Sharing Circles are a specific type of group circle.
Circle Practice is one of the most ancient & sacred ways people can come together. A circle allows eye contact between all participants, has no hierarchy, beginning or end. It also creates a center we can hold together, in terms of energy, knowledge, feelings and much more.
Ann Linnea and Christina Baldwin wrote "The Circle Way: A Leader In Every Chair" in 2010 which moulds circle practices from around the world into a basic, strong, beautiful structure of principles, practices and agreements.
Based on this wisdom & teaching from The Art of Hosting, along with years of experience and my facilitation work in the Refugee Crisis in Greece I have built a simple, easy to implement structure for a sharing circle for Humanitarian Aid providers, who are at a greater risk of secondary trauma and Burn Out.
This 'Do It Yourself ' tool has been used in different places and groups working in high intensity and complex fields, although we have found a facilitated training will help implementation. Contact me for more info or to get started.
D.I.Y Guide to Sharing Circles
Community based Psycho social support is extremely powerful in prevention of Secondary Trauma & Depression.
By sharing our experiences, feelings and fears with our piers we process and vent, while building trust and connection as a group. We can draw strength from the whole, feel better personally, and work better as a team.
I believe open-sourcing and spreading this practice touches upon decentralization of power.
The expertise of psychologists or social workers is critical in certain situations, yet as a team or community we can (and often should) take more responsibility of our collective mental health, emotional self care.
Volunteer Sharing Circle, Elpida Home Refugee Camp, 2016. Photo by Mounir Chadli
Principles of a Sharing Circle for Humanitarian Aid Providers
Based on "The Circle Way" and "The Art of Hosting"
Sharing Circles are a participatory practice- Responsibility is shared by everyone.
We listen with Attention, Speak with Intention.
Once a question has been asked and we start our circle, we speak by picking up a talking piece from the middle of the circle. Only the person holding the talking piece should talk.
We do not respond, make side comments or jokes- it is a monologue, not a dialogue.
We do not name other people in the circle or speak directly to one person- talk about yourself, share your experiences, feelings and perspective. Use "I" statements.
We listen with compassion and Curiosity, actively creating our shared safe space.
We ask for what we need, and offer what we can.
We welcome emotions into our circle.
We welcome laughter and tears, if they should come.
The center of our circle can hold a lot of energy, focus on the center when difficult or highly emotional things are being said.
We welcome silence to our circle, we can hold silence together, it can create space for new things to emerge.
What's said in the circle stays in the circle-
Although we encourage personal follow up conversations between circle participants.