A Definition of Co-Counselling International
Co-Counselling International (CCI) is a planet-wide association of individuals
and local networks committed to affirm a core discipline of co-counselling
while encouraging - on an international and co-operative basis - the advancement
of sound theory, effective practice, network development and planetary
transformation. Local networks of co-counsellors within CCI are independent,
self-governing peer organisations, exploring ways of being effective social
structures while avoiding all forms of authoritarian control. Any person
and network is a member of CCI if :
- they understand and apply the principles of co-counselling given
- they have had at least 40 hours training from a member of CCI
- they grasp, in theory and practice, the ideas of pattern, discharge
The Principles of Co-Counselling
- Co-counselling is usually practised in pairs with one person working,
the client, one person facilitating, the counsellor, then they reverse
these roles. In every session each person spends the same time in the
role of both client and counsellor. A session is usually on the same
occasion, although sometimes people may take turns as client and counsellor
on different occasions.
- When co-counsellors work in groups of three or more, members take
an equal time as client, each client either choosing one other person
as counsellor, or working in a self-directing way with the silent, supportive
attention of the group. For certain purposes, the client may request
co-operative interventions by two or more counsellors.
- The client is in charge of their session in at least seven ways:
- trusting and following the living process of liberation emerging
- choosing at the start of the session one of three contracts given
in no. 9 below
- choosing within the first two contracts what to work on and how
- being free to change the contract during their session
- having a right to accept or disregard interventions made by the
- being responsible for keeping a balance of attention
- being responsible for working in a way that does not harm themselves,
the counsellor, other people, or the environment
- The client's work is their own deep process. It may include, but
is not restricted to:
CCI takes the view that the first of these is a secure foundation for
the other four.
- discharge and re-evaluation on personal distress and cultural
- celebration of personal strengths
- creative thinking at the frontiers of personal belief
- visualising future personal and cultural states for goal-setting
- extending consciousness into transpersonal states
- The role of the counsellor is to:
- give full, supportive attention to the client at all times
- intervene in accordance with the contract chosen by the client
- inform the client about time at the end of the session and whenever
the client requests
- end the session immediately if the client becomes irresponsibly
harmful to themselves, the counsellor, other people, or the environment
- The counsellor's intervention is a behaviour that facilitates the
client's work. It may be verbal, and/or nonverbal through eye contact,
facial expression, gesture, posture or touch.
- A verbal intervention is a practical suggestion about what the client
may say or do as a way of enhancing their working process within the
session. It is not a stated interpretation or analysis and does not
give advice. It is not driven by counsellor distress and is not harmful
or invasive. It liberates client autonomy and self-esteem.
- The main use of nonverbal interventions is to give sustained, supportive
and distress-free attention: being present for the client in a way that
affirms and enables full emergence. This use is the foundation of all
three contracts given below. Nonverbal interventions can also be used
to elaborate verbal interventions; or to work on their own in conveying
a practical suggestion; or, in the case of touch, to release discharge
through appropriate kinds of pressure, applied movement or massage.
- The contract which the client chooses at the start of the session
is an agreement about time, and primarily about the range and type of
intervention the counsellor will make. The three kinds of contract are:
- Free attention
- The counsellor makes no verbal interventions and only uses nonverbal
interventions to give sustained, supportive attention. The client
is entirely self-directing in managing their own working process.
- The counsellor is alert to what the client misses and makes some
interventions of either kind to facilitate and enhance what the
client is working on. There is a co-operative balance between client
self-direction and counsellor suggestions.
- The counsellor makes as many interventions as seem necessary
to enable the client to deepen and sustain their process, hold a
direction, interrupt a pattern and liberate discharge. This may
include leading a client in working areas being omitted or avoided.
The counsellor may take a sensitive, finely-tuned and sustained
- Counsellors have a right to interrupt a client's session if they
are too heavily restimulated by what the client is working on and so
cannot sustain effective attention. If, when they explain this to the
client, the client continues to work in the same way, then they have
a right to withdraw completely from the session.
- Whatever a client works on in a session is confidential. The counsellor,
or others giving attention in a group, do not refer to it in any way
in any context, unless the client has given them explicit, specific
permission to do so. It is, however, to be taken into account, where
relevant, by the counsellor in future sessions with the same client.