Women Only Workshops

The International Paruresis Association does not have any women-only workshops scheduled at this time.

Recap of the first all-women’s IPA Workshop – a big success.

Six women – strangers to one another and ranging in age from 18-65 and from all parts of the USA — gathered together in a Chicago hotel on a Friday evening to inaugurate the first all-women’s workshop. The group was co-moderated by Ruth Lippin, an experienced therapist from New York City who specializes in treating phobias, and Carol Olmert, the IPA Women’s Coordinator, a recovered paruretic, and author of the book, “Bathrooms Make Me Nervous: A Guidebook for Women with Urination Anxiety (Shy Bladder)”.

On Friday evening each woman introduced herself by relating her personal history with paruresis – when the condition started, how she has coped, her biggest challenges, and her goals. Such sharing resulted in the creation of trust and the development of an immediate bond between each of the participants

Following an explanation of desensitization, a method which allows for gradual exposure to a person’s most feared or difficult situations when peeing, each participant was asked to draw up a personal hierarchy, ranging from the easiest to the most difficult.

The morning started with the first of many “practice” sessions, the object of which is to re-learn how to urinate in the presence of others. Each woman drank enough liquid to reach a moderate state of urgency to urinate. She then partnered with another women, who would become her “pee buddy” for that session. She would position her partner to stand or sit in a location that would most allow her to be successful at peeing, but for 3 seconds only, allowing future attempts for that session. For some, that meant having a partner sit in the hotel lobby; for others, it meant having a partner stand outside the door of a hotel room suite. Once successful, she would repeat this step for a second time. Then she and her partner would switch places. After about an hour or so, the group reconvened for sharing about what the practice experience was like.

Gradually, over the course of the week-end, each woman made great progress in climbing the ladder by bringing her partner closer and closer. By the workshop’s end, some were successful in being able to use a public restroom, perhaps with her partner sitting in an adjacent stall or even talking! One woman expressed her experience verbally – “yahoo!!!”

Lest you think all we did was work and practice, we also managed to have a lot of fun and built on the wonderful camaraderie that developed during the first evening. By the end of the workshop, we were talking about having a workshop reunion!

Here are a few comments:

“It was really an amazing experience, and I am so happy that I was able to make progress in overcoming this condition… I was a bit hesitant about whether attending the workshop would actually help me, but it did! I also met so many wonderful people in the process!”

“I made very much progress in my shy bladder continuous journey, and I know it will have a significant impact on my daily life”

“If you deal with paruresis, go to a workshop. You will get much more out of it then you could ever possibly expect”

“I am fully convinced that anyone who struggles with his absolutely, if possible, needs to attend a workshop. You basically just practice, practice, and practice some more but it’s invaluable because you are able to ask questions, get support, and learn how to best approach this”.

Yours, in recovery,
Carol

Carol Olmert
olmert@aol.com

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