Happy Birthday to the Practitioner Course

Practitioner course3rd September 2011

The Bach Centre's Bach Foundation education programme is celebrating a birthday. The first ever practitioner course started exactly 20 years ago, on the 3rd September 1991.

Twenty students attended that first course, which was taught by Bach Centre Director Judy Ramsell Howard.

"It was hot and sunny that week," says Judy. "And I remember how cheerful and friendly all the students were, and how much we all enjoyed the experience!"

That first course had been written from scratch that summer. Teaching materials of all kinds were made in-house. That included the videos shown as examples of how to run - and how not to run! - a Bach consultation.

"We filmed video material between us on a hand-held camcorder - and there were some hilarious moments where things wen't wrong and we all collapsed into giggles," says Judy. "I pieced the out-takes together and we showed them to one of the later course groups. Everyone laughed and it was very funny, even though my mum told me off!"

Mum was and is Muriel Ramsell. Her and her husband John, who was then head of the Bach Centre, took a real interest in the birth of the programme - even though to some extent it marked a change in emphasis for the Centre.

"We had always maintained that courses were unnecessary," says Judy. "The books contained all the information required to help oneself and others. But we were inundated with requests for seminars, so once the remedy production had moved out of Mount Vernon and we had the space and time to do it, we began a series of one-day events to give people the opportunity to learn the basics of the system and visit the Bach Centre at the same time.

"The seminars seemed to whet people's appetite and very soon we were being asked for practitioner training. We resisted at first but in order to satisfy the obvious demand we decided to go ahead. That's how the practitioner course was born."

What survives from those early days is a continuing commitment to simplicity, and to teaching Dr Bach's finished system, exactly as he left it. The sense of fun remains too - even if the old videos aren't used so much.

"The courses have become more professional over the years to respond to students' needs," says Judy. "They're longer, more detailed and more structured, with three levels of training where we used to just have one."

Perhaps the most striking change, though, is that Bach Centre-approved courses are now available in 30 different countries around the world. It's no longer necessary to travel to Oxfordshire to join the Bach Centre's Register. But the Centre remains at the heart of all the courses, wherever they are taught, and whoever teaches them.

"We use written criteria to regulate what's taught in our name," Judy says. "That way we can be sure the same programme is delivered worldwide. Dr Bach wanted the system to be presented pure and unadorned, and that's what we have always aimed to do."