A Transformational Journey: for Self, Relationships, and Helping Others

There are two interwoven emphases at Lifespace:

  1. The deeply healing processes taught are core skills for Transformational Counsellors (Personal Therapists).
  2. However, our emphasis centres on taking you on a transformational journey that includes
    • personal healing,
    • relationship strengthening, and
    • the development of skills for self-help, relationship, and mutual-help networks.

1. Life-Centred Transformational CounsellingTM

The Life-Centered Transformational CounsellingTM taught at Lifespace provides therapists with clear steps, so they can help their clients advance through a series of deep transformational stages.

This training method draws upon, refines, and integrates the best aspects of various therapeutic theories and methodologies, including:

  • Humanistic, Rogerian Person-Centred, Gestalt, Jungian
  • Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing, Body-Centered Therapy, Hakomi
  • Somatic Processing (drawing on Somatic Experiencing, AutoSomatic Training & Focusing)
  • Transformational, Transpersonal
  • Psychosynthesis, Inner Parts Work, Voice Dialogue
  • Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) with heart, Classic and New Code NLP
  • Cognitive, Spiritual (Life) Principles, Attitudinal Healing, Option, Releasing Limiting Beliefs
  • Dreamwork, Creative Visualization, Expressive Arts Therapy (Multi-Modal)
  • Relationship Skills (e.g., Win-Win Conflict Resolution)
  • Lifespace Transformational Methods

Life-Centered Transformational CounsellingTM is powerful, safe, deep, flexible and effective.

2. Personal Transformational Journey

All the processes described for Transformational Counselling also apply to our personal transformational journey. In fact, the focus is on us as people, and on learning skills for creating satisfying well-supported lives and relationships.

Below: a Lifespace student consults with Barbara for feedback on a tape-recorded session of him as a counsellor. Exploring inwardly can also be part of the process.

Trainee Tape Consultation with Barbara-1


The Lifespace Institute of Transformational Counsellor Training was founded in 1982 in Toronto to fulfill the need for an intensive skills-oriented experiential approach to counsellor training. From over 44 years of experience training counsellors and even longer as a transformational counsellor, Barbara Forest, Ph.D., has refined and integrated a set of key ingredients:

Lifespace’s Foundation Skills: Extensive research shows that a therapist’s warmth, authenticity, non-judgmental caring, and empathic listening are essential for working with people successfully. These Facilitative Conditions, along with Gendlin’s inner experiencing process (focusing), provide the necessary conditions for effective counselling and for positive personal change.

The Foundation Skills in our program also include developing and maintaining a solid connection with an inner resource base (inner strengths—like peace, love, confidence, vitality, intuitive knowingness and Centredness).

Research shows that just talking about one’s issues intellectually does not result in positive personal change. However, we also do not want clients to get lost in just re-living their pain. Therapy fails clients if they leave a session having just spun their mental wheels, or if they leave raw and hurting, having discovered no next strengthening and transformational step.

Keeping clients connected with an inner resource base gives them a steadfast inner support during their deep work. They are embraced in a healing atmosphere of peace and love, both from the therapist and from within themselves. And clients are guided, and learn how to guide themselves, in a Life-enhancing, transformational direction.

Our training has humanistic roots, especially Carl Rogers’ person-centred therapy and Eugene Gendlin’s experiential focusing approaches. Working through life issues & blocks to fuller potential, exploring inner feelings & meanings, increasing one’s core of inner resources & strengths, and discovering personal truth, purpose & life direction, are crucial aspects.

Patterns are shifted at all levels: somatic (body), cognitive, emotional, spiritual, and meaningful action. Painful patterns can get stuck at any level, including the body. An integral aspect of the healing work is to take the positive effects deeply into the somatic level, by sensitively following body sensations.

Into the humanistic base are integrated a comprehensive range of transformational tools for working actively with more challenging issues:

Transformational UnfoldingTM: Transformational Focusing and Transformational Empathy: taking focusing and empathic listening to the transformational level.

Transformational Integration of Inner PartsTM: Working with inner parts addresses inner conflict (e.g., the Driven Accomplisher vs. the Beach Bum). All aspects of self (and all our diverse inner wants) are re-aligned with Core Self and integrated into an enriched and satisfying wholeness. It is especially vital to transform the inner Critical Judge (into a supportive helper). Hurting parts (such as, an angry, sad, or fearful Inner Child) quickly become resourceful as they are connected with inner strength and nurturing, and are taken through the transformational steps. Key aspects of self are healed, reclaimed, and harmonized with the whole, for more fulfilling living.

Transformational Healing of the PastTM: We do not dwell on or psychoanalyze the past; our focus, rather, is on resourceful functioning in the present. If it becomes apparent that wounding from the past is interfering with present functioning, then there are several streamlined methods that we use to free clients from being caught in the past and to clear distress at a deep somatic level. These methods keep clients safely grounded in inner resourcefulness, while clearing the past.

Transformational Belief WorkTM: Finding and releasing limiting beliefs. Shifting the mind from disruptive thought patterns into being a compassionate enlightened transformational guide.

Transformational RelationshipTM: Win-win conflict resolution, relationship strengthening. Transformational Expressive ArtsTM round out the Program, along with dreamwork and additional body-centred techniques.

Transformational Mutual-Help Networks: A fundamental aspect of the Program is learning self-help skills, plus being part of and learning how to build mutual-help networks.

The counselling skills involve deeply unfolding inner processes. You are not left lost in the pain (or stuck in your head), but are actively facilitated in a Life-enhancing transformational direction. You learn how to keep grounded in a solid connection with the strengths of Core Self. Integrating and refining all of these processes result in a highly advanced and thorough method, teaching Life-generative processes and tools that maximize both the inner and outer life, encompassing the whole person: bodymindheart, and spirit.


Lifespace provides students with an integrative model for therapeutic change that includes a rich variety of methods that enhance transformation. Students are taught underlying principles and process steps to guide their understandings in a client session. At each stage of their training, students are provided with practical tools and given the opportunity to incorporate them into a style of therapy that fits for them.

The atmosphere is warmnon-judgmental, and encouraging. Our own personal work is an integral part of the process—learning how to help oneself, as well as others. We travel together—growing and healing—discovering a deepening and expanding wholeness. The person-centred empathic foundation of the program is also highly supportive of diversity and multiculturalism.

Self-care and the facilitative use of self as a therapist are also key dimensions.

The training clearly spells out the processes to be learned. The focus is hands-on skills attainment, including step-by-step training manuals, demonstrations, supervised practice, and specific feedback.


The Program consists of four 6-month Core Courses given over a 2-year period.
A one-day class (10:30am–6:30pm) is held each month, on a Saturday or Sunday, 12 days per year.

Group and Individual Practica accompany these classes:

  1. Group Practicum:
    These monthly 4-hour meetings involve review and consolidation of the skills taught in the class that month, along with supervised dyadic practice (4 hours monthly—scheduled to fit the group)
  2. Individual Practica:
  • 1-to-1 Home Practice 2-way sessions with fellow students (ideally at least twice a month).
  • Private tutorials with the Trainers to deepen understanding and personal healing.
  • Private consultations with the Trainers, giving feedback on tape-recordings of the 1-to-1 Counselling Practica with Lifespace Students (if desired—required for Certificate attainment). This feedback greatly facilitates learning the skills, and is especially important for those planning on using them in a counselling practice. If a student already has outside clients, then they can bring in tape-recordings of these for feedback, as well.

(Click on Courses for Course Descriptions.) The classes move step-by-step, in an integrated way, through the processes outlined in these courses.