Is this you?

From your practice of meditation and self-reflection, you know that there are underlying reactive patterns that interfere with your ability to access an expansive perspective and all the tools you have worked hard to learn. You recognize that turning towards these reactive patterns requires vulnerability and the ability to be present with uncomfortable feelings. You have done personal work before in a class or workshop setting and have some familiarity with psychological terms and are willing to learn more. You trust that the group structure I offer and your own resources will allow you to do deep work in our eight-week series.

What is it all about?

In this eight-week class series you will have the opportunity to work with common reactive patterns you find in yourself and others. These reactive patterns are called "character theory" in Hakomi (also known as body-centered therapy). These reactive patterns tend to be less obvious in everyday life, but more chronic. They point to a need for healing, often in relationship to childhood experiences. You don't have to delve into childhood, however, to do the work in this course. We will be working with present and recent experiences.

You will practice identifying the subtle parts of these reactive patterns. You will also have the opportunity to learn and practice requests, healing responses, and missing experiences to meet the relevant needs and begin to dissolve the associated reactive patterns. The framework of Mindful Compassionate Dialogue that we are working from incorporates principles, exercises, and content from Hakomi & Mindfulness along with the consciousness, skills, and framework of Compassionate Communication (NVC).

Each week you will get to study a specific core need, what interferes with that need being met and what reactive patterns tend to arise when you perceive a threat to that need. You will study the reactive pattern through conceptual content, physical embodiment, and experiential exercises that highlight how that pattern functions in a specific context.

As a group, we will continuously cultivate a compassionate relationship to these reactive patterns through self-empathy, honest expression, and empathy.  At any time you can apply what we learn and practice to loved ones in your life. For example, you might want to consider how you can offer support in a way that your partner, parent, child, etc., can receive more easily.

How it works

For each class we will begin with five minutes of guided meditation. I will present a particular concept and skill. Then you will practice the skill in a short structured exercise. You will hear questions and comments from previous participants both clarifying the material and debriefing exercises.

You will follow along with the video (60-90 minutes) and your handout. Some exercises you can do on your own and some are best done with another person.

As you take the course you can ask questions via email: [email protected]

While you are taking the course, you can also book a discounted session with an MCD Companion for one-on-one live support.

Thank you so much for your participation and dedicating your time and energy to this important work.

Topics for the Series: 

Week 1 – Safety and Belonging: Reactive pattern - Overwhelm / Withdrawing
You will be introduced to terminology for the course. Terms include: state of consciousness, categories of experience, missing experience, healing response, neural network, embodiment. You will learn about the origin of the universal reactive patterns and how they function in general. This will include a discussion of needs met and needs at cost, emotional wounding and missing developmental experiences and the healing responses that go along with them. You will work with the first pattern and basic needs using the three fold approach that we will use in each class. This approach includes: 1) Compassion: Cultivate compassionate witnessing of your experience. 2) Wisdom: dis-identify with the pattern (this means seeing through it to the truth of what is happening in a given moment). 3)  Skillfulness: Take new action that leads to healing, integration, and well-being.

Week 2 – Support: Reactive pattern - Abandonment/Collapse

This class will focus on nourishment, how it is given and received and not received. You will be introduced to the “Needs Cycle”, originally called the sensitivity cycle in the gestalt framework. You will have the opportunity to study how you move and where you get stuck on the needs cycle.

Week 3 – Support: Reactive pattern - Alienated/Self-Negating

You will continue to look at your relationship to nourishment and support and how it shows up in the alienated/self-negating pattern. You will have an opportunity to practice making requests as well as learning to invite others into collaboration who are running the alienated/self-negating pattern.

Week 4 – Authenticity, Power, & Intimacy Reactive pattern - Hurt/Invulnerability

True power is an ability to act in harmony with others from a place of authenticity. This “power over” reactive pattern arises from experiences in which the vulnerable and authentic you was shamed and/or not honored and celebrated. In addition to working with this pattern in the three fold way we do for each class, you will have an opportunity to become familiar with the subtle signs of power over, power under, and power with.

Week 5 – Authenticity, Power, & Intimacy Reactive pattern - Betrayal/Indirect

In this more sophisticated “power over” pattern, a sense of authenticity and solid self can be even more elusive. You will study the subtle ways someone in this pattern manipulates situations to gain power and meets needs indirectly. We will focus particularly on boundaries and how they can be held in a healthy way when you are facing this pattern in yourself and others.

Week 6 – Autonomy & Interdependence Reactive pattern - Burden/Enduring

You can be fully who are, have your needs met, and be in relationship. For someone caught in the burden/enduring pattern, these three things don’t go together. From the perspective of this pattern, it’s easier to set your needs aside, put your head down, and just endure for the sake of others. You will have the opportunity to find freedom from this pattern by claiming your own needs and expressing clear requests.

Week 7 – Recognition & Community (Being Seen/heard, Acceptance) Reactive pattern – Ignored/Industrious

Being a high achiever or hard worker is a reliable way to earn acceptance in many cultures. However it often comes at high costs, like stress related illnesses, the "I'm so busy" disease, and neglect of relationships. You will have a chance to experience and discover simple ways to meet the needs for acceptance and being seen and heard.

Week 8 – Recognition & Community (Being Seen/heard, Acceptance) Reactive pattern – Rejected/Intensifying

In some families even high achievement doesn't earn recognition. Getting louder and more expressive gets attention even if that attention doesn't turn into acceptance, it's better than not being seen at all. Of course, when you are caught in this pattern, your expression doesn't seem intense to you. It's just the way it is. You will have an opportunity to see the layers of this pattern as well as how not to get hooked by someone else who is running it.

Course curriculum

  • 1


    • Welcome! Download and Print this Handout for the Course

    • Getting the Most Out of Your Pre-Recorded Course

    • Table of Nourishment Barriers

    • Healing for Core "tender" needs

    • Glossary

    • Connection Gem - Responding to Power Over

    • Chronic reactive patterns overview

  • 2

    Week 1

    • Week 1 Video

  • 3

    Week 2

    • Week 2 Video

  • 4

    Week 3

    • Week 3 Video

  • 5

    Week 4

    • Week 4 Video

  • 6

    Week 5

    • Week 5 Video

  • 7

    Week 6

    • Week 6 Video

  • 8

    Week 7

    • Week 7 Video

  • 9

    Week 8

    • Week 8 Video

Be supported in your learning

  • Weekly Reminders

    Each week, you will get an email reminder encouraging you to login and complete content for the course. You have the option to manage this feature.

  • Learning Schedule

    If you get behind, you have an extra eight weeks to catch up. This format helps support you in your commitment to stay engaged throughout the duration of the course.

  • Live One-on-One Connection

    Private sessions with Wise Heart's MCD Companions are offered to you at a discount while you are enrolled in the course.

  • Get Questions Answered

    If you run into questions during the course, you can send us an email at [email protected]