Towards an Integration of Counselling,Clienting and Meditation


Meditation, as a disciplined practice has a developmentalhistory stretching back close on three millenia; Counselling practice isa phenomenom of this twentieth century; it's development has, however,been rapid and intense. Both practices can be said to share a similar broadaim: the reduction of human psychological suffering.

Until recently, the development of western psychologywas fundamentally Euro/USAcentric. In the 1960's and 1970's, growing interestin eastern psychological approaches was one of the triggers for the developmentof humanistic psychology and the human potential movement - with it's emphasison enhancing well-being rather than the psychological readjustment of thesick. (Rowan,1976). A strong 'self-help' ethos lay at the heart of thismovement; those who were psychopractitioners were at the same time engagedwith their own process of growth. Those who worked as counsellors werealso actively 'being clients' in other situations. The development of theco-counselling method formalised this movement away from 'reliance uponthe expert' with reciprocal counselling sessions taking place within acommunity of peers. Hence in co-counselling an integration (or at least,an exchange) of the roles of counselling and clienting takes place.

This inquiry, however, is concerned with a tripartiteintegration - counselling, clienting and meditation - to furtherthat end the inquiry group, in addition to being co-counsellors , are alsoall practising meditators. To that extent the co-researchers are alreadyintegrating these two different ways into their lives. The inquiry groupcame together to explore the possibilities of the simultaneous integrationof these two apparently disparate personal growth modalities. The ‘PreliminaryThoughts’ document (App1.4) was presentedto the inquiry group at the commencement of the first meeting and offersdefinitions of counselling, clienting and meditation which haveattentionas a common factor. This short document contains other important introductorythemes.

The first section of this report comprises a literaturereview which defines and elucidates concepts and theories which are fundamentalto the investigation. sections 2&3 describe the process and resultsof the inquiry; sections 4&5 offer reflections and conclusions on bothprocedure and outcomes.

Updated 16 June 99
by Martin Wilks