Certificated courses

We are currently beginning to work on a structure for brief certificated courses, that can be offered to the staff of organisations by APPCIOS members.  We hope to be able to create a protocol whereby these courses can earn credits for staff that undertake them, leading incrementally towards the possibility of completing modules, and then attaining qualification as an APPCIOS counsellor.  We would welcome comments from anyone interested in thinking about this with us.


6 thoughts on “Certificated courses

  1. Hi, in trying to consider this request I am first left wondering as to how APPCIOS is defining the role of an APPCIOS counsellor?

    • Hello, Christine, it’s good to hear from you. We are currently working to evolve a way of defining and assessing different levels of membership. Our current thinking is that members trained within psycho-social settings, and with long experience of helping organisations to work therapeutically, should be called ‘organisational therapists’, as should those who combine organisational consultancy with individual psychotherapy experience and training. However, those who have completed only an in-house psycho-social training at a junior level of the hierarchy will need to be accepted in the first instance as ‘organisational counsellors’. They will have received supervision, consultation and theory seminars, and will have participated in self-reflective groups or therapeutic supervision. We would hope that we could then help them to develop towards the level of ‘organisational therapist’ through further training.

      We do need to consider how we will assess these different levels of expertise, but as a rule of thumb, it is the depth of capacity to use their own counter-transference in relation to individuals, groups and the organisational setting that we would be assessing.

      We also need to consider the BPC’s difficulties in relation to these terms. They haven’t fully come to a resolution in their thinking on how to distinguish psychodynamic counselling from psychoanalytic psychotherapy in individual work, and now we have presented them with an even more complex problem of definition.

      As you know, the BPC is not that familiar with organisational work. We are the first Member Institution to specialise in this application of psycho-analytic thinking. It is up to us to help them to understand our work better, and to come up with a helpful way to define the role of an APPCIOS organisational counsellor and an APPCIOS organisational therapist.

      We are preparing protocols that we hope will go some way to addressing this.

      I would very much appreciate your involvement in this project.

      • This is a really an interesting developmental journey. With the process already ongoing how might I become a usefully involved?

  2. Do you have thoughts you could post here, Christine, about how to differentiate between ‘counsellors’ and ‘therapists’?

    And perhaps we could also make a time to meet and discuss this further?

    • Hi Jenny,

      Further to your request I’ve found myself reflecting on various differences between my professional trainings and due to a presentation I’m preparing-I’ve looked at them for the first time in context of observational skills, and attachment theory, which i’ve tried to summarise in the following monologue.
      I’m hoping as a first draft it makes some sense to others, enough to develop the discussion. But if it doesn’t let me know and I’ll go back to the drawing board.

      And yes I would like to meet and discuss this further, do you want to give me a ring?

      I now realise that I trained as a nurse at a time when the medico/nursing establishment was just starting (after 30years)to respond creatively to the Robertson’s theory of attachment. A theory based on child observations that would redefine the concept of good practice within hospital care, and would challenge entrenched, although well meaning, professional defence structures.

      My counsellor training provided me with a further theoretical understanding of attachment. This, aided by my own experience of counselling and supervision; and with the additional tools of concepts as projection, transference etc enabled my understanding of events around me, and led to my being able to share creatively that understanding with the other-individual or group.

      In health services the role of the counsellor is increasingly associated with short term interventions, which I see as allowing awareness and a creative, albeit conscious attempt to affect a defence structure:I am unsure of short term counselling’s ability to dismantle defence structures.

      It was my analysis, however, that was to allow some dismantling of earlier (professional and personal) defence structures.
      This has allowed me a greater ability to grasp what the ‘patient’ might be experiencing; and it is this level of understanding and response, that I associate with psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

      This I believe supports your statement regarding the depth of capacity to use the countertransference as a tool to differentiate between counselling and psychotherapy. But also includes the ‘other’ the organisation in determining what a role is expected to achieve. As Professional guidelines refer to the minimum expected of the professional in their role, maybe the differentiation between counsellors and therapists becomes less confusing if we look at the minimal expectations of the roles.

      I am currently re-reading A.Brafman’s 1988 paper on Infant Observation, in which he compares the role of the observer with that of the analyst.(Int. Rev. Psycho-Anal.(1988) 15, 45)

      There is a lot of valuable thinking in this paper, of which one theme is the relationship of the observer to the baby and their family;and the capacity of the observer to learn from the experience and change.

      In trying to understand why infant observation is seen as running parallel to analytic theories Brafman comments that: “somehow, Freud’s renunciation of the seduction theory led analysts to concentrate their attention on the patient’s internal world and only psychic truth is seen as relevant.”

      This made me wonder if a particular struggle for APPCIOS in the differentiation of counsellors and psychotherapists is that these roles are traditionally related to a theory based on a patient’s internal world and their ‘psychic truth’. The external world/family has been given very little relevance.

      Brafman briefly alludes to Stern’s (1985)distinction between the ‘clinical’ infant and the ‘observed’ infant. And I wonder if this might be a key to aiding the BPC’s understanding of the application of individual to applied/organisational counselling and psychotherapy.

      When working with professions within organisations we have before us not only the professions defence structures, but their relationship to the defence structure of the organisation. And this makes me wonder if the core role of an organisational counsellors might be to grasp this awareness and share creatively that understanding with the other-individual/ group/organisation.

      The psychotherapist’s role might then be perceived as to further develop that awareness into an individual/organisational intervention possibly with the aim of dismantling inappropriate defence structures-see James and Joyce Robertson, ‘Separation and the very young’…..
      These are my initial thoughts written without having access to previous discussions, but hopefully written in context.
      With kind regards, Christine

  3. Thank you for such a helpful and full response, Christine. It will take me a little time to mull it over and respond to it properly. Meanwhile I hope that others will join in, and give us their comments.

    But here are my first thoughts: I am very aware that in my own first discipline – psycho-analytic child psychotherapy – clinicians struggle all the time with an application of psychoanalytic thinking that attempts to look both at the internal world of the child, and the child in the context of his or her actual external organisation – the family, and sometimes also the school, foster placement or residential unit. Our work gives us this opportunity, in a way that is usually unavailable to psychoanalytic psychotherapists working with individual adults in a private setting, where comparison with the external reality is often not possible. It makes us very aware of the process through which a child’s early introjection of an external organisation – as they have perceived it – shapes their internal world. Through a therapeutic intervention, we hope that they will internalise a new form of governance for their internal worlds – one that is more benign and generates less internal conflict.

    I am aware, too, that child psychotherapists also struggle in their roles as members of the organisations in which they work – often NHS Trusts – to understand and to cope with the dynamics that exist around them. In this case, the organisation they are trying to understand is not ‘other’ but one in which they themselves have a participating role. How much they can influence what is happening depends to a large extent on their position in the hierarchy.

    This is equally true for some of our other members: they may not be working formally as organisational consultants, but may be building or contributing to a climate of understanding within an organisation where they are managers, teachers, supervisors or clinical practitioners.

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