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Hello, I am a marital therapist, communications trainer and author. I have thirty-five years helping couples and individuals make better relationships. I have written twenty-plus self-help books which include the international best-sellers ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’ and ‘How can I ever trust you again?’ My books have been translated into twenty languages. I trained with RELATE the UK’s largest counselling charity. Perhaps it has been turning sixty but I have become interested ...
 
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show series
 
The hard truth is that if you don’t allow yourself to fail, you won’t live a full life. Giles Paley-Phillips sees failure as a fascinating moment of opportunity. Failure offers the chance to take stock, re-evaluate, dust yourself down and give things another try. Giles has a book and a podcast, both titled Blank, in which he asks highly successful …
 
Venus O’Hara plans to change the world, one orgasm at a time. She believes women are equally as sexual as men, and should have the time and space to embrace their multi-orgasmic potential. Venus is a British orgasm activist, author and feminist based in Barcelona. She has a hugely popular YouTube channel on which she discusses the female orgasm and…
 
Who is your favourite literary character? According to Dr Josh Cohen, an academic working in literary theory and also a psychoanalyst, this can be a very important question. Josh Cohen’s new book is How to Live. What To Do: In search of ourselves in life and literature. He believes that there are major similarities between psychoanalysis and great …
 
“Think globally, act joyfully” is Isabel Losada’s motto. Her most recent book is The Joyful Environmentalist, which shows how one person can make a huge difference to the health of the planet. Few of us these days are strangers to climate anxiety, and Isabel’s approach is the ideal medicine: her aim is to show her reader every single way that we ca…
 
“Midlife is when those dreams we had when we were young but put aside to earn a living or raise a family can finally be revisited; it’s never too late to be what you wanted to be”. This is the philosophy of Noon, a community for women in midlife created by Eleanor Mills. Eleanor experienced her own reckoning with midlife after leaving her job with …
 
So many of us have experienced depression, and if not, we’re likely to have seen the people we love battle it. This week’s guest, Kate Lucey, specialises in writing about mental health. She talks candidly with Andrew about her own depression and the six-year journey she’s been on since her diagnosis: including physical symptoms and the effects on h…
 
If the thought of cooking another family dinner is making you tired, this week’s episode might bring joy back to your kitchen. After all, at its best, cooking for friends and family is a powerful way to express love. Food can also help to create a sense of adventure and cultural curiosity in our children. In difficult times, eating together can be …
 
Do you struggle to sleep, your mind buzzing with worries about the future? Do you compare yourself to others and find yourself always coming up short? This week’s episode is all about ditching overthinking and seeking happiness that isn’t determined by external circumstances. Richard Paterson, my guest this week, has trained throughout his life to …
 
How can we learn to be at ease in our bodies so that we can be fully “in the moment” during sex? Anxiety about body image is one of the biggest obstacles to a happy, fulfilled sex life. Many people seek therapy to help them relax and enjoy sex with their partner, others struggle on in low-sex or no-sex relationships. This week Andrew talks to Kate …
 
Are you one of the many people who end up shocked by the ultimate similarity of romantic relationships that felt very different starting out? Why is it that we find the same patterns repeating, the same problems coming up over and over? In this episode, Andrew talks to author and attachment theory specialist Tara Blair-Ball. Tara explains how attac…
 
Are you a prisoner of your own way of thinking about life? If we step back and reframe our thoughts about work, relationships or family, we can find that there is more meaning and happiness in our life than we ever expected. In this episode, Andrew talks to Elaine Dundon of the Global Meaning Institute about being a prisoner of our thoughts and abo…
 
So many mothers have found the world of work a hostile environment after they have children. The jobs they once loved just don’t work with babies, school runs and Christmas plays, and it can feel like everything suffers. Hannah Martin of the Talented Ladies Club has dedicated herself to helping women find the courage and inspiration to create caree…
 
How do we live knowing that we will die? How can we face death, and how should we prepare for it? Dr Kathryn Mannix has spent her professional life working in palliative care, and the teams she has worked on have been involved in 10-15 thousand deaths. In this episode, Kathryn shares her insights into what it’s like to die and how we can love and s…
 
Too often we treat mind and body as completely separate: fear and anxiety belong to the mind, and then there are physical disorders. In fact, mind and body are parts of the same system. The road to calm and joy is much faster if we make sure to take care of both. Henry Emmons MD looks at mental health problems like depression and anxiety by weaving…
 
