The Other Seat
I am calling the Wounded Healers of the world to join me in a commitment to become The Healing Healers.
It is time.
Welcome to, “The Other Seat”, my six-month leadership training program for practitioners of the healing arts who are ready to make health – including relational health with other healers – our highest value.
By “The Other Seat”, I mean the seat where our clients typically sit in our therapy rooms. The seat from which we can acknowledge and celebrate our humanness. The seat from which we may find congruence between what we teach and what we practice, and in so doing, amplify our healing offerings to the world.
I invite us as therapists to place ourselves in the seat of vulnerability – surround one another with honesty, support and permission – and start having a brave conversation to change the norms that guide our healing professions.
Click here for program information
Why The Other Seat
I created this program because across my diverse trainings – from academia to the sex education industry to peer led connection movements – I encountered contradiction. I was taught to give away my health for the sake of helping others.
In graduate school, my mentors were overworked academics whose impossible example I strove to emulate. In my sexuality awareness training, I followed leaders who wielded powerful tools without owning their shadow, at the expense of myself and others. In the field of relational consciousness, it was the same.
I knew there was something very wrong with these environments. Yet the hypocrisy was so normalized I went along when I shouldn’t have. I thought these compromises were the necessary initiation. I saw no alternatives.
As I matured as a therapist and coach, I shifted from dismissing my discomfort to imagining my aversion was telling me something important. I began wondering about the assumptions of the therapeutic model itself, and what it said and what it left out about the humanity of the healing practitioner.
As far as I can tell, the prevailing framework across healing professions suggests that we as healers must be invulnerable and above the human mess. Though we can acknowledge our traumatic histories, we must have resolved the challenges that launched us onto our healing paths and speak in the past tense about insecurities or shortcomings. Anything less and we run the risk of being considered unqualified. To sit in the therapist chair, so it seems, we must have our acts and our nails polished.
I have experienced a great deal of shame under the tyranny of these expectations. I have hidden my humanity for far too long inside my professional skin, imagining I was the only one, afraid to admit my humanness for fear of being ostracized. But because I am a therapist, I know that no human is immune to loneliness, addictions and the ups and downs of emotions. And we therapists are undeniably human.
When the truth of our humanity has nowhere else to go, our unwanted, unowned parts risk hijacking our lives. By disowning our struggles, we move further from health, not closer. I know the perils of this liability well. I have been a leader who made poor decisions from my own isolation whose cost I will pay my entire career. And I have been at the receiving end of unchecked, unskilled power, overly trusting in guides whose misdirected actions left an indelible impact on my life.
I believe we can do better.
Most healers I know walk the path of the “Wounded Healer”. Our woundedness precipitated our pursuit of health, leading us to share with others what helped our own ailments. Our insights have poured through the places where we suffered along the way. As Leonard Cohen famously sings “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”.
What if the wound that wrought our healing gifts, rather than being something to hide, was something to celebrate?
I believe the design of the Wounded Healer is an evolutionary advantage, not an accident. Yet under our current paradigm, it seems to me that we are missing a step.
In order to fully, responsibly and intentionally walk this path, I believe we as healers have some reclaiming to do. Reclaiming of healing from the framework of consumerism that might expect us to hide the very humanity that created the healers in us.
To the contrary, I believe it’s possible that my origin story as a healer offers me a connection to humanity, an opportunity to cultivate compassion for myself, and a lesson for the entire world. To be a wounded healer who is sound of mind and body, I believe I am being called to proudly integrate my humanity for all the world to see.
I believe we are being asked to acknowledge – and pay homage – to the histories that forged us. To maintain a fierce ongoing commitment to place our wounds in the path of the healing medicine we dispense to others. To admit it is hard to ask for help and to diligently practice seeking support as a commitment to our clients and ourselves. To forgive ourselves for our humanity, to lift up our journeys as the source of our wisdom and to communalize our struggles with other healers who intimately know the complexity of our roles.
I believe it is only with other healers that we can “come out” as humans, and in so doing, complete our work as “Wounded Healers”. And then evolve into the next iteration, as “Healing Healers”.
