'Know Yourself!' ...Co-Counselling TrainingA two-weekend course that gives you both a therapeutic experience in its own right, plus all the skills to use co-counselling, for the rest of your life!
At the mercy of emotions?
There’s no magic formula for happiness – and we all know that. But I can think one sure-fire way to be miserable, and that’s to have no awareness of my emotions and what they mean when they come tumbling out of the pot, interrupting what I had planned for myself. The less I know about my emotions the less control I have over my world, and the less I can feel free to create what I want for myself. So my aim is to…
Know your defences
Would you try to make friends with someone as prickly as this? Probably not. But defences such as these, that protect our soft core, are there for a reason. Trouble is, those reasons often no longer exist: they were needed long ago, but have now become an out-of-date habit.
And, our defences don’t always look like those of the above cactus, either: defences can take all sorts of shape, such as routinely withdrawing from or not trusting people, or blaming others, or rescuing others, or being angry instead of sad, or…. etc. etc. This course will help you explore your own patterns that may feel familiar but that you no longer need. And you may find out more about what you are protecting.
But just in case you are concerned that you’ll have to expose yourself in a group of strangers, I want you to know that my experience tells me that defences have to be respected and treated with care: there’s no rush, and there’s nothing more important, on a course like, this than safety.
Where do you come from?
Therapy is not just about talking about your mother! This course, and co-counselling, and therapy, is about what’s going on in your current life, and right now in this moment, and in your thoughts about the future. But, those first years of our life were huge in their influence on who we have become. I think there’s no getting away from that.
It’s therefore most useful to visit our feelings about those first relationships that we had that were so formative. So, if you’re up for it (and only if you are up for it), here is a chance to explore those relationships, even if Mum and/or Dad are no longer around… or never were.
The picture is of my parents on their wedding day, Saturday 9th July 1949.
Why choose me as your trainer?
I always try to hold a balance between a) holding the group, always paying attention to the space and to the task, and b) being open with you and undefended about who I am. So, whilst the course is for you and I am there to serve you, I will also be present as one more human being trying to find a productive way through this wonderful life. What helps me do that? You could check out my qualifications, but I believe that it’s my years spent working as a therapist and moreover my years working on my own stuff that help me in this.
‘Richard creates a safe and supportive environment and encourages me to be conscious and present to my feelings allowing me freedom to express to release and potentially heal. I have found his groups friendly, playful, intense and meaningful experiences. I leave with a greater acceptance of myself, aspirations for self-development and I continue to gain a deeper understanding of how I feel in response to others. I am always eager to return to the authenticity and learn from his valuable processes and courses. Thank you Richard for your efforts to the Whole. I can’t praise and recommend him enough.’
I have led this course 14 times since 2002
I have participated in 96 co-counselling residential workshops since 1992
Number of individuals seen by me for personal therapy or counselling 1993 - 2018
I am so busy with psychotherapy clients that I offer this course only once per year. Book now whilst it's available!
In 1992, this course completely changed my life.
When I first participated in a co-counselling course in 1992 it had a big impact on how I viewed myself, and how I held back from relating authentically with the world. What I got most from that course was a sense of freedom to be myself – I felt I had permission to explore inside myself without being disapproved of if I found something unpleasant.
I eventually learned to give expression to the joy inside me, as well as explore the more difficult and sometimes hidden sides: anger, shame, grief. I learned that it’s OK to cry, to sing, to dance, to yawn, to celebrate, to be quiet, to NOT know.
This in turn helped me reach out to the world and grasp life, instead of waiting in my comfort zone.
What’s the ‘Co-‘ bit about?
First, the technical answer to the above question:
One person in a pair is ‘client’ first, for an agreed length of time (e.g. 18 minutes), and then they swap over: the ‘counsellor’ becomes the ‘client’. They are usually not professional therapists, and have both learned a set of skills on the course.
If it’s done in a group, then each individual gets the same amount of time as client as everyone else (e.g. five people in a one-hour group each get 12 minutes each).
Now, the non-technical answer:
There is an important element of peer-ness and equality in doing co-counselling, so that you know that anyone with whom you work on your ‘stuff’ (a.k.a ‘issues’) is also going to be working on their stuff too. Thus, it’s never, ‘you the expert and me the patient’.
