The faces of self-management: An interview with Éric Carrière, counsellor and workshop facilitator

Photo credit : Lilou Wolfe 

Each year, Relief trains nearly 200 self-management support professionals to facilitate workshops for people living with anxiety, depression or bipolarity. This community of practice that has developed over the years is one of our organization’s greatest points of pride. It has a thousand and one faces. Here’s one of them.

A few months ago, Éric Carrière joined the team at L’Ensoleillée, a community mental health resource that has been in existence for 25 years and is located near downtown Lac-Mégantic in the Eastern Townships.  

a key supportive role

Éric was attracted to this organization’s vision focused on individuals and their pathways. He has been working with people for a number of years, including by leading meditation practices, and wanted to help others and share his knowledge as someone who has lived with anxiety himself.

Relief contacted him as he was taking on the new challenge of facilitating the Living with Anxiety workshop with his colleague Jacqueline Lamontagne. As part of this workshop, they support a dozen participants over a 10-week period.  

a well-structured program 

“We think it’s very well put together!” Éric says by phone, noting the diversity of the participants’ profiles. He gives the example of a participant living with bipolarity who is benefiting from attending the workshop since anxiety is a trigger for his episodes.

“At first, some were reluctant,” Éric admits. “Not everyone liked the idea of taking part in a group. Some didn’t believe in it. I would say that overall, most of the participants come back and persevere!”  

solidarity, an active ingredient

According to Éric, one of the key ingredients of this perseverance is the group dynamic. Solidarity is an important component of self-management support, and plays an important role in the effectiveness of this approach supported by numerous studies.

“Some participants felt that they didn’t belong in the workshop, that their problems weren’t big enough. But they recognize themselves in what the others are sharing, and they start connecting with them,” says Éric, who has witnessed the progress of all the workshop participants. 

workshop facilitation pointers

When asked what the biggest challenge is in facilitating this type of intervention, Éric thoughtfully answers, with a smile, “Keeping the focus! It’s important to maintain group cohesion in spite of everyone’s personal issues and particularities, and to refocus on the topic of the week. This isn’t the place to discuss everyone’s grocery list!”

Éric encourages future workshop facilitators to get fully invested in the process and to be thoroughly prepared to facilitate. Without a doubt, self-management training is a huge help in preparing these workshops.

Does this approach resonate with you? Take a look at our one-day training to enrich your practice with the keys to self-management and round out and diversify your current support and approach.

Become a self-management workshop facilitator

Relief would like to thank Éric Carrière for agreeing to share his experience as a self-management workshop facilitator.

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