• info@safe-mediation.com

safe·mediation

safe·mediation

ISTA2022-12-09T02:57:33+00:00

Assisted Feedback to ISTA

WELCOME TO THE PROCESS

As part of the International School of Temple Arts’ (ISTA’s) efforts to consciously address the concerns that have come to light regarding challenging interactions between ISTA facilitators/organizers and participants, ISTA Governance has agreed to have Safe Mediation as a neutral 3rd party to assist participants in sharing their feedback with ISTA. To reiterate, we are a neutral third-party that provides a safer container for participants to share their grievances with ISTA faculty/organizers without being disregarded.

Safe-Mediation has experience with assisted feedbacks and accountability processes in the field of Tantra and Sacred Sexuality. Our work is based on Restorative Justice and involves active participation from those harmed and those who caused the harm. We focus on equalising unhealthy communication styles and/or power dynamics, so the parties can move closer towards a repairing harm. We are centered in accountability, empowerment, healing and transformation. We help your message to be received and acknowledged without defensiveness.

We are here to listen

Denyse Ford
Denyse Ford
Denyse is a great listener and provides clarity to all parties involved in the process. She is a mediator in training and facilitator in Tao Tantric Arts. Denyse has coordinated accountability processes in the field of sacred sexuality based on Restorative Justice.
Anaisa Seneda
Anaisa Seneda
Anaisa has experience with emotionally charged cases involving moral damage and sexual trauma. Trained in clinical psychoanalysis, behavioral coaching, and ayurvedic psychology, she supports the co-regulation of the nervous system during difficult conversations.

Confidentiality & Transparency

Everything you share with Safe-Mediation is strictly Confidential. That means neither your name nor your story is disclosed without your consent. Only Denyse and Anaisa receive the information you share in the form below.

Both confidentiality and transparency are key to building trust among all people involved. The process is co-created by all involved, so there is a shared sense of responsibility in place to use information as a tool for growth and collective awareness. Prior to entering into a facilitated feedback process, all the parties sign a confidentiality agreement.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have the intention to keep this page regularly updated. We will keep updating FAQs with the most relevant information for the present date.

This Assisted Feedback process is for people who attended ISTA trainings or other ISTA events and have grievances against one or more ISTA facilitator(s) and/or organizer(s). The Assisted Feedback portal is the entry-way to an array of conflict resolution tools suitable to those interested in professionally facilitated conversation and/or a Restorative Justice path. If you are not sure whether your case fits the scope, please contact us.

Assisted Feedback is an option for you to communicate to ISTA utilizing the support of a neutral party (our team at Safe Mediation). Giving feedback can be a healthy way for you to state clear boundaries and to feel empowered in the process. That said, giving feedback can be challenging, because all sorts of emotions can arise; therefore, it is beneficial to have a skilled mediator to facilitate the process.

Reasons you might use our Assisted Feedback portal:

  • When you have already tried to give feedback but it doesn’t feel complete for you yet
  • When you want to speak up but fear that they will be defensive or unable to take responsibility for the impact they had on you
  • When you don’t feel safe alone with that person but you want to communicate with them

How do we support you?

  • We listen to you with empathy and an open heart
  • We honor your boundaries and confidentiality requests
  • We check how ready the respective ISTA facilitator(s) and/or organizer(s) are to receive your feedback without defensiveness
  • We check how much they are willing to be accountable
  • We prevent you from being exposed to a potentially disastrous conversation on your own
  • We offer you options to be heard while we support you to take care of your nervous system

In fall 2022, ISTA Governance opened this Assisted Feedback channel with the intention to provide a space for grievances to be heard and acknowledged. Detailed feedback submissions from the sacred sexuality community help to assess the magnitude of the impact ISTA facilitators have had in the global community.

Including members of Governance, all the faculty members we contacted so far for feedback have been responsive and willing to participate in the process under our guidance. Additionally, other faculty members have proactively reached out to us upfront to let us know that, in case we receive any grievance report against them, they will be open to listen and to be accountable.

