Co-Counselling International

Distance training course

This is the access page for a distance training course in the fundamentals of co-counselling with Co-Counselling International. (See Co-Counselling for an explanation of the different organisations of co-counsellors including CCI and Re-Evaluation Co-Counselling).

The course consists of a series of, typically weekly, classes amounting to 40 hours in all. It is only for self learning groups of 6 - 10 members supported over the Internet by experienced teachers of co-counselling.

Access to the course materials is restricted to students and teachers on the course.

This is a challenging course for groups of people who are:

See below for more on the Practicalities for Self Learning Groups

Groups who are thinking of doing this course will probably be in areas without access to support from a local CCI network (otherwise, it is much simpler to get a teacher from the network to run a course). Members of such groups will need to be self directed in order to continue with the organisation of CCI in their locality once they have completed the course.

If you are part of a group that would like to do this course, are wondering about trying to set up such a group or want to know more about the course then please email us.

What Co-Counselling is

Co-Counselling is reciprocal peer counselling. Reciprocal means that each person takes an equal turn to be client and counsellor. Peer means that everyone is equal, there are no experts whose job it is to help others. Counselling means that co-counsellors have sessions in which one person is working, talking or doing other things, and another person (sometimes more than one person) is listening. In CCI co-counselling the person working, the “client” is always in charge of their part of the session.

Co-counselling is a highly effective tool for personal development, problem solving and dealing with day to day issues. Like any tool, the results come from using it - from having regular, ongoing co-counselling sessions (co-counsellors arrange these among themselves).

What it is not

Co-counselling is not a way of helping other people.

However, co-counsellors do tend to become much better at helping others. This is because, by using co-counselling, they develop in themselves the key qualities of good helpers: self-confidence, self-awareness and emotional competence.

What the course is

The fundamentals of co-counselling course is a 40 hour training in how to use co-counselling. It is the essential prerequisite to joining a network of co-counsellors and using co-counselling.

What it is not

The course is not for therapy nor is it intended to give people answers to the difficulties they may be having - these are found afterwards by using co-counselling. However, learning to use any tool requires practice and practice requires material to work on. So people do find that they make progress in their own self development during a co-counselling course. (Yes, people do refer to the difficulties and issues that we all have as "material".)

Who is it for?

Co-counselling is a powerful tool for personal development, and it is effective for people who are already functioning normally in society - you don't have to be ill to be better!

It is for you if:

You may not be ready for co-counselling if:

Further information about co-counselling can be obtained here.

Practicalities for Self Learning Groups

This course is designed for groups to learn co-counselling without needing a teacher or facilitator. Co-counselling is a peer activity, in other words everyone has equal status. This approach to training starts off with everyone in the group as an equal, in other words there is no teacher or facilitator and everyone is there for the same purpose, to learn co-counselling.

The course is about learning how to do co-counselling. It does not involve having to remember a lot of information. Much of the course involves simple, practical exercises, learning how to do things and, in particular, how it feels to do them.

The way it works is that each week the group will get from the course Internet web site a set of precise instructions as to what to do during each 3-hour session, including how long to take for each activity. Among the instruction, the group is asked to take various notes. These notes are sent to the group's tutor by e-mail or by using the web site. The tutor will respond with comments and answers to questions before the next session.

The practical requirements for the training are fairly simple. A group will need:

A place to meet

A group needs to have a private place to meet, one in which they will not be seen or heard by anyone else, even if they make quite a noise. Anywhere that will satisfy this will do, indoor or outdoor, private house or public building.

It is helpful, but not completely necessary, if the space is big enough or there are other spaces available for members of the group to go off in separate pairs to practice co-counselling without being too close to the others. Houses can work quite well with pairs being able to work in different rooms and gardens can also be good.

It may be possible for several groups to meet in the same space as long as it is big enough for each group not to be interrupted by the others.

A time to meet

The course involves 14 weekly sessions of 3 hours each.

A timer and watch or clock

Timing is important in co-counselling as it is part of the way in which we keep things equal.

In addition, time is part of the way in which the group is “held” by the course. In a course of this nature all sorts of thoughts and feelings come up. When there is a teacher present it is an important part of their job to “hold” the group, that is to make sure that things do not get out of hand. In this course this holding is done partly by setting down “ground rules” covering activities in the group (these are also used when a teacher is present) and partly by setting a tight timetable of activities for the group to carry out. In this way the group should not have time for things to get too difficult.

And, of course, the purpose of co-counselling, which is what the group members are learning about and practising, is to provide a contained and supportive opportunity to work on thoughts and feelings.

Co-counsellors often use electronic kitchen timers for sessions as they are silent until they beep to signal the end of the session.

Access to the web site

All the necessary material and instructions for the course will be on a web site. Hence, group members need either to be able to access the web site themselves or copies need to be printed off for them.

The instructions are written so that a member of the group can read them out, so only one copy is necessary.

In addition, each group will be supported and supervised by an experienced teacher of co-counselling via the web site. What this means that the group will need to make some brief notes about the various activities that they carried out each week and these are transmitted to the tutor via the web site (or they can be e-mailed directly). The tutor will reply with comments, suggestions and information for the next week's class.

Something soft (e.g. cushions) for sitting on the floor

Co-counselling is normally done either sitting on the floor or standing up. In other words we do not sit in chairs – so no furniture is required. When we are teaching in classrooms, the first thing we have to do before each class is to stack all the chairs and tables out of the way!

The reason for this is that when we sit in chairs we tend to stay more or less in one position, we are to some extent stuck. That tends to result in us being stuck in our thoughts and feelings, and co-counselling is meant to help us get unstuck. In fact co-counselling uses quite a lot of movement and being in a chair inhibits this.

Where people have difficulty with this, perhaps through impaired mobility, we aim to use ingenuity to help them to be as mobile as possible, and as far as possible on the same level as the rest of the group. Sometimes this can be done using back supports, bean bags, big cushions or firm cushions of the right height.

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