COH History & Philosophy

Tony Neate

Spiritual and Energy Healing work on an energetic level to help us improve and harmonise our health and wellbeing. This knowledge and skill has its roots in primordial human history.

Its essence is incorporated into many ancient religions, philosophies and teachings.

Our College of Healing was created in 1983 and has evolved from the philosophy and practice of the group called The Atlanteans (1957). Under the banner of this society they ran Healing courses inspired by the teachings of Helio-Arcanophus, a spiritual guide channeled by healer and counsellor Tony Neate. It was this spiritual philosophy that brought them together and inspired them to be Healers, mostly during the ’60s and ’70s in the London area. A group of the The Atlanteans which came to Malvern was later named the Pegasus Foundation.

Our College also incorporates knowledge and understanding from other sources of the perennial philosophy or ancient wisdom.

The teacher known to us as the Lama is another influence offering us additional input and this spirit brought the heart quality much more strongly into the overall mix, providing us with a greater understanding of the healing which we are teaching today.

In the early days there were no formal certified courses in Healing and the initial impulse to develop an in-depth course came from a pioneering physician with strongly holistic views, Dr Alec Forbes, who challenged Tony and Anne Neate and others in the group at a conference to come up with a way of training healers to a higher standard than was currently the case (early 1980s). He wanted to recommend healers to his patients, but was dissatisfied with the outcomes up to that time.

At the instigation of Dr Forbes, an initial team of Dr David and Gilly Smallbone, Tony and Anne Neate, David and Diane Furlong (latterly O’Connell) and Hertha Larive formed and over two years (1981-3) managed to devise a way of successfully delivering this, despite the general feeling at that time that healing couldn’t really be taught. The College of Healing has continued to be a pioneer in the healing field in the UK, continuing to evolve its training and standards, based on the understanding that there are fundamental techniques, laws and principles of energy flow and operation, and how harmony and balance can be established for the recipients of this therapy. Our symbol encapsulates our positive loving energy. Whilst there are as many methods of healing as there are healers, these principles allow COH healers to fully develop their healing potential in their own way and be independently assessed to ensure graduates are safe and competent to be allowed to work with the public.

COH has also been intimately involved in the national arena for healing, firstly in the founding and development of the Confederation of Healing Organisations (CHO) and then with UK Healers (UKH) which was formed post House of Lords report on Complementary Medicine in 2000 to develop standards, codes of conduct and self-regulation in the movement. Diane O’Connell was instrumental in developing National Occupational Standards and the core curriculum for healing, which all healing organisations have to adhere to for their course to be accredited by UKH.

Over this time the healing movement has developed and grown to become part of the complementary health movement in this country, which has come under the health and wellbeing banner.

Throughout the years, many people have studied with the College, not all becoming practising healers. Some students were already professional nurses, doctors, complementary therapists, and health professionals of all kinds wanting to learn about healing and how they could integrate it into their own work. Others did the course for their own personal development, healing and growth.

When we first put the training together, it took place over three weeks. Each week was 6 months apart so that the learning could be incorporated and there was no written work and only a practical assessment.

Today, we have a Foundation Course over two weekends taught by facilitators and an extensive Practitioner Course, taking 12 weekends over two years, of a demanding academic standard.

In addition, there are 6 optional Advanced Healing Modules involving 24 days learning at our premises. There is an option to qualify for a Diploma by passing four out of the six modules.

Our Tutor Training Course lasts 2 years and will qualify practicing graduates of the COH to teach the Practitioner Course and the Advanced Healing modules.

We set up a College of Healing Membership Association (COHMA) in the UK in 2013.

The COH banner has been spread abroad in Spain, France, Denmark, and Japan, by Diane and others over the years. As a result of this, we set up a new membership body in Japan a few years back, for those who graduated, which is still alive and well today. COH Japan has grown under the leadership, dedication and service of Elida   Matsumoto with a number of graduates from the courses over there.

Many teachers have graced the COH with their presence over the years bringing their different skills and experience to add to the College. From the original group there was Hertha Larive, Dr. David & Gilly Smallbone, Tony & Ann Neate, David and Diane Furlong (latterly O’Connell) and Tricia Thomas. The next generation included Ben Stevens, Charlie Wright, Annie Drury, Jean Danford and David Balen. The latest generation includes Meg McDonald, Jo Radley, Lizzie Gunning and Fran Doidge.

We have a Tutor Training group just completed with plans to hold another one in the future to ensure continuity.

No organisation can operate without people to do the administration, who do the daily job of keeping the College on track and making sure the courses run as well as possible and keep in touch with the students etc. Henley Thomas was the first administrator and worked hard to get the COH established. Val Stinton and Richard Booth worked well together for many years and Richard helped develop the training course for the Confederation of Healing Organisations and helped the College become accredited with the Open College Network, so we could run the courses in various adult education centres which we did for a number of years.

There have been many others who have helped, such as Buz de Villiers, and Andy Denne. For some years now we have been very ably served by Jess Abrahams, with the support of Sarah Cowell and Steven Lawrence, and with Fiona Winter editing our magazine.

Previously we ran everything from Runnings Park, set in 17 acres of lovely Malvern Countryside. For a few years now, we have had our home at Bridge Hall in the centre of Malvern where we run our courses, meetings, healing groups and workshops.

March 2024

You can read Diane O’Connell’s reminiscences of the College here.