Historical Development of TCI


What to Expect of the Historical Development of TCI

The article describes,

  • how Ruth Cohn's personal and socio-historical exp1eriences have influenced the TCI concept and what this means for a value-based attitude today,
  • which traces the analysis of totalitarianism, authoritarian thinking and asymmetries in relationships have left in the value system of the TCI,
  • which traces do we, as those who practice and teach TCI today, want to leave in the present and for the future,
  • what can we learn from history, what can be transferred to today, what is completely different and what is similar or the same.

TCI is a value-based, systemic, action-oriented cooperation model with a clear ethical focus and a therapeutic effect on society. The development and history of TCI are inextricably linked with the biography and development of Ruth Charlotte Cohn, née Hirschfeld.

"Part of the TCI is to consider its antifascist background. This is something we have to tell new people again and again, as it is not self-evident to them that TCI comes from the experience of National Socialism and from psychoanalysis". (Cohn. In Krämer 2002, 22)

Helga Herrmann, a close friend who had lived with Ruth Cohn since the 1990s and nursed her until her death, writes that Ruth Cohn "wrested [TCI] from life and a well-functioning group process" (Herrmann 1992, 32) and checked it again and again against reality, which was an authority for her.

Throughout her life, Ruth Cohn was asked: What can we do

  • so that people learn to holistically understand and respect themselves and others as 
 individuals and social beings and as equal and equally important in the best possible way,
  • so that people organise and guide themselves in an independent, self-responsible and socially responsible manner ("personal fulfilment is only possible cooperatively" Cohn) and
  • so that society will be humanised and democratised in such a way that criminal politics such
 as that of the Nazis will no longer find a social basis in the future?

From Childhood Rebellion to the Idea of TCI: 1912 – 1930

Ruth Cohn grew up in an assimilated Jewish family. Even as a child and young woman she was annoyed and outraged by discrimination – boys/girls, adults/children, masters/servants and suppliers, the poor/the all too rich – and rebelled against it. She experienced this as unjust and decided to commit herself to equality, egality of people and social justice. (cf. Brühlmann-Jecklin 2010, 16)

"From childhood on, Ruth Cohn [had been] open to the worries and needs of others and helped, for example during her holidays, at the 'Central Office for Private Welfare', where she experienced the misery of the economic crisis, unemployment and poverty. (Zundel 1987, 679)

Social empathy paired with a high sensitivity for unjust, manipulating, abusive, contemptuous and excluding structures, actions and behaviour accompanied her throughout her life. (cf. Scharer 2020, 49)

During her school years, Carola Speads, a student of Elsa Gindler, introduced Ruth to the "method of conscious body experience". (cf.1st axiom, chairperson postulate, auxiliary rules)

After a psychoanalyst, a friend‘s mother, had told her about her profession, it was clear to her that she wanted to become a psychoanalyst.

"I want to understand people better. And myself as well." (Cohn 1994, 347)

1931 – 1932
Ruth studied economics and literature (Friedrich Gundolf) in Heidelberg and psychology (Wolfgang Köhler), literature, philosophy and journalism in Berlin.

From the Right of Residence to a No-One’s Citizen: 31.03.1933

After the Nazi seizure of power and frightening experiences with this system, Ruth fled from Berlin to Zurich

1933 – 1939
She studied psychology in Zurich and – with special permission – attended preclinical medicine and psychiatric lectures/internships and later also studied philosophy, literature, theology and pedagogy in order to secure her right of residence for a long time through her full-time student status.

  • At the same time she followed her passion and main interests: raining as a psychoanalyst in the Internationale Gesellschaft für Psychoanalyse (IGP) (International Society for Psychoanalysis)
  • dedication and commitment to Jews who had fled to Switzerland

Her training analysis was characterised by her longstanding positive transference to her analyst, Medard Boss, and his abstinence, fixation on the past and disregarding her fears, burdens and concerns regarding Nazi terror and family members left behind in Germany, which he described as "distraction from the real thing“.

