Transforming Grief & Loss Workshop

Loss is universal, part of our shared human experience.  The grieving process is difficult, and can be lonely and confusing.  Our upbringing and our culture have often left us unable to trust the truth of our own experience and our right to be our authentic self.

The Transforming Grief & Loss Workshop provides a powerful environment and a well-established method to help participants better understand the essential value of their feelings, honor their personal stories, and integrate their past and present realities into living and loving anew.   The workshop method carries forward the grief externalization work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

Participants come for a wide variety of reasons including those who have faced or are facing major losses and changes, those engaged in care giving and helping roles, those encountering job fatigue or lack of fulfillment, as well as adult-children of dysfunctional families.

Our next workshop:

Objectives of the workshop

  • To provide a safe place to share our stories so that we can move from isolation to connection, and from judgement to compassion.
  • To work through our fears, anger, and shame in order to be more open to love, joy, and respect.
  • To further understand the grieving process of old and current losses.
  • To understand the difference between healthy and dysfunctional communication.
  • To relearn the use of natural/healthy emotions in order to live more fully in the present.
  • To find balance in our physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual lives.
  • To listen and care more deeply without taking on the pain of others.

Format

The workshop begins on Friday at 9:00 am and concludes on Sunday by 2pm.  The schedule is intensive in that we use every hour of the workshop to prepare, experience, and integrate the externalization process.  This is a facilitated way of grieving that helps us understand our own and others emotions in new and profound ways.

History of the Workshop

This workshop is a continuation of a method originated by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her Life, Death, and Transition program. And then further developed by Dr. Larry Lincoln and Anne Taylor-Lincoln in the 30 plus years of offering their Growth & Transition program.

Beth and Natasha both benefited personally by being participants in the workshop and were part of the first professional training offered by the Lincoln’s.  Not only did the Lincoln’s pass their method on, they also introduced us to externalization colleague’s world-wide.

We are truly grateful to have learned from the Lincoln’s in particular and to have their love, support, and blessing to continue this valuable healing work.  We also thank our past and present colleagues for all their depth and wisdom.  And especially Elisabeth, who we know only through our colleagues, who blazed the trail and encouraged us all to sing our song, weed our emotional gardens, and claim our natural spiritual birthright as love.

Workshop Application

Please follow the link for the

Workshop application and other documents to download

Frequently Asked Questions About The Grief and Loss Workshop

What if I am coming from out of town?

We can provide you with out of town information regarding extra nights and transport options.   You will need to make sure you arrive at the center between 9:00 and 9:45 am on Friday morning.

How big is the workshop?

We will have a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 16 participants,  and 3 staff people members.

What are the qualifications of the staff?

All staff are licensed therapists and/or other professionals who have specific training in the externalization method.

What are the accommodations like?

The Redemptorist Renewal Center is a Catholic facility that welcomes many different types of groups engaged in healing and spiritual work.  They have hosted and supported externalization workshops for 30+ years and provide a private and conducive atmosphere for us.  The rooms are simple and comfortable and the desert landscape is spectacular.

Will I have my own room? 

Yes.

What is the food like?

The center does its best to accommodate all types of diets and to serve fresh and healthy food.  We will work with the kitchen staff to let them know your needs.  If you have very specific food needs, you may want to bring some items that can be stored in the cafeteria for personal access.

What happens at the workshop?

The morning begins with check in and logistics and then moves to introductions and the establishment of our guidelines for the weekend we spend as a community.  It is normal for participants to feel emotional from the beginning and we will address emotional safety and healthy boundaries throughout.

We then move to some foundational teachings, small groups, and art as a way to identify feelings that we may not be consciously aware of.

Friday night and all day Saturday is dedicated to the externalization process, or “mat work,”  and experiential teaching regarding natural, healthy emotions- our essential need to feel our feelings rather than explain them or have them explained to us.  This primarily happens in a group setting, though there is also time to work with staff individually.

Sunday is a day of integration, where we apply the experiential learning of the mat to a practical framework for our current life and how we can establish and sustain our personal balance and wellbeing.

What is the externalization process?

It is the name of the core technique that we use to bring out unresolved feelings that block access to our natural and healthy needs and responses.  Unresolved feelings drive many of our coping mechanisms and our self-doubt.  They occur when we are not able to express our feelings at the time of loss or trauma, or have not had healthy models for how to process intense emotions.  The workshop is a unique safe space to feel and express (externalize) uncomfortable (internalized) feelings and to gain a greater perspective for the power of emotions to guide us in the present.

Confidentiality and Safety.

There is much importance put on safety, both physical and emotional.  Confidentiality, privacy, and boundaries are the basis of that safety.  There are very clear ground-rules put in place, and discussed throughout the weekend, about keeping what is shared and witnessed in the upmost confidence.  We ask each participant to keep that commitment to confidentiality when they leave the weekend as well.

Trauma Informed.

Trauma and disruption are part of life and shape each of our journeys and coping mechanisms differently.  The externalization method honors the reality of personal trauma, large and small, and the potential to reclaim and reframe parts of our self that may have been injured, thwarted, stunted, or banished at the time.  Externalization was an early form of trauma process work and also draws from new understandings of trauma informed methodology today.

What if I am not comfortable in groups?

Many of us don’t feel comfortable in groups, particularly sharing our vulnerability.  During this weekend, no one is pressured to share in the group at any time. Though it can be a powerful experience to share and be seen without judgement, it is equally powerful to be a witness to others’ pain and find a connection with our own unresolved feelings and losses.

What if I need alone time?

There is not a lot of alone time at the workshop.  There is some free-time around meals.  You may want to plan time before or after the workshop to support your transition from or to your regular home life.

What if I am afraid of the feelings that might come up for me? 

The weekend is a gradual opening up of feelings at a pace that is safe, though not always comfortable.  No one is pushed to feel or experience something they are not ready to express.  Through staff sharing and the witnessing of others process, we learn to see the importance, wisdom, and gift of our feelings and how they will help us grow and heal.

Should I be in therapy to benefit from this workshop?

While being in therapy prior to the workshop or concurrent with the workshop is strongly recommended, it is not a requirement.  If you are currently in therapy, it is best to discuss your intention to attend the workshop with them.  One of our staff would be able to speak with them before or after the workshop as well.  We also have a list of local therapists that we refer to for those that may be seeking new support after the workshop.

What if I have a physical or mental health condition?

If you have any question about the workshops appropriateness for you,  please consult with your physician and/or mental health professional to determine our suitability for participation.

Is mat work physical?

Mat work is a designated, facilitated space to share your story with others and express your feelings. It may be only as physical as getting on the mat, and accommodations can be made for those with mobility issues. It may involve tools to safely act out anger, or to explore fear and sadness.

Is there anyone the workshop is not appropriate for?
Yes. The well-being and safety for potential and actual participants is our priority, therefore, the workshop is not recommended for anyone who is engaged in/currently experiencing active addiction, self-harm, dissociative episodes/easily retraumatized, and untreated/unmanaged psychiatric conditions. If you aren’t sure if this applies to you or someone you want to refer, please contact us.

If a class does not appear on the Schedule Page, it is not on the near term schedule. Private sessions may be arranged in the interim.