Notes from "Sowing the Seeds Workshop" for those interested in the teaching of CCI Co-counselling, August 2018

(after CCI 2018 Scotland)

Janice Wasser and Celia Wilson, September 2018


We would like to thank all the participants who attended the “Sowing the Seeds” Teaching Workshop following the European CCI in Scotland.  There were 29 of us, which is more than usual for a workshop on the teaching of co-counselling.

In this article we have summarized the main points covered in the 22 hours we spent together. The intention is to keep in line with the theme of the gathering which includes cross pollination from members of different communities and opening up opportunities to bring in new people and encourage current members to get involved.


Some processes experienced at the beginning of the workshop:


There was a big shift after spending the week with 100 co-counselors at the CCI to a smaller group in the Teaching Workshop.  Some of us may have needed to process "burnout" (raw emotions after a full week of CCI), "grieving" (letting go of those who left, having forged wonderful connections over the week) and assessing our needs as we move into work mode with a group of people passionate about co-counselling.


There was a transition from the CCI to the Teaching Workshop where we moved from a mainly hierarchical style of facilitation (in at least the plenary sessions of the main workshop) to a more co-operative, co-creating style.


We started off with some gentle massage in the circle, always a great way to get grounded, then a few kinesiology exercises raising energy levels and connecting the left and right brain. A mini session followed, five minutes each way to reach some clarity for the next phase. We were then ready to co-create our agenda.


Celia and I proposed the structure for the workshop and shared a preliminary list of topics based on suggestions posted from the emails and notes provided prior to the workshop.  We added other topics suggested by the participants and put together this wonderful list:


Each participant was asked to choose three priority topics from the list. Based on the voting results we were able to divide up into topic groups based on level of interest: 1) Neuroscience & Co-Co.  2) Co-Connection and 3) Modular Course/Syllabus/Core techniques & elements for teaching Co-Co.


There was a meltdown after the first couple of hours together. As much as we tried to provide the space for co-creation, for mutual respect and honoring individual expression and self-responsibility – there was a lot of charge in the room and the distress overcame us. 


I valued the way the group was willing to pause in its business to sort out what had happened and things went smoothly thereafter.  Agota with her wealth of experience in organizational education was able to provide us with a platform for working through our process. Nina was also instrumental in co-leading the next phase. Thanks Ladies!


We then divided up into different spaces, where one group shared why co-counseling is important to them, many describing how they reached their first co-co training, and the other groups went to work on topics from the board. 


The next day Robyn James gave us a brief overview on Action Research Enquiries: discussing Balance of Attention and a Window of Tolerance – the space between the hyper-arousal state and hypo-arousal state. We then dispersed into several groups based on the list of topics. Sue Gray led a group on "Peer Supervision in Coco – mental health", Sarah McCloughry led a group on "Peer Enquiry into Marketing"; Richard Charles led a group on "How are you doing with teaching Co-co or Not?"; and John Talbut led a group on "Taking our facilitation skills into the world, sessions and groups".


In our closing circle we all shared what we came away with from the workshop. It was a fruitful exchange and many participants were inspired to move forward to promote Co-co in our communities in the various ways discussed.

Someone asked after the workshop if we would have done anything differently if we could do it over again. It was easy for me (JW) to answer because I said, No. I (CW) would say that at the beginning I was a bit too keen to be speedy in view of the short time we had together.  Perhaps a considerably longer session would have been good.


What’s most important for me (JW) here is not about how smoothly and seamlessly we can work together; it’s more about how we manage the bumps and cracks in our process.



Celia and I are pleased to conclude that co-co is alive and kicking and our mission was accomplished in providing the space for these passionate people to express their dreams and ambitions and find connection with other like-minded peers.


Side note: Enquiry vs Inquiry

These days, the two terms are often used interchangeably. However, according to some there is a difference between the two. Enquiry means to ask a question, and inquiry is a formal investigation. Yet another difference lies in the etymological source of the prefixes ‘en’ and ‘in’. ‘En’ comes from French, and ‘in’ from Latin. Inquiry has a formal and official ring to it, while enquiry is informal in its connotation.

In general parlance, it is understood that enquire is to be used for ‘asking’, while inquire is what constitutes ‘making a formal investigation’. In reality though, according to both the Oxford English Dictionary and Websters Dictionary enquiry is preferred in British English, whereas the Americans are more comfortable with inquiry. As a matter of fact, it is only in British English that any attention is paid to the distinction. In US and Australian English, inquiry has long been the preferred spelling with the same definition of the words.

Another way of distinguishing between the two terms if you wish to do so, is to know the differences between the Enquiry Based System of Education (ECB) and the Inquiry Based System of Education (ICB). At the ECB, the students are encouraged to be naturally inquisitive and curious, and base their queries on their innate desire to learn. In the latter case, the focus is on conforming to the syllabus, and asking questions which assist with that task, while not paying too much attention to attaining pure knowledge.