Role of the Wellness Facilitator
Here the attitude of the wellness facilitator is crucial. A healing
communication is one recognizing the inherent worth of each person, and
supporting them in accepting and loving themselves. Until we accept
ourselves where we are now, we cannot move forward. Acceptance does not
mean passivity or dishonesty. It is simply a non-judgmental statement
of what is at this point in time.
The role of the wellness facilitator is then to provide a "safe
space," an environment in which people feel free to be
themselves - to accept the entirety of who they are - and supported in
taking responsibility for their own wellbeing.
We can help by encouraging others to recognize and contact their own
inner potential for achieving and maintaining wellbeing. Basic to this
is the understanding that health is a reflection of the physical,
mental/emotional and spiritual dimensions of being, and that all are
Some of those coming for help may have few apparent strengths, but
there is always something on which we can focus and help grow. We can
help by conveying the message that each of us is responsible for how we
respond to problems and that we can perceive them as opportunities for growth.
We can help convey this by actively involving clients in their own
care - from gathering information to decision-making and the consequent
actions taken. We can support a person in making choices based on what
she feels is the most appropriate to her growth right now, rather than
on some idealized version an expert (we) thinks is best.
We can frequently uncover opportunities for helping by being open
and accepting what is being said - and not said. In simply being with
someone, what is needed often becomes apparent - for every one knows
inside of themselves what she needs - our job is to encourage and support
her in accessing, and trusting, and acting on that knowing.
In working with a person, we can introduce the idea that she may
have something to do with her pain, and that she can participate in her
own healing. We can suggest that she ask questions like "What is this
pain telling me?" and "Why is this happening now?"
People whose health is so low that they feel devoid of any energy
for movement can begin to recognize they have more response-ability
than they thought as they begin to feel better from the benefits of
massage, shiatsu, or simple relaxation exercises.
It is important that people not try to change too much at once. If
you are working with someone on a regular basis, suggest a written
contract - a realistic one - between the two of you as to what they want to
do over a period of time.
We can use a variety of means for conveying our message, from
questionnaires and books to audiovisual materials. Biofeedback is an
invaluable aid in graphically illustrating how the stress levels of a
client manifest through her body. She can then learn to consciously
relax at will. Even simple breathing/relaxation exercises can
illustrate this point.
Those involved in medical practice, can see that, along with the
basics of anatomy and physiology, a knowledge of the body/mind/spirit
connection and of alternative treatment modes is conveyed.
If working within institutional environments, we do our best to
humanize them - with music, color, touch, and plants - recognizing it is
not just an unwell body coming for help, but a whole person.
we can put out the "truth" as we understand it, to anyone willing to
hear, it is pointless to be attached to convincing anyone else. A
refusal to take our advice does not necessarily mean it was not helpful
or that the person is stubborn. Her decision may look crazy to us, but
she is doing what she needs to do to learn whatever she needs learn. We
need to respect the right of others to make their own decisions in
their own time. This is the test of who we really care about. Are we
here to be right or to honor the right of every person who comes our
way to be responsible for her own life?