Healing Circles
Healing circles are an evolving technology for individuals to heal trauma and create healthy support in small groups. This video explores the technology in detail.
To prepare for participation in a healing circle - particularly if you will be initiating the formation it is important to digest the following material:
This is an emerging technology. To ​blossom it requires people like you to develop individual examples of things that work for your group.

What follows is a summary of the suggested protocol for forming and building a group:

Roles: 

Group initiation.

  • The person forming the group will be best prepared by spending a year or more dancing in some mix of contact/improvisation, Biodanza, free-form dancing, Five Rhythms or yoga.
  • Having experience in 12 step programs will give confidence around the variety of defensive personas that people dealing with trauma present.
  • Having experience in sharing circles at various types of support group will give context for how to weave the different personalities in a small group into a team that is more constructive than destructive.
  • Reading all of the above material gives some confidence in paradigms that can be spoken and understood. Intense energies that cannot be articulated or understood generally become destructive.
  • Time with poetry, meditation, art and a partnering with the intuitive brain can bring a sense of how to receive unique inspiration/guidance that is outside the set of any system and must be honored in the group.
  • Comfort with grief, rage, anger, shame and pain in oneself will give others the space to have their feelings.

Group Members:

  • Over time one valuable conversation in a group is what each person wants to do to serve the group in a unique role they relate to and want to express. One person could flow a sense of innocent energy from outside the paradigm of the culture and group. Another could hold space and enjoy another's rage and anger with honor. Yet another might see images and describe pictures relating to the issue.
  • The sense of container in a group is the most important part of the group: Stable, integrated, solid and present spaces will provide a platform for healthy things to emerge in each person. Someone's readiness for the group in many ways depends on their ability to be present for it.
  • The relationships within the group should be circular. There are several implications of this:
  • Money, if exchanged, should be very comfortable for someone to pay.
  • The roles played need to correspond to love and ability, rather than any sense of superiority.
  • Leadership, when expressed, is a posture of serving the most fragile areas and people in the group.
Sacred Space:

  • The space must be clear of personal energy.
  • The space must be free from interruption.
  • The space must have a ritual element: a center tended metaphorically through an altar. 

Time:

  • Group meeting is every day in workshop setting to every week to two weeks in non-residential setting and should be 2.5 to 3.75 hours.
  • The first check in is to see who is present and to what degree mentally, emotionally and physically.
  • The next circling is the process of bringing each person present to the group fully.
  • This process continues every week until all people are able to sustain presence. Movement, drawing, acro-yoga, meditation, dancing are all part of this process.
  • When a group is solid and can hold space, the movement shifts to deeper space holding for an individual:
  • Group arrives 45 minutes:
  • Group arrives and does sit in-silent ​check in.
  • Group does a circling holding.
  • Each individual checks in.
  • A person is chosen for the circle.
  • A short break.
  • The person chosen shares everything they know about the issue synesthetically:
  • "It has these kinds of colors.
  • "When I move I want to go like this...
  • "It involves these areas of my life/work...
  • "I feel five and eight years old emotionally in this area...
  • "The emotional tapestry has these feelings at these intensity...
  • "The images that come to mind are...
  • "I can't turn my attention to this spacial area here within my psyche...
  • "I am afraid of...
  • "I want....
  • "I don't believe...
  • The circle listens, tuning into the area:
  • "I saw a color red and an angry bull when you said XXX
  • "I wanted to curl up like your child when you were talking about XXX
  • "I feel overwhelmed and terrified when you share this area....
  • The person opens up deeper or rejects/pushes back things that don't feel right to them.
  • As the group coheses into a sense of what the issue is, the facilitator will walk the person through the embodiment of all the roles/areas/emotions/movements of the issue.
  • When the person get's to their stuck point in the dynamic the circle's job is to close ranks in total support of the issue, lending their weight to the things that cannot be spoken, the pain that is too great to feel. This is an area of delicate balance:
  • A group member may speak the anger that the person refuses to feel.
  • A group member may take away some of the frozen energy by jerking their body and channeling the energy the inner child of the person at the center feels too scared to break free of.
  • The group may be completely still and move into a constellation in which the person roles someone into their abuser and then attacks them in the safety of the group without actually harming them physically.
  • The group may pause if things escalate too high and honor/speak all the energies each person feels to bring more respect.
  • ​​At this point the circle is complete for the individual as they share their new state/insight/movement. 
  • The group then does a sharing of their own learning about the issue and all stuck energy is shaken, drawn, breathed, presenced.
  • There is touch, honoring and thanks given as the circle disbanded.
  • The person who has processed/released is asked and offered help to integrate by group-members until the next session.
  • Someone from the group checks in at least once. 
  • When the group resumes this contact person in the group witnesses what they saw in the person at the center in their contact. This is honored by the group.