The following strategies are group management techniques. They are topics you should discuss with participants to help clarify what is acceptable and not acceptable in the sessions. They can be used during the first session as a handout or through discussion over the course of the program.

Some are individual agreements, and begin with “I.” Others are group agreements and begin with “we.” Feel free to use them for individual or group management.

These items have been adapted from Young Men’s Work: Stopping Violence and Building Community, Allan Creighton and Paul Kivel.

Confidentiality: We agree to be respectful of others and do for them as we would like for them to do for us. This means that we remember that we should not repeat what someone says, their personal story, or something else they brought up in a meeting without their permission.

No Put-downs: We agree not to put down, make fun of, minimize, or attack other people. Also, I will not put myself down by saying things like “this may sound stupid, but…”

The right to pass: We agree to do my part to make the program successful, everyone has the right not to talk in the group when they don’t want to.

Feelings: Everyone in the meeting may feel hurt, sad, board, angry, or disappointed. These feelings are part of the change process. We agree to respect the feelings of other participants.

Respect/Listening: We agree to listen to others and expect that others will listen. This almost always means that only one person talks at a time, without interruptions.

“I” Statements: We agree to speak for ourselves and use our own experiences. We will not speak for others unless asked to do so. This will help me to speak about what is true for me without passing judgment on others.

Trying on the process: We agree to try on the process of this group. We don’t have to agree with it or accept it, just try it on.

Empathy: We will try to recognize the emotions that are being experienced by others.

Taking care of myself: We agree to take charge of our own needs. We will ask for help if I need it.