Workshop – Introduction to the Social Psychology of Risk
A new group started their journey in the Social Psychology of Risk studies in Sydney on 10-12 May at the Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross. Participants came from all over Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand and from a range of industries. The picture of the group was taken on the sunny balcony where we enjoyed hospitality prepared by the Mental Health Group at the Wayside.
The Program is now in its 3rd year with most wishing to continue other units towards a Diploma. The Program is now self accredited and not undertaken through a university. This doesn’t seem to bother anyone, it’s the learning that matters. Soon a number of units will be offered online and two face-to-face units (SEEK, Communicating in Risk to the Unconscious) in Melbourne later this year.
Much of the feedback was about people wanting to learn more and eagerness to progress to the next module and so I share the following letter from one of the participants (with permission).
The fascinating thing is I think I am learning more after the event than whilst in the midst of it for three days.
I am very grateful to you for doing what you do because it is unlike anything else. It is not just a knowledge dump it is transformational, and I am finding the whole experience quite profound.
So, at the end of the course when it was time for feedback, I felt very appreciative of the whole experience but didn’t really have the words at the time.
When out and about and discussing the semiotics, what struck me was not so much the richness and diversity of the environment we were a part of, but that again, I did not have the words.
What I find interesting is that the reality that we discovered, for me was not really a lightbulb moment – “ah ha, got it!”, it was more a subconscious resonation, and the ability to recognise it slowly over time, more like peeling back the layers of an onion. Much of the brilliance of the experience, you do not begin to comprehend until after.
Many of the concepts such as suspending disbelief, binary thinking, wickedity, trajectory etc etc, I could begin to grasp at the time, however probably the most profound, which is only emerging after a couple of nights sleep, is the I-THOU relationship, and not as a concept, but as a reflection on the idea of risk, and ultimately, of love over hate, through the experience of The Wayside Chapel.
Whilst all of the words and talking at the workshop were essential guidance – it would not have made sense without it, it feels as though the greatest impact has come simply from the experience of “being” in that place. It is not somewhere I would ever have thought of going, but it taught me the most about risk and love over hate.
One of the experiences I had there, was on the last day, I did not quite get there on time. I got to the glass sliding door, everyone had disappeared inside, and the door was locked. I just stood there for a moment, lots of things going through my head. I began to feel uneasy, and looking up, in the glass sliding door I could see the reflection of someone coming towards me. I just stood still studying the reflection. He was a tribal man, obviously homeless and wild looking, with only one normal eye, the other just a mess like custard in its socket. I did not turn around to look, but keep studying the reflection as he approached. I knew nothing about him or why he was coming straight to me from behind, and was starting to picture being whacked in the back of the head or neck by some makeshift weapon. All he did when he arrived was knock earnestly on the door, turned to me and smiled a great big grin, and in an instant the two of us were almost in fits of laughter. He barely said a word, I didn’t even ask his name, but at that moment (not then but on reflection), not only had he ‘met’ me, and we had ‘met’ (for only an instant in time), all of the whole story, around the whole body of knowledge (which I think is more the body of ‘being’) somehow just resonated on a slightly deeper level.
So again I truly want to thank you for the workshop as a whole of course, but particularly for taking the opportunity to host it in that particular place and space – so much to reflect on.