When running Authentic Europe (AE), we used the following slightly adapted version of the standard Authentic Relating agreements. I still find them really useful reference material, so I put them here for those of you who want inspiration for solid workshop and organisational agreements.
Staff and participants
These are the agreements for both staff and participants.
We have some boundaries that are non-negotiable:
- Physical violence is never acceptable in Authentic Europe events.
- Authentic Europe events are not therapy.
Background: both boundaries are required to make it a physically, emotionally and legally safe space for the workshop, for all parties.
We assume that we all act with integrity: you’ll try to do what you promise you’ll do, you try to not do what you promised not to do.
Should you find yourself in a position where you broke a promise and are out of integrity, we expect you to:
- Discover and acknowledge the impact it has had on others,
- Make amends, and
- Recommit or renegotiate the agreement.
Honour self (accepted by unanimous vote)
We assume you are healthy adults: this is not therapy, this is (hopefully deep) relational adult play.
Even so, sometimes something feels just off for you, feels like too much.
We expect you to honour yourself: If something feels seriously off to you, honour yourself and don’t participate or suggest a modification that would fit you.
And we invite you to go a bit outside your comfort zone, as they say in yoga: “stretch, don’t tear”.
Honour other/assume positive intent (accepted by unanimous vote)
Extend positive intent to the others in the workshop: assume that, even if they said something hurtful, they intended the best for you.
Retro-active confidentiality (accepted by unanimous vote)
Should someone ask to keep something confidential, we commit to honouring that by not speaking about that “something” outside the group of people present when the confidential item was shared. So, if confidentiality is claimed in a smaller Circle, that cannot be discussed in the bigger group or even amongst staff.
Asking for confidentiality can happen at any moment. Of course, if this happens much later, people could have shared this already.
We suggest you share your experiences (those that are not confidential) with others from your own experience. So not “Wouter cried in the Circle”, but “someone cried in the Circle, and that seeing that I felt sad”.
The background of this specific form of confidentiality is that it most closely matches the reality of how things are shared. Blanket confidentiality agreements are often immediately broken by disclosing you went to a workshop with someone. We want you to be able to hold the confidentiality where it is requested, and we want you to share and use your experience outside the workshop.
Pictures, recordings and endorsements
Pictures and recordings by participants inside the container of the workshop are only allowed after getting an explicit agreement by everyone in the picture/recording.
Authentic Europe staff may take pictures or recordings for future promotional or educational use (i.e. on the website, Facebook, training material). We’ll ask everyone that is identifiable in the picture/recording whether they object to using these before using them.
The one exception is the group picture we often make during an event: we assume that you agree by coming into the group picture.
We won’t tag or otherwise name people in the pictures or recordings. You are welcome to tag yourself in pictures, however.
Additional agreements for staff
The staff of Authentic Europe and of a specific event (Course Leaders, Assistant Course Leaders, and all others in a perceived position of authority) will not date or otherwise pursue a romantic or sexual relationship with participants first met through their Authentic Europe work. This rule applies for 90 days after the conclusion of any professional relationship (in the workshop, coaching or training after, whatever is latest).
The intent of this rule is to create a safe container for participants and staff alike. The first part allows both participants and staff to potentially explore expressing any attraction felt during the work, without having those feelings mean anything outside the work if they are transient. The time limit of 90 days allows room for when the feelings are persistent.
This rule excludes relationships that have been started before meeting in the Authentic Europe work (taking your date to an AE event as a staffer does not mean you can’t date anymore), forming relationships between staff members (hey we’re human too!), and forming relationships between participants.