EASEL helps strengthen the participants’ own social emotional skills and teaches the methodology for use in one’s own work. You get measurable results in the business world, in schools, in social and health care sector, in families and in psychotherapy.
While we cannot always choose our circumstances, and certainly cannot change others, we can do a lot with ourselves. We can feel more content and in balance, handle stress better, and find our personal flow. As an added plus, that tends to send out a ripple effect!
In today’s complex world and constant flood of information it is harder than ever to grow up emotionally balanced and socially skilled. And it is very demanding to stay that way in today’s work life. Yet it can be done. EASEL® is about “giving people back their power” over own well-being. It is about empathy, compassion, and feeling of belonging so that we want to make the world a better place. “On my watch, one interaction at a time”.
EASEL® is a facilitation methodology that, for your benefit, bridges science and theories of the mind and relationships to your practical every-day-life at work and home. The human brain develops and learns in interactions with others and the environment from birth (actually before) throughout life. You have the same head attached to your legs at work and home, and you carry in your brain’s neural network your whole history. You are at the same time a unique individual and a typical human being. EASEL is about coaching individual human beings. For that reason, EASEL isn’t confined to one discipline or field, like one school of psychology or social neurosciences, or to just one theme, like leading others or mindfulness. At ET we work on the topics and questions you have, towards the goals you set. And thanks to the EASEL® tools and activities we can offer individually tailored coaching even in a group process.
EASEL Facilitators take pride in being able to explain why they facilitate the way they do. EASEL integrates the key elements of evidence-based facilitation, coaching and therapy methods, as well as the known core elements of effective social emotional learning programs. The theoretical framework builds on social constructivism, social neurosciences and SDT-motivation theory. It integrates key elements from open dialog, sociodynamic counseling, solution-focused coaching, systemic family therapy, attachment focused developmental psychotherapy (e.g. DDP), cognitive psychotherapy (especially ACT and DBT) and mindfulness, Montessori and experiential education.
Naturally a leader solving a conflict at work and a psychotherapist working with a child will work a little differently. However, EASEL’s process descriptions, psychoeducational tools and basic principles work equally well with both. For example, controlling own behavior becomes possible only after adequate Self-awareness so the latter needs to be strengthened first. In the beautiful words by the late Vance Peavy, the founder of sociodynamic counseling, we must go where the client is and start from there.
Repeated, purposeful, and focused attention builds new neural highways in the brain (learning, changing). Old “roads” can be modified at any age, but it requires mindful attention. The brain’s Frontal Lobe, necessary for learning, creative thinking and change, turns on when we encounter surprising challenges in a safe enough environment. EASEL’s experiential activities aim to switch on the clients’ frontal lobes. Getting a sailboat around an island or activities with safe and “talkative” EASEL – horses and dogs are sure to switch-on everyone’s frontal lobe in a memorable way but there are many other ways, too.
In experiential learning the greatest adventure happens in own mind. And there it follows you.
EASEL is experiential yet very analytical and focused. If the TV is broken, repairing the toaster does not help. EASEL Facilitators are trained in building a safe space while also challenging the clients’ thinking and enhancing their creative problem solving skills. The client usually knows own life and needs best, and has to choose the solutions. The efficacy of any discussion based service is going to be poor if we don’t talk about the right issues. To get to the real things, the client must feel safe enough and sufficiently challenged so that the frontal lobe of the brain switches on and creative thinking and learning become possible. One of the basic EASEL processes is about building safe me-you-relationships and a mental and physical environment that feels safe enough and challenging enough. (We call it Rivendell as in The Lord Of The Ring). To maximize efficacy EASEL combines the known elements of effective social emotional skills training programs: individual feedback, group process, psychoeducation and experiential learning.
EASEL’s experiential activities are always authentic and valid. Our clients don’t build towers out of balloons for the sake of team building but could do it to study becoming irritated by a stupid task and how it influences the whole team. EASEL’s psychoeducational tools are experiential when applied to self. We can learn Math, fix a bike, play a boardgame, coach a colleague, paint, go for a walk, chair a meeting and so on. The point is how it is facilitated, what happens, how does it feel, what do you learn and what will you take along to your everyday life.
So regardless of the context of your session and wether you are sitting on a sofa or dressed up for hiking in the snow, EASEL® activities offer you opportunities to practice being safe and regulating stress, managing emotions and reactions in self and others, communicating non-verbally and hearing the other one’s messages as s/he intends, earning trust and even leadership position etc. Furthermore, EASEL® allows you to experiment and practice outside everyday situations in a fun and novel way. Sometimes also with horses and dogs because they are similar enough yet different enough to feel socially safe. Acquired skills and insights can then be tried in daily life.
that every adult and child wants to both be their unique selves, and get along well with other people. We also believe that it is possible. Individuality doesn’t mean selfishness, nor bad behaviour. One can also be part of a community without loosing their own idenitity, when relationships are based on mutual respect, trust and caring.
