New Home Forums Community, Engagement & Gamification My Big Concern: Community vs. Therapy

5 replies, 3 voices Last updated by  Bradley Morris 6 years, 6 months ago
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    Laura Koller

    I’m moving forward with researching, envisioning, and creating the first module of my Operation Healthcaring course.  With every step forward, I believe more and more in the value of this course and this program.  But I have one REALLY big concern about creating the community for this program.

    People may be sharing some pretty heavy stuff.  It’s quite likely, in fact.  We are talking about healthcare professionals who see pain and suffering on a daily basis.  People who witness trauma and tragedy, people who witness and commit medical errors.  People who are turning to me because they want to connect more closely with their patients, because they seek more meaning in their work, because they feel burned out and want to feel recharged.

    So how am I going to address that within a community?  I am not a therapist.  I avoid watching the daily news because it can leave me feeling helpless, sad, and overwhelmed.  These are emotions that need expressing – I don’t want to censor people from sharing things that are unpleasant or uncomfortable.  It’s not okay to just brush these things under the rug.  In fact, many of us need to learn, as Rumi says, “Don’t turn your head.  Keep looking at the bandaged place.  That’s where the light enters you.”  Much of our dissatisfaction both with practicing and receiving healthcare has to do with the division between medicine and humanity.

    The first module will be about breathing and mindfulness, and at its core the first module will be about how we develop awareness, attention, compassion.  It will be about how we approach all things – including those that feel unpleasant and uncomfortable – without resisting or turning away from them.

    I’m concerned about my ability to handle these emotions, about the ability of others to handle and respond to these emotions.  I am not a therapist and this is not a therapy group, and I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to monitor all the comments thoroughly.  And, through my reading, I’m learning that physician burnout (and, by association, burnout of other healthcare professionals) is a pervasive problem, and that physician suicide is also an unfortunate reality.  So how am I going to handle this?

    Some of my thoughts:

    – I have to be set a clear boundary that distinguishes between community and therapy, privacy concerns, and appropriate places to report concerns about crossing the line and request support.

    – I must include information on where to get help.  If the community grows large enough to support other staff, I’ve thought about including a social worker or therapist in some way.  To start, though, I need to acknowledge that there may be a need.

    I’ve been thinking I would just let people start when they sign up and move at their own pace (self-study course, kind of like GEA); however, this might make it more difficult to monitor community activity, help people connect, and provide appropriate support when necessary.  I could create a two-tier option – self-study vs. full package – but I’ve done the course self-study option without a community and, especially for this course, I think that will leave a great big hole where something is desperately needed.  I love that GEA includes the community for EVERYONE because the community and interaction is what has kept me attentive to the course.  Do I create a class that starts on a designated date, so we can travel through together, and new students have to wait for the next enrollment to sign up?

    A structured schedule might be a smart move, at least starting out, because it can enable me to provide more direct support to each of my students.  Especially in the beginning, it will enable me to figure out what’s working, what’s not working, adjust things, figure out what’s missing and what’s needed, and provide individualized support to really give this program a strong start.  It could be a smart move, if I felt confident about my ability to make the time commitment for something like that right now.

    And all this being said – I’ve decided that the first module will be the free intro to the course, followed by a link to the sales page for the full course option.  Do I include a community segment for this first module?  Do I include it for the first 14 days?  Do I include the community option only for paying customers?

    So much to think about, but wanted to spill this out somewhere.  Thanks for reading.  Any thoughts and feedback appreciated.



    Hello Laura,

    I hope it’s okay to speak to this. If you don’t mind my insight into it, that is.

    It’s been my experience (I am not a therapist but work in ecopsychology where there’s lots of heavy/tender stuff that comes up regularly, within myself as well) that many people need a truly accepting space just to be heard. THere’s an immense relief that happens when there’s a space to go and just express without being given advice, a space where others say “Yes, i experience this too”, a space just to express and release that which can’t be said elsewhere (or so it seems can’t be said elsewhere). There’s a real value in that.

    I wonder and I haven’t spent many hours contemplating all of this through, but would you be able to offer connections for therapy for those that need more guidance – finding someone whom you could recommend and offering something like what GEA does in their ‘store’. Obviously it doesn’t have to be based on a rewards system, but rather I was speaking more to the extra things one may need on a that journey. Maybe that person(s) could be a guest speaker, perhaps what you offer could help them too.

    Apologies if you have already thought of this.

    I would think that community would be valuable for everyone, regardless of payment, especially since that’s what so many of us crave. Sometimes what’s needed is to be anonymous (outside of everyday) but still be with your people that get what’s going on.


    Laura Koller

    @littlemaetree – I value your input and I agree totally about the sentiment of an “accepting space” – and that’s actually a main theme for my course, encouraging that in my students.

    So maybe the idea is to set clear boundaries for this space, guidelines and expectations to encourage compassion and sharing and psychological safety, and also some type of outlet if things are too much. Sometimes, though, I don’t think the problem is the sharing. It’s the isolation that results from staying quiet and not sharing. There’s something so powerful about hearing “me too”.

    Many thanks.

    Many input on this concern @davidj ?


    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide

    @laurakoller, these are great questions you’re pondering here. Asking these types of questions will lead you to build exactly the kind of course and community that you are inspired to be a part of and that your students will be excited to stick around for. 

    I agree with @littlemaetree. An accepting space is what folks need. 

    BUT – what if you were to think bigger than just yourself. What if you were to partner with a therapy school or company or several therapists who are a part of your online community and THEY are active in conversations, answer questions and help out. In exchange, they may get referrals and clients. Perhaps eventually they become a partner. But perhaps you’re NOT the one who has to be answering every question.

    Also, there is something magical that happens when people open up and get vulnerable. There is a pile on where everybody comes in and offers their love, compassion, encouragement and support.

    You are the space provider for mega transformation to happen for these professionals. This is exciting!

    Just imagine the potential for healing that can take place with the safe space and process you’re building.


    Laura Koller

    @bradleytmorris – I appreciate your input.  I agree with both of you – creating an accepting space is the first priority.  Perhaps I just start (once I’m ready to launch the first module of the course) and wait to see what happens, which will be impossible to predict.  The best thing I can do is to create a safe space, pay attention, and respond appropriately.  Right, Bradley?  There’s no way to know ahead of time how all of this is going to play out over time.

    *Taking a deep breath*

    Thanks 🙂


    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide

    You got it @laurakoller. We can’t predict how people will interact with our creations. All we can do is build them, let them come and learn from them using it. Then adapt…

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