Sara Dochterman, LCSW
In addition to therapy and holistic life coaching, I also conduct labyrinth workshops. The labyrinth is an ancient spiritual tool that is thousands of years old, walked by millions of people of all cultures and traditions. The labyrinth is not a maze, as it has no wrong turns or dead ends. Rather than a puzzle to be solved, it is a walking prayer, a walking meditation, with only one path to the center. Participants are invited to experience the labyrinth as a form of walking meditation, used to calm and quiet the mind.
My first experience with the labyrinth was about 20 years ago, when I was on a retreat in Missouri. Many of the other folks were talking about the labyrinth on the property, which was painted on what was essentially a parking lot. Armed only with a tiny brochure and the words of my friends, I walked the labyrinth. While walking was pleasant enough, I came away feeling like everyone got it but me. Nothing really happened for me, other than a relaxing walk. I walked away and really did not think about labyrinths again for many years.
A few years ago, however, a friend was completing her requirements to become a Certified Labyrinth Facilitator and invited me to participate in a group walk she had planned. I had and continue to have great respect for this friend, so I went along. This time, I had a guide explaining the process to me. That day, I completed my labyrinth walk with an incredible sense of peace and the labyrinth became an integral part of my life. Since then, I have cried, laughed (giggled is more like it), relaxed, had aha moments or found clarity about something that was on my mind while walking, either alone or with a group.
Shortly after that, I was planning a New Year's Eve celebration for a residential substance abuse treatment facility and wanted to help the clients create new sober traditions for New Year's Eve. I asked my friend to facilitate a labyrinth walk and she was happy to participate. The clients loved the experience! Some said it was "life changing." Others were able to open to long-blocked emotions and find relief. So the labyrinth became a regular part of treatment which the clients looked forward to.
I trained to become a facilitator myself with Veriditas and began facilitating walks for a variety of groups, including taking over the walks at the treatment facility. Now, I am honored to facilitate walks for a number of treatment centers and other groups, as well as workshops and retreats focused on the labyrinth. The response is almost always the same: What a wonderful experience! And I want to do this again!