I alternated between extreme discomfort at being confronted with uncomfortable truths about myself, and sheer pleasure from the knowledge that not only could I confront these realities and survive, but that I could receive tremendous support from those around me.
While this experience is not for the faint of heart, I believe that anyone who is serious about learning more about themselves will derive benefit."
C.W. / Attorney
Do I have to be in a relationship to participate in The Bonding Weekend (TBW)?
No, definitely not. The Bonding Weekend is designed to support you in creating the types of relationships that you want regardless of whether or not you are presently in a partnership of any kind. Many people who are single participate, couples participate, and people who have a significant partner participate in TBW on their own.
The main focus in the workshop is on what YOU personally and individually need to do in order to deepen your relationships; we believe that the main work to be done is on yourself. In addition, what you experience at TBW will be useful in all of your relationships, not just one-to-one partnerships. If you ARE presently in a significant relationship it is really great to participate with your partner, it is just not required.
Can I participate in TBW without my partner? Is it better to do it as a couple?
You can participate with or without your partner. I think that if you and your partner are both wanting to be at the workshop, if you do not have any significant secrets that you would not want them to find out about and/or are wanting to overcome your fear and learn to set better boundaries, if you have the sense that you could both do your own work even with the other person present, and if you are really ready or at least willing to go deeper with them, then it is great to do the workshop together.
If you think that the others’ presence would inhibit you, you might consider participating separately, unless of course what you want to work on is learning how to be together yet be in your own space, and to feel safer with your partner, then by all means participate together if both of you want to.
Should I participate with close friends?
It is really great to experience The Bonding Weekend with significant people from your life. You will have an intensely life changing experience and sharing it with people afterwards is quite rewarding. This is very similar to question #2: ask yourself the following questions:
• Are you both wanting to be at the workshop?
• Do you have any significant secrets that you would not want them to find out about?
• Would you like to overcome your fear or learn how to set better boundaries?
• Do you have the sense that you could both do your own work even with the other person present?
• Would their presence would inhibit you and are you willing to work on that which may mean just learning to create boundaries and take care of yourself better.
Should I participate if someone I don’t like or don’t want to be around is participating also?
In this situation, TBW will be a wonderful opportunity for you to learn to set boundaries and take care of yourself. I am not saying that it will necessarily be easy or comfortable, however TBW is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks, telling the truth, and learning to know when to set limits or say no. Many of the processes are in smaller groups, in groups of two, and even by yourself. In general, you get to choose who you want to support you, and/or which group you will be in. You can take this opportunity to know that you are safe to choose what you want and to learn to take care of yourself and your needs no matter who is around.
Should I participate if someone I don’t like or don’t want to be around is on the assist team?
My response to this is almost the same as the answer to question #4. In addition, if it would help you feel better or safer, we can ask a specific assist team member to keep their distance from you, unless you specifically request their support (you may surprise yourself, this could happen!) The Bonding Weekend is not designed or intended to try to make you like everyone, or want to be around everyone, but rather, to help you set boundaries, know your limits, and to be deliberate in choosing who you want to have deep relationships with. Part of what I believe is that when you do feel more able to take care of yourself around others, you will then more naturally be able to experience compassion for people that you may not even like or want to be around.
I have heard that TBW is an advanced workshop, I have never done anything like this before, is that OK?
Absolutely. All it takes is willingness and an open mind. That doesn’t mean that you might not have some mixed feelings and/or some fear or resistance; it simply means that you are willing to find out what is available for you, that you are willing to be pushed (even if you don’t like it), and that you want to improve yourself and your relationships. It can actually be wonderful to experience The Bonding Weekend as one of your first workshops ever, you can come without expectations about what you think is going to happen because you truly have no idea.
Keep in mind that it is very intense, that you probably have no idea what you are in for, that TBW may be the most intense and confrontive experience you will ever have. However, as long as you want to grow and are willing to be pushed, you will be very glad that you stepped out of your comfort zone and took the risk!
I have participated in many workshops, can I still get something out of this one?
YES! What you get out of TBW (or any workshop for that matter) is really is more about what you put into it than the actual processes or some specific thing we do there. The Bonding Weekend is designed to allow you to do your own work. If you already know how to do deep emotional work then you will feel easily at home here, and able to work on whatever issues you are dealing with right now in your life.
Each time you do any type of personal growth work you are in a different place in your life, and what you get out of it is much more about what issues you decide to focus on and what risks you choose to take then any particular process. It isn’t necessarily about learning something new, but rather about going deeper or seeing something you already know in a new light. And if you are really doubtful, ask the assist team. Many of them come back over and over again, and feel like each time they learn new things, gain deeper insights, and continue to grow each time no matter how times they are involved!
