Circle is a huge part of my life. I went in thinking that it would be a way to simply hang out with my friends more but it is so much more than that. I learned and still learn things about others and myself that I didn’t ever think could be possible. I learned and continue to learn self love and love and acceptance for others in circle. I know that the things I say in circle will stay in that room and that I will not be judged or thought of differently so having that safe of a space to reflect on myself and others is just amazing. Taking time out of my stressful high school life to go to circle every other Sunday makes me feel even more stressed but every single time I leave circle, I am so incredibly happy that I went and I am so thankful for the non-judging, beautiful people that accept me and love me for me, not just some show that I put up to seem like I am ok. Circle made me realize that it’s ok to be no ok and that I can talk about it and have others relate and comfort me. Since my start in circle, last January, (not even a full year) I have grown so much and I truly owe that to the people in circle. I am less anxious, depressed, sad, and angry. Being able to talk about things that sometimes I won’t even admit to myself is so amazing and your love and comfort is so powerful to me. You all make me feel like I could share anything in the whole world and be loved and comforted the same. I am so thankful for all of you and the love and support that I receive every time we meet. I love you guys. ❤️
I had the distinct honor and pleasure of working with Linda and her Teen Talking Circles team at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 2010 where she helped pioneer the use of unique, group-discussion sessions for helping teens with cancer. Linda's knowledge, preparation, sensitivity, and facilitating skills were nothing short of remarkable, and all of the Hutchinson Center's peripheral support with scheduling, videotaping, and so on would have meant nothing without her very effective and well-received work. Apart from founding and directing Teen Talking Circles, Linda is also an accomplished photographer and one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. I highly recommend Linda and Teen Talking Circles.
Review from Guidestar
Teen Talking Circles is the real deal. Linda and her team ran a world-class series of events for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Children's Hospital in the Spring of 2010. The response from everyone---from participants to organizers to researchers---was overwhelmingly positive. Teen Talking Circles knows what they're doing forward and backward. I can't recommend any organization more highly, and I look forward to working with them again in the future.
Review from Guidestar
I was part of a unique TTC retreat that changed my life. It brought a great group of women together... seemingly from many different backgrounds and life experiences. The compassionate listening work that we did as a group over a week-long period showed me how much we all really had in common. TTC created a beautifully open and safe circle for us to come together and share some of the richness and poignancy of our lives. It was such a meaningful retreat!
TTC leads compassionate listening groups for teens and women, and I was so impressed with what I experienced in my adult women's group, that I considered signing up for training to learn how to lead my own group in Canada. I am always looking for future opportunities to participate in a TTC women's group and give it a high and unqualified recommendation... the opening for personal growth is there for you if you want to take it...!!
Review from Guidestar
TTCP delivers a needed and unique service to young women coming of age in a complex world. Along with authentic peer-to-peer communication, young people also get the benefit of inter-generational relationships with adult mentors who really care about their health and well-being. TTCP's facilitator training is top-notch.
My name is Fredric Matteson. As a therapist and suicidologist with 30 years in the mental health field, I am the Creator and Founder of Contextual-Conceptual Therapy (CCT) -- an educational approach to helping acutely suicidal persons. In my role as an educator I have had the great pleasure and opportunity to be invited to speak before Linda Wolf's Teen Talking Circle trainees. Over the years I have been greatly impressed and inspired by Linda and the TTC vision to help facilitate compassionate listening and the permission and encouragement of each person's authentic voice to be expressed and to be heard. It is this self-validation that strikes at the core of the suicidal dilemma and that serves as a basis for true individual autonomy and family resiliency
When I first heard about the work Linda Wolf was doing with TTC I knew I needed to be a part of it. At the time they were needing a board member so I stepped up and over time I realized that I wanted to do the facilitator training as well. My life has changed in a beautiful way with the awareness of myself and others given the lessons I have learned thru TTC. Imagine if teens could obtain such awareness so early on and imagine how authentic and real they could be. A true gift!
"My main desire to help others came from my eleventh and twelfth grade Girl's Talking Circle Group, guided by two women activists. Group changed me forever. The circle consisted of nine high school girls ages 14 to 18, sitting around a table of candles every Thursday, speaking their rawest thoughts and feelings. Each girl had ten minutes to talk about her day - her projects, desires, laments. Each story was a monologue. As a group, we entrusted to one another our deepest feelings, allowing each of us to express whatever we wanted. Each girl’s story freed the rest of us to be present to our emotions and our truth. Listening taught me a divine love for people; I eventually learned to love a person at first glance. Girls Group was perhaps the most important turning point of my life, for it not only freed me to love with compassion, but to express myself and thereby make space for others’ expression. " Claire Hosterman
Review from Guidestar
I participated in Teen Talking Circles throughout my time in High School. I cannot begin to express how much the experience meant to me and what a huge impact it had on my life. It played a major role in turning me into the woman I am today, and for that I am so grateful. Growing up in our society can be really rough on adolescent girls and having a place to go and be heard by people who will listen to you and support you unconditionally is so incredibly important. If it wasn't for participating in teen talking circles I truly believe that I would have had a much more difficult time getting through my teenage years.
Thank you so much for everything you do!!!
This work completely changed my life. As a teen, I participated in a teen talking circle and looking back, I can see that it was the foundation of learning to trust myself, honor my feelings, and connect to other young people in a compassionate and authentic way. As teens, my friends and I who were in circle together would often wonder aloud what we would do if we didn't have that space. It was a deep and lasting gift.
As an adult, I took the facilitator training and was again turned completely around. The training not only left me feeling more alive and inspired than I can remember feeling. It gave me the tools I needed to start both a radical sex ed class for teens at an alternative high school and a bereavement group at my alma mater. In this way, TTC is slowing reaching out across the country--I write from Massachusetts--giving us all the message we are hungry for, "It is safe, right here, to tell the truth." I've seen it work wonders, heal deeply and bring the living back to life.
Thanks to the work of Linda Wolf and her team, the Teen Talking Circle model has given us an important vehicle for supporting our students. It has brought together girls who would not normally know or be together and has led to the making of lasting friendships. Girls participating in the circle have learned to listen and support each other. In the safe place the circle provides the girls feel the benefits of being able to open up to one another, to talk and vent. They frequently realize that they are not the only ones that feel the way they do and this is affirming. Students often convey to the adult leaders that the circle is the bright spot in their week. "If I didn't have this to look forward to each week I would go crazy." In addition, skills learned in the circle enrich peer relationships in the dorm environment where members of the group naturally apply compassionate listening. Moreover, one student member with adult guidance has created an accountability/support group for freshmen to give new girls a network in which they can build each other up and hold each other accountable through peer support.
The above review was written by Nancy McKinnis, Culver Girl's Academy