What’s this all about?

My name is Stephen Brooks and I try and help people be more human. I think that deep down, we all want to be loved, inspired and motivated to do wonderful things. They call me a therapist, but I don’t help people to make money, to be leaders or to be better than others. I motivate them to love more.

I hope that by sharing my journal with you, I can challenge, motivate and inspire you to be even more loving than you are.


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Mastering the Art of Avoidance

Sometimes we just have to sit and do nothing. Time has a way of slowing us down, it makes us drag our feet as if a heavy weight has been tied onto our list of responsibilities. Just thinking about it tires me out. Too many thoughts about too many to do’s and not enough time to really enjoy, and I mean relish and devour, this brief life of ours.

Sometimes I sit and think of pretty girls, for no other reason than to fill the space in my head with something delightful to distract. But alas, it rarely lasts more than a minute or so, guilt kicks in to remind me of my weakness for doing nothing in particular, and the piles of digital paperwork that have collected like old enemies on my computer claw at me until I can’t stand it any longer and so jump up and cross another item off my list.

I wish I had a man servant, and a maid who could understand English. And maybe someone to cook, although I do love cooking, that is, until guilt kicks in again – ‘come on get back to work, no time to worry about how you might die, you’ve more important things to do, like making money.’

I don’t enjoy spending money, but it’s nice to have it for the odd book or two. Not that I have much time to read either, I’m kind of saving them all, all of these books, for a time when I won’t have to think about making money, and can just be, ideally in a comfy chair near a window, with the curtains partly drawn, so the empty gardens outside are visible when I want them to be, but for the rest of the time I can feel safe in the cozyness of my inner rooms.

Life requires effort. Maybe that’s why people commit suicide – disappointed that life doesn’t just happen by itself. I remember being aware of that naïve illusion when a child, and then the awakening when realising that one day I would have to do things like work. My dad worked in an insecticide factory for part of his life as I was growing up. He smelt of yellow when he came home each day. It eventually killed him, that yellow. My childhood hairdresser told me so, when as an adult, I bumped into him shortly after my dad died. Fison’s Pest Control Ltd – a serial killer, but they had great Christmas parties for kids – ten green bottles hanging on the wall. So the idea of work was not attractive to me, is it to anyone? I spent most of my life trying to avoid it and I was good at avoidance. You might say I mastered the art.

The jobs I did for others were always painfully draining. I couldn’t see any real benefit in any of them. So I would somehow re-position myself into new roles that appeared on the surface to be more beneficial to my employers. They loved me for it, but in truth, I just wanted to get away from the limitations of a 9 to 5.

How shop assistants can just stand there all day I’ll never know. I tried it as a furniture salesman for a while and soon re-positioned myself as interior designer for the room settings instead. That way I could move around the shop and no one ever quite knew where I was. No one else seemed to mind though, they all had retail addiction. Chained to their tills, that’s how it used to be.

So I have this strange respect for shop assistants in the John Lewis Partnership who spend their entire lives working for the company. John Lewis dangle this carrot of a one year sabbatical with full pay mid-way through their shop assistants working lives – ‘only another 20 years to go and you’ll get a whole year’s holiday.’ I think I would rather be dead than to have to look back on a life in retail and try and convince myself that it had all been worthwhile.

I’ll say one thing though, if it hadn’t been for retail, I wouldn’t have met Anne-Marie, the busty blond 16 year old Swedish kennel maid who took my virginity, married a multi-millionaire and bought a house owned by ABBA. And I wouldn’t have met Jayne, my first wife, mother of two of my children. She fought off my advances for a whole year before finally feeling sorry for me and agreeing to marry. And I wouldn’t have sung traditional English folk songs every Wednesday evening with two policemen, one of whom tipped me off about a strip club they were going to close down because it allowed customers on stage to join in the fun. Luckily I got to visit a week before they closed it down. I returned back home from Soho on the train in a state of shock. I’d never seen lesbian sex before. I felt like every passenger could read my mind and knew exactly where I’d been.

So thank you John Lewis, you opened my eyes in many ways. That time when the manager of menswear set up a projector in the stock room and we all watched 8mm movies of people having sex with animals will stay with me forever.


