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What was most valuable about this Session for you?

  1. Gaining experience with managing challenges

  2. realized that the challenges that I thought I only have seem common challenges that others also have.

  3. Learning from other people's experience - as always

  4. Discussing challenges for facilitators (in break-out room)

  5. Participating in an empathy circle

  6. I picked up some instruction on how to give the introduction at the beginning of an Empathy Circle.

  7. I really appreciated the timed check in and check outs which gave more time for practice as well as getting a good sense of everyone in the groups learnings.

  8. This session seemed nearly indistinguishable from the empathy circling practice events I have attended. The main difference was the introduction of the culture of empathy and values, which to be honest seems only somewhat related to the communication practice called 'empathy circling'. The facilitator in my group gave a few pointers about how they run the circle timing and they pointed out moments when they did something to facilitate. I did not really feel like I was receiving training. The only discernable learning objective would have been the ideologies of a culture of empathy, but again that seems not quite related to the actual practice. I found that values/ideologies-based introduction a bit off-putting and distracting.

  9. Connecting with others seeking to empathically grow themselves and our cultures and the opportunity to experientially learn by participating in group empathy circle.

  10. practice introducing and facilitating a circle

  11. Examples of different types of comments and actions that would typically distract from the EC process. Breakout Training Facilitators were well-versed and took time to inquire with each Facilitator candidate as to their preferred level of challenge and even if they had a particular type of challenge or distraction they preferred. The breakout circle I was part of had several common examples and it felt safe and supportive to explore the Facilitaor’s role in guiding the participants through the process. We had enough time to reflect after each round in our breakout (small group) as well as the large group (cohort). IMHO: very well organized and grateful to have experienced trainers as well as fellow candidates that were willing to participate in spite of some discomfort.

  12. Authenticity of all participants.

  13. Allowing safe space for everyone to share their own experience.

  14. I was very excited that Edwin liked my idea of "topics for an Empathy Circle" as a topic, and would consider an Empathy Cafe on that topic, though I'm not sure exactly what the "cafe" is referring to. I also appreciated have a short break included by the facilitator of my breakout group.

  15. Simplicity and effectiveness of the practice.

  16. Having the challenges & working with a different trainer. Each one we work with brings something different.

  17. Lou's input regarding ways to assist speaker rephrase for clarity.

  18. Getting time to think in a safe space to formulate responses to challenges was a good confidence builder.

  19. Discussion about the value of empathy circle culture

  20. Participating in the circle and connecting with those in it.

  21. The opportunity to practise challenges and receive feedback

  22. Clear instructions. Inspiring participants. People feeling included. Bravo!

  23. Getting instant feedback & guidance from group on my introduction skills

  24. helps to practice

  25. Timothy's feedback was excellent and detailed and highly appreciated. He really paid attention and was very helpful. It really helped me see myself as I am, rather than as I believe myself to be. I also felt it was good to have the choice of how we did the parts as it helped explore the options.

  26. Connecting more with people and becoming more familiar and comfortable overall with the process.

  27. Getting to practice being a facilitator and then watching others practice too

  28. I loved what Edwin said about asking people we know to participate in the context of helping me fulfill an assignment. That's a great tip. It was valuable to learn that as a facilitator I should keep track of how many turns each person had. I would not have known that if it didn't come up with the facilitator of my group talking about that as something he was doing.

What would you change about the Session to make it better for you?

  1. Nothing.

  2. Some stress relief tactics I could’ve remembered to deploy earlier

  3. No idea at the moment.

  4. I wish I could have talked - it was hard to truly just listen but not talk

  5. I can't think of anything right now.

  6. I would like to see less teacher talk time when new information is being delivered and more engagement through interaction and discovery.

  7. I would offer more clearly laid out instruction, such as a list of things to include or at least consider including in the introduction, and a list of ideas for topics.

  8. There was nothing I would change

  9. A more definitive training component. I don't quite understand why 1.5 hours of empathy circling practice was the main content of the first faciltor training session. Presumably everyone in session one has already done at least 3-4 hours of the practice?

