I never know how to introduce myself. I find it difficult because I am a private person and do not like to give too much of myself away. In a phone-hacked world where people are plundered for the most intimate details, trying to keep a boundary around oneself and one’s family is tough. It means keeping a prying world of gossipmongers at bay and still trying to have a life. Still, who am I?

I am a husband to a wife I do not deserve and father to two wild boys, each of whom is a unique miracle. Each never fails to amaze, infuriate, confuse and delight me. Being loved by them is a privilege – and occasionally hard work.

I am the practice manager at Couple Counselling Lothian, a local service of Relationships Scotland. It is the fourth counselling organisation where I have held clinical responsibility. That means making sure that each of the different types of therapy offered here is working as it should. It means looking after the counsellors. I am responsible for professional standards, supervision, continuing professional development and not least ethics. I also see a few individuals and couples as a counsellor. That makes me a privileged hearer and bearer of relationships stories. I have witnessed their greatness; their ability to forgive and to heal; to nurture and sustain. I have seen how hurt and hurting they can be. And I have learned how essential they are to our lives and our humanity.

After the riots that rocked so many communities south of the border, I am struck by David Cameron’s violent shift from the idea of big society to sick society. Yet, if we believe that the family is one of the bedrocks of society, then I believe that it is both. Still with real care and attention we can bring the best out of our relationships and therefore our society. Who am I? I am someone who wants to be part of that process.

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