Every human personality grows from individual “seed potential” that includes physical, psychological and spiritual components. In addition to physiological stages of birth, early childhood, adolescence and adulthood, every human transits a life-long stream of events, situations and circumstances that influence their physical, psychological, mental and spiritual development. Our individuality comes from the unique way every person encounters and responds to these stimuli, both inward and outward. Picture a Mobius Strip where outward stimuli appear on the surface and, over time, are inwardly absorbed to eventually manifest outwardly again. Every stimulus, whether helpful or injurious, adds to the developmental and maturation process.
Trauma is often described as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. Medically it is characterized as a physical event, synonymous with injury or wounding. It can also be a non-visible wound that is sustained as a result of an inward perception of an event, situation or circumstance. Perhaps no physical wound may be visible, but the net “inward” effect to the “victim” is every bit as disturbing, and may very likely result in “external” manifestations of altered behaviour, belief or self esteem.
Medical science is limited in it’s capacity to accurately diagnose or effectively analyze either the specific causes of these “inward” perceptions of disturbance, or to effectively prescribe relief. The current phenomenon of “post traumatic stress disorder” (PTSD) is a good example.
A very exciting opportunity is underway for application of the INTENSIVE JOURNAL® process with federal inmates at the William Head Institution in British Columbia
Following a six month application process at William Head Institution in Metchosin, B.C., approval has been granted for Bill Israel to take the INTENSIVE JOURNAL® program inside the penitentiary for work with inmates.
Bill is a member of the Restorative Justice Coalition at William Head Institution, meeting on a weekly basis with inmates and fellow volunteers, in a “restorative justice circle” session. Staff and inmates have indicated their interest in mounting this unique journal writing program on a weekly basis inside the prison.
The third in a series of public INTENSIVE JOURNAL® workshops is scheduled for the weekend of March 18-21, 2016, in Victoria.
Registration is now underway for the third consecutive LIFE CONTEXT workshop at the Church of Truth in James Bay. In addition, a NEW workshop titled DEPTH CONTACT is being offered. This is the second in the Journal Workbook series and is offered only to those who have completed the Life Context workshop. Each workshop is 12 hours in length over a two day period. Details will be posted in the next few days, including the opportunity for a FREE three hour INTRODUCTION to the journal workbook in downtown Victoria.
A second consecutive INTENSIVE JOURNAL® workshop was successfully concluded in mid-November at the Church of Truth in James Bay. 17 participants gathered for a two day meditative journal-writing clinic, privately examining the breadth of their individual lives, deepening personal values, probing spiritual histories and exploring future possibilities.
The LIFE CONTEXT journal workshop is a non-analytic, non-judgmental and private method of refreshing and renewing one’s life path from an inward perspective. In an atmosphere of meditative quiet, a “sacred” writing space is created, enabling participants to move “inward” in a compassionate, self-managed, written reflection of their life – past, present and anticipated future.
The process consists of a professionally facilitated, thoughtfully crafted writing process that guides participants into their own “well” of life experience and inner wisdom. It is a method of compassionate exploration and private expression of one’s sense of wholeness. It is a process that enables an open-ended exploration of the potential for one’s future.
Participant feedback has been consistently positive:
“…the workshop helped me on my path me in resolving old questions and dilemmas…it is a healing and strengthening process…a powerful tool in helping me move forward…keeping my balance through growth and insight. It has been a great leap forward for me.” – M.T.
“This amazing process … brought me to an understanding of what my life wants me to focus on right now. It was all very useful.” – J.S.
“It was an excellent non-judgmental way of exploring my past and how that has impacted the flow of my life. (It was) a rare opportunity to examine the whole of my being from current status, how I got here, the people involved in my life, key physical and spiritual stages and important events. This review gave me a chance to create a positive and productive target for the next stage of my life.” – F.S.
“(The workshop) …helped me immensely in beginning to accept what (my life) is –with honesty and not trying to impose an evaluation… (it) helped me understand my present life in a larger context and gave me insight moving forward.” – E.R.
