What can we do as facilitators when, at the moment of conducting a workshop, the group enters crisis, conflict or trauma?
The answer to this question was developed together with Aga Leśny, expert in outdoor and experiential education, basing something on theory and a lot on practice. We organized a 5 days seminar on this topic and obtained EU funds to carry it out. This generous support allowed us to invite and listen to the diverse experience of 25 trainers from 5 different countries in Europe (Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland and Romania). One of the relevant results was a kind of behavioral "algorithm" to face such a situation, with concrete steps and activities for the trainer and the group.
Crisis, conflict and trauma during training
facilitator may face situations of crisis, conflict and trauma whilst conducting a workshop. The purpose of this article is to give an orientation for the initial handling of some of such situations that occur live. https://epale.ec.europa.eu/en/blog/crisis-conflict-and-trauma-during-training-part-1
How to deal with TRAUMA during a training?
This article is a practical guide on how to deal with trauma during training.
The articles and “algorithm” are an outcome of the international seminar “Overwork the process” co-funded by Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.
How does coronavirus affect the body? The most common response is most likely fever, dry cough, tiredness, shortness of breath, etc. However, the concept of ‘body’ is much more than a physical mechanism. It is important to know everything about physiology and to follow your doctor's instructions, but the ‘body’ is more than just the physical aspect.
This is how Eugene Gendlin, creator of the Focusing® method, describes the body. He says, in general, that we live all situations with the body. Each of the experiences of our life is registered in our body. Our difficulties have a physical location in our bodies, we live our lives with our bodies, and we process any situation in an absolutely bodily way.
Focusing® includes the thought process and, above all, moves and gives meaning to its implicit processes. The implicit is what you still don’t know but that is on the edge of what you feel inside, a situation or sensation that at the beginning is nonspecific, which fails to put into concrete words and solutions. Your thinking and emotions is what you already know about your situation. However, there is much more implicit in your experience that has not yet been symbolized and that you don’t know. For example, if I ask you “what are your feelings or thoughts at this time?”, it’s very likely that your answer is the feelings or thoughts that you already know or are familiar to you. Why would you want to connect with them over and over if you already know them and have done enough?
Many times we have an idea of what disturbs us in life. Others, it is just a vague annoyance to which it is difficult for us to put into words. With Focusing®, we can transform this vague feeling into a well-defined "felt sense" with which we can work, dialogue and open ourselves to other processes of psychological development in your life. In the principles of Focusing®, it is considered that you have Talent and Strengths that through a conversation focused on listening, empathy and authenticity by the Focusing® Trainer (psychotherapist or coach), you can find your own new and effective answers to move forward in achieving your goals.
Focusing® was developed by Eugene Gendlin, PhD. who, from his research, concluded that people who make a successful change had at first a vague sense difficult to describe. They made an inner awareness, a bodily sense of their problems. Whether a person can pay attention to what he called "felt sense" or "sense of the situation" turns out to be a key component of successful change processes. Scientifically proven, from the implicit process you can learn more about yourself and fully develop your Talent and Strengths. For positive, lasting, meaningful and sustainable results over time, you need to pay attention to your implicit process.
In the current context, fear, anxiety, trauma, financial worries, day-to-day problems, etc., can affect your health, your relationship with others and the achievement of your goals. We have had to comply with the physical distance or be physically separated, maintaining a distance of at least one meter from the others. I invite you to take a productive break and be present in your body in a different way, explore what your "felt sense" is and, from there, be with your whole body in closeness and cordiality with yourself and with others, and from there to propel your adaptation or change.
A global vision of health requires that each person think and recognize the implication of their daily activity in their health. We must be aware of what the mental, emotional and behavioural attitude can do for health, as well as we can take care of and enhance this attitude. For example, doing physical exercise, to learn and reach new goals, maintaining individual commitment to personal ethical values, establishing relationships of trust in a stable way with others people, maintain communication with loved ones every day (preferably by video conference), perform other activities (reading, music, watching series, painting, learning to cook, etc.), or practice personal growth activities (relaxation, meditation, sense of humor, etc.).
Now with COVID-19, staying at home may be an external obligation or an expression of our altruism. With this last attitude, external demand becomes our motivation, that is, the obligation to stay home may be from the authorities, but it is I who decides to follow it, it is I who agree to comply with it.
My search in scientific publications about pandemics and well-being, I found no results which tested whether mandatory versus voluntary quarantine has a differential effect on wellbeing. In other contexts, however, feeling that others will benefit from one's situation can make stressful situations easier to bear. Probably this can also happen for home-based quarantine. If we think that quarantine is helping to keep others safe, including those particularly vulnerable (such as those who are very young, old, or with pre-existing serious medical conditions), can only help to reduce the mental health effect and adherence in those quarantined.
I think it is also important that we are genuinely grateful to those who stay at home and comply with all the precautions. In the case of the authorities also and that they also deliver adequate information on how to keep people safe. In other words, it would be unacceptable to ask people to self-quarantine for the benefit of the community's health, when while doing so they might be putting their loved ones at risk. So far, I have found no national or global plans to strengthen well-being of people, families or communities.
References: 1) Brooks, Webster, Smith, Woodland, Wessely, Greenberg, Rubin. The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. The Lancet, Volume 395, Issue 10227, 14–20 March 2020, Pages 912-920. 2) X Liu, M Kakade, CJ Fuller, et al. Depression after exposure to stressful events: lessons learned from the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic. Compr Psychiatry, 53 (2012), pp. 15-23. 3) P Wu, Y Fang, Z Guan, et al. The psychological impact of the SARS epidemic on hospital employees in China: exposure, risk perception, and altruistic acceptance of risk. Can J Psychiatry, 54 (2009), pp. 302-311.