What are any questions that you have about the training, facilitation, challenges, etc. that you would like to have answered? We will try to answer them at the beginning of the next Session.
Questions about adapting this to conflict situations, but can wait until it's presented in week 5, if that's the protocol.
Is there any recommendation about what to talk about?
Where is the racial diversity in the training cohort? What about this process is not inviting or accessible to people of colour?
Also- in light of next week's topic: how regularly do disruptions to the process come up?
I'm wondering what an interruption is. Guessing it will be described so that we can choose a small, medium or large interruption. It reminded me that last week someone said their circle had an interruption, but no one said what it was or what it was about.
Do you have any suggestions on how to integrate into daily life active listening & reflecting back?
Can't think of any
How to manage any interruptions in empathetic way, and and what kind of self care is needed
you can reflect back what the person says. and then direct them back to the process.
If someone interrupts out of turn, for example., you can say something like, "I hear you have some things to share that your feel passionate about. We want to hear them but when it is your turn to be the speaker."
So can give a bit of empathy, and then direct the person back into the process.
for self care, it is good to have an empathy buddy that your can talk to.
can do all the self care things like get plenty of rest, take time for yourself, etc.
What to do if speaker needs a bit longer than the allotted time because they are talking about something very emotional and important to them
Try to stick to the agreed upon time limits to maintain the sense of fairness. Let them know they will have time again when their turn comes up again.
some people can go on and on, and it is not fair to the others in the group. we do not want one persons issue to take over the circle but for there to be mutuality. That is the agreement everyone is coming into the circle with.
that being said, you also need to evaluate the situation.
What are the most common challenges that new trainees identify as experiencing?
See the Empathy Circle Facilitator Challenges Catalog . there is a large list of the challenges there. here is the link. it was sent in the last email.
What if speaker isn't saying very much but still wants their turn
it is the speakers turn and they and just sit quietly for their time if they wish..
noticed a tendency for ppl to naturally kinda piggyback off of someone else’s share. which is a very normal thing to do. i wonder what it would be like if participants were invited to share newly each round from nothing. that’s a whole other muscle and one that’s atrophied in most :-)
people are free to say what they want.. to piggy back or not.
The empathy circle - do I receive some kind of certificate? I would like one, just as another sheepskin I can use in my business. And something that looks impressive rather than a black and white certificate. Something that honors the role of advocating for human connectivity. Like Ambassador to Empathy Circle .... lol, just an idea. Hey, you asked! But seriously, we are all very serious about Carl Rodgers "unconditional positive regard". So, on the certificate maybe make a bold motto to reflect that.. I would being willing to put some skin in the game (buy it) for such a certificate/plaque. What are the ways in which we as concerned/woke/advocates get recognition that we can prove to the rest of the world?
We will send a certificate of completion to everyone that attended all sessions.
Do you think there are some topics that Empathy Circle works really well with? Do you think there are some topics that Empathy Circle doesn't work so well with?
Just experiment with what works well for you.
All topics can work. Topics that bring up feelings can go deeper. good for personal support.
Works well with people who are not listening well with each other. a family for example.
Is it possible to have an empathy circle without a facilitator?
yes, once everyone know the process and is well practiced in it there is no need for a facilitator, just a time keeper.
A facilitator is most need with people new to the process and when mediating a conflict.
How much to be picky about the listener's reflections, ie they don't exactly say it perfectly
It is up to the speaker.. it is up to them how accurately they want to be heard.
As facilitator I just step in if people are new to the process and I can see the speaker is getting frustrated that they are not being heard.
how to handle when someone is reflecting and while the speaker feels heard they feel no empathy?
the reflection is empathy. it is sensing into the experience of the speaker.
if the speaker has a feeling, lets say anxiety, or joy. and the listener doesn't reflect the speaker can express the feeling and get a reflection..
Will there be a study/design group formed to create the conflict resolution empathy circle class?
we have not plans for that at the moment. We the next while Edwin is focusing on setting up the Santa Barbara Empathy Center.
What was most valuable about this Session for you?
Getting to know some people more and hearing their views
Sharing and knowledge
Meeting people who are working together fighting the amygdala hijack.
