What Is a Healing of Memories Workshop?
Healing of Memories workshops are held in safe, secure venues and led by trained facilitators. We create a safe and sacred space in which participants can share painful experiences in a spiritual, yet non-sectarian atmosphere of deep listening and mutual respect. We seek to be fully inclusive and respectful of diversity.
When telling their stories, participants are encouraged to describe their situations in the context of the history of their countries and their families and ancestors. Connecting with others in relation to their distress, often for the first time, allows participants to move forward feeling unburdened, lighter, and empowered to find solutions to their problems.
IHOM-NA’s workshop methodology utilizes large and small group interaction and uses art, music, and drama to evoke feelings about the past. Workshops culminate in a communal celebration or ritual devised by the participants themselves that encourages people to look towards the future with hope. The process is informed by the belief that healing trauma has a spiritual dimension, while at the same time the experience is non-sectarian. People of all religious convictions or none are welcome.
We serve people who endure the pain of discrimination, marginalization, and other traumas large and small. These include but are not limited to immigrants and refugees, victims of domestic violence, people in residential substance abuse treatment, those living with disabilities. We have particularly strong programs for veterans returned from recent or distant wars and offenders who may still be incarcerated or have been recently released and are coping with the problems of reentering society, Our workshops have proven highly effective in empowering them to begin to heal, to seek further help if they need it, and to move forward with hope to create a better life.
Our workshops not only further the healing of individuals, but also can help restore the social fabric of communities and societies. When participants come from diverse social groups, listening to one another’s stories also helps to overcome negative perceptions of “the other.” People witness first hand the thoughts and feelings of participants different from themselves who have nevertheless experienced great pain. Thus, the very experience that promotes individual healing also furthers mutual understanding, reconciliation, and a sense of community empowerment.
Father Michael Lapsley has been conducting ongoing training of facilitators in North America and there are now over forty facilitators across the country, including New York, Minnesota, Arizona, California, and Hawaii.