Cognitive exercises,
Role Play, Pain-to-Power

An addition to 'Depression and Co-Counselling' by Teresa Tinklin

JanPieter Hoogma


I stopped teaching the cognitive exercises mentioned by Teresa because it turned out that for different reasons quite a lot of co-counsellors found them difficult to apply in daily life.
Also it became clear to me that there was a more impor-tant phenomenon: the emotionally relevant thoughts containing thinking errors hold a spell over the person. A spell that paralyses their brain, makes it 'closed'-minded and patterned. Not only are those beliefs the exclusively credible ones, they seem also to be the 'boss' over the person involved. The people with this kind of thoughts seem to experience themselves as powerless, as victim of their own thoughts, their own 'personality', moods and/or other people. Once these negative, or positive!, beliefs with a spell over the person start to interact with interrupted sleep patterns, the risk is high that people head straight for depression or mania.

I searched for some years now for ways how Co-Counsellors can break this spell of their beliefs and their paralysis in thinking and action, e.g. how the brain can be switched into a creative mood and how the people can experience themselves (again) as centre of their own life.

The cognitive exercises as mentioned by Teresa can do this, but only a small group of people are able to apply this in daily life or sessions and regularly they still require a high level of skilled support. Hence I stopped teaching these cognitive exercises.

At McCoCo 2000 Siglind Willms presented her 'Role-play' technique. I experienced a rush of excitement and inspiration because it was the first time that I saw a merging of Co-Counselling with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) at work. Hence I started enthusiastically to teach it. Gradually I began to see the limitations of the Role-Play technique. The most important one was that many co-counselling clients tend to stay in a talking, non-feeling mood and found it very difficult to get into the underlying feelings. With the support of Marian van Wijngaarden I redesigned the Role-Play into the 'From Pain to Power' procedure, a very effective method to break the spell of beliefs, situations and patterned behaviours into open-mindedness and a sense of being at the centre of your own life.

If you are a Co-Counsellor and you want to experience this 'Pain-to Power' procedure, come to McCoCo 2003. I will run a workshop about the 'Pain-to-Power' procedure. You may want to do the fundamentals - the CornuCopia way - as helper. Then you will learn about other contributions from the Cognitive behaviour Therapy (CBT) and other CornuCopia innovations to teaching and Co-Counselling.