When there is willingness to participate in a facilitated restorative process, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the parties will meet face to face (generally referring to virtual “face to face” over Zoom). We offer different types of Assisted Feedback because sometimes it’s not appropriate for the parties to meet face to face . There are many factors that we consider when designing the best approach to deliver feedback from you to ISTA. We consult with you in detail to design a delivery strategy that feels aligned. We take each case step-by-step, with careful consideration, to ensure all participants feel as safe as possible throughout the Assisted Feedback process.

Safe Mediation is a small team of mediators and mediators-in-training who have come together to offer our expertise in various conflict resolution models. We work as independent neutral intermediaries, not only in the sacred sexuality field, but also for companies and family disputes.

Denyse and Anaisa from Safe Mediation are the only mediators providing assistance to ISTA participants with grievances for something that occurred during an ISTA training. Denyse and Anaisa never had any connections with ISTA other than being a 3rd neutral party here. They never attended any ISTA training or events. They have no personal or professional relationships with ISTA faculty nor organizers.

Safe Mediation has had a presence offering mediation and accountability services in the global sacred sexuality field since 2020 and this is how Safe Mediation got on ISTA’s radar as a potential neutral 3rd party mediator. ISTA Governance first contacted Anaisa in July 2022 and chose to work with both Anaisa and Denyse because of their heart-centered approach to mediation and to multiple successful outcomes in supporting overcomers in the sacred sexuality field.

Each case is unique, and requires a taylor-made approach. Many factors are taken into account, including the resilience of the nervous systems involved, confidentiality requirements, capacity to hear/be heard, willingness to be accountable, and much more. Generally speaking, from a big picture view, the following approaches are available:

  1. One-way. You share what happened with the empathetic listening ears of the Safe Mediation team dedicated to supporting participants in ISTA trainings who have had grievances (specifically Denyse and Anaisa). You feel better having had the opportunity to share your story and to feel supported with empathy. You are not requesting any response from ISTA. Sometimes, having a compassionate, neutral ear listening to you is exactly what you need to feel complete and made whole.
  2. Indirect. You share your feedback the Safe Mediation team dedicated to supporting participants in ISTA trainings who have had grievances (specifically Denyse and Anaisa), who transmits it to the relevant ISTA facilitator(s) and/or organizer(s) involved in your situation. You get to hear from us how the feedback was received by ISTA, that is if you want to know. You may request a written response from the ISTA faculty member, if that would serve you.
  3. Direct. When you want to have direct communication with the ISTA facilitator(s) and/or organizer(s) involved in your situation. The Safe Mediation team dedicated to supporting participants in ISTA trainings who have had grievances (specifically Denyse and Anaisa) walk you and the ISTA facilitator(s) and/or organizer(s) through an intake meeting and a mediation preparation meeting prior to the direct communication phase. Safe Mediation prepares the facilitator/organizer to be open to listen without defensiveness and to be willing to be accountable. We only proceed with Direct Assisted Feedback when the participants feel safe enough to see each other virtually face-to-face over Zoom to communicate directly with each other. The Safe Mediation team facilitates the meeting and ensures safety within the virtual container. We move at a mindful pace that allows the participants’ nervous systems to stay grounded and integrated.

You are welcome to pay for the mediation fees, or part of the fees, if that feels appropriate to you. However, you do not have to. ISTA has agreed to cover the costs of mediation fees as a commitment to listen to grievances and to being accountable.

Is Safe Mediation really neutral if ISTA is offering to pay Safe Mediation to facilitate Assisted Feedback with ISTA?

Yes. ISTA is willing to create a space where participants with grievances can repair, to the extent possible, any harm they have experienced from facilitators or organizers. ISTA understands that this is only possible when the mediators are neutral. Therefore, it is in the best interest of ISTA that the mediators are impartial. ISTA intentionally hired a mediation team that has experience in the tantra and sacred sexuality fields to help create an environment where the overcomers would receive actual empathy and understanding from the mediators during the Assisted Feedback process rather than face potential bias against them from corporate mediators.

