Practitioner Bulletin no. 27, September/October 1999

The Bach International Education Programme

by Karen Chapman, Head of Education at Nelsons

The following is a digest of Karen’s presentation at the UK Bach Practitioner Conference in April.

I am responsible for the Education Department at Nelsons, for setting up and managing the Bach International Education Programme (BIEP), and for the development of the programme within new countries. I work with a committed team at Nelsons, including Carly Hyde, the National Education Co-ordinator; Kate Harris, International Education Co-ordinator, Carolyn Parsons, the Department Secretary, and Katharine Hursey, who is Training Projects Manager, and helps to ensure the quality of what we do.

The Education Department was set up by Nelsons in 1995 in response to the high demand from around the world for training on the remedies. Working closely with the Bach Centre, we established the Bach International Education Programme in order to run Bach Centre-approved courses both in the UK and overseas. We put together a three-tier training structure, as follows:

  • a two-day Introductory course (Level 1);
  • a two-day Advanced course (Level 2);
  • a Level 3 Practitioner Course, based on the original Bach Centre Practitioner Course.

Over a period of about two years we piloted courses in a number of countries, with the intention of expanding the official training programmes to other countries over time.

It sounds simple…

One of the main challenges we faced was over-complication. For many years, people in different parts of the world had been teaching about the remedies. Quite often the original message had become distorted, and in some cases it had changed out of all recognition.

We went back to basics, and to Dr. Bach’s philosophy, and to the most straightforward of statements: ‘in its simplicity, it may be used in the household.’ We needed to re-establish the simplicity of the system.

We also put the emphasis back onto self-help. ‘The physician of the future will assist the patient to a knowledge of himself,’ said Dr Bach; but there were places where the remedies were used and taught solely by psychotherapists, for example, and the misunderstanding had arisen that you had to be a psychotherapist before you could select them. The remedies can of course be used extremely effectively in a psychotherapy practice, but they can also be used in any number of other contexts, and that is what we needed to establish.

As we worked with the Bach Centre to set up the programme we established four clear aims:

  • to teach the remedies as a tool for self-help;
  • to respect Dr. Bach’s philosophy;
  • to train practitioners to educate and not prescribe;
  • to establish the remedies as a credible and serious therapy.

We also believed that students could only really learn the remedies if they used them for themselves, and brought them into their lives. For this reason all the courses encourage personal experience of the remedies.

BIEP courses are now available in 18 countries world-wide. We prioritised countries according to the demand for the remedies, the demand for education, and the ease with which we could identify the right person to help us set up the programme.

Since the launch in 1995 there has been a steady increase in the numbers of people taking the courses. At the end of March this year we totalled up that 8,500 students had taken the Level 1 course, 3,200 the Level 2, and 1,000 the Level 3. 20% of the practitioners on the Bach Foundation Register had been trained overseas on a BIEP course. (This is a real achievement, considering that the Level 3 course is the most difficult one to organise, due to the need to ensure a consistent standard of assessment.) Including shorter training set up for retailers, orthodox health professionals and complementary therapists, we have to date trained a staggering 32,000 students around the world.

Prejudice and assumption

by Tessa Jordan

It would be wonderful to be able to say categorically that prejudice has no place in the world of Bach flowers. As we are developing and learning with the remedies we can hope to avoid the more crude and obvious types of prejudice. However, we all come from different cultures and backgrounds and – if you will forgive the expression – things are rarely black or white.

As a trainer working with the Bach International Education Programme, I find that whenever I teach a seminar I learn just as much as I teach. The participants have much to offer from their own experiences of life and of the remedies.

As a language graduate I have always been fascinated by the subtle differences in expressions, attitudes, focus and emphasis that exist between even the closest of neighbours. We may have quite different ways of explaining some of the remedies, even though the actual feelings underneath the words and images are the same. Recently I have spent some time teaching in Russia and Israel. This has brought home to me once again the need to be careful about our assumptions (or prejudices) and about our choice of images…

In Israel it needed only a little forethought to change my usual description of Hornbeam from ‘Monday morning feelings’ to ‘Sunday morning feelings’, so as to fit the local culture.

But in Russia I was caught out in my description of Holly. Often at an introductory seminar, although I emphasise that the remedies are made from flowers, I make a link between the prickliness of holly leaves and the redness of the berries and the angry hatred and suspicion of the Holly state. It seems helpful as an aide-memoire to link Holly with red faces and hot, boiling feelings.

Unfortunately for me, however, the colour associated with rage in Russia is black. Somehow the link doesn’t work quite so well. I also need to be careful not to confuse the Russian participants when I talk about the ‘black cloud’ of Mustard, in case they start to think about Mustard the way I think about Holly.

To make matters more confusing still my French friends tell me that in France a Holly type anger would not be red or black – but white!

Of course there is a lighter side to our habit of prejudging people and situations.

One memorable morning I came down to breakfast at the hotel in London where I was staying before teaching a Bach seminar. As I crossed the dining room I noticed a woman sitting alone, eating a healthy breakfast and reading a book with ‘Soul’ in the title. I immediately thought she might be coming to the Bach seminar. Later that morning when we met properly at the seminar (I was right!) she revealed that she had sussed me out too. Apparently my colourful carpet bag purse was a real giveaway sign that I must be going to the Bach seminar too. How we are judged!

Bach Flower Gardener

Practitioners who helped Stefan with his plant book will like to know that The Bach Flower Gardener is due out in October from The CW Daniel Co.

Welcome to…

Since the last (July) issue was prepared, 24 new practitioners have joined the register:

  • in Brazil, Maria José Antonia Bacil, Antonia Mazia Bacil, Renata Loretti Ribeiro, Maria Cristina Camargo Fleury Grossi and Regina Baracchini;
  • in Denmark, Grete Lys;
  • in Japan, Yurina Shiraishi;
  • in New Zealand, Christene Carden and Cora Manser;
  • in Spain, Silvana Mouzo Torres, Maria del Carmen Samblas Martinez, Maria Teresa Rodrigo Munoz and Ricardo Sales Ventura;
  • and in the UK, Eva Jolly, Claire Hingley, Katherine Wheldon, Helen Kent, Sue Burnell, Sheila Wolstenholme, Anne Lindsay, Judy Beveridge, Adelheid Rozowski, Sheila Minnery and Caroline Russell.

There are now 610 practitioners on the register.

Your letters


An Appeal for Help

I am in contact with an important non-profit charity in Italy called the Fondazione Floriani. They are active in the field of pain therapy for terminal cancer patients. Most of their activity is concerned with palliative care at home.

I have been associated for some time with the Fondazione Floriani and in particular with some of the doctors who lead the 13 pain therapy centres.

Some days ago I suggested the possibility of introducing the crisis formula for the care of terminal patients and their families. I was told to submit a detailed proposal to the Ethical Committee for Pain Therapies, showing the use already made of the ‘rescue’ combination in similar situations, along with a checklist of its adequacy.

Do any practitioners have any experience in this area, or more information on the use of remedies on terminal patients? I would be very grateful for any information or advice from anyone.

Nora Magnocavallo

We want you to use this bulletin to keep in touch with each other. If anything wonderful, funny, interesting or just plain typical has happened to you in your work with the remedies, or if there are any questions that have been nagging away at you, or if you simply want to say hello, please write to us at the Bach Centre, marking your letter clearly as being ‘FOR PUBLICATION’.

We can’t promise to print every letter in the bulletin, but even if we don’t use your contribution we always love to hear from you.

This archive material has been edited to remove some out-of-date advice and information.