Dr Gary Wood

Please note this was written on 19th August 2019, but I have only just had time to upload it onto here.

I was not expecting to write anything this week, I am on my holibobs and as such thought my mind would be occupied by seagulls stealing chips and avoiding tetanus from old rusting bits of iron.

However, a dream last night set me on a train of thought that has led me to here.

It was not a complex dream or a dream of great subconscious meaning, I dreamt about Dr Gary Wood, my psychology tutor at the University of Birmingham. It was a dream I am sure he would be very happy about, he started out as a well-respected and well thought of person and then in a Marvelesque twist he suddenly became an arch super villain intent on world domination. If you have met Dr Gary Wood, you will know that he would be pleased with this turn of events. He is a truly larger than life character and thinking about that dream and remembering him and what he taught me all those years ago has made me re-appreciate just how important and positive an influence he has been on me and still is to this day.

Dr Gary Wood made psychology fun, interesting and he encouraged us to think for ourselves, looking for our own way of understanding and interpreting the subject matter presented to us. He was the first person I can remember telling me that (largely) there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers and as long as any theory can be backed up be research or journal or book, then we are allowed to reach our own conclusions.

This is something I hold at the heart of myself now and it influences me whenever I am running a workshop, teaching theory, supervising someone or working with a client. We need to find our own truths and ways of being and ought not ever be ‘told’ what we should think or be influenced or directed to think or act a certain way based on other people’s agendas or beliefs.

What we can do is help people understand the available information and allow them to use their own experiences and values to interpret and integrate those theories into something useful and positive for them use in their personal or professional lives.

That is what should happen anyway. I think there are too few Dr Gary Woods out there now. A lot of counselling courses are run for profit not for the betterment of clinical practice and research and as such offer very narrow and restrictive theoretical, ethical and relational viewpoints on client work. Most supervisees I work with that are still in training are terrified of making a mistake or doing anything that the client might complain about to their governing body. Problem with this is we learn best from making mistakes sometimes and it is guaranteed that mistakes will be made along the way.

Dr Gary Wood understood this I think, but not enough people who profess to be experienced and wise in the ways of psychology and psychotherapy seem to be comfortable with being human with themselves or their clients.

I have put a link for Dr Gary Wood’s website below. It is well worth a look for anyone with even just a passing interest in psychology or people.


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