Beyond Words: The Art and Science of Sentient Communication® — Mindful, Heart-Centered Intelligence for Personal Well Being and Social Transformation
July 19 - July 22
- July 19: One Day Introductory Overview: $200 for up to 25 people
- July 19 through 22: Full Four Day Experiential workshop: $2000, for up to 12 people.
Tuition includes lunch and workshop materials each day.
Location: MontanaQuest EGS at River Pines Horse Sanctuary • 120 River Pines Road • Missoula, MT 59804
Facilitated By: Linda Kohanov and Shari Montana
This innovative experiential learning workshop brings together the latest research on mind-body science and the healing power of the human-animal bond with specific techniques for reducing stress, enhancing health, and cultivating meaningful, mutually supportive relationships with people and animals. Best selling author and equine-facilitated learning pioneer Linda Kohanov offers her latest distillation of 20 years of research developed through writing five books, surveying and collaborating with leading professionals in multiple fields, and leading hundreds of workshops worldwide.
The one-day introductory overview for 25 people offers relevant research and key skills for enhancing personal health, and personal and professional relationships.
The four-day full experiential workshop builds on the first day to offer additional skills and participation in a sequence of experiential learning activities designed to exercise what Linda calls “Sentient Communication.”
“Health is a multi-disciplinary phenomenon,” Linda emphasizes, “related not only to diet and physical fitness, but also to the quality of our relationships: at home, school, work, and in larger community settings. Stress, revealed to be a factor in 80 percent of serious medical conditions, is often caused by chronically unproductive personal and professional interactions. We go to school for years to learn how to read and write but we somehow expect to learn important emotional and social intelligence, stress management, leadership, and nonverbal communication skills accidentally.
“For many people, the latter is the biggest mystery: In the 1990s, psychologists revealed that only about 10 percent of human communication is verbal. To negotiate interpersonal challenges, we need to become more conscious of the nonverbal messages we send back and forth to each other. And perhaps more importantly, we need to learn more effective ways of handling all that nonverbal input by understanding how to more consciously process, respond to, and communicate what is essentially beyond words.”
“Luckily science has progressed to the point where it can start to show us what’s happening to people and animals physiologically at the level of nonverbal communication. Science is also giving us some real insight into how we can use this information consciously and purposefully to positively affect our physical, mental and emotional health, as well as our interactions with others.”
In this effort, Linda has had the privilege of learning from and collaborating with Ann Baldwin, Ph.D., a Professor of Physiology and Psychology at the University of Arizona. Linda will share some of the published and as yet unpublished studies that they and their colleagues have completed over the last five years.
What is Sentient Communication?
The word “sentient” is rich with nuance and meaning. Webster’s defines it as being “1: responsive to or conscious of sense impressions,” “2: aware,” and “3: finely sensitive in perception or feeling.”
The Latin root simply means to “feel.” But definitions in other modern dictionaries describe a state “characterized by sensation and consciousness,” one “marked by comprehension, cognizance, and perception” in beings “able to receive and respond to external stimuli.”
“In any living organism, sensory information is crucial to basic survival,” Linda says. “But we need to become more conscious and purposeful in how we manage all this information. After much reflection, research, and development, I came up with the term ‘Sentient Communication’ to describe principles and techniques for cultivating a finely tuned awareness of nonverbal cues—in oneself and others—as the first in a series of steps that enhance our ability to act on these cues by making thoughtful choices. Over the years, I’ve seen how horses, who are exquisitely tuned to nonverbal information, can help people learn to think and respond beyond the limitations of words.
“Sentient Communication shows us how to elevate instinctual impulses and physiological processes to a language combining purposeful changes in breathing and heart rate, with a finely tuned awareness of emotional cues, body posture shifts, energetic awareness, and intuitive insights that we learn to consciously respond to rather than unconsciously react to. Among many other benefits, this translates into the ability to calm yourself and others, diffuse aggression, gain cooperation, and motivate groups to take productive action. These skills are more important now than ever before.
“Modern life encourages us to dissociate from feeling and withdraw from in-person exchanges while focusing our attention on a fast-paced, increasingly mechanized existence that overemphasizes the intellect in some circles, and encourages aggressive outbursts of emotion in other subcultures. These habits literally affect the bottom line in professional settings. According to the World Health Organization, stress costs American businesses up to $300 billion yearly and 66% of employees report difficulty focusing at work due to stress.
“Counselors across the U.S. also report that the current political atmosphere is raising anxiety and stress in clients at alarming rates. This not only compromises physical health, it creates a sense of desperation that leads to unproductive, even dangerous behavior. To heal the growing rifts in our culture, we must learn how to calm and focus ourselves and others in tense situations, manage fear and aggression in groups, respectfully communicate with those who hold different viewpoints, and create innovative solutions to age-old problems.
“Sentient Communication helps us move beyond stressful states of disconnection, while dramatically enhancing personal fulfillment, creative problem solving, and success in relationships.”
Mapping the Mystery
Key aspects of the new Beyond Words workshop illustrate that some of the research leading to the development of this modality can, in fact, be translated into words and graphs.
While Linda will share this research, she and her colleagues emphasize that people can’t truly master these skills by reading a book or logging into an online course, and that’s where the horses come in.
“The nonverbal, interpersonal elements must be practiced experientially, and horses are proving to be exceptional teachers of these skills,” Linda reports. “During the workshop we will see how these techniques are relevant to working with animals—with pets, in professional horse training contexts, and in the field of animal rescue. We’ll also learn how to translate these skills into human contexts. Whether you’re helping a crying child relax on a plane, managing stressful situations at home or work, teaching your employees new techniques for reaching optimal levels of performance, or taking these principles into community activism settings, Sentient Communication cultivates mindful, heart-centered intelligence for personal well being and social transformation.”
For More Information on the Workshop Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org • 520-455-5908
Cancellation Policy: Cancellation up to 30 days prior to the event start date results in a credit of one-half the workshop tuition. There is no tuition credit for a cancellation 30 days or less before the event start date.