About the CHIRON Centre

History of the Centre


The Chiron Centre was established in 1983 with the aim of providing a body-oriented approach to psychotherapy which meets, values, supports and relates to the 'whole' person, client as well as therapist. Since then the Centre has grown steadily and organically and has developed into a well-known and reputable institution, making a unique contribution to psychotherapeutic practice in this country. We are grateful for all the generosity and courage, honesty and warmth with which clients, students, therapists and other colleagues have contributed to the Centre, making Chiron what it is today.

The front entrance to Eaton Rise

Chiron is currently managed by two of its founding directors, Bernd Eiden and Jochen Lude. They have a long-standing background in the field of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, both in this country and abroad. Having initially taught Biodynamic Psychology, they then founded the Chiron Centre, together with their colleague Rainer Pervöltz, integrating Gestalt Body Psychotherapy and psychodynamic theory into their teaching and thus originating the training for which they are currently responsible. They are supported by a staff group of about 12 trainers plus visiting tutors and supervisors.

Over the last 13 years the training has remained true to its roots and its original philosophy. A booklet called "About Our Work" is available in its original form, written about 12 years ago now. It describes the Chiron approach to the body and psychotherapy, and is a more popular and less technical description of some of the principles underlying our work.

Developments over the Years

Although there has been very little change in the overall format and structure of the training, the courses and modules have changed considerably in scope and content, integrating new aspects of theory and technique, and keeping abreast of recent developments in the field. The recent steps towards the professionalisation of psychotherapy have also meant more stringent and transparent course requirements, especially in terms of selection and assessment.

In 1991 Chiron expanded by acquiring premises at 90 Harvist Road, Kilburn NW6 to provide further space for training and consulting rooms for clinical work. More than 100 therapists have graduated since the foundation of the Centre, about 50 of whom currently practice in the clinics. Others practice privately and are involved in other organisations and trainings in the field of counselling and psychotherapy.

Structure of the Centre

Bernd Eiden and Jochen Lude as the Managing Directors own and take responsibility for Chiron as a business. Nadia Ianeva is our Office Manager dealing with the administrative aspects of the office, the training and the clinics. All administrative tasks and functions are coordinated in a weekly management meeting.

The training is managed on a day-to-day basis with the help of two Training Directors, currently Michaela Boening and Michael Soth, who deal with training issues as well as being available for tutorials. The weekly Training Directors' meeting is supported by and executes the overall training decisions and policies worked out in the Training Committee, a group of trainers which includes all the directors as well as other senior staff. There are regular meetings for students and post-certificate therapists to provide a forum for communication about difficulties and common concerns. There are other meetings for staff and supervisors as well as for assessments. Chiron's membership of UKCP requires both an External Moderator and Examiner who monitor the whole training organisation's functioning and performance - this role used to be filled by Ian Gordon-Brown, and has now been taken over by Liz McCormick.

The view from the back garden at Eaton Rise

The two houses in Eaton Rise and Harvist Road are used for training purposes as well as providing consulting rooms for post-certificate therapists. Chiron operates an interview and referral service, providing clinics to the general public for individual psychotherapy and biodynamic massage.

Activities of the Centre

The Professional Training Programme

The main activity of the centre used to be the provision of a comprehensive and professional part-time training for psychotherapists, leading - after a minimum of three years - to the Certificate in Body Psychotherapy, and - after a further two years of training and supervised practice - to the Diploma which entitles the holder to registration with UKCP. This Training is no longer offered - for more details ...

Chiron Clinics

Apart from the psychotherapy training, Chiron runs two busy clinics, based in Ealing and Kilburn, offering Body Psychotherapy and Biodynamic Massage to members of the general public. Information about this service is available in a leaflet "Psychotherapy at Chiron - Is It For You?" You can download this leaflet in printable pdf-format by clicking here.

The therapists working in these clinics are all Chiron graduates, who - having finished their training - initially work under close supervision, and then begin to establish their own practice. It is one of the special features of the Chiron training that graduates are assisted in the process of establishing themselves through referrals and the provision of consulting rooms - an initial support and contain&endash;ment which is crucial in terms of translating the training into a sustainable professional career.

Professional Organisations

Chiron staff and graduates have been involved in founding two professional organisations to provide a supportive network for established practitioners, the 'Chiron Association of Body Psychotherapy' (CABP, formerly the 'Association of Chiron Psychotherapists' AChP) and the 'Association of Holistic Biodynamic Massage Therapists' (AHBMT) which, amongst other things, organise conferences, workshops and various other activities and events as well as publishing newsletters.

Ongoing Psychotherapy Groups

There are a variety of reasons why people join psychotherapy groups: some people see it as a therapeutic modality in its own right whereas for others it is a good idea to complement individual psychotherapy with group work; for some people it is a more sociable entry into therapy than individual work, for others it is as much of a therapeutic process as they'll ever engage in. We regularly offer ongoing psychotherapy groups, which usually run on a weekly basis over one academic year and which are open to the general public as well as being a requirement for trainees. A special leaflet on "Psychotherapy Groups at Chiron" is available.

Introductory Weekend Workshops

One of the best ways to become acquainted with Chiron work is to attend one of our introductory weekend workshops which take place several times a year. If you are considering joining the training, and are not familiar with Chiron work in any other way, it is strongly recommended that you participate in one of these weekends. A leaflet "Introductory Weekends at Chiron" is available.

