AWAKE LOVE GROUP PARTICIPATION RULES
All rules are for the benefit and protection of participants. They are rules – not guidelines.
Awake Love leadership is voluntary – nothing is asked from participants – except that participants accept and follow the rules.
The role of the leader is to attempt to create a safe place. The leader will protect group members by enforcing the rules. This is for the emotional and physical benefit of group members and to establish the group as a safe environment to share.
The leaders has participated in 2.5 years of weekly individual therapy and is regularly mentored by a Washington state certified professional therapist educated at Harvard and practicing for over 10 years in Washington state.
The leader is the ONLY group member with the right to interrupt another group member who is speaking. This, too, is for the emotional protection of each and every group member. Participants shall accept and respect this rule. If participants do not accept this rule, the Awake Love group is not one in which you should participate.
— Leadership interruption can be valuable by communicating to a person breaking a rule what they are doing could be hurtful….that individual may not be aware.
The leader shall facilitate and organize the meetings.
The leader may from time to time request volunteer assistance.
The leader is absolutely forbidden from having sexual, physical or exclusive relationships with any participant. Leaders who break this rule shall be permanently banned from leadership roles.
The role of the group leader includes using their training to facilitate beneficial therapeutic experiences in the group setting. This may include sharing observations, providing feedback and support, creating a safe atmosphere, discussing group dynamics, and finding a balance so all members have the time to participate. You are encouraged to share your reactions about the group leader’s role and interventions in group, or to request assistance during the group sessions.
The leader is required to provide the contact information of their therapists to participants upon request.
Anything said between any two or more group members at any time is part of the group and is confidential. I understand that everything said in group is confidential. I agree to keep secret the names of other members of the group and what is said in the group. I agree to keep secret anything which occurs between or among group members. I understand that there is an exception to this confidentiality which applies to the group leader. If the group leader believes that someone is in danger, the leader has a professional obligation to take direct action in order to keep everyone safe.
I agree not to keep secret from the group anything which occurs within the group. Anything which occurs between or among any members is part of the group is kept secret from anyone outside of the group but is not kept secret from inside the group. This also applies to any individual meetings you may have with a group leader. I understand that if I violate this confidentiality I could be removed from the group.
2. Right to Privacy (The Stop Rule)
No group member is ever required to answer any question — EVER, to participate in any activity, or to tell anything. If I am asked questions or asked to participate in an activity I have the right to remain silent or simply say no. I agree that I will never pressure other group members to participate in any discussion or activity after the member has passed or refused. This is important as a group member.
I understand that the group leader is obliged to protect this right. I also understand that I will benefit more from group the more I am able to take risks in sharing and participating.
It is the leader’s function to ask members if they would like feedback – either from the leader or from the group. I agree that I will ONLY offer feedback to other group members IF they specifically request feedback.
Feedback shall only ever be given in a loving way – never with anger, sarcasm, derision or other negative emotion.
Feedback shall only ever be constructive.
4. Violence or intimidation
Violence or intimidation toward other group members is never tolerated. I understand that I must never be violent or intimidating toward other group members and that if I threaten to harm persons or property I will be asked to leave the group.
Weapons of ANY kind are absolutely forbidden at ANY Awake Love meeting. Violation of this rule shall result in the member being removed from the group.
5. Alcohol and Other Drugs
Group members cannot participate in the group under the influence of alcohol or any other mind altering drugs. When under the influence of chemicals, persons do not have access to their emotions and have less control over their behavior. I understand that if the leader believes that I am under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, I will be asked to leave the group for that day.
Members utilizing prescription drugs that may affect their mood shall discuss this with the leader privately.
6. Exclusive relationships
Dating and other exclusive relationships between or among group members are not a good idea and discouraged. This will defeat the purpose of the Awake Love group – which is to learn to Love oneself. Part of that process will involve building trusting relationships within the group that could be degraded by exclusivity and negatively affect the group as a whole.
Gossip and secret grudges can be very destructive in a group. I agree that if I have something to say to another group member, I will try to say it to the member directly rather than talk about him/ her behind his/her back.
No group member shall ever be humiliated, hazed, or abused in any way. I agree to avoid this destructive behavior.
9. Internet Connectivity
Members of the group are discouraged from forming and participating in an online group limited to the group members. .
10. Putting Feelings into Words Not Actions
Strong emotions often arise in group therapy. Members are encouraged to express themselves with their words rather than through physical actions (e.g. hug). All members react differently to physical touch, so expressing yourself with words is encouraged. If you feel a strong urge to communicate with hugs (for example), members shall ask for and receive permission before expressing physically.
Usually, group members decide, within the group, with the leader, when it is time to leave the group. Sometimes it is necessary for a group member to leave the group unexpectedly. This can cause group members to wonder if they have harmed the leaving member. Telling at least one group member or the Leader that you have decided to stop attending will benefit you and the group emotionally – so please let someone know if you decide to quit after attending more than 3 or 4 meetings.
By attending, I agree that I have read the procedures and guidelines for the group and agree to be bound by them while I am a member of the group.
Typical Group Schedule
- Rules review
- Introduction / Check-in
- Today’s subject
- Individual group input on that subject – each member is allotted time to speak (whether they use it or not)