The Definition of Co-Counselling and The Co-Counselling International

John Talbut

March 1993 version.


The Co-Counselling International is a network of individuals and groups.

Membership

Any person or group who:

  1. understands and complies with the principles of International Co-Counselling, and
  2. has had at least 40 hours of training from a member of The Co-Counselling International, and
  3. understands the concepts and workings of patterns, catharsis or discharge and re-evaluation

is a member of The Co-Counselling International.

The Principles of International Co-Counselling

1) Co-counsellors work in pairs or in groups with one person working (the client) and one or more people helping them (the counsellor(s)).

2) In every session (normally, but not necessarily, one occasion) each person spends the same time being the client.

3) The client is in charge.

4) The only requirements of counsellors are that they give their full attention to the client and they inform the client about time at the end of their part of the session and at such other times as the client requests.

5) Any message that is given by the counsellor to the client either verbally or by changing expression or body position is an intervention. The counsellor making themselves comfortable in a way that does not appear to relate to the client's material is not an intervention.

6) Contracts must be made before starting work. The contract consists of an agreement on time and a statement by the client of the type of interventions that the client requires.

The types of contract are:

  • Free attention: the counsellor makes no interventions.
  • Normal: the counsellor may make interventions if they think it is appropriate to help the client in the way they are working.
  • Intensive: the counsellor may make as many interventions as they think necessary to hold a direction or to discharge. The interventions may be intended to suggest redirections to the client to deal with material or work in ways that they may have missed or seem to be avoiding.

The client may change the type of interventions that they require at any time.

7) All material that is worked on in a session is confidential to the client and may not be mentioned by anyone else, even in private discussion with the client or in other sessions, without the client's specific permission.

8) Counsellors must not offer anything:

  • That could imply an opinion about the client or the client's material
  • That could undermine the client's self direction
  • That could imply any anxiety in the counsellor about the client discharging
  • That might harm a client.

9) Clients can work in any way that does not contravene these principles and they can ask for any form of assistance from their counsellors. Counsellors may only do anything that is a co-counselling intervention but they are only obliged to give attention.

10) Clients may not do anything that might cause damage or harm to people or things.

11) Counsellors are not obliged to give attention to clients who are not complying with these principles.

12) Counsellors are not obliged to give attention if they are unable to do so because they are being too heavily restimulated by the client's material
and: they have told the client that this is so
and: the client continues to work on the material in a way which is restimulating.