Dear Global SE Community,
Last month I was honored to join about 45 others from 15 different countries at the European Association of Somatic Experiencing (EASE) General Assembly in Prague, Czech Republic. EASE includes 28 organizers of SE trainings in 20 different countries, 14 national associations, 14 trainers and 2 associated trainers, plus committees, task forces, and other community members. It was an incredibly beautiful setting for a very important annual meeting.
From June 22-25, the SE community in Europe gathered to present on important issues to each other and vote on key decisions that will shape the future of SE in their countries. I had the opportunity to present on the collaboration between SEI and EASE over the past year and share some of the incredible work of the SE Ukraine Task Force over the past several months. Our new board chair, Michele Solloway, and past board chair, Rebecca Stahl, were both also in attendance and answered questions about the SE research that is underway and leading us toward being an evidence-based modality. They also shared SEI’s perspective on where we’re heading as an organization and what the progression and expansion of SE globally could look like. There was also discussion regarding collaboration and learning between the SE community around the world.
One thing that makes the EASE General Assembly unique is that they use a democratic consensus process in their decision-making that is deeply grounded in relationship, collaboration, and connection. Any proposal that is presented must have unanimous support in order to move permanently forward. Otherwise, a majority can grant one year approval and the proposal returns at the following General Assembly. Even one objection is enough to stop a proposal until there is enough conversation and compromise to reach a unanimous consensus. This process ensures minority voices are heard and not repressed by the majority. Because they are so focused on consensus and relationship, they offer many opportunities throughout the event to connect with other members of the community. This year those ranged from meals to an amazing river cruise at sunset featuring traditional Czech food and a dance party!
In the same way that it’s personally very important to me to get to know people on a deep level—to form true and authentic relationships, to trust and be trusted—so too is that social connection an important element of SE. We know that our capacities for healing and recovery are greater when we have strong social bonds that tether us to each other. One of greatest accomplishments of this year’s General Assembly for me was the strengthening of connections and relationships. I was able to meet some of the people I work with regularly over Zoom and email in person for the first time. I built new relationships and deepened enduring ones. I got a renewed sense of where SEI and EASE are as partners. We were also invited to observe the deep democracy process as EASE members presented and moved through details of some of their policies, programs, and procedures. This was indeed an honor and speaks to the increasing trust and strength of our bonds with EASE. It was also the most hopeful General Assembly I’ve been present at, as far as feeling like everyone felt positive about where our organizational partnership is heading.
The relationship between SEI and EASE has not always been strong or trusting, but both organizations have worked hard over the years to change that. As we move into another year of partnership and trust building, it’s feeling like what we’re cultivating is sustainable and ripe with opportunity. Now we’re entering a new chapter in our relationship that is of a more united nature, and I’m looking forward to expanding into this spirit of more collaboration and connection that EASE models so well.
I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with and learn from all my European colleagues and look forward to my next visit!
Ana Paula Bastian, JD
Director of Legal Affairs & International Relationships