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History of The College of Healing

Diane O'ConnellI was introduced to Spiritual Healing in 1969 and it has been part of my life ever since. For me there are many paths people tread in their lives and one of them is the Path of Service. I see Spiritual Healing as the Path of Service. This isn’t for everyone. Some people learn the skills of the Healer and move on to something else but others like me have found their Spiritual Home.

What was it that originally brought together a small group of healers to start The College of Healing? It was triggered by a challenge from Dr Alec Forbes who became the first doctor at the Bristol Cancer Help Centre (now Penny Brohn Centre for Cancer Care). A small group of us were at a weekend conference run by the Wrekin Trust and Alec said he was dissatisfied with the standard of the healers he had so far encountered and he urged us to start a school for healers. In fact if I remember rightly he said that that we needed to sort out our own backyard and create proper professional standards for Healers. Alec was very supportive of healing and used healers for his own clients but the idea of professional standards was revolutionary for Healing in 1981.

All of us present had been involved in Healing for some years and knew he was right. We decided to meet up and discuss the idea of trying to think what those professional standards would be. That group consisted of:

  • Hertha Larive, a well-known speaker trained in Esoteric Psychology and Healing
  • David Furlong, Director of Runnings Park a Spiritual Centre in the Malvern Hills as well as a teacher and healer.
  • Tony & Ann Neate, founders of The Atlantean Society based on the channelled teachings of H-A, Tony’s guide. Both practising teachers and healers
  • Dr. David Smallbone, G.P. and Homeopath as well as practising healer
  • Gilly Soper, Practising Healer
  • Diane O’Connell, Practising Healer and teacher

We all felt incredibly inspired and committed to the idea of creating a proper training for healers which covered all the knowledge and understanding we thought was needed together with the right skill set to work with clients who needed the Healers help. We all came from different backgrounds and experience which meant that when we started to discuss and debate what was needed in the training we had to strip away all our differences to articulate what we actually did and how we viewed things and to describe our actual experience of giving and receiving healing. It was from this process lasting twelve months that the College of Healing was born.

We created a formal training that ran over three individual weeks 4 – 6 months apart, consisting of six days each. The training was 18 days. This was the first comprehensive course, to my knowledge, to train healers professionally, creating standards and codes of practice, in the UK. We felt that we were pioneering a new approach to Healing. We knew that people had the natural ability to use healing energy, just like we all have a natural way to sing. However, by training and developing our potential we could become skilled health professionals.

Our first course started in September 1983 with six students. We were absolutely thrilled and delighted by the response of the students to the training. What amazed us most, was the transformation that started to happen within the students themselves. We recognised that the course had a powerful self-development aspect to it and this became clearer as we ran more courses.

Looking back 30 years, the College of Healing has continued to be a pioneer in the healing field in the UK continuing its training based on the philosophy that there are fundamental techniques and principles that give an understanding of how energy flows and operates. Whilst there are as many methods of healing as there are healers, these principles allow all healers to fully develop their healing potential in their own way.

Set up as an educational Charity, the College has a commitment to:

  • The development of an individual’s awareness of universal healing energies.
  • Train and develop skills in the use of these universal energies.
  • Support the growth and development of its students on every level.
  • Educate and inform the public and health care professionals about the nature of healing.
  • Research the effectiveness of healing.
  • Pioneer best practice in healing tuition and healer client relationships.

The College is run by a core group of tutors and overseen by a group of trustees, and as an organisation, has a solid foundation to support the development of its students.

In 1990’s we created a Foundation Course and a Basic Practitioner Course in Healing which we had accredited by the Open College Network and these courses ran in Adult Education Colleges in different parts of the UK until the funding criteria changed and the Colleges found it uneconomical to run many courses including the Healing Courses. Many people had the opportunity to experience and learn about healing in this way.

In 2000 The Lord’s Report was published which brought in Self Regulation for Complementary Therapy in which Spiritual Healing was included. UK Healers (UKH) was formed to facilitate this process and establish standards and accreditation and the College of Healing is one of its Founder Member Organisations. Over the last ten years we have been involved with UKH in helping to create National Occupational Standards for Healing, a code of conduct, plus complaints and disciplinary procedures for the healing movement.

The College of Healing has been a member of the Confederation of Healing Organisations (CHO)  since its beginning. The CHO is a registered Charity dedicated to advancing the cause of healing from research to practice. One of its aims is to ensure that the long established practice of healing becomes increasingly accepted by mainstream medicine with a corresponding increase in the employment of healers in hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, hospices, cancer support centres and nursing homes across the UK. It is at present working with UKH to develop a Core Curriculum for Healing for the General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapy (GRCCT).

So where are we today? We continue to develop our courses to a high standard embodying the professional ethos that Dr. Forbes originally talked about. We have gone from our original training of 18 days to now having Introductory courses in the UK or Foundation in Japan, there is our Practitioner Course which enables Healers to register as a Professional Healer and finally our Diploma Course which helps to develop the skills of the Healer to an advanced level.

If you feel your journey is on the Path of Healing and are interested in what we do please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Diane O’ Connell