A special kind of listening
I trained in my 20’s in foreign languages, and in my 30’s in music, and in my 40’s in psychotherapy. It took me a while to realise that these are all strongly linked, all refining my skill in listening. But now I realise that therapy and co-counselling is not just about listening to what goes on around me: it’s about checking in with myself and listening to me, myself. And this self that I am listening to is a body, mind and soul that needs attending to so that I get the most out of life.
On this course you will get the opportunity and skills to listen to yourself in ways that you need and can profit by.
A unique course is on offer…
Co-counselling can be explained in a fairly rational or intellectual way, such that you can understand how it works technically. But I want to go far beyond that: I want to help my course members have a transformative experience that is utterly unforgettable.
I therefore continually refine my course so that it has activities, structures and approaches that deliver an experiential learning (the above photo is a ‘Talking Stick’) that stays with you: learn by doing, feeling and thinking, all 3 combined: I plan for you to have…
two weekends to remember!
for the rest of your life.
‘On the Fundamentals course I accessed painful memories, but thanks to Richard’s skillful facilitation, never felt overwhelmed. He provided a safe space to express hurts, but also to celebrate achievements and share laughter. I discovered that I’m a stronger, richer mix of qualities than I’d previously thought…
‘As a Co-Counselling facilitator Richard is unfailingly professional and unfailingly human. His professionalism means you get a quality learning experience and feel safe with his control of the group. His humanity is evident in the way he presents himself as someone who has shared the same difficult experiences as the rest of us…
‘People ask “What do you mean it’s fun?!” when I tell them about the Fundamentals of Co-Counselling with Richard Mills. They have the idea that counselling is a bleak desent into one’s pain. Richard did invite us to deal with painful memories, but he also had us laughing and celebrating what’s good about ourselves. So I dealt with painful memories from a more positive, resourseful position. Richard’s own sense of humour and enthusiasm provides an environment which makes this all the easier.’
Pip Shippey, York
This is where Co-counselling came in. After a long search on the internet and pondering which course might be beneficial I took the plunge and signed up. At the time I was looking for a course I would feel safe. This was very important to me and I had the good fortune of having met Richard Mills the facilitator more than 20 years ago. I followed my gut instinct which was on this occasion to trust the process.
Once we established that the fact we knew each other would not get in the way of the training I made the commitment to attend an introductory co-counselling session. That’s where the journey began. Curiosity and fear combined, I realised this wouldn’t be an easy journey and to stretch my comfort zone I knew, there would be no gain without pain. I didn’t want to delve into past issues after all on one hand I believed I was, in general, managing OK. Or at least that’s what I wanted to believe. Reflecting upon my thoughts, feelings and behaviours to my past started with immediate effect. Self-awakenings started to pop up for me on a regular basis.
Two weeks later the course began with a small group of others like me, seeking or wanting to explore something individual for themselves. During the course my mind often felt scrambled, I felt vulnerable and revisited some old hurts. The ground rules and management of behaviours are taught so that we have boundaries and can feel safe in each others’ company. There were appropriate exercises and times to have fun. I never felt I had to do anything that I felt uncomfortable with.
On this course I felt safe enough to share openly. I learned to connect to my inner bravery, felt closer to the inner me, better recognised feelings as they arose, became less likely to feel a victim of my circumstances, felt more comfortable being around others and with practice became less anxious around making eye contact.
Co-counselling is less about being counselled, rather, more about taking responsibility and developing oneself through learning to be a client. This course is highly experiential. The more I put into it the more I got out. I recommend Richard’s course for anyone considering learning the art of co-counselling. I got what I wanted from this course, which was to embrace change and be less fearful of the unknown.
I soon start my new role with my existing employer which has gone through a process of reorganisation. I’m now thinking of the positives of what the my new role can bring to me rather think that I’m being coerced into a job that I didn’t apply for. I have started to think differently. I feel certain that the new found relief of change has been greatly helped by undertaking co-counselling training.’
“I have worked with Richard in a variety of workshops and groups over the last ten years and have been consistently impressed by his evident commitment to his own ongoing growth and development. I appreciate his integrity and clarity of communication as well as the energy and generosity with which he facilitates workshops and groups. As a co-counselling partner I have welcomed his blend of support and challenge as an effective catalyst for my growth. I have especially valued his continued invitations, both spoken and implicit, to be and become more fully myself.”
‘…I got a great deal out of the course and it was very enlightening in terms of self-development. I very much appreciate the way you delivered it and have found you as a trainer, inspirational…I have already recommended it to friends as it has been a great experience for me.’
Part of the course group in November 2015