How can experiences, insights and knowledge gained "on the couch", of understanding oneself (and others – MS) better and acting more consciously be made available to many people and larger social contexts? (cf. Johach 2012, 1) (cf. intention of TCI)

Ruth could not let go of this question and made it her mission in life to find an answer.
"The world is our task" (Cohn 1974,164)

1939 – 1941
Private treatment of patients under supervision (Gustav Bally) and therapeutic work as a psychologist in a psychiatric hospital in Wil, St. Gallen.

All Jewish people living abroad were deprived of their German citizenship, so Ruth became a "no one's citizen" without a passport.
Married Hans Helmut Cohn so that her parents-in-law could leave the country
2nd Feb. 1940: their daughter Heidi was born stateless.

The newsflash that the Nazis had crossed the nearby Swiss border plunged Ruth Cohn into a deep conflict: Should she kill herself and her daughter painlessly with morphine or should she accept the hospital administrator's offer to pass her daughter off as her grandchild?

The news turned out to be a false alarm and relieved Ruth of the decision.
But this existential borderline experience – suicide/killing her daughter and the greatest humanity of a woman she hardly knew – caused her to commit herself to humane values, especially the "promotion of life and love" for the rest of her life, to avenge and defend her trauma. (Brühlmann-Jecklin 2010,36) (cf. TCI concept 2nd and 3rd axiom

Her résumé of her years in Zurich led to a self-commitment and an aim:

"I experienced the horror of the time very deeply. The fact that I was permitted to live in Zurich seemed to me a strangely fateful gift. To do something with this gift which would correspond to a thank-you has been a key request all my life…" and: "...since my experiences with the Nazi era I have wanted to find a way to work in social therapy, educationally and politically. (Cohn/Farau 1984, p. 213; Arndt 2010, 27)

Courage, Reflection and Inspiration form the Idea of TCI: *15.04.1941

Ruth Cohn arrived in the USA.

1941 – 1946
The psychoanalytic training of nonphysicians was not recognised by the NYPS (New York Psychoanalytic Society). Ruth was therefore recommended to work with children.
So she completed a dual training programme in Early Childhood Progressive Education at the Bankstreet School in New York City. The School advocated a psychoanalytical and developmental concept in which children were perceived and taken seriously as "real and important people".
The goal of her educational work was growth, i.e. "... (to MS) promote their joy of playing and working,their creativity and independence according to their maturity levels". (cf. Cohn/Farau 1984, 326ff)
Ruth’s experiences there became essential sources of two TCI principles: "Living Learning" and "Here-and-Now" and were also incorporated into the 2nd axiom.

At the same time she pursued psychotherapy studies at the William Alanson White Institute in New York on Harry Stack Sullivan's interpersonal relationship theory, which "sees the therapist not as neutral and abstinent, but as an empathically participating observer." (Herrmann 1992, 31) (cf. participating leadership function)
and graduated from Columbia University with a master’s degree (M.A.) and a degree in psychology.

After entering the country she experienced poverty, which was aggravated by the separation from her husband after the birth of her son Peter. During the day she looked after her children and wanted to be present as a mother. In the evenings she worked late hours in her private psychotherapeutic practice in New York, first only with children and later also with adults until 1972.

1948 – 1951
Group therapy training with the pioneers Asya Kadis, Samuel Flowermann and Alexander Wolf. Ruth began to distance herself from and expand classical psychoanalysis.

1949 – 1961
In 1948 Theodor Reik, a student of Freud and a nonphysician, had founded the NPAP (National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis), "which did not discriminate against anybody (not even physicians!)" (Cohn 1994, 349).
Reik's approach of "listening with the third ear" during therapy, i. e. to dedicate one‘s own unconscious to listening, became her most valuable therapeutic tool. (Cohn/Farau 1984, 232) (cf. experienced/trained intuition)

Ruth became an active member, helped to establish the association and found her first professional home. Through the NPAP she was finally authorised to work as a therapist with adults. Later she became a faculty member, training therapist and training supervisor.