In Umberto Maturana’s words, “love is actions that allow also the other person to exist as him or herself.”
Everyone wants success with their careers, care for their loved ones, and hope to have time for other meaningful relationships. That can also be done. Everyone wants to learn something new, and leave a positive mark on the world. Everyone also wants to do their best, and any required change, as long as they know what, why and how.
that in today’s complex world and constant flood of information, wanting is not always enough, and it is easy to lose direction. Our world requires great effort from our body’s biochemistry and our minds. We run the risk of driving a large portion of our days 100 km/h in third gear. Research has shown, that the single biggest cause of stress is relationships, either directly, or because you feel others are making decisions for or criticizing you, and you cannot defend yourself. Few of us are alone in our dreams either. We know how and what you can affect, in order to make your life, and the lives of those around you, as good as possible.
is in boosting your Emotional Intelligence and social and change making skills with our evidence-based EASEL® training methodology to match your demanding interpersonal work. Dentists take care of teeth, our clients come to us when they are seeking highly skilled and trustworthy professionals to coach around questions like “who am I in this professional role or time of my life? How can I help others grow and drive the necessary changes? What goes on beneath the surface in interactions and how can I influence what happens? How can I manage my own stress and anxiety level and stay connected also under pressure? How do we combine two careers, a happy relationship and balanced children? How do I lead others in such a way that, at least on my watch, everyone can reach own full potential?
What ever the context of your session, your EASEL Facilitator will help you strengthen your Social Emotional skills in four specific ways:
- with open dialogue because, to know what you think and feel or what to do, you need to put it into words
- sharing with you general psychological information and research-based “brain-technicalities” about the human mind and what often happens in interactions at work /school / home, when we are under too much stress, when a kid is repeatedly miss-behaving, when “good leadership” isn’t getting the expected results etc.
- coaching you through tailored experiential activities that allow you to decide for yourself what makes sense and is useful for you, and what isn’t
- coaching you in processing what you learned and want to put into use at work / home
Strong Social Emotional Skills (Emotional Intelligence EI, Emotional Competence EC etc.) separate great professionals from the average. But based on countless studies in different fields involving working with and leading people, in families, at schools etc. social emotional skills are central to everyone’s well-being, success in studies and work, and efficacy in e.g. therapy, education, leading others, social and health care services. However, there are only few evidence-based training programs. EASEL®Facilitator training is one.
A quantitative study (at Unversity of Jyväskylä Department of Psychology) has shown statistically significant rise in the participants’ Emotional Intelligence (the results are currently being written for publishing). During the second half of the training year the participants integrate EASEL® into their own work. Consequently the training and its benefits for the participant’s own work have been field-tested across many sectors by over 200 professionals. EASEL®Facilitators in Finland and abroad have integrated EASEL into own work and own professional framework e.g. in the fields of HR and leadership, training, coaching, mental health, social work, education, Green Care services etc. You can read about some of their experiences in EASEL Facilitator training in the Appendix.
According to research, social emotional skills can be strengthened in any age but they aren’t really “taught”. Instead they are learned and strengthened all the time, throughout our lives, in every meaningful interaction and relationship. Therefore EASEL is designed to strengthen the teacher’s, trainer’s, leader’s or therapist’s own skills and to teach how to model and guide social emotional learning in every interaction in own work. So instead of teaching Math in one lesson and SEL in another, EASEL – trained teachers help children strengthen their social emotional skills while studying Math! The key is HOW they teach and facilitate the learning of Math. The facilitation method, psycho-educative tools, and the experiential activities make it possible to have individual facilitation also in a group and to tailor the facilitation according to each client’s personal needs and goals.
EASEL is designed to strengthen:
• Self-awareness, noticing and understanding own emotions, thought patterns, triggers, emotional reactions, strengths, motives and causes of happiness etc.
• Self-management, regulating stress and managing own emotions, controlling own reactions and behavior
• Social awareness and empathy, understanding others and feeling with them, being aware of underlying dynamics in social situations and how oneself influences others
• Social skills
• Making responsible decisions even in stressful situations
We also add to the goals emotionally intelligent parenting, teaching and leadership, play and joy, happiness and awe caused by aesthetic and powerful experiences – linked to one’s sense of self-value, care, compassion and gratitude, and very strongly linked to personal and interpersonal health and happiness.
EASEL-style Animal Assisted Therapy and Social Emotional Learning
Maybe 40% of our customers are also interested in EASEL – style Animal Assisted Therapy and Social Emotional Learning with own dog or horses and EASEL Facilitator training is easily tailored to answer those needs, too. (A video about that can be found here)
Animal Assisted EASEL: “The master class of social emotional learning.”
A client can also make friends with a horse in authentic relationship building process. Not only is it emotionally balancing but also fun. People who are afraid of horses or know nothing about them are usually most at awe. The process teaches about self and relationship dynamics. It also serves as a metaphoric journey for becoming the person one is. Therapy clients may revisit their own history and reflect on the developmental tasks of each stage.
