From Heartache to Hope

The Beginning Experience Program Aids Those Recovering          From Loss of a Relationship

The Beginning Experience, an international support program, provides help for people whose marriages have ended because of separation, divorce, or death.  The Western WA chapter of Beginning Experience presents one to two weekends a year in the Puget Sound area for now-single adults.  During the weekends, formerly married or widowed persons can come to grips with their grief and pain to bring about healing and make a new beginning.

The Beginning Experience - Western WA, has scheduled their next Beginning Experience weekend coming up October 11-13th, 2019.  The requirements to attend a BE weekend are minimal.  Persons must be over 21 and separated, divorced, or widowed.  (Please see the "calendar of events page" to download the informational brochure with application.)

Nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce.  The Beginning Experience is an enriching program for dealing with that sobering reality.  Whether through divorce or death, the loss of one’s spouse is a life-altering experience that often requires help in facilitating the healing process.  Participants do not need to have become single recently either.  Some who have had a loss of many years prior to attending a BE weekend have experienced great success in dealing with residual emotional concerns.  Participants are encouraged to “trust the process.”  It works!

Divorced, separated, and widowed people who have been previous participants are trained as Beginning Experience Team Members, ‘wounded healers,’ who assist newcomers during the BE weekend.  Each Team member has received facilitator training to become “good listeners, to ask questions that encourage participants to look inside themselves, and to stay on target.” 

The program is seen as “an aid” to counseling.  BE Team members are not counselors, but facilitate the process of understanding the stages of grief, and encourage participants to realize that they are not alone in it.  Unresolved grief is destructive, and (the program) gives people permission to move through it.

Currently there are over 50 BE Teams in English-speaking countries around the world.  The international office, http://www.beginningexperience.org, is located in Avon, CT, and the executive director is Yvonne Stoops, MA.  Sister Josephine Stewart of Fort Worth, Texas, a former counselor, founded The Beginning Experience in 1974.  She and a divorced friend, Jo Lamia, attended a Marriage Encounter weekend for the purpose of developing an Engaged Encounter weekend.  Even though Lamia was divorced, she found that she gained great benefit from the ME format of talks and reflections.  The Beginning Experience was born from the two women’s experience.  The program, founded through the Catholic Church, is interdenominational and is open and welcoming to all.

Though the primary focus of The Beginning Experience is the weekend, the program offers on-going and weekend follow-up support through weekly classes, and some socializing.

For more information about Beginning Experience - Western WA and the BE weekend, please call Chris at 253-223-2645 or Joan at 253-820-3066.  Team members are also available to give talks at churches or community events when asked.

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