Experiential Therapy Workshops

Experiential Therapy is used to help us to get in touch with repressed feelings and past trauma, and to express those feelings in a safe and empowering way. This allows us to resolve past issues that are causing problems today. During this weekend unresolved or unexpressed anger, shame, fear and grief, can be experienced and released in a safe and empowering way.

The purpose of an Experiential Therapy Workshop is to provide a safe and supportive environment in which those attending can do the kind of healing work that is not possible in most other recovery environments. Everyone has the right to participate only at the physical and emotional level that they want to. All participants have a choice whether or not to do individual work, as well as group work.

Often, repressed emotions such as anger need to be released and resolved, and then participants often find other painful feelings can come to the surface. These angry and violent feelings can be safely dealt with by using structured anger work and group support. Dealing with repressed anger is an essential part of recovery. Often feelings of anxiety and inadequacy are faced and overcome when the hidden anger is expressed, and new boundaries made. Other feelings such as guilt, shame and fear can also be experienced and released safely

If it is true that acting out behaviours are about trying to feel good, or about trying not to feel bad, then getting rid of the underlying repressed disturbing feelings is a powerful help in dealing with those behaviours, no matter what they are.

The person or persons that these feelings are about does not have to be present, or even be alive, for the feelings to be expressed and resolved. These feelings can cover a wide range of circumstances, from unresolved grief, such as from the loss of an unborn child, to unresolved anger against an abuse perpetrator. Bringing these long held repressed feelings to a resolution can lighten our emotional baggage, and allow us to move forward.

Addictions to food, alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, power, codependency, work, relationships and control can be overcome, as can other addictive or compulsive behaviours that threaten our wellbeing. New boundaries bringing self-respect can be created and maintained.

Recovery is also possible for those who have suffered the effects of incest and sexual abuse, as well as emotional and physical abuse.

Although each workshop has the same general structure each one is also different as it depends on what each individual wants to work on. Also the experience of a workshop is very personal, and usually cannot be fully understood by those who have not experienced it.

Participants can be affected by the work of others, and this often allows them to connect with their own repressed feelings. Everyone has time to do their own personal work. If they are not sure what they want to do, Melvyn is there to help them. Participants also play roles in the work of others, and this too can form part of their own healing process.

These weekends are for both men and women; and the sharing and vulnerability that occurs helps to create a much better understanding between the two sexes, and a greater connection to their common humanity.

The workshop finishes with each participant developing their own personal after-care plan, with the support of the group. This will usually include setting new personal boundaries, together with an action plan if these boundaries are violated. The after-care plan is not a “wish list”, but a practical guide to what is needed to continue the healing achieved at the weekend. Often, only one weekend is necessary, but there are those who have been emotionally hurt in many ways, and they may need to come more than once to deal with all their past trauma.

Melvyn has developed his own form of experiential therapy, but the basics were learned when he did his own personal work in Colorado in 1990. This is more comprehensive than psychodrama alone, and can also include elements of gestalt and dramatherapy, and other action methods.

If there is time, the group gets the chance to let go of the adult world for a little while, and play joyfully as children do. Melvyn has been known to hit a 6 at cricket during this playtime (something his adult would have no chance of doing).

As well as the usual weekend workshop it is possible for individuals to do experiential therapy work in a location of their choice, together with 4 or 5 friends to provide support. This can usually be done in an afternoon or evening, with Melvyn providing the eqiupment as well as facilitating. Couples can use this option to get rid of accumulated "coupleship" baggage, and get off to a fresh start. Couples who are separating can aslo use this to let go of their "coupleship" baggage, which allows them to communicate better about ongoing responsibilities, such as children.

If you would like to know more about doing some experiential therapy work please contact Melvyn for more information.

and here is a link to a short excerpt from the music we have during the morning reflection at the start of each day -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh6r-phFQns