Co-Counselling Teacher Trainers' Manual
1978, revised edition 1998
See also my:
Possible teacher training activities
Consultation on workshop design
Activities for experienced teachers present
Two kinds of workshop
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
3. Not-for-discharge groups. See Co-Counselling Teachers' Manual:
of a fundamentals workshop and Group
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
What client is invited to say
What client is invited to do
|Evasive talk or analytic talk
® how feeling, how being in the body
® find agenda ®
Stated problem ® critical
Stated occlusion ® imagine
Critical incident ® scan:
forward or back
® earliest available memory
Critical incident ® literal
Literal description ® psychodrama
Psychodrama ® shift level
Monodrama ® play internal
Association ® thought ®
® follow chain of memories
® verbalize insight/re-evaluation
® positive affirmation and reprogramming
® action planning and goal setting
Slip of tongue ® repeat,
Sudden aside ® repeat,
Self-deprecation ® contradiction
Evasive pronoun ® first
Evasive verb ® responsible
Dream ® literal description
in present tene
® monodrama: play all dream symbols
Lyrical cue ® Recite, hum
|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
® repeat, exaggerate, find sound/words
® exaggerate, find sound/words
® contradict, find sound/words
Matching or mismatching ® treat
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
What practitioner says
What practitioner does
|Stated problem ®
hypnosis, suggestion Psychodrama ®
® positive accommodation
Negative talk ® mirror
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
® energy passes with hands, breath, eyes
Eyes evasive ® seek eye
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
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.
10. Teacher Anxieties.
Mini-session or equal time in front of group. "Why I want to teach
co-counselling". Itemize the patterns/compulsions and the authentic motivations
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?"
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:
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
the aggressive intellectual critic?
someone who compulsively invalidates the method?
the very shut-down client, the chronically self-invalidating
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?
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?
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
A tries out whatever strategies seem appropriate to deal with B
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
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.
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
13. Teacher assessment and accreditation.
14. Fundamentals design exercise.
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 pressent 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'
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
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:
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.
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.
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:
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
A workshop for would-be teachers, and assistant teachers.
A workshop for fully fledged practising 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:
See also: Co-Counselling Teachers' Manual: Community
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.
Copyright John Heron, November 1998