About Marcus Ferguson
Marcus brings to his work a rare combination of practical, results oriented thinking and deep psychological and spiritual understanding. He makes complex ideas seem simple, and makes the esoteric practical. His ability to impact people and change their lives is evident from the very first session you have with him.
Marcus is a counsellor and psychotherapist with over 20 years’ experience. He holds an Honours degree in psychology, as well as degrees in physics and exercise science. He holds diplomas in counselling and shamanic practice, multiple certifications in NLP and Hypnosis, and has trained in gestalt therapy, bioenergetics, and multiple approaches to counselling, including cognitive-behavioural therapy, solution-focused counselling and narrative therapy.
In addition to holding a degree in exercise science, Marcus has been a personal trainer and martial arts instructor. He holds black-belt level qualifications in two martial arts and has trained with masters of the Taoist and Tantric spiritual paths, to the level of teacher. Marcus has been trained and initiated as a shaman, with training in several cultural traditions and their modern derivations.
A Personal History
"Over my years of counselling and training, I have found that counselling and therapy methods seem to fall into three types: sympathetic, practical and deep.
Some counselling is based on listening with sympathy and caring. This makes people feel better in the short term, but after a few sessions people often feel that they are going around in circles.
Some counselling is based on problem solving - define an outcome, decide on the steps needed to achieve it, and go and do it! This is great for problems that can be defined in practical terms, but not all problems can be so clearly stated.
The third approach is the deep approach, tracing back to Freud's work. Looking deep into subconscious impulses and the influence of our childhood. This can often lead to insight into the origins of complex behaviours and feelings, and profound emotional healing. However, these insights don't always translate into observable results in day to day life..
My own journey for years has been to seek a working blend of these approaches - to combine compassion with deep understanding to bring about meaningful change in people’s lives. I don't believe I am doing my job unless you feel and see change from the beginning of our time together, and after every session.
This journey into the world of psychotherapy and personal development began in my twenties. While at university, studying science, I became aware of a lack of satisfaction in my own life. Looking back now I recognise the lack of passion and lack of connection, a lack of self-confidence that left my social life underdeveloped, and my life direction unclear. Back then I simply knew that something was missing.
To my surprise I developed a passion for martial arts while I was at university, which had the unexpected effect of getting me in touch with my body. This also led me to begin exploring the Asian spiritual traditions, particularly Taoism. I found a simple yet profound understanding in the Taoist writings that lead me back to seeing the value in spirituality. And fortunately, I had a teacher whose life helped me see how these ideas could be put into practice in a western lifestyle.
My martial arts teacher (and Taoist master) at the time suggested I take part in a personal development course that he had done previously. I followed his advice, which lead me to several such courses over time. These courses had a profound impact on me, and some profound changes occurred in my life. The courses were based around deep exploration of emotions, expression of what has been suppressed and learning to like yourself for who you are. The combination of martial arts, Taoism and expressive therapies unlocked parts of me that had been in deep freeze for years.
All this completely changed my life path. I graduated with a science degree, and then proceeded to become a personal trainer. I found a home in the fitness industry for 10 years, and during this time continued my self-exploration, while returning to studies in the form of a Master's degree in Exercise Science.
This combination of interests caused me to notice something interesting. I would often meet people involved in personal development who expressed an interest in weight loss or fitness, some of whom became clients. Almost invariably, they were the worst clients I had. The emotional awareness they were developing did not translate into action to change their lives. In fact, in some ways their lives became messier, as the freedom to follow one's emotions does not always lead in a healthy direction.
This led me to look in a different direction, to study the therapeutic approaches that were based around visible results - such things as NLP, life coaching and solution-focused therapy. These systems contained powerful tools for achieving goals and changing lives. Yet, the people I met in these circles were often successful but unhappy. I saw that these methods were changing the outside, but often leaving deep-seated issues untouched. All the success in the world won't make you happy if the deep work isn't done.
So, this was my dilemma. I had one set of tools for making deep change - emotional and spiritual tools. I had another set of tools for rapidly changing circumstances and achieving goals - cognitive and behavioural tools. Neither set of tools was quite complete, so I started to explore the possibility of marrying them together. In many ways, this has been my quest ever since. I undertook further studies, I explored different tools in my own life, and I learned by working with clients. I listened to my clients and learned from their experience what really worked and what didn't.
From these experiences, I evolved (and continue to evolve) my unique approach to therapy, which moves between different levels and approaches smoothly, bringing about deep change which translates into visible, measurable life change.
Combining this thinking with the goal-oriented thinking and personal discipline of the martial arts and fitness world led me to develop an approach to life coaching that gets results and leaves people happy and successful.
More recently, my studies have taken me in two new directions, directions which many would see as the opposites of each other. I am studying the most current, scientific end of the psychotherapy world - having completed an Honours degree in psychology, I contiue to investgate the social sciences and neuro-science. I am also studying the most ancient healing traditions on earth, through Shamanism - in which I hold a diploma, an advanced diploma and have completed an apprenticeship culminating in initiation as a shaman - and through Advaita Vedanta, perhaps the oldest spiritual tradition on this planet."