Restorative Circles

Circle Dialogues improve the life of the participant by giving him/her a place to share worries, interests and experiences.  In so doing, each participant leaves the Circle with a plan of action and a network of supporters.

Each Restorative Circle last one hour.  The participants and the facilitator sit in simple chairs in a circle.  Over the course of an hour, the facilitator guides the group, preferably six to 10 individuals, in a restorative circle process.  Following traditional methods and contemporary best practices, the circle invites the participants to open up and share about an accessible topic that has impact in our day-to-day lives and all of our communities.  Each hour-long circle will focus on one of the following topics:

  1. Meeting the Needs of Others
  2. Teaching and Teachers
  3. Encouraging the Reluctant
  4. Caught in the Middle

  1. Keeping Egos in Check
  2. Recovering from a Setback
  3. Witnessing Conflict
  4. Making Hard Choices

During the circle dialogue, participants take turns speaking while the others in the circle are asked to listen.  To emphasize both the importance of the speaker and the importance of listening, a talking piece is used.  The facilitator initiates the process by asking a question and then passing the talking piece.  Only the person with the talking piece speaks; the others simply listen.  The piece makes its way around the circle so that each participant has the opportunity to share (or not).  The order of the questions is such that people are made to feel safe and comfortable.  There is a gradualism to their order and each one is framed in a positive and/or future oriented manner.  No question is designed to get people to feel defensive or reveal sensitive or delicate information.  There is also no political agenda in the questions.

What happens during the hour is “magical.”  The group is able to meet the objectives listed above amazingly well.  By placing all of the energy and focus on the speaker and willingly agreeing not to interrupt but rather to wait, each person is making sacrifices for the greater good, which is an essential community building block.  By simultaneously holding the perspective of each speaker, everyone is improving their ability to manage complexity.  And by being present in the circle as a speaker and listener, the group values sharing of ideas and emotions above all else.

Circle Dialogue provides clients with an opportunity to engage their minds and hearts through dialogue.  Circle dialogues bring people together to share their experiences, ideas and emotions in a safe space.  Participants will get to slow down their minds, and through sharing and listening, get closer with their thoughts, their feelings and one another.  Each person will leave the process with:

  • A stronger sense of community
  • Improved listening and problem solving skills
  • A more engaged mind and heart
  • A plan of action