Bring circle to your work with our training and supervision
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Circle facilitator training
Learn how to plan and hold trauma-informed circles with our training.
Our training blends learning and practice to help you build and hold circle with confidence. Learn from our experiences of holding circle with survivors of sexual harm and relationship abuse. We'll help you work in a way that is trauma-informed and can support your work from planning your first circle through to your on-going development as a practitioner.
Our training is suitable for
All levels of experience, from beginners to people who want to grow in their existing circle practice
Learning how to hold online or in person circles
Building circles to support clients or to support internal teams
Work in therapeutic, education, community or workplace settings
Learning how to hold one-off circles, develop a programme of circles or establish ongoing circle communities
Learn how to hold trauma-informed circles with us
Our circle facilitator training
Our training blends learning, practice and reflection helping you to become an informed and skilful practitioner.
During your time with us you will learn
What circle is
The origins of circle and the ways in which it can be used today
The format of circle
The importance of intention
The power of silence
The agreements and why we have them
How to plan a session
How to write an invitation
How to plan a circle programme
Using circle in meetings, with clients, and as community-building practice
The trauma-informed elements of circle
Good practice in your development as a practitioner
You will practice
Being in circle as a participant
Being in circle as a guardian
Being in circle as a host
Writing invitations to circle
Planning and holding different types of circles
You will be invited to reflect on
Your experiences of different types of circles
What type of circle practitioner you want to be
How circle could be used in your place of work, as part of your activism, or in your community
The cost of our training is £375 (+VAT) per person
We can create a bespoke programme of training and optional on-going supervision to bring circle to your organisation. From training your teams to helping you build and start a programme of work. Whether you want to work in-person or online, we can help you add circle to the ways in which your organisation operates.
Contact us to arrange a conversation
Choose from online or in-person training to bring circle to your work. Join a community of colleagues as we work through the learning and practice it takes to become a circle practitioner.
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Experience circle with us
If you're curious about circle but haven't had the chance to experience it yet, join us for one of our lunchtime or weekend online circles.
Our story with circle
By Nina Burrowes
Often when we gather in circle we use storytelling as a way of having a different kind of conversation. It helps us avoid dominant forms of communication that too often centre our opinions. Instead, storytelling invites us to centre our experience.
So let me tell you our story with circle. A story for me as an individual and us as an organisation.
Gathering in a circle to have a different kind of conversation has been an energy in my working life for many years. From the time that I started stepping out as an independent researcher I felt isolated as a professional and had a strong need for connection with my peers. I also felt dissatisfied with our standard ways of gathering. The expert at the podium. Presenting data on how the world is. Data made more powerful by our magical ability to remove ourselves from the very thing we are studying. An encounter that privileges information over connection. The person with the PhD over the people in the audience.
I was often the expert at the podium in these situations. I invariably left these events full of doubt about the value of what just happened. My sense of loneliness and isolation unresolved. Coupled with that was a sense that if I’m always the one doing the talking at what point do I get to learn?
I had so many questions. I had a strong desire to simply gather with colleagues and trust that the space and time together would lead us in a valuable direction.
In 2016 I tried to meet this desire by starting an online space for therapists and support workers called ‘The fire circle’. The aspiration was to create a space for the questions and thoughts we don’t usually have time for. How does the sector resolve the isolation that clients may feel when we centre 1-2-1 therapy in the work? How do we make space for conversations about the politics of the work in a world dominated by clinical protocols and pathways? How do we make space for our own healing work and can we do that in community with each other? The online home I built wasn’t sustainable. I had plenty of desire to make it work, but I lacked the relationships. It’s hard to break out of isolation on your own.
Fast forward to my next adventure in building: The Consent Collective. An idea that did eventually find a way to sustain itself and grow well beyond what I was able to provide it as an individual. When I was creating this new organisation it was a rare moment in time when I had a bit of money. Most of my previous ideas had been born with a budget of nothing. Now I had a bit of cash, and I decided to invest that money in branding. For me, branding felt deeper than corporate ideas of market identity. It felt more personal. More essential. I love colour. I love design. I felt a strong desire to give this idea an identity it could grow into.
