Workshops for Professionals

In Other Words: Transforming the Language of Ageism

One of the most important social issues of our time is the honoring of the aging process as not only a moral good but as a public necessity. The success of any program, product, or service that professionals in the aging field offer to older adults depends on a willingness and ability to dispel the many unproductive American myths and stereotypes that have defined aging solely in terms of deficit and decline rather than as a social and economic asset.

Such myths and stereotypes are reinforced in the ageist language our culture uses to describe getting and being older. This workshop explores how ageist language informs our perceptions and how those perceptions, in turn, determine our language. Exercises will introduce participants to practical strategies for helping others recognize and break that cycle by transforming ageist language into a truer expression of the older adult experience.

 

Expressive Writing as a Therapeutic Tool

Expressive writing is a valuable tool for personal transformation, be it physical, emotional, cognitive, social, or spiritual. A significant amount of hard-core research supports this phenomenon, and there are some fascinating hypotheses explaining why EW works. Researchers are only now beginning to map the best ways to apply EW in the therapeutic setting and with the general population.

In this workshop, health-care professionals will learn the essential techniques of three basic forms of expressive writing: journaling, personal mythmaking, and spiritual writing. Participants will discuss holistic strategies for incorporating these techniques in their practices.

 

Healing Through Story

In addition to being a sublime art form, personal storytelling is an immensely effective therapeutic tool for mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual healing and growth. When such storytelling is done on a symbolic level — called mythmaking — using metaphors, images, and archetypes, both the teller and listener can reap additional benefits. In this introduction to personal mythmaking, participants will learn about those benefits and the techniques that can help them and their patients/clients arrive at new levels of self-awareness and wholeness.

 

Journaling as a Therapeutic Tool

Although many health-care providers are familiar with the practice of journaling, be it in their own lives or in the lives of their patients/clients, they may sometimes have limited perceptions of all that journaling can be and do as a healing modality that incorporates symptom control, pain management, patient/client empowerment, and treatment compliance.

In this workshop, participants will learn a variety of journaling exercises as well as specific applications of these techniques in the care of those they serve.

 

Personal Mythmaking as a Therapeutic Tool

No matter what culture a person comes from, the religious stories, family anecdotes, myths, fables, and fairytales heard while growing up are threads that have been woven into the fabric of that person’s autobiography — and identity. In the often critical and stressful setting of a hospital or other health-care setting, patients and families come to rely deeply on those sources as they seek meaning, comfort and coping strategies during and after the hospital/medical event.

Medical- and mental-health providers familiar with personal mythmaking techniques can help their clients examine and even recast their “stories” to achieve therapeutic results. Furthermore providers can apply these same techniques in an ongoing self-examination of their role as healers.

Through reading, discussions, and exercises in this all-day workshop, participants will be introduced to the basic issues and elements of personal mythmaking, with special attention to personal and client/patient applications.

 

Caring for the Healer

Stress, frustration, and burnout often plague health-care providers as they seek to do healing work in a challenging economic and social environment. Clearly, it’s essential for healers to care for themselves while they care for others.

In this workshop, participants will identify their major stressors and find creative ways to relieve them. Through various writing, art, music, and guided imagery exercises, healers will explore their perceptions of healing and develop strategies to overcome the obstacles they face in their practices.