Participants in workshops may experience enormous shifts in perspective, changing basic beliefs about themselves and the world. In the workshop setting, surrounded by a community supporting a new sense of self, changes unfold powerfully. However, the integration process when participants return to the routines of daily life is not always smooth. Outcomes range from inability to experience their new sense of self outside the workshop setting, necessitating further workshops, to “spiritual emergencies” where participants cannot apply their new way of being, and are unable to establish pre-workshop levels of functionality, requiring therapeutic intervention and support to bridge the two worlds.
I have been engaged in studies to explore these questions: After encountering transformative experiences in workshops, what supports people in integrating their new sense of self, new perspectives, and new ways of being into their lives? What are the challenges in their integration process and what helps them navigate through those challenges? Which activities within a workshop are helpful in this process? What resources and supports are helpful once workshop participants return home?