“It is a new tool in my toolbox for examining my life in a gentle way and finding information I didn’t even realize was already there. I appreciated the focus on the flow and movement of one’s life, rather than getting hung up on this or that particular problem.” – K.R.
NOTE: In the interest of maintaining the personal privacy for the participants of this Intensive Journal process, full names are not disclosed either for these direct quotes, or to other journal writers during the course of the workshops.
This LIFE CONTEXT workshop is a two-day (twelve hour) facilitated journal process. It is the first in a series of three sequential, life-enhancing journal writing seminars developed by Dr. Ira Progoff (1921-98).
The second of these workshops (DEPTH CONTACT) will be offered in March of 2016, in conjunction with a re-offering of the first workshop.
FRIDAY October 9th is the date for the first of two 3 hour ORIENTATION workshops to introduce the INTENSIVE JOURNAL® program for those interested in – or perhaps just curious about – the full two-day workshop scheduled for November 13-14 in Victoria, B.C. This session will be conducted from 9:00 am to 12 noon at Chartwell Ross Retirement Place in downtown Victoria.
In this free workshop there will be a brief introduction to the background and hypothesis of this unique journal process, as devised by Dr. Ira Progoff (1921-98). The full outline of the Journal Workbook will be presented along with information about the journal process and guided workshop procedures. A bit of “sample” writing will be done and time allowed for Q and A and discussion.
The second of these two introductory sessions will take place SATURDAY, October 17th at The Church of Truth in James Bay (Victoria) BC. The session agenda will be exactly the same as above – from 9:00 am to 12 noon. Parking is free at both events and refreshments will be served. Both 3 hour sessions are FREE and reservations are requested.
Please call Bill at (250) 744-0590 – or e.mail firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat for one of these sessions. There is no obligation to attend the November workshop attached to your attendance at either of these orientation sessions.
ISLAND CATHOLIC NEWS – Sept. 2015 (Victoria, B.C., Canada)
The Wholeness of One’s Life
If your life is in a place of transition, and you are unsure about what to do, or how to do it, the INTENSIVE JOURNAL® writing program includes a unique approach to an ancient methodology known as the “Socratic method”. Dr. Ira Progoff (1921-1998) integrated this ancient concept of “knowing oneself” in the structure of the Intensive Journal process.
This self-inquiry method circumvents the modern western medical model of diagnosis and analysis. It is a structured, self directed process of inquiry into one’s life – current and past – from an inward perspective. The writing is done in complete privacy, following an ordered path of inquiry, exploring basic elements of one’s life history, both inward and outward. It is the privacy that allows the journal writer to explore the most sensitive, and often hidden, life experiences without fear of judgment or shaming. Among the many benefits of this inward exploration are these two. The first is to enable the writer to acknowledge and integrate significant “life events” that otherwise consume substantial mental, psychological and physical energy. This helps to address and mitigate the hidden stress about which Dr. Gabor Maté writes so eloquently in his book, “When the Body Says No”. The second benefit is achieved by non-judgmental revisiting of these “events”, which allows for meditative exploration of future possibilities for one’s life.
The overarching personal gain from this structured, self-directed inquiry is a realization of the wholeness of one’s life. In his investigative model of inquiry, Socrates assumed that persons have within them all they need for the fulfillment of their lives. Jesus, another very wise man, also said that “…the kingdom of heaven is within you.” When one feels overwhelmed by the setbacks and anxieties of modern life, it is easy to lose the vital perspective that one’s whole life is bigger than any of its limiting conditions.
Dr. Progoff painstakingly created an accessible, self-help process for enabling distressed persons to re-imagine the trajectory of their lives. Through this composed and compassionate process, people are able to identify the meaning of their lives through an ongoing “dialogue” between the inner self and the external world.
With very positive feedback from the July workshop, a second two-day session is now scheduled for November 13 and 14, 2015. The Church of Truth in Victoria, British Columbia.