Additional practice in listening and reflecting back; bearing witness to more people doing/being it; more at ease with not having to be perfect in my reflections.
seeing the "behind the scenes"
Practice of empathy circles
Insights which i got during the process, as well as personal feedback from group members, regarding some questions which i had
having a go at facilitating
Being able to facilitate with a trainer there for support
The opportunity to practice introducing the circle and getting feedback to incorporate for next time
I brought up an idea and we discussed it as a relevant topic
hearing others do their welcome
Practicing Facilitation; hearing things others said in their opening How To that I may incorporate; I didn't realize we can or should customize it and will play with that.
Realizing the need to modify the training aspect of the EC depending on the learning abilities of a participant.
I was in a group that was very encouraging and prepared for the small circle. I like that we have to take a few times before becoming a trainer. The more experience the better and I believe fidelity to the process is extremely important.
Emotional and otherwise support from the group member and openness
Learnings and practice at facilitating
the suggestion to use empathy Before addressing a challenge a participant has brought to the circle. Use eye contact when possible. Also, all of the nuances are valuable insights that are gleaned through practice, so I see the value of the repetition of leading circles. In the moment is when these pearls of wisdom are beneficial - they need to be practiced in other words. We all know to do eye contact, but in the moment it's easy to forget.
Responding to the challenges
The opportunity to continue to work through my own process and speak about my relationship with empathy as it evolves and have it listened to and acknowledged.
being able to give detailed feedback to a new person that was encouraging for her
Trainee roles begun
Practice handling challenges
the time i got to spend with my father
focusing on the speaker can be a challenge for me. I get lost in my thoughts still. Practice practice practice..
seeing and hearing more challenges with that as the foucs
A final opportunity to practice made me feel confident that I am ready tp put the learning into practice in an unfamiliar environment.
to remember it's a process, can be slow, take time
Great to be exposed to different ways of using the empathy circle. I liked the preparation material and seeing how it applies to actual situations. I found the XR case study very interesting. All practice of empathy circles is helpful for me.
new depths in understanding what BEING empathetic is, even when triggered.
I can make a mistake, in real time, it's a journey we are all on, and it's got an in-session disposition to take everyone into consideration. For those of us that are introverts, it can be a relief and also a challenge to show up and participate. I was asked to participate more fully, which I thought I had already done.
It was interesting to see my point of view change even though it was just a role-play. It was also interesting because some stuff from my life ended up being used in the role-play and that was cathartic for me as well as fun. I would never say what I said to a family member, but it sure felt good saying it in a role-play!
Beginning to understand & feel more confidant with a restorative empathy circle practice.
Seeking clarification on the suggestion that each participant bring real life conflicts/experiences to the current training/break out rooms: does each person in the circle bring a real-life (authentic) conflict? would the real-life conflict change with the rotation of the facilitator last? is there opportunity to closure?
New training suggestions:
Consider calling it a restorative circle using empathic listening process vs restorative mediation. Restorative mediation uses similar principles as restorative justice: injured party, responsible party, and negotiated closure. A mediator is a neutral party who acknowledges the skill of non-judgmental listening; empathic listening and the ability to recognize but not be influenced/manipulated by the feelings and emotions of the parties. Generally, mediation has 3 three outcomes: win/win; win/lose; impasse. Restorative implies repair; renovate; restore to previous condition.
Professionals who might benefit from this targeted training: teachers, mediators, social workers, advocates for minors, senior citizens, and medical caregivers; legal professionals.
1) session on semantics - the use of words that might; some that trigger good bad responses.
2) the role of silent listener: nonverbal communication of facilitator and silent listener (i.e., eye contact, body language; silent listener
3) challenges for facilitators – how to respond to attacks or deflections from the group. Words and phrases to consider when it’s the facilitator’s turn to speak:
• Should vs suggest.
• Understanding does not mean agreeing.
• Ask the group to consider alternative thoughts/other perspectives.
• as facilitator I sense there is tension or maybe someone is reluctant to speak
• emphasize this is a safe place; empathy is the focus of the session.
• as facilitator I sense people are speaking their truths; understanding does not mean agreeing.
