Heal and Empower Your Relationships, Teams, and Communities as a Social Health Facilitator

Social Health Facilitation Training (SHFT) is an immersive online course that empowers helping professionals, heart-centered leaders, and community builders to develop leadership confidence and create sustainable healing connection experiences one-on-one and in groups without overgiving, burning out, or  carrying the burden of others’ mental health and recovery alone.

Join the waitlist to learn more about SHFT and receive access to special discounts.

Join the SHFT Waitlist

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Let's Get Started

Take 15 minutes to fill out the Application Form - we’ll review it to see if you're a good fit and contact you to schedule an interview. Applications are currently closed and will open again in Summer 2024. Sign up for the waitlist to be notified when applications open.
Enrollment Interview
You'll spend 30 minutes with an Enrollment Specialist to understand your needs and answer your questions about the course.
Facilitation Excellence
Over this 3-month masterclass in human connection, you'll develop the leadership skills to heal past trauma collectively and facilitate safe and socially healthy spaces of emotional intimacy and community support.

What is Social Health Facilitation?

You’re a helper. You show up in your personal and professional relationships with empathy, generosity, and a desire to help others through their pain and to leave them better than you found them. People feel supported when they’re in relationship with you, and even have life-changing transformations as a result of being your friend or being on your team. But, you struggle when you’re the only one giving, when you carry the burden by yourself.

You want to create socially healthy connections and interactions and the healing that comes from them, but you can’t do it alone. It’s literally impossible to foster healthy connection in isolation, and the culture of hyper-individualism can make it difficult to actually achieve meaningful improvement in the lives of the people that you help.

You know that the key to living a fulfilling life as a human being, both personally and professionally, is through the mutuality of healthy social relationships in community. You can feel it when your interactions with others are safe, nourishing, and genuine, but you don’t have a reliable and repeatable method to create these experiences for yourself and others.

You want to live in a world where you feel safer to be vulnerable and intimate with others, but you can’t always trust them to approach interactions with the same care and intention that you do.

You are not alone. Individuals and communities have never been more disconnected, and the social health of humanity has never been under greater threat than it is today.

Humans are dying in record numbers from the epidemic of loneliness and disconnection that is tearing our communities apart. In recent years, Dr. Vivek Murthy released a Surgeon General Advisory declaring a national public health crisis of loneliness and isolation. As more and more people suffer from extreme social disconnection, rates of suicide, suicidal ideation, and drug overdose deaths continue to climb. And of course, these tragedies occur at disproportionately higher rates for historically disenfranchised groups, including people with certain mental health diagnoses, Queer folx, BIPOC, and those under the age of 21.

In the workplace, cut-throat and profit-centric business practices dehumanize and disconnect leaders from their teams, leading to group friction, burnout, employee turnover, and life dissatisfaction.

Politically, our communities are divided into polarized factions, and in our homes, we struggle to sit at the same dinner table with family members who sit on the opposite side of the aisle. And as we continue to fail to relate with each other productively, we fail to address the pressing emergency of the climate crisis, missing the opportunities for community collaboration that are necessary to share resources sustainably.

Meanwhile, you and the other helpers of the world who work to repair the damage are suffering from extraordinary stress and burnout while you fight a lonely battle with insufficient tools to deal with the problem at hand.
That’s where Social Health Facilitation comes in.

Social Health Facilitation is the art of creating intentional, trauma-informed, non-hierarchical spaces for human connection that promote group healing and empowerment. 

The reason it feels hard to do it alone is because you’re not supposed to. Helping others as a team lead, a therapist, a social worker, a community organizer, a light worker, a healer, or other helping professional or volunteer still isolates you as the individual who possesses the resources that others need. It can trap helping professionals in an imbalanced dynamic of giving that leaves them drained and under-resourced. It can also leave the group perhaps inspired, yet not meaningfully transformed or connected.

Social health facilitation is a process for creating shared healing and growth that doesn’t rely on the facilitator to be the sole source of support. It’s a method for activating the natural resources that exist in all people to support each other. It empowers you to help others by showing them how to share power, how to democratize mental health support, and how to resolve conflicts within the group without alienating individual members through victim or perpetrator roles.

Social Health Facilitation is the rising tide that raises all ships.

