2008 CCI European gathering, business meeting minutes

Present:  Janice Wasser - DROR; Ursula Alberts - Germany; Margaret Anderson - Scotland; Leo Schroeder - England; Declan Reddy - Ireland; John Talbut - England; Siglind Willms - Germany, Marlies Tjallingii - Netherlands; Nettie Gruson - Netherlands; Ria Leenders - Netherlands; Peter de Bruijn - Netherlands; Till Walmsley - Germany; Katy Jennison - England; Elisabeth Macdonald - England; Sytse Tjallingii - Netherlands; Marjan Tuk - Netherlands; Julie Schwager - USA; Alan Trangmar - England; Sue Gray - England; Jan Pieter Hoogma - Netherlands/Scotland; Marian van Wijngaarden - Netherlands; Hans Van Os van Abeelen -  Netherlands; Corrie van Haasteren - Netherlands; Dymphna Headen - Ireland.

Apologies: Margaret Christie - Scotland.

Minutes - they will be on the CoCo Info website and available for one year for amendments, if you would like them by snail mail, talk to JanPieter.

The first draft of the minutes has been recorded by Julie Schwager during the business meeting. Thank you very much, Julie!


  1. Culture and status of the gathering - 5 minutes
  2. Teachers workshop - 10 minutes
  3. Report of the communities 15; 3b. Hungary 5 minutes
  4. Next CCIs - 5
  5. Organization of CCI - Jan Pieter's concern - 10
  6. Growing Together Process - 15 minutes
  7. Fundamentals? - 3 minutes
  8. Culture of the whole circle -- 4
  9. Midweek results - sharing round 15 min
  10. Closing Circle

Culture of the business meeting:

Marlies' proposal

  • Don't speak at the same time
  • Minis if necessary
  • Mind the echo in the room, speak clearly and loudly
  • Not confidential unless requested
  • We can make proposals, and may decide the sequence of European CCI's

Teacher's workshop - report by Sue Gray

  • 15 people came
  • People from UK, England, Scotland, Netherlands, Israel and Germany
  • Invitation was to teachers and anyone else interested in the development of CCI so not all were teachers
  • Started with culture setting and creating an agenda
  • Agenda
    • time to come to gather and appreciate cocounseling
    • Accreditations
    • creative options
    • Social networking or not
    • teacher's responsibility in the development of the ongoing community
    • increasing involvement in cocounseling, marketing recruitment retention
    • cocounseling and diversity
    • evidence based research
  • Action
    • energy for looking and doing new things around teaching
    • good connections across the countries
    • testimonial flyer that is going around for people to write about their experiences#
    • workshop has happened about marketing and action from that is to create an international e group and notes will be available with many ideas. Teachers' interests and energy choose who the targets for the classes are. The marketing will be targeted. An easy description - people coming together and helping each other with life. Some information from Mark Burns' website.
    • Potentially another teacher forum or development forum early next year.
  • Diversity - Better safe than sorry means we don't take chances; Better sorry than safe helps us take a chance to change
  • Respect the difference before even understanding the difference.
  • When finishing fundamentals, what is the process for new cocounselors to be admitted to the community - shared information across communities and shared forms.
  • Minutes for Teachers workshop - Sue will check with everyone and if its ok, Jan Pieter will distribute to everyone.