You have a big heart bent towards collective justice and you don’t want others to experience the same as you did! We get it. And we are here for it. We know that sometimes it’s not just about the restoration of the harm caused to one person, it’s about a bigger picture of helping a leader shift their behavior and be accountable to others in the future. This is why we value every piece of feedback… because each piece of feedback contributes to illuminating blind spots, identifying patterns, and promoting change for that leader. The more detailed feedback a leader gets from several people, the better it is for the collective. Especially when there are multiple mediation processes with one facilitator, that leader is cued into the need for a larger Accountability Process.

Although this tool of Assisted Feedback promotes accountability, we don’t call it an Accountability Process. We have a different understanding of an Accountability Process and we want to clarify our use of that phrase.

Currently, we don’t have any public Accountability Processes in place for ISTA facilitators, not as we define it. We do have that service available for ISTA facilitators and we see the possibility that specific ISTA facilitator(s) may move into Accountability Processes after numerous mediations have been done for any given ISTA facilitator. We are not there yet though.

What we have currently is this Assisted Feedback portal which can lead to a “direct” (see distinction “direct” feedback above) process such as virtual Zoom mediation. That said, we acknowledge that several ISTA facilitators have clearly expressed to Safe Mediation that they are willing to be accountable and some of them have paused their income-generating activities for now to take time to reflect and to get feedback from the community.

From what we can see, ISTA Governance is encouraging every ISTA faculty member to listen to feedback, to take responsibility, and, when beneficial for the Facilitator and the collective, to undertake a larger Accountability Process. These potential future Accountability Processes could be organized by Safe Mediation, as they are part of our expertise and service offerings, and it is possible that other organizations and groups will organize accountability processes for ISTA faculty. It is also possible that there are accountability processes in place that we are not aware of.

Public Accountability Processes organized by Safe Mediation usually emerge after recurrent Assisted Feedback given to the same ISTA Facilitator or Organizer. Accountability Process result in a personal commitment from a facilitator to pause their activities that have caused harm to participants and to undergo a rigorous internal inventory to change harmful behavior permanently. It also requires the Facilitator or Organizer to take intentional steps to increase trauma-awareness, to take public responsibility for the harm caused, and to repair the harm as much as possible. When Safe Mediation is managing an Accountability Process for a tantra professional, we organize an Accountability Pod with community members, mentors, coaches, healers, and advisors who will support the long process of rehabilitation and eventual reintegration of the facilitator into the community. We publish and maintain a webpage dedicated to each Accountability Process which allows the community to get in touch, to receive public updates as steps are taken, and to actively support the Facilitator’s restorative process as it unfolds.

No, Safe Mediation is definitely not an agent of ISTA. We are an independent company, governed by our own values, business standards, and principles. We are not part of ISTA, we don’t represent ISTA, we don’t speak on behalf of ISTA, we don’t share any confidential information with ISTA, we don’t ask permission from ISTA do do our work. We are a neutral 3rd party entity specializing in conflict resolution strategies and offering the tools of an Assisted Feedback portal and Meditation. Participating in a resolution process with us is purely voluntary, meaning we can only do our work when both participants choose to work with us. ISTA hired us as a neutral intermediary to support the sacred sexuality community to reach healing and resolution regarding upsets that have happened during ISTA trainings. When ISTA participants with grievances also choose to work with us as their intermediary, only then can we provide our Assisted Feedback and Mediation services. ISTA participants always have the choice of hiring other mediators if they don’t want to work with our team.

We have the necessary ability, knowledge, and skill to facilitate difficult conversations and to support people with grievances to successfully deliver their feedback to their ISTA counterpart.

We are not acting as therapists, coaches, lawyers, PR agents, judges, investigative reporters, nor police. We acknowledge those roles are important in society, but it is not our job to provide those services. Instead, we provide neutral conflict resolution services that support honest dialogue with the intentional of creating healing and accountability.

We are confident in providing compassionate assistance to ISTA participants with grievances who want our support to deliver feedback to their ISTA counterpart. We are also confident to support those who choose the Accountability Process path based on Restorative Justice as a means to repair the harm.

Our Safe Mediation team has mediated cases involving sexual misconduct and damage of reputation with positive feedback from both parties. If you wish to listen to testimonials, you can request them via email. Due to our confidentiality agreements, we are authorized to share additional testimonials upon request, but not publicly on our website.

