Co-Creating a Safe Base
Workshop facilitators and participants may want to co-create Bowlby’s empathic responsive safe base to help group members raise and explore whatever issues are important to them. Ground rules, behaviours and procedures are agreed together. In such a setting participants will have an opportunity to recognise one another’s similarities and differences, common strengths and vulnerabilities and engage with reliable care through ethical behaviours. As in Benjamin’s ‘lawful world’ participants will feel held to explore their own processes and behaviours along with the film protagonists’ stories as they step out of denial and into an ethical mindset.
Some scenes in the film contain powerful and emotional stories, which may connect with personal experiences or pain. The facilitator can discuss with participants how and when to address such reactions and accepts that some participants, may not wish to. If there are breakdowns in trust or misunderstandings in the group,
participants will be invited to ‘repair the rupture’ ie to replace the failure in empathy with responsive witnessing and renewed empathy.
Suggestions for facilitating a safe base group.
- Attachment in the group may be facilitated through pairing at the beginning and end of every meeting. Asking pairs to check out where their partner is emotionally, in their body, and understanding of the process, will enhance recognition of the other's similarities and differences. Being recognised enhances a sense of self, agency and resilience. Closing the workshop with a group go-around to share and witness individual and group process helps to maintain the workshop as a safe base.
- group rules of respect and confidentiality: each participant’s story, response, feelings and ideas are listened to and acknowledged. They are addressed with the participant’s agreement. The group facilitator reminds participants that the group discussions are confidential.
- discuss with the group, and practice emotions (guided imagery) and skills of listening, empathy, recognition, seeing and being seen, loss and renewal of empathy and witnessing in rupture and repair, and raising awareness of ethical interpersonal and group behavior.
- Explore the internal process of stepping out of denial Creative Process of Stepping out of Denial via our protagonists’ stories, and participants' own experience.