Crossing Thresholds: online facilitator training


This Lapidus Scotland online programme for facilitators of reading, writing and storytelling for wellbeing consists of 12 hours of training, taking place as follows:

  • Saturday 24th April 2021 from 2 to 6pm
  • Wednesday 5th May from 2:30 to 4:30pm
  • Wednesday 19th May from 2:30 to 4:30pm
  • Saturday 5th June from 2 to 6pm

Priority will be given applicants who can attend all four workshops.


That’s the way writing often starts, a disaster or a catastrophe of some sort, as happened to me . . . whatever it may be that has upset me, then I can write and it relieves the feeling of distress.
William Carlos Williams

April 5th 1944. I can shake off everything if I write. My sorrows disappear. My courage is reborn.
Anne Frank


Skills Development

Are you interested in developing your skill as a facilitator of reading, writing, and storytelling for wellbeing?

This course will provide you with an opportunity to deepen your understanding of how reading, writing and storytelling can be used effectively to improve wellbeing. We will look at both the content and process of facilitation and which tools to use when. We will consider how to approach setting up and managing a writing for wellbeing programme that is safe and suited to purpose. While the focus will be on the use of reading, writing and storytelling for wellbeing, we will also look at how the visual arts, music and movement can be used. What we cover will be chosen by the participants based on what they most need as facilitators. Here are some topics covered on previous facilitator training courses:

  • How facilitators run their groups
  • Containment of difficult or emotional material
  • Crossing the threshold from content to process
  • Building a repertoire of literary resources
  • Responses to personal disclosure
  • Ethical issues related to boundaries
  • Meeting challenging behaviours
  • Group Dynamics
  • Clarity about purpose and what is allowed
  • Co-leadership and consultation with colleagues
  • Giving feedback to oneself and to co-leaders
  • Moving groups to deeper considerations
  • Balancing diverse needs of individual members
  • Responding to offensive comments or prejudice
  • Developing a new group in collaboration with other staff
  • Diversity in its many variations (age, race, country of origin, spiritual, sexual orientation etc.

The course will be a rich mixture of experiential and reflective processes. We will explore crossing thresholds from participant to facilitator and back, with demonstrations by three very experienced course leaders: Ted Bowman, Valerie Gillies and Larry Butler, plus opportunities for practice, feedback, discussion and the sharing of resources. By the end of the twelve hours, you will have gained skills and confidence as a facilitator and an understanding of your individual strengths.

Who is this for?

The workshop is for people who have:

  • attended a previous Lapidus Scotland facilitation workshop/residential; or
  • have experience of leading reading and writing for wellbeing groups; or
  • have a diploma that includes attention to facilitation of groups; and
  • people who organise and support writing for wellbeing or would like to do so.

Cost: £145 (reductions available for low waged, volunteers)

20 places only available. Early booking is recommended. Please apply before 10th April.

Course Leaders

Ted Bowman, poet, editor and grief educator will guide the sessions, with support from Lapidus Scotland trainers. Ted was a community instructor in Family Education at the University of Minnesota and an adjunct professor in Social Work at the University of St. Thomas. He is co- editor of The Wind Blows, The Ice Breaks, a volume of poems by Minnesota poets addressing themes of loss and renewal, and author of two booklets, Loss of Dreams: A Special Kind of Grief and Finding Hope When Dreams Have Shattered.

Valerie Gillies is a poet and non-fiction writer, the author of eight books. She was the Edinburgh Makar, poet laureate to the city, from 2005 to 2008. Recently, she was an Associate of Harvard University. Valerie received a Creative Scotland Award to make a journey to the healing wells and springs of Scotland and Ireland, to write The Spring Teller (Luath, 2009). She is the facilitator of courses in creative writing, journaling and life story at Maggie’s Centre, Edinburgh. Her book – The Cream of the Well: New and Selected Poems – appeared from Luath Press in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Saltire Award.

Larry Butler is a poet, editor, researcher convenor for Lapidus Scotland, teaches tai-chi for health, leads expressive writing, journaling, and life story at Maggie Cancer Care Centre; publications include Butterfly Bones (Two Ravens), Han Shan Everywhere, Arts on Prescription (Greater Glasgow Health Board). He leads writing retreats and edits pamphlets for PlaySpace Publications. His latest book There Are Others, is still in the making! And recently he became a grandfather and a knitter.

Special Guest: Penny Stone is a songleader, community musician, songwriter, singer and activist. She runs various community singing groups in Edinburgh as well as using music with patients and staff at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. She teaches music and song from all over the world as well as using songwriting to help enable people to find their own voices and voice their own experiences. Penny specialises in using music with vulnerable groups and to support mental and physical health.

Booking & Payment

To book a place on the course, please copy the following headings into a Word document, and complete with your details:

Post Code

Current work as a facilitator/organiser

Previous experience facilitating reading / writing / storytelling for wellbeing

What do you hope to gain from the course?

I plan to pay £145.00 by
Bank transfer / Paypal / Cheque (please delete as applicable).

Please complete and return the form by 10th April to

Payment methods: (Please put your surname with first name initial and “Thresholds” as the reference)

  • Bank Transfer: Lapidus Scotland Sort Code 82-20-00 Account Number 90040863
  • Paypal: Our address is
  • Cheque: Please make cheques payable to Lapidus Scotland, and send to Lapidus Scotland, c/o Larry Butler, Flat 0/1, 12 Garrioch Drive, Glasgow G20 38RS

Please contact us if you would like to discuss paying in instalments, or would like to request a reduction or a bursary.

If you have any queries, please email

2 thoughts on “Crossing Thresholds: online facilitator training

  1. Hello,
    I was wondering if it would be possible for me to attend the last 3 sessions of this course?
    Thanks for your help,
    Best wishes,

  2. Hi !

    I’m just emailing to check that there will still be a course in Facilitating running in September? I applied for the previous course in the Soring but it was full and I was told my name would be placed on a waiting list for the next course planned for September. I am looking forward to it and hoping all is well.

    Thank you

    Anne Flynn

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