As a prerequisite to enter in Mediation, especially involving situations of abuse of power, we carefully check the counterpart’s capacity to take responsibility for causing harm and their capacity to listen without defensiveness. We also assess the neuro-psychological capacity of the participants to enter into constructive dialogue, based on their ability to co-regulate their emotions in temporary situations of distress. When a party isn’t in a good space to listen or to be accountable, or when a party is still processing intense anger, we don’t encourage mediation. There are other tools, provided by other professionals, to assist in such situations, including, but not limited to several modalities of psychotherapy. We move toward mediation only when both participants are able to regulate their emotions effectively, to communicate clearly what they desire and request, and to listen with understanding to their counterpart.

Denyse is our Mediation Coordinator and an Assistant Mediator. She has a background in sociology and she has been trained in Tao Tantric Arts by Minke de Vos and Shashi Solluna. Denyse is a mediator-in-training and assists in the administrative elements of the processes from beginning to end. She has dedicated her heart and skills to support overcomers of sexual abuse by using principles of Restorative Justice. In 2021, Denyse organized an Accountability Process for Andrew Barnes, a globally-recognized facilitator in the sacred sexuality field.

Anaisa is the Lead Mediator at Safe Mediation. Since 2008, she has assisted companies and families in addressing conflict based on Restorative Justice. Since 2020, she’s been involved with mediations and accountability processes in the sacred sexuality field. Anaisa holds a Master degree in Business Administration from INSEAD (Ranked #1 Global MBA in the Financial Times 2016). At INSEAD, she studied Conflict & Negotiations (Harvard Negotiations Project), Management of Decision Making, Organizational Behavior, Power and Politics, Uncertainty: Data & Judgement, Leadership Communication, Business & Society: Ethics, and Psychological issues in Management. In 2018-2019, Anaisa supported the mediation lecturer Dr. Scilla Elworthy in launching the non-profit organisation Business Plan for Peace. Dr. Scilla has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize for her mediation work to prevent nuclear war in the 1980’s. Dr. Scilla is the greatest inspiration for Anaisa’s work as a mediator.

Anaisa is a certified Behavioural Trainer (emphasis in Emotional Release) by the Instituto de Formaçao de Treinadores in Brazil. She is a certified LifeStyle & Business Coach by the Behavioral Coaching Institute. She completed a 400-hour professional training in Clinical Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Theory by APVP in Brazil. Anaisa is a graduate from Tao Tantric Arts by Minke de Vos and Shashi Solluna and a certified Yoga teacher by Katiza Satya and Kevin Sahaj. Anaisa is currently working towards completion of her certification as a Medical Qigong Practitioner (Empty Mountain School) and a Bachelor degree in Ayurveda Medicine (Delight Academy) with a dissertation thesis in Sexuality & the Mind.

The term ‘narcissist’ is commonly used these days. Many people use this term to label those who seem to be self-absorbed in their own thoughts and needs, or express an inflated sense of their own importance, or have a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, or are not able to provide others with mutual recognition or empathy.

We are aware of the signs and symptoms of ‘narcissistic personality disorder’, as presented in psychiatry. We are also aware that many times, even though the term ‘narcissist’ is used, it doesn’t mean that there is a ‘pathology’. Further, even when it is a diagnosed condition by a psychiatrist, we are aware that the severity of symptoms vary. The severity of the symptoms of ‘narcissistic personality disorder’ will determine whether a person is in a state of mind that is sufficient to participate in mediation.

At Safe Mediation, we don’t diagnose nor label participants. We seek the healthy part in every human we work with. We constantly check how much capacity there is to listen to each other without being defensive, and how much willingness there is to take responsibility without blaming the other person. In many cases, mediation is a good option. There are also situations where mediation is not advised, because it would only create more separation. The worst thing that could happen in mediation is to expose the participants to a distressing situation in which they feel wronged or not listened to by the other participant. We constantly assess if a circumstance is safe enough to promote constructive dialogue and we won’t enter into a mediation in such cases where the nervous system of someone involved has limited space to handle dialogue in a respectful and constructive fashion.

