On April 30, 2021, we had our second annual Open Space Day for English-Speaking Professionals. This time virtually! We really enjoyed meeting other professionals – seeing both new and familiar faces.

After an initial welcome by Elizabeth Frei, Patricia Vriesendorp explained the Open Space concept and started the day and some “getting to know you exercises” both as a large group and in dyads. Stephanie Goffaux guided us beautifully with these transitions in and out of break out rooms through-out the day.

Then we gathered ideas and offers from the group and were glad for participants’ generous offers and interests. Scheduling was actually easier to arrange on the virtual platform. When everyone returned from the first coffee break, we dove right in. The first block of consisted of two parallel paths, each with two 45 minute activities:

Block One:
One track targeted kids and school settings. The first one, lead by Alyssa Uecker described the Arrowsmith Program, which targets cognitive strength-building with kids with learning difficulties. Next, Paul Mullen described his more physical and body-based approach to helping children with learning difficulties.
The parallel track started with a presentation and discussion lead by Angela Warm about women’s health later in life and during peri-menopause. In the second activity of this track, Elizabeth Frei shared various useful Apps for tracking behaviors, moods, and introducing new skills. Others also pitched in with their favorites, allowing us to benefit from each others experiences.

After a screen-free lunch break, Sandrine Dennler helped ease our return with movement based warm up and stretching exercises.

Block Two:
Patricia Vriesendorp kicked off the second block, where everyone came together to discuss and share around themes influencing Identity, both in our clients and ourselves. We covered a wide spectrum, such as race, sexuality, gender, culture, faith, etc. Considering each of our diverse backgrounds and experiences, it was fantastic to hear different perspectives. Ann Natterer, in particular, provided helpful perspectives on kids exploring gender and sexuality. During the break, some people used the coffee room break out rooms to informally chat and connect.

Block Three:
Upon returning together, we again benefited from exercises lead by Sandrine, and then divided up into two subgroups. One discussion Group focused on Body Work and Health, where Sandrine Dennler shared about her work as a shiatsu practitioner and Agnes Leonetti about her work as a doula. The other Group discussion group kicked off by Stéphanie Goffaux explored themes around setting up a private practice in Switzerland, and balancing self-care.

We came together again to gather ideas and wishes for future work and collaborations, as well as feedback. Ideas ranged from setting up a peer supervision exchange group, a women’s health day, sharing research about interventions helping children with learning difficulties, and a parenting and community cafe project being lanced by Agnés Leonetti, as well as, the usual individual connections and collaboration. We were so impressed with how participants juggled kids, work and travel to come in and out of the activities, a benefit of the virtual platform. Nonetheless, we still hope that the next Open Space Day can be in person!

Since then Elizabeth Frei has interviewed Sandrine for the C2 Pod Cast about use of Body Work to help with Perfectionism, and another pod-cast with Angela Warm is hopefully coming up soon. Stay tuned!

Thanks to all our participants! A few of whom are pictured here.