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A few years ago I taught a hypnotherapy course in Annecy in France. I thought it was one of the most beautiful places in the world, the medieval town and the beautiful mountains and lake were awe inspiring. I would love to run a course there again – maybe an Ericksonian Masterclass.  If enough people show interest I will do it!

Annecy – Drone in Motion from Yannick Cerrutti on Vimeo.

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I’m in Madrid and it’s two o’clock in the morning. The restaurant has closed but there’s something happening in the back room. We sit on stools and boxes – anything we can get our hands on to sit and experience a performance of genuine gypsy flamenco music.

Only those in the know are here, and it’s a real privilege to have been allowed in. Supermodel Naomi Campbell is sitting across the room, and with the exception of a few Japanese students, everyone else here are Andalusian gypsies.

I am not prepared for this highly charged emotional experience, and when it starts it knocks me back. By midway I am overwhelmed. Tears flow (as usual), as I’m taken on an emotional journey deep into the heart of gypsy culture.

Members of the audience spontaneously get up to dance and sing – taking over the small area of floor where this incredible performance is taking place. The energy is pushed harder and harder until it climaxes in the most powerful outpouring of emotion I’ve ever seen in a musical performance. You get carried away by it, there is no escape and it stays with you forever.

Music is about feelings, it’s about pain and joy, suffering, love and a million other emotions. For me there’s no greater artist capable of expressing this wide range of emotions on the flamenco guitar than the inspirational Diego de Morón, second only to the late master Diego del Gastor. He’s now an old man but I understand that he’s still performing.

This video can’t possibly show the intensity of the night that I spent in that back room in Madrid, but it can show the feelings of one man – Diego de Morón in concert, expressing the heart and soul of real flamenco music.

Shut out the world and let him enter your soul – you won’t regret it.



  1. She speaks perfect English after a glass of wine, the rest of the time I have no idea what she’s saying.
  2. She has a laugh that can disrupt theatrical performances. So I only take her to comedies.
  3. She meditates every morning, which means that I have to do the washing up from the night before.
  4. She chants Buddhist sutras in ancient Pali every evening, our daughter thinks that all mums do it.
  5. For her, life is an adventure – she aims high and rarely misses.
  6. She’s 26 years younger than me.
  7. She’s a member of an important Royal family but rarely tells anyone – except when we want a good table in restaurants.
  8. Our daughter adores her and thinks she’s the silliest person in the world.
  9. She’s constantly talking on the phone to people I only read about in newspapers.
  10. She hates soft beds and prefers to sleep on the floor.
  11. She changes subject half way through sentences but doesn’t tell you she’s done it so you end up hearing some really weird stories.
  12. She’s just graduated with an MBA and is now working on her PhD.
  13. She loves to hola hoop in the garden in her underwear.
  14. She would sacrifice everything for our family.
  15. She once rescued me from a building by edging her way along a 30 cm ledge four stories up.
  16. She does fundraising for charities that I would never think of supporting, but then I end up being their main sponsor.
  17. She sees spirits, interprets dreams and reads tarot cards.
  18. She cooks amazing French food without knowing what it’s meant to taste like.
  19. She’s addicted to Papaya salad and regularly sends me out to buy some, regardless of whether its day or night.
  20. She looks stunning in silk and gets stared at in restaurants.
  21. She’s quiet and extremely polite in company and seems to effortlessly float in and out of rooms.
  22. She made the front cover of Monaco Lifestyle magazine two years ago with a three page article. So I keep a copy in the loo to impress visitors.
  23. She can float out of her body and visit places and doesn’t think it’s unusual.
  24. She has family all over the world who come to stay, so we’re always entertaining people I don’t know.
  25. She hates injustice and never listens to the news, so shuts me down if I talk about anything bad that’s happening.
  26. She’s just been elected ambassador for her university, so gets to visit other countries on their behalf for free.
  27. Her great grandfather owned an airline.
  28. She’s committed to ordaining as a female Buddhist monk in ten years’ time for the rest of her life.
  29. She doesn’t want to be reincarnated as she thinks that one life is enough.
  30. She’s left her body to science.
  31. She says she was a lion in a previous life.
  32. She often walks around the house naked.
  33. Most of my male friends are hoping I might die soon so they can marry her.

