Group Work-Enchantment Was All Around These Women!
by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein & Doreen Laperdon Addison

This month I am sharing part of an article I wrote with Doreen Laperdon Addison. It contains a lot of the magic and energy of taking the time to come home to ourselves and the various parts of ourselves stored away!  It involves the mind and body and of course, the spirit. I hope you enjoy this excerpt. You can write to me for a copy of the complete article at

" ...The workshop we would like to discuss took place in Oakland, California. It was a half day workshop presented by the Association of Women in Psychology.... designed for professionals in the mental health field. The focus of the workshop was twofold: first personal replenishment for the professionals who attended, second to share with them clinical techniques that they could bring back to the treatment room to encourage positive states of well being in their clients. Theoretically and professionally we were both concerned that the clinical treatment hour does not gear itself enough to encouraging the client to recognise her own positive earlier memories. Often the work of the therapy hour is geared to the diagnosis and correction of dysfunction, i.e. bad news. Clients are often put in a position where they are not encouraged to think about positive memories of girlhood, younger days, or to look for earlier signs of talents....girls often have powerful moments growing up that they then disregard and/or forget about as they go into adolescence. The sense of power and the sense of feeling vital and alive are not clear capacities that women know automatically how to tap into.

(We also discussed movement) as a means of discovering one's Enchanted Self by remembering physically how one moved, the quality and range of movement and the feelings associated with the movement. We discussed the importance of non-verbal communication as a powerful tool in accessing positive images and memories. Also we shared some of the research findings that clinicians themselves are often burned out and/or suffer deplenishment of joy.

We asked the women to share why they were at the workshop. It was immediately apparent that each was there for personal replenishment. Several of the women talked about exhausting clinical jobs dealing with difficult situations, survivors of rape and physical violence, and long hours and difficult case loads...

The first movement activity was a general warm up and movement exploration. Doreen asked participants to take scarves and move with them in any fashion they desired...

Participants eagerly took to the idea and moved very freely. The second exercise involved more intimate moving. Participants were instructed to explore movement using their elbows to guide them. The women became more aggressive. They then chose the lower back and ankles. These choices demonstrated the participants' need for exercise to relieve aches and pains. Doreen concluded this exercise with instructions for the women to use their fingers to guide their movements. This refocused the group on the images and memories that can be triggered through movement, and the knowledge and wisdom gained by listening to one's body. The women were amazed at how enlivened their body parts felt. We discussed how the body instinctively knows what it needs. One of the women talked about the confinement she felt at her job as a therapist and at meetings, feeling a need to move around but often unable to do so.

After these two movement exercises, Barbara led the group in a cognitive memory exercise. She asked the women to sit comfortably, close their eyes if they liked, and to retrieve positive memories from a particular age range, intuitively going to an age range where they felt there were some positive memories. She encouraged them to let go of the negative if they found themselves experiencing negative memories, and continue to search for the positive. All the women were either sitting or lying on the floor.... One of the women tied scarves around her ankles, laid down on her back and put her feet up on a chair. She looked so childlike, yet feminine as she lay there in a deep reverie. What amazed both of us was how totally relaxed the women appeared to be during the exercise. The women worked silently for ten to twelve minutes. When they were done with their reveries we asked them to sit up, and those who cared to do so to write or draw what they had remembered. When everyone had finished we discussed memories that the women were willing to share.

One of the women remembered how strong and good she had felt around the age of five or six. She lived in Ohio where she and her friends would go to a lake and rent inner tubes. They swam in the lake with these giant tubes that they barely could see over. Afterwards, she and her friends would clean off the tubes, wash off all the sand and then swing the tubes over their little shoulders and struggle up the hill to return them The rental man was always delighted and complimented the little girls on returning clean tubes. He would say to them: 'I always know who the girls are who live here because they bring back clean tubes, just how I like it'. Her capacities to describe this scene were incredible. We felt part of this memory, sensing the strength, fatigue, and pride that these young girls must have felt.

Another woman reminisced about a day at the beach when she was a young child. She would squat down and pick sand up with her hands spending a long time feeling the sand. She remarked how centered she felt and how little children seemed to really embody that type of feeling. We asked her if she felt centered as an adult. She said, at times, as a therapist. She feels particularly centered when she is doing dream work analysis. Barbara reflected that one of the beautiful things we're able to do as adults is transfer feelings such as being centered sitting in the sand from a physical sensation in childhood to a mental sensation involving cognitive processes. Barbara commented that it was interesting to see this woman's magical child come through in a metamorphosised form in her adult clinical skills.

...Another woman had taken paper and coloured it brightly on one side with much darker colours on the other side. She commented that the bright colours were associated with powerful strong feelings she had as a youngster. However, when she became a teenager she no longer felt that strength. She didn't feel that special way about her body, nor had she been able to find it as an adult. She yearned to get back in touch with these feelings.

Another woman talked about roller skating and how strong and competent she felt. However, as an adult she could not equate comparable feelings of strength and competency. Another woman discussed how adolescence had taken her away from a sense of strength, freedom and joy. Adolescence became associated with breasts, periods and 'all that stuff'.

The cognitive memories of these women were powerful. They evoked both the physicality of how the women's bodies felt when they were younger with images of what they did. We felt that having two movement exercises precede the cognitive exercise was good pacing. The women went into a type of reverie for the cognitive exercise because they were physically loosened up. Thus the mental technique was augmented by comfort and relaxation within their bodies as well as the beginnings of body memories that had been elicited by the movement exercises..."

It always fills me with wonder to re-read some of my notes on women accessing their ENCHANTED SELVES!  We must never forget how priceless these parts of ourselves are!

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, originator of THE ENCHANTED SELF®, a method of bringing delight and meaning into everyday living, invites you to view her new line of ENCHANTED WOMAN products, downloadable e-books, and free gifts at

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