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Diabetes counselling course to explore 30 year journey

By Editor
24th January 2018
CPD, Education Good practice

A diabetes counselling course developed to ensure better health outcomes for people with the condition, will focus on its 30 year journey when it takes places later this year.

The Diabetes Counselling course was established in 1988 by Dr Chris Gillespie, a clinical psychologist with many years experience in diabetes care and Dr Charles Fox, consultant physician in diabetes.

Designed to teach healthcare professionals a range of communication skills with the focus on working with people with diabetes, the course is based at Knuston Hall, an adult education centre situated in rural Northamptonshire.

Dr Fox said: “This is a particularly special year for us as we’ll be looking back at our 30-year journey and how we’ve helped change health outcomes by working with healthcare professionals so they look at their treatment approach completely differently.

“The three-day course takes participants experientially through the stages of empowerment. People frequently arrive with reservations about how the person-centred listening approach can translate into effective diabetes care, particularly within the time constraints of the average clinic appointment. We address this concern during the course and most participants leave with an enthusiasm to take a different approach in future consultations.”

In 2008 the course was developed to include patient empowerment. Bob Anderson, who introduced empowerment into diabetes care in the US, came to Knuston Hall to advise on the design of the new course.

During the three-day learning experience, the faculty uses video real-play in small groups; feedback is controlled by the person who took the counsellor role. This allows learning and discussion in a secure, unthreatening environment. At the end of the course trained actors play client roles, enabling participants to practice their skills in a more realistic setting.

Each course comprises 18 delegates with six facilitators, so numbers are limited. The faculty has discussed ways of making the course more accessible, but future developments in e-learning may allow incorporation of the experiential learning process.

Participants come away understanding the philosophy of person-centred collaborative care and its context in diabetes care.   Feedback is extremely positive, as demonstrated by the following quotes:

“The course was fantastic. I really did have reservations and resistance to attending but by golly I am so glad I did. It has made such a difference to me and how I feel about using counselling skills.”

“Empowering and life-changing; new skills learnt to facilitate more effective and patient centred diabetes care based on patient needs and not my wish to ‘fix the problem’.”

An oral presentation at Diabetes UK on Wednesday March 14 ‘From Fixer to Facilitator’ will report the transformation experienced by participants in a qualitative research project.

The course is approved by the Royal College of Physicians for 18 clinical CPD credits. This year, the event will take place on Tuesday, May 1 to Friday, May 4 and will cost £650 which includes accommodation and all meals.

To find out more or to register, email

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