Often with individual, couples, or group therapy, a person will just get started on an issue when it’s time for the session to end. Can you imagine a surgeon going into surgery and when the hour was up saying, “Let’s make an appointment for next week” even though the surgery wasn’t finished?! At SAW, there are 25 hours for the facilitators and participants to get to the heart of the problem and remove it.
The program uses experiential processes so each person is actively participating and involved. A person can’t think their way out of what they felt their way into. This is one of the reasons “talk therapy” can fall short. Do you want to “pull the weeds out by the roots” and move on, or continue to mow them down and watch them grow back?
The most crucial transformation anyone can experience is emotional healing. SAW goes beyond just identifying and quieting the pain. The facilitators use Guided Visualizations, which provide a rapid pinpointing of the underlying root causes of the pain, followed by processes to release the pain of anger, sadness, fear, and guilt/shame in a very safe environment. In order to be fully released and healed permanently, emotional pain must be expressed fully on an emotional level in a safe, protective environment. For some people volcanoes of anger have gone off, rivers of tears have been cried, and fear that could have shaken the building has been released. No one has ever been hurt, hurt anyone or anything else, or gone “crazy” at SAW. These emotional releases are done under the guidance of the professional facilitators who are skilled in handling these processes, and who make sure the participants are safe.
The facilitators do not work with symptoms; they get to the root cause and remove it. Remember, buried emotional pain will not just go away on its own or by thinking it through or intellectually understanding it. Without being released from the body, mind, and spirit, the pain will continue to create harm.
Let me give you an example of how experiential release can be powerfully effective. Let’s say you go to the doctor’s office and the doctor tells you that you have the beginning stages of a cancer.
Option 1 (traditional, cognitive-based approach): You and the doctor talk about it, how and when it may have started, what might have caused it, and the rate at which it’s growing. And then he sends you home with more understanding, but no plan for action.
Option 2 (experiential approach): the doctor may cover all of the above and also guide you in implementing healthy alternatives to what you’re doing now. S/he may then prescribe medications or therapies to check the growth, and teach you to manage the symptoms so you feel better. Or, if indicated, the doctor may immediately schedule you for surgery to remove the cancer. Finally, s/he will teach you healthy lifestyle tools following the removal of the cancer.
You may still feel skeptical, and that is OK. All it takes for the Weekend to work for you is your willingness to change what is not working for you. Truly, what do you have to lose?