  10. Appreciated the 2 minute break during transition from big group to small. Maybe another well-paced mini-break to stand up and stretch. 2 1/2 hours isn't at all too long for the session, but is a long time for sitting in front of a screen for me.

  11. None

  12. I would love to have easier access to the notes that Lou created and Rita possibly turned into an acronym that gives some guidance of how to deal with interruptions to the EC process and flow and are kind, empathic and still allow us to to focus on this new process. I happened across it while searching the sites one day and am regretting not saving a bookmark or printing it.

  13. Just try to be more present and aware myself.

  14. I would make a short break a normal and regular part of any 2 1/2 hour training session.

  15. Can’t think of anything at this time. I appreciate all of the hard work and thought that’s gone into the curriculum and materials.

  16. Time was a bit tight on our session.

  17. I was not clear that I was only introducing Trainers. So my introduction was confusing. I would like another shot at this section.

  18. Nothing

  19. NO idea,enough good as it is

  20. The check in does feel a bit too long with such a large group

  21. My perception: The man who is a new facilitator seemed to be in 'teacher' mode.

  22. A little longer in the breakout group, some people’s check in intros went on much longer than a minute.

  23. Only two partaicipants with trainer in break out. It's ok. One departed for airport.

  24. I felt the session was great as it was. I cannot think of changes.

  25. I’d understand if there were any boundaries present in the sense that I was overthinking a lot not knowing what might be inappropriate.

  26. Nothing - loved it.

  27. I would have benefited from more explicit instructions about how to be a facilitator. Even things that might seem obvious would be encouraging to hear laid out clearly. We are assigned to go organize and facilitate an Empathy Circle with the expectation that we would see how by having been in circles and seeing what the facilitator does.

What questions are in your mind right now about facilitating Empathy Circles?

  1. None.

  2. Kind of a balance between educating and doing the actual practice... part of me wants to spend time educating kind of the framework before starting. I think it has helped to keep the circles I've started with to flow smoother and avoid some potential issues. If meeting again with same participants, expect less admin review and more flow next time.

  3. How to adjust for different sized groups, I have gleaned some, but I still feel the need for more ideas about possible topics.

  4. Keeping the focus for new participants on just active listening (reflecting) vs responding especially with charged issues.

  5. How to get more men involved. Plus how to find people outside my 'bubble' with opposing views etc.

  6. None

  7. Overcoming my limiting beliefs. Despite having them I’ll still go ahead full speed and intensity but it’s hard to do that when you’re physically tense and have an inner narrative criticising you.

  8. Am I strong enough to show my vulnerability?

  9. I'm curious to learn how to close a circle and if there is anything important to say as a facilitator like there is at the beginning.

  10. Will we cover deepening empathic responses such as reflecting feelings not overtly expressed

  11. Getting friends to do Zoom practice trainings.

  12. More discussions about how to deal with misuse of empathy circles such as people using it like therapy

  13. What do we want the topic to generate? Fun, deeper sharing, fantasy, easy stories?

  14. How to promote them and also link that to promoting culture of empathy organisation? I have a lot of self doubt in myself that is working against me so I'm working to overcome my inner critics feedback. What is the worst that can actually happen is probably a good question?

  15. About how to best encourage people to participate. How to optimally engage participants so they wish to do it again.

  16. Goodness!! 1. How to deal with listeners using minimal encouragers (ie mmm hmmm or I see) when the speaker is speaking. We are taught this in psychotherapy so how can you politely tell someone to be quiet when they are listening?! 2. How to not reflect emotions or use immediacy (I got the impression that's not what we do?) so this is saying something like "It looks like you are feeling angry right now" 3. What about confidentiality - do we explain that what is said in the room stays in the room? What about people zooming from a room where others are present?

  17. What about people who curse? How that might be addressed, or not? Is that considered appropriate Empathy Circle behavior? What are a list of sample topics to use, and how to make the selection of a topic? What are some tips on selection of participants, scheduling, introducing, leading, and closing the Empathy Circles.

