Gregory Starbuck

Counselling Service

Newry Court, Chester, CH2 2AZ

Welcome to my blog


I am currently working on some posts so please check back again soon for hopefully some interesting reading and points of contemplation

By Gregory Starbuck, Jul 23 2018 10:48AM

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Bene-Gesserit 'Litany against Fear' - Dune (1965), Frank Herbert.

I first became aware of 'DUNE' with the David Lynch film release in 1984. This was a sci-fi adventure unlike anything I had seen previously. This was far from Star Wars, or Star Trek.

Within the story of feudal control over a life prolonging and mind altering substance called 'Melange' resides a religous order entirely made up of women known as the Bene-Gesserit Sisterhood.

As part of their training and rite of passage from acolyte to Sister, they must master the art of Self-Control.

'The Litany against Fear' is perhaps one of the most notable elements of this training, and routed in psychology at a time when the book was written of burgeoning modern awareness of the self, and how to develop one's own sense of awareness

Mental Health is now becoming the ubiquitous subject of our time, individuals are looking for ways to manage and reduce their stress, and importantly their fear.

'The Litany against Fear' is rather a lot to say in a situation where one might be feeling anxious or panicky, so what exactly is it saying?

'I must not Fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obiteration' essentially this is saying there is no benefit in feeling scared, anxious, panicked or fearful of something, that to not face or confront the very thing that arouses these thoughts and responses in us is to destroy our own resilience and inner strength.

Therefore, 'I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.', which means I will reflect upon myself and the actions I have taken, I will learn what there is to learn about myself.

'Where it has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain', in other words, I will become stronger by the experience and the knowledge I have gained of myself.

Perhaps you can create your own litany or mantra for dealing with anxiety or fear, and become stronger too.

By Gregory Starbuck, May 3 2017 10:24AM


As a definition, minimal refers to something being in its most reduced form, the least, a token, nominal, small.

As an art movement beginning in the 1950’s minimalism was about simplicity, stripping away of embellishments, creating avant-garde objects in large form to emphasise the lack of adornment.

In interior design, we might think of modernist design as being minimalist, furniture that fuses utility and simplicity, into the essence of its form.

So, minimalism is not a new concept, but it is a concept which addresses the anxieties and stresses of our 21st century way of life.

Most of us carry our entire social sphere around in a tiny touchscreen device. We can look upon the world through these tiny windows, on average only a few inches across.

Anything is possible, at any time of the day.

No longer do we have the exciting anticipation, waiting for the delivery of new items of clothing or some other thing that is purchased from a mail order company, now it is virtually instantaneous.

I often hear in my therapy room about social anxiety. Clients worrying about, am I doing the right thing, saying the right thing, looking the right way?

These tiny windows of technology enable us to view a ‘perfect’ world full of people living seemingly amazing lives, and you can have this all too if you ‘look the right way, say the right thing, do the same as everyone else’.

I recently watched a documentary called ‘Minimalism’ about two men in America, who had climbed the corporate ladder, made some money, and had lots of ‘stuff’, but didn’t have happiness.

The documentary follows the journey of these two men from state to state, promoting their book ‘The Minimalists’, along the way interviews are conducted with others who have also taken the step to ‘edit’ the world they inhabit, and take it back to the essentials.

The point of the documentary isn’t just about living in a space with the bare minimum of belongings, although that is part of it, but it goes further to promote a greater global awareness of minimalization.

Consuming less from the environment, consuming fewer products, and maximising our relationships.

Driving the point home the documentary features footage of crowds of ‘shoppers’ on Black Friday. Scenes that are shocking in the extreme of people fighting over goods in stores, not because they ‘need’ it, but because they don’t want to miss out on a great deal.

So if you are feeling like you need to change the way you live, watch ‘Minimalism’, and be inspired.

Minimalism (image credit 'the minimalists'
Minimalism (image credit 'the minimalists'

By Gregory Starbuck, Mar 19 2017 08:09PM

How often have you been in a conversation where you feel that there is constant conflict?

I’m thinking that the answer could be ‘Often’.

Have you been aware of the role you play in these conversations?

I recently became aware of a concept known as ‘The Drama Triangle’. Created by Stephen Karpman in the late 1960’s, the drama triangle theorises that when in conflict we typically occupy one of three roles. Persecutor, Rescuer, or Victim.

