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Awakening Your Inner Strength: Edgebrook’s “Moving Through Grief, Trauma and Loss” Workshops

March 1, 2020

Awakening Your Inner Strength_Edgebrooks Moving Through Grief Trauma and Loss WorkshopsIt’s inevitable that there will come a time in our lives when we will stand face to face with grief, whether it be from the loss of a loved one or from the residual effects of past traumas making their way back to the surface. Whatever the cause, the most challenging task is learning how to work through it while trying to maintain some form of normalcy in day-to-day life. For anyone asking themselves, “Can I move through this?”, Paul Matteson’s answer is a resounding, Yes!

After training to become a workshop facilitator at the renowned Elisabeth Kubler­Ross Center in Virginia, Paul was compelled to bring a model of Kubler-Ross,’ “Life, Death and Transition“ workshops to Maine by co-creating Edgebrook, a non-profit organization that offers “Moving Through Grief, Trauma and Loss” Workshops. In 2020, workshops will be held April 2-5 in Alfred, Maine and this fall in Durham, North Carolina (dates to be announced).

“Issues from my past, which involved major loss and childhood trauma, led me to the Kubler-Ross workshops and a way of working that was profoundly healing for me,” Paul explains. A practicing psychotherapist, Paul has helped those suffering from trauma and grief for more than 25 years. In 1992, when encouraged to attend the Kubler-Ross workshop, Paul had an eye-opening experience that later inspired the foundations of Edgebrook. “I witnessed how people really feel, people who had lost family, friends, relationships, and people who had suffered from all forms of abuse. The workshop that Elisabeth designed really worked to resolve so many personal issues. It was an organic, natural process, and it made sense.”

Built on that foundation, and with the help of its five facilitators, Edgebrook provides participants with an opportunity to do the work of expressing deep feelings. Although grief is a natural part of our existence, society pressures us to tamp down our emotions, pushing us forward without looking back. Unexpressed emotions often lead to adverse effects such as anxiety, depression, addiction and shame.

Underpinned by the practice of unconditional love and acceptance, the workshops encourage creative, physical and emotional participation more so than typical conventional talk therapy. In a non-judgmental setting, the staff respectfully provides the time, space, and encouragement to work through painful life issues. “The externalization workshop is soulful work and relies heavily on in-the-moment presence and intuition,” Paul explains. “It draws strength from community and relationships, it recognizes that grief is emotional and needs expression and time. For people who are stuck, the workshop helps them to get unstuck.”

Paul further explains, “The participants often find that this work helps them move forward in their lives and assists them with any ongoing therapy. For many, it is the first big step in recovering from old, deep-seated wounds, as well as from current traumas and loss.” The next workshop will be held on April 2-5, 2020 at the Notre Dame Spiritual Center in Alfred, Maine.

Comments From Previous Workshop Participants:

“Attending this workshop was the best choice I have ever made for my well-being. This was a life changing and profoundly empowering experience. I am forever grateful to the facilitators and participants who made this everything it was for me.”
   ~ N.S (Project Analyst)

“The staff provided the safety I needed to explore my feelings. It has been life changing.”
   ~ M.K. (R.N, Certified Emergency Nurse)

“I believe it has changed my life! I came home feeling like I’ve been set free. I have been carrying that shame with me for so long.”
   ~ J.C.P. (Mom)

“You gently helped me step into my new life and my head is spinning with this new found hope. I am honored to be a part of this work.“
   ~ J.D. (Teacher)

“For the first time in my life I felt connected and safe.“
   ~ L.R. (Sexual Assault Support Services)

“I came here to grieve the loss of a brother. Little did I know I would confront the dysfunction of my family of origin and all the abuse I had experienced as a child.“
   ~ J.W. (Registered Nurse)

Adapted from an article by Debjani Das.
Paul Matteson, MS.Ed., is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with a private practice in Portland, Maine. In addition to his practice and leading the Edgebrook workshops, he facilitates support groups for men who have been sexually abused. These groups are free and sponsored by the Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine. Paul can be contacted at 207 753-0135 or email:
paul@edgebrook.org. More information can be found at: www.edgebrook.org.

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