I met Peter Blythe in South Preston in the summer of 1968 and started my psychotherapeutic journey. I was 21 and he was 42. I was preparing for my first job as a schoolteacher at an independent girls’ school in Southport, Merseyside. He was working as an established hypnotherapist – a position unheard of in those days. I was fascinated. He said that if I WAS really interested I would stick to him like super glue and not let go! I did just that!!
I moved to Chester two years later, the city that Peter chose. It did not take long for him to start teaching there. I went to all his workshops and spent many many hours and years training with him. He was a master of knowledge and of presentation. His strong model was such that sometimes I see myself with his stance and hear myself saying his words. Soon after he started to teach and work in Sweden. Super glue still applied, I would go with him … We were together for ten years.
Looking back over those 45 and a half years I see things in a different perspective. I think of Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited”. The author talks through his young hero Charles Ryder, the narrator of the story and a History student at Hertford College, Oxford. He longs to be with the ‘in crowd’ at the University and talks about ‘the low door in the wall to which there was no key’ and through which he yearns to go. He is by accident befriended by Lord Sebastian Flyte, the younger son of the aristocratic Lord Marchmain and an undergraduate at Christ Church. Sebastian introduces Charles to his eccentric and aesthetic friends and he knows that he has moved through that keyless low door in the wall. During my relationship with Peter I was aware at the time and marvelled about it, that he took me through that low door in the wall to which there was no key; into that same magical space. I was in my twenties and supporting him in all sorts of ways on an international scene when, chronologically I should have been barely on a local one.
I am told that when Peter Blythe addressed the National College conference a few years ago he asked that people ‘remembered their roots’. He was asking you all to acknowledge him – and perhaps you would do that and remember this ‘mover and shaker’ with affection as do I. I think he must have written this obituary (published in the Daily Telegraph) during his long illness. It reads thus in part:-
“During his time in the Navy, Huxley-Blythe discovered that he had inherited some of his father’s skills as a hypnotist. Convinced that the technique could be developed as a clinical tool, in the late 1960s he founded the Blythe College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy (now the National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy), wrote two books, Hypnotism – its power and practice (1971) and Self Hypnotism — its potential and practice (1976), and was invited to train doctors and dentists in the use of hypnosis in Sweden and Britain. His interest in the relationship between mind and body led him to take a PhD in Psychosomatic Medicine at an American university and to the publication of other books, including Stress Disease: The growing plague (1973) and Drugless Medicine (1974).
An invitation to deliver a lecture on reading difficulties (a subject of which he admitted he “knew nothing”) started a trail of discovery which led to the setting up of the Institute of Neuro-Physiological Psychology (INPP) in Chester in 1975, which he established as a private research centre concerned with the role of the central nervous system in learning difficulties and behavioural problems in childhood.
According to the institute its method of assessment and intervention, now known as the INPP Method, involves reconnecting body and mind by “taking back” the body to an early stage in life and retraining it, and has transformed the lives of thousands of children .
Huxley-Blythe continued to work as a consultant to INPP until a year before his death. His other works include An Organic Basis for Secondary Neuroses and Educational Difficulties (1979, with DJ McGlown).
The last time I saw him was April last year when I visited him in hospital. He looked the same – just older. We caught up for an hour and I did the business I needed to do with him before I kissed him goodbye. I had no idea it would be the last time we met. I learned of his death by e-mail from his address as a ‘bounce back’ in January this year – some six months late (I was writing to invite him for lunch!). I spoke to our old colleague DJ McGlown in Chester as soon as I heard. He, too, had heard about Peter’s death only in December. I was sorry only that I did not know of it so could not attend his funeral in Chester Cathedral. But there we are …
I loved his father the great Henry Blythe. I loved Peter Blythe. Through all those years I know that I had the worst of him. I also had the best of him.
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