If you choose “the master class of social emotional learning”, working with EASEL® horses or dogs at Savikko, you can trust that they are cared for, trained and worked according to the strictest ethics and professionalism. But most of all they are my family members, four-legged kids, friends and colleagues.
One of the main differences compared to other animal training methodologies is that our learning theory is social constructivism. Everything is based on me-you-relationships, not me-it operant conditioning. Social herd animals learn in the herd from each other and EASEL®Facilitator needs to have earned the leadership position in his/her herd or pack. This is in line with the current scientific knowledge and also we don’t see how modeling to clients me-it relationships would be educational or therapeutic. Consequently, we strive to model to clients what relationships look and feel like when they are based on mutual respect, trust, and affection. The EASEL process is: showing mutual respect – developing communication – building mutual trust – enjoying care – investigating the surroundings together – free play – earned leadership that has room for suggestions and taking turns in deciding. The main job of a true leader is to know better and therefore be best equipped to keep others safe, not domination.
True leaders are chosen and relied on, dominant ones are challenged. The same applies to humans, horses and dogs.
A workshop at Savikko gives you first-hand experiences of true communication and human animal relationships that can teach the right things to your clients.
Only new doors lead to new sceneries and growth is optional. How do you want to grow next?
My job is to help you feel safe but also challenge you so that you can access your most creative thinking and learning. We EASEL ®Facilitators call such a “space” Rivendale. We only take visitors to Savikko on appointment. You won’t run into anyone outside our “own people” when at Savikko. With groups you may have several facilitators. They are EASEL-trained and follow the EASEL® Code of Ethics.
Participants to our workshop listed the following examples of important new insights:
- How to recognize own emotions and distinguish them from the emotion contagion from others in social situations.
- How enhancing emotion regulation and the awareness of the influences of “a chemical cocktail” (of an emotion) in the body are important keys to personal development.
- It is possible to learn to better regulate own emotions and reactions once you understand the process in the human brain and body.
- The ability to feel empathy and compassion towards others starts from the experience of compassion towards self.
- The importance of setting own boundaries and how to deal with “boundary violations” (conflicts) in a constructive way. Strengthening own social emotional skills to be more sensitive of other people’s boundaries when interacting with them. On the other hand, widening own understanding to not automatically take someone’s behavior as deliberate boundary violation if I haven’t expressed my boundaries clearly.
- Own responsibility in social situations. Strengthening own social emotional skills and accepting that there are two responsible parties in every interaction.
- Letting go of preconceptions and unhelpful attitudes and beliefs.
- Own behavior and attitude may be a lock but also a gate to something new.
"Mari Louhi-Lehtiö has successfully combined to each training day a strong foundation in science (social neurosciences, education, psychology etc.) that, thanks to the every-day-examples, participants are able to understand and integrate into a meaningful working framework for own work. The insights gained invariably influence peoples’ private lives, too. I warmly recommend both EASEL® as a facilitation methodology and Mari as an outstanding coach, trainer, and lecturer."
“Social emotional skills are essential in our work when we train corporate leaders, executives and teams. The trainer’s own healthy self-awareness and ability for empathy (without being swallowed by it) are key elements for success in our work. EASEL® offers us as leadership trainers a solid framework for learning and analyzing our work. I have spent a year in EASEL Facilitator training but even in just one training day to my colleagues Mari increased their understanding about human behavior in an interesting way with the perspective of social neurosciences. Mari Louhi-Lehtiö has an exceptional ability to bridge evidence-based theories and scientific knowledge to every-day situations making her trainings engaging and convincing.
Many of our corporate clients struggle with constant changes caused by markets. Their work requires flexibility and ability to change but at the same time persistence to reach the goals with selected strategies. In our own trainings we have seen how the perspectives borrowed from EASEL® have generated new insights among our corporate clients and, in turn, helped them improve their work."
When your job is to help, guide, teach, heal or lead others, ET’s programs help you do your job more professionally, more effectively, with heart and less fatigue.
EASEL®, is a method for increasing well-being and success at work and in private life through strengthening Social Emotional Skills. EASEL® benefits any work with people and should be in every interaction as a parent.
EASEL®Facilitator training program is for everyone who works with people and wants to become better at it. Our target groups are professionals whose job is to lead, teach, motivate, coach, support, counsel, serve or heal others.
If you want to be well and successful both at work and in your personal life, EASEL® helps you re-calibrate your Social Emotional Skills to better match the demands of your work and today’s world. EASEL®Facilitator training program also adds to your professional toolbox an effective facilitation methodology for experiential social emotional learning or therapy (depending on your background education)
EASEL Training’s mission is to help you stay happy, balanced, successful and creative in both your personal and professional life through helping you strengthen your Emotional Competence.
In our vision, social emotional skills are consistently strengthened as part of all education and training, personal development, and professional continuing education. Children’s social emotional skills and all-round well-being depend on the social emotional skills and balance of the adults around them.
- Open dialogue
- Honesty and transparency