Co-counselling manual: a step-by-step guide to a fundamentals training

G. Pyves, Co-counselling manual: a step-by-step guide to a fundamentals training. Helmshore, Lancashire: M.G. Pyves, 1994.

Every single Human Being
at every moment of the past,
- if the entire situation is taken into account -
has always done the very best he or she could do,
and so deserves neither blame nor reproach
from anyone including self.
in particular
is true of you
Harvey Jackins


This co-counselling manual is primarily intended as an 'aide-memoire' for those who have completed a Fundamentals skills training course. It reflects the teaching concepts and philosophy presented by Gretchen Pyves and Mike Bray on Fundamentals courses run in the North West of England since 1983. These concepts are in line with CCI (Co-counselling International) principles as formulated and advocated by John Heron, but they also reflect the particular style developed by these two co-facilitators. This manual is also intended for those who are interested in learning about co-counselling. Please note that it is not intended as an alternative to attending a Fundamentals course. The skills of co-counselling are learnt by attending a course run by an accredited Teacher of Co-counselling.

A reference section is presented at the back of this manual as a help during co-counselling sessions.


Without the co-counsellors who have attended our courses, this manual could not have developed. My sincere thanks to all who have taught me so much.

Special thanks to all who have shared their ideas and suggestions with me, for inclusion and improvement, namely Barbara Heywood, Annie Boulton and Mike Bray. Trevor Moody is the 'ideas' man for the quick reference section for co-counsellors at the back of the manual.
Thanks to Jenny Moody for typing the Manual. My grateful thanks to Valerie Alferoff who has creatively reproduced my posters and provided the cover for the manual.
I am indebted to James Kilty for his comments and directions in the finalisation of this manual.

Would you like a printed copy of this manual?

You may find it in several British libraries.

Or you may want to order it
send £10 (includes p&p) payable "M.G. Pyves" to:
195 Holcombe Road,
Helmshore, Rossendale, Lancs

or contact her on
pyvesmaryathotmail[dot]com (Gretchen Pyves)

© 1994 Gretchen Pyves


CoCoInfo Tags: 

    Literature tag: 

    Fundamentals of Co-Counselling - the CornuCopia way

    J. P. Hoogma, Fundamentals of Co-Counselling - the CornuCopia way. Edinburgh: CornuCopia, 2004.

    This manual not only covers the Co-Counselling fundamentals, but also information about conflict, difficult conversations, creating your life, support and support groups. The  CornuCopiai approach of Co-Counselling is also based on principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Focusing and the Harvard Negotiation project. Its development started in the late nineties and it is still a project in progress.

    Contents of CornuCopia manual


    Personal notes and session plan - suggestions

    Workshop theory

    A. Fundamentals training

       Part 1. Co-Counseling culture

       Part 2. Co-Counselling Sessions

       Part 3. Living happily with your emotional truth

       Part 4. After the Fundamentals…

    B. Conflict and difficult conversations - workshop

       Managing conflicts and difficult conversations effectively

    C. Create your life

    D. Techniques

       Part 1. Core techniques and procedures
                  Contains also focusing, pain2power and video techniques.

      Part 2. Group techniques and procedures

    E. Booklet

      Rescue Triangle

      Feedback Form Fundamentals

    Many thanks
    Anne Denniss, Jill Brooks, Marian van Wijngaarden, Teresa Tinklin
    and all the people who offered their suggestions to me.

    CoCoInfo Tags: 

      Literature tag: 

      Co-Counselling Teacher Trainers' Manual

      J. Heron, Co-Counselling Teacher Trainers' Manual, 1998.


      1. Possible teacher training activities
      2. Consultation on workshop design
      3. Activities for experienced teachers present
      4. Two kinds of workshop
      5. Community building

      See also my:


      This manual gives a resume of some of my thinking about, and experience of, facilitating training programmes, using a five-day block, for aspiring teachers of co-counselling. Anyone involved in training co-counselling teachers is welcome to use it in any way they see fit.

      I. Possible teacher training activities

      The first thing I do is list on a board or sheet of paper all the different possible activities for the five-day workshop and invite the group to add anything I have omitted. My list includes the following. I give the items below in considerable detail so that the reader of this manual can use them. All this information would just be sketched in verbally when I present the list to trainees in a workshop.

      1. Co-counselling sessions. Free choice, random selection by numbers drawn out of a box, or criteria of pairing agreed by the group.

      2. Discharge groups. See Co-Counselling Teachers' Manual: Basic Ingredients and Group Work.

      3. Not-for-discharge groups. See Co-Counselling Teachers' Manual: Basic Ingredients of a fundamentals workshop and Group Work.

      4. Demonstration of 'new' techniques. The teacher explains techniques that are new to a significant number of those present, followed either by a practice mini-session, or by the demonstration of the techniques with a client or series of clients working in front of the whole group. These techniques may include: various kinds of body work, birth re-enactment, varieties of counsellor's role in psychodrama, projected rehearsal role play, future event counselling, lean ritual, spiritual celebration, counselling on spiritual potential, regression with reverie, conscious dreaming, etc.

      5. Analysis and practice of intensive or demonstration counselling. I, together with the group, compile and categorise all the different interventions which an intensive non-permissive counsellor makes. Members practise intensive counselling in small groups, receiving feedback on client cues missed. I demonstrate intensive counselling to show how rapidly it can go, how many client cues there are. The following table sets out one way of portraying client cues and counsellor interventions. Client cues are content cues and process cues. Counsellor interventions either prompt client to be active, or the counsellor is active while the client is receptive and responsive.


