Conscious Birthing Doula School's Guidance Programme
Welcome, Ethos and Mission:
Conscious Birthing extends a warm welcome across the globe, creating a strong network for all those in service to, those endeavoring to experience, and those in support of peaceful and empowered birth.
We deeply respect each cultural and individual difference, whilst inspiring the cross-pollination of ideas within this globally shared and deeply sacred rite of passage.
We know that Birth ultimately creates Society, so we strive to sow seeds of empowerment for all through education, with loving support for our future generations.
Our Guidance Programme is unique, as we support you in establishing a high-quality Doula practice and growing your own Business, whilst remaining connected to and honouring of our roots as lay people, within this ancient tradition.
We offer you a highly professional, but never impersonal service, given by those who are already very experienced within the Doula world.
We are passionate about supporting your passion for this work and our foundations are based in the importance of fine-tuning what each individual brings, alongside respecting the values of reflective practice and self-care.
We encourage you to know the best resources, to provide up-to-date evidence based information, to work with those within the system gracefully and diplomatically, and to be aware of your localities protocols, whilst advocating for and deeply supporting all those you work with towards their own choices for empowered birth. We strive always to offer both hearts and minds as Doulas, and empower you to do the same.
We highly value our intuition here at Conscious Birthing and we encourage you to value yours, supporting you to represent this quality within those you support, empowering them towards their instinctual selves, in preparation for birth and parenting. (We see intuitive values losing their currency within today's world and it is our intention to encourage all to tap into this 'Mothers Intuition' and nurture it, whether you're a parent or not..it might just save the world)!
We have chosen to work with you as a unique individual rather than offer a 'one size fits all' Programme, so whilst we expect that you will graduate from your 'Student' status to an 'Established' Doula status after around 3-6 births or 30 postnatal hours with at least 3 different new families, we accept every student via a case-by-case process, acknowledging that some of you will need more or less Guidance from us, life experience dependent. We generally expect you to become Established at a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 2 years.
We believe each Doula benefits greatly from a self-loving practice and from the ability to 'Empty your Bowl' and have a good look at the contents. We believe that a Doula must 'Doula thyself'. A non-judgemental and loving practice can only arise from a continuously self-examined and digested place, so we extend a hand out to you and invite you to firstly be a great Doula for yourself, by encouraging you to serve from an emotionally nourished place, to reach out to your Guide for personal support in unpacking your experiences and to your peers to establish co-support.
Below you will find information about the Programme, our terms and conditions and code of conduct. Please read through before applying, to ensure you are happy with everything. You will be required to sign the code of conduct should you be offered a place.
The Programme includes:
The opportunity to join a global movement towards reclaiming our rights to give birth how, where and with whom we choose, in dignity and peace.
* A personal Guide who will encourage your reflective practice, support your growing understanding of the role and empower you towards your best expression of your Doula service.
* An opportunity to utilise whichever form of communication works best for you. We are aware that the written word isn't for everyone, so we accept your recorded audio reflections or phone conversations with us too.
* One-to-one 'Preparation for work', then 'During Service', and finally those 'Unpacking the Story and Emptying your Bowl' meetings in person, via Skype or by phone with your Guide. Optional, other than the Unpacking elements.
* Your own Programme manual and reflective journal, in one. You will be issued with a beautiful, unique Programme manual and ongoing study book, which incorporates the written/audio sections for you to complete, sections for musing along the way and with some great tips and reminders for good practice and self-care. Those who you work with will add their own reflections and testimonials of your work to your booklet, via your Guide, and be yours at the end of your Student journey, to keep.
* 6 Peer support 'chat room' style (online or in person when possible) meetings, called 'Round the Kitchen Table's within the first year, so once every other month. An opportunity to discuss ideas, to network and to co-support your peers. We are firmly founded in the belief that competitive values are self-limiting and that community is the future, so your peer support times of 1 hour, 6 times within the first year are recommended (not obligatory) to nurture the value of working together, towards the greater good. Even if you're more comfortable working alone, checking in with your peers can enrich your practice, prevent burn-out and empower you to retain great communication skills. Optional.
* One 'Reflections day' included. We offer you the opportunity to come together in real-time with your peers and Guide for a day of reflecting, networking and sharing some time with other Student Doulas. Optional.
*One low cost 'Self-care' day. We invite you to join one of our Facilitators/Guides for a nourishing day of pampering. The options will include a picnic out in nature (weather permitting), a 'round the kitchen table' style informal gathering and many other possibilities. You will be looked after by us and reminded of the importance of Doualing yourself along the way. Optional.
*Continuous 'Doula Development' days. We offer further Practice Development days including: 'Emptying your Bowl' as further debriefing days, 'Tools for your Doula Bag', 'Healing your own Story' days and much more. We invite top quality speakers and facilitators in, to offer us their unique perspectives, to continue to grow our own.
Fees for Membership and following the Guidance Programme:
*Guidance Programme cost: £350, which includes your first years membership, your 'Round the Kitchen Table' peer support chat room meetings, one further 'Reflections' day, held by your Course Facilitator or your Guide at various locations twice a year (so you can choose one) one low cost 'Self-care' day and of course working with your Guide through your Births and/or Postnatal meetings until both yourself and Guide feel it's time for you to move from a Student to an Established Doula. You will also receive your own Student Programme Handbook to keep and your Midwife/Doula Refection cards. This payment goes directly to your Guide (and in the manner of transparency, we want to let you know that £50 of it and all ongoing membership fees go directly into the maintenance of the online directory, time spent going through your Biography page with you and time spent in the co-ordination and ongoing outside supervision of Guides, ensuring that you receive the high quality support you can expect from us). Continuing membership costs £50 per year.