Sample comments from three different participants in the July workshop:
“To be able to hear my own internal voice with limited distraction was euphoric. ..to capture what exactly I was experiencing in the moment without self-editing or critiquing.”
“Through this journaling process, I feel I am reconnecting with myself in a new way but also opening to others and the world in a more honest and present way.”
“If you are interested to explore your inner landscape in a private, creative and self-directed way then please take this workshop. It will enrich your life and make you a more conscious person.”
As with our previous workshop, we will offer two free INTRODUCTORY orientation sessions in September and October. These half-day (3 hour) seminars will introduce the INTENSIVE JOURNAL® program, including the journal workbook and some sample writing exercises.
Please call Bill at (250)744-0590 – or e.mail email@example.com if you are interested or have questions about this unique journal method.
The inaugural INTENSIVE JOURNAL workshop, conducted in Victoria, British Columbia in July of this year, was well received with excellent participant feedback from the 14 people who attended. The LIFE CONTEXT workshop was the first in a series of workshops to be conducted by Bill Israel, Certified Intensive Journal Facilitator. A sample quote from one of the female workshop participants:
“If you are interested to explore your inner landscape, to get acquainted with some of your hidden stuff in a gentle, creative, self-directed and very private way, then PLEASE take this workshop. It will enrich your life and make you a more conscious person”
The next INTENSIVE JOURNAL workshop is tentatively scheduled for November, 2015, in Victoria, B.C. Check out Bill’s website for updated information, including the dates and location of a series of FREE 3 hour introductory seminars.
“Progoff’s INTENSIVE JOURNAL PROCESS is one of the great inventions of our time” Joseph Campbell
On July 24-25 Bill Israel will facilitate a 12 hour LIFE CONTEXT workshop at the Church of Truth in Victoria, BC. This extraordinary journal method is a unique writing process, distinct from typical journal keeping, diary writing or memoir preparation. No writing skill is necessary to undertake this private, meditative, compassionate self-inquiry.
Participants work in a quiet group environment, preparing personal “steppingstones” into a testament for more meaningful engagement with their life-work, family, friends and community.
For more information go to www.intensivejournal.org
Human personality development consists of a dynamic and interactive engagement between our inner “self” (what we feel and believe inwardly) and the external realities of our environment. This process began at birth and will continue until we die. There are occasions when the external world intrudes rudely, coldly and even violently on one’s experience of selfhood (identity), causing serious harm to their sense of security, identity and well-being. Neglect and/or abuse (physical or emotional), illness, injury, failure or disappointment can force one to feel dislocated, displaced, or “less than a whole person”.
Every human being experiences SOME “dislocation” in the process of growth and development. With the support of family and friends, the human psyche has the creative capacity to move on through these developmental “bumps”. Some of the events or circumstances can be significant, however, generating painful memories and even stimulate “adaptive behaviour” that may be stressful and unproductive.
If the “dislocating” experience is painful enough (physically or psychologically), and sustained over time, the adaptive adjustment may include “hiding from the discomfort” through addictive behaviour, including substance abuse. The maladaptive behaviour is often hidden even from ourselves. Others see it while we are blind to it.
ALL humans have SOME addictive behaviour. This includes the things we do or say to cover for that part of our life which feels inadequate, embarrassing, shameful or grief-laden. Too often we take a “holier-than-thou” attitude toward those caught up in substance abuse addiction – drugs, alcohol, food etc. The difference is only in degree of addiction. Sex, shopping, work, violence, depression, grief and self-imposed social isolation can all be classified as forms of addictive behaviour. Anything one is doing to AVOID the pain of feeling “dislocated” from being a whole person, can be thought of as an addiction.
The INTENSIVE JOURNAL program is an effective, non-judgemental, non-dogmatic, self-help method for enabling persons to successfully integrate the richness of their past (the good, the bad and the ugly) into a hopeful NOW.