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During the second world war my Dad played drums with an RAF dance band. They played music by Glen Miller, Benny Goodman etc and broadcast on the radio. So throughout my childhood in the 1950’s my Dad would play along to any music on TV by using the arms of his old arm chair as pretend drums.

Throughout the 1950’s we listened to him play along with the Everly Brothers, Elvis, and Chuck Berry. Then in the 1960’s we had to listen to him play along with the Beatles, then Cream and even Jimi Hendrix.

By the 1970’s we had to replace his old arm chair with a new one, so my Mum insisted that he progress to cushions. These were cheaper to replace and were quieter – something the wife of any drummer will appreciate.

So it was natural that he would buy me a junior set of drums for my ninth birthday and that he would encourage me to join a rock group when I was fourteen. The other members of the group were much older as they were undergraduates at Cambridge University.

My dad would drive me to student parties in his Mini with my drums in a wooden trailer at the back that he had built especially for the job. When Pink Floyd came on the scene he built a light show out of lights salvaged from a department store and at each gig he would sit at the side of the stage with a light switch in each hand and flash them on and off in time with the music.

By now I had progressed to a double bass drum kit and played like Keith Moon of The Who –  I was a real show off and I loved it. I formed a Jimi Hendrix tribute band with Vic Ramsey, the only black man in Cambridge, who luckily happened to play a white Fender Stratocaster, the same as Hendrix. My Dad took us to rehearsals every week at a church hall and to gigs in and around Cambridge.

Eventually I became a professional rock musician and my Dad stayed at home with his cushions. But he was very proud of me and the minor success I achieved in the music business. By the time I became a therapist he had accepted that I needed to have a proper job and make a regular income.

They say “once a musician – always a musician” as it’s in your blood, regardless of your career path. My Dad never lost his love of playing drums and he instilled it in me and it is something I will always be grateful for.

I’m building a house in the mountains next year, miles from anywhere, and for the first time in over 50 years, I will buy myself a drum kit and start playing drums again. I honestly can’t wait – and it will be my own personal therapy.




It was 1991 when I first arrived in Thailand. I decided almost immediately that I wanted to live there, because everyone smiled at me.

If I asked for directions, people wouldn’t just give me directions, they’d take my hand and walk me there. I remember walking down a village street and people coming out of their homes to look at me. They invited me in to eat, and we sat on the floor and talked in sign language.

I never left empty handed. The poorest people were the most generous. The monks always wanted to practice their English, the shaman would set up elaborate ceremonies for me while villagers moved the furniture outside so there would be room for everyone.

Every morning, after alms round, the senior monk would walk into the temple yard and stand perfectly still in meditation while 20 dogs came and sat in a perfect circle around him. Slowly he would take a small morsel of food from his bowl and offer it to each dog in turn clockwise around the circle. He would wait until each dog had eaten before offering food to the next dog. Each dog would wait patiently for it’s turn. I watched this in amazement every morning. He never said anything to the dogs – no commands, nothing. They just knew what to do. And it all happened in silence for 30 minutes each morning.

It became so common to see elephants pass by the window that I stopped looking up from my reading. Food was from the jungle – wild vegetables, herbs, fish and rice with a pungent sauce made from crushed beetles that had been caught the night before.

The women of the village would take their daughters into the jungle each morning to gather the food while a young monk struck the temple bell calling locals to the temple. The husbands would still be sleeping in hammocks – sleeping off their hangovers. They made their own whisky which would drive you crazy after a while. A few years later I took my 14 year old son to a local bar and left him there for the evening. When I returned I found him dancing on the tables with a bunch of village girls.

I borrowed a car and drove it into a ditch. Within minutes, 20 men appeared and lifted the car back onto the road. I felt very foolish but I felt loved – they laughed and joked the whole time and we all got drunk on whisky afterwards. I didn’t get home until the following day.

I met a man with no legs. He passed me by on his hands. He was dirty and smelt very bad and was blind in one eye. I stopped him and gave him about $15.00. He looked at me in disbelief and lifted his arms towards me. I bent down and we hugged each other, but he wouldn’t let me go. When he did, he was crying, and so was I.