As a result of the current 'pandemic' many IOPT practitioners, including Franz Ruppert and myself, have gone online. This has resulted in some interesting realisations about working with IOPT and the Intention Method in this way.
Firstly, it works; not only does it work, but it actually works very well and gives some significant advantages:
- Suddenly IOPT is becoming much more visible across the world... I have heard many times at my online events people saying they have only just heard about IOPT. The word is getting out globally much more than before.
- People do not have to travel and stay in expensive accommodation, so we save money, and we protect the environment.
- People can attend workshops and lectures from the comfort and safety of their own home, go out into their garden if they have one during the breaks, have the lunch and drinks that they prefer.
- People who live in countries where there is very little or no IOPT presence can attend exactly as everyone else can.
- We can all comfortably cross national boundaries without having to get visas or deal with other complicated 'national' regulations, so can be less controlled by our own and other governments.
- The next IOPT Conference, which had been due to take place in Munich and accommodate around 400 people is now going online and will be able to accommodate up to 1000 participants.
- We can practice as professionals as we wish, and we can communicate and meet with each other across the globe to discuss theory, practice, ethics and related professional issues. Of course we could have done this before, but because of the current situation we are only just realising that we can.
- Practitioners do not necessarily have to have practice premises, which can be very expensive. People can work from the comfort of their own home.
- We can teach and learn, gain live supervision of our work by those we wish to learn from.
- We can form peer groups to meet and discuss IOPT and work together to gain experience.
- We get to meet with people from a vast variety of countries, cultures and backgrounds and learn from each other about our wider world.
The disadvantages mainly are the impossibility of physical contact, touching and hugging.
So, what about 'training' to become an IOPT facilitator?
Over the years I have thought a lot about this topic, and written two blogs on the issues of how trainings are normally thought about in the 'psychotherapy profession', including thoughts on accreditation and 'authorities' within the profession - professional associations, ethics etc.
I have re-posted two blogs that I wrote in 2015 on these topics... They are out of date on IOPT, and perhaps on some other points, and they both relate specifically to the London training that I have done for many years now, but much of my thinking then I still hold to now and think relevant to us as IOPT practitioners. The two blogs are entitled:
Now I have come to the following views on 'training' as an IOPT practitioner.
Firstly, I dislike the word 'training'. I do not think one can train anyone to be an IOPT practitioner; that is like training a dog to roll over as you think they should. Training is defined as "the process of bringing a person to an agreed standard of proficiency" (freedictionary.com). Agreed by whom? Immediately this says that someone has to take this authority over someone else. That constitutes a disregard of autonomy, and a process of objectification, perpetration and even traumatisation. I do not believe I can (or should) take the position of being someone who trains someone else to do anything. I train my dog to come when I call, and in this way I control him... for his safety, yes, but still I maintain control, and I do not want to be in a position of controlling another human being.
Recently I have been calling the course that I run in London an Education Course. This sits better for me within the thinking of IOPT. I am happy to think of myself as an educator, or even a teacher, since the meaning of teacher according to Wikipedia is "a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue". I feel okay to think of myself as someone who assists someone else in the acquiring of knowledge. I am most interested in being part of anyone acquiring knowledge about themselves, quite beyond the issue of anyone becoming an IOPT practitioner. That is what we are doing with the Intention Method in our personal explorations... knowledge in the broadest sense of the word, in answering the question Who am I?
However, for people to gain knowledge, to educate themselves in whatever they want, is it necessary, or even advisable, to think that you have to join a formal course to do so? That is the traditional way in which we have learned to be a practitioner of many things, we join a course over a period of time, with the idea that at the end of that course we are fit to practice. I 'trained' for seven years to be a psychotherapist, under a curriculum devised by someone else in a 'fits all' way. Then I was examined, critiqued, judged, assessed and given a verdict by other people, some of whom did not even know me before, had never met me. I didn't realise it at the time, because I didn't know about trauma back then, but this experience was deeply traumatising for me.
So, I will not run a formal course over a long period of time again. The only benefit I can see from doing that is that you belong, for a while, to a closed group, and that too, can certainly be an option if someone runs a closed group either physically or online.
LEARNING IOPT THEORY AND PRACTICE
Our new experiences with working online now offer everyone all sorts of creative opportunities to learn about becoming an IOPT practitioner. The learning possibilities for us have quadrupled almost overnight. Now you can consider attending an event with Franz Ruppert wherever you are, and I am sure there will become plenty of opportunities to observe him work that were for many impossible before. We can, I think, learn pretty much everything through its availability online, so given that, I am going to give below how I think you can learn to be an IOPT practitioner.
First to say that there are two primary principles of learning to become an IOPT practitioner. These are:
First: take every opportunity to do your own personal explorations. The IOPT practitioner needs to have as clear a psyche as possible, and have a very good knowledge of their own survival strategies and tendencies to act as a perpetrator. In fact I would say that this is the single most important thing you can do in order to become a competent, stable and reliable IOPT practitioner: do your own personal work.
Second: take responsibility for designing your own education and learning program.
There are two strands of learning: Theory and Practice
There are three avenues to learn these:
- Experience, through your own personal explorations, being a representative, observing other's work and observing practitioners;
- Reading, whatever is available on IOPT theory, Franz's books, my books and any other books, articles etc. you can find;
- Discussion and Questioning: with those practitioners you see as having more experience than you and with your peers.
Given this, I now think that the only way to learn to be an IOPT practitioner that truly adheres to IOPT theory, principles and values is the following:
- You design your own learning course and you make the main focus your own personal work;
- You learn IOPT theory by reading thoroughly all the available texts on IOPT and any other topic that appeals to you on your educative journey;
- You take every opportunity you can to discuss theory with others, those you see as more experienced than you, and your peers;
- You perhaps form a peer study group to support you in your journey;
- You think about the questions that you need answers to, and how to get them and from whom;
- Similarly you take every opportunity you can to be a representative in other's work, and to observe other practitioners in their work, and question them about their thinking;
- You take responsibility for deciding when you think you are fit to practice, and... at any time if you think you are not, pause then for a while;
- You decide if you want to gain any live supervision of your practice by someone you see as having some benefit for you and your learning;
- You decide if living your life by IOPT theoretical principles and values is right for you;
- You take responsibility for continuing your personal and professional learning, and never, ever think you know it all! There is always more to learn.
Studentship never ends. The artificial moment of 'accreditation' is exactly that, artificial. Better to consider yourself a student for the rest of your life.