She taught "Psychoanalytic Theories of Child Development" at the NPAP and PGC (Postgraduate Center for Psychotherapy). (Cohn/Farau 1984, 333) She liked the subject very much, but increasingly disliked her teaching methods – lectures, students taking notes, concluding question-and-answer dialogues. However, she did not have any idea yet of how she could involve the students more and at the same time manage the wealth of material. Her gnawing dissatisfaction prompted her to look for alternatives that would allow direct participation and interactive exchange among the participants without neglecting the wealth of material. (cf. Cohn/Farau 1984, 333) (cf. 4-Factor Model of TCI)

The subject of "countertransference" was nagging at her. When the NPAP refused to include it in its curriculum, Mildred Newman-Berkowicz privately organised the first one-year "transference workshop" with nine training candidates (Cohn 1994, 349).
For the first meeting, Ruth Cohn chose an unusual, revolutionary, taboo-breaking form of teaching. She left her neutral, abstinent role. She lay down "symbolically" on her own couch and related her difficulties with a patient by expressing her feelings, associations and thoughts, which emerged in the here and now, unstrainedly. While talking and listening to herself, she became aware of some things that were impeding her in her therapy with the patient. What was more serious, however, was her feeling and the assumption that the listening group, like her patient, already knew everything. So she asked "What‘s actually going on in your minds now?“ A lively interaction emerged among the participants. Not only did they talk about what was coming to their minds – by identifying with the patient/Ruth and associatively – about the case, but they also talked about themselves and their own cases, made references, reacted cognitively and emotionally to each other. Ruth listened, mentally examining her feelings/thoughts about the statements until, after a moment of emptiness, she came up with a dazzling idea (cf. Cohn/Farau 1984, 266ff).

In retrospect, she judged this approach to be very courageous and "a difficult, but unquestionably the most productive decision in my professional life. (Cohn, 1984, 266 and 1994, 350)

The experience gained in further countertransference workshops, seminars and her teaching activity (from 1957) in the group therapy department at the Center for Psychotherapy led her to identify various "puzzle pieces", still nameless and unrelated, which became the nucleus of her later TCI concept:

  • consider oneself, the others – as individuals and group – and the task at hand (I, We, It)
  • working in the here-and-now, because "the here/now intersection between past and future is the only moment in life where I can act"... "where actions and changes can be made" (Cohn/Farau 1984, 300 and 316)
  • be guided by the group's "energy flow", use it, trust the group and its creative potential (cf. Cohn/Farau 1984, 261),
  • as a leader, always decide anew when to show restraint or give direction and when and to what extent to become involved as a fellow being to promote the process (tact and timing, participating leadership, selective authenticity) (ibid.)

In addition to her practical and training activities, she chaired (socio-) pedagogical seminars, one-day events and supervisions on various topics – cases, communication in companies, organising a conference, team development – with social workers, hospital staff, managers of an enterprise.

"I clearly felt that I was working methodically and that this had to be teachable, but I was not yet clear about the what and how of the method" (Cohn/Farau 1984, 342

In 1961, Ruth Cohn became an active member of the AAP – American Academy of Psychotherapists – which focuses on the growth of the therapist. The AAP was a breeding ground for the continued development of psychoanalysis and unconventional therapeutic methods, where people experimented and learned together in a lively way. Under the unifying attitude of the same values, humanistic psychology was created here as a third path alongside psychoanalysis and behaviourism.
Ruth met like-minded people here and worked with Albert Ellis (RET), Asya Kadis (group therapy), Alexander Lowen (bioenergetics), Elisabeth Mintz (encounter), Jacob Levy Moreno (psychodrama), Fritz and Laura Perls (Gestalt therapy), Carl Rogers (client-centred conversational psychotherapy) and Virginia Satir (family therapy), among others.

