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The COS-Intensive Training Pathway

Case-Based Trainings on Promoting Security in Caregiver-Child Relationships


ur team at COS-International is excited that the COS-Intensive model is now more accessible to providers and, therefore, to families. The new pathway to endorsement as a COS-Intensive provider is depicted in the figure below. The pathway begins with training in the COSP program. Learning the COSP program means learning the basics of attachment theory and science and how that theory and science is applied in a relationship-based intervention. However, we’ve learned from COSP providers around the world that working with caregivers who have a history of trauma, mental health issues or a combination of risk factors means encountering dyads for whom individualized, extended intervention is indicated.

Details of the COS-Intensive Training Pathway

COSP Training

Step 1 on the pathway to becoming a COS-Intensive provider is completing the COSP training. Practitioners may complete this training online or in person and the cost is $1000 USD per person (though group discounts are available). Most practitioners want to become Registered COSP Facilitators, but those not interested in facilitating the COSP program can choose to audit this course for $700 USD; auditors do not get the COSP program manual and video, do not sign the Facilitator contract allowing use of these materials with caregivers and don't have access to our member's side of the website following training.

Register for the COSP Training here. If you plan to audit the COSP training, please contact us at info [at] circleofsecurityinternational [dot] com.

COS-Intensive Assessment Training

Step 2 on the pathway is the COS-Intensive Assessment Training. This training focuses on the individualized assessment at the heart of the COS-Intensive model. Providers learn how to conduct and analyze the Strange Situation Procedure (SSP) and the Circle of Security-Interview (COSI’s) which are the core assessment tools used for the COS-Intensive model. A primary focus of this training is on identifying the key attachment issue impacting a caregiver-child dyad (called the “Linchpin Issue”) as revealed by this systematic assessment. A secondary focus of the training is on identifying the caregiver’s core sensitivity, which helps guide the clinician in conducting the treatment model. [Note: for interested clinicians, there are other learning opportunities to learn more about the core sensitivities (see below under the Optional Trainings heading)]. Providers are given the COS-Intensive Assessment manual at this training, which will allow them to conduct the comprehensive assessments in their practice settings.

Register for this training here.

Intensive Case Review

Step 3 on the pathway is what we call the Case Review Course, an online course that allows providers to work independently or with a small group of learning partners to review dyadic interactions (SSP’s) and caregiver interviews (COSI’s) that we have securely posted on our learning website. This online case review is self-guided, allowing those who’ve completed the COS-Intensive Assessment training the opportunity to practice identifying dyad’s Linchpin Issues. There are more than 8 hours of online video review and the cost is set at $750 USD. Two-hour blocks of optional consultation with a COS-Intensive supervisor are available for $370 USD per block for those providers who want to discuss their case formulations via videoconference.

You can register for this course here.

Intro to Treatment Course

Step 4 on the pathway begins the part of the training that is for clinicians who conduct psychotherapy with high-risk clients (see below). This next course focuses on key principles of the COS-Intensive Treatment. It is here that eligible providers are first exposed to the Treatment phase of the model, including the Treatment manual. This course starts with an overview of the COS-Intensive protocols, which can be delivered with individual clients, couples or with groups of caregivers. The next section of the course focuses on the concept of Being With as applied to the therapist: client relationship. Participants will explore how the therapeutic stance is connected to the concept of Being With. In the next module, the key steps of the intervention process are presented through an analysis of a case from one of the very first groups conducted by Bert Powell. Bert’s guided review of key moments in the treatment of one participant in the group brings alive the intervention phases. The next module focuses on a different case and involves active learning wherein participants are asked to review an SSP and select intervention clips they might use with the caregiver. By picking apart a Strange Situation Procedure, and watching an expert do the same, the learner will experience first hand how to put together a treatment plan. The final module of the course is an introduction to Supervision, the final step on the training pathway.

Case-Based Consultation with Certified COS-Intensive Supervisor

Step 5 on the pathway is case-based consultation. This is the final step on the path to endorsement and will be conducted via secure sharing of video assessments gathered by the trainee and regular online meetings reviewing video of the clinician’s COS-Intensive intervention cases. Small group case consultation is recommended and is less costly than individual case consultation.

For questions about the process and cost of case consultation, please reach out to neil [at] circleofsecurityinternational [dot] com.

Who is Eligible for COS-Intensive Provider Training?

While the COS-Intensive training was created primarily for clinicians with experience as psychotherapists, we allow any provider to take Steps 1, 2 and 3 on the training pathway. We have found that the COS-Intensive Assessment training and the Online COS-Intensive Case Review training provide an excellent organizational framework to enhance facilitation of COSP and increase the ‘seeing and guessing skills’ at the heart of all the COS intervention models.

However, only providers who already do psychotherapy with at-risk clients can move on to Steps 4 and 5 on the pathway as these steps are focused on Treatment instead of Assessment. We are aware that, in many parts of the world, definitions of which providers are eligible to conduct psychotherapeutic intervention vary.

If you have questions about your qualifications, please reach out to neil [at] circleofsecurityinternational [dot] com.

Working With a Team

While we have worked hard to make the COS-Intensive protocol and this training pathway more accessible to individual practitioners, including those in private practice, we have learned that most practitioners prefer both learning and implementing COS-Intensive as part of a team. Reflecting with a close colleague as you learn COS-Intensive is also very helpful. Furthermore, providers often tell us that working alone with this model is difficult. Having a colleague to share circle stories with is not just helpful, it prevents isolation and burnout.

We certainly allow individual practitioners to train in the COS-Intensive model, but we do recommend learning alongside peers and encourage individual learners to ‘buddy-up’ with 1-2 other providers for both the Case Review course and Case-Based Consultation/Supervision.

Optional Learning–Further Training on the Core Sensitivities

During the COS-Intensive Assessment, the concept of how caregivers core sensitivities might inform their struggles on the Circle of Security is introduced. We have found that learning about core sensitivities is of great value for many clinicians, but that this learning also takes time. For those less familiar with the concept of psychological defenses in relationships, additional learning about core sensitivities is not just helpful, it might be considered a necessary extra step on the training pathway.

We have two courses that focus on core sensitivities:

  1. The first is an introductory course, designed to help COSP Facilitators identify how Shark Music in relationships is tied back to patterns of defense that are hidden in plain sight.. Our Shark Music and the Core Sensitivities course involves 8+ hours of self-guided learning which is designed to take place over an 8-week period.

  2. A second learning experience entitled The Human Condition: A Journey Through the Core Sensitivities includes both self-guided learning and live videoconference sessions. We call "The Human Condition” a guided learning experience because it’s designed to be a deeper dive into these same patterns of defense, during which we expect the learner to undergo a lot of self-reflection. The experience is set up as a 12+ week journey with 25+ hours of content.

    You can find more information here.

If you have questions about our current COS-Intensive training pathway, please contact us at info [at] circleofsecurityinternational [dot] com.