      The client's story: word/image/idea


      The client's energy: body/breath/sound

        Client cue: What client is invited to say Client cue: What client is invited to do
      Counsellor prompts Client to be active Evasive talk or analytic talk:

      how feeling, how being in the body

      find agenda critical incident

      Stated problem: critical incident

      Stated occlusion: imagine critical incident

      Critical incident: scan: forward or back

      earliest available memory

      Critical incident: literal description

      Literal description: psychodrama

      Psychodrama: shift level within it

      Monodrama: play internal parts

      Association: thought

      critical incident

      follow chain of memories

      verbalize insight/re-evaluation

      positive affirmation and reprogramming

      action planning and goal setting:

      Slip of tongue: repeat, associate

      Sudden aside: repeat, associate

      Self-deprecation: contradiction

      Evasive pronoun: first person

      Evasive verb: responsible verb

      Dream: literal description in present tense


      monodrama: play all dream symbols

      Lyrical cue: recite, hum or sing

      Rapid speech, shallow tone:

      slow down speech, deepen tone

      Distress-charged sound on word/phrase:

      repeat, increase, associate

      Sudden deepening of the breath:

      repeat, increase, associate


      Eyes closed or evasive:

      make eye contact

      Distress-charged movement:

      repeat, exaggerate, find sound/words

      Distress-charged rigidity:

      exaggerate, find sound/words

      contradict, find sound/words

      Matching or mismatching: treat alike

      Chronic archaic/defensive tone of voice:

      exaggerate, find its words

      Chronic archaic/defensive body armour:

      amplify kinaesthetic micro-cues

      stress positions



      regression positions

      frozen need expressions

      spatial quadrants and polarities

      Pensive cue: verbalize thought, image

        Client cue: What practitioner says Client cue: What practitioner does
      Counsellor: acts while Client is receptive and responsive Stated problem: hypnosis, suggestion

      Psychodrama: negative accommodation

      positive accommodation

      Negative talk: mirror with awareness

      Emergence of hurt child's story:

      affirm validity of the client's hurt, affirm their need for discharge and healing, their deserving of time, the past need for their defenses, the safety of this situation, the present redundancy of their defenses, the deep worth of their inner child, the value of this work of healing and their courage in doing it.....

      Chronic archaic/defensive body armour and intermittent rigidities:

      light holding, light contact/massage

      light vibration/pulsing

      loosen muscle groups

      light/strong pressure on tense areas

      gentle opening/extension of joints

      long leverages, psychodynamic osteopathy

      energy passes with hands, breath, eyes

      Eyes evasive: seek eye contact

      6. Theory sessions. Exposition of various aspects of theory with discussion and sharing.

      7. Teaching about teaching. I share with the group all of various aspects of teaching fundamentals that I find important, with discussion and sharing

      8. Distress-free authority and charismatic training. Exposition of the importance of true authority and charismatic presence, with role-play exercises for members to practise it, e.g. in culture setting statements, in raising awareness about lack of consideration and discipline in a class.

      9. Teacher motivation.

      • Mini-session or equal time in front of group. "Why I want to teach co-counselling". Itemize the patterns/compulsions and the authentic motivations involved.
      • Variation on this. Mini-session or equal time in front of group on sentence completion. The client completes many times the same sentence, "I want to teach co-counselling because ...". Or the counsellor asks the client many times the question "Why do you want to teach co-counselling?"

      10. Teacher Anxieties.

      • Task groups. In small groups members identify and list all their discernible fears and anxieties about teaching co-counselling. The lists are collected from the groups and put on a large sheet on the wall for use for further exercises given below. A list of typical fears include:
      • Can I handle:
        • the aggressive intellectual critic?
        • someone who compulsively invalidates the method?
        • the very shut-down client, the chronically self-invalidating client?
        • interpersonal invalidation in the group?
        • dismissing the chronically disruptive group member?
        • the despairing beginner who says, "I just can't make it work."?
        • the whole group shutting down?
        • myself when I am attacked and invalidated?
        • myself when I shut down in the group?
        • myself when I feel chronically insecure of myself as a teacher?
        • negative projections on to me as a teacher?
        • positive projections (sexual and/or other) on to me as a teacher?
        • demonstration counselling?
      • Can I expound theory clearly and will the class understand it?
      • Can I keep the group light and lively?
      • Will I be able to discharge in front of the group? And if so when and how shall I do it?
      • Will I be able to find light and elegant directions?
      • Will anyone ever discharge in my group?

      11. Teacher training role plays. In pairs, in small groups or with the whole group. Each person takes time to develop skill in the area of her primary teaching anxiety, taken from the above list, in a role play situation. Or I will select basic aspects of the teacher's role for role play skills-building, with incidental discharge to deal with any upcoming distress. Sensitive feedback from peers, after each role play, is helpful, followed by one or more reruns of the role play to try out alternative strategies.

      • Interpersonal invalidation in the group. Small groups of 4, A, B, C and D:
      • A is taking her turn working on her anxiety about inter-personal invalidation in the group.
      • B and C play two imaginary characters in a beginner's class, Jack and George.
      • Jack starts to attack George for repetitive head-tripping. D is the observer.
      • A tries out whatever strategies seem appropriate to deal with B and C.
      • A takes time out to discharge any upcoming distress, then resumes the role play.
      • Then A gives feed-back to herself. Then feedback from B and C and then from D the observer.
      • If alternative strategies arise out of the feedback discussion then A tries one or more of these.
      • Then repeat the feedback process as before.

      Each person in the group may take a turn as teacher, building skills in the same area of concern or, alternatively, in their own particular area of concern.

      • The shut-down client. I role-play a shut-down, self-invalidating, double-binding client. One of the group who has an anxiety about such a client comes out in front of the whole group to play the teacher to counsel me. If she gives me really good directions then I allow the shut-down client to respond appropriately. Then feedback from the teacher to herself, from the client to the teacher and from the group at large. When alternative strategies emerge from feedback these are tried out by the same "teacher" or by other members of the group coming out.
      • Theory questions. Small groups of four, one person is the teacher and the other three ask beginners' questions, such as, "Can you explain what a pattern is, I haven't understood that yet?" or "How can a person get better by indulging herself in tears?", etc., etc.
      • Theory exposition. Someone plays the teacher and spends ten minutes giving their first account of the theory to the rest of the group who play the beginners' class. The "teacher" discharges her way out of any mental blockages. Repeat with new "teacher". This may be done with two or three smaller groups.
      • Exposition of basic principles of method.
      • Exposition of basic working techniques, with demonstration.
      • Introducing contradiction, with demonstration.
      • And so on and so on. The imaginative teacher trainer can devise any number of role plays for would be teachers to practise needed skills, and to confront and discharge their fears about particular sorts of teaching exigencies.

