A Metamorphosis From Lifestream To The Institute

Where do I begin? At the beginning I suppose.

My second career: after a brief flirt with the Armed Forces at the tender age of 17- 19 years where I realised very quickly was not my ‘genre’, was one of a Political Lecturer. This career was built on many years in the academic field and what seemed a lifetime of fighting for the underdog and compassion for that position.

It was during the ‘Marches’ of the 1970’s, the Miners Strikes of the 1980’s and the punitive years of the Thatcher era that my resolutions and principles were sharpened. Many years after the early decisions of a young boy brought up in a capitalist family, where I learnt and experienced injustice at first hand. It was from this setting that my heart and spirit was moulded into the left wing radical of those years, and the Therapist I am today.

Paradoxically it was during the early 1980.s that I experienced my lowest point. 1 felt suffocated in my job as a Politics Leaurer, I did however enjoy working with new ideas and offering them to alert and engaging minds. It was more to do with the deadening climate I worked in; the mind-boggling bureaucracy of a Further Education College that was so stifling to me. I had come to a full stop. Certainly my breathing was becoming more and more laboured at this time. It was from this environment that I decided on yet another career change, and from here that “Lifestream” was formed. As Freud said “it is out of the maximum frustration and despair that real change can often grow” Certainly this was the ease for me at this particular time in my history.

In September 1986, I undertook my first training in Clinical Psychotherapy, in many senses, it was a journey of the soul and spirit, the hope of finding the key and perhaps answers from another book or training course. Of course what I finally came to realise was that my real answers were to be found in myself.

My philosophy has always been and still is, that we alt have the capacity within our spirit and psyche for change and growth, what Berne in his book “TA in Psychotherapy” called “Physis”, which is the capacity for inner growth and change. I also believe that as human beings we must bear the individual responsibility for that change. However for us to really flourish the seed for change needs to be nurtured and eared for, so that we can finally believe in ourselves and in our destiny. An essential requirement in the pursuit of the above is that we need to surround ourselves by people who inspire us, love us and have faith in our abilities, even ifwe hide them from ourselves. To be believed and validated is one of the vital ingredients towards us believing in and developing our sense of self

It was with the evolution of these beliefs that my Psychotherapy Training began to take shape. I studied primarily in the Humanistic School, from Carl Rogers, through to Erie Berne and beyond. I avidly read books, which included Satre, Camus and some of the more influential existential writers. I undertook training in the Psychoanalytical Theories from Freud to Christopher Bollas and became engrossed in the inspiring schools of self-psychology of Kohut and Gill. I loved the ideas and compassion of these geniuses; it was an exciting and vital time for me. I entered the late 1980’s with a more fulfilled soul and with a determination to make a difference and an impact in the world of Psychotherapy. I passionately believed in my innate and learnt abilities to help facilitate people in their own personal search for inner happiness and wisdom. Perhaps this is where Polities and Therapy really meet.

In March 1987 I formed the “Lifestream Centre”, which was my first step towards this direction. The “Lifestream Centre” was the early embryo of The Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy. For me it epitomised my belief systems. The “Lifestream” was and is the stream of life, which is essential to our inner spirits and the quest for growth and change, whether conscious or unconscious. It is within this stream of life that we must work to inspire, nurture, love and cultivate life, so that our own energy force continues in a creative and dynamic manner working towards a collective merging. The “Lifestream” becomes a positive force towards change and a fulfilment of the self.


In March 1988 the journey had begun to take shape and later that year I met June Brereton, a fellow traveller in the stream of life. I asked her in 1988 to join me in establishing a Centre of Excellence committed to change and growth. She accepted and has become and remains a close friend, respected colleague and much loved companion. Indeed without her courage, love and nurture my path and life would have certainly been fundamentally different and without doubt not so enriched. Her belief in me through the good and bad times has been invaluable and I could not have asked more from her and together we went on to make what The Manchester Institute is today.

In August 1993 the Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy was established from the lifeblood of the “Lifestream Centre”. We had initially called it The Manchester Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy, however we decided this was too long-winded a name so we changed it after much discussion and consideration to The Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy (MIP) in late 1993. By this time I had become a National and International Trainer in Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy (RT.S.T.A) and a Clinical Psychotherapist registered by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy and on the British Register for Psychotherapists. My training was now recognised not only the by UKCP but also by the National & European Transactional Analysis Associations.

Our first training started in the September 1993/4 intake and it was with great excitement and satisfaction that I witnessed the beginning of these Training’s. In July 1995 June Brereton joined me as a full time Trainer and Supervisor on the Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy programme, bringing with her, her own brand of dynamism and professionalism.

Currently the Manchester Institute offers a wide range of Training Services; its primary training is in
Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy leading to UKCP registration and British eligibility to that National
Register. We also offer short-term courses from Brief Psychotherapy to other more specific courses in
certain Disorders of the Self.

What gives me most satisfaction is that all this has been achieved without the Institute losing its clinical base and its priority to Therapy and Counselling. Another area of particular satisfaction to me has been the growth of The Manchester Institute into what I see as a community, a community of like-minded people within the diverse stream of life. This community for me is at the base of the Institute’s success and is its fundamental life force in the quest towards change and growth. At the time of writing, we have a clinical staff of 12 therapists working from the Institute either on a part-time or full time basis. They continue to fill me with admiration and respect. The road of a Therapist is never an easy one, however it is challenging and life enhancing and what more can we ask.

For myself the metamorphosis is nearly complete. However I see that change is the only certainty in an uncertain world and therefore perhaps a new evolutionary cycle is just round the corner. What is certain is that the principles/beliefs which formed the early foundations of the “Lifestream Centre” have now formed the essential structure of the Institute so that we can go forward with firm and positive conviction towards our own destinies.

I love what I have been partly, with help, responsible in creating. It is more than an Institute to me; it is a commitment and a community through which my lifeblood runs. A community of kindred spirits who, with great integrity and dignity have joined me in what has truly become a model of excellence and inspiration.

Thank you to all of you, past present and future, for love, commitment and strength in helping me to make some of my dreams become a reality.

Bob Cooke

Bob Cooke

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Karl Moody
Karl Moody
1 year ago

Wow, a very interesting blog post! You have lead a very inspiring and varied life Bob!

Bob Cooke is Psychotherapist, Trainer, Consultant and Supervisor with an international reputation.  In 1987 he founded the Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy (to the present day), of which he is the director. He is also responsible for the Institute’s training programme and oversees trainees from first year to full clinical membership of the UKCP.

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