History of the Centre
A typical session
Courses & Modules
Questions & Answers about the Training
PLEASE NOTE: We regret to inform you that Chiron is no longer running the Basic Training Programme (Years 1 to 3), and is taking no further applicants for Psychotherapy Training Modules. We do still offer our Open Programme, Continuing Professional Development Programme and Massage Training.

If you are interested in training as a Body Psychotherapist, there are three options, two in London and one in Cambridge:

  1. the London School for Biodynamic Psychology at www.lsbp.org.uk
  2. the Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre at www.cbpc.org.uk
For further details, see WHAT'S NEW

Training Programmes:

This section contains the bulk of the information on this site, relating to our main activity, the professional training in Body Psychotherapy. The Training Prospectus is a comprehensive description of our approach and the training, including a detailed syllabus of the various modules. The Training Booklet is a shortened, more readable version of the prospectus, recommended as an introduction to the training, and designed as an initial summary for prospective students.

Chiron Training Booklet

You can download this booklet in printable pdf-format by clicking here

This is an introduction to our Training Programme, written in a more accessible style and less comprehensive than our Training Prospectus. If you are interested in the training, we suggest you read this first, and the more detailed Training Prospectus later. There is also a very condensed double-sided A4-leaflet which we call the Training Outline. You can download this leaflet in printable pdf-format by clicking here



In Greek mythology, Chiron was a leader and wise elder amongst the centaurs, who were half man, half horse. Although renowned for his skills as a healer and physician, he was unable to treat an incurable wound in his own knee, and so became known as the ‘wounded healer’. The name Chiron was chosen to represent our aim of teaching and practicing therapy in a way that encourages and allows therapists to stay connected with their own wounds and vulnerability as the basis for understanding and meeting both the pain and the potential of those they work with.

The Chiron Centre was established in 1983 to provide a body-oriented approach to psychotherapy which meets, values and relates to the ‘whole’ person. Since then it has grown steadily and organically and has developed into a well-known institution, making a unique contribution to psychotherapeutic practice in this country. In 1997 Chiron changed its name from ‘Centre for Holistic Psychotherapy’ to ‘Centre for Body Psychotherapy’ in recognition that this has now become the established label for the tradition to which Chiron belongs (following, for example, the choice of this term by the European Association for Body Psychotherapy in 1991).

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 and Biodynamic Massage, they then founded the Chiron Centre, together with their colleague Rainer Pervöltz, integrating Gestalt therapy and psychodynamic theory into their teaching. They are supported by a staff group of about 12 trainers plus visiting tutors and supervisors.

Over the last 14 years the training has remained true to its original philosophy and structure, but the courses and modules have changed considerably in scope and content, integrating new aspects of theory and technique. The recent steps towards the professionalisation of psychotherapy have led to more stringent 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.


What is Chiron Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy 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. The number of approaches has proliferated into a diversity of theories and techniques, with often contradictory assumptions, beliefs and values. Despite these differences, psychotherapy is generally distinguished by a way of working which includes empathy, warmth and acceptance, and attention to the client’s feelings, states of mind, behavior and ways of relating.

Beyond these common principles, we characterise the Chiron approach as body-oriented, holistic, humanistic and integrative. Chiron psychotherapy is more than the sum of skills, strategies and techniques it teaches. We are interested in grounding experientially - and that includes: in the body - what is often vaguely referred to as the ‘quality of relationship’, ‘intuition’ and ‘therapeutic presence’.


What are the main features of a Chiron psychotherapy session?

The Chiron view is that psychotherapy is not something the therapist does to the client - it is something that happens between them. The emphasis in the training at Chiron is on the therapist discovering ways of being and working which derive from, deepen, and extend the scope of the relationship.

In particular, Chiron psychotherapy is characterised by its use of body awareness and the senses as instruments in the therapeutic contact. Awareness of the body is fundamental both in terms of perception and intervention, though this manifests in a variety of different styles - for example, therapists vary in how much explicit use they make of bodywork techniques. We pay a lot of attention to the paradoxical and conflicted nature of the therapist’s task and position, especially in terms of ‘body-mind split’, a fairly loose concept pointing toward the opposition between vegetative and other spontaneous processes on the one hand and deliberate and voluntary mechanisms on the other.

