Fear is a natural human response to living. Some fears are necessary for survival, some we have to learn to live with. They moderate our lives – whether we are aware of their influence or not. In the task of becoming adult, gathering ourselves, knowing ourselves, having ourselves, having self confidence – the challenge of understanding and managing fear is ongoing.

For women in particular, fears typically show up in the symptoms of depression, anxiety, worry about our appearance, a reluctance to leave a destructive relationship and, of course, in conflict. Sometimes our lives become frozen by one act, one fear, one moment.

“Gender differences occur particularly in the rates of common mental disorders – depression, anxiety and somatic complaints. These disorders, in which women predominate, affect approximately 1 in 3 people in the community and constitute a serious public health problem.” (WHO, 2012)

“A crucial driving force, for the individuals or groups affected, fear is both a cause and a result of conflict.” (Feminenza Report to UN WOMEN, 2011)

The good news, however, is that one can take charge of one’s life. The Understanding and Managing Fear process is a two day experience, from an original idea developed by Position Purple (Israel) with excellent results with military personnel and civilians. In 2008-2011 Feminenza worked extensively with victims of armed conflict, in conditions where Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was common and where communities were still in mortal danger. In 2012, the process was extensively updated to to reflect current evidence and to ensure that the fears of both feminine and masculine genders were effectively represented and addressed.

The process provides women and men with the tools to:

  • identify one’s fears
  • learn how to bring fears to a standstill
  • gain deeper insight and understanding of oneself, to be less affected by fear
  • acquire the means to manage ongoing fears quietly, resolutely
  • move on, re-acquire choice, restart a self-determining existence

There is no need to share any part of one’s life with the others participating in the process. Although it is a workshop, undertaken with others, the process is utterly private and it is effective. Specially trained and accredited facilitators conduct the process.

The Experience

The process usually takes two days. It starts with a half day briefing. These help you to grasp how, and why, fear overcomes the rational mind, floods the senses, feelings and – very often – leads to loss of self control upon one’s subsequent actions. It is followed by a guided, private and reflective, three-stage experience:

  • The first stage is a process in which participants are guided through a sequence in which they identify fears that have affected them.
  • The second stage enables the participant to reflect upon the other inner influences in their life: strengths, qualities and achievements
  • The third and final stage is where participants review, in a structured way, the trace of their life so far and, pivotally, take decisions about how they wish to face their future life. The decisions are simple, practical, and must be utterly achievable.


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UMF Workshop, Kenya

No matter how much we have been through, and it has been a lot, I feel we can do anything, if we want to. It gives me strength to learn how you can help someone with something so simple and powerful.

Find out more

If you want to try out the experience for yourself, or if you want to improve your abilities in supporting groups with special needs, please email fear.management@feminenza.org.