This 10-week healing workshop is geared towards those who have been impacted by violence, caused harm, enabled harm, and those who find themselves in cycles of physical and emotional harm who want to explore their participation in such cycles. Our work as facilitators engages our first-hand experiences in being impacted by harm as people who have caused, enabled, and survived it.
We provide a brave, compassionate, and structured space to address and heal what enables and gives rise to acts of harm.
We utilize somatic healing arts which addresses how the body, impacted by violence, records that violence, and externalizes it onto others and onto the self.
We utilize creative arts to get around our logical exterior and guide ourselves to act, move, and respond from the heart.
We interrogate the notion that vulnerability is a state of weakness, and remember it as a source of powerful strength.
Individual journaling, paired and group work, movement, visual art, reflective homework, and psycho- / political education are some of the tools we will use throughout this journey.
This is a confidential and consensual group. While participants will be supported through risk-taking, participants will share according to their needs for safety.
Our facilitators are not mandated reporters and are not legally required to report acts of harm to authorities.
Statement on Affinity-Shaped Wellness Work and Access
We recognize that because we are all impacted by a culture of violence, all people can benefit from versions of the politicized wellness work we have to offer, regardless of access to political, economic, or institutional power.
We also recognize that because of lack of access, not all demographic groups are equitably afforded the spaces and resources necessary to access wellness work designed for them.
Our purpose in creating affinity spaces for growth and wellness is in response to this inequity. We ask that potential applicants assess where they are on that gradient of access to power, privilege, and systemic support and use this assessment to discern whether their liberatory work should involve leaving space for those with least access to practice with us.
Wondering if this is the right experience for you?
Consider these situations:
A Transformative Healing Circle
Our curriculum was initially intended to create a supportive healing and accountability space for those who have caused harm, as an alternative to punitive responses to violence. We quickly recognized that this work is valuable to all of those impacted by violence: survivors, people who cause harm, and those who fall outside of and in between these two experiences. In addition, our work is deeply intersectional, exploring relationships between gendered violence and other oppressive dynamics such as racism, heteronormativity, and transphobia.
Utilizing culturally relevant, somatic (body-based) and expressive arts healing modalities, participants will gain knowledge, experiences, and tools that they can use to support their own healing and, subsequently, to help others to heal in their communities.
Democratic Collective Healing
We use a democratic, non-hierarchical model that acknowledges that everyone is the expert of their own healing.
Calling Community Healers
As part of this work, we select individuals interested in leading this work as they receive the benefits of this work. People trust those they know with their intimate stories, pain, and desires for personal growth. We want to give existing local leaders additional tools to address individual and collective trauma and violence, and therefore build the capacity for more communities to create a culture of accountability and compassion. Our participant-researcher model during our pilot has resulted in prior participants co-facilitating future sessions. We are interested in training individuals who have the most capacity to lead this work forward in their own communities. Questions for those interested are listed in the application.
Q: If this is not a traditional “class,” what should I expect?
A: Expect your participation to be requested. This means participants are invited to share reflections, engage in physical movement (access accommodations available), journal, draw, and work in pairs or small groups. We utilize a variety of ways for folks to engage. This is not a space where facilitators will be “talking at” the group for an extended amount of time.
Q: Will there be reading assignments or homework?
A. We do not assign required readings, but we sometimes offer “self-care” work that should take no longer than 5-10 minutes to complete between some sessions. We may also share suggested videos or readings, but none of these are required. We’re well aware that the 3 workshop hours per week is a big time investment already. We want to make this experience as accessible as possible for those who have a lot of responsibilities (parents, caretakers, etc.) in other parts of their lives.
Q. Can I show up late or leave early?
A. Maintaining consistent attendance is important to secure the level of safety the group needs to do some brave work. If the workshop hours and times conflict with other things you need to be present for, please look out for the next workshop series that offers the spaciousness needed for us to enjoy the gift of your full presence. This workshop is an invitation to slow down and dedicate 3 hours a week to yourself.