Even when a session might look to an observer similar to any other form of psychotherapy - two people sitting together talking - a Chiron therapist would be using their perception of the client’s energetic presence to gain a sense of all levels of the client’s communication. The client would experience this mainly as a sense of being really listened to, and fully responded to. In using the word ‘energetic’ we are referring to the body/mind as a dynamic system, so that any look, gesture, phrase etc. contains the essence (the energy) of an individual’s life story.

Chiron psychotherapists use bodywork to encourage grounding and containment, and to support the process of opening to the powerful feelings and conflicts which people learn to repress and suppress over a lifetime. But bodywork is not an end in itself. It facilitates a degree of aliveness in the client and a trust in their own body and spontaneity. Bringing these qualities of aliveness into a relationship - the relationship with the therapist - creates the conditions for authentic meeting, including the emergence of difficult and painful feelings such as hostility, longing, envy and fear, as well as pleasurable ones such as joy, desire, curiosity and contentment. It becomes possible then - within the framework of safety and containment that the therapist needs to create - for buried conflicts to be explored and acknowledged.

Awareness of the body enhances our sensitivity and perception both of the depth, gravity and tenacity of internal conflict and suffering, and of the far-reaching possibilities of transformation through body/mind integration. We do not try to ‘force’ change to occur deliberately, but work towards a spontaneous resolution of conflict. This often does not appear very promising initially, but it means that when such transformations do happen within the therapeutic relationship, they are more likely to include and reach all levels of one’s being; they are also more likely to translate and ripple through to the rest of one’s life, both internally and externally, without special and deliberate effort.

The use of the mattress, a place for the client to lie down and ‘tune in’ to the inner tides and impulses which arise in them, is also characteristic of Chiron psychotherapy. Identity is rooted in physical experience and spontaneous movements and gestures which can emerge often allow the client to connect with instinctual experiences: for example, around birth or feeding. It may also crystallize internal conflicts, making the client aware of patterns of constrictions and control. Other techniques which extend and amplify the meaning of body impulses and experiences include Gestalt dialogue, role play, visualisation, dreamwork and creative expression through drawing, moving etc.

Some Chiron psychotherapists incorporate biodynamic massage into their sessions, with the agreement of the client. The intention may be to deepen the client’s awareness of what their body holds, to explore issues around touch - for example, feelings of deprivation, or confusion about identity - that can then be understood within the context of the client’s history. Usually, over a period of time, the client develops a habit of connecting more deeply with their body when they want to be more in touch with themselves, and they are able to just direct their attention inward as they sit with the therapist.


The History of Body Psychotherapy

Chiron belongs to the 60 year old tradition of Body Psychotherapy which originated in the work of Wilhelm Reich, a student and colleague of Freud. In the 1930’s Reich began to include the body in psychoanalysis, initially by studying the function of sexuality. He then developed the principles of character analysis, most of which have since entered the psychoanalytic mainstream. Later he turned his attention to the ‘energetic’ dynamics of the human organism in psychological health and pathology by postulating the existence of ‘bioenergy’ - a development which led to a split from the psychoanalytic establishment.

His therapeutic work and research were taken up both in Europe and in the USA by a variety of followers, who independently developed them further, thus engendering a whole range of quite distinct and varied approaches, such as Bioenergetics, Biosynthesis, Radix, Core Process, Core Energetics, Hakomi, etc. Body Psychotherapy has continued to draw on scientific research into all aspects of human functioning - such as psychosomatics, anthropology, neuro-physiology, and peri-natal studies - to extend and refine its practice.

In the early stages of development, Body Psychotherapy was radical and challenging of established notions which treated psychological problems as solely ‘in the mind’. Lowen, following on from Reich, described in detail the physical aspects of depression, for example, which contribute powerfully to the depressed person’s sense of feeling stuck or overwhelmed. He noted that, despite therapeutic encouragement or insight into the history of the depression, the client’s body remained restricted and blocked, with breathing being invariably shallow, because the energy was literally ‘pressed down’.

