Creating and holding a safe space for everyone in the group

Scan_ Resilience exercise processThe best of everything I’ve learned about facilitating, has come first through my training in Expressive Arts, and then through my work on behalf of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, and another program called PREFER, an acronym that means ‘peer recovery education for employment and resilience’.

What I’ve learned about facilitating applies to group work no matter where it takes place. In the process of all this learning, I’ve become very attuned to power imbalances in relationships and in groups. Certainly, one size does not fit all because everyone has different learning styles and there are all sorts of content and experiential goals. But facilitators need to go beyond providing guidelines for group behaviour to working with group participants to create genuine comfort agreements that create a safe space for all.

Good facilitators create and hold that safe space for everyone in the group, not just the outspoken or a favoured few.

I’ve also learned the power of metaphor; that storytelling in all its forms serves an awesome basis for learning just about anything; and that the most significant and life-changing conversations tend to take place in circles.

If you have a group, or an idea for a group (in the greater Toronto area) that will need facilitation, and you want to explore a more creative interaction for your people and to develop a learning experience that is principle-centered and evocative, perhaps we should talk. You can always reach me through the contact page.