This section contains a series of suggestions to put on your own list. As the points on this list come from several people, each of whom has their own preferences, some suggestions will fit you, others not.

A week or more before

  • ask a Co-Counsellor to be your support person
  • make a checklist for yourself
  • put instructions on paper on how to get to your house by car, bus or on foot
  • ensure that you have the membership subscription checklist
  • make a list of those who phone you to say they're coming, and ask them whether they can give lifts if necessary.
  • In the Good&Newsletter they are requested to announce their attendance, so that the organiser will have a rough idea of how many Co-Counsellors can be expected
  • inform the other people who live in the house that an Open Day will be happening

The day before

  • go shopping, if necessary:
    • tissues
    • teas, coffee and milk
    • some extra bread
    • ingredients for soup
  • prepare the house:
    • ensure that the rooms are ready for Co-Counselling:
      • tissues + rubbish bins
      • labels on doors telling which rooms can be used for sessions
    • If possible clear some space in the fridge for food brought in to be shared
  • make soup, vegetarian if possible
  • if you cancel the Open Co-Counselling Day for whatever reason,
    inform all the people who announced their intention to attend!

The day itself

Before people arrive

  • enjoy yourself!
  • check the rooms for usability, tissues and rubbish bins if available
  • pull out chairs around the dining table
  • lay-out
    • coffee making materials
    • dishes etc. for lunch
  • get paper and pen ready for
    • making notes during 'Needs, wants & offers'
    • your celebrations to be written down at the end

Welcoming people

  • people arrive between 10-10.30 in the morning
  • offer new Co-Counsellors a drink,
    or get someone to make them feel welcome
  • find out who has not arrived yet
    decide whether to wait for them or not
  • opening circles usually start at 10.30
    inform everybody that the opening circle will start at a certain time

Opening circle

  • round of names
    if there are many new faces, have some name games
  • opening round such as 'good & new',
    ask for a volunteer to facilitate this
  • day-buddies for new Co-Counsellors
  • body-work,
    which means some stretching and awakening physical exercises.
    introduce one yourself or ask other people to facilitate this
  • mini-sessions (they improve the quality of 'Needs, Wants & Offers')
    • suggest that new people work with somebody they don't know yet
    • suggest that nobody leaves the room before everybody has found a partner
    • for yourself: 'how are things going so far?
  • other Co-Counsellors may want to work on:
    • 'What's on top?'
    • 'What would you like to get out of the day?'

Culture setting

  • how does the group want to accommodate late-comers?
    • Who opens door for them?
    • Propose that they wait until sessions are finished
  • explain what you expect from people using your house
    • noise and neighbours
    • other people living in the house
    • other wishes
  • sessions
    • which rooms can be used for sessions
    • where to go for walks and sessions outdoors
  • the money
    • fee for the day
    • subscriptions for Co-Counselling newsletter
    • ask for somebody to deal with the money

Needs, Wants & Offers

  • if you don't feel like facilitating this, ask somebody else to do it
  • have pencil and paper ready to make short notes of what people want
  • ask your support person to make notes as well
  • be clear about your own needs and wants
  • stress that everybody states what they need independently
    of what other people already have stated
  • give a summary of what people want, including the perceived conflicting wishes

Shared Lunch

  • be clear about what is required of tidying and central warming up
  • remind everyone to look after themselves
  • be clear when the afternoon session will start.
    • Warn people 10 minutes before the start of the Afternoon session


  • Ask for positive feedback about your facilitation
    • ask somebody to write down the positive feedback on your hosting of the Open Day. Also share what youfelt was good about the way you did your job
  • The closing circle itself
  • check:
    • has everybody paid?
    • ask for help with tidying up !


You could have (telephone) sessions:

  • to process what happened and to get rid of left-over restimulations
  • to read your list of positive feedback and to acknowledge what was good about your facilitation

Re-read this manual

  • Re-reading the manual can serve several purposes:
    • it can help you to reflect on what happened
    • and it can raise your awareness of missing areas and suggestions for improvement


  • if applicable send the network part of the fees to the Network Treasurer
  • if applicable send the subscriptions to the Co-Counselling newsletter.

I hope you have had a wonderful experience
hosting the Co-Counselling Open Day!