive way.
Also knowing about how different our personalities are has made it easier for us to understand the other person and be more accepting of our different approaches to things. We think that the most important think we have learned from you is that there is no such thing as compromise - someone always loses out, and so now, rather than attempt to compromise, we agree on who should win out in a given situation which actually proves easier to manage.
We have both found that the work we did together has helped us at work too - in that we now recognize some of the difficulties outlined by Myers-Briggs in our colleagues and it has helped with difficult colleagues or situations. We have also found that having stayed in the same house too and not had the upheaval of moving again has helped greatly.
Lastly, and the best news, is that we have discovered that (unexpectedly) E is pregnant, and we are both delighted. We are very positive and looking forward to our future together.
Thank you for helping to get us on the right track and understand each other better.
Howard. Thanks for session this evening. So much made sense. I just hope that I can always remember to use it.
I just wanted to write to thank you so much for giving up your time on Monday to speak to the reporter from Eagle Radio.
I certainly left on Monday feeling supported by you and I hope you don't mind but I have passed on some of your comments to staff members and they were delighted.
I have been listening to the broadcast when I can and it looks as though they are raising quite a lot of money through auctions for respite care in Surrey
I have been working with Howard for just under 18 months. Whilst that seems a long time written down, life has moved quickly for me and it seems it has flashed by.
I became an agoraphobic with panic disorder overnight after having a breakdown 2 Christmas's ago. I didn't go out at all, found eating, showering and being awake all exceptionally difficult. I reached out at that point to find professional help and found Howard. It was difficult to leave the house to visit Howard but between us we came up with ways to get together for sessions.
When I first met Howard, casually dressed guy, professional background, pink jumper, I was inspired by his enthusiasm. I now know what he must have thought about me on that day, Howard is a great reader of body language and must have seen the scared little girl within her icy bubble waiting to bust out of the seams. I really enjoyed the way I could say anything to him, I really 'dumped' everything on him in that first session.
Now, initially I thought he was a bit weird! He had some strange ideas, new and exciting but strange all the same. I thought he may have given me the big answer in that first session and all would be cured but no, it was me that that had to re-learn who and what I was. I learnt that I was putting myself under pressure, mentally and physically. I did not understand and had no experience of 'normal' activity.
I don't wish to frighten anyone reading this but I needed to recognise that my personal situation would not be cured in a flash as most other things in life are decided, it was not quick or analytical.
Howard has helped me to understand that I have grown up in a certain way, been striving for an unrealistic excellence that has made me very ill. He has shown me ways to remain calm, in control, happy, relaxed and how to accept love.
I am now able to lead a very satisfying life, full of smiles and experiences. These experiences were always there before but I never had the time to see or appreciate them. I now enjoy life, get out and about with ease and have found my old confidence returning.
I still continue to see Howard as I think that there is more for me to learn. We delve into situations as they happen. This week, how to contain my overwhelming feelings when horse riding and what impact my dying Nan has on me. As you see from the order of these things, I didn't get on too well with my Nan. This information can be used in my everyday life in various ways.
I won't rattle on, just to say from my initial impressions of Howard and from working with him for a while, I have come to learn that he holds compassion for people in all situations, has the patience of a saint, energy to be genuinely interested in you and strives to help us all find that place of peace, satisfaction and happiness.
Things are a lot more stable for me since integrating all your therapy in my life. I have come a long way. I'm healing
A is an awful lot happier at school now. His reading age when he turned 7 was that of a 9 year old and there is nothing better than when he reads me a story. His sums are going really well as is his drawing and art and he has his own circle of mates for play dates and sleep overs. When I look at him I am always reminded of your wise words and support those years ago when my wife and I came to see you when his teacher was being a pain. That was a tough time for us and I will never forget your help then. Thank you again.
Howard has shown me techniques to enable me to think about how I can interact with people and respond to situations in the way I would like to, both in my work, social life and at home. I feel I have more knowledge about myself, confidence and inner strength after the sessions I had with Howard.
Howard is a truly kind and empathetic counsellor with that necessary edge of challenge that helps you to really work through your problems. I had become skilled at avoiding the acceptance of my problems but Howard saw through that and gently kept me on track. Trusting and working with him has given me renewed strength and a better approach to life.
