Category Archives: Talking It Better

cover art with headphones

Talking It Better – Audiobook

Around the time Talking It Better was published last year, people began to ask “Oh, will there be an audio version?” Actually, they asked about an electronic version first off. That was easy, because it was already in the works and came out on Kindle and elsewhere within a few weeks. But an audiobook? I was intrigued. The book is full of different characters and their stories and so, I thought, maybe it could work as an audiobook. Plus, some of those who’d asked me had mentioned challenges with dyslexia and so I knew an audiobook could make Talking It Better more accessible to them and that felt like a reason to explore more.

All this was during the lockdown and one of the things that was keeping me going was a weekly open mic night on Zoom. What had been a bar-based event, where there wasn’t really that much time for chat, had become something of a lifeline for a small band of singer-songwriters. We shared our tunes but also what was going on in our lockdown lives. So I ended up talking about my book and a couple of my musical buddies even came along to the Zoom launch and bought a copy.

One of our crew, Jim Bryce, just happens to be a well-established audiobook reader. He was curious about the book and when I asked him about the world of audiobook creation, he both gave great advice and also suggested he might be up for the job himself. So I sent him a copy. He read it and liked it. And then he recorded Chapter 15. This was the chapter that had really caught my publisher’s attention and helped secure my book contract. She’d loved the story about Martyn and his hope-protector. So it seemed like a good test case.

It’s quite a thing to hear a professional actor read your words and bring your characters to life. The Jim-voiced version of the author seemed far smarter and more interesting than me. And as someone who’s lived in Scotland for more than half my life, it was nice to finally take on the accent, albeit via a vocal avatar. Everyone who heard Jim’s chapter was keen and so…

… it turns out getting these things recorded isn’t that cheap, but Jim reckoned he could do me mates-rates. And if I took on some of the editing and audio clean-up work that would help keep the costs manageable. It wasn’t clear whether there was money to be made or not, so it wasn’t something that my publisher, PCCS, could underwrite – and at present they don’t publish any audiobooks. But I wanted it to happen. And, I thought, I’ll learn a lot about audiobook production along the way and that sounds interesting. So, after a few more conversations with Jim and the publisher, I decided to go for it.

Well, it’s a complicated business. Editing text is a lot easier than editing audio. And checking the audio just takes a long time. These, and many other things, I learned about audiobook production. Who knew, for example, that there are multiple kinds of silence and that Audible and the like are very fussy about the silences you have between your words? So, like most creative projects, it all took far longer than I first imagined. But it’s here now. It’ll be intriguing to know how many people take a listen. But whether it’s a few or a lot, it’s good to have the book out there in a different format. And now I can finally get back to those folk who were asking more than a year ago. Yes. Whether for accessibility reasons or because you just want to listen on the bus ride into work, Talking It Better is now an audiobook.

If you do give it a spin, please do let me know how you get on via my Contact Form.

Book: Talking It Better

Talking It Better (book cover)

I’ve written a book about counselling and psychotherapy. It’s called Talking It Better: From Insight to Change in the Therapy Room and is due out on February 4th 2021. I’ll be posting a little more about this in the coming weeks. In the meantime you can find out more about the book or even pre-order at:

  • PCCS Books – be sure to check out the rest of the PCCS catalogue too. There are some really great books.
  • Amazon

The book’s a wee bit chapter (£14 as opposed to £15.99) if you buy it direct from PCCS. I get some tiny kick back if you click on the Amazon link and buy it that way.

About the book

Talking it Better is a practical book about the everyday practice of counselling and psychotherapy, written by a practitioner for fellow practitioners. Using case studies based on his own clients, Elton carefully examines what helps and what hinders the process of change in the therapy room. At the heart of therapeutic work, he argues, is the development of effective mind skills. He explains how counsellors and therapists can borrow valuable ideas from the teachers of skills such as swimming, reading music or learning to drive. And he shows us that, when it comes to developing our mind skills, practice is often far more important than insight or theory. Marie-Anne wants to manage the sergeant major in her head who keeps telling her what to do. Calum wants to learn to hear what his partner is really saying, rather than what he fears she is. Isobel wants to stop rushing to help people and then resenting them because they take her for granted. These, and the many other characters in this book, were profoundly stuck until, through talking it better , each found a unique path taking them closer to the self they would prefer to be.