What is a Empathy Circle Facilitation Challenge you have experienced, have seen or imagine having? Describe it and any questions, concerns, comments, ideas, etc. about it? (we will try to address those in the Session.)

  1. ust showing people what it’s about by getting them to do it. Always going to be a challenge though!

  2. set the group of people who do not want to talk each other.

  3. How do you handle someone getting really triggered while a silent listerner and then insisting on gettng to speak next because they just have to?

  4. I worry about having a participant go after another participant, either directly or with subtlety.

  5. I would like to know how to navigate a situation when conflict/dissonance or resistance arises between participants, particularly when the stakes are higher.

  6. Same as above empathic distress. Also the term empathy bias and how this might surface in a group and how to deal with it.

  7. Because I don't feel I have had any training, every decision I had to make in my 1st facilitation could be viewed as a challenge. How to introduce the session, how to describe the instructions, how to correct people who are not mirroring, how to indicate time is up without interrupting speaker's thoughts, how to answer questions about what people are supposed to say, etc. Because no training or instructions were provided in the training, I figured I was supposed to make up my own approach to all of these things? Which I did.

  8. Participated in Trumpophobia empathy circle where someone was repeatedly responding to the speaker rather than reflecting. Wondering how to facilitate a situation like this.

  9. None.

  10. Issues with strong personalities talking over or reacting to previous speakers... saw some modeling of a different response where I noticed I would be tempted to answer or respond, but the Active listener kept the focus on reflecting the curiosity vs answering the question.

  11. I find it difficult to listen and be patient when someone speaks very slowly, especially when they are reflecting what I said.

  12. Dealing with strong/dominant personalities and encouraging quieter personalities to participate/contribute.

  13. Imagine having.... A heated emotional scenario between a couple of people - on a subject they disagree on or.... someone sharing very emotional & triggering things (for them) like in therapy. I don't mind dealing with the latter as training in psychotherapy but is a circle an appropriate place & do you tell the person that?

  14. A person who is combative with the process (I had sent her the 6 min. video prior to EC).

  15. People reluctant to open up so staying on day to day discussion resulting in the topic not being explored and people losing engagement.

  16. own judgement of language level and capability to understand the topic. overall experience of inclusion always encourages me to face those own challenge again.

  17. I've been wondering how to handle a situation where there is someone who is not participating to listen but just to express their perspective.

  18. I had a silent listener step in to coach the active listener when I was the speaker. I felt uncomfortable mostly because they jumped in too early to correct the listener and it felt like a boundary crossed.

  19. NA

  20. Same as above and what to do if someone does start talking about a deep personal trauma and the person listening is overwhelmed or freaking out!

  21. keeping track of time with other things taking my attention

  22. Self centred sort of dominant individuals with their own interests not respecting the process taking control is a fear. I guess what's a good way of us working out the initial agreement so boundaries are proactively set? So developing confident at setting and maintaining boundaries. I'm working a lot of personal development to improve my leadership skills but any tips and validation always helpful!

  23. People not reflecting properly, interjecting too much and appearing to a bit of lack self awareness, who appear to want to talk more than listen. People favouring each other leaving others out. A shy person who you can tell wants a turn, has specifically said they are shy and appreciate getting a chance to speak but is not picked by someone when you feel it is their turn and you feel for them because they expressed vulnerability and then happened to get left out. Sort of like musical chairs where someone hovers around a chair longer than they should whilst everyone else follows the rules!

  24. Someone this morning saying "I'm finding it hard to do something with rules & I want to break them and after every couple has worked together contribute what I think...!" It was right at the end of my session so I kinda overlooked it this first time as I didn't want to end on a negative of telling someone that's not what we do. I also know he is a therapist and he said he found the session quite hard working a different way. I think if it comes up again another time I'll have to explain that it's not an open discussion but the practice of listening and he can add his thoughts during his next speaking part. (Thanks - that has actually helped me work it out here!!)

