Without a core practice, students of philosophy and self-understanding have no center from which to work. The result is vacillation, scattered attention, and a lack of progress. The core practice developed by Martin Butler is SOUnd – Sense, Observe, and Understand. There is nothing unusual here, and the practice follows the well-tried and tested approach of observation to gain data so that understanding can be developed. The three stages of this practice are:

  1. Sense the state of the body and emotions.
  2. Observe the sensations and associated thoughts without judgment or intervention.
  3. Understand why various emotions, bodily states, and thoughts have arisen.

Understanding is a much under-rated thing. As we understand our emotions and thought patterns so we gain some power over them. The end result is an ability to live consciously and navigate life for greatest pleasure.

It all sounds simple, and indeed the power of this approach is its simplicity. However, it certainly is not easy and a practitioner will need support from someone who has traveled the same road and understands the difficulties and traps that lay in wait. Trying to do this work on one’s own makes it unnecessarily difficult and potentially counterproductive. To this end, we can offer one-on-one support for suitable candidates. This needs an agreement between the practitioner and the supporting counselor. The counselor has to be convinced that the student is sincere and serious, and of course, the student has to feel that the counselor can be of help. Students are expected to make a financial contribution after an initial introductory session.

A counselor is available to work with students over Skype. She is very experienced and well qualified.


Working with Deborah this year has been a life changer for me. Her help in developing my understanding of myself and the world is truly invaluable. Doing this work is hard, but rewarding! A more authentic and peaceful me is emerging, thank you for your guidance in that journey Deborah.

H Sweden

I feel I need to tell you that you have been magnificent in guiding me through all of this. I really couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for your patience and steady hand.

A Ireland

Deborah’s work centres on ‘transformation’ using understanding and observation of the body. My sessions with Deborah have been life changing as, through the work, I have learned how to be the best I can be (my true self). I have found ‘power’ within myself, which has helped me to grow in confidence and the rest has fallen into place as a result. I am happier than I have been in decades and I couldn’t have done it without Deborah’s help and tuition.

C United Kingdom

Debbie Butler

Debbie is a member of the British Psychological Society and holds a BSc (Hons) Psych and a BSc in Social Sciences, she is also qualified as an adult educator. Debbie has been involved in personal development for over 30 years during which time she has actively been involved with the Gurdjieff work and other related disciplines. She has tutored graduate students in various skills including personal effectiveness and has a background in helping individual development.

Debbie’s knowledge of the Stoic philosophers and their methods, combined with her training in psychology, means that she is able to offer very high levels of insight and support for students.

If you are interested in practical work please email us at


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There are no happy endings. If you can accept this you are one step nearer to an unbearable freedom.

The rantings of atheists and scientists are often more revoltingly sickly sweet than those of religious types. All they’ve done is replace God with nature, and they try so hard to convince themselves and us how beautiful and glorious the world is; when in truth it’s a nightmare.

My aversion to effort becomes an almost writhing horror before all forms of violent effort. War, energetic and productive labour, helping others – all this strikes me as the product of an impertinence ….. Pessoa

There is something very unsatisfying associated with buying into temporarily happy states, a kind of dumb stupidity permissible in dogs and monkeys, but not human beings.

It’s such a mistake to try and lift ourselves out of misery. Misery is our ground state and we should savor it. Attempts to do away with misery will only result in temporary happiness, an unstable state that requires constant effort to maintain.

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