The Lab: processing trauma in a school team

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The school team of Het Lab created space to be present together in a vulnerable way

Corona put pressure on the project-oriented approach of the school team at THE Lab

The Lab is a school near Puurs introducing an innovative secondary education offer to the world that is project-oriented.

Due to Covid-19 and the limited possibilities for this project approach to flourish, the dynamics changed. Moreover, the team of teachers grew from 30 to 60 during this period, and their vision came under pressure.

The team had a challenging restart and had to deal with several tensions. From a trajectory in the context of connecting communication, the facilitator felt that a moment for a healing and connection ritual could be valuable.

Corporate Rituals was asked to design a ritual in a limited time and with a limited budget.

Corporate Rituals organised a ritual for our organisation to give the trauma surrounding Corona a place and create space for self-reflection. The exercise with the timeline gave many colleagues insight into what has been going on in the past two years and enabled us to place the (sometimes intense) emotions. Slowing down and reflecting together brings people closer together: there is more understanding and insight into the behavior that some people have shown in the past period. The use of symbols gave the ritual a significant added value and enabled us to say goodbye to what has been and look hopefully to the future.

Kristien Bruggeman, Director Het Lab

The preparation consisted of a few meetings with the school management and the internal co-creation of the ritual with the Collective Healing team. In addition, one of the Corporate Rituals team members had direct contact with many teachers through her assignment in the school.

The ritual was built up over several steps.

One evening after school (at the end of the school year), about 40 teachers came together to end a challenging year, let go together and make room for new things.

Looking back and standing still to close and move forward

We started with a timeline ritual that allowed everyone to reflect back on that whole period. Then we organised sharing circles where everyone could contribute something in turn. Each participant used clay to express feelings, and these were eventually combined into a heap. Then we took a nice walk to De Schelde to ritually entrust the pieces of clay to the stream. We gathered around a tree and expressed different intentions through wish ribbons hung on the tree. We ended the evening in conviviality.

This ritual provided more connection and space to be vulnerable with each other, an essential layer of the collective processing exercise.