Report from communities

  • Germany - Till - the Munster community is the main centre and there are a few spread around, Rudolph is from Hamburg and there are a few people in Hamburg.  In Münster it has grow throughout 30 years from when it was started by Johannes and Siglind  They encourage people in their therapy to do fundamentals.  Johannes and Siglind are passing it on as they are getting older.  Everyone who has done fundamentals are on a list and everyone in the community can access it.  About 200 people are on the list, but some are not very active.  This is mainly focussed on one place, in an old farmhouse where 3 or 4 fundamentals are offered a year.  The rooms are open day time, evening and weekends to meet in pairs or three way counselling. There are monthly gatherings for meeting in a group.  About 10 active teachers and about 25 trained teachers. Getting off therapy and wider spread, very content with process.  Organization team for the 2009 CCI are all newcomers. Insurance agencies have now accepted CCI as self help.
  • DROR - Janice shared a lot in circle about the history of DROR. There is a small drop in number of fundamentals, there are two active teachers teaching now, one offered a teacher's course to hope for more teachers.  There is a special effort to encourage candidates for teachers.  There will be a workshop about this.  Got very generous support from anonymous donors and from the Scottish community, gave scholarships to people who attended this CCI in Scotland and they will be giving a workshop to bring what they learned here.  Marlies and Sytse will return in February to teach some more.  Avi is actively teaching in 3 prisons.  One teacher runs a parenting class. The Yaffa group has been running for 30 years, that is not only cocounseling, new people are invited all the time and cocounseling principals in this group.  One person got money back from social support for fundamentals.
  • Scotland - JanPieter - There is a diversity project going on within Scotland, clear labelling of approaches: Rose and Richard teach the Cathartic approach and Jan Pieter and others teach the Cornucopia approach. There is an influx of young people and they don't join the larger community, they form their own group. This is a challenge.  They are going to experiment more with how to encourage cocounseling dating for common interests, across generations (not for romantic and sexual connections).  For example, women's group between 30 and 40 around issues of wanting to have children/ career/ relationships etc..  Margaret adds there is an emergency phone group to get a session. There are community days. theme days and further skills workshops.
  • Ireland - Declan - the community is dying; there hasn't been a fundamentals in the past year or two. There have been meetings after CCI last year there was energy for 3 or 4 months in peoples' homes then interest waned.
  • England - John Talbut - it is a loose network of various different, 8 or so, active local networks. 4 residentials a year plus Lauriston which is Scotland and England. A dozen fundamentals each year.  One to One newsletter now an electronic UK newsletter. Sue G two relatively new communities one is Stroud in Gloucestershire and also in Suffolk. London also has its own magazine and monthly meetings.
  • Netherlands- Nettie G -Aimed to be a member of a large festival in June but the Spring weekend wasn't held because of the festival, but it didn't work for them, next year they will be a member of the big festival. Expecting more new cocounselors.  There are several fundamental trainings.  some don't happen because of lack of interest.  Marjan has a website now and they are integrating much more in the region newcomers and coming into the region and will be supported and they are putting pictures.
  • USA - Julie; We are running fundamentals, about 8 each year. At least 10 teachers. Mainly Connecticut, some in MA. Michigan community is growing, Beth & Gaia, they have started to have a small residential. Fred Wallace is teaching in NY and California. Next CCI is our 35th anniversary. We do periodic workshops on particular themes/topics. The cost was very high this year.
  • Poland - there have been 2 fundamentals in Poland.  One in Krakow and one in Warsaw.
  • In Hungary - (Siglind) Agota and Ildiko did a fundamentals recently and they have about 12 new people. They didn't come here for financial reasons even with big grants they couldn't come, health reasons. Saci and Donal were planning to come but they decided at the last minute that they couldn't. The same with Agota.


Next CCI's

  • 2009 - Germany - Everyone is invited. Newcomers are organizing the CCI and they are talking a lot about culture.  They have a lot of financial problems but they are working to solve them.  They also don't have a lot of holiday time.
  • This year it was very cheap for Europeans to put all of their money in one account and then transfer to the hosting country's account.
  • 2010 - Irish - Declan provisionally booked Termofecken and the only week available is Saturday July 24th to 31st of July 2010.  They will be looking for a deposit of approximately €8000 (€100 per person) next March of 2009. The main house sleeps 85 people, last time they had 65 or so, but the managers will be looking for 100 Euro per person.  They only have about 1800 in their funds.  They will commit to do it.
  • List of years:
    • 2009 - Germany
    • 2010 - Ireland
    • 2011 - Hungary - Siglind will contact the Hungarians and find out if there is a commitment to run it that year.  She will contact them in August. In October she will give the news to Jan Pieter who will circulate it world wide.
    • 2012 - Netherlands
  • DROR might want to run a CCI one year, and maybe do a joint CCI with the Hungarians.

Growing Together

JP's concern is Cultural Diversity

  • When he was at Hungarian CCI Agota raised the point that there was a negative background conversation going about DROR. She suggested that this was an unhealthy way for Co-Counselling to raise issues about people doing things differently. Eventually it became a point on the business meeting agenda. It was after this meeting that Agota and JP developed the idea to organize a CCI with co-counselling diversity as theme.
  • During last year's CCI in the Netherlands a new co-counsellor trained in the Cornucopia way was told by a Dutch teacher that she should not be there. The woman involved felt very discouraged and it was an important part of the reasons for her not to come to this year's CCI.  At the same CCI in the Netherlands a DROR person also met someone who told him that Israelis were dangerous people to have sessions with.
  • At this CCI there was a person newly trained by him that was told by a Scottish Co-Counsellor that she had done a bad fundamentals and should do the proper fundamentals with Rose and Richard.
  • CCI World News Service published an editorial on the worldwide internet about a month before the start of the European CCI in Scotland. This editorial contained several negative comments about this CCI. He felt outraged as these statements in his opinion depicted the CCI in Scotland as being of less quality than a CCI should be, due to the diversity of people the CCIWNS editor expected to attend. This editorial page has been withdrawn from the site due to multiple complaints. A copy of the web site has been attached.
    (item added post-CCI)

On a personal level he experiences this kind of incidents as appalling and disheartening, especially as he puts lots of efforts into running fundamentals and bringing people together in residential workshops like McCoCo and CCI.

He sees this kinds of development within the CCI culture as dangerous for CCI as it puts people off to join or to stay in CCI, let alone to contribute to the CCI community.