The therapy that evolved from this insight included exercises and bodywork designed to release blockages through emotional discharge. However, such techniques lacked the sophistication of the detailed attention to the relationship between client and therapist which characterised other forms of psychotherapy.

Over the last twenty-five years Body Psychotherapy has considerably refined its techniques and style, finding subtler, more organic ways of working, and in particular, increasing its focus on the therapeutic relationship. Chiron has been at the leading edge of this development. It was originally set up to bring together three major strands of Body Psychotherapy - Reichian and Neo-Reichian bodywork, Biodynamic Psychology (including Biodynamic massage) and Gestalt therapy. These three approaches include different modes of relating - using the massage table, the mattress, and face to face encounter, sitting, standing and moving. They also reflect different emphases: softer, nurturing qualities; and active challenging techniques.

The gradual assimilation of more psychodynamic understanding into the training has modified the use of these techniques by therapists increasingly learning to attend to the relational function which these techniques may acquire between client and therapist. We see the degree of fragmentation or integration within the therapist’s own inner world, especially in terms of their body/mind relationship, as the main factor in the therapist’s capacity to blend, weave together and integrate different therapeutic approaches, styles and methods.


The Body in Psychotherapy

Central to the Chiron way of working is a profound belief in the intricate and interlinked nature of the physical, emotional and symbolic functions of the body. In the words of Keleman: “Our bodies are us as process, not as thing.”

As Body Psychotherapists we constantly work with the notion of the body-mind as an energetic matrix reflecting the person’s life history, and the recognition that psychological wounds are carried and remembered in the body. In this way psychodynamic understanding of early developmental conflicts extends beyond a mental and verbal focus into the complex and multi-dimensional reality of the here-and-now relationship.

In particular, we recognize the activity of the autonomic nervous system as a barometer of an individual’s conscious and unconscious reactions to experiences. The word ‘autonomic’ is derived from Greek and means ‘the law of the self’. The autonomic nervous system effects breathing, digestion, contraction and relaxation of muscles, blood circulation, the production of certain hormones - such as adrenaline - and the immune system. It produces changes in the body that reflect an individual’s thoughts and feelings, but which often occur outside awareness.

We are interested in how the flow of energy is shaped and organised on all levels of the body/mind, how it becomes blocked or overflowing, and how we can facilitate the individual’s awareness of its capacities for liberation and self-regulation. To do this, we support and encourage the development of energetic perception in the therapist. This is a tool for gathering all information available to the senses, including the therapist’s own body sensation, which often resonates with the client’s or is related to the client’s story with significant others. It is an innate human skill which can be developed through conscious practice. Some may call it intuition, sixth sense, or having a gut feeling. We recognise this kind of perception as fundamental to the body, which not only picks up information but often naturally translates it into a recognisable insight, in the form perhaps of a feeling, image, fantasy or impulse.

Energetic perception begins with noticing the obvious, but often unconscious body movements which occur spontaneously in our interactions with others, including very subtle ones, such as a holding of the breath or a slight alteration in the depth of the in-breath, or slight changes in skin tone and colour. Sometimes the therapist may draw the client’s attention to these changes and explore how they relate to the situation being discussed or to the relationship with the therapist. At other times, the therapist may simply be aware of them and - rather than addressing or exposing them - bear silent witness to the interaction. As the client becomes aware of tensions and conflicts in their body, habitual patterns become tangible in the present moment, and layers of feelings and memories often emerge which need gradual integration.

Awareness of the contact between client and therapist - when grounded in the body - can develop into a spontaneous moment of ‘bodyshift’. This can be experienced as heat, pulsation, expanded breathing or there may be peristalsis. If we accept that consciousness is not limited to mental process, the experience of a ‘bodyshift’ may be viewed as a moment of ‘insight’ on a level of body consciousness which is precisely not a mental understanding. In contrast to analytic theory, Body Psychotherapy does not always consider conscious insight as the main contributing factor in the process of change. Shifts on other levels (e.g. cellular, biochemical, muscular) are equally important ingredients in transformation.


