Healing Circles: A Full First Year


November 5, 2021


by Diana Lindsay, Co-Director, Healing Circles Global / Director, Healing Circles Langley 

In response to the continued social isolation and anxiety that has occurred during this pandemic, our Healing Circles online programs have exploded. 

We started in March 2020 with the launch of online circles in Bolinas and at Healing Circles Langley. Surprised by the depth that could occur in online circles, we committed to building an online program that could support anyone, anywhere, at no cost. 

A growing and committed group of people, with a tremendous amount of personal and professional experience in serving others, have joined the trainings from more than 37 of the United States, six Canadian provinces, and 26 other countries on six continents

In our first year, we provided 11,795 healing support service hours for those facing grief, cancer, caregiving, social isolation, death & dying, and injustice. We also offered our first profession-oriented (healthcare), geographically specialized (Europe), and language-based (German) teams. We are launching expressive arts circles and learning circles in a variety of subjects. 

Our volunteers have contributed 6,000 hours in service to the public, training programs, team planning, and their own individual growth. This is a labor of love and service. Although we volunteer our time, we gain back a sense of belonging to community and meaning along with the health benefits of being a volunteer. 

Healing Circles Healthcare 

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare workers labored in challenging environments. Now, the complexity of responding to the pandemic has added many new dilemmas: fears about infection for self and loved ones, concerns about access to medical supplies and personal protection, increased workload demands and, most important, witnessing the intense suffering of others, including patients, families, and fellow staff. 

The Healing Circles Healthcare Leadership was formed in 2018 to promote and support the training of a Healing Circles peer-led model to nurses and health professionals. With the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020 and the associated unprecedented challenges, the Healing Circles Healthcare Leadership identified an urgent need to provide additional personal and professional resources to promote resilience and recall professional meaning. Through a generous Jonas Philanthropies grant, 84 nurses in 16 organizations were trained. 

In 2021, Healing Circles Healthcare partnered with Healing Circles Houston to provide Healing Circle training to 34 hospital-based Chaplains throughout the Houston Methodist Hospital system—the first of its kind— focused on Chaplains. We continue to receive requests from organizations for Healing Circle training and support. 

In addition to organizational training, Healing Circles Healthcare Leadership, through Healing Circles Global, supports five weekly Healthcare Circles for Healthcare Professionals as well as an additional Healthcare Faculty-focused circle. Healing Circles continues to provide a place of refuge, deep listening, self-reflection, and loving accompaniment, which expands one’s capacity for healing and well-being. 

—Leslie Carveth, Program Director, Healing Circles Healthcare

More From Commonweal