Enabling self-care through mutual support | from NHS North Bristol

NHS North Bristol implemented facilitated group sessions for staff to share their feelings in a safe and private space. The sessions are based on compassion circles but shortened to allow staff to take part during these stressful times.

Here is an example of what a session might look like:

Up to 10 people, sit in a circle, keeping social distancing space, with one health professional facilitating who has experience of working psychologically and another who can lead the session.

The session structure:

Welcome – Include a grounding exercise and what the session will cover

Round 1 - “One thing going well at the moment, inside or outside of work” (As a round) [3min]

Round 2 – Working in pairs and take turns being the thinker and the listener answer - “what is going on for you at the moment?” [1min intro + 4min]

Round 3 – Appreciation“[NAME] what I appreciate about what you said is….” [2 x 30sec]  -  taking time to appreciate what you have heard from your partner

Round 4 – Working in pairs “How can you take more care of yourself” [4min]

Round 5 – Now come back to the larger group and share a thought in response to “What one thing will you do to care for yourself?” (As a round) [3min]

Round 6 – Grounding exercise to end [2min]. The facilitator takes the group through a breathing and grounding exercise

The facilitator and host should take time to debrief afterwards and also provide signposting to other resources for staff.

Giving staff a safe space to connect and support one another is vital during this time and the structure should be achievable even under current workplace pressures.


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