When I found some branding people to work with, my brief to them was that a fire circle needed to be at the heart of the design. A circle of different people coming together. A circle where the difference was as clear as the circle they had gathered in. I wanted something that felt both ancient and modern. An identity that would fit in at a music festival, or in a more corporate environment. And so we have our Consent Collective circle of people. Original designs from our designers. Simple, and yet with depth. A circle depicting more difference the wider the circumference stretches.
The fire circle I asked for, with more difference as the circle widens.
Much more recently, we sat down to help these individual characters have their own identity: Courage, Connection, The Builder, The Healer, The Shadow, The Phoenix, Balance, Growth, Abide, Bliss, Hope, Wisdom, and Gratitude. These are the energies that cover our van and our Consent Collective clothing.
The individuals in our circle holding their own identity, proudly covering our van
So far I had the circle, but not the process. I had nothing readymade in my life to guide me here. I’m sure all of our ancestors gathered in circles around fires. Our modern ways of heating spaces no longer make this a necessity. But in the time where fire was the primary source of heat my ancestors would have gathered in a circle to share the heat and perhaps knowledge in the form of stories too. But whilst there is a genetic line between those ancestors and me, there was no cultural line that had kept these practices alive. There was nothing in my wider culture that I knew of, nothing in the lessons I had been taught through formal education, nothing gifted to me through parents and grandparents that gave me any kind of legacy to draw upon. There was no process as part of my cultural inheritance.
But a process found its way to me nevertheless. It arrived thanks to Layla F. Saad. In 2018 I was doing some personal anti-racism work. In her booklet (and now published book) ‘Me And White Supremacy’ Layla cites ‘The circle way’ as a process for safely gathering in groups to hold what can be difficult conversations. I got a copy of the book. I had found a process.
In The circle way Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea share the knowledge they gathered over many years of experimenting with a process of holding circle. In their book they describe how circle can help us gather as a community or organisation to make decisions, to connect and to share. This wisdom is only available to me today thanks to those communities who have honoured these processes and managed to keep them alive as part of their cultural tradition. It is always with this gratitude that I step into circle. As Christina and Ann say:
"We acknowledge that the essential form of circle comes from ancestral fires that fed and organized humanity into larger societies. We acknowledge that despite centuries of violence and genocide, Indigenous peoples have held this pattern so that the alternative to hierarchy, patriarchy, and domination has not been lost. This debt of gratitude we can only rectify by working for a just, sustainable, inclusive world."
Whilst the book found its way to me, it was Cynthia who first reached out to The circle way and enrolled in their training program. During the pandemic we decided it was time to begin holding space in this way. We wanted to support our colleagues in the sexual violence sector and so began to hold circle for teams at Rape crisis centres across the country as a way of helping them feel connected and held whilst they were delivering their work in isolation from one another. We also began to hold circle on ‘Healing from injustice after sexual violence and relationship abuse’, which eventually grew into a tour of the UK.
It was at this time that we connected with ‘Healing circles global’, a community of people who hold circle purely for the purposes of healing, starting with circles for people living with cancer but growing to hold circles on a wide range of themes from grief to race. As a consequence of Covid-19, Healing Circle Global’s efforts to be truly global were accelerated as they moved their work online, making circle available to people across the world. This was how I was able to do my training with them and I'm honoured that the connection with this loving organisation just keeps growing.
I have now been able to create the kinds of spaces I’d been looking for for years. Circle has become an integral part of how we gather, how we listen, how we are heard. This is a process. A deep, powerful, soulful and sometimes messy one that I am so grateful to have discovered and so proud to share.
If you're inspired to hold circle we wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. We invite you to walk this path, and we recommend you walk slowly, in community, and with the spirit of honouring and sharing close at hand. To help you with that please find a community to support you in your practice. You can train with us and/or you can connect with The Circle Way or Healing Circles Global.