Dialogue Guidelines

Spirit Fire welcomes participants to its events involving a facilitated dialogue by distributing these guidelines as a way to cultivate safety and freedom to speak and to listen well for each person.

  1. Commit to creating a sacred place. Every attendee must enjoy the same measure of consideration, respect and charity.
  2. Assume good intent. Suspend judgment. Do not personalize what is addressed to you.
  3. Listen to hear not to respond. Receive what you hear prayerfully without reaction.
  4. Seek dialogue. Avoid debate and alliances.
  5. Welcome mistakes with honest correction in kindness and not judgment or criticism.
  6. Speak only for yourself. Use “I” statements. Share your experience and views.
  7. Honor boundaries. Do not reveal facts about third parties. Do not ask personal questions.
  8. Ask questions, when appropriate, to clarify and not challenge another point of view.
  9. Encounter attendees as individuals. Mental illness is a diagnosis not an identity. No one is a scapegoat for institutional or family failures.
  10. Share time. Do not dominate. Private time aside with a counselor can address personal needs and preserve the group process.
  11. Empower others by not solving problems or offering advice during discussions or breaks.
  12. Empower yourself. Be mindful of your feelings and actions for signals of what you need. Ask for help if for big or small needs or concerns.
  13. Remember the power of pain. Abide by guidelines which protect all participants from triggers, re-wounding, and vicarious wounds.
  14. Honor group guidelines. Any member may ask for a “time out” at any time to permit the group or facilitator assess dynamics.
  15. Maintain confidentiality and anonymity for all participants without exception. It is prohibited to reveal names or what others say expect as the group may unanimously agree at the outset.