A safe personal development workshop, run by appropriately trained facilitators can be instrumental in our emotional and personal growth. However, it is often not clear when it is appropriate to access a personal development workshop, what we can gain from a workshop and what makes a workshop safe. Getting clear about what a workshop offers and who is facilitating it, is highly valuable when considering attending one. Below are some frequently asked questions that I have been asked about workshops and my responses to these questions.
How can a workshop help me to heal from the past?
A professionally facilitated workshop can help us heal painful wounds from the past through providing safe avenues to explore issues with like-minded people who have had similar experiences. Workshops are a fantastic forum for delivering psycho-education as well as facilitating experiential healing activities. Groups are also fantastic events to meet people who could become meaningful friends, as we often share more of ourselves than we do in other public events.Ultimately, a good personal development workshop will give us the opportunity to risk opening up a little more than usual, in a safe and supportive forum, as well as teach us valuable strategies and tools.
What will I gain from feeling this stuff again in a workshop?
When we allow ourselves to feel emotional pain that is already held in our bodies, we open to the possibility of releasing painful memories and growing from them. When we keep our pain hidden from our conscious awareness, the emotions fester. They do not just go away on their own. They then manifest in other ways such as destructive behaviour, addictions or even eventually physical disease. In a safe and non-judgemental place, we can process these memories and make sense of them in ways that expand our self-awareness and benefit us in our lives. These benefits could be in our relationship with ourselves; such as building self-confidence, a sense of inner safety and acceptance; as well as in our other relationships.
In a workshop we open up around other people in a safe environment. This gives us the opportunity to experience being accepted by others while we feel the way we do. This allows us to enhance self-acceptance and increase our ability to tolerate emotional experiences. Learning to tolerate emotions and discovering that many other people experience something similar, is very powerful in creating inner peace. So, opening to our feelings in a safe workshop helps us to release past emotional pain and form more confident relationship with our self and others.
When is a workshop more beneficial than therapy?
There is a time for therapy and a time for personal development workshops. Generally speaking, if we are experiencing acute crisis and do not have safety and security, then individual counselling is more suitable. Likewise, if we will feel too anxious and uncomfortable in a group then perhaps it is perhaps not yet safe to share deeper feelings with a group of other people. Emotional safety is the key.
To actively participate in a group we need to feel comfortable enough within ourselves to open up without feeling too exposed. If we leave a group feeling exposed and unsure of ourselves, rather than welcomed, accepted, and at ease with our learning and group interactions, then something has not occurred within the group to ensure emotional safety and group integrity. This may be that we are not yet ready for a group experience or it may be that something was not adequately attended to by the facilitators. It is then essential to speak to the facilitator and for them to appropriately respond by validating our experience and getting us appropriate support through counselling or acknowledging their mistake.
What can a workshop give me that therapy can’t?
Appropriate therapy and workshops give us a safe forum to heal from the past and to experience unconditional regard in healthy relationships. However, workshops have some extra added bonuses to therapy.
Workshops also give us:
- More structured and comprehensive information about psycho-social-spiritual matters, than in therapy
- Facilitated opportunities to relate to other people in a healthy and safe environment
- The opportunity to normalize our feelings by hearing how other people have had similar experiences
These are just three important benefits we can gain from personal development workshops. Ultimately, what is important in choosing whether to attend a workshop is ensure the facilitators are experienced, appropriately trained and that the workshop is safe for your needs and values.
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