By Karine Munk Finser
On many levels, we inhabit a world in need of healing. At CfA’s Kairos Institute, which prepares teachers to bring the healing arts to their schools, this need is treated at the level of the individual: child, adolescent, or grown up.
Everyone needs to be brought back to wholeness. Participating in this process through human encounter entails sacred work that involves us all. To bring healing is to restore health-giving movement in the individual. Though this movement may require many steps and pass through many doors, we need to keep walking towards the next threshold that opens to the joy that is the signature of healing.
Launched last summer with Bernd Ruf’s first Module on Emergency Pedagogy, the Kairos Institute resumes its training program this spring with a six-day residency at the Gathering Waters Charter School in Keene, New Hampshire (Friday 21 – Wednesday 26 April 2023).
A carefully selected faculty has been chosen for this week of in-person classes:
- Sylvia Borau, from Bernd Ruf’s Parzival Center in Karlsruhe, Germany, will be guiding us through an experience of the etheric laws in clay by working with loosening and hardening forces. Sylvia, a clay therapist with a diploma from the Goetheanum, works daily with children who have suffered displacement, environmental, and social trauma, as well as with children who have special needs. Case studies and clay therapy will be a big part of the week’s content.
- Maria Ver Eecke will offer eurythmy and Rudolf Steiner’s constitutional types, along with a special presentation on healing work with women who have suffered trauma.
- Martha Loving will teach veil painting.
- Karine Munk Finser will offer color explorations through pastel exercises.
- Debbie Spitulnik will teach speech and drama, with support from Christine Burke.
Evenings will be devoted to lectures by Douglas Gerwin and Geordie Thomson, M.D., with time also to listen to student presentations and case studies. Our focus for the week will be addictions and the fairy tale The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe; we will bring themes from this profound story into our color studies, speech exercises, and performances, as well as veil paintings.
Looking ahead to next summer, Bernd Ruf, co-founder of a worldwide crisis intervention center (Notfall Pädagogik) in Karlsruhe, Germany, returns to New Hampshire to resume his work on Emergency Pedagogy with a further module on traumatology. Our relationship with Bernd, along with the trauma preventative therapies offered last summer during the afternoons, have helped us find our own voice within the art therapies and speech study centers of the world.
Fall Term at the Kairos Institute
Many other leading colleagues have been supporting the work of the Kairos Institute, too. In our online semester last fall, we set the tone for healing work with Orland Bishop’s I am Here! Trauma in America, followed by Gleice da Silva’s carefully guided Healing Stories. Both teachers helped us establish how we become medicine for one another. We further benefited from Torin Finser’s course on karma studies, which helped build our understanding of both the hereditary forces that form us and our ongoing striving for freedom.
Building capacities in foundational arts was offered by the artist Charles Andrade, followed by an introduction to light, darkness, and color taught by Karine Munk Finser, with studios for our therapy students in healing aspects of color. Debbie Spitulnik, who leads the speech training at Kairos, was joined by Christine Burke and Geoff Norris for a rich foundation in speech work. Though separated into our disciplines of art therapies and speech, we enjoyed many classes together. Lakshmi Prasanna, M.D., brought the fall term to a close with several classes depicting the challenges and opportunities of children on the autism spectrum, and she helped us further understand aspects of our own and of one another’s incarnation.
The Mission of Kairos
It is the intention of the Kairos Institute to bring artistic therapy and speech training to those seeking professional training so that they can take up this work into their schools and communities. As a new member of iARTe, International Standards in Artistic Therapies and Speech, Kairos now offers courses that can lead to a diploma recognized by the Medical Section and the Performing Arts Section at the Goetheanum. The years needed to obtain such an internationally recognized diploma will depend on the background of the individual participant.
Previous studies, including training in Transdisciplinary Studies in Healing Education (TSHE) at Antioch University New England, now count as credits for this diploma. Students are encouraged to work with groups or individuals already in their first year, beginning very gently and adding experience every year and culminating with an internship under the supervision of a medical doctor. Speech students are encouraged to teach the healing art of speech in their classrooms or communities.
In any work with trauma, awareness of the vessel––the body––is important, since we know it can reveal stress and pain or a sense of loss, disconnection to the soul and spirit. Our consciousness depends directly on our body, which knows the suffering, knows the sorrow of our ancestors. The light in its eye can become veiled, distant. The life of feeling may become numb; we may feel dissociated from the people and the world around us.
Transformation and healing take place through integration wrought by the I forces. Through an artistic process we can address trauma from the past or anxiety from the future; in this way we integrate our thinking, feeling, and willing into the present. The nervous system, in experiencing hurt, longs for warmth that arises from feeling whole and lovable. The healing artistic process, which has the power to re-order the soul, encourages inner movement and a deepened sense of self.
The art therapist is schooled to stand consciously within the laws of the creative archetypes of light and darkness––thinking and will––that form the human being. In the soul, the middle realm embraces the inner world of color which stirs movement and feeling. The art therapist is trained to address trauma or soul suffering by integrating the healing I forces through painting, drawing, or clay.
Kairos has also been approved by the Goetheanum to offer training in Speech and Drama, carried by Debbie Spitulnik and her colleagues. Voice and the word connect directly to the I forces: suffer any form of distress or trauma, and speech is affected. We know that the art and drama of the Greeks were permeated by clear and streamlined virtues to awaken the highest and inmost capacities in the human being. Catharsis was bestowed both through art and drama: the I forces and the astral forces were welcomed and encouraged to shine into the etheric-physical, transforming selfishness and fear into selflessness and compassion. The healing art of speech has that same power to free astral contractions and address karmic knots.
Awakening the Hope of the Heart
The arts and the artistic are closely linked to the hope that lives in the heart as it awakens to a new day. Working therapeutically through the arts provides sacramental service, unifying oneself with the perceived needs of those in one’s care. In this context, it is important to thank both faculty and students, who together have contributed to the work of the Kairos Institute, as well as generous donors who have provided scholarships to participants who otherwise would not have been able to complete this program.
Flyer and spring schedule for this program are printed below. For more information, contact:
Karine Munk Finser, Director of the Kairos Institute ([email protected] ) and Director of TSHE at Antioch University New England ([email protected] )
Debbie Spitulnik, Leader of Kairos Speech training ([email protected] )