Shadow Work is an intensely Consent-Based form of facilitation, as opposed to an Initiation-Based form of facilitation. For most of our students, learning to facilitate in a truly Consent-Based way can be both a challenge and a huge learning about how to work with people everywhere.
Simply learning to see and understand the paradox between facilitating or coaching in an Initiation-Based way or a Consent-Based way gives you better and more powerful choices.
In many ways, Initiation-Based facilitation is easier than Consent-Based facilitation.
Here is why:
Initiation-Based facilitation occurs when you are playing the role of an Initiator in someone else’s life. They come to you because you “have something” that they want. So your job is to give what you “have” to them. You may “have” knowledge about how using your Warrior energy (like your anger) in a process can liberate you. You may “have” knowledge about how your Sovereign energy (your ability to accept and forgive and have compassion for yourself or others) can bring a better sense of acceptance, or forgiveness, or empowerment. You may “have” knowledge and experience about how your Magician energy (your ability to detach and view options and see dangers) can help you in your life, instead of being repressed because it’s so “negative”. You may “have” knowledge and experience about how your Lover energy (your sadness, your ability to grieve and connect deeply) can help bring more love and connection into your life.
As an Initiator, you are asked to give to a participant an experience of what you “have” and what you “know.”
But Consent-Based facilitation occurs when you are playing the role of a facilitator or coach who can orient the entire process not around what you “have” or “know” but rather around whatever your participant wants to experience. And this can be more difficult because what you know is already available to you. But what your participant wants to experience can involve many, many more dimensions than what you have personally learned and experienced yourself. So facilitating in the Consent-Based way means that you must know how to facilitate your participant going in whatever direction the participant chooses. And depending on what the participant chooses, you must know what options are available. You must know how to facilitate not just what you already know, but how to facilitate when the participant decides where the process will go on a step-by-step basis.
So you must know how to facilitate everywhere someone could choose to go!
It is like the difference between a cook who knows how to cook a few different dishes and a chef who can prepare anything that’s requested.
Although we ultimately believe that excellent facilitation is a balance between the two sides of the paradox between Initiation-Based Facilitation and Consent-Based Facilitation, here is some information which emphasizes the difference between the two:
The Difference Between the Consent-Based Facilitation and an Initiation-Based Facilitation
If you are attending one of the Shadow Work facilitator trainings, but most of your facilitation experience has been on Initiation-Based Weekends, like MKP, TCP or Woman Within, it can be difficult to “shift gears” into the Consent-Based facilitation we will be teaching you at the Shadow Work training.
On Initiation-Based weekends, the participant enters into an unspoken agreement to be initiated into things they don’t see coming. That means they hand over some of their choice-making power to the facilitators of the Initiation-Based weekend. If you want to be initiated, you cannot control what happens. You are asking the facilitators to give you something you don’t already know.
But in a Consent-Based container, the participant should be informed about what’s coming, and given choice about what happens in their process step-by-step. That means that some of the choice-making power which the facilitators hold in Initiation-Based Facilitation must be handed over to the participant in a Consent-Based Facilitation. This loss of power can be difficult for you to learn if you are used to having most all of the power. It can be frightening to let go of that power because it opens up so many new ways the process might go, and you need to be able to facilitate wherever the participant chooses to go.
Facilitating Consent-Based processes involves a different set of skills than Initiation-Based processing. The roles and tools of the facilitator, the pace and length of the processes, and the behavior of role-players are all affected by the shift from initiation to consent:
|Initiation-Based Facilitation||Consent-Based Facilitation|
|Based on what the facilitators want to give to the initiates||Based on what the participants say they want|
|Facilitators choose the process and the steps in the process||Participant chooses the processes and many of the steps in the process|
|The Facilitators continually choose what happens next||Participant is continually asked for consent about what happens next|
|What the participant is going to experience is kept more secret and unknown||What the participant is going to experience is more transparent|
|Facilitators are supposed to direct the process from their own experience||Facilitators are supposed to be constrained by what the participant chooses to explore|
|The participant’s resistance is often “pushed through”||The participant’s resistance is to be honored as a way to work with the Risk Manager|
|Time constraints intentionally create a sense of urgency to complete the initiation||Time is less constrained because the participant does not need to complete an initiation|
|The Facilitators use more Warrior energy of Sovereign energy||The Facilitators use whatever energy is needed depending on what the participant chooses|
|The participant is under more pressure to finish whatever gets started||The participant can end whatever gets started, or can change directions at any point|
As you can see, the Shadow Work approach really emphasizes the participant’s consent. But if you are used to facilitating in an Initiation-Based way, this may seem like a waste of time. It can take more time to facilitate in a Consent-Based way, and we think you will find this investment well made. For when participants hear you respecting and accurately reflecting their wants and choices, a special kind of trust is being built. This trust can be a powerful motivator and can take participants where they might not venture in an Initiation-Based container, where there is less time.
This does not mean that Initiation-Based facilitation is “bad”, but rather that it is a tool that is welcome only in certain containers, whereas Consent-Based facilitation works in a much broader array of settings. Consent-Based facilitation can be incorporated more easily into other forms of personal growth work or business settings because it is not primarily facilitated by someone who is in Initiatory energy.