Holistic Centre for Body, Mind & Spirit

A Change for the Better


Most relationships go through, to use that well-worn phrase, ‘ups and downs’ - we can all relate to that. One day you are crazy in love and the next you can’t stand the sight of each other. To some degree, life’s like that but there may come a point where you think there are more downs than ups and seek to change.

Sonia Manning of Sutton Coldfield based Anam Cara Holistic Centre is a relationship counsellor – one of the many strings to her bow. She has trained in many forms of therapy and runs a successful centre for individuals, couples and groups. She draws on both her spiritual training and professional training which combines both Eastern philosophy and Western psychology to form her own unique and integrated approach.

People approach Sonia with all manner of personal dilemmas and most often, these are about or stem from a problem in their relationships with others. “When I am working to help a relationship find its way, there are 3 distinct parts involved – each person involved and the relationship itself” explained Sonia. “It is impossible to work on the relationship in isolation, we have to work with the individuals that make up the relationship and its unique dynamics.”

Sonia is quick to point out that there is no right and wrong when dealing with conflicts or dilemmas within a relationship, it’s all a question of understanding and negotiating the problems and then managing them. “So often in this country we’re not brought up to know how to deal with the subtleties and intricacies of relationship, we just feel our way through blindly most of the time” Sonia commented. “It would be ideal to start off at nursery age with children learning and practising the Buddhist principles of what is called Right Relationship, which teaches ‘right speech, right thought, right action’ which basically means we should be conscious of our actions and their impact on ourselves and others, and learn to take mature responsibility for them.”

Sonia begins her therapy by understanding the people she is with. The work is ‘person-led’ and not prescriptive in any way with the sessions unfolding naturally as they progress. Sonia is deeply intuitive and easy to talk to so it is easy to see how her clients open up and talk frankly with her. For those who find it harder to talk about emotions and themselves, Sonia is able to use her well established skills to help people feel at ease and she will ask questions that make it a comfortable experience all round.

The setting at Anam Cara is deeply relaxing with the private rooms of a converted house being beautifully but simply decorated and the feeling of calm and privacy is very much in evidence.

Sonia puts forward her strong belief that your key relationship is with yourself. It is important that we don’t project shortcomings or failings on to other people and instead should look to resolve the conflicts within ourselves whilst working to make our relationships with others better. To explain this further, we should become, in Sonia’s words, ‘a healthy kind of selfish’, making sure we know ourselves and understand what makes us tick. We should go one step further and really get to the bottom of any troubles or personality traits we aren’t happy with. The best way to do this, and probably the only truly successful way, isn’t with self-help – it is with a therapist who is trained to take you on this very personal journey. How often do you think: ‘if he/she wasn’t like that, everything would be much better for me’? Sonia’s take is that it is in your hands to make the changes that will make things better, moaning about someone else’s shortcomings won’t change a thing.

The Anam Cara 6-step approach follows a series of methodical paths to 1) identify the problem, 2) accept the reality of it, 3) dis-identify or change the behaviour, 4) renegotiate the behaviour, 5) use your new knowledge properly and 6) make it a life-long process (A way of being). Apart from these steps, the time it takes and the way the sessions go are as individual as each client. Some clients can and need to go through the process in profound depth, taking longer than others who need more simple, pragmatic support. It is all a question of personalities and the complexity of the challenges being faced.

Therapy at Anam Cara also can only take place if the time is right. By this, Sonia must assess the health and well-being of the client to make sure they are strong enough to go ahead.

The effects of change are long-lasting and can be very powerful. Some people feel liberated, empowered and able to take on new challenges. Others simply feel strong enough to do what they need to do in order to have a better and more satisfying life. That may include the break up of a relationship but should that be the case, at least the reasons for the break-up are known, understood and able to be managed in a more responsible and accepting way.

Anam Cara gives its clients the tools and support system they need to manage change. Change literally can mean adjustment, transformation, an about-face, refinement or revision. These words all reflect the varying degrees of change – a transformation takes much more energy and effort than a revision but both may be just as powerful to the person making them.

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If you're reading this, you've already taken an important step. You already know that you have questions that need answering, a curiosity to satisfy, difficulties to confront, maybe even a crisis to deal with.

With over 20 years' experience as a psychotherapist, executive business coach and counsellor, Sonia Manning leads a team of holistic therapists who can help you to overcome your difficulties and turn a crisis point into a turning point.