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Tim Jennings

Founder of Atlow Mill Centre for Emotional Education | Systemic Family Therapist | Educator | Researcher

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...enabled me to love and accept myself 

Natalie

What Tim has taught me through the course tools  have enabled me to love and accept myself so much more and to believe in myself, as well as a lot more empathy and compassion towards both myself and others.

Hi I’m Tim, I’m 72 years of age and was born in Aberavon, Port Talbot in South Wales and although I can’t speak Welsh, I see myself as Welsh.

In 1968 I went to University College Cardiff to study psychology. I thought it might help me understand why my family fell apart in 1962 due to my mother‘s mental health problems and the death of my father. It didn’t.

Psychology then was focused on behaviourism and we studied rat behaviour. I surreptitiously read texts on Humanistic and Existentialist psychology. I decided to become an educational psychologist and did my obligatory teaching spells in primary and secondary education.

While teaching in a comprehensive school in Newcastle upon Tyne I became involved with working with young people labelled “hard to reach”. These pupils didn’t fit into the school system and, as I thought I didn’t fit into most groups - often being on the periphery - I felt a kind of kindred sympathy with these young people. This led me to work with “disaffected pupils” in a wide variety of situations including alternative education or free schools, special schools dealing with behavioural and learning difficulties including spending three years lecturing in a young offenders institution. 

As part of my search to understand myself and these unhappy young people I read anything I could get my hands on to help me enable them to make the most of their lives. This not only gave me insights into all kinds of theoretical approaches, but it lead me to do unusual courses like the est training, designed by Werner Erhard, in 1980.  In 1982 I met Jean Bond at an education conference for innovations in social education and found that we were very aligned in many areas of working with young people and in personal development, marrying in 1983. The est training powerfully inspired Jean and she began teaching her own personal development courses in 1984, first in the West Midlands and then all over England.  In 1994 we moved to Derbyshire and set up the Atlow Mill Centre for Emotional Education.  This closed in 2018.

Whilst as deputy head of a residential special school run as a therapeutic community, I became involved in what we called family therapy. I began my training to become a family therapist in 1994 and I spent the rest of my working life as a family therapist and Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) in Burton on Trent. 

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