I would recommend Howard to anyone seeking help and counselling. It won’t be “tea and sympathy”…..you’ll have to work hard (and do homework!)…but it will be worth it. Howard will work hard with you in return, giving you support and guidance. He genuinely changed my life. I couldn't have asked for a better counsellor and I won't hesitate to approach him again if life gets a bit out of whack!
Although we had only just barely got started, just speaking to you and gaining a small insight into how we are wired up and the small things you showed me plus with me stopping myself going off on a thought process for which there was no valid reason have helped me tremendously. I know there is a lot more you can do with me and I am by no means fixed but for me, I do feel I am heading in the right direction. I would like to thank you Howard as I did get a lot out of our meetings.
I realised when I set out with you that elimination of anxiety was not possible (or even desirable) but instead was hoping for a re-normalisation. In the last few weeks I have experienced something approaching this. I think this is due to a number of things:
This last one is a fantastic mood enhancer. I appreciate this may be masking some of my self-induced symptoms but it makes me feel 'fit for purpose', physically and mentally. It is also helping with busy brain syndrome and my sleep patterns generally.
When I first approached you, I spoke of my feelings of confusion that you explained as overload - this has definitely attenuated and I feel a sort of mental clarity returning that I have not felt for a number of months. The other really important thing for me is I am laughing, really laughing - at life in general but perhaps more importantly, at myself.
Whilst these collision of lifestyle changes are helping me greatly I want to thank you for all your time, help and dedication. Your help and methods gave me a way back towards normality. I have continued using the relaxed but stable form (what I call it) when experiencing an acute escalation of anxiety and find it is still a powerful diffuser. Fortunately though I think I am using it less, at a conscious level anyway, so maybe I am finding some natural adjustment or new equilibrium.
Thank you very much Howard
All the best
I’ve thought about how to progress our sessions and having realised I’ve been coming for a year now I think it's time to see how I balance my own emotions etc for a while, whilst still knowing I can call and arrange an appointment (subject to your schedule of course).
I most certainly wouldn’t have been able to make this brave move without all your support over the last year, so thank you so much for all your support.
Thanks for all the guidance and wisdom you impart
I am deeply touched by you, your tenacity and love. I cannot begin to express how inspiring your letter is to me - the fortitude and love expressed has moved me very deeply. May you continue to find the strength to be a presence' in the world and a model to others.
Thank you for the articles you gave me. I look forward to reading them this evening with a curious mind! I want to thank you for the sessions so far as they have been very helpful. On Monday I was able to write an article from start to finish AND enjoyed it! I look forward to meeting you next week very much.
I really want to thank you so much for your help and support these past few months. I can’t quite believe how quickly I have been able to make the changes I was looking for. It has been wonderful to get to know you and to work with you. You are an inspiration! Working with form has been a fascination and dynamic experience for me. Thank you.
I first came to see Howard as a mandatory requirement for the counselling course I was undertaking. I wasn’t sure what to expect and found it quite a challenge to be able to express how I felt rather than to communicate in terms of how I was thinking. I felt that the way I had lived my life so far had served me well. Over time Howard has helped me to become much more self-aware and to look at life as a process rather than judging my input as either right or wrong. I have been able to make changes in the way I handle my relationships and my reaction to others. As a result my relationship with my mother has improved as has those closest to me. Through difficult times I have begun to understand how to minimise my feelings of being overwhelmed. Being more self-aware and instinctive has given me the choices I didn’t previously recognise I had. I feel that this experience will be an integral part of my life going forward as I encounter the normal vicissitudes of life. Through all my therapy it was the warmth, understanding and honesty that Howard engendered in his sessions that gave me the confidence to open up and make the changes I wanted to.
The first visit I made to see Howard, I was feeling slightly apprehensive, but from the moment he opened his front door, I felt I had come ‘home’. Unlike other therapists he offered me a cup of tea, which I accepted and enjoyed and so started the beginning of my short but very effective therapeutic journey.
I am a practising independent psychologist and have also written a couple of books, but my patterns of taking on too much varied work and not giving myself the space to develop my practice in a more focused way was overwhelming me. I ‘knew’ the theories and understood what I was doing but nevertheless was still carrying on with the same old patterns!