A diagnosis of bipolar disorder can be devastating: it is an extremely serious and debilitating mental illness. Family and friends may not understand what you’re going through, and can be full of unhelpful misconceptions. John Poehler is an award-winning blogger and mental health advocate who has developed an impressive range of tools to help peopl…
 
Parents like to feel they are independent individuals making their own decisions, but in reality parenting is hugely influenced by our own experiences of childhood. In this episode, Andrew and Philippa talk about how we are “links in a chain", and why it is really important for parents to recognise that and to make sure that their own links are sha…
 
As well as producing weekly episodes of The Meaningful Life, our podcast engineer Michael Dooney is a brand new dad. This week, Michael and his wife Christy talk to Andrew about their life-changing and at times traumatic journey to parenthood. Michael and Christy battled infertility and grieved the loss of several pregnancies. When they finally con…
 
It isn’t hard as a parent to find advice on breastfeeding, your child’s education or managing their behaviour. What’s rarer is insight into how the parenting journey changes us as a person. Yet, becoming a mother is a unique opportunity for self-realisation. In this episode Lisa Marchiano and Andrew take a deep dive into motherhood: how it connects…
 
The relationship between a man and his penis is rarely discussed except as a joke. Men don’t often talk to each other about erection issues, and women are left in the dark. Angus Barge took the plunge and spoke to his cousin about the problems he was having getting an erection at the age of 27. His cousin was also brave enough to break the silence,…
 
Our parents’ divorce can have so many ramifications, some of which don’t become apparent until well into adulthood. How do we face up to and understand the unprocessed pain of divorce? How do we build more successful relationships of our own? Terry Gaspard specialises in helping clients overcome the legacy of their parents’ breakups in order to bui…
 
When did you last learn to do something totally and utterly new? Tom Vanderbilt, author of Beginners: the Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning, was awestruck by his young daughter’s insatiable need to know how to do almost everything. He was inspired to embark on a year of learning purely for its own sake. Tom had a truly unique year -…
 
Are you living a life you really believe in, or are you filling in time until your “real life” begins? Are you waiting on marriage, a better job, a new exercise regime or a beautiful house to create an authentic life? Humans do need to have goals and plans, but it is also destructive to ignore those inner voices telling us what would bring us indiv…
 
Fenella Hansen brings her own life experiences of grief, loss, mental health and trauma to her counselling work. After losing her mother to cancer, she made a dramatic career change from IT into counselling, and has since worked extensively with survivors of various forms of trauma. Fenella has herself also suffered medical PTSD and family violence…
 
We all think of infidelity as something that happens to someone else. When betrayal enters our own safe universe, it comes as a terrible shock. Many couples confronting infidelity end up re-examining just about everything in their lives: not just their marriage, but their work, their relationships with family and friends, and how they find meaning …
 
Dena Justice’s lifelong interest in mentoring and coaching began at age seven, when she took her first social-emotional training program. At 15, she taught her first personal development course. She has undertaken years of training in conflict management and mediation, leadership, communication, facilitation, and has two Master’s degrees. Despite l…
 
What is it like to step away from individual freedom and enter into a life of submission and domination? This week’s witness is Slave Phil, a writer, blogger and podcaster at Master Slave Lifestyle. From early childhood, Phil was drawn to being controlled and dominated by others. At the age of eighteen, he began exploring the master slave lifestyle…
 
What does gratitude actually mean? It isn’t just about being nice or saying thank you a lot. According to Chester Elton, who has been called “the apostle of appreciation”, gratitude cuts to the heart of who we really are. Gratitude exists at an emotional level and is about who is in our lives, what we find meaningful and how we live. If we make tim…
 
You exist at your own centre; so you are the only one who is in the right place to look and understand your individual being. Richard Lang has devoted his life to exploring and teaching “the headless way”: a unique system to answer the question of what life means and who you really are. Richard met Douglas Harding, author of On Having No Head, as a…
 
How do we find meaning out of a difficult childhood and a troubled mother-daughter relationship? In this episode Nigerian-American writer, mindfulness practitioner and educator Itoro Bassey speaks with Andrew about how to mother the wounded child inside. Itoro now lives in Nigeria (after being born and raised in the USA) and is the founder of the d…
 