      12. Teacher anxiety round. Each person takes equal time in front of the group to work in any way that seems appropriate with anxieties and fears about teaching. The contract here is that I make a lot of suggestions as counsellor, helping the teacher-client discharge on all the material associated with the idea of teaching co-counselling.

      13. Teacher assessment and accreditation.

      • Task Groups. Members form into small groups. Each group works out a consensus list of not more than ten basic criteria for assessing the competent and qualified co-counselling teacher. Then the group lists are compared, discussed and a consensus list of criteria for the whole workshop is evolved. This may be compared with criteria already in existence. The importance of this exercise is that would-be teachers are personally involved in setting standards for the assessment of teaching. They should not be expected simply to accept, without prior discussion, existing standards.
      • Assessment and accreditation issues. I present the difference between assessing teacher competence and accrediting a teacher to do this that or the other kind of teaching. I present types of assessment and accreditation - by self, by peers, by self and peers combined, by an authority figure or authoritative institution. Discussion with the group about all the associated issues. If there is an existing assessment and accreditation procedure I would give space to the trainees to explore their views about it. If there isn't, then I would invite the trainees to take a responsible position about a procedure and design their own version, after trying out the assessment and accreditation exercise below.
      • Teachers' hot-seat. Each would-be teacher takes the hot-seat for equal time. For the first half of the time, she receives from her peers all their anxieties and concerns, however minimal, about herself as a future teacher. For the second half of the time, she receives all their validating impressions of what she would be like as a teacher. In both cases, she listens without making any response. It is very important to precede this exercise with a statement that people's negative impressions may consist entirely of unconscious projections; so the client is asked to exercise great discrimination about the negative feedback she receives. Any residual re-stimulation after this exercise may be dealt with by a general mini-session.
      • Assessment and accreditation exercise. Everyone takes a turn to go through the Assessment and Accreditation Procedure described in the Co-counselling Teachers' Manual.

      14. Fundamentals design exercise.

      • Temporal design. I present and the group discusses different time formats for fundamentals classes: five-day workshop, double or triple weekend workshop, 8, 16 or 20 week weekly classes, etc., etc. The advantages and disadvantages of these different models are discussed.
      • Publicity and screening. Different kinds of advance publicity and recruitment together with different sorts of screening procedures are discussed. The rationale of screening is discussed. Role-play exercises can be designed for members to try out screening procedures.
      • Task groups. Members form into small groups and each group chooses a time format, makes a rough outline design for a whole fundamentals course on the understanding that it is only an outline to be used creatively and flexibly. The designs are compared and discussed. Out of this exercise, I hope everyone to be clear about the basic elements of co-counselling that need to go into a fundamentals class. I might underline this with the following exercise:
      • John's design. I present a complete design, typical of one of my five-day fundamentals workshops, showing how I put together what I regard as the fundamentals.
      • Teach or co-teach. A discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of both solo teaching and co-teaching (in which there are two teachers, both of equal status, dividing the tasks between them), and of having an assistant subordinate teacher.
      • Analysis of training procedures for beginners. I and the group generate a list of all the basic training processes in a fundamentals class. This list, from my end, will include all the items given in the Co-Counselling Teachers' Manual: Basic Ingredients of a fundamentals workshop.

      II. Consultation on workshop design

      The second thing I do is to consult and negotiate with the group for a limited time to draw up an outline programme for the workshop, based on the above list, including any items they have added. I will take a strong line on certain things which I think should go in such as intensive counselling training, distress-free authority training, certain other training role-plays, e.g. theory exposition. I propose that this programme, once we have agreed it, is in principle open to be changed at any future time. So there can be a consultative review and forward planning session each day to keep the design flexible and sensitive to emerging needs and interests. This review can be preceded by a short self-assessment exercise in which each member checks out the extent to which her individual problems and learning goals for the workshop are being met. Another model I use is that I take responsibility for deciding the sequence of training activities drawn from the presented list, but it is open to anyone at any time to propose an alternative sequence, in which case I will sound out the group to see what the consensus is.

      Presenting the list, adding to it, and negotiating a flexible programme based on it, will all be done during the first half of the first morning of the five days. Thereafter, for the remainder of the five days, we are all busy working through the programme, modifying and amending it as emerging needs and interests require.

      III. Activities for experienced teachers present

      If there are experienced and practising teachers in the workshop as participants then they can engage in the following exercises:

      1. Fishbowl in front of would-be teachers:

      • Sharing their initial problems and difficulties and how they overcame them.
      • Sharing all the excitement, delight, joys, pleasures, rewards of teaching.
      • Sharing their creativity as teachers.
      • Sharing their present anxieties and difficulties.
      • Etc., etc.

      2. Form in their own group, apart from would-be teachers, and brain-storm and role-play solutions to any current problems and difficulties in teaching.

      3. Again form their own group, and each teacher spends thirty minutes alone, writing out what she regards as the most important practical principles in teaching fundamentals. Share individual lists with others and produce a final composite list with each item weighted according to the number of people who have it on their original list.

      4. Practising teachers hot-seat. If a significant number of people in the group have attended a teacher's classes then that teacher can take the hot seat and the first half of the allotted time receive supportive negative feedback from those people. And for the second half of the allotted time she receives validating feedback about her actual teaching.

      IV. Two Kinds of Workshop

      This programme is intended primarily for would-be teachers of co-counselling. I think a clear choice needs to be made between two kinds of workshops:

      • A workshop for would-be teachers, and assistant teachers.
      • A workshop for fully fledged practising teachers.

      Both kinds of workshops, I believe, are needed, but I don't think they should be confused with each other. If the workshop is for would-be teachers and assistant teachers, it is a very good idea for some practising teachers to attend, but the main thrust of all the exercises needs to be to train, support and encourage the would-be teachers. If the workshop is for practising teachers, then some assistant teachers can attend but again the main thrust of all the exercises needs to be on behalf of the needs of the fully fledged teachers.