During the annual summer workshops of the AAP, which lasted several days, the colleagues introduced each other to their working methods, new ideas and therapeutic approaches, tried them out together and gave each other constructive feedback. They visited their colleagues' hospitals in small groups to watch them working there and/or to give therapy together. They prepared for these visits with "role plays" in which each of them intervened with their own approach. Ruth was in demand as a protagonist/patient because she was able to empathise with a wide variety of psychiatric illnesses. This was a great benefit for her. Because as a patient she vividly experienced the effect and the power of intervention and
" the essence of the different ways of working of outstanding colleagues in the shortest possible time." (Cohn/Farau 1984, 287)

Her most important encounters were with John Warkentin and Carl Whitaker (symbolic-experiental family therapy). Both worked holistically, focusing on the healthy rather than the pathological in the here and now. Both worked with their patients cooperatively and authentically and expressed their thoughts and feelings. Ruth worked with them in their hospital for one week.
"I was fascinated. I felt that this could also be a part of my own avenue: getting involved in the emotional and visual discovery of my reactions to the patient. (Cohn/Farau 1984, 275)

Ruth Cohn moved further and further away from classical analysis, turned to experiential and Gestalt therapy, and completed a training with Fritz Perls.

Ruth's colleagues commented that her ability to initiate cooperative, productive, interactive learning and its impact were her "charisma". She shrugged them off because since the transference workshops she had had the feeling that she was doing something methodical which sprang from her inner attitude.
All these years she had kept a seminar notebook in which she recorded what was important to her – memories, feelings, interventions, working methods, methodical elements, approaches. She studied it repeatedly to see what she had done, how, why, with what effects and how all this could be connected. The "building blocks" of her leading and teaching in groups increased and became clearer. But the enlightening insight of the "architecture" was withheld from her for a long time.

The unconscious gave her the solution in a dream:

"One night […] I dreamt about an equilateral pyramid. When I woke up I immediately realised that I had 'dreamt' the basis of my work. The equilateral dream pyramid meant to me: Four points determine my group work. All four are interrelated and equally important. These points are:

  • the person who turns to her-/himself, to others and to the subject (= I);
  • the group members, who become the group by turning to the theme and by interacting (= We);
  • the theme, the task dealt with by the group (= It);
  • the environment that influences the group and is influenced by it, i.e. the environment in the narrow and the broadest sense (= the Globe) (Cohn/Farau 1984, 343f).

These four factors determine every group. The equilaterality of the pyramid symbolises that all 4 factors are equally important and significant.
"And with this equal importance of I-We-It and Globe group leadership was defined by TCI. ... I then changed the symbol of the pyramid into a triangle within a sphere because this figure is visually clearer." (Cohn/Farau 1984, 344)

The tool, the triangle in the sphere – also called TCI compass – was discovered. In order to realise the balance of the 4 factors she added the "dynamic balance", which is associated with even further reaching significance and effectiveness in the later TCI concept. With the help of the TCI compass all kinds of group processes can be observed, planned, controlled and reflected.

This instrument now had to be embedded into a framing that linked it inextricably with values, intention and attitude.
"Method and attitude belong together as inseparably in TCI as form and content in a work of art or body and soul in a human being.“ (Cohn/Farau 1984, 370)

The elements of the framing are

  • three axioms constituting the foundation – anthropological, ethical-spiritual and pragmatic-political
  • two postulates based on this – chairperson and disturbance postulate
  • six principles – Dynamic Balance, Living Learning, Here-and-Now Principle, Participating Leadership, Selective Authenticity, Theme Centering (and theme wording – MS)
  • six to eleven auxiliary "rules" (behavioural impulses supporting the chairperson and disturbance postulate – MS).

Ruth Cohn's basic beliefs are rooted in holistic, humanistic philosophy and show parallels to existential philosophy. The framing elements come from these sources and are applied in different mixtures and dosages.

The central concern of TCI – to be effective both socio-politically and socio-therapeutically – and its theme-centred approach distinguish TCI from all other group concepts of humanistic psychology, social psychology and pedagogy.

