People need people.
They need to feel nurtured and held.
They need to feel heard.
For over twenty years I have been working with people in challenging circumstances, navigating transitions in life. For the past ten years I have been supporting people in circles; holding space, facilitating learning environments, deepening connections and watching relationships grow. I wrote ‘creating circles’ because I know that circle work makes a difference to people’s lives; it helps to build connection and commonality and it helps people feel like they belong and feel less alone when processing difficult emotions or faced with challenges. ‘creating circles’ is for those who want to make a difference for those around them, it is for those who want to learn the skills for circle work and put them into practice in a safe and nurturing environment.
Do you feel a pull towards circle work?
Do you have an idea to start a circle but are apprehensive about taking that first step?
Do you want to hold space but worry about silences in groups or knowing what to say next?
Have you been holding space for years and would welcome the opportunity to delve deeper into your practice?
Are you not sure what to do, but feel the pull towards starting something new?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then ‘creating circles’ is for you.
I wrote this course because circle work is magic, but to hold space well and to do it safely requires good facilitation skills which are something that can be practised and learned. I wrote this course because people need to share stories, they need conversation, to be heard and they need a sense of community, a sense of belonging. ‘creating circles’ will enable you to feel confident to hold space and run circles of your own, circles that reflect your passion and provide you with the skills and confidence to hold space so that less people feel isolated and more people feel connected, with a shared purpose.
‘creating circles’ is ideal for those who want to lead circles or groups* of their own, it is relevant for those who have some experience of holding circles and want to explore their current practice, as well as for those who have never held a circle before. The course uses a combination of self-led, reflective study with interactive zoom group sessions and has the option of 1-1 mentoring, where I walk alongside you as you for a period of six weeks as you set up your own group. Over the course of our time together you will be gently nurtured and guided through the skills needed to lead your own circles.
What often holds people back from running their own circles is confidence and time, ‘creating circles’ is a safe place to play, practice and explore. This course will leave you feeling excited and confident about establishing your own circle. It will give you the opportunity to think about your own space; whether you have an idea about what these might be – or whether you would like to create something new. You will also leave the course with a community to support you, connections with others who are starting out and a group who have your back. The self led study element of the workbook means that it is ideal to fit in with busy lives, and the option of mentoring enables you benefit from my skills and experience of setting up and running my own groups (I am a university trained accredited mentor with over twenty years experience of working on a 1-1 basis).
It can be nerve-wracking starting something new but by joining ‘creating circles’ you will not be alone.
I want you to…
- feel confident in holding space
- have the skills and confidence to create your own circle safely
- be inspired to run your own circle with your own unique content, to find your voice!
- come away with lots of ideas about content for your own group
- have a valuable network of people to support and cheer you along the way
The ‘creating circles’ course costs £1250 (or £125/month for 10 month) and includes;
- Facilitated online learning with feedback, with an open project at the end of the course leading to certification
- A study list of books and online resources to help broaden your knowledge and inspire your practice
- A self led study workbook, journal and prompt cards and access to an online community for support
During our time together, we will explore all aspects of circle work, from the practicalities, structure and skills to thinking about legal requirements, payments and marketing. Here is an overview of the content;
- Beginnings; how to create circles that are safe (although not always comfortable), exploring boundaries and meeting with intention
- Connections; how to build communities that are compassionate and connect, in a world that often feels disconnected, during the course we explore how to provide a container for discussion that helps people to flourish
- The sacred aspect of circle work; why sitting in circles is an imperative, traditional way of learning, creating, playing and healing
- Content; how well thought through content can improve emotional wellbeing on an individual and community basis
- When things get tricky; exploring common mistakes made in circle work and how to recognise and respond to these
- Letting go; coming alongside those in your circle and letting the magic happen
- Guiding circles; practical experience of how to hold and facilitate discussions
- Endings; closing circles and saying goodbye
- Failing; and why it’s important to the learning process
- Who is holding you? self care and rest for those who hold space for others and why it is essential to circle work
- ‘creating circles’ is a diverse and intersectional community; we explore protected characteristics and how to create inclusive spaces
- Next steps… setting up your own circle or group; planning your content, GDPR, accessibility, insurance, pricing and marketing, all the things that can feel overwhelming and tricky
*** NEW for creating circles 2022***
We know that learning extends beyond circle work, this course is specifically designed so that you have the information that you need, when you need it. Support for setting up your circle extends beyond the zoom sessions. In 2022 this means you will be invited to:
⭕️ the creating circles collective: an online hub for those on the course. This is a space for you to share resources, ideas and make connections, a community to support you as you take your steps into circle work.
⭕️ monthly drop in sessions: this is a space for group mentoring, it is an open space to explore current issues, provide gentle support or give a gentle nudge to develop your practice. You have the benefit of joining this circle as soon as you register.
⭕️ 1hour mentoring session to be taken up to 12 months after the start of the course: Sometimes we don’t know what we need whilst attending the sessions, this mentoring session provides you with the opportunity to delve deeper and provide the deep reflection needed to move your practice on. Further mentoring sessions are available (limited availability).
⭕️ optional ‘add on’ sessions to deepen learning, which are ready to be taken when you are. Developing a sound practice in circle work takes time, these add-ons are offered when you most need them, exploring in greater depth the themes that are relevant to your circle.
2021 courses: NOW CLOSED.
2022 courses: Spaces will open on these courses in the Autumn.
Winter: 5, 12, 19 January and 2, 9, 16 February 7-10pm *FULLY BOOKED*
Spring: 4, 11, 18 May and 8, 15, 22 June 10am – 1pm *CLOSED*
Autumn: 7, 14, 21 September and 5, 12, 19 October 7-10pm *5 SPACES LEFT*
How does creating circles work?