However appalling these events are, the key thing for him is: What can we learn from them?  How can we develop a way to live with diversity, especially when it is about problems arising in sessions between people that have been trained by different people? Or in a wider sense, how can people within CCI generally deal with conflicts, irritations and other difficult situations.

He thinks that we need to develop a CCI Highway Code. Like in traffic, Highway Codes generally provide people with a set of guidelines so that everybody can travel freely and safely to their own destinations without damaging each other and the CCI community in collisions.

If we can develop a Highway Code for Co-Counselling, we can develop diversity and avoids incidents as the above. Even better, diversity becomes a source of inspiration instead of frustration.

Janice brings up that Sytse gave a workshop on differences and celebrated people's differences.

John suggests that some of the things that JP brings up have to do with incompetent ways of handling relationships. We try to creatively learn from that and handle relationships in different ways. We have a Co-Counselling Highway Code already and people sometimes don't follow it and so we have collisions.

Marlies proposes that some people sit together to discuss having a code and using it.

Sytse - We have to think about how to go on.  We have some excellence here.  He wants to give everyone a piece of paper to ask proposals for stimulating growing together.

Alan - if people here think we actually have a simple written Highway Code he would like to see it. As a separate idea, he did at one stage begin to look at session problems:  e.g. things the client might expect the counsellor to say that they don't say, or things they might expect the counsellor never to say that they do say. You can look at this, start to classify how problems can arise.  Those that can find the time, could start to look at "what can go wrong in sessions". There was a comment that something similar to this was done when Sytse & Marlies visited Israel.

Marjan Tuk suggests some things can go into the members' area of CoCoInfo http://co-counselling.info.

This section delivered two proposals:

1.      Developing a Co-Counselling Highway Code
People interested in contributing are
Alan Trangmar, Marlies and Sytse Tjallingii, John Talbut, Janice Wasser, Nettie Gruson, Corrie van Haasteren, Peter de Bruijn, Julie Schwager and JanPieter Hoogma. Siglind Willms will ask someone of the German community.

Proposed approach (added post-CCI): Marlies offers to provide an example and a framework. Interested, contact Marlies, Alan or JanPieter.
For more info see the 'Co-Counselling Highway Code' project in the members' area of CoCoInfo

2.      Creating the 'Session Story Point' project
Sometimes sessions can go wrong. People can submit a literal description, a narrative of what happened in their session plus what they felt and thought with it. It may also include suggestions for how to cope with the "challenge", or how to get out of it once it's happened. The aim of the Session Story Point is to provide practical support to anyone who finds their expectations have not been met in a session, and eventually to provide the CCI with an overview of how to deal with challenges in sessions.

Proposed approach (added post-CCI): Alan offers to provide an example and a framework. If interested, contact him, Marlies or JanPieter.
For more info see the 'Session Story Point' project in the members' area of CoCoInfo http://co-counselling.info

Fundamentals - Who can propose something to amend the 40 hours fundamentals requirement in CCI residential flyers?

These ideas were suggested during the meeting:

  • Alan - "Participants must have a 40 hours fundamentals with a teacher who is accepted by the organizing committee of CCI Germany"
  • Jan Pieter - "Participants must feel sufficiently confident as client and as co-counsellor in a CCI setting." Leave the 40 hours requirement out, as this is not necessarily guaranteeing quality. Quite a lot of RC trained co-counselors entered CCI satisfactorily without having met this requirement, while some CCI trained people with 40 hours contributed to difficulties in sessions:
  • Julie will send the process that they use in the US to JP
  • CCI fundamentals with *acceptances will be considered by the organizing committee.

What was important for me in this first part of the CCI 2008

One sentence each

Marlies - Felt a lot of distress in the group at the begin and it settled down, very happy with afternoon circle of session announcements

Nettie - organized and ok

Ria - start of the process of growing together

Peter - Openness to receive and to give

Till - time table for people doing opening circle

Dymphna - Diversity

Katy - coffee

Elisabeth - demonstration of the way the cocounselors can handle conflict and work through it and still love each other

Sytse - discovery that diversity is much bigger and more beautiful than difference

Marjan - diversity means meeting and can also meet confrontation and how to

Julie - openness and feeling welcome

Alan - no real alternative but to trust the organizers to make choices because they have to and they will make their own choices.

JP - the idea of people coming together to run workshops, some for the first time in the workshop circle

Marian - diversity and other coming CCIs will be diverse so we have to live with it.

Hans -We are open for discussion and open for change and adaptation

Corrie - start of the process of growing together

Siglind - process started, conflict was solved by everyone's' effort and attitude

Janice - important to see that there was a sense of resistance to change that it is part of human nature but beautiful to see transition and there is a much stronger interest to overcome and to celebrate diversity

Ursula - participation

Margaret - afternoon workshop circle  tension has gone out of it.

Leo - I can choose to participate or not

Declan - to be accepted and to accept others and I've raised my tolerance level.

John - we've been doing fine

JP - wants to celebrate that more than £1500 have been given as donations and they were able to give more than £3000 for bursary.