In an interdisciplinary long-term group, she and her colleagues examined the viability of the axioms and tested the practicability of her methods. (cf. Bornebusch 2010, 2)

Foundation of the Workshop Institute for Living-Learning (WILL) in New York – as a (further) training and research institute for Theme-Centered Interaction (TCI) together with colleagues.

  • The term TCI was 'invented' by Frances Buchanan. "TCI serves the practical purpose of treating themes and coping with tasks in a humane way. In this sense, the theme or task is at the centre of the intention, but not at the centre of the importance of the human being, the community, the environment". (Cohn/Farau 1984, 595)
  • Living-Learning was contributed by Norman Liberman.
  • It was important to Ruth Cohn that the abbreviation of the institute's name reflected its meaning "because 'will' means the freedom of personal desire within external conditions and within the internal conditions of 'wish', the questionable 'should' and the real 'shall'". (Cohn/Farau 1984, 590)
  • "'I want' is the conscious, integrated response to 'I wish, must, should and shall'". (Cohn/Farau 1984, 345)

Together they developed TCI training guidelines and trained interested people. The focus was on personality development, growing into the TCI attitude and practical methodical work with TCI.
Through mediation and seminars the first WILL generation was actively engaged in promoting understanding between coloured/white people, politicians/citizens in severe conflicts and deprived areas (cf. Zieman 2002; Cohn/Farau 1984, 346-348). "Through WILL, the ‘TCI approach‘, the TCI, was given an opportunity to make progress on a broader socio-political basis in the educational-therapeutic struggle against inhumanity" (Cohn/Farau 1984, 346)

TCI Makes a Journey: 1968 International Congress for Group Psychotherapy, Vienna

Ruth Cohn reported on the countertransference workshop and TCI supervision. She was asked to spontaneously offer a TCI workshop. In this workshop she discussed, among other things, the required balance between taking and giving in the therapeutic working relationship. One participant asked whether she had taken what she wanted for herself.
"'Not quite. I partly came here to find out what you had done during the Nazi period. And how you would react to the fact that as a German Jewish woman I am now in Vienna and, bringing you something from America.‘ The answers came quickly and without noticeable emotions: They had already been in contact with Jews again, they hadn’t known any Jews at that time, they didn't mind at all, the war and all that was over long ago, etc.'" (Cohn/Farau 1984, 376)
Nevertheless – surprisingly to her – she was invited to the DAGG congress (German General Association for Group Analysis and Group Therapy) and to the Lindau Psychotherapy Weeks.

1969 DAGG Congress in Bonn
A few hours before the congress started, Ruth Cohn realised that she would not be leading a TCI workshop, but chair/moderate a plenary session on "sensitivity training". She felt and seized the chance to do this in TCI style as a chairperson. The six speakers agreed to put their papers aside or cut them considerably in order to involve the participants after the panel discussion. Ruth introduced herself to the audience:
"'First of all, I would like to tell you that I am very excited and happy to be back in Germany for the first time after thirty-six years and to be able to speak to you...'". (Cohn/Farau 1984, 377f)
She then visualised the 4-factor model, explained its meaning and what to do and how to do it to ensure that the
"many ‘I‘s, the We and the It can also be expressed in this auditorium." (Cohn/Farau 1984, 379)
After the symposium, she asked for silence and then opened the microphone discussion (2-3 minutes microphone time per person). Some came to speak, nobody kept the speaking time, her attempts to interrupt remained unsuccessful. The discussion was constructive until a group of young people started talking loudly. She asked them to come to microphone and participate, to which the speaker replied:

