"I would like to express my gratitude for all you have done for my son. At a time in his life when he lost all meaning for life and couldn’t communicate with his friends, his parents or his extended family, you were a shining beacon guiding him, helping him, listening to him and ultimately encouraging him back to participate in life once more. Looking back it’s been a privilege and a humbling experience to see him dig deep, build resilience and drag himself back from despair, but at the time it was so frightening. As a parent I suppose I always thought it was my role to fix things but parenting boys who are now men has forced me to step back, to practice detachment and let them forge their own way forward. He has benefitted immeasurably from his sessions with you and I feel he is so much better equipped to cope with life in the future. I feel so joyful to see him smiling again, rediscovering his friends, being more open and stepping out to greet life. Words can’t really convey the depth of gratitude we feel for your support of him, but please know you have helped him to find purpose once again."
"Zac, thank you so much for your kind words. Finding someone to speak to, be honest, expose vulnerabilities and weaknesses, is very difficult for men and especially for me. There are very few who I would be able to relate to. Your rational, considered and empathetic advice allowed me to calibrate and move forward with clarity and direction. For this I will always be appreciative."
"My marriage was in trouble. I wanted to regain control when I saw red and learn to talk. I've lost the black cloud and the weight that was on me. I feel freer. I can have conversations with my wife about things that matter without going off on one. I can be frazzled with work but not blow up. In terms of what I've been through professionally in the past few months, if we hadn't done this work together it would have been a shocker. Seeing you has helped with my leadership at work too. I'm more aware, sensitive, the blinkers aren't on so much. I'm more in tune with my team and can handle criticism. The old "on" version of me took it the wrong way and would have said "fuck off". I'm more comfortable in my own skin. The sense I used to have about being unfairly blamed has gone. Thank you Zac for opening up and sharing so much about your own life and being real with me."
"I'm living! I'm actually living and it's weird. Those experiences are in the past and now this is the present. There have been so many synchronicities. I feel free, on my own two feet. I couldn't have asked for a better start back into my career. The cycle hasn't been broken with my son and my ex, but I have taken responsibility for my own healing. I will be there for him by doing what I need to do to heal, and for now that means I'll be away. I don't know for how long. If it had been another therapist who wasn't spiritually aware I don't think this would have happened. You get it. You drew this out of me. I wouldn't have broken through to this place of authentic living without you. I'm not going to let anyone unconscious affect my life anymore. For the first time in my life, I'm not in constant fear. It feels like a brotherhood with you. I was coming to conclusions myself and doing the rewiring, you were flicking the light switch to give me the full understanding to move forward, else I'd have been stuck. I'd been trying to do this for years and in 12 sessions with you I'm in a different place."
"Our work has been vital to me and made such an impact in my life and my daughter's. It was nice to show her to you today - partly because she's such a huge part of me. But also to now say, thank you, for she is also benefiting from your investment in time with me."
"I‘d always thought therapy was for others and doubted I’d ever feel the need for it. Through life I’ve felt emotionally secure and at peace, but 2020 bought admission of an alcohol addiction from my husband of 30 years, isolation from family and friends due to the pandemic, the loss of a job and the breakdown of a cherished relationship with my pregnant daughter. By the end of the year I felt emotionally lost and and so in January 2021 I made a New Year's resolution to reconnect with me. I finally put therapy on my to do list and made a call to Zac. From our first interaction I felt completely at ease. It was cathartic telling my story and working through what had brought me to that point. Zac gave me space to explore my feelings and helped me navigate my emotions. He was just the person I needed - someone to talk to outside of my life, someone with no expectations of who I should be and someone who listened and gently guided without judgment. By the end of our sessions I’d found an inner stillness that had eluded me for months and with that I found me again. I’m so glad I reached out - thank you Zac for enabling such a truly positive and healing experience."
"I didn't know how to step away from my work mentality having retired. I was spiralling down, making mistakes and blaming myself, always saying the wrong thing and not understanding why, and I was being a nasty person. My confidence was dropping away. With you I've understood the causes and flags of my outbursts, which were pushing the people I love away, especially my wife. I'm feeling relieved. Before I had no space to reflect, I had things going round in my head. I was self-analysing and self-criticising too much. I didn't know how to think and it was just getting worse. With you I had logical and pragmatic conversations which made sense to me, and enabled me to put my old way of approaching problems down for a while. You gave me the opportunity to open up, understand the three Fs [fight-flight-freeze] and work out what was fuelling my behaviour and put it right. We kept it simple. By the third week the fog had gone and it was down to the communication between us — you had the mindset to understand how I think, so thank you Zac."
"Zac, you will be pleased to know I am no longer working for Xxxx and am taking time to find myself again. My aim is to rekindle my spark for life which seemed to be sucked out from me a long time ago. I feel I still have a long way to go, it is lonely at times, but I am enjoying the journey so far. Keep doing your good work, it is much appreciated. Thanks again."
