Authentic Communication Group
Communicating authentically is one of the most vital competencies anyone can develop.
In this group, you can experiment with how you interact with others and get feedback on your impact. This is an opportunity to connect and learn with other group members on a journey of deepening awareness.
What is an Authentic Communication Group?
This group is a powerful way to work directly on interpersonal issues as they arise in the moment. In a learning laboratory, group members interact freely with one another in the here and now. Instead of talking about what happened last week, or dreaming about the future, you get to talk about what is happening right now. Rather than talking about your partner, your boss or your child, you get to talk about what’s alive in the group. Keeping it real, you describe how you feel toward each other, what reactions you have, and what happens when you receive feedback from each other.
In this pure form of experiential learning, participants work in a small group of 8 participants with a seasoned facilitator.
Rather than talking about “there and then” we talk about the “here and now”. Mining our shared experience in the moment offers us rich opportunities for self discovery. The process helps us build awareness of group dynamics and share vulnerably about issues of power, identity and culture.
We’ll rely on two practices to support connection: Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg and Internal Family Systems by Richard Schwartz.
One of the most powerful ways to connect, grow and heal is to learn to speak for your parts as they arise in the moment. Expressing what comes up supports self-awareness, connection and healing.
You also may find it useful to name clear observations, share your feelings, express your needs and make requests.
- The group meets on Zoom twice a month for 2 hours
- Each meeting is recorded, so you can watch the recording later
- You can meet privately on the phone with your facilitator once a quarter to discuss your learning or any challenges you’re facing
- This long-term ongoing group has no more than 8 people
In the group you might practice:
- Naming what you see about power dynamics
- Experimenting with new behaviors to get the results you want
- Raising difficult issues with care
- Exploring how gender, race, class, and ability impact the group
- Expressing yourself with greater authenticity
- Empathizing with yourself or others
- Giving and receiving honest feedback
- Connecting across differences
- Communicating mindfully, even when you are emotionally triggered
As you distill your learning from what is happening in the group, you’ll begin to experiment with new behaviors. That means taking risks. When you say something about the impact of someone else’s behavior on you, you give the group a gift. You learn not only how to communicate more authentically, but also discover that doing so allows you to raise issues live and resolve them for the benefit of the whole group.
In this group you get to be more fully yourself as you learn with your peers. Despite initial concerns about the feedback you might receive, you can expect to emerge with more choices and a wider range of self-expression.
When you reveal your unique qualities, including the shadow sides of yourself, you can release shame and heal your wounded parts. As everyone in your group becomes more and more authentic, you may find that you care deeply about each member of the group.
One of the more powerful outcomes is that members build a high-trust, open-hearted, supportive group.
As the group develops ease with being present in the moment, you enter a state of flow and aliveness. In this space you can build better relationships by:
- Getting in touch with your parts and speaking for them
- Reaching out to others empathically and building trust
- Expressing your vulnerability
- Finding the courage to bring up and work through difficult issues
- Communicating your anger or hurt constructively
- Allowing yourself to receive support and care from others
What you can Expect
Instead of talking about your outside relationships, you work directly on how you are relating to the other group members in the moment.
You get direct and honest feedback about how people are reacting to you. This helps you understand your interpersonal patterns that aren’t working, and then practice new healthier behaviors in the group.
As you witness others struggling with problems similar to yours, you learn about your deeper issues.
When you get to know each other, a strong sense of support for each person emerges in the group.
Our intention is to create a diverse group. Because NVC and IFS have primarily attracted white folks, and because people of color sometimes experience tokenism in these settings, we are intentionally seeking to form a group where many of the group members are people of color.
We also intend for the group to include different genders, LGBTQ folks, people from different regions and class.
Bring a colleague: To support diversity, we request that you bring a person from an ethnicity different from yours. If you have the means, consider offering to pay for someone with less access to resources.
No matter how much detail we provide, it can be difficult to understand this form of learning until you actually experience it. That’s why we offer a free pre-group interview with the facilitator to see if the group is a good fit for you. If you decide to try it out, you can pay $100 to join the group for a month and then decide if you want to continue.
For more information or a free pre-group interview, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The group meets the first and third Wednesdays of each month from 10 am - 12 noon ET.
Martha Lasley is a founding partner of Leadership that Works, where she supports leaders and social change activists to develop compelling visions, improve their communication, bring spirit into team building, and develop a coaching culture. She has authored three books: Coaching for Transformation; Facilitating with Heart; and Courageous Visions.
Martha is a certified trainer for the Center for Nonviolent Communication and has led many International Intensive Trainings with Marshall Rosenberg. She coaches visionary leaders and social change activists to develop a culture of collaboration and support. She has presented several programs at the annual conference for International Association of Facilitators, including “Facilitating Difficult Conversations,” and “Coaching for Personal & Organizational Transformation.”
If you are interested in being part of an Authentic Communication Group, but the date and time do not work for you, write to us at MarthaatLTWORKS.com and say which days and times would work for you. We'll consider your preferences when we form the next group.