Workshops & Groups

Your Story Matters

Often when  we experience difficult moments in life we lack healthy avenues to express and process the experience. We might not have language for the powerful feelings that arise or we might be too ashamed to even bring up the experience with another or just not have safe people in our life. Whatever the reason, these experiences remain hidden in the shadows of our heart. Hidden but not silent. The hidden experiences of our heart often wield unrecognized power over us and create structures of shame and self contempt in our lives. These places of shame are painful and so we create defenses around them to protect ourselves; unfortunately, these defenses further bind us.

When we courageously choose to lower our defenses and allow access into the hidden places in our hearts; change becomes possible. Telling our stories to one another in a supportive environment brings us into contact with our unprocessed emotions. It is at this point we can finally grieve and honor our experiences. 

Telling our stories also offers us a way to see ourselves more clearly. With this increased clarity we are able to understand what has gotten in the way of our ability to give and receive love. As we do the hard work of reconnecting with the hidden parts of ourselves we gain a greater capacity to participate in and create more life giving relationships. Seeing ourselves from this new perspective also helps us identify and live out our calling.
This is what we offer in our story groups! 
 

Story Group 12 Week Workshop

We were all given powerful stories that shaped and guided our development as people. Our core, 12 Week Story Workshop, walks participants through a process of discovery with skilled and kind professional facilitators. Participants will learn through teaching and group work about the experiences and dynamics that shaped them into the people they are today. At the heart of this workshop is the ability to tell personal stories of harm. Telling our stories offers us a way to see ourselves and how we were shaped more clearly. Tell Your Story, and discover more about who you are becoming. 
"I am not the same person I was three years ago. I am not the same person I was yesterday. Whenever it’s time to re-up for a new session, I’m sure there are people whose souls need our group desperately. People who are literally dying in their skin every day. Maybe, I think, I should clear a spot for someone who hasn’t tasted what we receive in this space. But then I see how whole I’ve become and am becoming: What a better person, partner, boss, employee and friend I am. And I don’t want to stop growing in that direction." ~ Amy 
12 Week Story Group Workshop: More Information 

Ongoing Story Groups


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This ongoing group advances the themes of the 12 Week Story Workshop through additional teaching and personal work. Participants will engage with critical new topics, including; triangulation, family roles, and re-enactments in relationships. Group members will also read a personal narrative and build on the work done in the previous workshop. This group consists of only 8 motivated participants who want to dig deeper into the experiences and story lines that have shaped their world and expose previously uncovered themes. 
For additional information or interest in joining one of our ongoing story groups, please contact: 
Cyndi Mesmer, LCPC at [email protected]

"Why do I do what I do – and later feel so much disgrace? This question haunted me, as did stories of my childhood. 

The story group at The Art of Living allowed me a safe haven to trace back the harm, abandonment and contempt I felt at its core. Bringing this into the light and safety of a community has been a game changer for me. 

I now have “handles” as to why I respond the way I do in life. It’s not been an easy journey but I have so much more freedom and kindness for myself and others."  ~ Natalie

Professional Trainings ​

Trauma-focused Narrative Therapy Training
Based on The Allender Center Methodology
In this professional training participants will learn how to read the deeper meaning of personal narratives and uncover the hidden themes and storylines that are present in all stories. The personal narratives that we all carry inside give shape and substance to every area of a persons life. Unfortunately these narratives do not reveal themselves easily and they are layered with complexity. Learning to identify and decipher the themes of these inner narratives allow professionals from a variety of disciplines to better assist their clients in reaching their goals of healing and growth.




Trauma-focused Narrative Therapy Training:
More Information

"Why do I do what I do – and later feel so much disgrace? This question haunted me, as did stories of my childhood.  The story group at The Art of Living allowed me a safe haven to trace back the harm, abandonment and contempt I felt at its core. Bringing this into the light and safety of a community has been a game changer for me.    I now have “handles” as to why I respond the way I do in life. It’s not been an easy journey but I have so much more freedom and kindness for myself and others."          - Natalie

What people are saying about Art of Living...

"My time doing group work at The Art of Living has helped me realize that even though there are no guarantees, trusting others and opening up are good things, and that I am worthy of my group members' care.  I have learned how the protective behaviors I have relied on for so long keep me from truly connecting with others.  It's quite an experience seeing myself and fellow group members take steps toward freedom all the while being supported with great care, kindness, and wisdom." -  Katie
 
"The group dynamic with the story group settings has brought both growth and insights not possible with an individual counselor alone. Hearing, and experiencing, stories from other men and women opened my eyes to the hurts others work through. At the same time, the others in the group story setting allowed others to bless me with care, while holding me accountable to be vulnerable and honest with myself. I started this program with a bit of skepticism and quickly found myself with a greater understanding of myself and my path to healing. If you're in the business of healing, change, and personal growth I can't recommend a story group setting enough." ~ Glenda
"Before I joined a story group I did not have a voice, did not believe I could have any needs and did not trust that others would care well for me.  My time in a story group helped me to use my voice even though what I have to say may not be "perfect",  helped me to see that it is o.k.  to have needs and that people would care for me well."  - Jane
"Through the story group at The Art of Living, my partner and I have come to understand the themes that shape how we relate each other and others, as well as how to kindly be curious about that which triggers us".  – Anonymous 
"The counselors at Art of Living are world-class, speaking into the stories and lives of others the way I’ve never experienced before. Very transformative and healing." ~Kathryn 
"After doing story I was able to see and feel God‘s redeeming power in my story and in my life I truly believe through opening up and digging deep into my wounds allowed God to come in and redeem me, heal me, restore me, and love me  I was able to embrace his love and believe it and feel it."  ~ Frank