      V. Community Building

      A teacher training programme also needs to look at the very important and closely related but distinct activity which is community-building. I would therefore include some discussion on the following:

      • The provision and design of on-going groups as a follow-up to fundamentals.
      • The provision and design of a regular series of workshops for those who have done fundamentals. These may be anything from one-day to seven-day workshops for general co-counselling or on special themes such as spirituality, sexism, racism, social change, etc.
      • The formation of special interest groups to look at the application of co-counselling principles to particular areas such as school teaching, child raising, marriage, organizational development, etc.
      • Policies about, and strategies for, reaching out to people in the co-counselling community, i.e., drop-outs immediately after a fundamentals, lapsed co-counsellors, lapsed teachers, etc.
      • Developing a clear policy and programme about issues of social interaction and co-operation other than co-counselling within the co-counselling community. Also a clear policy and programme about the development and expression of human sexuality within a co-counselling community.
      • Developing a clear policy and programme about issues of decision-making in a peer community with an appreciation of the role of creative tension and conflict in such decision-making.
      • Developing clearly the distinction between directive leadership and facilitative or enabling leadership.

      See also: Co-Counselling Teachers' Manual: Community building

      Cpoyright 1998, John Heron, November
      South Pacific Centre for Human Inquiry
      11 Bald Hill Road, R.D.1 Kaukapakapa, Auckland 1250, New Zealand
      email:jheronathuman-inquiry[dot]com, jheronatvoyager[dot]co[dot]nz


      Suggestions for Exercises

      J. Heron, Suggestions for Exercises, 1998.

      The best activities are those you devise on the spot to meet the emergent needs of the situation. The following list is just to stimulate the teacher's imagination.

      See also my:

      1. Co-counsel with your assistant teacher before the class and split the class time between the teacher and the assistant teacher allocating different functions to each. Co-counsel after each class.
      2. When the teacher is restimulated get a class member to counsel the teacher.
      3. Discharge in class on "Being a good teacher". Generally it helps greatly when the teacher discharges in class.
      4. Keep Fundamentals Classes moving: lots of circles, mini-sessions, moving about. Have light, humorous, cheerful sessions.
      5. Having a few experienced co-counsellors in a Fundamentals Class, helps beginners move along faster
      6. The way co-teachers relate to each other has an important impact as a model in a Fundamentals Class.
      7. Write up what happened in the class, how the design developed, after the class, plus ideas for next week.
      8. Each one reach one: when a class member brings a beginner, get the member to introduce the beginner (name, where do you live, what is your occupation, how did you hear of co-counselling, what are your expectations for the class, what do you like about yourself, what good things have happened to you recently, etc); then get members to say in turn what co-counselling means to them, the gains and benefits they have derived from it - theory will come tumbling out. Have a mini-session of validation of each other.
      9. As a form of the good and new opening circle, have each member bring into class an artifact of their own making and display before the group.
      10. Ask "How is your co-counselling going?" in Fundamentals Classes always. Probe for snags, difficulties, problems, doubts about theory and technique. Counsel with class members on these. Ask also for gains and benefits from regular co-counselling. Enquire about new, sensitive areas that have been opened up, directions that have been offered or discovered and found helpful.
      11. For embarrassment: have a mini-session in which members take turns to whisper "dark secrets" about themselves to each other.
      12. Rational action project: get each member of the class to set himself a realistic practical goal for himself for the coming week. Have a mini-session on the material blocking the realisation of that project. Disclose to the whole group the direction that emerges from the mini-session. At next week's class review what happened to the project.
      13. Triad: one counsellor supports the client, another counsellor menaces the client and the client discharges.
      14. Triad: each takes 10 minutes as client with one counsellor and one observer. Then a 5 minute feedback discussion by client, counsellor and observer. Each takes each role, so 45 minutes for the whole exercise.
      15. Mini-session on self-validation: the counsellor reports back to the group what seems special about the client from the latter's self-validation.
      16. Use random selection sometimes for co-counselling pairs in a Fundamentals Class.
      17. Concentrate a lot on validation in the beginning of a Fundamentals Class series. Have four embraces for each person from other class members at the start of each class. Love your students to facilitate their learning.
      18. Have class members discharge on their reluctance to ring up people for extra between-class co-counselling sessions. Exercise: go round the group "dialing up" members who reply either "yes or "no" and the client discharges accordingly.
      19. Mini-session on the topic "Where, oh where has my free attention gone"?
      20. If you as teacher are shut down, teach the class light techniques and have them use them on you.
      21. Mini-session: have client and counsellor alternate a direction back and forth between each other, to elicit mutual restimulation material. For example such a direction as "I can trust you".
      22. The teacher demonstrates with a client before the class how not to co-counsel.
      23. Project: teach class members light techniques, then ask them to go out into the world and use the light techniques on someone. Report back the following week on what happened.
      24. For counselling the client on experiences of surgery: get emotional discharge off first; have client repeatedly recount everything before and after operation, gradually closing in on the occluded period; then have client recount a fantasy however bizarre about the occluded material, and go over and over the fantasy until the yawns come off.
      25. For counselling the client reluctant to discharge fear: let the fear come off after laughter; have the client say in a foolish baby voice "Dooh I'm scared" with a shiver (show him how); have client say over and over again "I'm frightened" until boredom drives him to face discharge.
      26. Be aware of the distinction between real anger - which comes off as quick, energetic righteous indignation - and pseudo-anger which is a fear-based rehearsal of violence episodes (loud and raucous banging about, playing the other end of the recording, i.e. the aggressor's explicit or tacit behaviour). Anger is not easy to get at; covered by real fear and real grief; a lot of laughter, shaking, tears have to come off first.
      27. For counselling the client on false guilt: have the client say proudly "I'm responsible for causing distress to those I love" then into discharge. False guilt is holding oneself responsible for blame imposed by others. It comes away in laughter, trembling, tears, etc.
      28. Simulated tickling: leads to discharge. But only approach the client as if to tickle; don't impose a further intrusion. A lot of tickling of the child is intrusive.
      29. Light level work: is important to get attention out for the heavily distressed. But you've got to be flip to hit the light techniques well. (The heavily chronically distressed person needs a 24 hour programme as well as counselling; he needs to be kept occupied between sessions).
      30. Coming off tranquillisers: the client may need a week of continuous counselling while the fear comes off.
      31. Think and Listen: in groups of four or five, each person takes turns (from 5 minutes to 30 minutes each) to think out loud on frontier issues in his own reflections on any topic under the sun. The others make no comment or intervention but give complete thoughtful attention. The client has a chance to push the frontiers of his usual thinking forward.
      32. Contradict overt patterns such as postural patterns, smoking, etc. A simple thing for class members do to.
      33. Creativity night: have members play guitar, read poetry, bring and share some form of self-expression.
      34. Approval stool: have client stand on a stool to be validated by all the other class members.
      35. For aches and pains: massage in dyads or from whole group, take pressure up to the threshold of pain and encourage client to let discharge come through.
      36. If you see one person getting away from you, getting shut down, try to reach him with a change of technique, activity or strategy.
      37. Daily goal setting: what is it I want to accomplish today?
      38. Name games: sing your name; sing your nickname from childhood; cheer your nickname "ra ra ra Tiddlum".
      39. Say "Whoopee" at each other in the middle of a sentence.
      40. Keep news and goods going round opening circle until everyone has arrived.
      41. Contradict your pattern in movement and gesture in front of the group.
      42. Play the counterpartal pattern, the other end of the record, in front of the group: e.g. authority figure and timid person are
        in counterpartal pattern.
      43. Mini-session: each says to the other "I see it's been a great day" three times.
      44. Say "Zest" three times loudly with arms outstretched.
      45. Two objects: teacher has two objects, starts them off simultaneously, one going round circle to right, one going round circle to left.
        • Teacher hands object to next person A.
        • Teacher: "This is a pain".
        • A: "A what?" Teacher: "A pain".
        • A: "Oh".
        • A then takes the object and offers it to the next person using the same dialogue.
        • Teacher starts object in other direction immediately saying "This is a hurt", etc.
        • High discharge when objects cross over at opposite side of circle.
        • Each object goes round the whole circle and back to the teacher.
      46. Demonstration then mini-session: contradict physical controls (e.g. open mouth wide, slurp and blubber, take shirt off, dance the jitters).
      47. Mini-session: to break up nodding controls, nod opposite ways at each other, i.e. one up and down, the other sideways.
      48. Validating circle: non verbal communication of affection by touching and looking at the client in the middle in a validating way. Use circles of 5 or 6 with each member in middle for about 4 minutes.
      49. Threefold milling: have everyone in the class simultaneously singing, moving and hugging, with each person continuously varying each each of these activities.
      50. Mini-session on toilet training: client squats on floor as if on potty. Counsellor uses phrases like "What have you made for mummy?", "Clever little boy".
      51. Mini-session on pram life: client lies on back on floor as if in pram. Counsellor looks into pram using phrases like "Cooee".
      52. Client stands before the group and sings the old song:
        Oh my papa, to me he was so wonderful
        Oh my papa, to me he was so good
        Gone are the days when he would take me on his knee
        And with a smile he'd change my tears to laughter
        Oh my papa, to me he was so wonderful
        Oh my papa, to me he was so good.

