Safe Space Agreement

Group chords, sometimes as group norms, sometimes as group expectations, and others (although less desirable, as I write below) as group rules, help establish a normative culture. It is a culture in which young people begin to develop a sense of respect, trust and, hopefully, vulnerability. This type of normative culture is therapeutic in nature and benefits young people in traditional classrooms or clinical groups. If this is done successfully (and it also has a lot to do with the young people in the groups, not just with you as a moderator who includes group agreements; that is, if you try to do it and it doesn`t lead to a very confident and coherent group), there is potential for the young people you work with, offer a very transformative experience. Remember, for example, that in mainstream society, we currently condition our young men to be anti-emotional (minus anger) and that our young women place superficial beauty above inner personal qualities. Creating a culture of trust and cohesion risks reducing these conditions. And again (sorry for the record broken, but I repeat for the accent), this could benefit teens from a single gender therapy group up to a mixed social education class in a high school. We can try to ban insulting people from going to Foodhall and volunteering for the foreseeable future, if that would be appropriate. This is one last way out. Encourage physical removal of the abusive person from the room, but only if they refuse to leave on their own.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU NEVER DO THIS ALONE – THIS CAN ONLY BE DONE WITH ADEQUATE SUPPORT. Inequality exists everywhere (whether we like it or not), even in areas of social justice. Gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, dis-aptitude, ethnicity/ethnic heritage, race, age, height, class and citizenship status are some of the most obvious examples of people`s marginalization. Group agreements lead to a normative, therapeutic culture. This culture leads to trust, cohesion and vulnerability. Of course, other factors, such as group size, mixed gender, etc., play a role in normative culture, but a fundamental type of "being" continues to help along these processes. . . .

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