The Use of Touch

Touch for all of us is a basic mode of human communication, as important as other modes of relationship. Our experience of touch, and our associations to it, are strongly influenced by our early, often pre-verbal, experience of being held or handled, related to or violated by others’ touch.. Being touched can evoke feelings and memories which have been, and might otherwise remain, unconscious. This makes touch a powerful but also dangerous therapeutic tool. In order to be able to use it wisely and appropriately, the therapist needs to have access to a subtle and highly differentiated sense of touch in themselves, something which is quite rare in our culture. In the training we therefore provide ample opportunities for students’ awareness of touch to develop. This includes the working though of common cultural confusions around touch, for example its reduction to exclusively gratifying or sexual connotations.

In the training, touch is explored from many angles. In biodynamic massage, touch is wide-ranging and usually immediate: hand to skin. In other courses, client and therapist are clothed and touch is less structured and continuous - it evolves more spontaneously and in context. Although touch is an inherent part of Body Psychotherapy, this does not imply that it is used automatically or indiscriminately. On the contrary, it is very important to distinguish when touch is appropriate and when not. For some clients it is never appropriate. The therapist learns to proceed sensitively, giving equal weight to the client’s conscious consent and the unconscious communications such as a change in breathing or a subtle overall contraction. The absence of touch, the fantasy of touching and being touched, and the actual experience of it, all have their own meaning for each individual client and this provides material for significant insights.

Biodynamic Massage within the training

Biodynamic Massage was brought to England in 1968 by Gerda Boyesen, who developed it from methods commonly used in Norwegian Psychiatric hospitals by physiotherapists working in conjunction with psychotherapists. The biodynamic model of energetic functioning integrates psychological states (such as being scattered, depressed, overcharged) with their physiological counterparts, and looks at these as different aspects of a cycle.

In working with massage the student becomes familiar with the actual physiological signs of emotional dynamics. They learn to distinguish aspects of the clients life history and patterns of relating reflected in their posture, the tonicity of muscle, and distribution of energy, and the quality and texture of their tissue and skin. They acquire the capacity to detect the subtle moment-to-moment changes in breath, in skin colour, in the movement of fluid in the tissue and in the activity of the nervous system. These are indicative of the client’s current emotional process - for example the upsurge of anger, hints of contracting against feelings, or surrendering to a deeper psychological layer, for example, of peacefulness, or emptiness. Whether or not the therapist chooses to use massage in their psychotherapy work, they are left with a deep intuitive connection to the physical manifestation of feeling in the body and its meaning.

The spectrum of biodynamic massage interventions offers tangible practice in perceiving and responding to another’s energy. The intention to contain, to expand, to focus, to amplify, to soothe, to challenge, to vitalise and to integrate layers, are taught as specific techniques. Working with energy in this very direct way creates a foundation for being able to work with the same aims in the more complex and subtle medium of words and face-to-face relating.



We call our work ‘holistic’ because we do not see the psychological manifestations of human suffering or of human growth and development as separate from the body or the mind. We believe that the tendency to expect solutions from specialists, to put the various aspects of human pain into different compartments, is actually one of the symptoms and sources of the suffering which perpetuates the feeling of fragmentation so common in our society.

Much of the pain which brings people to explore their ‘inner world’ in psychotherapy has to do with a wide range of symptoms which are experienced as intensely physical in some way, e.g. in conditions such as stress and hypertension, anxiety or panic attacks, addictions and eating disorders or sexual difficulties. People often experience these symptoms as beyond their control and unrelated to their everyday selves. This is a result and a manifestation of what we call the body/mind split.

The Chiron approach is perhaps unique in its emphasis on organic body-mind integration through ‘energetic’ contact between therapist and client. Healing (which means ‘making whole’) depends on both client and therapist recognising their ‘un-wholeness’ - their wounds and splits, their inner conflicts - which manifest variously as physical symptoms, mental confusion, emotional problems and/or spiritual unease.