      53. To overcome speech as a control: where client is stuck on the recording and can't get at the underlying feeling, say to him "Don't say it, just make a noise that expresses what is really there."
      54. Male sandwich triad: two men holding a third man, all hold on to each other and talk about "big boy" material. Female sandwich triads on "nice girl" material.
      55. Quasi-validations: in a circle where an apparent validation is given (which in fact is invalidating). Get other members to imitate the quasi-validation so that the speaker can see it for what it is. Get speaker to practise an authentic validation.
      56. Mini-session: on the complete validation of other people in one's life.
      57. Mini-session on choosing: prior to choosing co-counselling partners for out-of-class co-counselling, or if choosing within class gets heavy. Talk over material about choosing and being chosen.
      58. Validation cards: each person writes a validation card for another person who takes it home and sticks it on to a mirror which is used daily.
      59. Lift and rock: to validate someone who needs it badly.
      60. Mini-session on embarrassment: whisper to your counsellor those things about yourself which if he knew about he would terminate the relationship. Start with the lighter horrors ("I drool in my sleep") and move on to heavier material. End up with secrets that are really hard to tell.
      61. Mini-session on alternating direction: "I'm in charge" back and forth between partners. Or "I'm in charge. No you're in charge" back and forth.
      62. Spilling out before the group: review the past week or the past six months without editing, in front of the whole class. Very rapid and spontaneous outpouring, stream of consciousness verbalisation. Let it all spill out without hesitation.
      63. Heads on stomachs: form a pattern on the floor, everyone lying down at right angles to someone else, with head on the other's stomach.
      64. Whisper appreciations of and to the next person, who then says it about himself aloud to the group.
      65. Validation of a distressed or shut down person by everyone.
      66. Choosing co-counsellors: raise the issue on the second week of an on-going class. Mini-session as above an choosing and being chosen. Some teachers assign co-counselling pairs. Others get class members to choose their own partners. Change counsellors around regularly; encourage people to change weekly; have some changing and some steady partners.
      67. Discharge circles: of 4, 5 or 6 persons, each member takes it in turn to spend some minutes in the middle of the circle, the others linking arms. The one in the middle turns to each of the circle and uses the same direction to each. The following directions can be used: "You really love me", "It's only fear that separates us", "Sex", "Together, you and I", "I like your body", "Hold me, I need your love", etc.
      68. Members demonstrate to each other in pairs how they like to be hugged and how they don't like to be hugged.
      69. Get people to say how much they like their co-counselling partners.
      70. Boast before the group about behaviours of which you are ashamed.
      71. Remember and/or imagine the way that someone who loves you talks about you, and role play them saying it all in front of the group.
      72. Write down a goal or secret, mix up cards and share them out among group members (no one gets their own card). In front of group read out the card and say how you think the author would reach the goal or feel about holding in that secret.
      73. Each pins on a card saying how he would like to be validated. Members validate each other in these ways.
      74. Regression session: plan class round childhood experiences. Use nicknames, play games, use child-like speech and thought; create a group nursery.
      75. Validation circle: think of a validation you would most like to hear, first choose someone you would like to have say it to you, then have whole group say it at once.
      76. Say "I'm the greatest ever" with knees bent slightly before group and find where you are holding tension; have the group tell you where they see tension in your body.
      77. Crisis exercise in small groups: you've just been told you have received a crucial telephone call. What could it be about? What should you do about it?
      78. Funeral exercise in small group: you are at your own funeral, so give the speech you would like to hear about yourself.
      79. Do the new and good opening circle in baby talk.
      80. Walking validation: let members take it in turns to walk around the room before the group in a totally proud and self-appreciative way.
      81. Polar milling: have members mill around overtly avoiding and recoiling from each other. Then switch to making real contact with each other.
      82. Mini-session on many positions: client holds a direction sitting, standing, lying, upside down, in a corner, etc.
      83. Back-lift dyads: interlock elbows, lifter bends knees, liftee places behind in small of lifter's back. Liftee is raised and lies relaxed and spreadeagled on horizontal back of lifter. Liftee shouts out "Me!" several times and discharges.
      84. Knee-support dyads: client lies on his back over horizontal thigh of partner who has other knee on the floor. Client shouts out "Me!" several times and discharges.
      85. Become one of your best friends appreciating you in front of the class.
      86. St Peter's Gate mini-session: recount all your successes and positive achievements throughout your life.
      87. Mini-session on your conception: describe in detail your parents making love when they conceived you. Be realistic and sincere but as validating of them as possible.
      88. Mirror validation: validate yourself in front of a full length mirror before the class.
      89. Mini-session on childhood glossolalia: the client spends some minutes in pre-linguistic "speech" - the sounds a child makes who is on the verge of forming real sentences. "Ecstatic" nonsense. Imagine yourself having a pre-literate view of the world and expressing your wonderment in sounds.
      90. Write on a card a negative thing you feel about yourself. Mix all the cards and have each person give a positive direction for the card he receives.
      91. Write a letter to your father or mother and then read it aloud in the class.
      92. Relate happy experiences in childhood in a childlike voice and in child's language.
      93. Melting-in dyads: counsellor says "Welcome home", holding client in warm close embrace. Client relaxes, sighs, luxuriates in the human warmth.
      94. Mini-session on interface directions: directions on the interface between the personal and the transpersonal. Such as: "I am", "I am that I am", "I and thou", "Our reality is in our relating", "I am human", "My potential is unbounded", "Forever", "You and I in present time", "Now", and so on.
