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about Karen

Workshops, Courses & Presentations


Topic: The Uses of Sadness: why feeling sad is no reason not to be happy

Facilitator/presenter: Karen Masman

What are the gifts of sadness?
Can we learn to navigate sad times more skillfully?
What part does sadness play in learning how to be happy?

Using journalling and other creative techniques, these workshops, courses and presentations aim to enhance our capacity to transmute sadness by exploring the seven-phase cycle of 'soulful melancholy' presented in Karen's book The Uses of Sadness (published by Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2009).

1.5hr-3.00hr mini-workshops
Interactive introduction to the seven-phase cycle of soulful melancholy featuring stories, quotes, journalling techniques and other creative group activities (includes slide presentation, if desired).

One-day workshop (10.00am-4.00pm)
In-depth exploration of each of the seven phases in the cycle of soulful melancholy.

1.5day workshop (10.00-4.00 and 10.00-12.30)
In-depth exploration of each of the seven phases in the cycle of soulful melancholy plus application with clients.

Seven-week course (weekly 2hr sessions for groups or individuals)
Groups: minimum 5 participants, maximum 12 participants
Individuals: by arrangement

In-depth and powerful exploration of the cycle of soulful melancholy as it unfolds for you personally over a period of time. The emphasis is on developing greater skills in navigating and digesting sadness in a dynamic and safe setting. Includes creative activities during and between sessions.

leavesConference presentations and other speaking engagements

Introduction to the seven-phase cycle of soulful melancholy featuring stories, quotes and activities to take away (includes slide presentation, if desired)

leavesMore about Karen's workshops, courses and presentations

The content of Karen's workshops, courses and conference presentations is built around the seven-phase cycle of soulful melancholy as presented in her book, The Uses of Sadness (published by Allen and Unwin 2009). Participants will touch on the differences between depression and soulful melancholy. They will experience reflection, story-telling and an exploration of the gifts of sadness in the respectful company of others. Depending on the time available, participants will explore the seven themes in the cycle through individual, small group and whole group activities. Stories, quotes, images, creative writing and journalling techniques will be included.

The longer workshops and the seven-week course allow time for a wider variety of activities including art and music, deeper exploration of what 'soulfulness' might mean, facilitated conversations, gentle movement and reclining guided meditation (if appropriate). Participants will consider the role of longing and 'not knowing' in their lives. They will also expore the practise of deep listening, the art of noticing turning points, the skill of holding contradictions, ways to be their own best friend, the clarification of personal goals and the role we each have as the meaning-makers in our lives.

While the atmosphere of the workshops and courses will be gentle, compassionate and enjoyable, the intention is for each of us to grow into a wider embrace of all the flavours of our life (including sadness), so the active engagement of each person is essential to the group. Those who work with clients will find the 1.5 day workshop relevant as we will explore how the cycle might be applied in a professional setting.

Above all else, I hope participants will take away a sense of 'becoming bigger' inside themselves and a greater capacity to experience the gifts of their own challenges.


'By exploring the eddies and currents of sadness and becoming more skilled at learning how to harvest these times we can help ourselves head off or move out of depression.'



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