Do you have payment plans and how do they work?
Yes, we have payment plans and we try to make it easy for you and for us. The deposit is generally $250 but you can break up the deposit into payments if you would like to. Our payment plans work like this: you will give me a credit or debit card number that I will bill monthly for set amounts. e.g. The total cost is $945 (this includes 9 meals, shared sleeping accommodations, wednesday night arrival, and tuition). If you break up the payments over 5 months, I would bill your credit card for $189.00 per month, and we do not charge interest. You will sign a contract that clarifies your individual plan.
I am not an open person, I don’t like talking in front of groups, and I really don’t like sharing with strangers. Can I still participate?
Many people do not like sharing in groups or sharing anything with people that they don’t know. At the seminar, there will be some people that you naturally are drawn to and get to know easily and others that you don’t feel as connected to. Who you connect with and what you share will be your choice and based on what feels right. How much you actually share in the larger group is up to you; there are some specific exercises that are designed for large group sharing but even in those you decide how much you actually say. There are lots of opportunities to share with just one other person, to share in smaller groups, and times for private contemplation, writing and time alone; how much you reveal to others is really up to you. You will still benefit greatly from TBW regardless of how much you say out loud.
What is the role of the staff/assistant team?
The Assist team is comprised of people who have participated in The Bonding Weekend and who got so much out of the seminar that they come back to help make the workshop happen and to contribute to others. The team is comprised of volunteers that love this work and who want to give back some of what they received through their own participation. Many people come back and assist with us over and over again; by being on the assist team you have the opportunity to keep growing and integrating with what you learned from TBW, and you get the opportunity to play and work with a group of people that are on similar paths.
They are not trained facilitators or therapists; their main jobs include preparing everything that is needed in advance of the workshop to actually make the seminar happen, providing a safe environment during the training that is consistent, safe and comfortable, preparing the training room for the different processes, and assisting you in participating in the processes and going deeper if you want to.
Can I arrive late, or leave early on some days?
No. We start at 1:00pm on Thursday and end at 4:30pm on Sunday; we cover a lot of material in just a few short days and everyone is required to be there the whole time. There are meal & snack breaks, and everyone sleeps at the facility. Part of what makes the workshop safe and so powerful is that everyone participates in all of it. TBW has many different experiences that are all important to the outcome; missing out on parts of it would just be confusing.
I have difficulty sharing a room, are there other options?
There are a very few private rooms available for an extra charge. These rooms are often a few extra minutes walk to the seminar room. If you get the sense that having a private space is important to you, be sure to ask about these rooms early, since there are only a few.
Part of the experience of being at TBW can be being part of the group; if you are comfortable sharing a room, it is often the better way to go. If you do bring a significant partner, you will be given a shared room with them unless you request otherwise.
Is The Bonding Weekend religious?
The Bonding Weekend is not religious nor do we endorse any particular religious beliefs. People participate who are Atheist, Christian, Jewish, Buddist, none of the above, and more. The Bonding Weekend is, however, spiritual, in that we believe that connecting with your own spirit, your own life force, your own personal beliefs, values, and core sense of self is vital to being able to truly connect with others and in creating healthy relationships. You can do that no matter what your personal beliefs are.
Is The Bonding Weekend for heterosexual people only?
This is a great question and of course the answer is No. TBW is really about relationship in general; the concepts and tools we offer apply to any relationship in your life, including your relationship with yourself. We believe that the same dynamics that happen between partners in heterosexual relationships also happen between partners in gay & lesbian relationships.
Part of “human nature” is that we tend to polarize and get locked into certain identities regardless of our sexual orientation. Certainly there are specific dynamics to every two people, and in different sub-cultures, however there are so many issues that we all have in common, the more varied the group, the more we can learn from each other. We just ask that everyone who participates keeps an open mind.
If I have a significant partner or friend on the assist team, can they participate with me? Can we share a room?
The assist team has very specific roles and tasks during the seminar which require their full attention. They will not be available to you to socialize during most of the workshop, have meals with, or bunk with; they have their own sleeping quarters which are separate from the participants’. If, during certain processes, you would like support in some manner from a particular assistant, whether it be a significant partner, friend, or just someone you connect with, please do ask. If they are available, and it feels right to both of you, then gaining their support can be really helpful.
In addition, as we progress through the workshop, there are some processes that are great to do with someone significant from your life if you want to. We will announce this when appropriate, and if YOU choose to you can ask for a particular assistant, including your significant partner, and work with that person. This will be up to you to choose what you want. When it is announced the assistants, even a significant partner, will allow YOU to choose them if you want to.