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Background - Elaine Yonge

AGREEMENTS

What is an Agreement Field?

At the start of each retreat, we will sit together as a group to find common grounds on subjects we would like to agree upon as we build a safe field of respect and trust for one another. This gathering will result in a written document: Our Agreement Field. A clear set of guidelines on how we as individuals in this group will handle sharing circles, interactions with one another and sensitive information shared in the group setting. Some of the agreements will be brought forward by participants and some may be brought forward by the facilitator and team. 


The purpose of this agreement field is to care for ourselves and each other in this group experience. It allows us to have common ground around expectations of behaviour and interaction. Having an Agreement Field is an integral part of building group trust. It supports us to drop into deep processes together. 
It is not the spirit, nor the expectation that, because we have the agreements, we will always get it right in every moment. The key is to notice when we are not aligned and to decide to bring ourselves back into alignment.

 


An example of what an Agreement Field could look like

 

All these points of agreement are applicable to all participants, the facilitator and the team

 

  • I agree to take full responsibility for my experience, to remind myself to breathe, to feel and to be present and authentic.

  • I am conscious of time; I will come to each session at the agreed upon moment. During a process I will stick to our time-schedule or negotiate for more time when needed.

  • I will keep my mobile phone and other technologies off during group-practices, meetings and shared dinners, to minimise disruptions.

  • I agree to maintain confidentiality. This means that I will not disclose any individual’s identities, stories and experiences. I am free to speak about my own experience.

  • I am encouraged/I encourage others to use ‘I’ statements, so that everyone speaks in the first person as much as possible.

  • I am responsible for my own wellbeing and I will look after myself. I will seek support if something or someone upsets me. The team acknowledges that they have responsibilities at their end for care and holding of the space and the structures offered.

  • I agree to request support, guidance and help by using clear, direct verbal requests when I desire it. I understand that the team will observe the group during the journey and they will reach out if they feel someone may need extra support but this person cannot communicate this at that moment.

  • I agree to be coachable. I am open to feedback and direction from the facilitator (and assistants - if the facilitator asks them directly to support me).

  • I agree to state my boundaries; to be in agreement with myself and honour my boundaries to the best of my ability. I will ask for support if I need guidance to clarify my boundaries.

  • I will honour the boundaries of others and will obtain consent from others where appropriate. If I engage with others, I agree to engage in a manner that is appropriate and with clear consent. I take self-responsibility to bring it to the attention of the facilitator(s) if I feel that the conduct of another participant is inappropriate and I need the support of the team to resolve/discuss this.

  • I am aware that boundaries can change from moment to moment. A ‘yes’ can become a ‘no’. I agree that during a process a ‘no’ doesn’t become a ‘yes’. ‘No’ is a full answer. I don’t have to explain my answer. I am free to step out of a structure at any time. I agree to then stay on the side of the group room / close to the group room.

  • I agree to not gossip about others and to speak directly to the person I have an issue with. If someone attempts to gossip with me about others, I will support them to speak directly to the person concerned.

  • I agree to ask people if they want feedback before I give it to them and at a time that is suitable for both of us. It is okay to say ‘no’ to feedback. The person who receives feedback doesn’t need to answer it.

  • I allow and encourage others to share. I have a shared responsibility in making sure everyone is able to contribute. More talkative people are invited to share, but also give space so quieter people are invited to contribute too.

  • I am courteous to each group-member. I will not interrupt or talk while someone else is talking and I will be listening attentively when another person is speaking.

  • I respect that everyone in the group has different opinions, experiences and backgrounds.

  • I agree that this retreat is a medicine, substance, drug & alcohol free Space. I agree that I will not use or take any additional substances for the duration of this event. This includes the time outside of the main group sessions. I am aware that there is a fine line between food, medicine, & drug/substance. The reason: We will be working with strong energy and emotions and therefore we want to work with the medicine of the body without any added relaxants, stimulants or hallucinogens. We also want to ensure that we are all in a unified field. This is not a judgement on any of the above choices you may take in your life outside of this space.

  • I am aware that at some point in this retreat, there will be pictures taken by one of the team members. They will be taken for the purpose of capturing Elaine doing this work and to give people who are interested to come to a retreat a general sense of the atmosphere and may be used on Elaine’s website and/or socials. Pictures will never be taken during a process or a ritual. It will be clearly announced when the pictures will be taken. The intention is not to photograph you as an individual (unless you would like to be photographed, then please let the photographer know). If you as a participant happens to occur on a photo recognisable and there would be a strong reason for Elaine to put this particular picture out publicly, then you will be contacted for your permission before publishing.

  • I agree that we do not take pictures of one another inside or outside the group room, unless it is in consent and in a private area.

  • If at any time I feel that this retreat is not appropriate for me or I wish to leave the retreat, I agree to bring my concerns directly to the facilitator.

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