Gestalt is a word which roughly translates as ‘configuration of the whole’. Its central concern is with how different parts of a field - in a personality, in a group, or in any system - relate to each other. Rather than analysing psychological difficulties in terms of their origin and history, Gestalt works very much through focussing on the ‘here-and-now’. Aspects of a person’s experience which have become obscured as part of the whole often become accessible, and if they can be followed, usually reveal themselves as related to interrupted cycles - or ‘unfinished business’ - belonging to habits conditioned by past circumstances. Whilst carried in the body/mind, these incomplete fragments of the past can limit and distort contact in relationship, and Gestalt theory distinguishes different manifestations of this such as projection, introjection and retroflection. By attending to them in the immediacy of the here-and-now, Gestalt ‘experiments’ are often designed to give an opportunity for tangible experience or expression, and through this to maybe gain a greater sense of integration.



The humanistic impulse in psychotherapy dates back to the 60’s, and initially developed as a reaction against what was perceived as a reductionistic and materialistic paradigm underlying both psychoanalytic and behaviouristic approaches. There was a surge of belief in human possibilities and potential, especially for change and transformation, and a mistrust of power, authority and tradition. There was an intention to re-establish the pleasure principle, along with a burgeoning of interest in transpersonal and spiritual realities. Humanistic therapists have been influential in expanding our view of human nature, and the holistic aspect of our work owes much to this tradition which includes approaches such as person-centred, Gestalt, Psychosynthesis, Transactional Analysis as well as existential perspectives and theorists like Maslow and Wilber.

The therapeutic approaches which developed from this position are generally client-centred with an openness towards the possibility of an authentic meeting of equals in the therapeutic relationship. The client is seen for their potential, capabilities and strengths, i.e. for what they have rather than what is lacking and problematic. A common belief in humanistic circles is that the best expert on the client is the client. Humanistic approaches are more interactive and experimental, often using tools and exercises like psychodrama and role-play, various forms of dialogue work, guided visualisation and imagery and many others. There is a strong humanistic influence not only on our therapeutic approach, but more so on our training, evident in our emphasis on experiential learning.

Countertransference - using body resonance

The valuing of the information contained within subjective experience is at the heart of a holistic approach. Everything the therapist experiences as they work is relevant - whether it is a twinge in the lower back, a sudden stab of heartache, a fantasy of the client as murderer, an image of a cracked barrel leaking oil, or an impulse to jump up and run out of the room. This information - which needs careful evaluation - is known as countertransference. Attention is paid to these sometimes fleeting, sometimes overwhelmingly powerful and intensely subjective experiences on the basis that the client and therapist are understood to be in a system - the relationship - which is larger than both of them. The information in this ‘system’ is sometimes accessible and self-evident, but there is always much that is unconscious and needs to be de-coded. By listening to the body, as well as to the phrasing, manner, and tone of the client’s verbal language, the therapist attempts to be in touch with the client’s struggle as it is subjectively experienced rather than only how it is translated into words. The conflictedness of the therapist’s internal process (e.g. in terms of identification with the client or differentiation from them, in terms of the therapist’s role and person, in terms of different therapeutic impulses) can be reflected upon as ‘parallel process’ containing information about the dynamic between client and therapist.



The term ‘integrative’ refers to the attempt to bring together two or more different - and often contradictory - schools of psychotherapy. We have been working towards an integrated model of Body Psychotherapy (e.g. one which bridges and brings together humanistic and analytic perspectives) for over a decade and this is still evolving. As part of a more comprehensive psychotherapeutic theory and practice, for example, we are developing a holistic model of countertransference which is a synthesis of Reichian, Gestalt and analytic ideas. This is now one of the central integrative concepts and practices taught in the training.

Integration is not seen as a purely intellectual process - though the capacity to discriminate and differentiate is vital - but something which happens within the body/mind and within relationship. The functioning of the human body is a superb example of the assimilation of extraordinary amounts of information from multiple sources into a state of relative balance. Integration depends on the therapist’s capacity to trust spontaneous self-organising processes in the therapist, in the client, and between them. (We could call this creativity in its widest sense.) This ability to fully enter into a process needs to be combined with the ability to reflect on it from a more detached place, in terms of its usefulness for the client. Rather than any particular skill or knowledge which the therapist may rely on, we consider the therapeutic relationship itself as a transformative element. It is within the crucible of the relationship with clients, and with trainers and supervisors, that therapists learn and struggle with the reality of developing their own integrative practice.