- click on the registration button above, after registering you will be sent a workbook, A4 hardback journal, prompt cards and (of course) tea!
- prior to the course you will be sent a link to join an online community where you can share ideas and support each other.
- you will also be provided with a link to resources, videos and further reading to support your learning ad sent a zoom link for the interactive sessions.
- you will take part in 6 x 3 hour zoom sessions (these may be recorded if you miss them).
- a certificate will be issued after the final piece has been submitted and reflective discussion has taken place.
I am a doula living in Yorkshire with my family. I ran my first course 20 years ago as a Probation Officer, and then had a career in social welfare, report writing and managing prison licences. Ten years ago I trained to be an antenatal teacher with the National Childbirth Trust and since then I have spent thousands of hours facilitating groups. I work alongside other birth workers as a mentor and deliver doula training for Red Tent Doulas. I have a wealth of experience of holding space face to face as well as online. My interest is in birth and death and supporting people in liminal spaces. I have seen the power of the circles I have sat in; to connect, heal and create communities that reach far beyond the spaces we sit in. Not only does circle work help those who attend but it also ripples out to those they love, support and work alongside. The magic of circle work is that it changes the lives of people in ways we don’t always expect or know about, and that is what I enjoy most of all. I also facilitate Death Cafe and ‘Let’s Talk About Death Over Dinner’, these are discussion based groups focused on death, dying, loss and grief. I also facilitate Maternal Journal sessions; a journaling based group aimed to improve health and wellbeing and am a member of the Maternal Journal Advisory Group. In my spare time I love running in the mountains, camper van adventures and wild swimming.
Things people have said about creating circles;
“I think we all have this sense of being on this epic journey together (I just had a vision of the fellowship of the ring!)”
“creating circles is changing my life”
“The manual is so beautifully written and set the tone of circles. I cried when I read it as the words resonated. I knew I was on the right course”.
“…after one session I’m saying ‘when I facilitate’ and not ‘if’ anymore! This is powerful stuff Sally!”
“Sally I appreciate your energy and enthusiasm! Your feedback is constructive and very welcome. It’s one thing to feel like we might be good at something and then have that reflected back by someone else is reassuring. So thank you!”
What has surprised you the most?
“I’m being pushed out of my comfort zone but in a way that makes me feel safe. The variety of ways facilitating online is being demonstrated. The holistic approach, and being able to use creativity as a tool for learning and reflection”.
“I think I already had the skills to hold circles and groups but I needed a place an opportunity to come to that realisation on my own. Creating circles is a safe and supportive space to do that!!”
What are you enjoying the most?
“The diversity in how we learn, how we’re paced, experiencing others’ visions for their circles, the resources being shared. Everything?”
“Learning how others are going to run their groups. How there are different techniques. Not to be scared to be yourself”.
Things that others have said about my workshops;
“Being in one of Sally’s groups os always magical. She has a gift for holding space like no one else. She has a way of making sure that everyone’s voice is heard, everyone feels valued and welcomed. Being in her group is like a moment of escapism, you leave the outside world behind you. She creates a warm. welcoming, funny and above all else, safe space to share”.
“Sally is an amazing facilitator. She creates the perfect balance in the group between allowing women to chat, share, reflect and be creative. I love going… I always leave feeling that I have learned something new about myself, but have also learned from sharing with other women. I found it incredibly empowering…
“I’m often nervous abut joining new groups, but I have felt welcomed at Sally’s circles since the very first time. She makes sure there is space held for everyone, whether that is space to be, share a story or to just drink tea and take a breath”.
“I found Sally on Instagram and had been envious of the sessions she ran as they were too far away for me to attend. The silver lining of the pandemic is the introduction of the zoom sessions. They are a little cloud of calm in the week and are time just for me. It’s such a gentle, safe, reassuring space and has provided me with inspiration for more expressive creativity in the last three weeks that I’ve found anywhere in the last three years! Thank you Sally x”
“Since joining Sally’s circles I have realised what it means to be part of something just for me. It’s not for my children, or work, or family. Sally has a gift for ensuring there is space in that collective experience for everyone who arrives and for whatever they have to offer”.
*’circles’ and ‘groups’ are used interchangeably here to mean a gathering of people, whether that is in traditional women’s circles, or those gathering for a shared purpose e.g. yoga, knitting, writing, companionship, death cafe. It is suitable for those who already run groups (e.g. antenatal education or hypnobirthing courses, yoga, moon circles), as well as for those who’s work is 1-1 and would like to move their work to groups.
Cancellation policy: Cancellations made 28 days or more in advance of the first zoom date will receive 100% refund (minus £150 administration). Cancellations made within 14 days will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations made within 48 hours will not receive a refund.
Qualifications and experience:
I have twenty years experience of working in social welfare, coming to birth work via employment in the Criminal Justice System. I have BA in Social Policy, MA in Criminal Justice and BA in Community Justice.
Relevant training and experience:
Diploma in Antenatal Education
Doula UK Mentor and Trainer with Red Tent Doulas
NCT Excellent Practitioner, Mentor, Assessor and Study Day trainer
Adult Learning module, University of Worcester, exploring the theory of adult learning
Cultural Competency – Mars Lord and Nicola Goodhall – Abuela Doulas
The Queer Birth Club: LGBT+ Competency Training
Re:Leader training – with Lucy AikenRead
Shadow Work – Amy Wright Glenn (ongoing)
NCT Safeguarding training
BRAP train the trainer: Anti Discriminatory Practice