The primary role of the Trust Person is to support and encourage any co-counsellor, who comes to them with a co-counselling related problem or issue, to take responsibility and deal with it themselves by:

  • listening and reflecting back
  • supporting the co-counsellor to identify practical and emotional problems, and options for action

The options for action by the co-counsellor

These may include:

  • using sessions and identity checks to clarify re-stimulations
  • sharing respectfully using face to face communication
  • taking part in a conflict resolution with the party/s involved and the support of one or more Trust Persons or experienced co-counsellors
  • raising the issue at the Safety Focus Group preferably without naming individuals
  • or in an extreme case, raising the practical issue at the AGM absolutely without naming individuals

How they work

When a co-counsellor brings an issue to a Trust Person, the Trust Person will tell them that, with their consent, they may seek support for themselves from another Trust Person. This is to help Trust Persons to maintain their balance of attention and neutrality. The person may veto the suggested 'Support Person', in which case the support of another Trust Person may be negotiated.

Support for Trust Persons

A Trust Person approached for support by a co-counsellor has the right to refuse, in which case the person can seek the support of another Trust Person. Reasons why a Trust Person might refuse to give support include:

  • if the Trust Person feels that they are too closely linked to the issue and therefore not impartial,
  • if they are re-stimulated by the issues and cannot maintain a balance of attention,
  • if the person vetoes the use of a 'Support Person' by the Trust Person
  • if the person seems beyond the boundaries of co-counselling e.g. has not got consistent free attention.

Boundary issues

If the Trust Person feels a person approaching them for support is beyond the boundaries of co-counselling e.g. has not got sufficient consistent free attention to take their turn as counsellor in a session, they will, if necessary, support and redirect the person to a voluntary or professional form of support e.g. Women's Crisis Counselling for self-harming, Cruse etc.

The Trust Persons and Safety Focus Group will compile a list of agencies for this purpose.

Extreme cases

In extreme cases, where a Trust Person and his/her 'Support Person' believe that there is a potential danger to person or network and the problem has not been resolved directly by the persons involved, the Trust Person will seek the advice of a third Trust Person.

If the three of them believe it to be necessary they may then take the issue to the Safety Focus Group.

The group will then decide what to do and may take the issue to the AGM Focus Group and the AGM if necessary.

Safety Team

As has happened in the past, an impartial safety team may be created to listen to the different truths involved and to look further in depth at the issues.

Who are Trust Persons accountable to?

To everyone in the network and to their fellow Trust Persons. They may be asked to report to the AGM in general terms.

How long should they serve for?

Three years recommended, followed (if possible) by a year in an advisory role. A Trust Person may then be re-elected.

What guidelines should they follow? To be removed?

The Trust Person Guidelines as passed by they AGM in 2001.