The Chiron Training

PLEASE NOTE: We regret to inform you that Chiron is no longer running the Basic Training Programme (Years 1 to 3), and is taking no further applicants for the Psychotherapy Training Modules outlined below. We do still offer our Open Programme, Continuing Professional Development Programme and Massage Training.
For further details, see WHAT'S NEW

Details of Courses and Modules

First Year Courses

The first year is primarily experiential - it is designed to support and increase the student’s awareness, and to encourage trust in inner impulses.

The Psychotherapy Group provides an environment for exploration of one’s way of being in the world and relating to others. At Chiron we pay particular attention to the way this relationship with oneself and ‘the other’ is being ‘embodied’. In the Psychotherapy Group this exploration occurs spontaneously, in response to the dynamic in the group and between people, facilitated by the group leader.

Body and Energy I is based on the development of Reichian Vegetotherapy (Reich, Boadella, Boyesen, Lowen, Pierrakos, Rosenberg). It covers themes such as the biodynamic ‘midwife’ approach, boundaries, the Primary Scenario, working with regression, and understanding the functions and meaning of different kinds of breathing, and how to work with the breath.Students explore their own body awareness and energetic perception by paying attention to the experience of energy movement in themselves and their peers. Exercises in pairs and triads are used to develop conscious awareness of boundaries of the self (inner - outer, me - not me) as well as to facilitate direct communication through touch.

In Biodynamic Massage I students gain an awareness of presence and quality of touch when massaging. They learn a wide range of techniques which work specifically with the energy held within the physical structure of the body, from bone and muscular levels to the connective tissue and skin layers as well as the energy field.

The experiential work with energy in relation to self and other is underpinned by the study of anatomy and physiology in the Holistic Human Biology module which ‘grounds’ this energetic understanding within Western medical knowledge. Throughout the course, links and comparisons are made between physical and subtle (energetic) anatomy and the relationship of mind and body. This knowledge can help to understand a client’s physical process in relationship to the whole person.


Second Year Courses

Students deepen their understanding of concepts acquired in the first year and begin to look at therapeutic theory and frames of reference, with much more focus on the experience of the therapist. Techniques and skills of bodywork are again taught through experience, but the integration of the experience happens more within a structured framework and with reference to particular elements of theory.

In Body and Energy II students deepen their understanding of neo-Reichian Body Psychotherapy and move towards integration of Body Psychotherapy with psychodynamic theory and transpersonal work. Themes covered include sexuality, negativity (the Shadow), aspects of mother, father, masculine and feminine, and spirituality. Students are also introduced to working with images and symbols.

Energetic perception is anchored through the study of the client’s ‘bodymind’, which includes bringing together symbolic, developmental and physiological understanding of the Reichian body segments (ocular, oral, thoracic etc). This holistic study of the ‘language of the body’ allows students to explore the emotional function of energy blocks as they appear anatomically. Students practice different ways of working to uncover and bring into awareness the unconscious material which is contained in physical sensation, body posture, gestures and movement. They also begin to understand their own body / feeling responses as a reflection of the relationship process with the client.

Gestalt Body Psychotherapy I utilises the student’s sensitivity to her own energy body to heighten her awareness of contact with the client. It is founded on the principle of organismic self-regulation which holds that the organism can be trusted to ‘know’ the next step it needs to take. The emphasis is on deepening awareness by paying attention to the details of whatever is happening in the client, in the therapist and between them in the ‘here and now’. Students learn to experiment with Gestalt techniques, and are introduced to Gestalt theory, including the relationship of the part and the whole, the paradoxical theory of change and systems theory.

In Biodynamic Massage II students learn about body reading and assessment of clients through giving and evaluating actual sessions. Students are taught in smaller groups of four, and there is more focussed moment-to-moment live supervision. The emphasis is on developing sensitivity to energy movements in the body and learning to understand their meaning.

