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Workshop teaches coping skills to deal with emotions of adoption

Date: 7/3/2013

By Carley Dangona

WESTFIELD — Genesis Spiritual Life and Conference Center presents "Inside Out: The Expressive Arts Adoption Healing Seminar" on July 7. This is the first time the program has come to Western Massachusetts, offering creative expression as a means of coping.

The event will take place at Genesis, 53 Mill St., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Craig Hyman and Patrick McMahon will offer the seminar that teaches attendees to deal with the emotional impacts of the adoption process with activities such as dance, writing journals, collage and role play. The cost of $140 includes lunch and snacks.

Hyman stated that the seminar is open to the entire "adoption constellation" that is comprised of adoptees, birth/first parents, adoptive parents, foster parents and children, siblings, significant others and professionals in the field. The goal of the workshop is to "identify and validate wounds and challenges" from the adoption experience.

He explained that everyone involved in the adoption process is emotionally affected and that the purpose of the workshop is to help people work through the emotions and resolve their issues.

"If it's even a passing thought in a person's mind [he or she should attend]. That's [the thought] is a seed planted a long time ago for a reason. It's just a matter of time before they act on it. If it's in your head, it's time," Hyman said, emphasizing the importance of following through with the slightest inclination to participate.

"Our [presentation] is a great introduction into the adoptees heart, soul and mind," Hyman said. "We're dealing with primal wounds. The program gives participants something to go home with."

Both Hyman and McMahon are adoptees themselves. According to Hyman, the two met 11 years ago and spent two years developing the Inside Out seminar. Both have attended programs intended to spark the healing process.

"There [are many] wonderful presenters, but all they did as open people's wounds and provide community for a few days [but no treatment]," Hyman commented. He explained the goal of Inside Out is to provide tools the attendees can take home and continue using

"We created something that was very much needed," he added. "The demand is already there."

Inside Out workshops are scheduled to take place in Boston, Chicago, Ill., and Hawaii. Hyman said that he and McMahon are "pleasantly shocked" by the interest in their program.

Hyman's own search and reunion with his biological family led him to where he is today. "I woke up one day and had to do it [search]. It was impossible for me not to do the search," he said.

He continued, "I'm not a therapist, I lived through it. I found myself being a coach and mentor. This is the course that God built for me. It was my path. Everything's led up to this day and made me who I am."

For more information about the program, visit or To register, call Genesis at 562-3627.