Prepared by Carol Driscoll & Dency Sargent, CCI USA Continuity Persons, May 1999

CCI in the USA was founded in 1974 by Tom & Dency Sargent.

Q1. What was your vision when you first set up your Co-Counselling project in Connecticut?

To have trained Co-Counsellors available to help support me and others in managing our lives.

Q2. What factors did you consider to be important in turning your vision into reality?

  • Competent teaching
  • regular classes
  • outreach to evaluate and enrol participants
  • a structure for support of teachers
  • a peer structure for maintaining and growing a community of Co-Counsellors
  • an annual CCI workshop - a way to come together to share and develop skills as Co-Counsellors; build relationship (community); and develop planning, organising, and facilitation skills
  • communication with other CCI communities
  • culture of validation

Q3. Which aspects of the Fundamentals course in Connecticut support new Co-Counsellors to settle into Co-Counselling?

The following work well:

  • a requirement that participants in (weekly) Fundamentals classes co-counsel outside of class
  • a requirement that participants in weekend Fundamentals classes co-counsel at least two times a week between the weekends
  • participation of experienced people in Fundamentals
  • setting up newcomers (especially weekend format) with an experienced buddy Co-Counsellor
  • seeing the teacher do his/her own work in a way that is sensitive to maintaining safety
  • in weekly classes, Co-Counselling space made available prior to the start of class
  • providing a list of class participants which includes at least the first name of each member and their phone number
  • working with individuals who have financial constraints; setting up barter arrangements, payment plans, reduced fee, etc.
  • culture of validation

Q4. What is available to new Co-Counsellors in Connecticut that might support them to settle into Co-Counselling?

These things work well:

  • availability of regular Co-Counselling events (e.g. once a month)
  • the opportunity to participate in day-long, weekend, and 5 day
  • CCI workshops
  • culture of validation supports relatedness, safety and belonging
  • staying awake to a culture of validation & importance of relatedness.

Q5. What other things have been tried to help new Co-Counsellors settle in?

These things work well:

  • having people repeat Fundamentals one or more times either sequentially or annually
  • offering classes beyond Fundamentals, "applied" and/or "advanced"
  • giving priority in the popular October weekend workshop to newcomers
  • encouraging newcomers to participate in the community by participating in the annual CCI workshop organisation/delivery, or the newsletter, or planning/governance activities
  • inviting skilled new graduates to repeat Fundamentals as an experienced Co-Counsellor to help demonstrate and model skills; may offer a reduction in class fee for taking on this role
  • inviting skilled and aware Co-Counsellors who have been around longer to repeat Fundamentals for the purpose of supporting the teacher, or apprentice teacher, and to provide feedback and observations regarding effective teaching, strengths and weaknesses; may offer a reduction in class fee for taking on this role

Peer support groups have had some success.