I am not in communication with members of my family and do not have any intention to be. Can I still join a Green Circle?
Yes, definitely. Although Hidden Water is a restorative justice approach to healing, we do not prescribe any next steps or frameworks around the “right way” to be in relationship with family members or anyone. Healing looks different for different people and for some of us that means intentionally not being in relationship with members of your family and/or the people who harmed you.
Our Healing Circles strive to hold space for people to process the challenges and impacts of childhood sexual abuse in their lives, believing that when one person is harmed, all are harmed, and when one is healing, that healing reverberates throughout every relationship touched—including those relationships that are estranged. Being in relationship or not with specific people is an important choice that is yours (and yours only) to make. We strive to support one another without imposing any directive on how to navigate those choices and relationships.
What constitutes “harm” or “abuse”?
Many people do not have a clear picture or memory of the harm (but have a strong feeling something happened) and have asked us if they can join a Circle. The answer is yes. Others have asked: Is it necessary to have had penetration or on-going episodes of harm to be eligible for Hidden Water Circles?; or If the person that harmed me was not in the family, or if I was not a child, or I don’t identify with the phrase “child sexual abuse”, can I still come through Hidden Water?
The guideline for us is: if any violation of a sexual nature, clear or unclear in detail, happened to you under the age of 18, by someone of any age, known to you or not, including a stranger, and you believe this has had a negative impact on your life, you qualify to participate in a Hidden Water Green Circle.
How is Circle different from therapy?
While participation in Healing Circles can have powerful therapeutic effects and can be beneficial alongside therapy, Circles are not therapy. Healing Circles have a distinct format (see FAQ, What is the format of a Healing Circle?) that differs from one-on-one talk therapy or even group therapy. Also, Circle Keepers are equal participants and do not act as therapists or counselors in their role as Circle Keepers (see FAQ, What is a Circle Keeper?). Circles, generally, also have a distinct approach, focusing not so much on “treatment” of a trauma or pathology, but rather the focus of Circle is on fostering wholeness and well-being.
For more FAQs, please see our FAQs page.