This plan is based on the basic 40 hours(ish) course which I have run equally well as 20 weekly sessions of 2 hours, i.e. as an evening class, as 4 separate days, with an evening warm-up beforehand, or as 2 full weekends, again with an evening beforehand.
Each format brings different advantages:-
I have found that although the 20 sessions feel that they engage the participants more slowly, my sense is that the skills are embedded more effectively.
I have mainly run 4 days to manage the participants’ time issues.
I most enjoy the 2 weekends, and they seem to give the participants and me a bigger buzz.
I have been very comfortable with those formats as they allow me the time to get in all the skills I consider appropriate, and I do not worry about the actual hours. I would be worried if the Fundamentals course was shortened any further than that as it would severely detract from those skills which I consider to be essential if I am to co-counsel as elegantly as I would wish.
I have experienced fundamentals that have been run by the facilitator following the clues the group is producing, but I personally find that approach less comfortable. As a Teacher of a Co-Co group, I am both a teacher, and a facilitator. For me the two roles overlap, but are not the same. As a teacher I am presenting information with which the participants are unfamiliar, so I need to present the information as clearly as possible, in such a way that it links in to what they already know, or that we have recently learned. In that sense, as a teacher, I need to structure my material because it is inevitable that some components will need to come before others, either for issues of safety, or simply that a new skill builds on a skill already learned. It would be unsafe, foolhardy, and indeed limit the learning potential of the group, if I introduced Acting Into Anger, before I had introduced coming back into Present Time!
For me the role of Facilitator really kicks in after I have done my teaching slot, which needs to be as brief and to the point as I can make it. Research shows that people switch off after 20 minutes, so, say it clearly once, then check for questions, then move to the demonstration (if you’re going to use one), then move to the practical exercise. It’s when the group comes back together that the real skill of Facilitator is most productive. I want to hear some feedback from everybody. They will have learnt from their own session, and from their partner. Now they can learn from everyone else in the group, so my job is to get everyone to share as much as they feel comfortable to do, so the group can see the other options for ways of doing something. AND it is always ok to pass! My job as facilitator is to use the individual comments as further learning opportunities, and, with permission, I will want to follow up on any emotional discharge within the group to reinforce all the ethics and tenets of coco to show how graceful and powerful it can be.
If I were to leave someone without exploring their distress, then I have demonstrated to the group that emotions are scary things that we don’t explore, and that Co-Co is unsafe and cannot resolve issues. Essentially I leave a stuck client, and a stuck group at that point! (Of course I check with the client that they WANT to explore their distress before proceeding.)
So, after a lot of planning (and even more experience) here’s my way of putting a Co-Co fundamentals together so that I feel comfortable, and so I can make it safe and comfortable for my participants too! This plan is for the 2 weekend course, but the structure and flow would remain the same whatever format I was using.
Intro – Us (just a few words on the teachers’ background in Co-Co)
“Why Am I Here?” – a round exercise.
Co-Co History - the origins in Re-evaluation Counselling & Co-co
Name Game – ice-breaker and gets names remembered
Rules of Co-Co
“Have to…”, “Choose to…” – exercise to underline empowerment
Coming Back Into Present Time – the essential safety skill
Non-Cathartic Society – poster on bottling up stress & the antidote.
“What’s the Thought?”
Theory of Discharge – poster showing the benefits
Emotional Map – fruitful quadrant +/- and Active/Passive, showing transition thru Despair to Joy. Recommended.
“What’s On Top?”
Talking to the Cushion
How to Run a Session – basics, ie privacy etc
Business – geographical, who’s near who?
List of Techniques (that we’ve covered)
List of Interventions (that we’ve used) plus any others that feel right.
Feedback on sessions, mechanics, not content
Patterns Auction – useful model to generate “work”
Non-Verbal – a crucial skill
Guided Fantasy – finding useful artefacts from within, & creating them
Reverse Role Play
Personal Resent/Appreciate – choose the member of the group you feel least drawn to! Always throws up amazing results
Group Validation – Celebration with a kick in the tail
Resent Appreciate on the Course
Business – you are now members of the …Coco community
Full List of Techniques