Resiliency in Action

The Story of Phoenixville and the 2014 Firebird Festival

by Elizabeth Venart

The town of Phoenixville has been hosting an annual Firebird Festival for ten years. The ceremonial lighting of a magnificent 30-foot sculpture of a wooden phoenix is the pinnacle of the festivities, which also include music, crafts, and a parade through town. Amidst dancing and drumming and in front of crowds of thousands, the enormous bird is set ablaze and burned down to ashes.

An Ancient Myth that Speaks to Phoenixville’s History

The ceremony dramatizes the mythical Phoenix Rising, a sacred firebird that lives for 500-1,000 years until it builds itself a nest where it meets a fiery end. From the ashes rises a new, young, or re-born, bird that lives as long as its original self [learn more]. During the Phoenixville ceremony, small ceramic “peace birds,” which have been created by community members of all ages, are placed at the base of the sculpture and fired in the kiln of its flames. Like the mythical phoenix, these little birds carry the promise of new life. Twelve months later, from their ashes, the phoenix stands stories high and is burned again.
Phoenixville organizers created the ceremonial burning of the as a way to honor their town’s resurgence.

» Read more on our blog 

Photo credit: Rob Staeger

Resources for Resiliency

Laura Gambrel, PhD, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Instructor of the Introduction to Mindfulness Course at The Resiliency Center, recommends the following 60-Minutes story on the power of mindfulness.
» See the 60-Minutes story

Elizabeth Venart, LPC, Certified EMDR Therapist and Approved EMDR Consultant, recommends this New York Times article EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), interviewing EMDR Founder Francine Shapiro.  The article includes a lengthy question-and-answer section with Dr. Shapiro on the research as well as uses of EMDR with pain, children, childhood memories, and more. 
» Read the New York Times article

Featured Events


Yoga for Stress Reduction

Mondays, 6-7:15 pm with John Muraco

Learn simple exercises and ways to use the breath to relax, unwind, and let go. Integrating breath with the movement of the body allows us to come more fully into the present moment – a practice that is helpful when life gets chaotic.

Learn more and register by contacting John Muraco at or 315-329-9838. 


Children's Social Skills Group (ages 6-10)

Friday, 1/2, 10:30-11:10 am
and Sundays, 1/11 - 1/25, 3:-3:40 pm with Katie May

Cost: $10/week

Kids Group is a social and emotional skills group for kids, ages 6 through 10.  Facilitated by Child and Teen Therapist, Katie K. May, this group combines yoga-based movement, games and social-emotional activities to teach kids:
  1. How to identify and appropriately express feelings
  2. How to listen and follow directions
  3. Self-control and impulse control
  4. How to be kind to others and to be a good friend
Registration is required for each class. Call 610-813-2575, email or visit to register or for more information. 

Quotes of the Month

“No person is free who is not master of himself” – Epictetus

“Can anybody remember when the times were not hard and money not scarce?” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls” - Aesop
Learn more about our Services
See our Google Calendar for all events

Upcoming Events & Programs


No Qi Gong on 1/22 and 1/29


Rest, Restore, and Move Class

Bi-weekly: Tuesdays, 12-1 pm
Rest, Restore, and Move will be a fusion of movement and postures that help to encourage and restore balance, length, strength, and flexibility to the body while also incorporating a rest element that invites awareness of how to use breath and imagery to help reduce tension. 

Registration required: class limited to 10 participants. $10 per class.

To register contact Brittiney George @ 610-389-7866 or or sign up online.

Clinical Supervision Group 

2nd and 4th Wednesdays, 5-7 pm

If you are a therapist seeking licensure, this group provides information, resources, case presentation and discussion, and opportunities for meaningful connection with peers. Special focus on trauma-informed case conceptualization. 

» Group led by Licensed Professional Counselor Elizabeth Venart who is also available for individual consultation.
» Learn more at or call 215-233-2002.


Divorce Group Forming
(men and women)

3 Tuesday Evenings in Feb & March
Cost: $80 for 3-weeks

This group is for anyone interested in getting support in coping with the aftermath of a break-up or divorce. This 3-week workshop will help the participants process their emotions through discussions, energy techniques, and other clearing modalities. 

The activities will help participants assess the emotional and spiritual value of the relationship and see how needs were served. This can shift the perspective and create gratitude and forgiveness. Also, processing the relationship with objectivity will help participants recognize unhealthy patterns so they are not repeated in future relationships.

Group(s) are forming now, so please contact Delia Nessim, Marriage and Family Therapist and group leader, at 610-416-7535 or delianessim to register. 


Group Tapping Session

Wednesday 1/28, 7-8 pm
Cost: $10

Join Delia Nessim, MFT, as she shares EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), a powerful energy tool to release stress and emotions that get trapped in the body. Each participant will get an opportunity to work on a topic of their choosing (pain relief, resentment, anger, etc.). The rest of the group can borrow benefits by tapping along.

» RSVP: call 610-416-7535, email Delia at delianessim or register online.

** If you are interested in joining a daytime group, please contact Delia with your preferred day and time. 

Philadelphia Writer’s Workshop

Tuesdays, 7-10 pm
Sit in on a Tuesday-night workshop for FREE (by appointment).  
» Learn More

Spiritual Poetry Evening

Wed. 1/21, 7:30-9:30 pm

Sharing the poetry and inspiration of Rumi, Hafiz, Rilke, Kahlil Gibran, Mary Oliver, and other inspired writers.. 


EMDR Consultation Group

Friday 1/9, 9:30 – 11:30 am
Led by Elizabeth Venart

For licensed therapists wishing to deepen their understanding and application of EMDR in practice. Pre-registration required. Learn more at or call 215-233-2002.  


Laughter Yoga

Monday 1/12, 10 am 
» RSVP Required


Morning Meditation

Mondays, 8:30-9:30 am


Evening Meditation

Thursdays, 7:30-8:30 pm


Qi Gong Classes 

Thursdays, 2 and 6:15 pm
No Class 1/22 or 1/29


Knitting Circle

Saturday, 1/3, 10-11:30am
See our Google Calendar for all events
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Quote of the Month

“So don't be frightened, dear friend, if a sadness confronts you larger than any you have ever known, casting its shadow over all you do. You must think that something is happening within you, and remember that life has not forgotten you; it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why would you want to exclude from your life any uneasiness, any pain, any depression, since you don't know what work they are accomplishing within you?'" 

- Rainer Maria Rilke. [excerpt from Letters to a Young Poet]

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