The practice of Social Health Facilitation is at the heart of a movement to create the culture of connection that humanity and our planet need to survive and thrive. By helping individuals access experiences and take ownership of tools that improve their social well-being, we can establish emotionally intimate communities where people know how to coregulate their nervous systems and lead genuine peer-based interactions with each other without needing the permission of a professional.

Social Health Facilitation focuses on building socially healthy interactions, which are characterized by the 10 key features of the Relational Model for Social Health:

  • Non-Judgement
  • Mutuality
  • Empathy
  • Vulnerability
  • Curiosity
  • Welcoming (of any emotion or conflict)
  • Intrinsic Value (rather than outcome-driven)
  • Presence
  • Pleasure
  • Transpersonality (non-dualism / creating the ‘we’ space)
social health facilitators in a connection circle
As a trained Social Health Facilitator, you will have the confidence you need to step into impactful leadership without controlling others or sacrificing your innate empathy.

You’ll know how to stop over-giving because you’ll be able to see and trust how those you most want to help are helping themselves, and how you are also worthy of receiving support from them. 

You won’t be doing it alone any more, because every person for whom you facilitate will be doing it with you. And, you will witness others step into their own power through the connection that you facilitate.

You’ll have a science-tested and reliable method to create consistent group connection that leaves participants, including you, feeling coregulated and connected.  

Are you ready to heal and empower your relationships, teams, and communities as a Social Health Facilitator?

"For me, the biggest thing that I am still getting out of this is that it has just really widened my heart. I feel so much compassion welling up inside myself, for others as well as for myself."

- Koriander

What Will I Learn in SHFT?

During the course you'll learn:

  • the 3 Core Listening Tools to hold space for difficult emotional experiences and promote collective healing.
  • the Relational Model for Social Health and why the conventional western modalities for healing will never sufficiently resolve the crisis of trauma and loneliness plaguing our society.
  • how to navigate the Paradox of Facilitation, and how to find your authentic voice as a leader.
  • the Ethical Use of Power, and how to dismantle the hierarchical power structures that can make traditional therapy and process groups ineffective.
  • the relationship between Integrity and Shadow, and how to integrate your own wounds and healing journey to become a more trustworthy leader.
  • the 6 Essential Facilitation Moves you need to maintain compassionate boundaries, resolve conflicts courageously, and promote deep exploration, discovery, and healing within groups.
  • how to give and receive Plus Delta Feedback to highlight your strengths and identify opportunities for growth, and to help others do the same.
  • why Setting Context is The Essence of Leadership, and how to set a container for group experiences that creates safety, clarity, and promotes group buy-in.
  • what to expect and how to hold a safer space for the uniquely challenging experiences triggered by Trauma, Racism, and Drug Use.
  • the Nuts and Bolts of Facilitation that you need to master to prevent breaches that cause your group or team to fall apart.
  • how to stop burning out and instead balance your relationship to giving and receiving through Generosity, Reciprocity, and Invitation Culture.

After the course you can:

  • embody the lifetime practice of deepening your intimacy and connection with yourself and your loved ones while working through experiences of criticism, judgment, and projection. 
  • lead with the confidence and authenticity of your unique wisdom, voice, and style while empowering others to step into their own strength.
  • create sustainable and trauma-informed healing experiences by facilitating group practices such as Authentic Relating Games, Listening Exercises, and Connection Practice Meetings.
  • resolve conflicts with courage and compassion in your personal relationships, professional teams, and communities.
  • certify as a Social Health Professional, and qualify to be paid as a Seeker practicing facilitation within the SeekHealing community (optional).

Also included in your enrollment:

  • BONUS #1: Authentic Relating Connection Exercises Manual
  • BONUS #2: Student Facilitation Lab Practice Sessions
  • BONUS #3: Lifetime Access to SeekHealing’s Online Learning and Support Community

What sets SeekHealing apart?

SeekHealing is a nonprofit organization based in Western North Carolina that started a local “social health” project to democratize emotional wellness and mental health support in the community. It was started by a group of people who were sick of watching their friends die by suicide, opioid overdose, alcoholism, and burnout. We believe that the listening ear of a neighbor, community member, colleague or friend is the best medicine out there – and, it’s medicine that has become harder to come by the more disconnected our culture becomes.

