What is a participant really expecting from a facilitator?

The participants’ expectation sometimes does not match what the facilitator offers. Regardless of what each person needs, requests or demands of a therapist that will accompany or guide him or her for a few hours or days to advance their personal growth; what is the real function that should run a conscious facilitator in the processes of personal development of participants?


During each training cycle, each weekend retreat, each workshop we organise, a common reality is confirmed; we see this over and over again: more or less consciously, many participants seek to mythologise the facilitator, the therapist. They try to implant onto the therapist the hero figure that perhaps as children they held for their primary caretakers (parents, grandparents, family members…)

But is that really what being a facilitator is about? Being a hero, a saviour, a caretaker or an ideal role model to follow? Seeking for recognition from the participant? Turn them into followers or disciples to believe that he or she is a teacher or guru?

If the work offered is the recovery of personal power of the participants, it will be incompatible to be self-proposed as a reference, guide or “know-it-all”

In the last retreats organised by Inner Mastery and facilitated by members of the Ayahuasca International team formed within this School, we have had several experiences with participants who asked our facilitators for their blessing: to bless a bracelet or a person directly; others seek for approval from the facilitator who once supported them into taking their first steps; others yet seek to perpetuate the relationship, leaning towards seduction or romantic interest.

I feel a great relief at having confirmed the integrity and ethics of our facilitators. None fell into the trap and all were able to give the responsibility, the authority and the self-recognition of their own value and POWER back to said participants, who got somewhat confused at this evident display of “non-prominence”

In these inner evolution retreats the participants begin to open to the other, to the world and to let themselves to be seen in their most vulnerable being; they undress and the values that so far had being hidden from the world begin to show up… What happens when we deploy these values and allow ourselves to be seen? This reveal our being, our purity, our innocence and vulnerability… all those aspects that in one way or another we have learnt are only appropriate in intimacy, in private at the most, but never in public, not in front of strangers whom we do not know.

This soul baring is then justified by our conditioning by dressing up the context in which it has happened, with emphasis on the person who has accompanied us to this hidden place, in this case the facilitator or integrator: “this is an elevated being, a master, an enlightened being who is above me… I will ask for his or her blessing to be who I am” or maybe then “there is a profound connection with this being before whom I have rendered myself existentially naked… I have fallen in love”

If we add to those factors of vulnerability and possible inferiority feelings of a participant, a facilitator who has a scantly developed or worked upon inner quality or who not only has his or her own inferiority complex (even if camouflaged beneath a superiority complex) but has not taken responsibility for them, the most explosive cocktail is served. In other words, hunger (disempowered participant looking unconsciously to continue giving away his or her power) encounters the desire to eat (facilitator seeking to steal the power of another)

It is necessary for the facilitator to have a conscious integrity to hold with care and respect the energy of the situation, whilst at the same time taking responsibility for the ways in which he or she may have contributed to creating the situation, as part of his or her personal process.

A facilitator has a right to his or her own personal process. We create the space for those personal processes to happen, to support them, to allow for them to exist, to support the person, but outside of a retreat context and outside of the school context in which one appears as part of the organising and teaching team so that they never splash onto the participants. This has sometimes meant having to ask a member of the team to leave the active space they were holding in a certain moment, giving them the space and freedom to dive into their process, but keeping the purity and integrity of the container, with respect for each person, until they take charge of their process.

A conscious facilitator is by no means an enlightened being. Neither is it a being who has resolved all of his or her issues nor has become 100% master of their conditionings. A conscious facilitator is merely one who has dived over and over into him or herself, who has taken charge of this conditioning and holds it whilst being at the service of other people; a conscious facilitator practices honesty and sincerity with him or herself and takes responsibility for those moments in which a retreat is necessary.

A conscious facilitator does not push a wheelchair. He or she offers a crutch and pays attention to when the person no longer needs that crutch; he or she does not help, does not indicate: he or she supports.

A conscious facilitator offers the only thing which authentically has any healing power: unconditional presence. Without judgement, solidly, with no agenda, no pressures, no timings, no palliatives, without wanting to fix or solve anything, respecting not only the evolutionary point of the participant, but also the evolutionary point which the participant wants to reach at any given moment. Following the rhythm of the music that the soul of the person who is looking for a path wants to sway to. We point towards where the path is, which are the possible alternatives, but do not choose whether to walk or not, we do not choose the path for the participant to walk down. We only observe, support and go with, accepting.


Laura Torrabadella

Director and Facilitators’ supervisor at the European School of Ayahuasca


Ayahuasca International holds Inner Evolution retreats with therapeutic use of Ayahuasca in several countries in Europe. Click the links for specific information on each retreat.

Cologne, February 2 to 5

Vienna, February 2 to 5

Marbella, February 8 to 12

Eindhoven, Netherlands February 9 to 12

Berlin, February 9 to 12

Barcelona, February 15 to 19

Madrid, February 15 to 19

Fuerteventura, February 16 to 19

Mallorca, February 16 to 19

Hanover, February 16 to 19

Click here for a complete listing of  information of all the 2017 Ayahuasca International Retreats Calendar . It includes subsequent links to information, prices and booking procedure for each retreat.

For bookings or to request any further information call to +49 (0) 171 987 6655 (also available by whatsapp) or write to [email protected] 


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