Advanced praise for the book

This is a beautifully written, accessible and inspiring book, that has a lot to offer to both novice and experienced counsellors and psychotherapists, and also to clients. Matthew Elton invites other practitioners to look over his shoulder to find out how another colleague works. The reader is introduced to an array of vividly-depicted individuals who are seeking assistance to deal with life difficulties that are typical in therapy clients, such as anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties, stress, and recovery from trauma. Elton’s approach is highly collaborative. He writes about how he seeks to facilitate shared reflection on what does and does not work for the person, with the aim of creating a bespoke approach that varies from one help-seeker to another. Although he acknowledges the theoretical influences and training that have shaped his practice, one of the most striking and impressive aspects of the book is the extent to which he has integrated these influences, alongside aspects of his personal life experience, into a personal style that both demystifies therapy and is highly authentic. I enjoyed reading this book, learned from it, and would recommend it to anyone – practitioner or help-seeker – who is interested in understanding how therapy can make a difference. Julia McLeod, Lecturer in Counselling and Psychotherapy, Abertay University and co-author of Counselling Skills: A practical guide for counsellors and helping professionals.

I read this book avidly, riveted by the author’s creativity, the clarity of his presentation, and by the rich, compassionate case studies that weave through his writing from beginning to end. Informed by a range of psychological and learning theories, Matthew Elton generously and modestly shares his thoughts on what is possible to achieve through collaborative endeavour within a trusting relationship between help-seeker and practitioner. Beyond theory, he combines his breadth and depth of knowledge with his professional and personal experience to address how to help people bring themselves closer to becoming their ‘preferred selves’. Practitioners of differing approaches and levels of experience will find this book refreshingly practical. It encourages us to explore and experiment, to respectfully and sensitively work with long-established frames of reference (recognising the part played by our own), and to actively work through the ‘blocks’ that maintain our stuck patterns. Phil Lapworth, counsellor, psychotherapist, supervisor and author of Tales from the Therapy Room and Listen Carefully.

Here is an accessible and beautifully written account of how a psychotherapist understands and works with the people who seek his help. It is both rich in metaphor and eminently pragmatic. Matthew invites us to ‘look over his shoulder’ to see how he makes sense of and responds to a range of issues that his clients bring and that many helping practitioners will recognise from their own practice. I enjoyed this invitation and the unfolding stories, interwoven with distilled yet lightly held theoretical models and reflections, of helping people move from being stuck to finding their preferred ways of feeling, thinking and behaving. I also appreciate how, throughout the book, Matthew shares his impulses, dilemmas, options and choices at various points, mindfully demonstrating his ethical sensibilities. I never had the sense of being told how to do this work from a one-up expert position. Instead, I experienced a caring and skilled practitioner sharing his craft. What a gift! Graeme Summers, coach, trainer and author and co-developer of co-creative transactional analysis. See: Graeme is the co-author of Co-Creative Transactional Analysis.

In this engaging book, therapist Matthew Elton takes us on journeys with people who come to him for help, exploring the ‘internal blocks’ that get in the way of making changes in their lives. On one level, this is a book for therapists and counsellors. But it’s written with a lightness of touch that makes it accessible to someone who doesn’t know the first thing about psychotherapy or counselling. Indeed, it would be an excellent book for someone who thinks they might benefit from therapeutic help but is unsure of what it might involve or how it might help them. Fundamentally, it’s a book about the possibility of changing ourselves in ways that make us better equipped to deal with whatever the world throws at us. I really loved it. Helen Beebee, Professor of Philosophy, University of Manchester – author of Free Will: an introduction and, with Michael Rush, Philosophy: Why It Matters.