      95. Loosening up: jump and shout; gyrate the hips in full circle; shake a violent dog off one leg with loud noises, then shake it off the other leg; tremble and shake all over, flicking and shaking the hands rapidly; take big gasping breaths and shout "Oh!" on each out-breath; stamp the floor violently, shake both fists and shout "No!" And so on.
      96. Name calling in a circle: each person says his name three times, first time in normal voice, second time louder, third time as loud as possible combined with a floor stamping tantrum.
      97. Laughing dyads: client takes a few minutes starting with very hearty artificial laugh, goes into real laugh, when this dries up straight back into hearty artificial laugh and so on. Counsellor laughs freely.
      98. Acting into fear: have everyone stand free in the room with eyes closed, and act into fear discharge, trembling hands, arms, shoulders, side to side tremble of head, lips, chattering of jaws, light quaking tremble of knees, increase breathing rate and make sounds on out-breath. Repeat this cycle about five times with pauses in between. Watch for those who slip into real discharge of tears, trembling, etc.
      99. Mini-session on chronological scanning: review a portion of one of the following: sexual experiences, physical violence (as victim and as aggressor), food experiences, "God" material, times I was rejected, times I rejected, times I was befriended, times I helped others, guilt experiences, shame experiences, separation/loss experiences, being mocked experiences, illnesses and accidents, intensely loving experiences, frustration experiences, my successes, and so on and so on. Positive experiences are of course lighter than negative experiences.
      100. Mini-session on bodily self-validation: the client validates the various parts, organs and processes of his physical body, e.g. "I have fine white bones", "I have rich warm blood", "My heart is strong and vigorous", etc.
      101. Direction-holding: the basic tool against patterns. Counter-pattern direction is like a tangent to a curve, it counters rigidity at one point; it loses its effectiveness after some long time. Then move on to another point with another direction. Some directions are curves in themselves, tangents at every point, e.g. "All is well", "I will live from this point on as if I were completely rational". The best direction is outside both ends of the pattern; use the other end of the pattern only when that is as far as the client can go.
      102. Contradiction: complete self-appreciation contradicts negative material in what is said, tone of voice, facial expression, gesture and posture. Contradiction can be used in all kinds of subtle in-between and partial ways to elicit discharge, if the client is too shut-down to take on complete self-appreciation. Such partial contradictions may be effective in getting discharge off.
        • The client grossly exaggerates the negativity of the recording in all four ways.
        • The client keeps to the negative content of what is said but says it happily, gaily, boastfully, with a "Whoopee" etc.
        • The client uses a positive verbal direction but says it with an exaggerated negative tone of voice, facial expression, gesture and posture.
        • Full self-appreciation.
      103. Mini-session on thumb: client sucks thumb as if about two years old; counsellor uses phrases that express invalidating concern e.g. "I wonder if he really is going to learn to talk properly?", "Do you think his legs will straighten out?", "You're too big to do babyish things like that", etc.
      104. Celebrate: appreciate your basic human capacities for loving and being loved, for understanding and being understood, for being self-determining and for co-operating with others - not for discharge, but for confident, joyful affirmation.
      105. To recover power, work on powerlessness. Deal with a "powerless" incident by:
        • Describing it and discharging on it.
        • Telling it as though you had power to handle it successfully.
        • Imagining you are a hero(ine) and telling what you would have done in the situation.
        • Telling it as though there were helpful figures present, whom you trust, supporting you.
      106. To recover power, work on powerlessness. Deal with the total childhood situation that has given rise to present feelings of powerlessness and inadequacies: by describing what your childhood would have been like if you had been a happy, confident, distress-free child supported by mature, wise, loving parents; or by describing how as a strong, confident child you would have made your parents behave (your counsellor can act the parent whom you are thus taking charge of).
      107. Relationship counselling. A counsellor works with two people who are in mutual restimulation. The counsellor works with each in turn using these kinds of intervention:
        • "What do you really like about him?"
        • "What is it here and now about him that restimulates you?" ...
        • "What does that remind you of?"
        • "How would you like him to be different?" ....
        • "What would you like him to say or do?"
        • "What does that remind you of?" ....
        • "What's the thought?" Counsellor works with any hidden projections that surface ....
        • "Can you describe to me now the real him, what he distinctively and truly is?"
      108. To work with confrontation and conflict. Use one or more of the following:
        • Identification check and/or relationship counselling.
        • Discharge on positive directions about each other in each other's presence.
        • Ritualise the conflict in symbolic aggression such as Yes-No shouting, back to back pushing with Yes-No shouting, each knifing a box shouting "I want to kill you", etc.
        • Role reversal.
        • Sharing and swapping what I think you think of me.
        • Rogerian synergy - repeat what the other says to the other's satisfaction before replying.
        • Build rational contracts and confront those who later unawarely break them.
        • Raise consciousness about the widespread phenomena of unaware dumping of distress.
      109. Work on cultural distress-scripts, on restrictions and oppression writ large throughout our society. Identify and discharge on pervasive negative scripts about children, old people, women, men, racial minorities, the handicapped, socio-economic classes, the third world, other nations and cultures, religious groups, the transpersonal. Set goals and action-plan to interrupt these scripts in your own behaviour and in the social world at large,
      110. Regression by reverie: See Co-Counselling Teachers' Manual: Explanation of basic working techniques: Regression by reverie
      111. Birth work: See Co-Counselling Teachers' Manual: Group Work: Birth work.
      112. Body work: See Co-Counselling Teachers' Manual:  Group Work: Body work also Active Body Work and Passive Body Work.
      113. Transpersonal co-counselling. See Co-Counselling Teachers' Manuall: Transpersonal Expression