• return attack/deflection with compliments: thank you for showing up; thank you for participating in the process; this can be hard and thank you participating in the process.
I was able to give suggestions and generate options. Which in turn focu family the family away from anger and refocus on the outcome.
What would you change about the Session to make it better for you?
More time reminders sent to the Breakout groups i.e. You have 30 mins left and You have 15 mins left and You have 1 minute left.
no changes required
How do you do everything? Stretch out work load…
Nothing. I did like that we took shorter turns toward the end as a check-out on what was alive in us from all the sharing/what we enjoyed or learned from our time together.
The question of fuming and confidentially came up, we could have had more time to reflect on implications of being recorded , and impact on how freely we could sprak
Everything was fine, perhaps little more clarity would be better at the beginning, while the intro presentation and instructions
quick loo break
make sure everyone has the directions and the directions are clear luckily I got them from Larry and it was so helpful to have his input
I enjoyed it, it was the first facilitator session I have been a part of so I don't have a lot to compare it to
I'm wondering now if a good practice is to furnish the How To handout in advance of a circle or not. When having a circle with family and friends, is this advisable, optional?
Whilst in the breakout groups having regular time reminders posted e.g.60 mins left, 30 mins left; 15 mins left etc.
I can't think of anything I would change. It really helped to have to video prior to session to be prepared for what we will be doing.
Nothing really, everything was well organized and the mood an mindset was great
maybe a little shorter in time.
In the breakout room, it would have been smoother if there had been clarity for a trainee who was appointed to be in the role of a trainer.
This session was incredibly valuable for me, I would not change anything.
Nothing. I was rusty because it has been a year since I did a training. So I have not always been clear about the roles.
Separate groups by topic interest
better for me? i was fidgeting because I was cold, and my cat was more vocal than usual.
SO, I'll change those things for next time. But these challenges for me helps me to remember to be more empathic for other participants rather than be non-empathic.
Nothing, I liked the opportunity to generate a session topic.
a mini break
I think it would be great to either deviate from the role model or to have three different scenarios to avoid a lot of repetition. I'm curious to know what would be covered in a 7 week course on restorative empathy circles and how to make the content stretch out over that time.
keep character through each facilitator "ask if" they are doing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rounds of the session to see how it evolves
Either one or the other - have all participants talk with the facilitator or have them all be required to speak to each other. Maybe at first use the facilitator, and as the rounds continue, guide them to speak to each other. Which i guess is part of what the pre-circle system is, give them time to be heard before being in conflict with other participants.
It would be nice to view a real conflict. Not something big that would take hours etc...but I agree, that is probably better in a longer program. What we did certainly peaked people's curiosity and would make them want to take a training.
Perhaps each participant could bring their own 'real' dilemma as the basis for their restorative EC practice.
See above comments
All facilitators should be given the same direction and participation.
What is an 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.)
A challenge was having 2 participants in the circle without functioning cameras.
Nothing apparent now.
I haven't experienced this in these sessions, but what if someone is frustrated with someone's listening/empathy? Does the facilitator intervene at some point or do we let the people go longer until the person feels fully heard?
timing - how to do it, share it and not make it invasive
losing control and it descending into chaos
People sometimes feel the need to respond or react to what someone has just said and they misinterpret what had been said or judge it
I experience challenges staying present on zoom, I would love to participate in an in-person empathy event but appreciate how Zoom enables us to connect across timezones and places.
Staying on focus with the speaker. Patience.
my most common issue is talking over the time AND how to keep time without being too invasive but noticable
It feels like if we set the tone in the beginning, we can work through anything together as a group in a "safe container," but am open to hearing what types of challenges have come up for people and how they handled them.
Someone texting & eating whilst in role of silent listener.
The biggest challenge I have had is when everyone is new to the circle. I consider it to be a good challenge in that it stretches my skills and makes me a better facilitator.
I had the situations in the circles that i led, when group members weren't listening to speakers, imposing their opinions on each other or tried to be dominant in the process
As above plus I imagine some resistance to adhering to the structure
I chose a low level challenge. The participant interrupting the speaker was modeled during the breakout room. I felt empowered to address that with ease.