Continuing Professional Development Programme (for practising counsellors and psychotherapists)

Parts of the post-certificate training programme are open to experienced psychotherapists, counsellors and members of the helping professions who want to extend their previous training by participating in the more advanced studies on this level. Please ask for a brochure about our "Continuing Professional Development Programme" which consists of a variety of weekend workshops, seminars, and short courses for qualified practitioners.


Chiron within the Field of Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy Today

Psychotherapy - despite being a relatively young discipline and profession - has grown into a rich and varied expanding field since its inception in modern form through Freud's 'discovery' of the unconscious in the late 19th century. Since then the number of schools and approaches has proliferated into a vast diversity of theories and techniques, with often contradictory assumptions, beliefs and values.

With all these differences the question arises: what are the shared basic principles which are common to all psychotherapies and what distinguishes psychotherapy from other helping professions?

When people come to a psychotherapist, they have chosen a way of working where they know that there will be a degree of empathy, warmth and acceptance - in short: human interaction rather than just expert 'treatment' - and they probably expect this to include attention to their feelings, their states of mind and their behaviour and way of relating in the world.

Approaching a psychotherapist amounts to an implicit and often tentative acknowledgement by the client - to the therapist and themselves - that their problems are psychological and rooted in some way in internal conflict and that they cannot be adequately addressed by dealing with biological or social factors alone. Otherwise they would presumably want to see a doctor or social worker. Therefore if the pain is to be seen neither as an exclusively medical, physical problem nor as purely 'external', there must be some degree of commitment to an exploration of the client's 'inner world' and how they relate to themselves, to others and to the world.

From the therapist's side this implies a degree of involvement and engagement which includes, but at the same time transcends, the modern 'medical model'. The tension between psychotherapy as treatment and psychotherapy as relationship is a fundamental paradox in the therapeutic endeavour. Although many clients would expect and often more or less explicitly demand that the therapist provide some sort of practical help or input as their part of the exchange (i.e. that the therapist take an essentially 'objectifying' stance), psychotherapists would generally question impulses to advise, direct, prescribe, solve or cure. This amounts to a radical difference from other helping professions in terms of what is considered to be the essential therapeutic ingredient.

Many psychotherapists would hold the belief that it is not so much what they do to the client as what happens between client and therapist in the relationship process that brings about psychological change. C.G. Jung used to reassure worries about the detrimental effect which giving advice could have on the therapeutic process by saying that he considered both good and bad advice as quite harmless because in his opinion neither has any lasting effect on the client whatsoever. This suggests a focus of attention on the client's 'inner reality' (i.e. their psyche) prior to and distinct from any purely cognitive or behavioural criteria - a paradigm which is quite unlike the one which other helping professions are based on.

Consequently psychotherapeutic work demands a range of personal qualities and skills which embraces, but in many ways goes beyond both understanding and technique, theory and method. The therapeutic position requires intricate, sophisticated and loving self-awareness - a deep connection with one's own process - in order to evaluate from moment to moment the significance and possible effect of such conflicting relational polarities as separateness - mergedness, activity - receptivity, challenge - support, etc. Whereas in other helping professions these polarities are usually static and structured into the framework of the relationship, in psychotherapy they are kept flexible to maximise their potential therapeutic use within the relationship process.

The Division of the Field of Psychotherapy

It is useful to remember that what we nowadays take for granted as a given division of the field into various sections goes back in the history of psychotherapy to theoretical and methodological schisms and departures which originated as conflicts between people, often between teachers and their students. We inherit these conflicts today as a multitude of schools and approaches, each with a certain stance vis-a-vis the client / patient, a certain theory and philosophy, certain assumptions about human nature and what constitutes psychological health or pathology, and a certain range of techniques.

This diversity of the field is now manifest in the structure of UKCP: the various approaches and ways of working have organised themselves into seven sections. Analytical Psychology, Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapy, Experiential Constructivist Therapies, Family / Marital / Sexual Therapy, Psychoanalytically-based Therapy with Children, Hypnotherapy, Psychoanalytic & Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy.

Integration within the Field of Psychotherapy

At Chiron we welcome the recent developments in the profession which have meant that very different and previously opposed approaches have come together to find common ground and a shared voice in UKCP. This creates the possibility of psychotherapists working together in the direction of integration, whilst maintaining and developing further the rich diversity of the field. We consider diversity to be the basis for creativity, flexibility and responsiveness - qualities which are necessary if psychotherapy wants to make a contribution to a modern world which is changing at an ever-increasing pace.

We see the field of psychotherapy as reflecting the multitudinous facets of the psyche, with each approach contributing to a 'whole' which is indeed greater than its parts. As the psyche is inhabited by diverse figures - sometimes in a healthy pluralism, sometimes in conflicted polarisation and fragmentation - so psychotherapy is diverse and sometimes disparate, with the various approaches trying to do justice to these various aspects of our 'inner world'. With this perspective we see the many schools and approaches as interdependent, and are suspicious of dogmatism and a belief in 'the right approach'. We do not think that today any one approach can appropriate a 'supreme' position; rather the priority - beyond theory and technique - is to meet as people, between therapist and client and between colleagues.

We remain open to developing and expanding our position and perspective in the growing world of psychotherapy, thereby embracing polarities as and when they arise, whilst at the same time valuing and preserving what is unique about the Chiron approach.