"Gracious lady, what we’re talking about is more important.' I countered that I was not a 'gracious lady' because I felt – and said so – that it was mockery. I was Mrs Cohn or Ruth.
The audience reacted to the students with indignation: 'Throw them out!‘ I was very calm and asked for quiet. After all, these young people had done nothing different from what others had done – they had broken a rule. Other participants had also broken rules, for example by speaking too long at the microphone. The audience calmed down. The young people (left-wing Berlin students, as I heard later) came to the microphone in an orderly fashion. They spoke for no longer than two minutes. They argued that group dynamics and sensitivity training only served the exploiters and were nothing but new weapons of capitalism. There was a lively verbal dispute between them and the participants who took opposite views. These discussions continued after the session.
At the end of the meeting, an elderly gentleman approached me enthusiastically: 'I know why you let us think in silence and speak by using 'I'. That way you avoid mass suggestion and mass hysteria'. I had never thought about silence in this way before. I 'just' wanted to promote the autonomy of the individual and her/his being with her-/himself. The fact that this was the first statement of a participant in Germany about TCI gave me more than a temporary feeling of happiness. It was a confirmation that my work could have a political impact. In WILL-New York this dimension, which was important to me: that TCI approaches could have a therapeutic-political impact, had already been removed from my draft for the leaflet about the opening of the WILL-Institute by my colleagues as inopportune. Back then, I had sadly given in to their consensus that we should not include this in our programme. For me, however, the fundamental element of the TCI remained a political-therapeutic, educational obligation, which I have felt ever since my escape from the Nazis: 'Here but for the grace of God go I.' (Translated for me: 'It is not my merit that I was saved)" (Cohn/Farau 1984, 379f)

1970 – 1972 Lindau Psychotherapy Weeks
Ruth's TCI workshops were in great demand, partly because of her knowledge and experience in Gestalt and experiential therapy, which were almost unknown in German-speaking countries.
Thus she taught these implicitly in her TCI workshops and explicitly in special seminars during her first years in Europe.

27.08.1972 Foundation of WILL Europe in Küsnacht
The first training committee (Dec. 1973) adapted the American TCI curriculum to the German-speaking countries:
18 five-day courses with 18 work units of 90 minutes each up to the certificate of proficiency/ today: diploma – a time-consuming and demanding training course.
Figures for the first 10 years:
15 regions (11 German/4 European), 900 members (contribution: 20 DM/person), 781 training courses, 150 certificated group leaders, 50 graduates, budget: 500,000 SFR including course leaders‘ fees (cf. WILL-Europa 1982 11, 18-19)

In 1973/74, Ruth Cohn worked as a TCI teacher, supervisor and advisor in the Westphalian Cooperation Model (WKM) in Vlotho, an organisation for teacher training as well as youth and family education run by Werner Rietz and Annedore Schultze. The aim of the WKM was "more initiative and cooperation in the local community" with the focus on supporting and encouraging the participation of parents.
Ruth experienced the German socio-political situation and development live and also came into contact with politicians at all three levels.

1974 – 1998
Ruth Cohn settled in Hasliberg-Goldern/Switzerland.
For decades she worked there as a TCI teacher, advisor and supervisor for the staff of the Ecole dé Humanité, an international, humanistic-holistic boarding school founded by Paul Geheeb and Edith Geheeb-Cassirer first in Versoix and then in Hasliberg in 1946 – after the closure of the Odenwald School by the Nazis and their emigration to Switzerland with some staff members and students in 1934.
At the same time, she ran a free practice for experiential and Gestalt therapy and supervision, gave TCI courses and supported important socio-political developments, institutions and projects in the German-speaking world.

Once TCI had gained a foothold and proved to be successful in various fields of practice, and training was organised by American and German-speaking graduates, Ruth Cohn withdrew from organisational work.
She turned more and more to her "heart's concerns" – social, political, ecological and later also spiritual topics (e.g. supervisions with Swiss politicians, mediative interventions in specific social conflicts, leading an IPPNW congress, ...), wrote and published books, articles, old and new poems. (more about this e.g. in: Brühlmann-Jecklin 2010)

1977 – 1980
Accompanied Peter Fratton in the conceptualisation and implementation of the first "House of Learning" in Romanshorn/Switzerland.

At Arxhof, a wall- and prison bar-free work borstal for young male delinquents in the canton of Baselland, she supported the local doctor and psychiatrist, Roberto Lobos, in his then revolutionary idea to transform Arxhof into a large social therapy community with TCI.