Our approach to safety is to create a space that is “safe enough” or “safer” instead of “perfectly safe”. After all, we are humans, not perfect. We incorporate our mediation knowledge and mental-health practices to lay a foundation of a “safer space” for participants to enter in difficult dialogue, step-by-step.

Prior to entering into mediation, the participants sign a mediation & confidentiality agreement which signals their commitment to show up for mediation and to provide more safety to all parties involved. Moreover, we keep the facts of each case confidential within the specific mediators working with you on your specific case. That means that the content of your case isn’t disclosed to other team members of Safe Mediation who aren’t working on your case.

During meditation, we facilitate a virtual space over Zoom that is constructive and restorative. As needed, we do exercises and check-in with all participants throughout the meeting to help maintain calm nervous systems. We check in with participants before meditation to assess readiness, to ensure that all participants have enough space to listen to each other without defensiveness. After mediation, we check in afterwards to see how each participant is integrating the work we did together in mediation.

This Assisted Feedback portal is a space for:

  • Expressing feelings and needs without being made wrong for it
  • Being heard and listened to without defensiveness
  • Acknowledging the impact on you and on another, regardless of your/their intention
  • Being curious, clarifying assumptions and perceptions
  • Being authentic and honest
  • Recognizing power dynamics (and how you might have given your power away, for example)
  • Being accountable
  • Taking responsibility for having contributed to undesired, harmful outcomes (we shift the conversation from blaming outwardly to looking internally to see how each person contributed to the outcome)
  • Making amendments to repair harm to the extent possible
  • Embracing duality and the complexity of being human
  • Being present with your breath and your body
  • Regulating your nervous system, observing physiological responses, and preventing overload

This is NOT a space for:

  • Judgement or projection
  • Self-absorption
  • Lack of ownership or responsibility for your actions
  • Giving unrequested advice
  • Dehumanizing others
  • Causing harm

At Safe Mediation, we are not favoring one participant over another. We know that, if we did so, that would destroy any chances of success for a mediation case.

First, mediators need to see both sides without judgment and to treat participants equally. If a mediator is favoring one side or opinion more than another, than the other side will be defensive and shut down, killing any chance for resolution. Therefore, it is an ethical requirement, and common sense, that mediators need to be impartial.

There is a common challenge presented in the beginning stages of mediation. A potential mediation participant might be suspicious of the impartiality of the mediator exactly because the mediator doesn’t take sides. That seems paradoxical, but here is how it goes… When someone is hurt and angry, there is a tendency to bond with people who take their side against the counterpart, and to reject people who don’t. “Either you are with me or with my antagonist; you can’t be with both”. We agree, it is important to have discernment about if a mediator is favoring one participant over another or is choosing one opinion or argument over another. The best way to access impartiality is to check if your mediator can have empathy for one party without blaming the other, and vice-versa. Impartiality is beyond technique; it comes from a neutral heart-centered, balanced perspective of what happened. It involves making space for emotions to be felt and expressed without making a person wrong for it. It involves understanding the underlying needs and fears, as well as the shares of contribution and accountability to a harmful situation, instead of feeding shame, blame and defensiveness. Our mediators operate with an experienced and mature integrity when it comes to impartiality; we always disclose any pre-existing relationships that could pose a conflict of interest and the mediation participants always have the option of choosing another mediator if they think a particular mediator will not treat them impartially. This is one reason why we’re highly effective tantra-positive mediators!

1. Fill out the Contact Form below. It will get the ball rolling and bring structure to your process. Only Denyse and Anaisa on our Safe Mediation team will have access to the messages received through this Assisted Feedback portal.

2. After your intake form has been submitted, Denyse, will follow up with you. We will schedule a private Zoom call with you to dive deeper into understanding what happened, to discuss the various aspects of an Assisted Feedback process, and to address any questions, expectations, or concerns you may have.

