Self-Awareness Counseling Weekend
Self-Awareness Counseling Weekend
Whom Does SAW Help?
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The Healing Power of Groups

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Frequently Asked Questions
and Common Concerns

How do you get results so easily and quickly? How can the results be achieved in 2-½ days?

You may be feeling skeptical about the rapid results of SAW. You may be saying that there are no easy or fast solutions, and since your problems have been around for a long time, it needs to take a long time to solve them. You may have been told that getting results needs to be difficult and expensive.

"The Self Awareness Weekend cleared decades of stuck emotions that were holding me back from living my life to the fullest. I had nearly ruined a nine-year relationship because of my poor self-esteem and inability to shake abandonment fears. After the weekend, my relationship is healed, and I am "all in" my relationship, and my life. As one who has been working the 12 Steps for 21 years, I thought I had worked through all my resentments and fears. The SAW not only showed me I was wrong, it lifted all the residual pain from my shoulders. I doubted that one weekend could make such a difference in my life, but I am a believer now." -- P. Milton, San Leandro, CA

Let’s say your car is broken down and you take it to one car mechanic who says: “In order to find your car’s problem so it can be fixed, it is going to take several hours to go over it and get to the problem. There is no guarantee we can find it. It will be based on your car and what your car does. It may cost hundreds of dollars to fix it and there is no guarantee.”

Or, you take it to an experienced mechanic who says “In looking at your car for a few minutes, I found it has a muffler problem; I can fix it in l hour for the cost of $150; and I’ll offer you a 2 year guarantee.” Likewise, the leaders of the Self-Awareness Weekend get to your core issue and remove it in a short period of time.

There are 25 hours for the counselors and participants to get to the heart of the problem and remove it. Often with individual, couples, or group therapy, a person will just get started on an issue when it’s time for the session to end. Can you imagine a surgeon going into surgery and when the hour was up saying, “Let’s make an appointment for next week” even though the surgery wasn’t finished?

The program uses experiential processes so each person is actively participating and involved. A person can’t think their way out of what they felt their way into. This is one of the reasons “talk therapy” doesn’t work well. Do you want to “pull the weeds out by the roots,” or only mow them down to watch them grow back?

The most crucial healing anyone can experience is emotional healing therapy. SAW goes beyond just identifying and quieting the pain. The counselors use Guided Visualizations which provide a rapid pinpointing of the underlying root causes of the pain, followed by processes to release the pain of anger, sadness, fear, and guilt/shame in a very safe environment. In order to be fully released and healed permanently, emotional pain must be expressed fully on an emotional level in a safe, protective environment. For some people volcanoes of anger have gone off, rivers of tears have been cried, and fear that could have shaken the building has been released. No one has ever been hurt, hurt anyone or anything else, or gone “crazy” at SAW. These full expressions are done under the guidance of the professional counselors who are skilled to handle these expressions, and to make sure the participants are safe.

The counselors do not work with symptoms; they get to the root cause and remove it. Remember, buried emotional pain will not just go away on its own or by thinking it through or intellectually understanding it. Without being released from the body, mind, and spirit, the pain will continue to create harm.

Let me give you another example of how experiential therapy works better than talk therapy. Let’s say you go to the doctor’s office and the doctor tells you that you have the beginning stages of a cancer. You and the doctor talk about it, how and when it may have started, what might have caused it, and the rate at which it’s growing. And then he sends you home with more understanding, but no plan for action.

Or, the doctor may cover all of the above and discuss and help you implement healthy alternatives to what you’re doing now. The doctor may then prescribe medications or therapies to check the growth, and for the symptoms so you feel better. Or, if indicated, he may immediately schedule you for surgery to remove the cancer. Finally, he will teach you healthy lifestyle tools following the removal of the cancer.

You may still feel skeptical and that is OK. All it takes for the Weekend to work for you is your willingness to change what is not working for you. Truly, what do you have to lose?

How safe is the Self-Awareness Weekend? I am scared to attend. It sounds scary and intense.

In over 30 years of holding a Self-Awareness Weekend once a month, the professional leaders have been committed to creating a safe, protective, nurturing, loving environment. No one has ever reported feeling a lack of safety at SAW.

If you are scared to attend, it may be that you are afraid of the unknown. And, yes it may mean getting out of your comfort zone which is keeping you unhappy and possibly in misery. It may be time to storm against your comfort zone and step into the life of your dreams.

Will the professional counselors give me the time I need? I’m afraid there won’t be enough time for me. I don’t want to spend the whole weekend listening to other people's stories and problems. Since the SAW’s counseling program happens in a group, I do not understand how you help each individual. Please explain.

Everyone gets individualized time and attention. Our intention is that everyone gets the time they need to get to a breakthrough. Sharing of problems and stories are kept brief and to the point. The leaders focus more on solutions than on problems and symptoms. Often the solutions can be beneficial to everyone in the room for their own person growth and resolution to an issue.

I’m a strong introvert. Will SAW’s program work for me?

SAW works well for an introvert who is willing to face their emotional pain and do emotional healing. Some people learn from expressing themselves and others learn from observing. What we know is that introverts predominately learn from their observations. What matters the most is your willingness to participate. Participating is an individual process. It may mean at times speak in up in a safe place. And no it isn’t about standing in front of the group and “giving a speech”.

SAW is a group setting. I don’t feel comfortable revealing or exposing myself in front of strangers. I am a private person.

The value of being in a group with like-minded and growth-conscious people cannot be overstated.

You may be concerned about revealing yourself and risking in front of a group. We so much agree with this that much of Friday evening is spent creating a nurturing and accepting environment in which to feel safe with us and with each other.

