Earth, Fire, Water and Air are found everywhere in the natural world; these elemental forces are an integral part of life on earth. They are also understood as symbolic representations of both alchemical and archetypal energies inherent in the human psyche. In our PSEN training, we work with each of these essential elemental forces as an archetypal theme for each training year.
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The element of Earth, as referenced in our Solidity and Containment Year, gives us a useful context to address the issues of incarnation, as presented in the schizoid character structure. It is also present in the Process Teachings related to the issues of solidity and safety, containment, structure and boundaries.
The element of Earth also provides us with a container to work with the anatomy of fear, as we practice turning towards fear in an embodied, compassionate and manageable way. Our trainees also learn to be with unprocessed aspects of their birth event, as they feel the impulse to emerge from within a strongly felt sense of containment during a practicum session.
Practicing mindfulness, they deepen their tolerance for being with inevitable emerging tensions that happen in their own bodies and psyches, in ways that feel grounded and connected to the earth beneath them and the people around them.
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The element of Water, as taught in our Fluidity and Flow Year, leads us into a deeper investigation of the movement and flow of an unfolding process. This gives us a useful context in which to explore issues of vitality, creativity and sexuality. Trainees explore the ways in which they either allow or repress the flow of energy in their bodies and minds, and learn to become more consciously fluid in order to move forward with their lives.
The element of Water also provides us with a framework to address the developmental issues related to nurturance, as presented within the oral character structure’s need.
Trainees also learn to tolerate going from solidity to flow when confronting human intensity, vitality and pleasure in their bodies, and in their practicum interactions with one/another.
In our PSEN training, we consider desire a vital and necessary experience. Trainees learn to understand and work with the anatomy of desire, and how this way of flowing can move us beyond the initial confrontation with a resistance or an obstacle. Desire helps us move our lives forward, generating excitement, eros and vitality in all aspects of human endeavors.
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The element of Fire, as taught in our Fires of Transformation Year, gives us a framework to address the issues concerned with the friction of individuation and differentiation, as presented in the context of the masochist character structure. Trainees learn to recognize and tolerate their own repressed or harbored feelings of held back aggression that turns into spite, hatred and resentment. They come to understand how claiming one’s own inner fire helps to shift their aggressive energies outward towards the world.
Working with their own components of the masochist character defense will help them develop a deep appreciation and patience for developmental dilemmas, and how not to be caught up in coaxing or reacting to a client’s tendency to thwart or defeat themselves.
Trainees work with the challenge of repressed rage, held back in the body, using bio-energetic exercises, increased breath, as well as the support of body contact and touch,
thus helping their clients reclaim their own vitality buried underneath.
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The element of Air, in our Opening to Surrender and Mystery Year, leads us into an exploration of spaciousness as an integral component of depth facilitation in PSEN process work. The element of air also highlights the many issues arising within human relationships. We address the fundamental issue of vulnerability required to open to another person more fully and compassionately. Trainees understand and tolerate their own vulnerability about approachability when working their clients, while providing appropriate boundaries and safety for their clients to explore their developmental edges.
During this training year, participants will also learn to appreciate and work with the issues of the psychopathic and narcissistic character. They address the anatomy of shame within the client/facilitator relational dyad. Deepening into relatedness will require of the participants to gain a deep appreciation for making the necessary space to understand and recognize transference and counter-transference and how these forces are inevitably present in human relationships.
The element of air also provides us with a framework for a deeper experiential exploration of breath-work. Participants learn to work creatively with different breathing patterns in their process work.