Program Details

Sexual Harm, Trauma, and the Healing Journey

with Susan McConnell & Noel McLellan & Basia Solarz
April 5 / 1:00 PM - April 26 / 5:00 PM

Facilitators: Susan McConnell and John Cowan



Day One: We will examine and discuss these questions: What is the  extent of harm and the pervasiveness of sexual harm in the larger society? Do those in a spiritual community have a particular vulnerability to this type of harm? What kinds of environments enable sexual harm to occur?  What are the definitions of trauma and trauma-informed? How does trauma manifest? We will begin discussion on how trauma can be healed.


Day Two: We will discuss possibilities of community response to trauma, and learn about Robert Wright’s model for healing from trauma caused by sexual harm, and how we can work with trauma if something comes up in meditation practice. We will look at creating safer communities in the future, along with the necessary culture shift, and what men in particular should be doing.

We will hear Robert Wright's response to a question from the participants regarding advice for the Sakyong and the Shambhala community.



Robert S. Wright is a social worker and sociologist known best for his work in the fields of sexual abuse, child welfare, trauma, cultural competence, and education. In this course, Robert shares knowledge and experience that springs from decades of healing work with individuals and communities as well as his perspective as a queer, black, Christian man.


He also trains, speaks and comments on a wide range of issues. His extensive pro bono work gave birth the The Peoples’ Counselling Clinic, a non-profit mental health clinic, a non-profit mental health clinic. His pioneering work with colleagues in cultural competence and conducting cultural assessments has received national attention. For more on his work see


Basia Solarz is a Shambhalian who has had a lifelong interest in helping people talk with each other about the things that really matter to them. Originally from Philadelphia, Basia worked for eight years in victim services where she got her first taste of community engagement. This inspired her to study facilitation, group process, and transformative mediation. She later led community engagement efforts for an organ greening program, Philly Green. Currently, she heads up the Workplace Conflict Resolution Program for the Nova Scotia Health Authority, offering transformative conflict coaching mediations and education services to the 25,000+ people working in that system. She lives in Halifax, NS with her wife, Acharya Even Rosenthal.


Noel McLellan is an acharya or “honoured teacher” in the Shambhala tradition. He is also a school teacher at the Shambhala School, where he is Dean of Mindfulness and Contemplative Learning. Noel is the author of Teaching with Bravery: Meditation and Heart Advice for Teachers, available at He has two children, Gabriel and Esme, and lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Go to Victoria's website