Friday evening’s primary purpose is to meet and bond with the leaders and other participants in order to develop a feeling of trust, protection, and support. The truth is everyone is in the same boat and everyone has issues that will be revealed. It would be different if you went to a “dinner party” and were asked to reveal your issues to those strangers. That would be absurd. There would be no professional guidance to support you.

In the SAW group a feeling of isolation is replaced with a sense of community. When one person shares his or her painful experiences, others can identify with those thoughts and feelings, even if the details of their own experiences may be different. SAW participants are able to feel a sense of connection and compassion they may not have experienced anywhere else.

The truth is you wouldn’t get the same results if you didn’t do SAW in a group. It is similar to attending a class. If the teacher only taught the class to you, it wouldn’t be the same. When another student asks a question, or talks about the assignments or reading material, or asks the teacher to explain more about the up-coming test, you learn about these yourself. At SAW the same is true. Someone may share about an issue that is very similar to yours, and while the leaders are processing that person, you apply the information to yourself. SAW participants often state at the end that they learned something from almost every person who attended, so they get 10 times more information and breakthroughs than they would have by themselves.

Are there SAW graduates I can talk to?

You are welcome to call the phone numbers or email the persons listed on the testimonials page, as well as contacting us for names and numbers of additional references.

What are Guided Journeys and what is their purpose at the Self-Awareness Weekend?

Guided Journeys are a form of guided meditations - in that one person guides another through a journey of the mind. The answers you receive can help you overcome issues or resolve situations in your life. They are a tool like hypnosis that can be used in the process of opening a cognitive communication between the conscious and subconscious minds. They are a physically and mentally relaxed state of awareness in which your subconscious mind is actively involved with your conscious mind in developing solutions to unresolved problems.

In guided journeys as well as hypnosis, you are in an alert state of deep relaxation. In fact in some ways you are more alert, more awake, and more “conscious” and more in charge than when you are in your conscious mind. They help you achieve a focused, state of mind though encouraging the rational, critical mind to temporarily relax. In summary, they are a technique of communication that bypasses the ‘analytical/critical mind’ to reach and work with the subconscious mind.

Your conscious mind, where we spend most of our waking hours, is attentive and uses logic to reason, evaluate, assess, judge, and make decisions, Unfortunately, when making life changes, the conscious mind is in the way. In the relaxed state of guided visualizations, the doorway between the conscious and the subconscious is opened, memories become easily accessible. In this state, you are not really “thinking” in the traditional sense. You are “experiencing” without questioning, without critical judgment or analysis.

The subconscious function of the mind begins to operate long before the conscious mind, in early childhood. Strategies for self-preservation and survival are irrevocably etched in the subconscious. Since our subconscious stores our life experiences from birth to present time, guided visualizations can guide you backward in time to prior events that were hurtful, traumatic, and painful and at your present level of maturity you can re-experience them, release them and heal them from the associated feelings, i.e. anger, sadness, fear. And, self-defeating decisions that were made at a very young age i.e. I’m not good enough, I can’t trust anyone, I’ll never get close again; can be accessed and changed to self-fulfilling beliefs and behaviors.

The major concern that people have about this process is: “I don’t like the idea of being under someone else’s control.” The truth is you are in control the entire time. You cannot be made to do anything you don’t want to do, and you will remember everything that happens. Your subconscious would NOT allow anything to happen to your physical or emotional safety.

Will I be left in a worse place at the end of SAW than when I started?

Absolutely not. The format of SAW is set up to make sure that participants leave the Weekend in a healing mode with no raw, hanging, or incomplete edges. You may feel exhilarated at the end, or you may be physically and emotionally tired after releasing so much emotional pain. It may take anywhere from a day to a week to a few weeks to fully integrate the changes you’ve started. Once again, it is similar to surgery. After physical surgery it often takes days and weeks to fully recover. SAW is like emotional surgery in that each person needs time for the healing to settle. You are like a newly poured bowl of Jell-O–it takes time to fully set up.

Where is SAW held?

SAW is currently held in Sacramento, California which is in the northern part of the state 90 miles east of San Francisco. We have celebrated the success of SAW graduates from all over the United States. In fact, graduates have attended from almost every state including Hawaii, as well as from Canada and Honduras.

Attending SAW is really not about the money or location, it is about choice. It’s about your choice of having permanent life-changing results.

How much does SAW cost and what does it include?

The cost is $1550 per person. When full payment is received at least two weeks in advance of the Weekend you will receive a discount of $55 for a net cost of $1495.

The cost includes 25 hours of direct contact with two professional counselors who give you all the individualized time you need and are committed to make sure that you have the breakthroughs and results you came to achieve. You may be saying that it is too expensive or that you can’t afford it. Yet, where else is it possible to get this level of counseling in this short period of time. Consider that counselors today are charging about $100-$200 an hour. In Japan, Redecison therapists are charging anywhere from $150-$500 an hour. Redecision therapy is one of the modalities used the professional counselors at SAW.

One option that is available to you is a payment plan. Call Andrea at (866) 204-6384 and she will work out payment arrangements with you.

If after reading these answers you still have questions, concerns, or doubts, please call us at (866) 204-6384 or email us at

Note: While the results described herein are typical for many participants, not everyone experiences the same level of breakthroughs and your individual results may vary. 


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“At last! After many hours and dollars spent on therapy, this extraordinary program helped me to find my authentic self and save my marriage and has forever changed my life!”
– Cindy H., Orangevale, CA
Self-Awareness Institute Counseling Center
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