We are delighted to announce that we are accepting applications for our second year series of Healing Circles Leadership Training seminars in Healing Circles methods and practice. Our goal is to train people who have a strong and sincere motivation to practice and lead Healing Circle work.

What is a Healing Circle?

“… if it provides refuge, touches your heart, and guides you on your path, it is a healing circle…”

Healing Circles is a global learning community dedicated to enabling people to practice deep and effective group work in their own homes, communities, and organizations. Healing Circles began six years ago as a collaboration among four centers that have been doing residential circle work for people with cancer for at least 20 years based on the model of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program.

Our intention is to offer Healing Circles work to a wider community, including residential and non-residential circles, and peer-led circles. We are now a small international network with thriving centers in the US, Canada, and Jerusalem, and with nascent centers in Zurich, India, Thailand and around the world.

The core tenets and elements of Healing Circles include (in various forms):

  • The practice of silence.
  • The practice of presence and deep listening.
  • The trust in each individual’s inner wisdom
  • The agreements among participants that shape and support Healing Circles.
  • The varieties of powerful circle work in different traditions.
  • The necessity of ongoing work on ourselves.

The trainings are largely experiential and will include work in groups of 2, 4, and 8. Discussion of the Healing Circles Training Manual and how to use it, and other resources will provide support.

You can find our work on our website.

We held and completed our initial four seminars in 2019 with strong participation and positive results.

We will offer four seminars in 2020 to a new group through the application process described later in this letter.

The scheduled dates for the 2020 trainings are:

Friday, February 14: Introduction to Healing Circle Work
Friday, April 17: Deepening Healing Circle Leadership
Friday, June 19: Strengthening Skills, Working with Challenges
Friday, September 11: The Heart of Healing: Self Work for Circle Work

Trainings are daylong workshops from 10:00 AM to 5:15 PM. at Commonweal’s stunning coastal site, 451 Mesa Road in Bolinas, California.  Participants will bring their own lunch and everything needed to enjoy it.

Both novice and advanced practitioners will learn essential premises and basic skills, and will deepen their abilities to lead circle work in an intimate setting designed to meet practitioners where they are.   We can all spend the rest of our lives getting better at circle work.  My work is still deepening at age 76 after 36 years of practice.

The fee for the four session training is $360. We strongly encourage applicants to indicate interest in all four sessions when you apply. This is because the group experience is a powerful and central dimension of the trainings. If you must miss a session due to an existing commitment, please indicate the three trainings you would like to attend. The fee for three sessions is $270.  Please feel very free to contact our program coordinator, Kathleen Kraemer, if you have questions, need more information before you proceed, or have a special situation you would like to discuss.

Limited scholarships are available. We are not offering these trainings for financial gain.  Fees barely cover costs.  We offer these trainings to gather the tribe of those who want to explore this ancient tradition together.

We are most interested in finding gifted people who would like to train and practice together throughout the four training sessions. The four sessions offer the opportunity for a true learning community which develops and deepens over time and creates a cohort of connected individuals who support each other’s learning and growth. We favor applications from people who have clear sense of how they will use the leadership trainings.  We will not be discussing how to bring people into your circles, how to fund your work, or similar questions.  Our entire focus will be on deepening our ability to do better circle work. Again, if you are unable to commit to all four sessions, but feel strongly that you would like to participate, please feel free to discuss your situation with Kathleen as soon as possible. (Note application dates below)

No specific academic or professional training is required.  Background in psychotherapy, counselling, ministry, or other experiential training work is useful.  What is essential is the ability to work effectively together in small group settings, to know or at least sense that you have the innate skills to do circle work, to self-regulate in groups so as to share time generously with others, to be comfortable with silence, to have a fundamental sense of personal humility, and above all to be willing to speak from your heart.

Special note: This will not be a good place to work on personal experiences of acute grief or illness.  These experiences may inform your work but can’t dominate the trainings.  Likewise, a certain psychological balance and maturity is an essential prerequisite for participation.  We must reserve the right to ask people to discontinue the trainings if their presence becomes a distraction to the trainings for these or other reasons.

In order to make the best use of our time together, we will send reading materials and lists, and links to resources to all registered participants to review and study before the trainings begin. This will reduce the amount of time spent in didactic presentations while we are together. Books, videos and websites will be included. Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnaea’s tradition of circle work will be a core resource, along with the work of Parker Palmer.  The Healing Circles Global website resources will be at the heart of the trainings https://healingcirclesglobal.org/   Expect to spend at least seven hours on homework for every day-long training you attend.  You will also be invited to participate in phone and online zoom meetings with staff and other participants.

The faculty will draw on the staff and alumni of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program and others active in Healing Circles work.  I will be participating in and guiding all trainings in 2020, as will our HCLT Program Coordinator, Kathleen Kraemer, who has co-led the North Bay Cancer Help Program Alumni Healing Circle for a decade. Shelia Opperman, Coordinator of Healing Circles Global, will also participate and will be in charge of our administrative functions.  Other faculty include Rob Feraru and Terri Mason, both leaders in our Commonweal Cancer Help Program Alumni Healing Circles,   Jaune Evans, Zen Buddhist teacher, Executive Director of Tamalpais Trust, and Commonweal Board member, and Oren Slozberg, Executive Director of Commonweal.

The on-line Healing Circles Leadership Training (HCLT) application will require a brief biographical letter explaining why you want to join this training, what experience has brought you to it, and where you intend to take the work from here.  If you would like to complete and submit an application, PRESS HERE.  If you have any difficulties with the online application process, please contact Shelia Opperman at: HCtrainings@Commonweal.org

We will be accepting your applications from October 24, 2019 through December 5, 2019. After December 5, the application period will close and the online application will no longer be available.

Letters of acceptance and registration instructions will be sent in mid December.

For more information, please contact Kathleen Kraemer, HCLT Program Coordinator, at HCtrainings@Commonweal.org  If you would like to talk directly with Kathleen about the training, please include your name, telephone number, and several best days and times to reach you. She will reply and confirm.

We welcome your interest. Please share this announcement with others who you feel are ready to utilize these HC Leadership concepts and skills in their circles.

Commonweal office telephone: 415-868-0970