"You've given me my life back. I can't imagine sticking with it with anyone else. You've changed my life, met me on an intellectual level to make a deep connection. You're brilliant at this. I wouldn't have done the work in a different situation."
"You have a natural relaxed manner and give off a feeling of someone on a mission. It's helped me see what I value most in my life, how I work as an artist, and what I need to be OK. Talking to a man, there was an immediate connection which put me at ease. The videos and what you wrote on your website were very interesting, I connected with the idea of men not having a voice and being lost. In the past we'd go down the pub or let it out in other ways, violent ways. You have really helped me. You haven't stopped me or talked over me, you were never shocked and you knew how to read me and make silences count."
"Zac introduced me to Polyvagal Theory so that I could understand where my panic was coming from and get familiar with the physical signs such as a tight chest. Now when I feel that fight or flight response coming on I'm able to detach and observe rather than getting swallowed up and acting out in destructive ways. I thought I couldn't do relationships but I'm in a new relationship now and it feels healthy. I feel more in control of my emotions. I'm not getting the usual anxieties this time or the jealousy. That's never happened before. I used to feel insecure, not good enough. Now I feel more centred, more self-worth, and I'm better at forgiving myself and not thinking of myself as out of control. When I started working with Zac I didn't know what to expect, I had been told for years I should get therapy, and I contacted him when I'd reached rock bottom. I didn't expect the work to go so deep. I explored my childhood with Zac which helped me learn to be more accepting of who I am and my human vulnerabilities. I feel like I understand myself at a deeper level and I am in a better place."
"I knew about person centred therapy as I had trained in it but I had never experienced it done like this, so powerfully. I went through a massive transition with Zac and I wouldn't have made it without him. I wouldn't have been able to break through the barriers. It's been a massive game-changer, with huge changes in my life. I now have everything I set out for in what seems like the blink of an eye. If someone had said to me in January, "This is where you'll be in September," it wouldn't have seemed realistic. I'd hate to think where I'd be now without Zac. It's difficult to express how life altering it's been. I feel I've achieved these things myself but everything Zac did within the person centred model has transformed my life and enabled me to own it for myself too."
"Stress hit me like a ton of bricks and I found myself at breaking point. Zac took me on a very significant spiritual journey exploring the deepest and darkest depths of my mind through psychotherapy and music therapy sessions which helped me find my way to lightness again. Before entering therapy with Zac, I had lost interest in my life's vocation of writing music and was experiencing a block in my creative process. Zac's empathetic, honest and non-judgemental nature was present throughout our sessions which made me feel comfortable sharing my feelings with him. It felt liberating to be this vulnerable with a therapist and this process opened new doors for me. This led on to the crucial work of writing an album's worth of songs together which we plan on recording professionally in the future. Zac's background in journalism and creative writing meant that I could relate to him on a creative and emotional level which as a musician is at the core of my being."
"Oh dear, this is difficult, especially to avoid a bunch of cliché’s. So, overall a big success. I’ve made loads of progress and I’m aware of the things that I have to keep working on. And also, I accept most things about me and I don’t feel the need to change it all. So, well done to me for moving in this direction and thank you to Zac for guiding me through this process. Zac is good at picking up the various strands of my stories and weaving them into a meaningful story, which I can then work on. I have felt welcome to return to each session and have looked forwards to them. Zac has been reassuring and has clearly been on “my side”. And now I’m going solo and I’m optimistic about making the most of everything."
"I like the fact that you remain impartial, so I trust you to give a balanced view. I like that you have a good balance between detachment, so I can be honest, yet I feel like you do actually care about how I am. You’re not fluffy or waffly, but you are kind. Video calls were actually easier and better than I’d imagined - it doesn’t take long to forget that you’re not actually in the same room. It’s kind of like watching a foreign film - once you get into it you stop noticing the subtitles. Once you get into the session you stop noticing you’re not in the same room. If the film is good, you really enjoy it and, as the counselling is good, you still get a lot out of it and it is still incredibly helpful."
"Two or three months ago my future looked terrible. I'm doing better than I thought I would be. I wouldn't have predicted this. I was ready to avoid dating for years but that's changed. I've left a job that was holding me back and gone into one that is feeding me and makes more sense long term. This is a new feeling for me."
"I started sessions with Zac over a year ago. I decided that I needed help and wanted to commit fully to the counselling process, I just needed to find the right person (after two previous failed attempts). Zac made me feel comfortable straight away with his warmth and kindness. I felt that he connected with both me and my story. He was genuinely interested and committed to the process. He has a way of caring and guiding that has enabled me to fully open up and explore for myself where my problems stem from. This has been a revelation to me and is not what I originally thought at all. I have only discovered this through sticking with the process long term. I am finally starting to see my way through. At long last I am beginning to understand why I have not felt able to cope with what life has thrown at me. Through putting my faith in Zac, and the clarity I now have, I can start to put all the pieces back together, but this time, in the right order. It’s been worth every penny, what I am gaining through this process is priceless to me. I couldn’t recommend Zac highly enough. Either face to face or online, personally I find it makes no difference to the outcome of the session. I’m not there yet but with Zac’s help I now have faith in myself that I can do this and am starting to glimpse a future that I can look forward to."