Placed at the points of an inverted triangle, the upper two points of the triangle are occupied by the ‘Persecutor’ and the ‘Rescuer’, whilst the lower point is occupied by the ‘Victim’. (note the roles are placed in quotes, as individuals shift in their roles)

Typically our ‘Victim’ is not an actual victim, rather the individual feeling or behaving like the ‘Victim’. They display traits of being oppressed, powerless, helpless and vulnerable, unable to make decisions or solve their own problems...

‘It’s not my fault!’

The ‘Persecutor’ displays traits of being controlling, critical, blaming and authoritative...

‘You’ve only got yourself to blame!’

The ‘Rescuer’ displays traits of enabling, feeling bad about themselves if they don’t help, but their actions only serve to keep the ‘Victim’ in their place, dependent and reliant on the ‘Rescuer’...

‘Let me do that for you!’

It’s an all around ‘No win’ for anyone. (and we can all change our role depending on what's going on)

So how do you break the cycle?

It should be simple, and as straightforward as ‘STOP!’, but it takes time to undo all that ‘go to’ behaviour that becomes second nature.

That’s where counselling can help. With balanced understanding and support you can learn to stop being the ‘Victim’, the ‘Persecutor’ or even the ‘Rescuer’.

Arrange an appointment with me and we can start to explore how to take the drama out of life…

And no, I’m not going to do it for you.

By Gregory Starbuck, Jan 24 2017 10:19AM

Why Me??

Indeed, this is a very good question, Why me?

That question, in this setting, has two different contexts. The first being ‘Why me?’ asked by you the reader of this blog post, about you and your life circumstances. Perhaps this question could be expanded to ‘Why is it always me?’, or ‘Why does this happen to me?’

The second context of this question is from my perspective, in the expanded question ‘Why should you choose me? [to be your counsellor]’.

So, let’s look at the first version of the question.

As we go through life and experience the various events and interactions that occur, we might begin to ‘see’ a pattern in the outcomes of these things, these might appear to us as being predominantly negative outcomes.

These repeated ‘negative’ outcomes can become ingrained in our thinking, and start to form a fundamental way of thinking about ourselves, our core beliefs, ‘Why me?!?’

These beliefs might present themselves in a variety of ways, for you, it might be the belief that you are responsible for upsetting others. It could be that you always see the worst possible outcome as being a certainty, or it could be that you ‘already know’ what someone is thinking about you.

Okay, that’s quite stressful already!

Now, let’s look at the second context of the ‘Why me?’ question.

'Why me, as your Counsellor?'

As an Integrative Counsellor, I am skilled in using three different models of therapy, Psychodynamic, Person Centred, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

It’s perhaps not important to understand what these three different models of therapy are, but it is perhaps important to understand that they enable me to help my clients in a holistic way.

We are emotional, thinking beings that have relationships with others. A past, a present and importantly a future. For my part in your life, it is about helping to make that future a better one.

We might explore your past to understand its effect on your present, to understand how ‘why me?’ became such an important question, and has stopped you from living a more fulfilled life.

Through working closely, and openly together, we can look at the ‘evidence’ to see if it supports the way you are thinking.

But most of all, together, we can start to change ‘Why me?’ into ‘This is me!’

By Gregory Starbuck, Jan 20 2017 10:00AM

Put in very simple terms… I believe everyone is entitled to a better life.

I cannot make you richer financially, but I hope to help you become richer in other ways.

Helping you to have a better connection with those around you, by having a better understanding of the connections within yourself.

I have spent most of my working life dealing with people in a one-to-one setting, in retail and over the phone, to identify but two. Helping people to make decisions and choices that are right for them. I have often been told that I am easy to talk to, that I have a warm and welcoming demeanour. These qualities are key components to creating a good therapeutic relationship.

I have experienced many different situations in my lifetime so far, which has enabled me to develop a deep sense of empathy with my clients. I hope in our sessions together that this becomes apparent to you as a client, that I understand what I am hearing from you, and that I understand what it is to ‘be in your shoes’.

I was taught the principles as a child of listening to others, respecting diversity, and holding people in their individual esteem. To treat people as individuals regardless of age, race, gender, sexuality, or ability and valuing their uniqueness.

It is my hope that through counselling with me, you the client, can unravel the hidden or locked away aspects of your life. The things that have been the cause of your distress, and begin to make your future more fulfilled.

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Gregory Starbuck

Counselling Service