We understand that participating in care groups is a new experience for most people. We’ve put together a few guidelines on some of ways in which we can position ourselves to make the most of participating in a group.
- Talking about something personal allows us to tune into ourselves. Equally importantly, it allows others into our world. As we each share, we create a safety and empathy among us.
- Listening is as important as talking. It gives others space to speak and us the opportunity to connect with the person who is speaking.
- We put our feelings into words rather than actions. For instance, if we feel angry or overwhelmed, say “I feel angry or overwhelmed” instead of leaving the meeting.
- Remember to share our reactions and feelings with the rest of the group with reference to yourself. Try to use I statements. Eg. “I feel/think…”
- The group works best if we are all willing to share something personal about ourselves. Our feelings and experiences are the fuel of the group.
- Share at our own pace. We take our time to disclose our personal experiences. We always have the option of saying “I’d rather not say now” or “At this time I don’t feel comfortable sharing that” or “I don’t feel ready to share that yet”.
On Being Open
- Be curious, listen, reflect, and then respond with empathy and kindness.
- Members may be different from us and from each other in caste, ethnicity, socio-economic class, culture, religion, sex/gender, dis/ability – be open to and respectful of differences.
- Listening with openness helps us in listening to ourselves and also to our loved ones with the same kindness.
- Be open to unexpected experiences. For example, it might take time for us to warm up to the group, or we might find ourselves sharing openly in the first session itself, or we might want to share in one session but not the next. Every way is alright.
On Giving Advice
- Avoid giving advice. Giving advice can hamper a person’s process of finding their own solutions, being with their feelings, feeling heard or feeling a sense of agency in their own lives.
- Instead of offering advice, we share our experience with a reference to ourselves. For example, instead of giving a solution, try to check-in: what feelings are pushing us to give advice? They could include being worried for our fellow group member, feeling helpless on their behalf, wanting to take care of them and so on. We may share these with the group if we like. We might say, “hearing her say that made me want to protect her from that harm” or “hearing him say that brought back the sense of fear I experienced all those years ago” or simply “I’m so sorry to see you’re going through such a hard time”.
On Being Present
- We might experience a variety of pleasant and unpleasant thoughts and feelings during our interactions in the group. This is normal.
- We do not have to share, track or catalog each of these thoughts and feelings, and neither do we have to come “prepared” for what we want to say in the group.
- Instead, we try to be present in the here and now of our group. This means that we try to pay attention to what might be coming “alive” in those moments, and respond to what the others are bringing to the group.
- However, if you like, you can always keep a pen and paper beside you to note anything personal that you want to think or talk about later.
- We stay for the entire duration of the group. If we’re feeling uncomfortable in any way, share that with the group or at least your facilitator through private chat. If for any reason we cannot, simply switch off the video/audio and take the pause necessary and try to return.
The group – your KindSpace – is a source of support and knowledge. Everyone contributes towards a collective intelligence and emotional strength for all to use. What is put in determines what is taken from it. We hope you will feel heard, feel seen and feel safe in the group by affording the same experiences to all others. Then, we will feel better, together.
As always, please contact us if you have any questions or concerns, and we will be happy to help you.