2020 wasn’t the easiest year to feel in control of our lives: a lot of us experienced loss, loneliness, and illness. Yet through my podcast, I feel like I learnt a lot about changing your life in a meaningful way. My guests shared wisdom on so many different aspects of life - sex, love, masculinity, gender, disability, companionship, spirituality, …
 
Nathanael Garrett Novosel started his quest to understand the meaning of life at the age of six. He is the author of The Meaning of Life: A Guide To Finding Your Life’s Purpose, which sets out 8 concepts key to finding meaning. In his book and in his teachings Nathanael helps people answer questions like “why are you here?”, “how does life work?” a…
 
Martina Schneider is a psychologist and a teacher of Vipassana meditation. Her work with clients combines a therapeutic and a spiritual approach. In this episode, she talks with Andrew about her own spiritual journey, including intensive study of the Vedanta tradition in India and being ordained as a nun. Martina offers her thoughts on the time and…
 
Joe Horton founded Guild of Dads after losing his own father in 2015. This huge loss launched him on a journey of self-discovery, during which he was able to shape a vision for himself and begin to create a more meaningful life. Joe’s Guild of Dads podcast and growing social movement now help many other dads to reflect on their own lives and pinpoi…
 
In 2017, Rachel Weiss watched a TV programme about the menopause and was inspired to hold a Menopause Café. This has now turned into an international movement of pop-up events where women and the men in their lives meet to drink tea, eat cake and talk menopause. The Menopause Café is modelled on the Death Café movement, founded by Jon Underwood. In…
 
Guardian columnist Tim Dowling has spent thirteen years chronicling his marriage and family life for the Weekend magazine. His self-deprecating humour and determinedly cynical approach have made him hugely popular with readers. Rare is the Saturday Guardian reader who doesn’t flip first to the magazine to see what’s happening with Tim’s pets, banjo…
 
So much of the meaning we find in life comes from reaching out to help others. Charlotte Fielder has been the Head of Volunteering and Fostering at London’s famous Battersea Dogs and Cats Home since 2015. She finds intense meaning in giving animals a second chance and supporting the Battersea volunteers who work for love, not money. Charlotte is he…
 
Why are so many working parents exhausted? Why does it often feel so unfulfilling switching between a demanding job and doing our best as parents? Anita Cleare’s new book, The Work/Parent Switch, explores the challenge of moving between driven, goal-oriented professional mode, and the looser, more mindful state needed to parent. Anita talks with An…
 
Please note - this episode of The Meaningful Life podcast contains references to gender based violence which may be distressing for some listeners In 2000, Susie Kalich survived a violent attack by a stranger in her home in Los Angeles. As part of her recovery, she sought martial arts training to learn self defense basics. She enrolled in Ninpo Tai…
 
Too many men struggle to be happy in their intimate relationships, and fail to find a healthy version of masculinity that works for them. Disconnected males, without a strong sense of inner guidance, can behave destructively and even abusively towards those around them. In the fourth episode of The Meaningful Life With Andrew G. Marshall, Andrew ta…
 
What is life like if you don’t fit into any of mainstream society’s ideas of gender or sexuality? Do any of us really fit those ideas, anyway? In this episode, Finn Ballard talks about life as a transgender man, and his experiences growing up as a trans child in a traditional town in Northern Ireland. Finn talks about his search for an authentic li…
 
Have you ever felt so defeated and frustrated that you want to just throw in the towel and run away? Author Kay Hutchison did exactly that, fleeing her annual holiday to the Cote d’Azur, moving out of her home, and leaving behind her marriage and a well-established career. In seeking to understand what forced this huge rupture in a previously smoot…
 
No-one would deny sex is important to a meaningful life, but what that looks like changes as we age. In this first episode of the new self-help podcast The Meaningful Life with Andrew G. Marshall, international sex therapist and Daily Mail columnist Tracey Cox discusses her new book Great Sex Starts at 50: How to Age-Proof Your Libido. While wild, …
 
So what is the meaningful life? Why do we so easily lose our way and get lost in depression, anxiety, doubt, addictions and obsessions: the swamplands of the soul? One thing I know for sure is that there is not one answer. Each of us has to find out for ourselves what makes our life meaningful. But we can learn from each other, share our experience…
 
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