Since the foundation of the Odenwald Institute in 1978, Ruth Cohn had been lending the founders, Mary Anne and Karl Kübel, her support for many years. The aim of the Odenwald Institute is to promote democracy by helping people to develop and consolidate their personalities and skills on the basis of humanistic psychology. Ruth Cohn chaired the first conference of course leaders and designed several seminars for the course instructors. TCI is still its most important basis besides transactional analysis.

1980 until today
The umbrella organisation WILL Europe was established/structured in several steps to become the "ruth cohn institute for tci international" with the new slogan "the art of leading".
Today it consists of 15 regions (2 in India, 5 in Europe, 8 in Germany), the association "TCI Training for Young Adults" (FöVe e.V.), four specialist groups and the providers‘ association "professional intervisison with tci" (AVPI). There are three degrees: certificate, diploma and graduation/teaching qualification, approx. 1,400 members and 127 instructors.

TCI opens up new areas of activity through individuals or small groups – TCI graduates and postgraduates – who travel to other countries and work with, teach and train TCI and help develop new regions: Russia, Brazil, India (important step in the transition of TCI into other, we-oriented cultures), Poland, Hungary, Spain, Croatia, Latvia.
... "the fact that Annedore Schultze, Helga Modesto, Mary Anne Kübel and later many other WILL graduates and TCI diploma holders went to other countries to teach TCI, has certainly contributed to reducing prejudices against Germans and Western Europeans in Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, India, Brazil and Indonesia". (Zieman 2002, 162)

The TCI concept has found its way into training and further education of teachers, trade unionists, educators, social workers, pastoral workers and volunteers.

TCI takes place in different formats – seminars, workshops, counselling, moderation, mediation, supervision and coaching – in different areas of application, in which concern (It-) oriented cooperation – tasks, processes, personal and social skills, team, project and corporate development – in groups, teams or organisational units is desired, demanded and commissioned:

  • nursery schools, all types of schools, open youth work, educational institutions, help for delinquents
  • faculties of universities and (senior) technical colleges
  • church-based social services, community work, pastoral advice service and prison ministry, counselling centres, hospices
  • medium-sized and large companies (e.g. Opel Hoppmann, Rossmann, Bausparkasse Wüstenrot, Otto Versand, SBB, Swissair, Bayer, Daimler, Telekom, Siemens), hospitals, nursing homes, religious orders
  • charities, territorial estates associations, trade unions, youth associations, school departments of district governments, police
  • political education – promoting democracy –, peace, ecology and future movements, women's and girls' projects, family centres, multi-generation projects, encounter groups
  • political parties and committees, local authorities.
    "...for me the political aspect of TCI (is MS) the most important thing. ...TCI helps to strengthen democracy and to reduce the seduction of Germans and other people by xenophobic demagogues. I am happiest when TCI helps people from different nations to reduce their distrust and prejudices against each other and to discover in the person of another nation an individual and a fellow human being". (Zieman 2002, 162)

The new value-oriented, socio-psychological-educational and socio-political concept of TCI, which spread so rapidly, evoked criticism and debate. At the beginning, this revolved around the "disturbance postulate", to which – and consequently to TCI as a whole – a harmonising effect and denial/bagatellisation of social power relations was attributed.
TCI, which at first seemed simple, not very profound and easy to apply, turned out to be a highly complex approach in scientific studies, reflections and interdisciplinary discourses, which, among other things, became a constitutive element in communicative theology. Evidence of this is provided by numerous publications by representatives of educational science, philosophy, psychology, political science, sociology and theology.

The future will show whether the change of slogan and focus from "living learning" to "art of leading" (2011) will continue and secure the intention and the socio-political and socio-therapeutic concern of the TZI – justified doubts are in order.

"The world is our task. It does not meet our expectations. However, if we stand up for it, this world will become beautiful. If not, it will be nothing." (Cohn 1974, 164)


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