Going through the program together with one’s classmates provides students the opportunity to develop their interpersonal skills, helps them identify their own issues and gives them the opportunity to offer and receive support and encouragement. Being a member of the community requires one to relate on an ongoing basis with the same support group of people for nearly three years.
This can be delightful: Students find that they can relax and be accepted for who they truly are. It can also be very irritating: Those same people are there again and again and they know all about us.
The program places great emphasis on each student coming to find his or her own unique resources and style. Paradoxically, this is achieved by having everyone follow the same course of study.
Within the context of community and meditation practice, students discover who they most fundamentally are and are encouraged to develop “maitri” or unconditional friendliness toward themselves. Over the years our graduates have been recognized for their self-confidence and their ability to be with clients without demanding that the clients change to meet the therapists’ private needs and agendas.
The community is also bolstered by the program’s group process.