To accompany someone is to go somewhere with him or her, to break bread together, to be present on a journey with a beginning and an end. There’s an element of mystery, of openness, of trust, in accompaniment. The companion, the accompagnateur, says: “I’ll go with you and support you on your journey wherever it leads. I’ll share your fate for a while—and by “a while,” I don’t mean a little while. Accompaniment is about sticking with a task until it’s deemed completed –not by the accompagneteur, but by the person being accompanied.
– Paul Farmer
Our accompaniment of each other and of the natural world weaves the fabric of a caring society, the cloth essential to creating commons. Accompaniment requires radical availability, steadfast witnessing, self-reflexivity, attunement to others’ needs and desires, and committed response-ability. Accompaniment can be engaged in with a person, a human community, other-than-human animal(s), a mountain, or river. It is at the heart of building inclusive spaces graced by efforts to build trust, mutual respect, and solidarity. These preempt violence and neglect by cultivating dignified and equitable conditions where life can thrive vibrantly, sustainably. Accompaniers help to transform sociocultural and historical contexts which have generated pervasive social and ecological misery, opening spaces that struggle to be free of coloniality, rapacious capitalism, and racism.
We will turn to how the current pandemic is laying bare the critical need for practices of psychosocial accompaniment. How are we and others meeting this need in our lives and what are we learning? Then we will address forced migration to explore ecopsychosocial accompaniment as an essential practice in psychology and human life. How can we counter the tendency to lock our national doors?
Both humans and wildlife experience psychological and social breakdown when subjected to forced displacement due to environmental destruction, homeland loss, and violence. Through trans-species accompaniment in sanctuaries, Gay Bradshaw will describe how cultures of violence can be slowly replaced by communities of mutual care.
Garret Barnwell will focus on earth accompaniment in Limpopo, South Africa where healing from Apartheid-era trauma and ecological wounds is emerging in co-created spaces of mutual care for people and places. Social healing and cultural regeneration are interconnected with processes to protect the sanctity of natural sacred sites.
As global forced displacement increases, exclusionary national walls and policies have multiplied. As the U.S. government has built a gulag of detention prisons, many citizens have been committed to creating multiple practices of accompaniment with migrants. Mary Watkins explores mutual accompaniment in this context as resistance and solidarity.
This webinar will provide an opportunity for participants to focus on the role of accompaniment in your life, as well as your hopes for deepening your connections to others, other-than-human animals, and the earth.
This program will take place over four Zoom sessions each 1.5-2 hours. Each session will be recorded for those who cannot attend to watch at their convenience. Sessions will be from 10am-12pm (Pacific Time) on four Fridays: May 29, June 5, 12, and 19. Zoom link will be sent to participants upon registration.
Garret Barnwell is a South African clinical psychologist in private practice in Johannesburg, South Africa. His clinical research interests include psychological distress associated with environmental degradation (climate change, deforestation, pollution and mining), structural violence and associated psychological distress (forced migration), ecotherapy interventions, radical ecopsychology and identity process theory. https://garretbarnwell.com
Cancellations 14 days or more prior to the program start date receive a 100% refund of program registrations. After 14 days, up to 7 days prior to the program start date, a 50% refund is available. For cancellations made less than 7 days of program start date, no refund is available.
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