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


You do not stumble across the SOUnd practice accidentally. That you’re here at all tells half the story. Undertaking it is the second half, and one that has no end. SOUnd isn’t a belief system, nor is it a philosophical school; it is the concerted application of attention upon the terrors and treasures inherent in the undertakings of our daily life.

Ryan, Durham UK

Outside guidance and group work has been imperative on my own journey, and I’m immensely grateful to have joined SOUnd Philosophy. Dawn’s one-on-one support has been so helpful! She has a wealth of knowledge and is a powerful communicator. Over a relatively short period, I’ve seen definite growth in my understanding and gained a flexible framework for the practical application of these ideas in my life. Invaluable! Thank you Dawn and SOUnd!

Nellie, Washington USA

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


If you get value from this content please consider supporting the effort.

Subscribe To The Blog


The only satisfaction you will ever know comes from the realization that you will never be satisfied.

The naivety of science rests solely in its belief of a world that exists independently of perception.

If you can go all the way down to the bottom of the pile of shit called life you may experience a sort of pleasure from your own inner honesty and courage.

Illness and death await us all, and unless that prospect is considered to be okay, then things are never going to be okay.

Load More...