Blog Archive

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Interview on A Writer's Blog

I recently had the pleasure to spend the morning in the company of Janet Cummings who has started her own blog site called, A Writer's Blog.

She asked if she could interview me after reading a copy of my first collection of poetry, Heart on the Mountain. She hoped to explore my inspirations, my writing process, and gain a preview of my forthcoming collection of poetry, River As Blood.

Here's Janet's ever so slightly edited transcript of that interview.

Please do let Janet know what you think by leaving a comment.

Thank you Janet.

Friday, 28 October 2016


I have learnt and practiced the skills of mentorship over two decades in both my formal and freelance work roles. Mentorship shares many skills with good facilitation, coaching and practice education. The mentor will facilitate and guide the mentee to find their way forward to acheive their aspirations, meet their goals, and develop their practice.

Mentoring brings to mind a relationship between a senior colleague with a junior in the workplace who uses his or her greater knowledge and experience to support the development of that junior. In my career that form of mentoring would describe my role with established colleagues, new staff and students on placement.

Image by Alejandro Escamilla
Mentors who act in a developmental role, as I do now, must take care not to cross into training or tutoring, something that may happen on occasions within the workplace. Developmental mentoring helps the mentee develop new skills and abilities. The mentor acts as a resource for the mentee's growth. Mentoring also tends to take place over a longer duration than coaching arrangements.

The mentor will first build trust and openness with the mentee with affective communication skills based upon a set of values that demonstrate unconditional positive regard, curiosity, respect, rigour, honesty and reciprocity.

In essence you could say the mentor becomes a critical friend to the mentee. Through out the course of their work together the mentor will witness the mentee's success's and failures as they develop their skills and build their strengths. The mentor must relinquish the tendency to rescue the mentee as they will, at times, stumble forward and make mistakes.

The mentor, in this role, must respect the journey, or the process, of learning that the mentee will gain as they attempt to meet their goals. Ultimately, the mentee will take on the skills the mentor has offered. By doing so the mentee becomes a more capable and resilent character as a consequence. This part of the role often goes unstated as a aim or outcome by the mentor but it marks the difference between excellent mentoring practice versus the mediocre.

The mentor ought to abide by a credo that the needs and wishes of the mentee come first and forthmost in the relationship.

Mentors draw upon a range of models, skills and tools of questioning, listening, clarifying and reframing to meet the needs of the mentee. It can never become a prescriptive exercise. Each mentee brings the totality of themselves to the relationship. The skilled mentor must recognise the unique qualities of character they bring and work from that point.

Mentoring, like coaching, begins with an agreement about how the mentor and mentee will work together. Often with a simple contract with a focus on the stated aim and needs of the mentee. Together, they will agree dates and times when they will meet, decide the expected duration of the mentoring relationship, the length of time for each session, and agree other mediums of contact such as email, phone or video calls.

In the end, mentoring requires both the mentor and mentee to commit to the task that unites them, namely the developmental goals of the mentee.

All the best


Telephone or WhatsApp: +44 (0)7528 959091

Monday, 3 October 2016

AfterTrauma Blog - The Rocky Road to Recovery

Well I thought that I had written my last blog for AfterTrauma but not long after that piece I wrote an email to Nicole, who looks after the website, my thoughts on what I think presents the biggest challenge for survivors of significant trauma once they leave the acute hospital setting. She got back to me suggesting that it would make an excellent blog. So, you can find it here on AfterTrauma in association with Barts Centre for Trauma Sciences.

Please do get in touch to let me know your thoughts.

All the best


Telephone or WhatsApp: +44 (0)7528 959091

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

AfterTrauma Blog – Making Sense: Trauma and Identity

In this my final guest post for AfterTrauma I explore the challenges people who have experienced significant trauma must face. Surviving massive trauma confronts the individual with some fundamental and profound questions. Questions that can lead or force that individual to make big lifestyle changes. Some positive, others not so positive.

The Space Between by Philip Sheridan
The Space Between by Philip Sheridan

The transition home from acute hospital care to the long term chronic care within ones community can prove incredibly difficult. Many factors can act to support or disable the individual during this difficult period. One that can last months and drift into years.

For some people the crisis of trauma and its survival can present one with a renewed sense of opportunity and growth. For other people, the crisis of trauma can present challenges that prove beyond the individuals ability to cope. When this happens it can lead to a downward spiral of concomitant losses; loss of employment, loss of familial bonds, substance misuse, and serious mental illness.

Crossing the River Lethe by Philip Sheridan
Crossing the River Lethe by Philip Sheridan

I explore and suggest the arts and humanities as a way to give voice to survivors and health care professionals (both acute and long term healthcare settings) as a way of connecting with and making sense of this difficult period of change.

Please do get in touch to let me know your thoughts.

All the best


Get in touch:
Tel or WhatsApp: +44 (0)7528 959091


LinkedIn Profile

Monday, 18 July 2016

Poems for the PATHWAYS Project

In October 2015 Bright Sparks Theatre Arts Company in collaboration with the Patient | Carer Community (PCC) at Leeds Institute of Medical Education, the School of Medicine, University of Leeds, commissioned me to facilitate a series of poetry workshops for medical students exploring the lived experience of people and carers with dementia.

Hosted at Inkwell Arts, Leeds, a safe, creative and accessable space that challenges the stigma of mental health and celebrates the diversity of its participants. Over the course of three workshops in discussion with the students, carers and people with dementia I produced three poems based upon those conversations.

The Space Between by Philip Sheridan
Read by Cynthia Rover

The Space Between - Poem by Philip Sheridan from philip sheridan on Vimeo.

The resulting two films produced by Greg Brauns showcase the wonderful creative atmosphere of exploration that resulted from this innovative use of the arts and humanities in medical education.

Crossing the River Lethe by Philip Sheridan
Read by Ros Lewis

Crossing the River Lethe - Poem by Philip Sheridan from philip sheridan on Vimeo.

Find out more about all the patient and carer involvement work of the PCC at the Leeds Institute of Medical Education (LIME), School of Medicine, University of Leeds.

We'd love to see you.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

AfterTrauma Blog - How Do You Cope?

My latest guest blog for AfterTrauma called How Do You Cope?

Sometimes we need help crossing the threshold to a fresh horizon.
Image by Paul Earle
In this blog I introduce how natural green spaces can help us cope with the emotional impact of significant trauma.

Time spent in and with nature just feels right and good.
Image by Robert Servais

Do get in touch.

Thank you.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

AfterTrauma Blog - Helpful Conversations

You can find my latest guest blog on the AfterTrauma website called Helpful Conversations.

Source: Atul Gawande. Being Mortal.

I talk about just how important the right conversation with the right healthcare professional who asks the right questions can make all the difference to our quality of life after trauma.

1. Gawande A. Being mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End. Profile Books, London; 2014.

Get in touch and let me know what you think.