Our Story



Biographical counsellors: 2016 gatheringBiograhical Counselling began in 1988 at the Centre for Social Development, Emerson College, an international centre established in 1975 to offer training, research and practice out of anthroposophy. It was the initiative of Tijno Voors, supported by Coenraad van Houten, and grew out of the research and study in Biography Work inspired in the mid 1970s by the Dutch psychologist, psychiatrist, social and curative educator Bernard Lievegoed.

Lievegoed thought that biographical conversations should be part of every therapy. In his writings on human development, the rhythms and phases of biography and the crises arising out of the conditions of our time, he gave a basis for the development of biography work as adult education and for a counselling and psychotherapy out of anthroposophy. He felt that such an approach needed to be grounded in an understanding of human biography and an awareness that peoples’ problems arise in the context of the whole of their biographical development.

From late 1980s to early 1990s the development of Biographical Counselling as a therapeutic modality was carried and developed by Margli Matthews and Anita Charton. The training in Biographical Counselling was cared for by the Biography and Social Development Trust till 2016. Integral to its work and understanding was the acknowledgement that healing and self-development are profoundly linked to the social and therapeutic needs of our time. In 2009 a three-year DiplomaCourse in Biographical Counselling received its accredited status from BACP. The training took in its last cohort in 2011, who graduated in 2014.

Biographical Counselling as a therapeutic modality continues to develop and grow with thriving training programmes in some countries. Biography Work is offered throughout the world with many different training programmes in Europe and worldwide.

On the photo: Biographical counsellors gathering in 2016