I have never been healthier than since I stopped hiding. My healing gifts have never been as potent. My relationships have never been as rich and rewarding. These experiences have galvanized me to create an alternative path to guide our healing evolution.
The Manifesto of the Healing Healer
The power we are channeling as healers in this era of dawning awareness demands us to wield transformation responsibly – demands us to get healthy. If we continue to allow ourselves to live in contradiction to our own healing teachings, we risk forwarding disease, not health. We risk exploiting the gifts we were given to compensate for our loneliness, fatigue and depression rather than sharing our gifts from a stable and fortified foundation.
It is time to change the culture around our work.
It is time to join together with other powerful healers and allow ourselves to practice being supported and held.
It is time to allow ourselves to practice coming apart and make no apology for our grief and pain.
It is time to allow ourselves to receive support, acknowledge our limitations and reveal our insecurities.
It is time to embrace our perceived flaws as emblems of our shared humanity.
It is time to celebrate that the more we befriend our previously unwanted parts, the more concentrated our healing offerings may truly become.
It is time to reject the model of perfection and fully acknowledge this model’s incompatibility with the endeavor of healing.
It is time to bravely become culture creators celebrating the rightness of the human mess.
It is time to give permission to ourselves to join the village of humans, step out of the isolation of shame and impossible expectations and tap into a lineage of healing that brings our whole selves forward in service.
It is time to clear the channels through which our healing pours by healing ourselves and getting out of the way of the vast and deep help that the world most needs.
It is time to walk the path of the Healing Healer, the one who will show the world the work that we are doing and in so doing hold ourselves accountable.
Join us. It is time.
Each time I hear this song by the band MaMuse, my body chills and my heart swells. They offer inspiration for the path of the Healing Healer. Listen as they sing: “It is time now / It is time now that we thrive/ In this great turning we shall learn to lead in love” . http://www.mamuse.org/
THE OTHER SEAT
Feel moved by what you have read? Starting in January of 2020, I will offer the first 6 month round of “The Other Seat” for 12 practitioners who are ready to co-create a culture of accountability, support and sustainable health. I warmly welcome you to CONTACT ME to set up an interview to be considered for this program.
I ask you to bring the following willingness with you through the door of my Leadership Training.
A willingness to:
- Examine the internal obstacles in the way of your vulnerability
- Practice remembering how to be vulnerable
- Explore your relationship with receiving
- Get in the seat of receiving, often
- Own your experience/use ownership language
- Receive supportive feedback in the service of your growth
- Give yourself permission to be messy
- Explore the edge of your relationship with being in control
- Give and receive consent-based, non sexual touch (in class exercises)
- Redesign your model of healing to include loyalty to yourself as your bedrock
Modalities and principles I draw from include:
- Authentic Relating games in dyads, small groups and big group
- Circling (a relational meditation) in dyads, small groups and big group
- Improvisational movement including Contact Improvisation
- Internal Family Systems practices in dyads
- Journaling and narrative therapy practices
- Gestalt techniques in dyads
- Music and poetry as prompts for reflections and deepening
- Co-creation of personal and group ritual
- Grieving as an ongoing wellness practice
- Time in nature cultivating slowness and intuitive listening
- Healthy sexual wellness as an essential element of wholistic health
Modules in The Other Seat will include:
- Redesigning Leadership
- The Genius In the Wound
- Intimacy for Healers
- Part 1: Leading from Transparency: Authentic Leadership
- Part 2: Leading from Transparency: Authentic Leadership
- Your Turn
We will meet for 6 weekend immersions from Friday morning through Sunday afternoon on the final weekend of each month.
In between immersions, I will lead monthly Zoom calls, offer partner practices and facilitate a private Facebook group for continued practice and support.
Cost of Program:
Early Bird Cost of Program by October 15th: $4975
Regular Registration Program Cost after October 15th: $5375
Payment plans available.
When you sign up for one of my leadership programs, I will give you a pathway to make your humanness your medicine rather than believing you need to hide to be effective.
Contact me to set up an interview to be considered for this program and/or to apply for private leadership coaching.
All practitioners of the healing arts who seek a path of health and congruence are welcome to apply.