an international peer-to-peer network of pairs,
groups and events, using co-counselling to help you
learn to
build confidence,
live creatively, and
handle emotions

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Co-counselling on the beach

Co-counselling poster

Co-counselling on a sofa

Co-counselling with movement

Co-counselling workshops

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About this site

What is CCI?
CCI is a self-run, self-help network of people who use co-counselling in order to make the most out of life. It’s been going for over 35 years. CCI stands for Co-Counselling International, and is active in many countries. CCI has no leaders – everyone is equal (peers), so it’s non-hierarchical.

CCI exists in many countries, especially in Europe, North America and Australasia. It has been going for about 30 years.

After completing the basic training course in co-counselling you will have access to the CCI network, and if you join a local CCI group you will receive contact details of other co-counsellors.

This opens up these possibilities for you:

  • You may work in pairs or small groups with others using the techniques you learned on the course.
  • You may attend the events described below.
  • You may simply decide to take away with you the benefits you got from doing the initial course, and decide not to join the network.

If you decide to attend workshops and/or residentials you can experience ways of working and playing together free from some of the restrictive interactions of the everyday world. The environment on these weeks or week-ends can be truly liberating. Workshops get offered on a wide variety of themes, and you can learn to run workshops yourself if you wish. The details of these events are put onto the CCI site mentioned above, but you can only access those details if you have the password.

Local Gatherings
Gatherings are usually non-residential and are organised on a local basis. They may be for a couple of hours on an a weekday evening, or on a Saturday or Sunday for four or five hours. We have an opening circle, goup and/or pair work, and maybe a part that is facilitated by someone on a particular theme. We also may eat together.

Residential Events
These are either a week-end (including the Monday if it's a Bank Holiday) or else a whole week. A small group (say 3-4 people) will book a venue and do the necessary publicity. The organising group will welcome people to the event, and host the initial opening circle which gets the event started. They will also devise a blank timetable structure, which usually has spaces for morning and afternoon workshops. Evening activities are generally more social, relaxation or fun based (singing, games, cabaret, dancing, bonfires, music, massage etc, or just chatting). Cost varies from event to event, but most are low to medium cost. Many offer cheaper prices if you camp.

The blank workshop spaces are then filled, as the event progresses, by workshops that people either want or offer. These workshops are either peer-led or else facilitated by the person who offers. They are either strictly co-counselling based, or non-co-counselling, or else a mixture of the two. The person who suggested the workshop makes it clear what is on offer. The workshops often have a theme (e.g. loss, saying goodbye, choosing, voice-work, body-work, sound and voice, dramatherapy, Five Rhythms, - the list is almost endless). You attend the workshops that appeal to you.






A note about challenge and support.... These workshops have elements built into them that are aimed to help create a supportive environment. We usually form support groups (usually 4-7 people) early on at the event. They meet foeveryoner an hour each day e.g. after tea-time. At the beginning of a residential attention is often given to helping - not just ''new people'' - settle in. This may be, for example, some group-building exercise, or a session-based workshop on ''being here''. At some events people may choose to have a ''buddy''. The point of all this is to help create an environment where it feels safe enough to take the risks involved in personal growth. Ultimately however, no situation is entirely free from risk or challenge. Also, if you need some support at a specific time, you may need to take the responsibility for asking for it.

Specific residentials

The following is a sample of what may be available.

Co-Counselling at Laurieston Hall, Near Castle Douglas, Near Dumfries, SW Scotland. There are usually two events:
a) One week long, usually in August. Numbers: 63 (12 children maximum).
b) One week long, usually in June, adults only. Numbers: 30 - 35.
This event has a truly liberating atmosphere. Children love it here too. The place is a kind of oasis away from ''normal life'', with wonderful home-grown food, shelter from traffic, a co-operative living environment and a truly wonderful natural setting - woods, gardens, loch, wood-burning sauna, pond, big old house. There are usually lots of workshops, and it may be possible to take a journey into and out of oneself. Look up on a dark night, and the stars shine bright.

Part of the 2006 group at Adults' Week

Co-counselling at Laurieston Hall Co-counselling at Laurieston Hall Co-counselling at Laurieston Hall
Co-counselling at Laurieston Hall Co-counselling at Laurieston Hall

Views of Laurieston Hall and part of its grounds

Here is what the Laurieston Hall residents say about themselves...

''Laurieston Hall is home to 20 adults and 8 children. About a third of us live in the main house, mostly in small groups, some sharing kitchens, and two thirds live in cottages or caravans. Most of us have part-time paid work. Each adult pays rent to the housing co-op and for the most part each adult or family is domestically and economically independent. For all of us, coming here is about making changes in our lives. There is little that we do, or attitudes we hold, which do not affect, in some way, everybody else’s life here. And most of us would say that, most of the time, we enjoy a high degree of co-operation and caring.

Much of what we eat is home produced. There’s a large fruit and veg. garden, and we keep cows, calves, hens, bees and pigs (three-quarters of us eat meat). We have a small shop for bought-in food, and during the ‘season’ we can choose (if space allows) to eat with the visitors to the People Centre events. Our heating is almost all from woodstoves and we have our own hydro-electric scheme which, when it rains (which is often), provides all the lighting, most of the other power and some of the hot water for the house. We try to use as little electricity as possible from the main grid.

