Wise Caregiving uses a 3-step approach to teaching the art of contemplative care:
Introduce – Caregivers are introduced to basic contemplative care concepts in 1-4 hour classes.
Deepen – As caregivers utilize contemplative care practices, they deepen understanding through personal experience by attending retreats lasting 1-3 days.
Sustain – Communities of learners formed at classes and retreats meet locally and through social media to extend expertise and provide mutual support.
Open Hearted Care
- 1 hour
- This introduction to the arts of contemplative care helps providers learn to lead with an open heart then follow with appropriate professional skills. Using stories and exercises, caregivers learn the importance of listening, flexibility, vulnerability, and presence. They begin to see that self-awareness is a foundation of sustainable effective care.
Stop, Listen, Engage
- 2 hours
- Stopping, listening, and engaging are keys to effective care.
- Stop: Caregivers engage in exercises that relay the power of creating pauses in the midst of busyness so that they can listen deeply before responding appropriately. We explore how triggers within their particular circumstances can remind them to stop.
- Listen: Listening to ourselves creates the ability to listen to others, so caregivers are introduced to concrete self-awareness practices. We explore the healing power of listening and discuss the importance of our patients’ stories and languages of meaning.
- Engage: Caregivers learn to trust both their professional skills and the intuition, empathy, and compassion that arise from deep listening.
- 1.5 hours
- This powerful guided module invites caregivers to experience the losses of illness, decline, and death as though it were happening to them in the present moment. Caregivers then use this experience to respond more appropriately and authentically to their patients’ losses. Students report that this ‘Guided Death’ exercise often brings profound changes in the way they relate to themselves and, consequently, their patients.
- 2 hours
- We sometimes crave the simplicity of black and white answers, but contemplative care recognizes that wisdom includes the gray areas between. This module explores how to find balance within dynamically changing situations by focusing on five paradoxes:
- Self/Other: Learners are introduced to a boundary setting model that encourages simultaneous respect for self and other.
- Competence/Compassion: Caregivers learn to balance hard professional skills with soft open-hearted skills.
- Giving/Receiving: Providers give naturally, but can they also receive? Contemplative caregivers recognize that within the roles we play, we must do both.
- Soft/Firm: Knowing when to yield and when to firmly stand our ground requires self-awareness, confidence, and practice. We’ll explore a model for balancing a soft belly with a firm spine.
- Results/Futility: Our society (including the medical profession) is focused on measurable results. This module helps caregivers value both their measurable and unmeasurable contributions.
Contact Wise Caregiving to learn more about scheduling 1-3 day retreats to personalize and deepen contemplative care concepts covered in introductory classes.
As part of the Introduce and Deepen steps, local and social media communities are fostered to support and extend contemplative care practices. These communities nurture relationships forged at Wise Caregiving events and help sustain growth.