They had each seen and participated in relationships and other systems that struggled to create and sustain working and fulfilling connections. In spite of best efforts and genuine desire, people often end up in the wrong place, feeling frustrated, hurt, disappointed and unhappy. Both Melissa and Bedford were determined to find the healing ground where individuals and relationship systems could find spiritual and emotional health and new possibilities. In her work in the corporate world, as well as in personal relationships, Melissa became aware that systems break down at critical junctures--at those points, addictive behaviors frequently prevented healthy connections from forming and impeded problem solving. Less than desirable results followed. Melissa had begun her own personal recovery process and began to see and experience her life's meaning.
Bedford worked as a family therapist for several years before discovering, through work with early mentors, what he knew intuitively: Generating healing for his own internal family imprint system would be essential to be effective in his work as a therapist and in his personal life. Bedford developed powerful healing and mentoring relationships with several leaders in the fields of psychotherapy, education, developmental psychology and family therapy and spent extensive intervals of time in intensive personal therapy and professional development. As this work unfolded, the Heartstream Journey Week, then known as "Treatment Week" was born and moved through its early development in the 1980s.
Melissa left the corporate world and developed her practice as a massage therapist/bodyworker, focusing on how emotional issues manifest in the body with an emphasis on how physical and sexual trauma is held in the body. Her work at that time centered on the physical healing process. She used her training in bodywork, many years of intensive personal therapy, and later, a three-year ordination process, as a springboard to developing her gifts as a natural healer in a variety of capacities.
Bedford continued to seek his own personal and professional development and began providing training and personal growth workshops throughout the US in the late '80s and early '90s. Those days of expansion and learning were wonderful in many ways and the Treatment Week thrived as many miracles unfolded. The intensive format sparked hundreds of new beginnings and hope abounded. The "final frontier," however, of a healthy, evolving, primary partnership eluded him until 1995.
When Melissa and Bedford joined their heartstreams, they knew that for their relationship to thrive, they would need to develop a new system, a new way, for differences and conflicts to become healing experiences. They both knew through painful experience, that romance and initial excitement invariably gives way to "Phase II," involving power impasses and the emergence pre-existing inner dynamics and projection. Every couple eventually faces the true challenge of primary relationships.
The development of the Joining Heartstreams Couples Workshop (now woven into the Heartstream Journey Week) was a result of this personal quest that Melissa and Bedford deeply embraced. The process was built around the "Four Quarters Container" communications system, which emerged as a result of many years of exploration, study, personal growth, and, finally, a joint birthing of this process in 1996, parallel to the commitment to embrace all of the challenges that were emerging and would emerge as their relationship progressed. The workshop and Nashville couples groups were then born and continued to develop and bless many. The integration of the Couples Workshop and the Heartstream Journey Week happened experimentally at first with, initially surprising - but now understood - deepening results for both the couples and individuals.
Bedford and Melissa have created and continue to generate programs that are life changing. Since inception, Heartstream Journeys have touched over 12,000 clients directly and many more lives both in the US and internationally. Melissa and Bedford anchor their home, local practices, Alumni Renewal Programs and Intensive Couples Work in the Nashville/Franklin area of Tennessee, while the Journey Weeks are currently held in North Carolina, Florida and Colorado. And the Journey continues....