"I really like leading the Couples retreats, Family & Friends retreat and 8-Day Intensives", I…
Recently someone asked if they are free to leave the workshop room if they need a break. They said they would come back later to the session.
“No”, is what I said.
This is not how we work.
I do not know what is going on with a person when they leave a workshop session.
Nor does my co-leader.
The other participants do not know either.
I wonder if they need support, are they feeling unwell or whether something else is up.
I feel responsible for what is happening during the workshop and I cannot support someone when they leave the space.
Someone leaving suddenly can also create unsafety among other participants.
This is something I have heard from others when a participant suddenly took off.
Instead we ask someone wanting to leave to talk with us and share what is going on with them.
Maybe they are feeling overwhelmed or ill or something else and I want us to stay together as a group to deal with that.
With talking and sharing (and maybe noticing sensations) we can together find solutions rather than a person leaving in haste.
In my experience talking – even if that might be tricky or scary – does lessen the desire to leave the space.
I believe that being heard about your experience, and your fear and worry is very important.
We all know how to be silent.
In our workshops we learn together how to name and stay present when things get icky or tricky.
We learn to do something different than running away or hiding – and having that experience.
That often shifts how we are feeling and gives an opportunity to get more grounded and come from fast running thoughts to the body and present moment experience.
For some of us leaving has been a good survival strategy and our systems might be overreacting to the “danger”.
Slowing down helps in those moments.
Maybe looking around.
“Is there danger here or maybe there are some people in the room you find safe”.
Maybe looking around the room or taking a look outside of the window makes a difference, shifts focus from fight or flight reaction to noticing.
Of course we are not forcing anyone to stay.
And we rather have a conversation before someone decides to leave.
We can explore if there is anything they need right now, anything that could be of support.
For some people this way of working might be “too much”, they get overwhelmed and want to run away.
Our workshops are just not for them at this point. A certain ability to self-regulate and stay in discomfort is needed to join a Radical Honesty workshop.
A group process can be an intense and surprising topics and reactions might come up.
That is why group work is not for everyone.
Some people benefit far more from individual work or therapy.
At a later stage they can join workshops when they have done some work on their trauma, intense reactions or unstable nervous system.
Few weeks ago I wrote more about who our workshops and retreats are not for.
In case you missed it you can read it here
Some time back I did this video about who our workshops are not for. You might like it.
I wish you great start for the summer! ☀️
Tuulia (& Pete)