Howard then took me on an experiential journey as he worked with my ‘form’. In other words he helped me in a very practical way, during the sessions, to experience how my body was directly influencing my emotional and mental life. Howard would stop me mid-sentence and invite me to ‘notice’ my body posture, how I was breathing, how my internal organs felt, the stretch or tension of my muscles. He would then take me through a series of stages where I would imagine certain scenarios and then hold my body as I imagined the scene. I then noticed beyond the structure of my body how my emotions and my thoughts rapidly changed! As I changed my body structure I actually felt myself feeling giggly or light hearted inside, or deeply distressed inside. I noticed how my mind became muddled or I suddenly felt mentally creative. It was very powerful stuff.
In between sessions I began to consciously be aware of my body and to actively ‘change its shape’ to get into my preferred mode of being. As I did this more often, so my ability to stop and ‘take stock’ instead of charging ahead and saying ‘yes’ to everyone has improved.
As each session went by I found that I was beginning to feel much ‘lighter’, my back and neck tension vanished and my sleep has improved. However, most importantly I have begun to make some life changing decisions about my professional work. Not only am I taking better care of myself and creating better a balance between my work and my family life, but I have seen a clear direction for this next phase of my life
I feel energised and happy and thank you Howard for taking me on this exciting journey with such sensitivity, gentleness and kindness. I have felt that I could be completely open with you and it has been a revelation to discover ‘how’ to actively integrate my mind, emotions and body.
When I first came to visit Howard I was at a point of despair. I felt that I was tumbling through life, that I had lost control and my behaviours and actions were a cause of concern to myself and my partner.
From the start I felt able to tell Howard everything which in itself was a huge release. As our sessions progressed Howard showed me that emotions and feelings are governed by the shapes and forms we make in our body. Through a series of exercises I found that I had developed a rigid and tense structure to my body (stomach clenched, throat tight, back rigid). In this position my thoughts were unfocused, I had cut off any connection I had with myself and lost the power to feel in control and to be in command of my decisions.
Gradually I discovered that by making some space in these structures and reorganising my form I could experience myself as a different person - someone confident and in control. Over time I was able to use this new way of experiencing myself to deal with and overcome situations that would have proved difficult for me in the past. I am now able to organise myself in a way that makes me better equipped to deal with life in general. I am connected to myself and to my surroundings rather than detached and as a result I am a happier, stronger person.
Thanks to the techniques Howard taught me I am able to appreciate myself, to make my own choices and to have the power and energy to enjoy life. Thanks to Howard I am a different person and life is no longer a chore.
Hello Howard. I'd like to thank you for the help you gave me in the 3 sessions we have had so far. They have certainly helped me get through the past week or so with a certain amount of dignity. I shall be contacting a rather younger female psychotherapist in Frankfurt for some sessions starting in the middle of next month. Doubtless she will give me a hard time, which might be no bad thing. As I said, I may get back in touch for some work together in July. All the best.
Formative work. This has helped to ‘ground’ me, gain better control over my responses to situations, both in terms of ‘holding’ the feelings that accompany it and in being more creative in my response. It has also given me a structure which supports my development of congruence as a core condition in Person Centred Counselling.
In terms of the somatic types, I have been made aware of my 'ectomorphic' tendencies, which have huge implications on my day-to-day interactions. I understand better the difficulty I have in relaxing in large crowds, or the discomfort I feel if I’ve spent a long stretch of time with others, and no time alone. There is certainly a tension between my attachment with certain others, with all the issues of security this entails, and also my need to be alone. Sometimes an end to an interaction with someone can feel like a bigger ‘ending’ in itself. I think I can feel stimulated but anxious in interactions with other ectomorphs, and slower-paced, which can sometimes be frustrating (yet educational) but also more secure and more deeply happy and secure with endomorphic types.
I have been made acutely aware of the importance of physical engagement as a human being and listening to the whole body experience of a situation.
I’ve also been made aware of my tendency to break off contact with someone/thing when I feel the intensity of an experience is ‘too strong’. Being encouraged first to be aware of it, then to ‘ride out the storm’ as I feel it can be sometimes, means a potentially more satisfying interaction and an improvement in the relationship with others.
