by Rob Ager


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History and development

I developed Collative Learning Systems (or CLS) over a ten year period starting in the mid-1990's. During twelve years of work with homeless people, ex-offenders, troubled teengagers, learning disabilities, the mentally ill and victims of abuse, (as well as my involvement with NLP practice groups) I was presented with an ongoing opportunity to observe and apply many of the dominant theories and methods used by psychologists, counsellors and therapists today.

Whereas most academically trained researchers specialize in a particular model at the expense of others, I made efforts to test each theoretical approach in real life situations to find out what actually worked and without any sense of bias or loyalty to certain brands of therapy. The following eleven limitations in modern therapeutic work were identified:

The limitations of modern psychotherapy.

The natural conclusion is that people can be helped much more easily by enabling them to be their own therapists. This became the central theme for Collative Learning Systems - to teach people how to identify and alter the cognitive habits that contribute to or hinder their happiness and well-being.

Fortunately there are many effective methods of self-therapy already in use. The problem is that these methods are often isolated from each other by their existence in different teachings, professions and ideologies. Collative Learning Systems is the direct result of a cross-referencing of these traditionally separate fields of thought, which include Buddhism, Philosophy, KHTP (kinetic house-tree-person drawing), Systems Analysis, NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and Mind-mapping amongst others.

Click below for content listing of the Collative Learning systems book

CLS book contents

How does it differ from existing therapeutic models?

The most prominent difference is that CLS incorporates detailed step-by-step problem-solving and planning techniques that would not be out of place in a business strategy meeting or a scientific research project. This is essential because psychotherapy and its popular derivatives, such as personal development and self-help, tend to emphasize emotional states as being both the cause and solution to the clients problems. Typically, attempts will be made to improve self-image, confidence, motivation etc, whereas often a client will need practical solutions to real life crises such as poverty or isolation.

Another important difference is that CLS offers a breakdown of human motivation and perception that I believe is significantly more accurate and useful than those offered by the majority of therapeutic models, yet is presented using terms the layman can understand.

CLS also does away with the defeatist concept of willpower. The term "willpower" itself implies that the individual is fighting against some other internal forces. In CLS there is a practical emphasis upon resolving these internal conflicts so that change can happen naturally. Once this is achieved CLS users apply a series of simple anticipation / rehearsal exercises to speed-condition themselves so that the desired new behaviour / response occurs at the right time and place as if it were already an established habit.

Who will benefit from CLS?

Quite simply, anyone who reads it and practices the techniques.

Collative Learning Systems is written specifically to be read by people with no academic background in psychotherapy and who wish to quickly gain a condensed knowledge of how to be their own therapist and problem solver. However, this should not deter the academic reader. There is plenty of material on offer here that the academic will already be familiar with, but in this instance those theories and methods are presented using descriptions and metaphors that will differ considerably to the way academics have been taught.

For details of how to order a PDF copy of this book go to my Products page.