      Copyright John Heron, November 1998
      South Pacific Centre for Human Inquiry
      11 Bald Hill Road, R.D.1 Kaukapakapa, Auckland 1250, New Zealand
      email:jheronathuman-inquiry[dot]com, jheronatvoyager[dot]co[dot]nz


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        Catharsis in Human Development

        J. Heron, Catharsis in Human Development. Guildford: Human Potential Research Project, University of Surrey, 1977.

        In the 1977 Foreword I wrote:

        "This handbook offers a comprehensive theory of human catharsis. Its general purpose is to provide a rationale for the aware use of cathartic interventions in education for personal development in interpersonal skills training. Its more specific purpose is to provide a theoretical complement to my practical manual on co-counselling techniques. The ideas presented here do not, of course, constitute the theory of the human condition that underlies co-counselling, but simply a theory. In principle it is open to revision as a function of applying it in co-counselling experience and practice, or in any comparable situation that allows an experiential research paradigm to be applied. The Contents provide a convenient conceptual map for getting an overview of the theoretical structure and for picking out items for ready reference."

        The manual referred to here is Co-Counselling Manual. John Heron, 3rd revised edition 1998

        In this 1998 revision, I have made some textual changes, and I have rearranged the sequence of chapters, putting the first four chapters of the first edition at the end of this second edition, in order to make the whole thing more immediately accessible. These four chapters, Chapters 4 to 7 below, present a theory of human nature and the human condition which underpins the discussion of issues in the first three chapters.

        The 1977 first edition already pointed beyond itself in the following brief statement: "The fact that the intrinsic stresses of the human condition are such that human behaviour can break down into distorted and perverted forms is itself a kind of meta-challenge - to transpersonal development, in my view. The first order challenge of the stresses is to personal and interpersonal development, but the continued vulnerability of this achievement is a second order challenge to cultivate the wider reaches of human awareness." The transpersonal, or spiritual, dimension of human experience is included in a variety of developmental settings in the following seven publications. The chapter on co-creating, in the sixth of these, most precisely articulates a theory of the transpersonal context of the human condition, to which Catharsis in Human Development points, and by which it is expanded.

        I am grateful to those with whom I have worked in basic co-counselling training workshops, advanced co-counselling workshops, co-counselling teacher training workshops, in co-counselling co-operative inquiries and in international workshops - in Belgium, England, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, and the USA - for providing the crucible of systematically shared experience within which the ideas presented in this paper - and their expansion in subsequent publications - have been developed.

        See also my:


        Aware Negotiation of Sexual Attraction

        J. Heron, Aware Negotiation of Sexual Attraction, 1999.

        Postscript by JanPieter Hoogma

        If one person is sexually attracted to another and there is some indication that it may be reciprocal and circumstances are such that to acknowledge it and negotiate about it may not be totally out of the question, then here are a set of possible stages for such acknowledgement and negotiation. The point about these stages is that they demand honesty, authenticity, directness and courage in both persons. They exclude dealing with a sexual attraction by compulsive seduction, unaware flirtation, innuendo, ulterior transactions, game playing, a whole series of moves and ploys that do not really acknowledge what is actually going on.

        1. The First Declaration
        One person is sexually attracted to another and maybe the attraction is mutual. Someone has to own it. Traditionally the male has owned it but only indirectly by some ostensibly innocent non-sexual invitation. On the ANSA model, one person owns it quite directly to the other, and to get away from role stereotypes, this person is female as often as male.

        The first declaration, if handled well, has an exploration clause. So it goes: "I feel vulnerable about saying this, but I find you sexually attractive. I would like to ask if this is reciprocal, and if so, whether we could meet soon to talk it over and explore what it means to both of us?"
        The important point about the exploration clause is that it leaves space for the other person to look at the attraction without commitment or subtle pressure to act on it. If you omit the exploration clause there is a danger that the other person will already feel trapped by unidentified expectations and demands.

        2. The Straight Response
        The one who is asked the above question needs, on the ANSA model, to give a direct, honest response: "Yes, I do find you sexually attractive." "I don't know whether or not I find you sexually attractive." And also, of course, a direct response to the invitation to meet and explore what the attraction might mean.

        If the person you approach with the first declaration goes into agitation, distress and general disarray on either aspect of the response, I would advise you discreetly, respectfully, and tactfully to withdraw. This ends the ANSA.

        Alternatively, the person approached, whether they say "Yes", "No", or "I don't know", on the sexual attraction, may directly decline the invitation to meet and talk. This also ends the ANSA.

