Biographical Counselling - Skills for Social Professions

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Morning Taster 22nd May

22nd-26th September, 15-17th October, 19th-21st November, 11th December 2021

21-23rd January, 19th February, 25th -27th March, 30th April, 20-22nd May, 8th -12th June 2022.

This one-year, interactive course offers an in-depth experience of working with biography, life experiences and archetypal life phases. It is designed to deepen understanding for each person’s unique place and individual sense of purpose in the world. It is intended to enrich the individual and to enhance their professional practice. Participants are invited to explore meaning, and develop a sense of reverence for the mystery and complexity of their own and others’ biographies.

The course is designed to stimulate a path of inner development in order to consider how personal transformation can be a resource for the whole. By collectively co-creating a safe place, participants are invited to work with new, emergent and threshold experiences in a self-directed and supported way, encouraging the exploration of participants’ questions and themes. Time will be given for developing contemplative inner practices, learning through artistic processes and attending to practising listening and speaking skills.

Biographical Counselling is a holistic, integrative counselling approach which takes into account psychological, social and spiritual dimensions. This way of working aims to strengthen a person’s experience of their core sense of self, and addresses both healing and self development. It encourages people to take up their own agency and find creative freedom in their ideals, tasks and responsibilities. Biographical Counselling takes a phenomenological approach to experiences, and encourages dialogue with our own biography and those of others. Crises and challenging life events can become opportunities to develop new capacities and to discover that we are connected and deeply interdependent.

The course is informed by a variety of approaches to counselling and psychotherapy, particularly inspired by thinkers who offer an understanding of soul and spirit, and embrace the search for meaning. It is grounded in ideas arising from Anthroposophy, a spiritual approach to life founded by Rudolf Steiner.

Biographical Counselling originated in the UK, and trainings have been developed in Russia, South America and Israel. It is part of a worldwide movement of Biography Work, as founded by Bernard Lievegoed (1905–1992) which is used in coaching, organisational development and personal development.


The course will be of interest to teachers, therapists, psychologists, coaches, doctors and nurses, faith workers and other professionals who are interested in human encounter, and professionals who are wanting to deepen their own path of self development. We welcome applications from all sectors of the community and respect and value differences in age, class, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender and sexuality.

Entry Requirements

  • Previous professional experience
  • Interview
  • Written application with an account of your biography according to guidelines and questions given
  • Good command of the English language
  • A willingness to work with one’s own biography in small groups and in counselling practice sessions.

Course Structure: September 2021 to June 2022.

The course will be run face to face over two, five-day sessions at the beginning and end of the course, and five weekends throughout the year. There will also be three online seminars within the year. The three blocks are:

  1. 1. Self-Knowledge through Biography Work
  2. The Inner Path – Building Resources
  3. Personal and Professional Skills and Practice

Course Content

  • Archetypal life phases, patterns and human development
  • A spiritual perspective on contemporary issues
  • Working with and understanding threshold experiences
  • Developing an inner practice
  • Human encounter and the art of dialogue
  • Difference and conflict
  • Humanising our practice
  • Becoming a Self

Elements of the Training

  • Lectures and seminars
  • Artistic activities
  • Individual tutorials
  • Personal Development groups
  • Counselling practice
  • Research and Theory


A Certificate of Biographical Counselling Skills is awarded by the PABC on successful completion of the course. The course offers 160 hours of CPD.


Emerson College, Forest Row, East Sussex RH18 5JX

St Luke’s Therapy Centre, Stroud GL5 4EX


Application fee: £50.00 Tuition Fee: £2300

Organic lunch and morning and afternoon refreshments are included in the fee. Accommodation is not included.

Please direct enquiries and completed applications to:

For further details and to download an application:

The Professional Association of Biographical Counsellors (PABC) was established in 2009. Its members work as Biographical Counsellors in various settings in the UK and internationally. The Biographical Counselling Skills Course has developed from the three-year Diploma in Biographical Counselling that was run by the Biography and Social Development Trust from 1997–2014. From 2009-2014 it was a BACP Accredited course.


Jane Chase (Dip. Biographical Counselling, BACP Accredited. MSc Psychotherapy, UKCP) has been practising as a Biographical Counsellor for 14 years, and works with individuals, couples, families and children. She completed her MSc in Systemic Psychotherapy as a Family Therapist in 2020 and also offers systemic consultancy and supervision. She worked as clinical lead for a child and family service in Gloucestershire and now runs an independent practice. She previously contributed to the Diploma course and was a trustee for The Biography and Social Development Trust.


Pauline Marksteiner-Wilde (Dip. Biographical Counselling BACP Accredited. CSTD Certified Supervisor) has been practising as a Biographical Counsellor for the past 19 years. She works as an independent therapist and supervisor with individuals, couples and groups. She teaches Biography Work for a UK teacher training course, and regularly offers Biography workshops. For 15 years she has co-facilitated the international programme, Oasis Support Group for Living Creatively.



Course consultant: Margli Matthews

Course Contributors: Margli Matthews, Mike Chase, Deborah Ravetz, Julia Dvinskaya, Michael Lipson, Christine Gruwez, and others.