Monday, November 9, 2009

Courage to Love Retreat 2009

by Liz Goodwin

Every fall, I attend Irene Michon’s Self Relations retreat for healers and psychotherapists: Courage to Love: From the Inside Out. Every year the experience frightens and amazes me. And this year was no different. What starts as the ordinary skepticism and anxiety, with questions like: Will it be engaging? Exposing?, within hours, inevitably shifts into an extraordinary experience.

Aside from a few separate exercises, most of retreat is spent being a therapist or client and debriefing the experience. Each of us joins a pod of three, acts as therapist twice, away from the large group, and acts as therapist or client once in the middle of the group. Irene offers grounding exercises and short talks that teach new concepts and affirm both the difficulty and value of the work. This year’s themes – beyond just the ongoing learning about Self Relations – were: moving beyond hope and fear and shadow work – looking at the positive attributes about ourselves that we are afraid to hold and project on to others.

Here I’d like to share some of what I learned and how it may relate to liberation psychology and TJP. I’ll start with a description of Self Relations.

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