Reporting from the Dror community

Reporting from the Dror community

by Janice Wasser

I write this article hoping that people will want to hear about the wonderful things happening in the Dror community after contact with CCI. Most of the items written in the past mentioning Dror haven't given much information about who we are or what we do – so I hope to offer some perspective.

Since Avi Butavia and I first attended a CCI event in Scotland (McCoco 2005) we have introduced many new concepts to Dror, one co-counseling community in Israel. There is re-evaluation counseling in Israel, but there is very little interaction between the two communities. Some Israeli RC people have attended Dror activities – they are always welcome, but there are strict rules for RCers which do not allow them to invite Dror members to their events or to attend Dror activities.

Avi and I have run several workshops in Israel using the structure and techniques we observed in Scotland, Hungary and the U.S. Workshops in Israel were largely facilitated by at least one, sometimes two members around one theme and only involved co-counseling theory and methods. With the CCI structure, there's an opportunity for many facilitators to offer all kinds of topics in group work, and people could bring in other methods to share with their co-counseling peers. The reception has been fantastic.

Also we have worked to reinstate the concept that the worker is responsible for his/her session. The co-worker is not preoccupied with being a good counselor. Some counselors were focused more on offering contradictions and interventions. So, the message in setting a contract before starting the session reestablished the co-worker's most important role: to give caring, aware attention, as we say to offer love, acknowledgement/respect and safety.

We did have one workshop last year where two facilitators offered a full day workshop on "Hope". The original Dror format is still honored. I just want to say that at the Hope workshop (it was just at the time we celebrate the Jewish new year). It was in the closing circle that we were asked to name one thing we were hopeful for in the new year. I said I hoped to bring 8 people to the workshop in Scotland. JanPieter had told me the theme would be "celebrating diversity" and that the Dror community would be welcome to participate. I even remember back in Hungary when the topic came up. Agota boldly stated at the business meeting that there was tension behind the scenes, and we should put the issue on the table in order to move forward. At the end of the discussion, JP made his thoughts clear – we can choose to celebrate diversity, not stomp it out. So we've been in contact since and there you have it - CCI –Scotland 2008. I was busy getting people signed up – the list was even 16names long at one point. As the dates drew nearer, names began to fall off the list. In the end we were 7 and a half. Since Niv (was just over a year old) was an especially bright spot in the workshop, we'll give him full credit – making us 8.

We want to thank the Scottish community for their generous contribution and other contributors who helped make our attendance possible. Also, the Dror community assisted in the finances offering a grant for each of the people representing Dror in Scotland. There was a condition attached to the funding. Upon their return, they would offer a workshop together or separately on what they learned at CCI. It was important that people who attended CCI knew that they could bring something back to our community in Israel. So, on September 12th, all 8 of us (yes, Niv was there) put on a workshop offering a taste of what we experienced in Scotland.

There were two meetings beforehand where we discussed all the workshops each of us had participated in, and what made our experience with CCI so special. We decided on three different activities to offer that Friday, and the activities that didn't fit into the schedule would be offered at the national workshop a couple months later.

So we opened the workshop as we did on our special day when members of Dror were asked to organize the opening circle. We had a round of "new and good" and we sang the same Hebrew song: "Henay ma tov umanayim" – "Here is what’s good and pleasant". Aviva shared a technique from a workshop she participated in by Sytse on "Help me, I'm different", Wallid offered an exercise on listening used at the diversity workshop run by JP, Marlies & Sytse and myself, Philo and I ran a group using the fishbowl technique based on the workshop Rudolf and I facilitated entitled "Men, Women, Listening". We ended the gathering with a demonstration of the "heap" where everyone caught on quickly, then the closing circle with one thing you enjoyed during the gathering, and one thing you wish for yourself in the new year. Many mentioned their excitement about the heap. I said I wish to bring 10 people to CCI 2009 in Germany.

At the national workshop in October more workshops were offered based on our experiences with CCI. Iris offered the workshop on drawing portraits – past, present and future, from her participation in Dymphna's workshop. I offered a workshop on sleeplessness from my experience with Marian. Leonid and Hava offered a workshop on learning using techniques from Sytse's workshop on the topic. We all had a very positive experience sharing the different techniques.

What's wonderful is that there is room for Dror to continue with what we are familiar with, yet there is room for us to grow and be challenged. The other workshops offered were very rich – Efrat offered group work on "things I didn't say, things I didn't do", Oded offered a workshop on "Acceptance" – accepting yourself as you are, Naomi offered a workshop on "what I miss in life because of embarrassment", Luisa offered a workshop on "Family" using co-counseling methods to work on family issues, and I offered for the fourth time – Woods & Water – a favorite now at Dror workshops – thanks Csaba!

We want to thank all the CCI members who have been so welcoming and who have shared their ideas and have taken interest in bringing our communities together – with a very special thank you to Marlies and Sytse, what a great couple! We look forward to further contact, and we hope to see you all in Israel – October 2009.