*For those already established in the Doula role and have attended one of our 5 day foundation courses: We have a special Application process for those of you who would like to join the Conscious Birthing community, which includes 1/2 Reflections with a Guide. This process is in place to ensure that your Doula work adheres to our guidelines and codes of conduct and does not imply that we think you need further Guidance. Your Guide may ask you to stay on for 2 Reflections, at her discretion. The cost for joining us as an Established Doula costs £150 and is inclusive of your time spent with one of our Guides, invitations to gatherings, use of our 'Round the Kitchen Table' chat rooms for 6 months and a year's membership to the online directory.
Eligibility for membership gained via attendance of one of our Doula foundation 5 day courses, submission of post course modules and a further application form. Please contact us directly for any further information.
Terms and conditions:
Please ensure that you read the terms and conditions laid out below as this will also outline how the Programme works.
No named details of your client's to be given out to any persons other than your Doula Guide.
You are eligible to be on the online directory for one year from joining. After this time, should you wish to remain part of the Conscious Birthing community, there is a yearly fee for renewal of membership of £50, which will enable you to retain your profile on the directory, attend Doula Development days, drop in to chat rooms, attend further Reflections and Self-Care days.
We are a community, not an agency, and therefore we do not guarantee you work and although your name on the directory will hopefully bring you work, it is not a given. It remains your responsibility to find work for yourself alongside your directory listing and you will be supported by your Guide to consider your tools and options for finding work when necessary, but the provision of work remains not guaranteed by us.
Insurance and Contracts:
We firmly believe that the use of contracts and insurance should be every Doulas choice. Should you choose to, it's your responsibility to source an Insurer and create a contract for your own terms and conditions, should you feel more comfortable providing these documents. We fully support those of you who choose to be insured and to offer contracts, as much as those who do not.
Student Midwife/Doula Relation cards:
You will find a batch of these within your pack if you are signed up with us as a Student Birth Doula and you are expected to hand them out to every midwife who you spend time (2 hours or more) with, during the journey. These provide the opportunity for midwives to give feedback to us, positive or negative and empower you to keep great working relationships with the healthcare teams within the locations you work and the contact email for this process is direct to us.
Internal and External complaints and testimonials:
We have a policy for both internal and external complaints and you can find details below:
Sarah Holmes is our external complaints consultant and Kate Woods covers internal complaints. The process involves a three tier response, from contacting Sarah in the first instance via our email at firstname.lastname@example.org, through to a phone call to debrief further with Sarah in the second instance and on to a mediated Skype/in person/chat room meeting when necessary, which could include yourself, your clients, the midwife/wives you worked with, your Guide, your Course facilitator, Sarah Holmes and Kate Woods. Internal complaints will be sent through to Kate via Sarah and will follow this protocol also. Any problems with our team, please contact Kate at the above email address.
We have a zero tolerance policy for any in-house bullying or disempowering communications between Conscious Birthing Doulas and hold one another, our clients and Guides and any other healthcare team members we might work with in the highest regard, always working with empathy and grace and looking towards resolution, should anything come up.
We reserve the right to refuse membership or to retract membership from anyone who behaves inappropriately.
Code of conduct:
Please note, should you be invited to join us, we will ask that you print and sign the below, which will be emailed to you, and post it back as per instruction.
*All Conscious Birthing students commit to a service which at all times empowers, educates and both uses and encourages intuitive values, alongside informed choice, using most recent studies and research, and placing continuous strong faith in your client's intuition and body wisdom.
*It is essential that you can commit to a code of confidentiality throughout your Practice, to protect yourself and those you work with, so we have a 'No Social Media' rule. We also feel its high time to reclaim the 'real time conversation' and actively promote picking up the phone or meeting in person whenever possible, to keep communication authentic.
*All Conscious Birthing Students and members commit to a reflective practice and an open sharing of that journey with your Guide and peers.
*CB members agree to following our terms and conditions of membership, which reflect this code of conduct.
*All Birth Doula members agree to handing out Midwife/Doula Relation cards at every birth with midwives attended, when you spend 2 hours or more with any midwife.
*All members commit to maintaining clear boundaries around what Doulas can and can't offer and at no time offer medical advice or diagnosis. We cannot be responsible for actions taken or words used outside of this remit and personal opinions cannot be used as advice.
*A commitment to a team attitude and an embracing of the philosophy: 'There's a Doula for everyone' rather than a competitive stance between yourself and other Doulas.
*An awareness of the protocols for both Testimonials and Complaints and an understanding of where to signpost for both internal and external feedback.
*A commitment to working autonomously and an understanding that Conscious Birthing International will not be eligible for any law suits, in the very unlikely event that one should be put in place,
*A commitment to working with empathy and grace with all people and Healthcare providers involved within your client's journey, alongside an awareness of our full support for any difficult moments you might have.
*A commitment to working with your peers, via our chat rooms online or in person when possible, as an integral part of your student time with us, to encourage peer support and debriefing, community values and co-learning experiences.
*An understanding that we cannot ultimately be held accountable for your work and we trust that you'll follow all conditions of use.
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