3. Anaisa and Denyse will propose steps for you to take, based on what you hope to achieve with this restorative process. Then you get to choose how you want to move forward. We encourage you to speak to people in your circle of trust to assist you in your decision. Every step is an invitation. Nothing is forced or rushed. You may opt to have Denyse and/or Anaisa facilitate a live Zoom feedback session with the ISTA Facilitator or Organizer you had a challenging experience with. Alternatively, you may choose to use written communication to give feedback and to the ISTA Facilitator or Organizer if you want a less direct process of facilitated communication.

We will support you every step of the way. We understand how important communication is for healing. We will use our highly attuned set of co-regulation tools to facilitate your communication process. We also understand that your expectations or desires may change over the course of the process and we will be flexible and flow with you as we work together with the intention to create healing and accountability. We are here to help you… and you can always withdraw from the process at any point if it is not serving you.

I’m afraid they won’t be interested enough in listening to my feedback. What to do?2022-11-30T13:28:31+00:00

If you experienced distress with a person in a position of power, it is very common to think that they won’t listen to feedback with an open heart. Maybe you even tried to give feedback before and didn’t go well. Based on past interactions, or on the core need to protect yourself from being dismissed, you convince yourself that feedback will be worthless or even damaging to you.

Common thoughts people have towards the person who caused them distress:

  • “They are not interested enough in listening to my experience”
  • “They will be defensive, justify their actions, or turn it against me”
  • “They will not take any responsibility for their actions”
  • “They will not take any steps to repair the harm caused”
  • “Maybe they are willing to listen to other people but not to me”
  • “Maybe their peers are willing to be accountable but not the one who I have a problem with”

Maybe your assumptions are true. Maybe they were once true but things have shifted. And we are here to double-check that for you now. You might be surprised that, in many cases, when we approach the counterparty, they show up with a desire to listen and be accountable. Our experience shows that, by adding a neutral intermediary, defenses drop and give space to more understanding and willingness to restore the harm.

I’ve tried to communicate this before and it didn’t work. Why should I give it another try?2022-11-16T10:36:50+00:00

Most people already tried to communicate a pressing issue to those who caused them harm. They did so either via direct approach, letter or through an intermediary. In many cases, unfortunately, the counterpart either neglected them or adopted a defensive position. You might think your counterpart will never listen to you because you already tried in the past. You might have even tried mediation before and you felt the mediator was biased against you or not skilled enough to hold the conversation well. You might be thinking your counterpart will just say the “right words” without being fully authentic. This is probably very exhausting, time-consuming, and draining, therefore, investing more time in this process creates contractions in your body. We get it. Your nervous system wants to protect you from getting drained again! We agree it takes a skilled neutral & professional mediator to catch and prevent destructive communication traits and unbalanced power dynamics. And that is Safe Mediation’s expertise. We have experience handling sensitive conflicts from an emotionally-attuned and trauma-informed lens. Our mediators are trained in mental health and have spent years consciously developing their emotional intelligence and ability to attune to sensitive situations with integrity and clarity.

I don’t need mediation. Why would mediation be useful for me?2022-11-16T10:29:10+00:00

Mediation means different things to different people. Many believe that mediation is something you do when you want to restore a relationship with someone. What if you don’t want to be friends with the person you have issues with? Or, what if you are already in amicable communication with someone? Then mediation is not for you, right? Actually, that’s not necessarily true.

Mediation is a powerful tool to get a difficult message across, to get your voice heard, to experience healing, and to restore a sense of justice and accountability. Safe Mediation is not aiming to make people friends or act nice to each other. We are here to facilitate a space where issues can be truly addressed without avoidance or defensiveness. We are here to help people get through difficult conversations by creating a space where mediation participants commit to truly listen to each other. The bottom line of mediation is that we facilitate an environment where communication is delivered respectfully and the listener is encouraged to deeply reflect on the other person’s experience. 


Get in touch

Please send an email to info@safe-mediation.com with your message. Only Denyse and Anaisa will have access to your message. We won’t share your message with anybody else without your clear consent.

Let us know if you have any questions, comments, or requests regarding an Assisted Feedback process. Please share any relevant information about your background that would be helpful for us to know. We invite you to explain what happened between you and an ISTA facilitator/organizer(s).

We want this process to be supportive for all involved and we are open to your suggestions and feedback to make this process even better.

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