Our program features daily self development workshops based on a wide variety of therapies. The goal of these workshops is always to gain understanding; understanding of our emotions, our thoughts and our feelings. Just some examples of the workshops we offer at New Life include:
During all activities that involve communication we use compassionate sharing as a tool to understand one another’s feelings and needs. We listen mindfully to others, without judging, and we express ourselves honestly; we communicate with empathy and respect. Compassionate sharing is open to residents and volunteers and is a once-a-week opportunity to further develop bonds between the two groups. In the workshop a topic is offered up for discussion and participants are able to have an exchange of ideas, feelings and views. Issues pertinent to community living, co-existing joyfully in the workplace or within families and circles of friends are drawn upon as topics to discuss. The aim is to show how to create understanding with others and ourselves and to find solutions. This is done by teaching ways of carrying out effective communication – how to be a good listener, how to suspend judgment and conditioned thinking, and how to stick to the facts so that we can communicate ideas, feelings and needs in a non-confrontational way.
Relapse Prevention Training (RPT)
Those with substance abuse issues learn to recognize high-risk situations for continued drug use, including both external and internal stimuli and are taught a set of skills designed to cope with these stimuli. These skills include identifying early warning signs of addictive thinking and behavior, recognizing high-risk situations, and understanding how everyday seemingly inconsequential decisions may be leading the individual toward relapse. Mindfulness training is incorporated into RPT as a means to support and enhance the resident’s awareness of internal and external stimuli so that they may learn to cope with negative emotions more effectively without immediately acting upon them.
Letting Go of Resentments
This workshop puts the spotlight on resentment and what form it takes in order to recognise how it may be at play in your life. It involves looking at the power it has in many of our lives. Resentments can be held by individuals or in group consciousness. It is one of the greatest sources of suffering in our lives. Therefore, relinquishing our attachment to resentments is an integral aspect of embarking on the path of happiness.
In this workshops participants are invited to investigate one of three emotions: anger, fear or shame. Participants choose which of the three they most identify with and would most like to work on. They then work together in a group on that emotion. Within the groups, the strength of these emotions in people varies, as does how it presents in their life. Talking through the symptoms of these emotions and learning how others “do” these emotions can be a powerful and insightful experience.
Participants are then given tools to deal with the emotions – use breathing exercises to become the observer of the emotion and create a gap between themselves and the feeling to allow them to choose to respond rather than automatically react. These emotions, while negative, are natural and necessary part of life and therefore the aim of the workshop is not to stop people having them – that is impossible. The aim is to learn a healthy way to deal with those emotions, by either letting them go or changing them into something positive.
The Power Of Our Story
In life we have a story of who we are. It’s built from the details of what has happened to us, why we are the way we are, what expectations we have of ourselves and those others have of us. As we grow and change we often hold on to old stories that no longer – or never did – represent the truth of who we are. This can be toxic to us. It’s important to choose a story that is representative of our reality now and one that can nurture and empower us.
This workshop helps us to recognise the power words, spoken or thought, have on us or those around us. We examine what the concept of “gossip” means to us. From a Buddhist perspective, this activity invites us to be more aware of the impact of what we tell ourselves and others, and encourages us to put more care and honesty into our words.
The Truth Will Set Us Free
We all have a tendency to believe the thoughts we have about ourselves and what goes on in our environment. Using a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy technique, in this workshop we come to see that many of the things we believe are actually cruel, harmful, judgmental, self-accusatory thoughts that are not based in fact.
Voice dialogue is about discovering who we are and separating ourselves from our ego. When we can see how our ego is at play in our personality segments – e.g. the adventurer, the loyalist, the lone wolf – we are more able to make choices that are based on true free will rather than ones based on being a slave to our egos. We also learn how we react to the varying ego personalities in others. Recognizing we have these aspects in ourselves to a lesser or greater degree allows us to open up compassion and understanding and permits a greater capacity for more balanced, peaceful interactions.
Art is used as a therapy to aid us in improving our mental and emotional well-being by giving us a non-challenging vehicle to help understand our emotions, thoughts and feelings. It allows us to step away from continuous judgment as there is no right or wrong in art, it’s not about beautiful or ugly. Whatever you produce is exactly what it is meant to be. With this philosophy we are given space to learn something about ourselves and practice handling our emotions in a healthy and balanced way in order to cultivate awareness and improve self-esteem. Activities include painting, arts and crafts, drawing, pottery, and many other forms of self-expression. Workshops are led by the life coaching staff or a visiting art professional.
Marshal Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication
Many of us are unable to assert ourselves in our interactions with others – it’s either passive or aggressive. This powerful communication method invites us to look inside and see what is going on with us in order to communicate truthfully. It provides a way to do that which is non-confrontational – internally or externally.
To have a creative life is to learn to relax, trust, have compassion, give, and take. In this workshop, participants take part in a series of relaxation, sharing, feeling and body movement activities to build a relationship of trust in order to solve problems. It helps to build understanding, empathy and mutual respect while stretching our brains and developing new pathways of communication so that people think outside the box, break down barriers, and let go of stress, anxiety, worry and judgement. These tools help us face life’s challenges and solve problems in a playful and creative way.
Always Share Your Hopes and Dreams
The Law of Attraction: We start with a guided visualisation that helps us investigate the key areas of our lives (home, work, social) and what our ideal situation would be in each. The scope is unlimited; the challenge is to dream big. We then put those dreams into words and put them on paper. We bring them alive by sharing them with a partner, for as soon as we acknowledge our dreams and put them out there we make them real and tangible. With that we enable ourselves to set goals that take us closer to achieving our dreams. Our only limitations in life are our minds. What we can conceive, we can achieve.
Freedom from the Prison of Self
Judgement, self consciousness, other people’s opinions and fear – these all make up the prison we hold ourselves in. Its walls and bars are constructed of the negative conditioning and beliefs that we accept as reality. The chains that bind us come from our perceptions of the judgements and opinions of others – the conditionings of our culture, family, peers and even our teachers. Freedom results from finding our own truth, not that of others or even that of our own ego. In this workshop we are taught to look within and build a nurturing relationship with ourselves in order to find our truth – for it is that truth that will set us free.