What do ‘Burning Man’, ‘Psychs on Bikes’ and ‘Hold Me Tight ®’ share in common? and how I am compelled by them all…
Those of you who know me, are aware that every year, on the week leading up to Labor Day, I make a pilgrimage to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to partake in the Burning Man festival event.
Burning Man is a temporary city of 80K + participants, based on principles of inclusion, self reliance, sharing and gifting economy, radical and free self expression, community building, and so much more, culminating with a ‘burning of the man installation’, and the burning of the Temple at the closing of the week.
I find the Burning Man experience, with its gigantic artistic and creative art installations, enormous pilgrimages from all over the world, the principles of sharing, gifting, community, self-reliance, and the conflicting beauty and hardship of the tough desert conditions, to be ever so compelling.
Over the years of participating in Burning Man, at times as a spectator, or a guest, and at time to figure out things in my life, I found my own way to contribute to this amazing event. I now go every year as part of the medical team on the Mental Health Branch (CIT- Critical Incident Team) of the Emergency Service Department (ESD), they call us ‘psychs on bikes’. We provide mental health services to deal with anything from ‘home sickness to ‘drug over dose’, to sexual assault and domestic violence.
And every year, I also find my edge on the playa, where I come to a breaking point myself, where the heat, the noise, the sand storms, the dusty whiteouts, and the stress, make me vow this is my last year… and YET, every February when signup time comes, I am compelled to say ‘yes’ and cannot wait for that next time I get to be part of such an enormous in scale, magnitude, and community building event!
But it is not only about getting the most out of the experience, but also about the ritual of returning every-year, to the same place, finding the parts of me that have changed. And, there is another part to the expeirence that became clear for me on the BurninMan Playa at 2015.
In the year 2015, there was an immense art installation (sculpture) called LOVE, and it gave another meaning to my participation at Burning Man. It connected the dots between the work I do at home in my practice, as a couples and relationship psychotherapy, and the Hold Me Tight® couples workshops, and the work I do at Burning Man.
This art installation piece called LOVE is a sculpture by Ukraine artist Alexandr Milov. It demonstrates a conflict relationship between two adult figures, at times representing a couple, but as a relationship therapist, it can be any two people. It can be a couple, as well be the outer and inner expression of human nature. The figures of the protagonists are made in the form of big metal cages, where their inner selves are captivated. Their inner selves are executed in the form of transparent children, who are holding out their hands through the grating to each other.
Those two wire frames of two adults sitting back to back, with their heads in their hands in disagreement with one another, while their ‘inner-selves lit up inside of them reaching out to connect with the other person, is a representation of our relationships.
In this powerful image we can see in huge dimension the inner conflicts of relationship. While the two adult figures (in the form of big metal cages!), turning away in sorrow from each other, the inner selves are longing for the connection. In many cases, art can show us concepts that are hard to put into words, and this piece is a prime example of how very deep ideas can be conveyed without speaking. What an amazing symbol and depiction of the work I do with my couples in the office and in my workshops.
When we are in conflict with our loved one, we turn away from each other in panic, hurt, rage, anger, and pain. We do not know how to reach out and be vulnerable with each other, BUT the ‘inner self’, that part of us that is longing for the connection, does….
We fear that if we show our deep real primary emotions and talk about our hurts and needs, we will be looked at as weak, we will be dismissed or ridiculed, or worst of all, we will be abandoned and rejected by the person we turned to. That’s why it may feel ‘safer’ to close ourselves in ‘metal cages’ and turn away…
Our longing for connection is in our mammalian brain DNA. It is in our survival code that we need each other.
What compelled me in- and about Burning-Man, is community, connection, and the longing to belong. In my psychotherapy practice as a couples and relationship therapist, I meet the need and longing to connect and belong every day.
What is common between my work in my office and my work at BurningMan, on the CIT team (psyches on bikes), is the ability to connect, help, witness and support my community in the effort it takes at time to turn toward each other rather then away.
Like in the image at Burning Man, in 2015, the couple in the LOVE installation, represent how when we get scared, when we do not feel secure, when our trauma and survival get triggered, we tend to get into our fight-flight response.
