Progoff Intensive Journal Program for Self-Development

Bill Israel

Bill Israel

During the first major transition of my young adult life, I enrolled in an Intensive Journal workshop in 1972 at Ft. Hays State University on the high plains of Western Kansas. Forty two years later, in 2014, I completed the training to become a certified leader to lead Intensive Journal workshops.

My career primarily involved a professional human resource management consulting practice. Following my retirement, I began a private not-for-profit counseling business called IMAGINE LIFE: Transitions. I am also deeply immersed in leading Intensive Journal workshops.

The Intensive Journal method has provided a meaningful, ongoing support process for my decades-long transitions through three professional enterprises as well as a series of impactful personal, family and social crises. I have participated in approximately 25 Intensive Journal workshops over four decades across the United States and Canada

There are core features of the Intensive Journal process that I find significant and highly effective. The privacy, safety and non-judgmental elements of the small group writing process are innovative and very effective. I have extensive personal experience with psychotherapeutic practices and group therapy modalities. Ira Progoff's Intensive Journal method is not only iconoclastic in content and process, its effects are subtle, transformational and enduring.

Many of Dr. Progoff’s statements have had lasting resonance for my own practice as an Intensive Journal facilitator. In particular, he stated that “The Journal workbook is an instrument with techniques by which persons can discover within themselves the resources they did not know they possessed.” (At a Journal Workshop, rev. ed. 1992, p. 13). This quote is meaningful to me because of the “regenerative” life experiences I have had using the Intensive Journal process for more than 45 years.

At a very personal level, I lead Intensive Journal workshops for the ongoing healing effect in my own life. The emergent creativity I experience, as a facilitator and participant, is highly motivational.

Since my certification, I have led numerous Intensive Journal workshops in British Columbia and across western Canada for the general public. I also conduct Intensive Journal workshops for the following populations:

  • Prison inmates- a Canadian federal penitentiary in British Columbia (William Head Institution). None of the inmates who have been released and attended the program in the past six years has returned to prison. Prison management is very supportive of the program because they see the positive change in the inmates.
  • Homeless men who are addicted and unemployed - The New Roads TherapeuticRecovery Community in Victoria, B.C., a 50 bed sheltering and secure community. Management is very pleased with how the method is helping the men in their rehabilitation.
  • Caregivers - the Family Caregivers of British Columbia (FCBC); The method helps caregivers deal with stress and other issues in their lives.

It has been extremely gratifying to see how the Intensive Journal method has benefitted each population, creating great potential for benefitting society.

In December, 2019, I became director of the training program for certification of program leaders for Dialogue House (called the Advanced Studies Program). This is a great honor and responsibility because the quality of the program rests in the hands of its presenters.

Since facilitating Intensive Journal workshops in Victoria in 2015, I have twice been honored for my work as a Village Elder. In 2018, the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health at the University of Victoria, together with the Eldercare Foundation of British Columbia, recognized me with the title of Valued Elder Recognition Award (VERA). In March, 2021, The Centre for Earth and Spirit Society of Victoria honored my Community Elder Status, and the Intensive Journal work I do in Canada, with a two hour on-line ZOOM celebration.