At the beginning of my work with you, I was in a relationship in which I was having great difficulty establishing any boundaries, and learnt to understand this fact and how difficult I find it to be in such a situation. Over time I have recognised and better understood the need for myself to work to develop these boundaries, and am often reminded of my tendency to lose them. I am working hard to recognise when I feel I need concentrate on myself rather than letting myself ‘merge into someone else’, which is ultimately what it felt like, and all the uncertainty and pain which went with it.
During our sessions, I have been actively encouraged to ‘be myself’ as fully as possible, without obvious judgement. I feel this has allowed certain aspects of my personality to come out, like an increased awareness of images (and the confidence to give them a voice) which come to mind when exploring situations, which act as a kind of visual explanation of an idea. In allowing myself to be cared for by you, I have learnt how to accept this from others, and have welcomed into my life a person who is nurturing, and for whom I feel a great deal of nurturing towards also.
I also feel I am learning to welcome a lot of different feelings into my life, whereas before I just had a tendency to fear some, and feel positive towards less ‘painful’ ones. Over the past year and a bit, I have allowed myself as far as possible to experience more feelings in their entirety, including a profound sadness and loss, and companionship with my great aunt when my great uncle passed away.
With regards my sister, I have gained a greater understanding of autistic Spectrum Disorder and Asperger Syndrome, and in turn my relationship with her has improved greatly. I feel I can better understand and support my sister, feel compassion and empathy towards her, which she has in turn responded very positively to.
Challenges: I notice in a professional capacity my lack of confidence and internal self-criticism, particularly around my ability to be creative. When I am set a creative task, I catch a knee-jerk response of self-doubt at best, and conviction of my inability to do it at worst. I think there is a fear of failure involved to a large extent. Whilst the tendency still remains (and is most acute when in a new and unfamiliar job), I have been able to challenge my negative convictions, with positive results following tasks set.
I still have difficult relationships with my parents. I do not feel I am able to be honest with them about all subjects I would like to, and in particular those to do with requesting recognition as an adult able to make my own decisions in some contexts.
I am also still working hard to develop my boundaries with others. I feel that whilst I have grown to appreciate and cherish the ‘grey’ rather than black and white of relationships, I still need to be aware of my tendency to seek relationships for their security and comfort at the expense of deeper feelings within myself, and develop the strength to listen to these feelings and act in a more balanced way.
I have been surprised at the feelings that have come up for me during and after our last session together. The relationship I felt which developed between us is one that I will always cherish, and I think I learnt and experienced an incredible amount during our time together. Whilst I do not know what the future will bring, I sincerely hope that I get the opportunity to work with you again in some form.
Thank you for all the energy and care that you invested into our relationship – it is an incredibly precious thing to be offered that by another human being, and it feels like it has allowed me to see the world through new eyes. I often find myself thinking about times during our sessions and feel the work we did together has had a huge impact on me. I feel a great deal of admiration for you in both a professional and personal capacity, and would relish the opportunity to work together again in the future, should the chance present itself.
Well we got here, Gatwick ok, quite smooth, plane ok but nearly crashed on landing and went back up again. Got down eventually, and I had to work hard to regulate my somatic form to cope. Skiing OK, you wouldn’t like it ..too much snow, too warm and too much good food!!! Many thanks. I couldn’t have done it without your help. Happy Easter.
Just to say a particular thank you for Wed. Suddenly a great deal has made sense and I am feeling much better. I just need to remember to keep the thoughts in my mind.
Thank you for all your invaluable support to me this year - it’s more helpful than you will ever know
Hi Howard. I've just finished my last unit of the year at Metanoia. I wanted to say thank you for being such an integral part of my life and development over the last 3 years. What you were saying about relationships and a sense of growth just a few moments ago seemed to click for me, I think there is nothing more valuable a person can do than help someone learn how to love. Thank you for bringing all of who you are to our therapy, it has helped me learn who I am.
I started counselling with Howard, 2 years ago and it has been incredibly helpful. Little I knew when I started therapy that I was about to start the most difficult period of my life. It was the lowest point of my life, I felt isolated, deceived, completely destroyed with a huge mountain of problems that were coming over me, so much that I wasn't sure how to deal with and how to even cope with all that was happening.
His sessions were a life saver for me. After each session I felt hope. I was able to start to find meaning and clarity to all the things and thoughts that were happening around me. It helped me to clarify my feelings, my mind and find a way to deal with the reality that was happening around me.