Balancing confidentiality and safeguarding issues
Someone making noise or having noise in the background when they are not on mute/ keep forgetting to put themselves on mute and this become distracting for the listener/ speaker
Conflicting points of view in an empathy circle with different cultural backgrounds- separate circles?
interrupting flow and having to reset the tone
My homework circle I facilitated had some challenges, one of which was allowing a participant to enter the circle after we had already stated and explained the process. It was disruptive to invite her in, and without the intro, she was writing down what the speaker was saying rather than the eye contact and being in the moment. So, I imagine that I will present to the group in the beginning that the group is now closed, and I suspect that there is some kind of zoom mechanism to restrict new people, I think it's the waiting room, and I'm hoping that I can leave a message to those in waiting that the group is in session and closed.
Distractions are different for everyone, i wonder if there is a time when a participant is distracted but the facilitator isn't, what do we do if we miss a distraction?
in line with my question above: Is it possible to have an empathy circle without a facilitator? If there is no 'facilitator' I could imagine that it might be hard to manage challenges, but there might be some occasions (for example a family meeting, a heated relationship discussion, a conflict situation) where empathy circle is very effective but the facilitator is also participating, they may be personally involved in the conversation and therefore, it might be hard for them to facilitate or stick to the process.
there was some confusion about the role of the facilitator in today's exercise, so either clarification on that or being more intentional about how the facilitator plays a role during restorative empathy circles.
reflection without emapthy
going around in circles and being tedious without any progress wouldn't be much use. At some point, I guess maybe just the time limitation is enough to wear down people and get them to focus on the solution rather than the problem.
I continue to embrace the challenge of a circle with everyone new to the circle. That is where the true work of learning is for me.
Several people, new to Empathy Circles, had English as an additional language so it was a struggle for them to be active listeners..
see above comments
I have experienced Changing backgrounds, outburst, speaking out of turn,,,,
Write a question you think we could add to this post-session survey?
Do you want a different time sequence method that meets your schedule.
What was alive for you after in the minutes or hour after we concluded the the training session?
How would you get others involved in ECs?
Describe your personal expirience (feelings, thoughts etc.) during the session
sorry i can't think of one!
LESS !!! NOT MORE!!
I was able to complete this session survey form correctly this time. What a blessing! thank you.
Can you think of any instruction or direction that would have been useful to you before your first facilitation experience?
Did you have any obstacles arranging your buddy call?
In our buddy circles, is there a reason we take 15 minute turns rather than 5 or 6 minutes. I like the longer turns, just wondering if there is a particular reason for it.
None, i think these questions are fine
What did you enjoy about the session
hahahaha, this is a required question. :) well, ok, I'm good.
Where do you feel you are at on you 'empathy' journey
Don't want to make it too long. Maybe: Any challenges or successes you want to share regarding your Empathy Buddy call? Any challenges or successes you want to share about an Empathy Circle you facilitated between sessions?
Did you feel safe in this training session?
nothing at moment
Can't think of a question - Thank you for the dedication to the Empathy Circle. This is something I'm engaged in both personally and professionally. I'm enjoying it and hoping to keep up with this. I see the myriad ways of incorporating this system of communication.
What did you learn about yourself and your relationship with empathy in the last session.
What did you learn about yourself in the empathy training today?
Sorry, I'm at a loss here. I think everything is covered in detail. The specific challenges each person faces will surface over time. So, as this has been organized to require many opportunities, is a huge step in the right direction. It's just experience and a willingness to put yourself out there.
Can't think of anything
see above comments
Add: Did all Facilitators in the group have the same treatment,direction and courtesy? Were the directions clear?
During our session each facilitator was asked to become a lister more than once. Dee,Alex and Ann did not engage me to be a lister when it was my turn to be the Facilitator. It was noticed by Alex and the group at the end of the session, when we had 13 seconds left in our debrief. My feedback is what actually happened and not intended to be a compliant. However, it was interesting that I'm the only Facilitator it happened to. Next, I loved the entire probate scenario training and it actually happened to me, "I was my father's caregiver." The training was very engaging and I enjoyed Dee, Alex and Ann's roleplays