Our mission is to facilitate intentional experiences of meaningful human connection, building a world that we all want to live in rather than escape from. 

We offer these experiences in downtown Asheville and Waynesville free of charge to those who need them most: people who can’t afford mental healthcare, but are struggling with addiction, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and more; people who feel alienated by traditional mental healthcare systems like those who are LGBTQIA, BIPOC, LatinX, and under the age of 21; people experiencing homelessness; and other marginalized groups at risk for deaths of despair.

And, we’ve learned that it’s not just people who are outwardly struggling who need intentional human connection: it’s something we all need, and something we don’t always know how to ask for OR give to each other – especially at work.

In 2022 alone, we provided healing connection experiences to over 2,100 unique individuals across 1,128 connection meetings or events facilitated in person or online.
  • 94% expressed feeling more connected after the event than before they arrived.
  • 92% expressed that their social connection felt rich and meaningful.
  • 45% experienced an emotional trigger during the meeting, and 88% of those who experienced an emotional trigger expressed feeling accepted, heard, and got what they needed from the group, even though being triggered was hard.
It is more clear to us than ever that the path to healthier and more empowered relationships, teams, and communities - to a healthier and more empowered world - is by skillfully holding emotional space for each other in and navigating each other through the triggers and emotional reactions that disconnect us.

It is more important than ever that the helpers of the world are equipped with the tools and guidance that they need to hold space, resolve conflict, and facilitate healing and transformative connection.

Course Leaders

Sydney McGary - Course Lead
Sydney (she/her) is passionate about the magic and healing that's possible when humans come together with truth, vulnerability, and presence. She has been devoting herself to learning and teaching others how to remember that human connection is an essential need, one in which many parts of society have strayed away from. Sydney is a certified Social Health Facilitator, Authentic Relating Facilitator, and has a decade of training and experience facilitating social connection and embodiment arts. She is a grief tender, naturalist, apprentice to wilderness rites of passage, and is currently in training to grow a healing practice for supporting folks who navigate chronic illness.

Sydney is a multi-faceted being who is committed to the spirit of healing in the world and is a steward of culture change in directions that do less harm, break cycles of generational trauma, and are in right relationship with Mother Earth. When she is not facilitating groups and supporting emergent leaders, you will find Sydney out in the woods connecting with the land, making music, and being a ridiculous silly creature.
Imani Ustawi - Assistant Course Lead
Imani Ustawi (she/her) began her facilitation journey in 2005 in the realm of fitness. She moved to facilitating groups in substance use disorder and mental health treatment centers in 2010. Her most recent facilitation certification in this domain was attachment-based theory parenting in the spring of 2023. In 2016, she began facilitating spiritual and personal development spaces, with her most recent certification in this domain being in Movement Chaplaincy in 2021.

Imani has enjoyed facilitating and participating in various modalities, spaces, and groups. She is an alumni of SeekHealing's inaugural SHFT cohort and is so grateful and ready to assist in facilitating the winter 2024 cohort.
Melisa Gonzalez
Melisa Gonzalez (she/her/they) became a Life Coach in 2019 where she discovered she had a true passion for connection and supporting people in being their authentic self. She then went on to join Seek Healing as the Business Operations Manager, which led her to facilitation. Melisa is a true believer in peace and transformation. Seeing people heal and discover their gifts is what brings her the most joy. As a member of the LGBT community, she strives to advocate for equality. She is an alumni of SeekHealing’s Social Health Facilitation Training and is looking forward to co-creating with the next group of leaders. Ustawi (she/her) began her facilitation journey in 2005 in the realm of fitness. She moved to facilitating groups in substance use disorder and mental health treatment centers in 2010. Her most recent facilitation certification in this domain was attachment-based theory parenting in the spring of 2023. In 2016, she began facilitating spiritual and personal development spaces, with her most recent certification in this domain being in Movement Chaplaincy in 2021.
Ionsul Ferrin - Course Lead
Ionsul Ferrin (she/her) is the former Certification Coordinator with SeekHealing, and currently practices facilitation in the community. It was her own journey of healing from depression, anxiety, and codependency that brought her first to Authentic Relating in 2017, and then to SeekHealing in 2019.