"I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed (the right word?!) the experience and meetings with you, and have found the time useful."
"My previous therapists were too soft and flakey for me. You have challenged me in just the right ways and I feel like we're working together, which I have never felt before. Over the past year my life has changed for the better or, rather, I've changed, and I know it's down to the work I've been doing with you."
"I didn't understand why I was behaving destructively and I needed to get a handle on what was driving it before my baby came along. I did the work with Zac quickly. I hadn't looked at my past in that way before. He supported me as I understood my childhood. I took what I needed from my past and then let go so I could protect my partner and child from my demons."
"Zac has a way of being there for you. He was there for me once a week for six months and changed my life. Best investment I ever made."
"It hasn’t been what I expected. I never felt this understood before. I didn’t understand myself."
"For years I’d been carrying around things that weighed me down but I wouldn’t look at them, it was too scary. I hated feeling vulnerable. Zac gave me the patience and safety I needed to break through at last."
“Through your challenging questions and gentle support you helped me reevaluate my priorities and face the blocks that I had been avoiding — the issue was larger than I realised.”
"You've been able to tease from me why I get frustrated at work, and I've realised I've been feeling disappointed. I've been able to evaluate things and conclude that there's nothing wrong with me, it's more about my environment. I've got perspective and feel happier, stronger, younger. Video calls took some getting used to for me but worked really well."
"I have found our sessions very open and honest. You are patient and forgiving, which creates a trusting environment. Our sessions became a necessary staple in my weekly routine breaking the usual stress cycle. Over time I saw vast improvement in my health, outlook and confidence. Thank you."
"I wish I invested in this right at the beginning, every penny spent on myself to improve me as a father."
"I joined the course because I felt rather alone, struggling with being separated and not seeing much of my kids. I wasn't sure if my case was bad enough to belong in the group. But the day after I decided to join my wife changed the locks on the house, mentioned the police for the first but not the last time, and my world fell apart. The individual counselling and group work formed a safe container for the worst weeks of my life. I realised I was not alone, and that there are some things I can do to at least influence the outcome of the rollercoaster ride I had been forced onto. I wish I could say that my whole external situation improved. In fact it did change, but significantly for the worse as my separated wife became more and more hostile the more reasonable I was being. But I changed on the inside. I realised I had not been caring for myself or enjoying myself. I understood that I was not somehow defective or a total failure. And I started to live a little. I thought for the first time about what I actually wanted to do for fun and just did it. This was utterly liberating and exhilarating. The men I met have become lifelong friends . And I actually wish I had met Zac and learnt his wisdom even earlier on in the process of the implosion of my marriage. You might think you are doing quite well but if you are at all worried about conflict with your separated partner, or are feeling unsure of how to navigate the minefield of untangling a family then this is the course for you."
"The experience of the Ceasefire course will stay with me for the rest of my life. It really helped me to gain insight into not only the situation with my ex partner and children, but more broadly in all areas of my life. The empathy and understanding of both myself and others increased ten fold, and I am so pleased I took the plunge and engaged in this amazing programme."
"I really appreciated being in a place where I could talk about these very tough issues with other dads in similar situations and where there was room to talk about feelings and strategies and not just one or the other. That you are in a similar situation as facilitator was very useful too as you could relate to all of us and us to you too."
"I love it when Zac explains the theory and biological reasons why we behave in a certain way, which helps me understand why I do the same thing over and over again. I find these incredibly fascinating and helpful. I think all separated dads need a support group. While the FNF groups are good for actionable advice (but no emotions), I feel there needs to be an emotional support group for separated dads. We are never given the opportunity to be vulnerable and show or even explore emotions – so this gives us the safe platform to do so."
"I've managed to understand how to open up in these sessions. It's not just me alone, it's with others experiencing similar feelings. It really helped me to understand myself. Thank you Zac, I needed these sessions to understand."
"We narrowed down the problem to two things: look after number one and find a way of doing it that works for me; and work on accepting what is hard and makes me unhappy, finding a way of living with sadness, grief and loss."
"Before I thought my priority was the kids, but I've realised I need to be here so I can help them. I was suicidal. I haven't seen my youngest child for 10 months. One day I am going to see that child. I want to be positive and focus more on myself to make sure that happens."
"I've enjoyed the grounding exercises and the feeling of belonging in a small, tight group where we all understand and respect each other. Life often feels overwhelming, there is fear and a lot of stress, so the group became safe place for me in the week."