Category Archives: Group Processes

Are you the RIGHT facilitator for this group?

prana

An interesting new completion and celebration process emerges during a ‘wrap’ session for a hard working team. There were ten people in the group with one additional member who ‘skyped in’ for one hour during the day.

I had chosen ‘self and peer assessment’ as the heart of our schedule with warm-ups and energisers as required. To foster a sense of retrospection for the completion of a massive project we started with the processes of paintings and a walking meditation to choose an item from nature to describe our present feelings/space.

Every one was tired. Most people chose rocks, flowers, stones and pinecones.

One person produced a concrete brick, let it thud onto the floor and then collapsed in a heap and said she had no energy.

Obviously the group was ‘not up for’ a rigorous ‘self and peer assessment’ process.

My preparation had included reflecting on a list of the reasons why someone might NOT be the right facilitator for a group. This list included: ‘Do I have the RIGHT process for this group?’ and ‘ Do I know what is BEST for this group’. Answering yes to either of these questions would suggest that I was NOT the right person to be in the facilitator role!!!

The plan had to change. I shared my thoughts and asked the group for suggestions.

We decided to proceed with the self and peer process but only with the affirmative part of it, omitting the ‘what could be done differently’ stage. We created a ‘nest’ in the middle of the room, a large 2metre circular cushion, surrounded by candles. The group members took turns to lie on it and receive massages, songs and affirmations.. Each member had about 15 mins on the cushion.

The group luxuriated in each others affirmations, acknowledgements and healing attention. What manifested was a tailor-made completion, individual and group celebration in one process. Everyone had more energy at the end of the session than they did at the beginning of the day and felt grounded and complete.

Our training at Zenergy is to trust the resources of the group. This brilliant group found a way to complete and celebrate their work together while honouring the energy that was present. It may be necessary at a future time to talk about ‘what could be different’ in the groups next venture, however at this point in time what was required was an acknowledgement of Whole Personhood at it’s Zenergy finest. J

Karen

Resources: The Art of Facilitation revised edition.
Self and Peer assessment process is on page 27
The list I refer to in the blog is on page 67 in the section called ‘Being with a group’.

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Digesting the Darkness

Digesting the Darkness by Dale Hunter 

In a 1 ½ hour workshop at the Australian Facilitators Conference (AFN) in Alice Springs, September 2014, I led a conversation about facilitators’ becoming triggered while working with groups.

This session was supported by facilitator/musician Karen Hunter.

From the workshop promo:

The workshop answers the frequent question at Master Classes, “How do I facilitate when triggered?”

This is done by offering a process template, which can be interpreted in many different ways depending on culture, prior practices, and experience. The process template provides a well -tested generic approach for coming back to full presence within a short timeframe (hopefully within minutes) after being triggered.

The workshop will begin with an introductory activity and then participants will discuss what it means to be triggered (or become negatively activated) while facilitating and the problems that ensue. Examples will be shared by presenter and participants.

Then the generic process “Digesting the Darkness” will be shared and discussed.

We will experiment in pairs, small groups and the large group – playing with and adapting the process to each person’s values, skill sets and cultural preferences.

Workshop Process

The workshop began with my admission that I do get triggered when facilitating even though I have been facilitating for 30 years. I gave an example and then asked the 40 or so participants to share in 3’s their experiences of being triggered. There was a very lively discussion for 15-20 minutes and the sharing with the whole group indicated a sense of relief that we could talk about this aspect of facilitation and its “normality”.

The small groups of 3 then shared their strategies for becoming recentered / regrounded. Again there was a real sense of relief and much interest in one another’s input. Some of these strategies were shared in the large group.

I then shared a template, which had been developed at a Zenergy Master Class in 2013 called Digesting the Darkness.

 Digesting the Darkness
 Process Steps

Trigger:   The facilitator becomes “triggered” (emotionally activated).

React:   The beginnings of emotion (e.g. anger, fear, grief, or other “upset”) occur.

Notice:   The facilitator notices the reaction in the light of their own awareness.

Pause: The facilitator presses their internal pause button on their reaction.

Ground: The facilitator practices their own version of a grounding/ centering process (such as connecting with the body and breath, slowing and deepening breathing: and grounding themselves (feeling feet on the earth and connecting/ feeling into the earth).

Connect: The facilitator connects with the group (places their attention back on the whole group) and reconnects consciously with the group purpose. Standing in the group purpose and being grounded the facilitator continues to work with the group in a safe and inclusive way.

There is (as always) the very important need to debrief after the facilitation with a co-facilitator, peer, or mentor and attend to any residual emotions.

The big take out from the workshop for me was the relief of facilitators in realizing that they/we were all normal and that getting triggered can be an everyday occurrence for facilitators. Getting triggered is not the problem. The problem is how we can grow our awareness to notice quickly when we are triggered, get regrounded and reconnected with the group purpose and so lessen the likelihood of acting out in the group. Do remember, too, that it is crucial to have an explicit group purpose.