Q. Will workshops be recorded?
A. Because people share sensitive content and because we do not want to create barriers to openness and connection, we do not record our sessions. We do share a folder with all of our slides and live notes kept (without people’s names or identifying information attached) for you to review throughout the series and after the series. Please note that these notes are not a replacement for the live experience needed to really drop into our work and experience the benefits.
Q. I am brand new to healing and growth work. Is this okay?
A. This series welcomes people brand new to the language and work of healing and growth and those with experience with this work looking for a space to practice holistic, nonhierarchical, and collective healing work. We work to use language that is easy for everyone to understand. We love hearing clarifying questions throughout.
Q. What do I need in order to participate?
A. For online workshops, you’ll need a device that allows you to view people and slideshows on Zoom. A laptop, computer, or tablet could work. Phones make it hard to be able to see everyone and engage with ease. If you have trouble accessing devices, reach out to us so we can find one for you. Something to write with (pencil, pen) and write on (paper, notebook) will be requested. If drawing is accessible, we’ll also encourage you to use markers, crayons, etc. on paper or other drawing surfaces for some activities. Each person is also sent a care package with scent-free candles, healing herbs, and other goodies!
Q. I would love for my sibling, partner, or best friend to do this work with me. Should I ask them to apply to the same cohort as mine?
A. We strongly recommend that you engage in a way that will allow you the space needed to take consensual risks. Sometimes we don’t expect what surfaces, and we won’t know if someone we have history with will cause us to censor (intentionally or unintentionally) what comes out. We recommend you ask your loved ones to have their own spaces for practice - after you’ve experienced this journey for yourself.
Q. How do I know if I’m ready for an experience like this?
A. Follow your intuition. It's okay to consult people you trust, but nobody will know if you’re ready better than you. It is a good idea to have a support system lined up for emotionally challenging things that might surface. A support system might look like confiding in your closest homies, talking to a therapist or a spiritual leader you trust, or sharing with a relative you lean onto for support. If you struggle with suicidal ideation or self-harm, we require that you let at least one person you trust know that you are taking this workshop. If you want to try a sampling of our work, look out for our yearly People’s Healing Conference and Clinic where we offer single-day, one-off workshops on various topics. Please note that facilitators are not licensed therapists and that this workshop isn’t considered therapy.
Please note that our work is alive and fluid, and changes with the needs of each cohort.
Session One: Blooming
Intro to Mindfulness and Tracking
Agreements + Communication
Getting to Know Us
Setting the Container
Session Two: Safety and Identity
Exploring Our Edges Around Self-awareness
Framing Our Healing + Growth Work
Session Three: Strength Building
Locating our Transformative Resilience
Exploring Somatic Memory + Communication
Uncovering Wisdom Within Emotional Discomfort
Session Four: Speaking to the Wound
Exploring our Protective Responses
Exploring the Impact of Trauma on Self + Community
Deepening Tools for Generative Dialoging with Discomfort
Session Five: Cycles of Harm
Embodying Compassion in the Face of Real + Perceived Threat
Witnessing the Stories we Hold When We Make Mistakes
Observing Our Cycles of Inner and Outer Harm
Session Six: Healing
Complicating Our Relationship to Trauma
Exploring Ourselves Beyond the Victim/Perpetrator Binary
Inscribing New Healing Patterns Into Our Bodies
Session Seven: Compassion, Acceptance, Accountability
Defining Self, Interpersonal, and Community Accountability
Compassion: A Key Ingredient in Effective Accountability Work
Emotional First Aid + Self Regulation In the Face of Conflict
Session Eight: Values, Intentions, Commitments
Fortifying Our Commitment to Self-Accountability and Healing
Setting the Conditions for Continued Growth
Healing Our Relationship to Boundary Practices
Calling Up Our Internal and External Resources
Session Nine: Cohort-Specific Topic
Trainee designed and cofacilitated session developed in response to the needs of each cohort
Session Ten: Building Forward, Closing Ceremony
Envisioning and Building a Forward Movement
Taking and Letting Go
"It definitely has supported my healing journey in so many ways. I found the meaning of life again and you guys have given me the encouragement and bravery to live my life to the fullest. Thank you so much for making me feel reborn again."