Self-Help Academy for the Soul
“We tell stories to understand the creature we are.”
The main focus of our workshops are in the arts. This includes activities such as writing, painting, modeling, dance, music, filming, acting, and cooking.
We are keen to employ professional artists who have experienced mental crises themselves as workshop facilitators to show participants how traumatic experiences can be expressed in creative forms.
What do we plan to include in our program?
Our program is strongly dependent on the interests of our participants. Therefore, workshops and group sessions will only take place if there is a sufficient number of participants who would like to take advantage of them.
The following workshops we’d like to make available to our participants:
Healthy nutrition: Since nutrition has been shown to improve one’s sense of well-being and mood, we aim to offer cooking classes in which participants experiment with recipes that positively impact mental health. In the long-run, we hope to have a space for our participants to cook and eat together every evening.
Writing Department: We want to offer workshops where different types of writing can be explored together to advance well-being, including:
- Journal writing;
- Reflective writing;
- Discussions and writing poetry;
- Discussions and writing hip-hop lyrics;
- Discussions and writing song lyrics; and
- Memoir writing.
Stand-up Comedy: We want to offer workshops where people can come together to create jokes for stand-up comedy. Laughter has been shown to have a multitude of health benefits – it can strengthen the immune system, relieve pain, and also lift one’s mood. There is also a transformative power in finding humor in one’s suffering: writing jokes can be very liberating, and can have a healing effect that comes from telling a group of people exactly who you are and they laugh and applaud.
Storytelling: We also want to offer workshops in storytelling. Research from the field of narrative psychology shows a clear connection between storytelling and well-being. Exploring personal stories, reflecting on them, changing existing narratives, and sharing them may make us feel vulnerable, but it also helps us to heal and grow.
Book club: Selected books (or individual chapters) can be discussed in a group setting.
Music department: Under the guidance of an experienced musician, music can be created together. If desired, we would also like to offer time and space for participants to make music together without external guidance. We would also love to offer workshops across song composition and music production.
Film department: We are interested in offering workshops in camera technique and film editing, so that our participants can turn their thoughts and stories into moving images.
Film club: Selected films can be watched together and critically discussed afterwards.
Photography: Photography workshops will aid our participants to express their thoughts and feelings through photos.
Theater department: We are also planning to create a theater group. As Aristotle suggests, bodies recreating a scene in the same space can create a heightened sense of recognition. Taking on a physical position with one’s own body within the context of a given scenario can lead to embodied knowledge of what it may feel like to be in that situation. Having the opportunity to take on different positions can also inspire new perspectives.
Dance Department: We want to offer times for people to dance together. Different dances can also be learned together in various workshops.
Singing Department: We aim to offer choir sessions as well as workshops where the healing power of the individual voice can be learned.
Art Department: We want to offer sessions for people to paint together and make sculptures from scratch.
Language classes: We also aim to offer language courses. Participants who already speak another language will be able to conduct language courses in their native language.
In general, we would like to offer workshops in both German and English. We have set up information about our program and the Academy for our German-speaking participants on the warmherzige Beschützer platform: https://warmherzigebeschuetzer.org/.
All workshops may also be offered in additional languages if enough participants sign up.
Do you have any other suggestions on what you’d like us to include in the program?
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.