To see these offerings in a printable format, click here.

Please familiarize yourself with the intention of the group in the classroom on or here.

Session 1: Exploring Chapter 11, Working With the Layers of Addiction
Focus: Exploring the root of addiction

Option for group resonance and discussion, created and offered by Jaya Manske

As always, you can also look at the alternative formats at the bottom of the document, or create your own format.


1. Take a moment to settle in and say hello (Timing: 1-2 minutes)

2. Choose someone to lead this session. We recommend a different person volunteer to lead each time. This person will track time and read aloud the instructions that follow (you may also pick 2 people, one to track time and another to read instructions). (Timing: 1 minute)

3. Check-in. Please go around the circle, giving each person an opportunity to share:

– Take a moment to feel the connection you have – with yourself and the people in this group
– One feeling and/or body sensation you’re experiencing

(Timing: 1 minute each, total 3-5 minutes)

4. Discussion and Resonance Practice
(Timing: approximately 7 minutes each, 14-35 minutes)

We ask you to try to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard; one way to do this is to make sure that no one speaks a second time before everyone has spoken or said that they are passing. If someone passes, check in with them after everyone else has shared to see if they would like to share before moving on.

For ideas about creating a group that is safe to explore this material, please remind yourself of these guidelines.

*If you would like more time for discussion/practice and the following exploration, these questions can be discussed and explored in small breakout groups instead

Please share and explore

  • Based on the material on the circuits and addiction, what circuits are you noticing you use external sources (perhaps an addiction) to support?
  • How are you trying to take care of yourself with this behavior or substance? (note this for contract work later)
  • Visit the feelings and needs list and make a resonant needs/feeling guess for yourself.
  • Notice how your body responds.
  • See if there is another sentence you would like to add about your experience with your substance/behavior
  • Make an impossible dream guess for yourself, or ask your group if anyone has one for you (e.g “Would you love it if…”)
  • Notice how your body responds.
  • After you share, you may ask for needs met and gifts received or simply pass to the next person.
  • Rotate

5. Group Exploration (or work on contracts together with remaining time if any, see p. 4 and/or p5 of this handout if you prefer contracts)

(Timing: approximately 8 minutes each, 24-40 minutes)

For groups with less than 5 people, remove Resource and Right Hemisphere OR have someone step into representing multiple roles if feel comfortable enough to do that. Please make sure everyone gets a chance to explore their system.

In this exercise, when it’s your turn to explore, you are inviting yourself and your group into an exploration of what it’s like for you to be in relationship with the substance or behavior you have an addictive experience with. If you aren’t sure what addiction you might have, or don’t want to say out loud, that’s fine. When it’s your turn to explore, you can say “(whoever you’re choosing for the role), would you be willing to become my addiction?” and explore blindly.

In this exploration, you will be stepping into representing various roles for one another. Allow yourself to physically become whatever role you’re asked to represent for someone else (become their SEEKING circuit, for example). When asked, share how it is in your body to represent and how you are changed/impacted by the other representatives. Share body sensations, not interpretations where possible.

These explorations are very body based, and there is no need to fully “make sense of” things. It is an invitation towards exploration and warm curiosity, and perhaps even surprise.

Self (facilitator)
Focus Person’s Right Hemisphere
Unknown Resource

• Choose a Facilitator (whoever is “self”/facilitator is the focus of each exploration)
• Facilitator, choose someone for each of the remaining roles (Addiction, SEEKING circuit, and if enough people or double roles, R. Hem and Resource)
• Each person steps into their role (becoming the addiction of the person facilitating, becoming the SEEKING Circuit of the person, Becoming the Right Hemisphere of the person, becoming the unknown resource)
• Facilitator, invite “Addiction” and “SEEKING Circuit” to come into relationship with one another. Ask each to take a turn sharing what’s happening in their bodies as they see one another. What is your relationship to one another? If you were in physical space together, would you be close or far from one another? What happens in your body?
• Facilitator, step in as “Self”. What happens for you? Body sensations? Does anything change for any of the other two representatives?
• (skip if removing extra reps) If you have enough people, invite “Right Hemisphere” into the space. How is it for “Right Hemisphere”? What body sensations do they notice? Does anything change for anyone else (self, addiction or SEEKING circuit) with this entry?
• (skip if removing extra reps) If you have enough people, invite “Resource” in. How is it for “Resource”? Does anything change for anyone else (self, addiction or SEEKING circuit, R. Hemisphere) with this entry?
• “Self” thank everyone for their representation and support. And say “I release you from your roles”
• Rotate

6. Closure: please close by having each person name a need met or a gift received after this discussion. You can read more about this practice here.

(Timing: 5 minutes)

The suggested format above is meant to create ease, however, your group might instead choose to structure your time around any of these activities or create your own:
1. Offer resonant empathy to each other, either in the whole group or in smaller sub-groups (you can use this resonant empathy circle format if you’d like)
2. Listen to the meditation from chapter 11 together and talk about what comes up for you – Leaning into New Self-Compassion About Our Addictions
3. Practice time travel resonance with one another
4. Release unconscious contracts connected with addiction or that your addiction may have for you together in large or small groups (handout here)
5. Do one of the homework exercises suggested and discuss

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