J. P. Hoogma, Having an Open Co-Counselling Day. Edinburgh: CornuCopia Publications, 1996.


What does a Co-Counselling Open Day look like?

Open Co-Counselling days run in different formats: sometimes they are on an afternoon or evening, but more often they take a whole day. Also there are Open Double Days: Co-Counsellors visit either on the Saturday or the Sunday with the option of staying overnight.

This is the structure of an Open Day. All these things will be explained on the following pages.

  • people come in and have a drink,
  • opening circle with or without mini-sessions, bodywork or culture setting
  • a round of 'needs, wants & offers' where people decide what they want to do
  • sessions,one-to-one, in a group or workshops
  • closing circle, sometimes with positive feedback to the host or facilitator(s).
  • Quite often there is a shared meal.


Superficially an Open Day may appear to consist merely of Co-Counselling with or without a shared lunch. However, an Open Day serves many more purposes.

For new Co-Counsellors it provides an opportunity to meet a variety of Co-Counsellors. This is important for:

  1. having sessions with more experienced Co-Counsellors
  2. learning from other Co-Counsellors who use their sessions differently and who display different styles of counselling
  3. finding potential partners for future one-to-one sessions
  4. gaining the experience of working in different sized groups
  5. getting to know more Co-Counsellors

For 'older' Co-Counsellors it serves purposes other than just having one-to-one sessions:

  1. meeting new faces other than the regular partner or support group
  2. picking-up Co-Counselling again and meeting potential partners after having had a spell without Co-Counselling
  3. working in a group and setting up groups for particular purposes. Open Co-Counselling Days are especially good for this
  4. trying out workshops by Co-Counsellors who want to develop their facilitating skills
  5. socialising, meeting old friends and having fun

From the Network point of view Open Co-Counselling Days support the development of Co-Counselling skills and maintain and extend the Co-Counselling network fabric.

Why have a manual for Open Co-Counselling Days

The aim of this manual is to enable Co-Counsellors to feel happy about hosting an Open Day while making use of other people's experience.

Why Open Co-Counselling Days need to be 'well' organised
Open Days are important because they provide a space where new Co-Counsellors can meet potential partners for sessions. Open Co-Counselling Days encourage people to develop their skills and can inspire people into new areas of life and Co-Counselling. They also support the social fabric of the Co-Counselling Network.

If Open Co-Counselling Days are well organised, Co-Counsellors will experience them as worthwhile spending their time on. In the longer run they will feel it is a valuable contribution to organise one themselves. It doesn't make sense to expect Co-Counsellors to host an Open Day, if they themselves and other people have not had good experiences of them.

Copyright 1996-1998 © JanPieter Hoogma

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