Biodynamic Massage 4th Term is offered to students doing the massage training only who want to receive the Chiron Biodynamic Massage Certificate in order to practice. It may run on three weekends in the autumn term, provided there are at least 4 students.

The weekend workshop Working with Diversity focusses on transcultural issues (including sexuality, gender, race), and will encourage the development of greater awareness about our values, attitudes and prejudices as therapists and how these influence the therapeutic alliance.  

Third Year Courses

In the third year the focus is on the relationship between client and therapist, encouraging students to find their own identity and authority as therapist, and learning to go beyond the security of theory or technique.

In the module Biodynamic Massage & Psychotherapy students learn to integrate massage with an in-depth body psychotherapeutic process, including how to work with transference, imagery and sensory experience. During the second part of the year students will work with volunteer clients and receive supervision for these live sessions. Two additional one-day weekend seminars Theoretical Integration of Massage & Psychotherapy focus on theoretical considerations regarding the integration of massage within a therapeutic process, including controversies and possible applications, and the issue of transference.

The weekend seminar Verbal Facilitation Skills focusses on understanding defensive strategies and finding ways of addressing and dealing with them verbally. Trainees will develop and sharpen verbal skills, particularly through role-play, in order to work more confidently within the flow of the interaction.

Gestalt Body Psychotherapy II (‘Charge’ in the Therapeutic Relationship) offers further intensive study of the therapeutic relationship as a dynamic system, bringing together Reichian, Gestalt, and psychoanalytic perspectives on the client-therapist relationship. Students work towards the capacity to be fully present in the relationship whilst maintaining an awareness of it. The theories and techniques of the first two years help to access and understand the client’s conflicts - physically, emotionally, mentally - in powerful ways. The emphasis is on how to operate with these tools and maps, these conceptual and technical ‘crutches’, in relationship with the client in the ‘here and now’.

Teaching happens through role-play, work in the middle, practice in pairs and triads, demonstrations and theoretical input. Some of the themes covered are: the therapeutic position between colluding and objectifying; the energetic matrix of the client’s body-emotion-mind system (the body-mind split); the therapist’s internal process (holistic understanding of countertransference); and the ‘unifying experience’ - charged and transformative moments in relationship.

The Seminar on Therapeutic Theories & Character Structures puts the therapeutic process as taught by Chiron in a wider context within the field of psychotherapy. The first term is devoted to an in-depth look at the Reichian character structures. The next two terms cover the theory of child development (e.g. Mahler, Stern, Bradley) with reference to studies of the brain and its development (e.g. vision, language), and discussion of various states of pathology. This includes a survey of the major psychotherapeutic schools - psychoanalysis, object relations, and analytical, humanistic and transpersonal psychology.

In the ‘triangles’, Advanced Training in Body Psychotherapy, three trainees meet weekly with a trainer, each taking turns as ‘client’, ‘therapist’ and ‘observer’. There is one live session, which may be ‘cut’ at various points to consider the therapists’ perceptions, their understanding of the dynamic, and their options for intervention. This is an opportunity to follow a psychotherapy process with a peer over a year, and is as close to a real therapeutic relationship as can be created within the training set-up, providing an environment for intense learning.


Post-Certificate Training Phase

Chiron trainees are required to participate in 60 hours of post-certificate training (over a minimum of two years) in order to qualify for the Diploma. The programme of Post-Certificate training events includes weekend workshops, short courses and seminars and is open to both Chiron trainees and psychotherapists from other trainings. These courses provide opportunities for therapists to deepen their understanding, develop their skills and focus on more specialised themes and areas of therapeutic work.

Popular courses which are repeated at regular intervals are on assessment, somatic trauma therapy, themes such as touch and sexuality, borderline personality, body reading, transference and countertransference, ‘towards integretive practice’ and a group leaders’ course.

