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Heart Wood Training Certificate 2024

Person-centred, contact-orientated counselling/psychotherapy in a nature setting.

Led by Rab Erskine and Chip Ponsford

The Heart Wood Training Certificate is an in-person residential course over six weekends, being offered as an eight-month long training experience. The focus will be on the philosophy, attitudes, ethics and structures necessary for practitioners wanting to work outside the counselling room. A large amount of the input will focus on the many attitudes and skills of working with groups in nature, most of which are transferable to one-to-one working. We will also include specific elements of working one-to-one in nature.

The course offers 100 hours of CPD training and includes a minimum of five days of input in Contact Work by including the “Extended Certificate in Pre-Therapy (contact reflections)” certified by the Pre-Therapy International Network. 

In addition to the Training Certificate, participants may also obtain a Pre-Therapy Certificate if they wish, however it is not mandatory to complete this component of the training. To do this, they will need to include and present a case study on the experience of practicing at least twice between each weekend, with an individual from the group, or from their own practice outside of the charity, who could be identified as being high end grey zone functioning.

Please download the pdf in the link below for further information about the Training Certificate.


The course is led by Heart Wood Mentor, Consultant and Lead Facilitator, Rab Erskine and Heart Wood Founder and Lead Facilitator, Chip Ponsford. To find out more about Rab and Chip please go to Who We Are


This course is for qualified and practicing humanistic or person-centred counsellors who are receiving ongoing supervision and are members of a governing body. 


Fri 22 – Sun 24 March 2024

Fri 3 – Sun 5 May 2024

Fri 14 – Sun 16 June 2024

Fri 26 – Sun 28 July 2024

Fri 6 – Sun 8 September 2024

Fri 18 – Sun 20 October 2024

Each weekend will run from 5pm on the Friday until 2pm on the Sunday. 


This is a residential course which will be held in rural Northumberland in stunning woodland and within the Walled Garden at Minsteracres Retreat Centre, Consett, DH8 9RT



The cost includes food and camping accommodation.


The course fee will be payable in instalments:

On notification of your place: £75 non-refundable deposit 

25 January 2024: £800

25 April 2024: £800

25 July 2024: £725

Other payment plans can be discussed. 


Places are limited. Please complete the form via the link below. When we receive the form, we will be in touch to arrange a chat with the course facilitators to discuss your application.


If you have any questions about this course, please do get in touch.

Emma Ponsford, Heart Wood Manager

07813 814644

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