Safe Conversations Nurture Healing and Growth
In early February 2017, I learned of a new initiative by Harville Hendricks and Helen LaKelly Hunt, renowned relationship experts, coaches, and presenters. Just before Valentine’s Day, they offered a free live, online event to kick off their Safe Conversations© program. In this event, participants learned more about the research-based techniques that Hendricks and Hunt have been teaching for years through the IMAGO program by witnessing and practicing the use of these skills.
Hendricks and Hunt were not shy about using religious language or about sharing their own marital struggles. While much of what they teach is common to many relationship education programs, there are also some unique insights and practices. Most of all, the program is about recognizing that “the space between us” is sacred space and that we need to intentionally fill it with love.
Insights from brain science research reveal that people can change and show how to help that happen. I am even more convinced than ever that the church can help to transform the world by helping people learn to have “safe conversations” that heal our childhood wounds and free us to become more effective instruments of God’s love. Learning these skills in our most intimate and important relationships is only the beginning, because as we apply the skills in other settings, we continue to transform ourselves and others through our relationships.
The link to the free online recording of the event is still active, and I urge you to set aside time to participate in this unique experience:
Since the program is a little more than six hours long, including blocks of time for practicing the skills, you may want to watch it in segments. You will need the 61-page Safe Conversations workshop manual to fully understand and experience the program.
Visit www.relationshipsfirst.org to see how this initiative is unfolding, inviting churches, organizations, schools, workplaces, law enforcement, veterans, and others into partnership. Live training events are currently offered in Texas, but as more leaders are trained, opportunities will become more widespread. On Facebook, visit “Relationships First – Safe Conversations” and share the information with others. Please note that this does not replace other relationship programs, but builds on and augments them.
The mission statement of Relationships First – Safe Conversations is “We teach people how to have an effective - and safe! - conversation. Our goal is to inspire a relational world by providing couples, families, and organizations with communication techniques proven to strengthen relationships at home, work, school, and everywhere.”
As Hendricks and Hunt assert, “Every therapeutic intervention is an act of social transformation.” In other words, safe conversations that nurture healing and growth contribute to the mission of The United Methodist Church “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
Jane P. Ives, United Methodist Marriage and Family Ministries Consultant
10 Quaker Lane, Portland, ME 04103, 207-797-8930, [email protected]