# Teacher - Therapist - Priest - Poet

David Keighley started his professional career as a secondary school teacher of Environmental Science.

He left teaching to start farming and teaching country-crafts but was encouraged by his teacher-training psychology tutor and friend, Peter Blyth, to explore the art and science of hypnotherapy. Combining a course at the Blyth College in Chester with further training as a psychotherapist, David started a practice at the Wellingborough (Northants) Centre for Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy.

After six years in practice he left his full time counselling business over forty years ago to train at Salisbury & Wells Theological College as an Anglican priest. He has maintained his professional interest in the relationship between psychology and spirituality throughout his life. His writing started during his ministry with the usual clergy demands of a weekly sermon and a monthly ‘Parish Magazine’ article.

His interest in progressive Christianity started with correspondence with Don Cupitt at Cambridge and studying under the American progressive Bishop John Shelby Spong, who published David’s poem “Leaving Home” in his global newsletter in 2007. David’s anthology of progressive Christian poems for rebellious Christians, "Poems,Piety and Psyche", was published in October 2020 by Wipf & Stock (USA).

One of the primary schools he worked with as a parish priest performed his Nativity play, based uniquely, on the Old Testament which is being published as a resource for schools. He is also working on a “Survival Guide to the Countryside” for townsfolk moving to their rural dream, based on his career in rural ministry and early farming life.

Although now retired from parish ministry he had combined his past role as a parish priest, and hospital chaplain, with his current work as a psychotherapist. He is now Director / Therapist at the “Therapy Retreats Ltd” counselling business. He has a great belief in his clients ability to make progress despite the fact that many have tried to deal with their issues in the past without success.

David’s experience in counselling has included a number of clinical and teaching posts. As a qualified teacher he has taught in an Adolescent Crisis Unit at a psychiatric hospital as well as in state and special schools. His degree is in Education and Psychology. His adult teaching posts have included teaching counselling, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy at post-graduate medical centres in Devon and Cornwall, tutor to RAF staff for ‘Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome’ counselling during Gulf War I and tutor in spirituality, counselling and personal growth at Exeter University. He has worked as a therapist at the Obesity Unit of Addenbrookes Hospital under Professor Philip James, as an NHS practice counsellor and provider of psychological services and as therapist at the Wellingborough (Northants) and Peverell (Plymouth) Centres for Psychotherapy. He has been a therapist at the Crown Heights & Camrose NHS Medical Centre's in Basingstoke, Hampshire and Belmont Surgery in St.Austell, Cornwall. He is an NHS IAPT counsellor. He studied psychological medicine under Dr Tilleard-Cole at the Oxford Institute of Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy under Professor Paul Salkovis. 

He is a member of a number of professional bodies and a Senior Associate of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM), a Senior Accredited Member of the National Council of Psychotherapists (MNCP), registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CHNC) in Hypnotherapy, the National Council for Hypnotherapy (MNCH), the Hampshire Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (HACP), a Counselling UK registered counsellor and a member of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, (BABCP) and the Association of Christian Counsellors (ACC). In 2018 he attended, with Sally his wife, the ISC International congress in Athens on ‘Sexuality and Relationships’. His main work now, as therapist and retired priest, is with couples in extreme relationship distress.

As well as using contemporary, evidence-based psychological approaches, he integrates spirituality into the programmes to enhance efficacy. On the spiritual dimension he combines the theology of Christianity (he is also a Tertiary of the Franciscan Third Order) with the philosophy, psychological insights and practice of Buddhism, originally learnt on his own sabbatical study retreat at the Shinmeizan Centre for Interreligious Dialogue in Japan. This retreat took place during his world tour sabbatical looking at Christianity as a minor religion in Japan and in various other countries, including Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Honduras and San Francisco. He managed to survive both Hurricane Mitch while in Honduras and an earthquake in Tokyo. He later travelled to Uganda, where he presented the Bishop of Lango with a new Toyota Motor-cruiser, with funds raised by his parishioners in Hampshire. During his time in Uganda he was protected by an AK47 toting bodyguard when the visited the area being terrorised by Joesph Koney and his LRA band. Many of his agnostic and atheist clients are delighted to find his spiritual approach is not traditionally 'religious'. This is reflected not only in his therapy but also in his ministry and his poetry.

When not writing, gardening, angling, kayaking, motor-homing, holidaying in Italy and Greece or walking his GSD in the Hampshire countryside around his home, he spends time with his seven grandchildren and his own three daughters and a son. He also still enjoys teaching and spends time planning his one man show, which has the same name as his first anthology, 'Poems, Piety and Psyche', a performance poetry evening for various groups for when Covid19 social restrictions are lifted. These performances combine his poetry with tales of Vicarage life, his travels and psychological insights into the human condition – which he is still trying to fathom.