Our peer groups offer a supportive environment for those who wish to strengthen their practice of the Choose Again Six Steps to Freedom
If you have attended one of our programs, and are now looking to integrate what you have learned, these groups are for you.
What does a group gathering look like? A peer group gathering focuses on the practice of the Choose Again Six Steps to Freedom process. It also includes group readings of inspiring texts, and sharings from our own experience of applying this work in day-to-day life.
What distinguishes a Peer Group gathering from our circles and workshops is that there is no appointed facilitator or “guide” to the group. All participants gather as equals - with a joint commitment to learn how to apply this powerful work to their lives, and to share in their healing journey with others.
The format of the Group The main part of the gathering is dedicated to processing using the Choose Again Six Steps to Freedom process. This is done in pairs, using our “dyad” format.
As you work together with a practice partner you will be invited to look into all the “small upsets” that may be lingering in your mind. The idea is to offer you the opportunity to move through as many processes as you are willing to offer up for healing. By supporting your partner through their own processes, you will also deepen in your understanding and integration of the work.
During group readings and discussion you will reflect on inspiring teachings that are supportive of our practice. You will share your insights and experiences about this work with your peers and be inspired by their commitment.
New to our work?
The best way to learn how to apply the Choose Again Six Steps to Freedom is in a circle, workshop or retreat setting.
If you are unable to join in our official programs a peer group gathering can be a useful way to become acquainted with our work. We invite you to write to us first...
Interested in Starting a Peer Group in your community?
If you are interested in organizing a Choose Again Peer Group in your community we would be happy to support you.
As a Peer Group organiser we will provide you with materials, a suggested format, as well as general guidance and advice on how to organise a successful group.
The first step if to apply here to start a group.
Please note that there is a seperate application process if you wish to lead a Choose Again Circle. Read more here
Once the person has applied, and have been accepted we can send them a version of this document:
You will have attended at least one week-long Choose Again workshop, or have stayed at our residential center in Costa Rica
You have a sincere desire to deepen in your own practice of the Choose Again approach, and in applying the Six Steps to Freedom Process in your daily life.
What is my role as the group organiser?
A Choose-Again peer group is flat-structured. There is no appointed teacher or “guide” to the group. No matter how experienced we are with our approach and with the Six Steps to Freedom Process, we always gather as peers - equal learners and practitioners. As the organizer, you will:
Offer help with the logistics of the gathering. e.g. Help to secure the location, make sure all the materials needed are prepared, and communicate necessary information to the group members.
Help coordinate the group facilitation rotation. Facilitation of the group is shared by all members, in turns. You will be responsible for keeping a healthy rotation, allowing each member an opportunity to lead the group readings and sharing.
What is the group format?
The following format is recommended for your Choose-Again gathering. This format is designed to give each group member the opportunity to join, share experiences, and practice the Six Steps to Freedom process without requiring a formal guide to the group.
Introduction - The week’s assigned group facilitator welcomes the group and if there are newcomers a brief introduction ensues (name, the intention for coming).
Welcome Newcomers - Review the Guide to Groups (below)
Check in and “set the goal” - Each participant checks in, introducing themselves if there are newcomers to the group. This is an opportunity to share “where you are at” in this moment. This is followed by a silent moment to remember that our shared goal is Truth and Peace.
Short reading - Read- a text chosen by the designated facilitator - prior to the meeting.
Meditation - For 5 minutes allowing the reading to resonate, in silence.
Sharing and individual check ins - The group shares their reactions to the reading. Anyone who feels called can share about how the text is relevant to their lives at this moment. (20 minutes).
Preparing for Dyads - 5 minutes of silence, dedicated for mind searching, looking for any upsetting events and situations, relationships etc.
Dyads - Break into groups of 2 or 3, for a practice session of the Six Steps to Freedom process, using, where possible upsets that have come up in the last hour.
Regroup and Share - Reassemble in a circle and share about your processing session.
Closing - with a brief sharing of gratitude by each participant.
What is the purpose of the group?
The Six Steps to Freedom Process is a powerful tool to transform one’s experience from conflict to Peace. It is a mind training tool, meant to be practiced, on an individual level in all situations where you are not at peace. There is also great benefit in practicing this work with others. A practice group provides the opportunity to strengthen your understanding and integration of the Six Steps to Freedom Process, and its underlying principles. It is also an opportunity to observe the triggers that come up in your interactions with others and to become skilful at catching your own misperceptions and quickly correcting them.
A practice group connects you with others who are practicing this work as a daily commitment. You can be inspired by the passion and steadfastness of your companions, and so strengthen your own discipline and dedication to healing. This is the core purpose of the group: to join together in shared intention - to welcome the experience that Peace and Love that are our birthright and to remember our Oneness. In the past 25 years of facilitating thousands of Six Steps to Freedom focused gatherings we have found that the following guidelines are very helpful for the growth and healing of all members. We recommend you make use of our accumulated wisdom in doing group work with the Six Steps to Freedom Process.
How do I create a helpful environment?
The responsibility for keeping a healthy and helpful atmosphere is shared by all members of the group. We ask that all participants respect the group guidelines and keep each other accountable, with love and compassion. Keeping each other accountable does not mean policing or enforcing disciplines on others but simply being willing to support and help the shared purpose of the group - to join. If needed we can gently remind each other of our shared purpose. The following attitudes will help to foster an environment most conducive for healing:
Active Listening - There is great value in practicing active listening when others are sharing. Active listening is a skill which involves paying attention not only to what is being shared, but how it is told, the use of language and voice, and how the other person uses his or her body. As a listener, we are encouraged to be at least as engaged in the process as the speaker. This is a powerful way to connect to another person, helping us to become entirely present and open to inner wisdom.
While sharing, please ensure that only one person speaks at a time, and please avoid side talking.
If you feel called to share anything please raise your hand to speak and the assigned facilitator will call on you, at the appropriate time.
Non-Judgement - We may disagree with what someone else is saying, perhaps strongly, with feelings of irritation or anger. If we believe the person is wrong and we are right, then we are judging them. This presents an opportunity to remember that the judgment expresses an attachment to an old belief that we have made up about ourselves. As we recognize that our judgment simply limits us, we can find the willingness to release our belief and return to the present moment, and to active listening. With practice it can become normal to disagree with someone without judgment, anger or irritation.
Confidentiality - It is important to ask for everyone’s verbal agreement to the confidentiality of all that is disclosed within the meeting. If something sensitive is disclosed by a certain member it is not appropriate for other members of the group to refer to the disclosure in the future, inside or outside of the group without asking permission first of the person concerned.
Speak from your experience - Please keep all feedback in first person form, i.e. speaking from your own experience rather than giving advice, debating or engaging in conversation. As long as you just speak for yourself your feedback will be helpful to all. We are a group of peers, learning, and teaching by sharing our own experiences.
When I have fulfilled the requirements, how do I go about starting a Choose Again Peer Circle?
Contact the Choose Again Office for a Materials Pack
Enrol at least one co-facilitator to work with you.
Decide on practical issues such as location, start date, frequency, day/time, duration etc.
Provide the details of your plan and contact information to the Choose Again office so your group can be posted on the calendar and listed on the website.
Publicize the group (see suggestions in the next section).
How can I let people know about my Peer Group?
The answer to this question will depend on several factors, including where you are located and your personal network. Here are some general suggestions:
Submit all details about your group, including contact information, to the Choose Again office to be posted on the Choose Again website