Area of Expertise: Relationships and Communication

Barry and Winnie are authors, coaches/counsellors  specialising in relationship and communications work, particularly in the area of:

They offer an innovative new approach with the Optimum Response System (ORS). ORS presents a new understanding of communication and Barry and Winnie demonstrate how we have all been trained to respond destructively to life situations, often resulting in broken relationships. Developed over 20+ years of counselling and coaching work, ORS is a psychological framework that enables repeatedly effective relationship building. Strong relationships are fundamental in helping babies, children and adults to thrive (LaBier, 2014).


Barry is a personal and business coach, relationship specialist, facilitator, author and record producer. In addition to 20 years of 1-1 counselling/life-coaching and relationship work, Barry has carried out values, communication and strategy work in various organisations and businesses, travelling as far as Kenya in 2013 with eldest daughter Anna, to train peacekeepers prior to the elections. He’s the author of 6 books including a top 5 Amazon best-selling novel ‘The Breaking of the Shell’ and a book on male psychology, ‘The Male Agenda’, which was circulated throughout UK prison libraries to inspire inmates. He also co-authored a new psychology of health book, ‘The Truth about Illness, Unhappiness & Stress?’ with wife Winnie. 


Winnie has been practicing as a holistic personal and relationship coach for the past twenty years, specialising in women’s development and empowerment. She is also a trained flower essence practitioner and hypnotherapist (both of these modalities usually used in support of her coaching work), author, and artist, and an experienced alternative educationalist, having homeschooled two daughters for 8 years with husband of nearly 30 years Barry, and having performed roles as a mediator and advisor between families and the Local Education Authorities. Winnie gives talks and workshops on feminist theology, and has created educational courses for young people and adults in exploring links between quantum physics and metaphysics; the meeting of science and spirituality being one of her passions. 


Through ORS they invite us to:

1) Learn to Observe before you React. Broken relationships damage society in many ways and with far reaching destructive effects for a newborn baby and infant (Divecha, 2016). Many of these problems are caused when a couple react prematurely in stressful situations. These reactions take the form of “Fixing’ (“Listen to me everyone, I’ve got the answer”), ‘Freezing’ ( Rabbit in headlights ) or ‘Withdrawing’ (walking off, hanging up etc).

Top Tip 1 : Start observing when you feel the pull to react quickly to something (often a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable) and learn to spot when you are moving into a reactive space.

2) Step up your Listening Skills. Researchers have shown us that we habitually think we know more than we actually do about most things, and that when we gather more information about something, our fixed views moderate and soften (Rozenblit et al 2002). Applying this idea of becoming an information gatherer is very powerful in relationships.

Top Tip 2: Start learning how to become a much more effective listener with the aim of gathering much more information before jumping in with reactive responses.

3) Think before you speak . Our ability to think about things before acting quickly and our ability to say the right thing at the right time, help us to build strong relationships and therefore strong families. A mother and father who know how to express their truth calmly and at the right time and in the right way are going to raise children who are self-aware and confident.

Top Tip 3: Take some time to think before you speak about a difficult issue and make sure you have gathered as much information as possible first.


“How Dad Can Help Change The World” – a brief message for dads written by Barry Durdant-Hollamby

Studies on the significance of a father’s role in the wellbeing of his children have increased in the last 20 years as governments across the world search for the panacea to bloated welfare costs caused by physical, emotional and mental health problems in society.

In the the U.S Department of Health & Human Services Manual report ‘The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children’ (which informs hundreds of thousands of health-care professionals), authors Rosenborg and Wilcox (Rosenborg et al, 2006) make it very clear that children who have an active, involved, caring father will:

  Experience greater cognitive abilities and educational achievements

  Have enhanced psychological well-being

  Exhibit more social behaviour

Or to put it another way; a child who has an active, loving, caring dad in his life, whether the dad is in relationship with the child’s mother or separated, is more likely to become an asset to, rather than a drain on, society. Dads really do have the power to change the world, and the research backs it up.


Your Duty as a Dad

In over 20 years of counselling, coaching and researching, I have observed family conflicts that have resulted in the mother and father putting their own needs for ‘justice’ ahead of the wellbeing of their children (albeit often unconsciously). I have seen men withdraw into the safe world of work and socialising and in doing so turn their back on regular interactions with their children, believing that, between mum and school teachers and after-school groups, all their children’s needs are being met. No-one can replace the role of a dad. We are required to show up as a father who demonstrates an active interest in the lives of our children and who sets an inspired example of being a responsible and caring adult to all those around us. If we want our children to grow up into responsible and caring adults, the best way of ensuring that is to be modelling it. Every day. No excuses.



1) How a dad treats his children (and their mother) can have a lifelong impact on their capacity to thrive in life.

2) Children spell the word ‘love’ as follows: ‘T-I-M-E’. Make more time to spend with your child(ren).

3) Childhood is the time when children are learning and acquiring the tools that will shape their adult

lives. One of the most important questions a dad can ask himself is this:- ‘ What example am I setting my children every day?’

4) No-one can replace the role of a dad in a child’s life. You are a hero to your child. Act like one.

Bibliography (all authored by B D-H unless stated):

The Truth about Illness, Unhappiness & Stress? (B&W D-H) 

The Male Agenda 

Stepping Stones 

So It’s Tough Out There, Is It? 

The Breaking of the Shell

The Optimum Response System (in progress)



Divecha, Diana (2016). What Happens to Kids When Parents Fight. Greater Good Magazine. Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley

LaBier, Douglas (2014). Why Positive Relationships Are Needed for Emotional Health.

Rozenblit, L., & Keil, F. (2002). An illusion of explanatory depth. Cognitive Science, 26, 521-562.

Rozenborg, Jeffrey and Wilcox, W.Bradford (2006). The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children, US Department of Health and Human Services.