        If the invitation to talk is clearly rejected, graceful withdrawal is nobler than compulsive pursuit.

        3. Clarifying The Attraction
        This is the stage when two people have agreed to meet and explore the meaning of a mutual attraction already explicitly owned to each other.
        There are two parts to this stage:- First, a sensitive reciprocal exchange about what each one finds attractive in the other, about the history and perceptions of the attraction, about the thoughts and feelings elicited by it. Second, and developing inevitably out of the previous part, a check for hidden projections. Each person takes it in turn to see whether the other is identified at a subliminal or near unconscious level with someone else from the past with whom a lot of unresolved negative, positive or ambivalent feeling is attached.

        If this enquiry shows that either way there is a lot of heavy projected material at work, then it is probably wise to end ANSA, because some sexual attractions constitute the leading edge of unidentified distress. In these cases, to act on the attraction is chaotically to displace and act out the distress to the mutual misery of both persons; the wiser course is to separate and work on the underlying material.

        Checking for hidden projections goes as follows:

        • A. Do I remind you of anyone?
          (repeat until B comes up with an association).
        • A. How do I remind you of X?
          (B identifies the associations and connections).
        • A. What's left unsaid to X? What feelings are still unexpressed to X?
          (B expresses these feelings to A as if A were X).
        • A. How am I not like X?
          (B consciously withdraws the projection and specifies how A is unlike X).

        If the projections, whether negative, positive or ambivalent, are relatively light, the ANSA can proceed. Never proceed without the projections, however light, have been identified.

        4. Clarifying The Circumstantial Factors
        The discussion continues, and now each person explains fully, without holding anything back, the details of their current life-style: whether married, whether the marriage is closed or open, whether there are children, whether existing relationships are honest or duplicitous, and so on and so on. This discussion moves on to a statement from each as to how free, morally and psychologically, each one feels about taking this attraction any further, given all the relevant circumstantial factors.

        Either or both persons may end the ANSA at this point. However, there may be some necessary overlap with the following stage, before a clear decision can be taken. Circumstantial factors may legitimate one or more options rather than others:- What diseases you've had....How many partners you have had....

        5. Clarifying the Options
        If the circumstantial factors seem to give some scope for continuing the ANSA, then the two persons can move on to consider awarely the full range of possibilities for honouring the sexual attraction between them.

        Here is one fairly comprehensive spectrum of possibilities:

        1. Enjoy the attraction but do not act on it in any way other than enjoying each other's company on social and recreational occasions: conversations, walks, theatre, etc.
        2. Meet as above but also enjoy nurturance clothed. This means non-erotic contact and embraces, warm and loving without nakedness. The sexual attraction is left tacit within the explicit warmth and nurturance.
        3. Go to bed and enjoy naked nurturance only, with no explicit genital sexuality and with a clear contract about keeping out of explicit genital sexuality.
        4. Go to bed to enjoy naked nurturance and leave it open as to whether genital sexuality develops, without any expectation or demand either that it should or that it should not.
        5. Go to bed with the mutual expectation that naked nurturance will develop into explicit genital sexuality.
        6. Plunge into bed for the celebration of unmistakably sexual passion. Of course, the two persons may start with the first of these on the list and have an open ended contract as to whether any one or more of the others may develop at a later stage - again as a function of aware negotiation.

        6. The Caring, Rational Contract
        Both persons commit themselves to a contract that they will care for each other by excluding irrational demands and expectations, by awarely negotiating every stage in the relationship and any change in a previously and mutually agreed stage. They also commit themselves to some mutually agreed and effective growth-oriented way of dealing with compulsive hassles and tangles that may arise.

        NB: Stereotypic male behaviour in the culture tends toward the manipulation, domination, and subtle oppression of authentic feminine rights and feelings.

        PostScript by JanPieter Hoogma.

        To make sure that you get the best out of your sexual attraction check, ask a third Co-Counsellor to be present to counsel the two of you on the ANSA contract. Several Co-Counsellors mentioned in my Sexuality workshops, that despite the ANSA contract they ended up in an unwanted sexual relationship. Apart from the opportunity to work on identifications, frozen needs and other restimulations, they found that the ANSA contract provided a mutually exciting courting opportunity as well (i.e. it fuelled the fire). This might be because they were caught in a sexual whirlwind without really getting down to the nitty-gritty of figuring out the underlying stuff. Having a third person present can help you to avoid this.



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          Intensive Counselling

          J. Heron, Intensive Counselling. 1978.


          Part II of this manual is a revision of the original 1978 text. It lists counsellor interventions under eight different aspects of intensive counselling, and concludes with my account of the primary qualities that distinguish effective intensive counselling. Part I is a more recent model of counsellor interventions. It starts with a four-part grid which relates both the client's content cues, and the client's process cues, to the counsellor prompting the client to be active, and to the counsellor being active while the client is receptive and responsive. This is followed by an overlapping account of counsellor interventions, simply listed under 'Working with content' and 'Working with process', and taken from Chapter 7, 'Cathartic Interventions' in my book Helping the Client: A Creative, Practical Guide, London: Sage, 1990.

          See also my:

          Copyright John Heron, November 1998

          South Pacific Centre for Human Inquiry
          11 Bald Hill Road, R.D.1 Kaukapakapa, Auckland 1250, New Zealand
          email:jheronathuman-inquiry[dot]com, jheronatvoyager[dot]co[dot]nz


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            Co-counselling teacher's manual

            J. Heron, Co-counselling teacher's manual. Guildford: Human Potential Research Project, University of Surrey, 1978.


            This manual is intended for experienced co-counsellors attending my co-counselling teacher training courses; for experienced co-counsellors who want to revise and get to grips again with the basics of co-counselling; and for anyone well versed in personal development methods other than co-counselling who wishes to get a sense of the range, subtlety and effectiveness of the co-counselling approach. Anyone involved in the development of co-counselling is welcome to use it in any way they see fit.

            See also my:

            Copyright John Heron, November 1998

            South Pacific Centre for Human Inquiry
            11 Bald Hill Road, R.D.1 Kaukapakapa, Auckland 1250, New Zealand
            email:jheronathuman-inquiry[dot]com, jheronatvoyager[dot]co[dot]nz


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