Monday, 21 May 2012

Heaven or hell?

A weekend in the countryside, at a rural study centre on an organic farm, supplied with all the good fresh food, drink and treats we could ever need; sleeping in bedrooms in a lovely old Tudor farmhouse (was later converted into a Jacobean mansion), all beautifully restored and maintained; in easy distance of London, for a relaxing and stimulating weekend with about twenty like-minded people. With fresh air in abundance, walks across the Low Weald of Kent on the doorstep, peace, quiet and tranquillity. An almost unique chance to escape from the pressures and hectic pace of day-to-day life. Even more, chance to work with others in an authentic and unique way, and feel connected to the natural world - and each other - in a wonderful peaceful environment. 


Isolated without TV or even a mobile phone signal, thrown together with a whole group of strangers and very little structure or explanation of what everybody is there for.  A kitchen and fridge full of food, with which we are expected to feed ourselves for the best part of three days - and to cap it all ...the group meetings! The large groups at the beginning and end of each day where we have to decide what to do together and what we make of it all, and the small groups - about seven or eight people (including 'conductors') where we are expected to tell of our innermost feelings in front of people we will probably never see again. Uncertainty, anxiety, painful thoughts and feelings. You must be mad to want to go on a course like this.
Heaven or hell? You choose! 
And you're welcome to come on the next one, November 14-16, either way.

Since 1995, 'Living-Learning Experiences' have taken place for a weekend every May and three midweek days every November. Ostensibly to train mental health practitioners in the advanced use of certain types of group psychotherapy, they are usually experienced as something rather more significant than a run-of-the mill skills course.

The one which finished yesterday was particularly interesting for its cultural mix: the conductors of the small groups were from Italy and South America, and participants came from India, Ireland and Yorkshire - as well as the rest of England.

Rawlings B (2005)
The Temporary Therapeutic Community: a qualitative evaluation of an ATC Training Weekend. 
Therapeutic Communities 26 (1) 6-18


  1. The best possible therapeutic intervention, the Therapeutic Community Melieu.

  2. Oooo please could you tell us more about when/ where etc. this training is next? Sounds challenging!

  3. 14, 15, 16 November is the next one planned - email me and I'll send details: