Steps to Connection

Many people struggle to create heartfelt connections with others. Yet how much more meaningful could our lives be if we could make and sustain more fulfilling relational bonds?

In this standalone weekend workshop, we will examine the different ways in which we approach relationship, touching on the impact of our pasts and our learned ways of relating with others. We will look at how these learned strategies can distort the quality of our relationships, and consider how when we do open ourselves to others, we often gain a deeper and more holistic appreciation of ourselves.

The context of the workshop

Do you ever feel something holds you back from genuine connection? Have you ever found yourself distracted by your own thoughts, more focused on the next thing you want to say rather than what the person opposite is trying to say? Have you ever felt you didn't bring your whole self to an encounter with someone else? Would you like to communicate in a way that brought you closer to other people?

This workshop is about exploring what happens when we bring our Will into relationship. To connect more fully with others, perhaps first we need to connect with ourselves and be present to the world around us. When we are fully present, a sense of being most fully alive and freshly in-the-world is available to us. This means having an inclusive awareness of ourselves: of our embodiment, our emotions and our thoughts. Only when we are truly present to ourselves can we be genuinely available to others.

It’s a life-altering experience to see another being as they really are and to allow them to witness the authentic you – to have your own inner beauty and radiance reflected back to you through the eyes of another and recognise so much of yourself in that person. Philosopher Martin Buber described such a meeting as an I-Thou connection. In this he distinguishes between two forms of human encounter: I-Thou and I-It. I-It denotes the mechanical attitude of the ‘I’ towards an ‘It’: the attitude towards an object separate in itself, one often used or disdained. Yet in Buber’s view, the deeper, more sincere human connection of I-Thou opens a window on our deepest self, through which we may glimpse the reality of something greater.

Date and cost

A two-day workshop taking place on 25-26 January 2020 at The Staves, Heavitree, Exeter EX2 5EU. Click here for more information on the venue.

Cost: £180 (including £50 deposit)

Facilitated by Samantha Cairns and Peter Crowe

In each of the seminars, course learning will be delivered through a combination of maps and models, theoretical explanation with examples, and experiential techniques, including mediation, drawing, reflective writing, discussion, guided imagery, and enactment.

Places are strictly limited to a maximum of eight so early booking is advised to avoid disappointment. Participants will need to be responsible for their own meals and overnight accommodation.

Who is this course for?

The 'Steps to Connection’ workshop is aimed at people who wish to relate to others in a more authentic way so gaining a greater sense of connection in their lives. As well as theoretical knowledge, participants will gain practical skills in building relationships of genuine depth with the people around them. It is designed for those looking to comprehend how their default patterns of relating shape their interaction with family, friends and colleagues. 

While partners are welcome, this workshop is not specifically aimed at couples. Rather than exploring the specific context of intimate relationships (the focus of a separate workshop) our emphasis is instead on how we relate socially and form genuine connections with other people in general.

What will I gain from attending this course?

  • Learn deep, active listening skills for more authentic and openhearted communication
  • Understand the lens or lenses through which you view others
  • Acquire the practical means to slow down habitual reactions so as to have more time to choose your responses
  • Experience feeling seen and heard, and find out how to offer this willingly to others
  • Develop a more fulfilling context through which to construct more meaningful relationships