Richard is an integrative therapist and supervisor in private practice. He completed his Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling at Crawley College in 2001, a certificate course in Person-Centred Art Therapy the next year, and in 2015 a Diploma in Supervision in Colchester, where he now lives. He has been working on his first book for nearly as long as he can remember!

"Presents of Mind" is a collection of his shaped poetry and related artwork. The poems, which Richard calls metaphforms, are reflections on psychotherapy and the creative energy and healing power of the mind, expressed in a tapestry of metaphors and forms. The thirteen interrelated pieces form a connecting whole, distilled and written from the heart about brokenness and wholeness, the mind’s creative urges, its capacity for healing, and the role of the therapist. This book explores personal and universal themes underlying the therapeutic journey. The reader is invited to dive in to the intertwined verbal and visual world of the book – and themselves – to engage with their own experience and process.

It is written for anyone who finds life a challenge, for clients and students of therapy, for counsellors, psychotherapists, and others concerned with mental health. It may also appeal on a spiritual and philosophical level, and to anyone who enjoys shaped poetry. There is an unexpected richness and multi-layered symbolism in the shapes, echoing the depths often encountered when using art in therapy.

The pieces in the book are woven from the spools of life's inner challenges and the mind's creative capacity to deal with them. Streams run through it, covering a wide variety of topics, to be discovered and explored. Themes include: light and dark, fragmentation and integration; annihilation, resurgence, transformation, healing and wholeness; facing, concealment and discovery; identity, authenticity and becoming; creativity and energy, cycles and rhythm, cellular and universal existence.

The book offers a compassionate and dignified view of distress and brokenness, while pointing to the beauty and immense healing resource of the mind. The poetry reminds us that woundedness is not to be looked down on, that therapy is as much an art as a science, and that its essence can be as unlimited in variety and expression as the mind itself.

The heart of this book is the personal and universal yearning to grow in wholeness, fullness, vibrancy and freedom.

Richard discusses the poetry, its shapes, and themes in more depth on his website: http://stephensonclarkebooks.com/

Signed copies can be obtained from Richard directly, at the standard price; not-yet-qualified students can claim free postage. RLSCBooks@btinternet.com

Quotes from the back cover:

".. very beautiful and a moving evocation of therapy / soul work." Professor Joy Schaverien, Jungian Psychoanalyst, Author of 'Boarding School Syndrome: The Psychological Trauma of the Privileged Child'

"...an extraordinary accomplishment. ...full of emotion, pain, and hope." Pauline Andrew MA Couns/Psych, Director, Deep Release, Managing Director, Barnabas Counselling Training.

Customer review:

"Presents of Mind" is a book whose beauty of presentation is not an elegant design extra, but is fundamental to the interaction between reader and poet. The images that are made of the words, and the words flowing out of the images speak together to both mind and senses, with a force that neither could alone. I was almost frightened by the intensity of my reactions to this book.

"Presents of Mind" takes you on a deep journey; this is not light reading. But if you are prepared to open yourself to the dangers of self-awareness, then it is a very rewarding book. As well as a beautiful one. Rosemary Smith

Synopsis of Contents:

A preliminary note introduces ‘metaphforms’ – an original writing style with text rich in metaphor, expressed in unique visual forms, embodying an organic relationship between text and image. Their verbal and spatial languages each speak for themselves, bearing witness in each different piece to the uniqueness and originality of every soul, as well as archetypal aspects of the subject matter. These are interspersed with further derived artwork, amplifying the subject symbolically and creating space for reflection.

The book begins with a panoramic perspective of some of the diverse nature of therapeutic landscape, purpose and endeavour. It demonstrates the metaphform style with sub-images and themes to be found and pondered within the main image, all related to the text.

There follows a vertical journey on the roller-coaster of personal disintegration and annihilation, the inspiration of psychic energy, resurgence, restoration of vitality, and the attainment of freedom and wholeness.

The central pieces explore more aspects of therapy: space for richer being and dialogue with the moment, the ongoing violations of woundedness, an unforced pace of therapy, the work of the unseen hand of the client’s embodied healing process in tandem with the therapist; the knack of the mind to store in the secret places of the unconscious, inner synthesis, and the returning to consciousness of gifts of unconscious wisdom and wonder – presents of mind. Two other pieces depict the essential role of a growing love for self, and the power of child-like reverie, intuition and ‘not-knowing’.

The final piece is on the passionate discovery and empowering realisation of personal value and identity, and the joyful union of differentiated, but previously banished or split, intrapsychic parts, and points ultimately to greater connection with others.. and further mystery. The artwork of the closing pages allows space for an ending process - and so, the book as a whole offers the reader a journey akin to an experience of therapy.

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