  25. (not an answer to the question, I'll just suggest that we write or say "an" Empathy Circle rather than "a" Empathy Circle, such as in this question.) A challenge I've noticed is that it is more difficult when I'm tired. Also, it can get uncomfortable to sit still for a full 2 or 2 1/2 hours. I would love it if there were some communication to encourage people to move around a bit as needed. It can also be a strain for the eyes to focus continuously at the computer screen for that length of time.

Write a question you think we could add to this post-session survey?

  1. None

  2. N/a

  3. good enough

  4. nothing

  5. I can't think of any questions right now.

  6. How did you feel at the end of the session?

  7. I don't have any at this time.

  8. I can’t think of one at the moment

  9. Do you think it was informative to do a 1.5 hour empathy circle as the primary content of session 1 training? My answer would be: No, I have done 15+ hours of EC in the past couple months. While I don't mind practicing EC, an extra 1.5 hours didn't make me feel any more prepared to facilitate than I did before session 1. IE, I felt fairly confident I could facilitate an EC before session 1, and I felt exactly as confident after session 1.

  10. ??

  11. Can’t think of any at this moment.

  12. None.

  13. Is there a project involving what you've learned about Empathy Circles that you would like to explore? How could others assist in bringing it into reality?

  14. I have no ideas for that.

  15. How do you see Empathy Circles being used to make the world a better place or facilitate a bridge across the challenges that face us today?

  16. You guys have it covered! 👍

  17. We discussed asking persons if they need a break during the practice. I personally feel it would be disruptive. But open to trying it.

  18. Maybe a question for an a measure of confidence out of 10 with an explanation for what perceived limitations are, then each time a survey is done over time you could see the increase in confidence

  19. In what situation would be good to apply empathy circle process.

  20. What positive experiences have you had running an empathy circle

  21. NA

  22. I can’t think of any at this time.

  23. Do you have any ideas about how to contribute to a worldwide culture of empathy? (I like this question)

  24. Question could be do you have any tips for us because I had one about how to help "harvesting" whether you'd used speechnotes or another speech to text software.

  25. N/A

  26. Clever!! How are you feeling after your training session?

  27. The questions are terrific just as they are. I can't think of any others to add.

Session 5

Eli Circle Report

  • 1. There is a desire for a more-structured overview of the entire course during Session 1

  • 2. There is a desire for deeper dives into specific topics:

    • How to get people to show up;

    • what topics to use in circles;

    • how to deal with triggered people or our own triggers

  • 3. The resources available on the website are valued, but could benefit from better organization

  • 4. Some questioned whether empathy circles are the best format for training purposes or whether more time spent in direct training would be more effective and equitable, given that everybody is in different groups and do not all get the same learning

  • 5. Everyone in my group has plans to carry the work forward

  • 6. The Europeans/UK in the group would have loved earlier timing (I will work on this in March/April)

Edwin Circle Report

  1. Addressing real issues that we experience in our empathy circle at home.

  2. Training material - how to navigate it.

  3. Deal with direct approach - ver meeting people where they are?

      1. About autonomy

      2. Other Ways to teach empathy

  4. Space for unstructured sharing at the end

  5. As section on challenges and promotion

  6. Support resources

  7. Do empathy circles with fellow

  8. Have more embodied work? A break,

  9. Improvements on the website. - info better organized.

  10. Love the Empathy Buddy too and think that could be a great expansion and possibly gateway to the EC process. Would like to see that expanded: possibly sign-up and pairings.

  11. Need a taxonomy of topics Debra Maddex would help on this.

      1. Working with people who are burned out.

      2. Empathy circles

      3. More reflect the essence of what people say not.

  1. First week - appreciate the session.. Up front gave and

  2. Be more up front about asking for money.

  3. First session.. this is how you do it. the How to.

  4. These are the points. The checklist. A lesson on how to to give the empathy


    1. Like- the practical aspect of doing it.

    2. The pace of the session is well paced

    3. I like the The international aspect

    4. The buddy idea is brilliant. Can be an effort.

    5. Ideas to improve - it did feel like the 3 main people are men