Activity time: 10 minutes
Invite the group to create a covenant together. Say, “What would make this group productive and safe for you?” List responses and encourage discussion until consensus is reached. As appropriate, seek the approval of the group to add items that are important to you, such as:
- We agree to start and end on time.
- We agree to speak from our own experiences and perspectives.
- We agree to listen respectfully to the experiences and perspectives of other people.
- We agree to pay attention to the group process, making sure that everyone has the opportunity to speak and to listen.
Raise the issue of confidentiality if participants do not do so. Ask them to come to consensus on how much, if any, of the stories shared in the group can be shared outside the group. Often, groups agree that participants may freely share their own stories outside the group, but not those of other people, except in the most general of terms (for example, “Many of the members of my group have experienced the death of a parent, and it was harder than they expected”). When you have reached consensus on the points in your covenant, ask all participants to assent by nodding or speaking.