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The Human Condition

A Journey Through the Core Sensitivities

Illustration of a laptop computer showing the intro to the course on its screen


hile our team at Circle of Security International is always interested in the traditional “teaching goal” of knowledge transfer, we also recognize that much of what humans learn is experiential in nature. In the parlance of psychology, there is explicit learning–from arithmetic to reading or learning a new language. And then there is implicit learning–which is not organized with symbols like numbers and letters, but rather happens through other brain channels. In the Circle of Security Parenting program, we give the classic example of learning to ride a bicycle: can you imagine learning to ride a bike only by reading a pamphlet?

We’re all wired to be in relationship with others, and some of the most profound learning about how relationships work is experiential. We’ve created a Guided Learning Experience entitled The Human Condition: A Journey Through the Core Sensitivities with Kent Hoffman to be our first such offering. Derived from both attachment research and the seminal work of James Masterson and Ralph Klein, this blended online learning experience explores the three common, non-pathological patterns of defense humans use to protect themselves from pain in relationships. Through reflecting on the prerecorded teaching of Kent Hoffman and the materials he uses to bring the core sensitivities alive-- from videos to poems to photos to exercises-- the learner will explore how and why these defenses come to be. Because self-reflection is an essential element of this course, a journal is paired with a series of online reflection sessions, led by a trained Guide. Each learner will have multiple chances to process their reflections with others as they watch videos of Kent’s teaching which were recorded just before his retirement. This learning experience is designed to open up pathways to connection.

This learning experience will take about 35-40 hours to complete between the self-directed learning and the 6 live sessions scheduled over the course of about fourteen weeks. The video material will become available in segments, intentionally paced to allow one's nervous system and learning style to fit with the depth of the content. We recommend making time in your schedule for both the content and deep personal reflection --roughly 8 hours each two weeks should be plenty. We think that this guided learning experience will be particularly helpful for those intent on becoming endorsed as Circle of Security-Intensive providers.

Unlike other courses that take attendance, end with a test, and offer CEUs, preparing participants for specific work in the world, this learning journey is more intimate, internal and self-directed. Through private journaling, optional discussion board participation, and by joining the COSI guide and fellow participants in real-time reflection and sharing during scheduled Zoom calls, participants will feel held as they take a deep dive into understanding some of Kent Hoffman's profound core sensitivities teachings.

Though this course is about self-reflection, learners will also take a deep dive into what the Core Sensitivities are and how we think they come to be. The short video below gives a nice overview of Core Sensitivities.

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