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LIFE CONTEXT Workshop for August, 2016

Mark you calendar for Friday August 12 and Saturday August 13 for the next offering of the LIFE CONTEXT workshop in Victoria, British Columbia.

The venue is the same as the previous workshop completed in March, at the Church of Truth in James Bay.

We have scheduled two Orientation sessions for those who want an introduction to the INTENSIVE JOURNAL® process.  Friday, July 15 and Friday July 22 we are mounting two free 3 hour workshops at the Chartwell Ross Retirement Centre in downtown Victoria.

The August workshop agenda will be published in the next couple of weeks on this site.

Stay tuned.



Two Successful INTENSIVE JOURNAL workshops in Victoria: March, 2016

15 participants completed the two-day LIFE CONTEXT workshop on March  18-19, 2016 in Victoria, B.C.  The stated objectives of this basic introduction to the INTENSIVE JOURNAL method were:
  1.  to gain a perspective on your life;
  2. to gain insights about your relationships with others, your career, special interests , your body and health.
The evaluative feedback has been positive and enthusiastic.  Here are some sample comments:
  • “….(based on my own personal experience, I will say) this process is incredibly valuable for all those who have experience trauma”. K. H.
  • “This (workshop experience) is providing positive meaning to me. (some things) have snuck up on me and this is providing me with a lot of meaning to my past and hope for today and tomorrow – I can taste it.” D. H.
  • “The workshop was helpful in reframing significant events in my life and encouraged looking at events from completely shifted perspectives. This was very helpful in gaining insight and larger context for some assumed thinking and attitudes. Special emphasis on tolerance and compassion for self that flows out to others.” A.M.
13 Individuals participated in the DEPTH CONTACT workshop in Victoria on March 20-21,
The stated objectives  for this advanced INTENSIVE JOURNAL  workshop included:
  1. Continue the Journal Workbook process with work in the areas of Dream and Images – learn Dr. Progoff’s unique method for developing your symbolic experiences;
  2. Focusing on Meaning in Life: (1) Clarifying personal priorities and ultimate concerns; and (2) Deepen your connections to important areas of your life.
The evaluative feedback was very positive and encouraging.  Here are some samples:
  • “I’m very grateful for this workshop. (I came) feeling lost, frightened and mired within myself.  Getting in touch with a greater reality, to feel my life called to a relationship with it, to see myself as part of this greater reality, was encouraging and validating.  I’m very grateful for it.  Not just very.  Surpassingly.”  N. G.
  • “I would highly recommend the facilitator’s ability to guide the participants to a stream of consciousness they may not have been aware of. ” A.M.
  • “I would describe it as time well spent.  At times I felt out of my depth, but I was able to work through that feeling.  My experience challenged me, inspired me – renewed my energy to actively continue this writing process.” G.G. 

The Intensive Journal program implemented inside Canadian Federal penitentiary

The Inmate Program Committee at William Head Institution has approved the implementation of the Intensive Journal program inside William Head Institution on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The Intensive Journal program was introduced to the inmate population through the auspices of the Restorative Justice Coalition of  William Head Institution.  William Head is a federal, minimum security penitentiary and is part of Correctional Services Canada (CSC).

Every Thursday evening a small group of community volunteers with the Restorative Justice Coalition of William Head, meet in an informal R J “circle” session with a group of 15-20 volunteer prison inmates.  The Intensive Journal program was introduced to this group in the fall of 2015.  After consultation with the prison administrative staff and the Inmate Committee, the journal program was approved for implementation inside the prison confines.  The first workshop was conducted in early March, 2016.

At the initial three-hour introductory session, 6 volunteer inmates arrived to begin the first of a series of journal writing workshops.  At the following workshop session 14 days later, another 5 volunteer participants arrived to be included in the journal writing program.

Each of the inmate participants has expressed appreciation for the opportunity to work privately, honestly and compassionately on their life narratives.  These narratives include the trauma they have experienced as well as the trauma they have caused.

While the inmates are availed of a wide spectrum of programs while in prison, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Non-Violent Communications (among many others), they find the Intensive Journal process enables them to focus on issues of trauma from an “inward” perspective.  Without analysis, diagnosis or judgement, the journal writing method provides offenders the unique opportunity to privately deal with issues of stigma, guilt, de-personalization, grief and disconnection from others.







LIFE CONTEXT – Intensive Journal® Workshop (Part 1)
Gaining a Perspective on Life
March 18 & 19, 2016: The Church of Truth – 111 Superior St. in Victoria, B.C.
Friday March 18: 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm – [dinner break] – 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Saturday March 19: 9:00 am to 12:00 noon – [lunch break] – 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Learn how to use the INTENSIVE JOURNAL® method through a direct experience in your own life.
Gain a perspective on your life. Develop personal and relationship awareness as you privately explore prior events, memories and feelings. Learn the unique method of “dialogue and feedback” as you explore inward and garner insight about the forward movement of your life.
In your private writing you will expand self-awareness about main areas of your life:                                                                                              Relationships with other persons
 Career and special interests
 Body and health
Prerequisite: NONE 12 hour workshop $215.00 CDN * (Scholarships available.)
*Registration includes the full Intensive Journal Workbook binder, 12 hours of facilitated workshop time and a light dinner on Friday evening and free parking.
DEPTH CONTACT – Intensive Journal® Workshop (Part 2)
Symbolic Images and Meaning in Life
March 20 & 21, 2016: The Church of Truth – 111 Superior St. in Victoria, B.C.
Sunday March 20: 1:30 pm to 4:30 – dinner break – 6:00 to 9:00 pm
Monday March 21: 9:00 am to 12 noon – lunch break- 1:30 to 4:30 pm
Continue your Journal work, focusing on the second part of the INTENSIVE JOURNAL ®workbook.
Dreams and images: Learn by practicing Dr. Progoff’s unique method for developing your symbolic experiences. (Dreams, meditative & twilight imagery, synchronicity, coincidence, serendipity)
Meaning in life: Learn by practicing specific ways of working the Intensive Journal process to develop a more meaningful life:
Clarify your priorities and ultimate concerns
Deepen your connection to important areas of your life
Prerequisite: LIFE CONTEXT workshop. 12 hour workshop $215.00 CDN * (Scholarships available)
*Registration includes the full Intensive Journal Workbook binder, 12 hours of facilitated workshop time and a light dinner on Sunday evening and free parking.
If you enroll for BOTH workshops the total registration fee is $400.00 CDN    (Save $30.00)  Scholarships are available for those with little or no income.
Mail a check or money order in the amount of $ 50.00 CDN – payable to William Israel.   Send to William Israel, PO Box 41027 Cordova Bay PO, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8Y 0A3
For more information: Telephone (250)744-0590 or e.mail

The “trauma spectrum” includes a multitude of varied experience.

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.



INTENSIVE JOURNAL News – February 2016

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.

INTENSIVE JOURNAL program continues in Victoria, BC

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.

Two free Orientation sessions in October

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 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.

INTENSIVE JOURNAL process includes “Socratic Method”

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.

Another INTENSIVE JOURNAL Workshop in November, 2015

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. 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 if you are interested or have questions about this unique journal method.