Training outline

Lefika La Phodiso has been running Community Art Counselling training for the past 22 years. This training is psychoanalytically informed, focusing on creative group work and psychodynamic thinking as they relate to community and counselling work.

The course is targeted at community workers, mental health practitioners, psychologists, social workers, teachers and art facilitators who are interested in and want to extend their practice, using analytic thinking and the expressive potential of image making in the course of their emotional contact with the people they work with. The skills gained by participants can be adapted to, and incorporated in a variety of work spheres.

The training is experiential and each student as part of their training requirement sets up a group within a community setting (including the NGO sector and Government). This work is supervised by psychotherapists from the Institute of Psychoanalytic Child Psychotherapy, South African Psychoanalytic Confederation or arts therapists depending on which group you choose.



We accept applications for the full course from anyone interested in, and with a commitment to doing community work, adding to the mental health wellbeing of South Africa.  If you would like to apply for separate modules please note that you should be an already registered professional completing the module/s to gain CPD points.

Applications or enquiries for further information can be sent to rozannemyburgh@gmail.com. All applications will be reviewed and if successful, you will be contacted for an interview.

Module 1 Community Art Counselling in the South African context

In Module 1 we introduce you to basic counselling skills, looking at self-awareness, self-complexity and values. We will also cover topics like: What is counselling?; The aims of counselling; Creating a group contract and a safe space; Photography, social media, the replication of art work,  the studio space and storage of artworks. Further we will explore community work and the motivations to become a Community Art Counsellor. We introduce the concept of a reflective journal, working with children and children's rights and the differences between art therapy and Community Art Counselling. We also explore the role of the image and objects.

Module 2 The Counselling Process

In Module 2 we explore what the counselling process is and we look at the stages of counselling. We also cover everything you need to know about working from a person-centred approach. We unpack the essential characteristics of a Community Art Counsellor, covering empathy, sympathy, identification. Ethics of counselling including topics such as, individualisation, purposeful expression of feelings, controlled emotional involvement, acceptance, non-judgemental attitude, client self-determination, confidentiality and immediacy will be looked at. Other topics in this module include: Effective communication and counselling skills; Listening; Emotions; Responding; Using questions constructively; Probes and prompts; Clarification, Partialising and Summarising; and Developing action strategies. We also start to look at endings and why they are important in Community Art Counselling.

Module 3: Psychoanalytic Approaches and Theories

In Module 3 we look at re-entering a space and why this is important and how to facilitate smooth transitions for your group. We look at psychoanalysis and the basic concepts such as, the unconscious, symbols as products of the unconscious, free association, internal and external worlds, defences, transference and countertransference, dreams and social dreaming. We then turn to attachment theory and unpack attachment styles, secure, avoidant, ambivalent and disorganised attachment. You will also learn about containment and holding and look at some examples of the concepts in Community Art Counselling work. Lastly we look at the Lefika La Phodiso model to understand how we are incorporating psychoanalytic understanding into our community-based work in the South African context.

Module 4 Group work

In Module 4 you will learn about working with groups: the introduction to group work, beginnings and how to facilitate them. Group theory and practice will also be unpacked, looking at the development of a group, group function, influence techniques, directive and non-directive work. We will look at setting up a studio and creating a talking stock, introduce working with sandtrays and role consultation and looking at the application of the group process.

Module 5 Trauma

In Module 5 we will look at trauma and a Community Art Counsellors role in addressing it. We will look at the different trauma symptoms, responding and reacting, debriefing and CBT techniques. We will also unpack working in groups and how groupwork impacts trauma.

Module 6 Social action and Visual research

We start this module by looking at social psychology theories and social action (including participatory action research) and ethics. Methods of visual research including using photography and responding to images will be covered. Other techniques include body mapping, visual listening, community mapping, creating murals and how the theory and practice can be integrated.

Module 7 Social Entrepreneurship and Creative Leadership as sustainable expansion of Community Art Counselling

In module 7 we look at the definition and theories of social entrepreneurship, personal leadership and include multiple influential readings on social entrepreneurship. We will also cover the Lefika La Phodiso’s Monitoring and Evaluation framework, the problem tree, and how to do needs assessments. We will also cover the legal framework for social entrepreneurship, basic project management skills and presentation skills.

Module 8 Bereavement, loss and endings

In this module we cover how to work with life limiting conditions, bereavement, the stages of grief and how to address this in a Community Art Counselling context. Other topics include AIDS, reflection and endings.

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