Women’s Empowerment Group
CCRVI's founder and President, Will Flanders, has been actively involved, since July 1995, in the ManKind Project ("MKP"), an international organization providing powerful training programs for men. (See www.mkp.org for more information.) One of the projects he has been involved with since August 2006 is the Western Mass Integration Group Incubator (the "Incubator")- an expanded version of MKP's standard integration group training. After Will stepped down as the Incubator's founder and trainer in January 2014, women who knew men who had participated in the Incubator asked Will to start a similar training program for women.
Beginning in December 2014, Will began an experiment with 8 women to explore how women would respond to the Incubator material. We think we’ve discovered that the material is transferable and useful for women as a gender-neutral process of becoming clearer about how one’s emotional life can be used for personal and spiritual growth. The content of what women need to heal can often be different from that of men but the process seems to work regardless of gender. After a year and a half, as it became clear that the group would expand into an on-going program, three of the original 8 women committed to continue as the initial trainers: Anna Boysen, Lauren Layton, and Mira Nussbaum.
As of the Summer of 2016, the group's goal and intention has evolved to developing an on-going women’s educational program which is roughly similar to the Incubator’s program for men. The purpose of this group is to teach a perspective and a skill set which allows women to become more conscious of the beliefs underlying their lives generally, and their emotional states particularly. By becoming conscious of their beliefs and then changing those that don’t work for them, women can shift toward being the person they wish to become. The program is emotionally challenging, requiring a willingness to stretch, be vulnerable, and go deep on a regular basis.
Until the women trainers are fully prepared to facilitate the group, participants generally do this deep personal work in the presence of Will. We hope and assume that, over time, more women will become trainers and the program will be run entirely by women for women.
The new, more formal training program started in October 2016, under the fiscal sponsorship of CCRVI, with its first group of 5 participants. The group meets on Monday evenings in Greenfield, MA. The group is currently looking to add its next "class" of 6 participants in October, 2017. For more information, interested women should contact Will at CCRVI.
Mission and Values
The Group's Mission is:
To teach and practice a perspective and skill set which allows us to actualize the following:
- The ability to trust and be open with others
- Emotional literacy (the ability to know what I’m feeling, to discern what others are feeling, and to handle and process my feelings with power and grace)
- To live in integrity with my values and take responsibility for myself and the consequences of my behavior
- To effectively listen, communicate, negotiate, and resolve differences and disagreements with others
- The skills to support, deepen and sustain relationships through the ups and downs of life
- A sense that I am a connected, integral part of my family, my larger community, humanity, and the natural world
When I’ve learned these basic perspectives and skills, I stand in my internally-rooted, personal power. I am now much more capable of functioning effectively in the world, becoming the woman I want to be, and entering into authentic relationships with equally-powerful partners if I choose.
The Values underlying our work are
1. Love and Respect
We love and respect each woman and truly accept her where she is in each moment. We walk our talk that we do not have an agenda for a woman and that she is in charge of her own process of inner development.
2. Commitment to Deep Work
At the same time, we teach women to ask the hard questions of themselves, encourage them to get below the surface levels of their stories, and to honestly look at their patterns.
We teach women that the perspective and skills are a means to deeply transform themselves by learning to understand the lessons of their wounds and then how to move on from those wounds to become who they want to be now as adults.