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The central focus of the programmes is on the shared assumptions and values common to the wide variety of approaches called 'humanistic'. We work from the assumption that what fundamentally makes human relatedness, in the counselling as well as other contexts, valuable and helpful, is the quality of relationship and contact offered by one person to another.

Personal integrity, genuineness, responsiveness, availability are all aspects of what we might call 'presence' or the ability to be there for someone in a contactful way. 'Presence' in this context also involves compassion and awareness. Such core qualities are not so much learnt by the trainee as uncovered once protective strategies are seen for what they are and gently let go of.

In this process the personal therapy of the trainee, the capacity to participate in group experiential learning, the willingness to pause and reflect on one's own experiencing are central to an authentic unfolding of core qualities.

Humanistic psychology and theories that have a bearing on how we develop a sense of self and capacity for relatedness can then be used to inform the reflective process of the trainee, so that a wider compassion to the variety of human experience can grow.

Learning takes place through awareness, communication and meditative experiential exercises alongside an exploration of theory, practise and creative ways of working such as artwork, dreamwork, dance, ritual and movement. This blend of structures offers a balance of expressiveness and stillness, language and silence, seriousness and play that can make for a richly textured learning experience.


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