She is a single mom to two kids and strives to uphold the values of non-hierarchy and dynamic power-sharing in parenting, facilitation, community organizing, and in her work as an Intimacy Coach with couples and individuals.
Adrian Engstrom von Alten - Social Health Facilitator
Adrian Engstrom von Alten (he/him) believes that the best thing he can do with his life is to foster connection and healing. Having taken many rides around the wheel of suffering - having been hurt and having hurt others - he wants more healthy avenues for all of us to express ourselves and be known exactly as we are, especially in our difficulty and shame. He is passionately committed to creating environments of cooperation, mutual benefit, and mutual acceptance, and expresses this passion in his role as a certified Social Health Facilitator with SeekHealing and as a Getting Real Coach certified by Susan Campbell.Beyond his professional endeavors, you will find Adrian learning how to be a good steward in all the various meanings of the word, delving into the literature about extreme human experiences, and heeding the every whim of his beloved feline sovereign.

2022 SHFT Cohort

2023 SHFT Cohort

Here's what SHFT graduates have to say:

“Even though I had facilitated prior to this, after the training, I came away with so much more confidence in how to facilitate, but more so confidence in if something happens, I'm prepared, I know what to do now...

As I feel more confident in my capacity to facilitate, other people feel that confidence and then they trust the entire process more. They're able to lean into that safety that I can then create based on my confidence level...I was blown away actually, by what I learned that I don't think I even knew that I needed to learn."

- Jessica

“Before SHFT, I had my intention was that I was going to learn some tools that I was gonna incorporate in my existing training that I've done in leadership workshops and I thought ‘maybe I'll just add a few more tools to my toolbox.’ And I was completely floored after the first session because I recognize that I don't really have much to offer as much as I have to gain from these from this teachings.”

- Tim

“Something I most enjoyed about SHFT is deepening the intentional use of language around addiction. That language around addiction, despair, loneliness, is just super cool, super important, really powerful.”

- Bird

“Some of the lessons I was teary eyed, like, “Oh my god, I'm so glad that people are teaching this.”

- Auramesh

“The non-judgment, and the empathy, and the openness of SHFT has really changed my perception of the whole world.”

- Monica

Course Details + Tuition

Here's what you need to know about committing to SHFT:

The course runs for 12 weeks and meets weekly online via Zoom starting in Fall 2024. During class, you’ll engage in discussion of the course material and practical exercises to hone your facilitation skills.
You’ll receive 1-2 hours of video training content each week that provides you with the models and
tools you need to successfully hold space and power as a trauma-informed leader. 
You’ll be assigned to a small practice group with whom you’ll meet 3 or more times during the
course to put what you learn into practice and get the real experience that you need to be an
effective and confident social health facilitator.

Tuition Cost

Paying standard pricing allows for us to maintain our scholarship program for low-income participants and helps support our offering of Connection Practice and Listening Training on a pay-what-you-can basis, with no one turned away for lack of funds.
Early Bird Pricing thru 7/1/24: $2250
Standard Pricing
starting 7/2/24: $2650
SeekHealing is committed to reducing financial barriers to entry as much as possible. Inquire about
need-based scholarships, early enrollment discounts, and payment plans during your Enrollment Interview.
A mysterious looking barn owl with stars in its third eye.

Join the Waitlist for SeekHealing's Social Health Facilitation Training

Join the waitlist to learn more about SHFT and receive access to special discounts.

Join the SHFT Waitlist

* indicates required

What professional skills will you learn?

Learn to hold a healing space, one to one and in groups
Facilitate Authentic Relating Games, Listening Exercises, and SeekHealing Connection Practice Meetings
Introduce and speak about relational practice for people who are new to modalities that focus on connection
Learn to lead gracefully and team up with other facilitators
Deepen your capacity to work with groups
Work with defensiveness and/or resistance that shows up when practicing facilitation
Skillfully track and speak the collective ‘group field’ as it evolves
Artfully manage projections and judgments while maintaining compassion
Learn to weave connection and deep listening practices into your other professional roles
Learn the art of enrollment, and how this is essential at every stage of working with people
Learn how to set the context for a meeting or interaction in a way that is relational, engaging, and moves forward the experience of all involved