Howard uses Formative psychology in his therapy, which really helps me to understand how I communicate with myself and my surroundings by the posture and position that I took. Through focusing in my physical expression we discussed my feelings and the things that were happening to me. It was amazing to understand how my feelings and my reaction or way to deal with this situations match with a posture that I made in my body. The body was showing what I couldn't express with words. Perhaps it is not clear for you what I am trying to explain, and Howard will explain his methodology but I can tell you that it works for me.
I am extremely grateful to Howard. Having the therapy sessions with him were the best decision I could have taken and it was one of the main things that help me overcome the tragedy of the problems I was facing. I absolutely recommend him. Thanks to him I feel that I came through to the other side, I feel more confident and positive about my future.
I hope that all is well with you and the family, and continue to be grateful for all that you taught me which I use every day - and thank you for today
I want to thank you again for all what you did for me in the most difficult period of my life. I honestly can't think what would have become of me without your help. My world crashed and collapsed, I was a man in little pieces and your sessions amongst other things help me to find the strength to put the pieces back together. I will never stop thanking you for that. I am stronger and more confident now. I feel that I am just beginning to build my life again and I am working hard to make a happy life for my children and me. Thanks again and I will keep in touch by email at the least.
Yes (touch wood) all is going well. I feel as though life is calmer and back on an even keel. It has been a quite amazing year so far and I can’t thank you enough for all your help. I will also miss our conversations I have taken many of the lessons from our conversation into my life and I do feel that things are moving in the right direction on many accounts. This year has been so insightful on so many levels and I am only just starting the journey. Your comments on Formative Practice are so true too. Some of the work we did together was actually quite shocking re actually really working with yourself leading to a better outcome. So all in all I feel things are moving in the right direction! And I am excited about the future. Again, thank you. When I attended our first session it was a long way from the happiness and balance that I have found in my life. It has been an absolute pleasure working with you and I wish you well in your future ventures and it is a great comfort to know where you are should we need to work together again. Many thanks again and I know that I would not be where I am today without your help, thank you so much.
This year has been insightful on so many levels and I am only just starting the journey. Your comments on Formative practice are so true too. Some of the work we did together was actually quite shocking re actually really working with yourself leading to a better outcome. Three small points which I thought might be of interest to you. The individual we spoke about last time is no longer part of my life and I feel much happier without that negative influence in my life, I thought of meeting a fun sporty triathlete and whilst early days someone who ticks many of these boxes has come into my life. At the start of the year there were several places I wanted to visit that I had been to as a child. Beachy Head, The Isle of Wight, Barcelona etc. and have thought several times about these places. I have recently, without even planning, been to Hastings and whilst there was asked if I fancied a walk along Beachy Head and two other similar things have happened on the other locations. It’s funny how the Universe does listen and bring things to you if you know what you want in the first place. On another note (xxxx from the course) has a new job and started at the same firm as me tomorrow. She is very happy and about to start her new journey. So, all in all, I feel things are moving in the right direction! And I am excited about the future. Again, thank you. When I attended our first session it was a long way from the happiness and balance that I have found within my life. Thank you again for your wise and very accurate words. I feel very fortunate to have met and worked with you.
Thank you so much for all your help and I don’t think I would have made the change without your generous help and insight. I owe you a lot and am so much happier now.
Thank you very much for the wonderful help you have given us. We are immensely grateful for it
Hiya, I would like to say a big thank you for your help to help me put my life where I know I should be. Things have moved on in a big way with my Partner’s mum talking to me now. Me, my Partner, her son & my daughter are all going to Winter Wonderland together. My partner has asked not to talk about what’s happened between us as it’s not the right place to talk, which I agreed with. Very, very happy. Many thanks.
Howard. Thank you so much for giving me my life back
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your help and support over the last few weeks. I was the man who was unstoppable, unbreakable, and then it all came down and, much against my nature, I asked for help. I have been fascinated by your methods and that, coupled with your warm and friendly approach, has made this journey a complete pleasure. I have practised “making space” constantly and now feel myself doing it automatically on occasions. I am certainly in a better place than I was when we first met. I wish you all the best for the future, and I’m sorry I didn’t say thank you in person. Hope you have a wonderful holiday.