A lot of work is needed to keep us functioning in the ways we want to live; we’re committed to sharing out this work as equitably as possible. ‘Workshare’ is the name we give to regular, non money-earning work, on which we reckon to spend 2 to 3 days each week, striking a balance between what needs doing and what we like doing. ‘Workshare’ might be: being on one of the committees (dairy, garden, land, finance, maintenance, wood) and individual tasks (eg. shop, bees, hens). We attend a Coop meeting and process fire-wood each week, and we all take part in our Maintenance Weeks.

The People Centre is a worker co-op, which employs some of us to organise and host holidays and workshops in the House from April to September. If you come to any of these events you are automatically on the list for the following year’s newsletter. If you are not expecting a newsletter but would like to receive one please write to us and ask for one.''

Laurieston Hall Housing Co-op, Castle Douglas, DG7 2NB
CCI-Europe Go to this for the international atmosphere - people from the UK, Germany, Hungary, Holland, Ireland, USA and other places. It's the biggest event 60 - 100 people. Lots of workshops usually on offer. The venue rotates each year: Scotland (1999), Republic of Ireland (2000), Hungary (2001), Netherlands (2002), England (2003), Germany (2004), Republic of Ireland (2005), Hungary (2006), Netherlands (2007), Scotland (2008), Germany (2009) and Ireland (2010).

Co-counseling vesidential venue in the Republic of Ireland
One of the splendid rooms at An Grianan, Termonfeckin, Ireland, venue for the 2005 CCI gathering.

McCoCo, in Scotland, usually in Spring. McCoCo website There are children's places available. This is organised by the Scottish co-counsellors and attracts both Scottish and English participants. It's run on the same lines as Unstone, and is usually at Wiston Lodge. This is a stunningly beautiful venue: the natural setting offers both the possibility of peace and seclusion from the outside world and an invigorating and stimulating environment for personal growth. The house has grounds, woodland walks and attached land amounting to 55 acres. The food at the Lodge is fresh and truly wonderful: the food at this event will be vegetarian. Sleeping accommodation is in shared rooms. You are also welcome to camp.

Co-counselling  McCoCo at Wiston Lodge Co-counseling  McCoCo at Wiston Lodge Co-counselling  McCoCo at Wiston Lodge
Co-counseling  McCoCo at Wiston Lodge Co-counselling  McCoCo at Wiston Lodge Co-counseling  McCoCo at Wiston Lodge
Views of Wiston Lodge and part of its grounds

CCI UK Southern Workshop
Spring and Autumn.
Either Earthspirit Centre, near Glastonbury, or Bawdsey Manor, near Ipswich. This is similar to Unstone too, with about 35 places.

Co-counselling and De-Tox

Early January, for four days.
Earthspirit Centre, near Glastonbury.

Northern CCI, Spring at Unstone Grange, Derbyshire
This is the Spring event in northern England, in a big old house South of Chesterfield, over a long week-end. Numbers are 30 - 45. It'similar to Barmoor only with more workshops, less child-focussed, and more opportunities for challenge, if that is what you seek. Children are still welcome though, and childcare is shared by those who either wish to do it or have who brought kids with them.

Photos of Unstone Grange

For more photos of and information about Unstone Grange, go to:

CCI-USA Near Hartford, Connecticut. This is the annual event in Spring organised by our American friends.

Wisdom House, Near Hartford, Connecticut: one of the venues used for the annual CCI gathering in the USA.
New Zealand There is a CCI event in New Zealand too, usually January.

Barmoor, Near Malton and Pickering, N. Yorks, usually July.

The annual week-end residiential in North Yorkshire usually encompasses a Monday. Numbers are about 25, very child-friendly. There are usally about 5 or 6 children. People take turns to look after children (not compulsory if you are there as a non-parent). This workshop has a very relaxed feel, with quite alot of ''chilling out''. Workshops are generally, but not always, less challenging than at other events. The location is beautiful, looking out over the North Yorkshire moors, near Pickering. We share the cooking. Low-ish cost.

What is a co-counselling workshop at a residential?

If you go to a co-counselling residential you will experience people each morning in the opening circle offering ‘workshops’. You might wonder what that means. There is a kind of classic format, which is not written down anywhere in any rulebook, but here is what happens in a ‘straight down the line’ co-counselling workshop’….

co-counselling workshop

Let’s suppose you are interested in working on a certain issue or theme: the theme could be, for example, death, eccentricity, ageing, food and eating, intimacy, friends, my home, schooldays etc. You can offer this workshop yourself. People who sign up for your workshop meet for an agreed length of time, typically a couple of hours. First, have an opening circle, e.g. a round of names and a quick check-in: ‘how I am feeling right now’. Next, a sharing round – what has drawn you to come to this workshop. Next, have sessions, usually two-way, in pairs. This could equally be in a group, with equal time. This latter is something I sometimes prefer because it keeps the energy in the group. Next, have a plenary sharing round, then, closing circle. That’s it!

This might seem rather simple, and it is a simple format. But lots can come up. Try it out, if you have not yet done so. But NB, there is a risk in offering a workshop: people might not come! They may prefer to go to a competing workshop, or have an afternoon off – walk in the woods etc. So, you may have to face feelings of rejection – uncomfortable, but maybe useful.

I like to offer workshops that really challenge me to face things I find difficult. Some of these are straight ‘co-counselling’ workshops that have a strong element of co-counselling, and others are ‘non-co-counselling workshops’. In such a format the ground rules of equal time may not apply, and there may be an interpersonal element.