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Role of the Wellness Facilitator

Here the attitude of the wellness facilitator is crucial. A healing communication is one recognizing the inherent worth of each person, and supporting them in accepting and loving themselves. Until we accept ourselves where we are now, we cannot move forward. Acceptance does not mean passivity or dishonesty. It is simply a non-judgmental statement of what is at this point in time.

The role of the wellness facilitator is then to provide a "safe space," an environment in which people feel free to be themselves - to accept the entirety of who they are - and supported in taking responsibility for their own wellbeing.

We can help by encouraging others to recognize and contact their own inner potential for achieving and maintaining wellbeing. Basic to this is the understanding that health is a reflection of the physical, mental/emotional and spiritual dimensions of being, and that all are inseparable.

Some of those coming for help may have few apparent strengths, but there is always something on which we can focus and help grow. We can help by conveying the message that each of us is responsible for how we respond to problems and that we can perceive them as opportunities for growth.

We can help convey this by actively involving clients in their own care - from gathering information to decision-making and the consequent actions taken. We can support a person in making choices based on what she feels is the most appropriate to her growth right now, rather than on some idealized version an expert (we) thinks is best.

We can frequently uncover opportunities for helping by being open and accepting what is being said - and not said. In simply being with someone, what is needed often becomes apparent - for every one knows inside of themselves what she needs - our job is to encourage and support her in accessing, and trusting, and acting on that knowing.

In working with a person, we can introduce the idea that she may have something to do with her pain, and that she can participate in her own healing. We can suggest that she ask questions like "What is this pain telling me?" and "Why is this happening now?"

People whose health is so low that they feel devoid of any energy for movement can begin to recognize they have more response-ability than they thought as they begin to feel better from the benefits of massage, shiatsu, or simple relaxation exercises.

It is important that people not try to change too much at once. If you are working with someone on a regular basis, suggest a written contract - a realistic one - between the two of you as to what they want to do over a period of time.

We can use a variety of means for conveying our message, from questionnaires and books to audiovisual materials. Biofeedback is an invaluable aid in graphically illustrating how the stress levels of a client manifest through her body. She can then learn to consciously relax at will. Even simple breathing/relaxation exercises can illustrate this point.

Those involved in medical practice, can see that, along with the basics of anatomy and physiology, a knowledge of the body/mind/spirit connection and of alternative treatment modes is conveyed.

If working within institutional environments, we do our best to humanize them - with music, color, touch, and plants - recognizing it is not just an unwell body coming for help, but a whole person.

While we can put out the "truth" as we understand it, to anyone willing to hear, it is pointless to be attached to convincing anyone else. A refusal to take our advice does not necessarily mean it was not helpful or that the person is stubborn. Her decision may look crazy to us, but she is doing what she needs to do to learn whatever she needs learn. We need to respect the right of others to make their own decisions in their own time. This is the test of who we really care about. Are we here to be right or to honor the right of every person who comes our way to be responsible for her own life?

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