Supervision Groups

Supervision groups are open to Chiron post-certificate students and other qualified psychotherapists who are interested in applying body-oriented, holistic and integrative principles to their work. The basic framework for these groups will be the whole spectrum of Body Psychotherapy, as taught and practised at the Chiron Centre, complemented by an understanding of what is called ‘parallel process’ as presented, for example, by Hawkins and Shohet in their book ‘Supervision in the Helping Professions’ (OUP, 1989).

Exact details of the syllabus, format of the modules, written requirements, etc. can be found in the Chiron Training Prospectus.


Becoming a Chiron Psychotherapist

What is the Chiron training like?

The Chiron psychotherapy training is centred on experiential learning. Through exercises, skills practice and practical demonstrations in the whole group, in triads and in pairs a continuous interweaving of experience, reflection and understanding is facilitated. The basic training phase is designed to offer an intense learning experience, emotionally as well as practically and academically. Space is given to the group process, allowing students to share the depth of their experience and to become fully engaged with themselves and others. This can create radical shifts in perception, as well as offering support, challenge and fun.

We recommend that you attend one of our introductory weekend workshops if you are considering joining the training and are not familiar with Chiron work in any other way. Ask for our leaflet “Introductory Weekends at Chiron”.


What is the style of teaching?

The Chiron training reflects a theory of learning that is based on organic bodymind integration. Learning is a dynamic process, which includes attending to conflicts as they manifest within groups and in an individual’s process. We aim to create an atmosphere where trainees can become more connected to themselves, more grounded, and more receptive - so that ideas can be taken in and digested more easily. The outer development of skills is directly connected to the student’s inner development.

In the first year the emphasis is on experiential learning whilst in the second and third years there is more emphasis on beginning to conceptualise principles and integrate different theories. Trainees are expected to follow up and complement teaching sessions with reading from our recommended booklists, on their own and in organised Reading Groups.

Students are required to submit a typed essay each year by the beginning of June, which forms part of their end-of-year assessment. Essays can be on a theme of the student’s own choice and should demonstrate a satisfactory understanding of the therapeutic process. In addition, some  courses require written work and shorter essays.

How long is the training?

The Chiron Centre offers a comprehensive three-year basic training programme leading to the Chiron Certificate in Body Psychotherapy, followed by post-certificate training leading to the Diploma (a minimum of two years), and accreditation by the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). It is one of the very few training centres which offers a complete training in Body Psychotherapy to Diploma level and registration. It is possible to spread the training over a longer period, or to stop for a while, and this can be arranged in consultation with the Training Committee.

The training courses comprising the Chiron Certificate Programme are designed as a comprehensive training in Body Psychotherapy. However, individual courses may also be taken separately by people wishing to supplement their expertise in psychotherapy, mental health work, social work, teaching, etc. In this case Attendance Certificates will be given.

The basic training generally takes three years, involving approximately 11 hours per week (including individual therapy) during three 12-week terms - a total of approximately 1200 hours.


The preferred sequence of training is:

     Module:                                      Teaching Contact Hours:

Body and Energy I (Body Psychotherapy) 

108 hours

Biodynamic Massage I

108 hours

Holistic Human Biology (Anatomy Course)

48 hours

Psychotherapy Group

114 hours


Body and Energy II (Body Psychotherapy)

108 hours

Biodynamic Massage II

36 hours

Gestalt-Body Therapy I

108 hours

Massage & Psychotherapy

48 hours

Gestalt-Body Therapy II (‘Charge’)

108 hours

Therapeutic Theories / Character Structures

54 / 60 hours

Advanced Training in Body Psychotherapy 

84 hours

Additional requirements are participation in weekend workshops ‘Working with Diversity’ (second or third year), ‘Verbal Facilitation Skills’, and ‘Massage and Psychotherapy’ (third year).


How and when do I need to apply?

Applications are invited each year in the spring and early summer. You need to send in the completed application form together with a curriculum vitae, a passport photo and an application fee. In due course you will be invited for two assessment interviews. The first interview, with one member of the Training Committee, lasts about one hour and will give you the opportunity to discuss questions about the training in more detail. The second interview will be with two members of the Training Committee and lasts about 30 minutes. You will usually be notified about the outcome of