Life as a spiritual journey

Welcome to my website and to this relatively simple way of keeping in touch with one another and of making new contacts.

I’ve set this up as a space to explore some ideas mostly linked to contemplation and psychotherapy. The connections between spirituality and psychotherapy have been an ongoing interest for most of my adult life, sometimes one or the other taking precedence, but mostly it’s been about the interaction and connections between the two. Whilst of course there are contextual differences both contemplation and certainly analytical psychotherapy particularly the Jungian approach aim to gradually dismantle the false self parts of ourselves that obscure what the analytical psychologist Carl Jung, the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott and the Trappist monk Thomas Merton all called the true self – admittedly with a slight variation of meaning…

I  have retired as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and now see a few people for spiritual direction. I am an author, and on the publications page you can find details of  the books I have published. The most recent are Taking Heart, and Sex, Power, Control: Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church both 2021. A new book I am currently completing is on soul recovery from childhood trauma – called Night Sea Journeying is to be published by Wipf and Stock, in the US.

I’ve meditated for many years following different spiritual practices, and for the last twenty or so years have been inspired by the writings of the Trappist monk Thomas Merton on contemplation and am a member of The Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain https://www.thomasmertonsociety.org.uk/and Ireland  https://www.thomasmertonsociety.org.uk/ and the International Thomas Merton Society  http://merton.org/ITMS/.

I now identify as a Christian taking communion regularly and attending Christchurch in Bath, a liberal and inclusive Anglican church, but also follow meditation practices often using Ram Dass teachings. I try to listen to a Lectio 365 evening prayer, and to an Ignatian morning reflection and read the Office when possible using a Benedictine short breviary – and not to get obsessive about it all either! I find some sort of a rule of life essential in 2024 …

Still finding daily yoga practices with Schuyler Grant through the Commune website https://www.onecommune.com/ invaluable and the exciting yoga practices set up by Eoin Finn and his blissology/ecokarma websites – for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-AFATvAo2k


Upcoming publication:

Night Sea Journeying, Soul recovery from a traumatic childhood

Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock  due out 2025

Recent publications

‘The emotional literacy of Thomas Merton’ in The Merton Seasonal Summer 2023

‘Lessons from Hawk’s Diner‘ published in The Merton Journal 2022 vol 29

‘Missing in Action – the relationship between Thomas and John Paul Merton’ in The Merton Journal 2023 vol 30

I’ve written a book chapter on Martin Israel (survivor of child abuse), and one on bullying. Both editors have gone very quiet though and no info on when these will, if ever, be published – it happens …

I occasionally contribute to surviving church http://survivingchurch.org/ 

I have a paper on the House of Survivors website: https://houseofsurvivors.org/

Religions Journal on line open access special issue on Advances in the Dialogue between Religions and Psychoanalysis published 22nd September 2022.

Title: Institutional betrayal, psychoanalytic insights on the Anglican Church’s response to abuse  access at: https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/13/10/892

Recent books

Sex, Power, Control:

Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church

By Fiona Gardner

A powerful and revealing account of how the Church of England failed to come to terms with the child abuse scandal within its own ranks.

Published 2021 by The Lutterworth press

See review: http://survivingchurch.org/2021/04/08/linda-woodhead-reviews-sex-power-control-responding-to-abuse-in-the-institutional-church/

 January 2021

Taking Heart
Experiences of spiritual searching, self-acceptance and journeying to the heart of faith

The meaning and mystery of life is ultimately found in personal relationship, sometimes with another and, for those who search, sometimes with God. In Taking Heart the experiences of four people who are spiritually searching and looking for a direct experience of God are explored, and their different journeys through self-doubt to self-acceptance and to the heart of faith are discussed. These four people are neither especially religious nor spiritual, and nor are they famous. They are ordinary people on an extraordinary search for meaning. As with all journeys there is discovery but also an uncovering and a recovering. All heart journeys are an exodus that takes us out of captivity and are also the passion story which is at the heart of the mystery of faith, a journey through the very worst and towards the very best. And, throughout the spiritual journey, God is shaping and forming our inner life in the unknown depths of our heart.

Paperback | ISBN: 978-1-78904-543-7 | $14.95  |  £8.99 | 8.5×5.5 inches | 216×140 mm | 152PP e-book | ISBN: 978-1-78904-544-4 | $7.99  |  £4.99


I’m currently interested in trauma-informed theology for book research and attending a course in March 2024 run by Sarum College https://www.sarum.ac.uk/short-courses/