Outreach coordinator Liz Holmes has just completed a one-year Capacitar course to learn wellbeing practices to teach to people to promote healing, wholeness and peace to cope with stress and anxiety in their lives.

Capacitar, which means empowerment in Spanish, was developed by an inspirational psychologist Dr Patricia Cane. Pat calls California home, but spends ten months of the year travelling to deliver the training, to groups of people traumatised by war, natural disasters, abuse and violence.

Capacitar began in Nicaragua in 1988 in response to violence and war trauma. Pat Cane was asked to teach what she practiced herself to heal the stress of daily life.

The programme she has developed, including such techniques as Tai Chi, acupressure and finger holds are simple to learn and easily incorporated into everyday life. It is also a model which can easily be taught and disseminated, so those learning the practices can easily pass them on for others to use.

“Capacitar techniques are being used worldwide in literally hundreds of countries in the most difficult situations. Pat on now on her way to Afghanistan to deliver training there. She has programmes in many war torn regions including Palestine, Israel, Rwanda, and Congo. The practices are also used with people recovering from drug and alcohol dependence, domestic abuse and those forced to flee their homes,” explains Liz.

“Dr Cane was delighted to hear how I’ve been using them here at Minsteracres – I have worked with 188 people while I’ve been training!

“One of the team at Newcastle’s West End Refugee Service asked me to teach him so that he can pass the techniques onto their and clients.”

By a twist of fate, Liz has had cause to practise them on herself. She and her husband John were flooded out of their home in December and while coping with finding new homes for them, their son and grandchildren, as well as their day jobs, John’s retina began to detach and he had to undergo surgery. “I think some of the de-stressing techniques have helped to keep me sane!” she says.

Capacitar Feb 2016

The course has been part of the process too. “When we meet we share how things are going and what we’ve been doing. There’s a real cross section of people too.”

Liz is delighted that one of the other course members, a recently retired local woman, has shown interest in applying to join her team of volunteers, “she’ll be able to help me deliver the techniques to more people, which is great!”

The next Capacitar course begins in Durham October. More information is available from info@stantonyspriory.co.uk.