We may run away, withdraw, withhold, numb, or we may become angry or frustrated. In any case, we are not able to turn toward our partner and reach for connection.
In my practice, at Burning Man, and in our Hold Me Tight® couples workshop, we help couples to explore, understand, and form secure connections.
Our next Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop, will be on January 11-12, 2020, in beautiful Nevada City California. Led by Dalia Anderman, LMFT & Owen Marcus, MA.
Though I lead this workshop regularly, it’s always a renewed and compelling experience for me to facilitate, witness, and hold space for the vulnerable reaching that occurs between partners during the workshop.
At our Hold Me Tight couples workshop, in a safe, intimate, private setting, we hold space for couples to become vulnerable and open to explore, experience, touch and talk through issues that have been untouched. It is time set aside to have these conversations that have been waiting for a long time to happen.
We Invite and Welcome all Couples!!
Don’t miss this unique opportunity that helped many couples find the way back to a secure connected romantic intimate relationship.
Hold Me Tight® couples workshop is based on Sue Johnson’s Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT)
Dr. Johnson work is based on attachment and how it shapes our intimate connections. Hold Me Tight® is a registered trademark to Sue Johnson
At our Hold Me Tight® couples relationship enhancement Workshop, you will learn and experience how to:
• Affirm strengths in your relationship by developing understanding, communication, and bonding.
• Address negative cycle patterns, and learn why they show up, and how to get out of them.
• Learn how to repair and forgive injuries, and become vulnerable with each other.
• Enhance your emotional, physical, and sexual closeness, and INTIMACY.
About workshop leaders, Dalia and Owen:
Dalia Anderman LMFT, is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Northern California with offices in Nevada City, and Sacramento.Dalia has over 20 years of experience working with individuals, couples, and families on a wide range of issues.
Over the past 10 years, Dalia’s primary clinical modality has been Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). She has had advance training in EFT including attending many of Sue Johnson’s trainings. Sue Johnson is the creator of EFT.
Dalia’s passion lies in the map and tools that this attachment-based system has given us to help couples discover that the secret to their relationship is not in the solving of the ‘argument of the day’ but in understanding the longing and desperation when our connection to our loved ones is severed.
Dalia has helped numerous couples find their way back to connection, intimacy, vulnerability, and sexual desire. Dalia has been leading, teaching, and facilitating the Hold Me Tight® couples workshop program nationally and internationally for over 5 years including in Israel, South Africa, and around the United States.
Keeping the Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop group small, Dalia developed an intimate and experiential format to the workshop, allowing couples to dive deeper into their relationship.
Though working with couples is her main passion and focus, Dalia is also fully trained and specializes in EMDR, CBT, Family Systems, trauma, addiction, parenting, sexual and intimacy issues, and life’s transitions. She is also on the Mental Health medical team at Burning Man.
Owen Marcus MA, developed a new model for men’s groups and coaching from working with men over 25 years. He saw that our struggle is not that we are screwed up, it’s that we were never trained how to succeed emotionally as a man. Our relationships and careers suffer because our emotions are anything but our superpower. Owen’s approach is to facilitate deep change quickly and have it continue to develop.
His book Grow Up: A Man’s Guide to Masculine Emotional Intelligence lays out how a man can develop any of the nine stages he may never have an opportunity to cultivate. His leadership trainings for men and businesses transform emotional limitation into relationship mastery.
His work with couples comes from teaching himself that to have a nourishing relationship we need to connect and to connect we need to open up. For many of us, we were never given good models let alone tools on how to do these simple tasks.
As a co-founder of Evryman, he develops and leads trainings throughout the world that give me a safe place to develop the skills that were not taught to us. He believes men can flourish in all their relationships—there are thousands of men who would agree.
We keep the groups small and intimate, sign up ASAP, all of our previous workshops have been Sold-Out!
Please FORWARD the information to anyone you think will benefit from this work, and please call or email me with any questions or for more information.
Here is a blog with lots more information about the workshop.
With Love, Dalia