circle picsThe following analysis is based upon 12 interviews and 4 focus groups involving a highly representative sample of 29 Reflection Circle members and one major funder in San Antonio, TX. Don D. Arispe PhD conducted this analysis as part of his published dissertation.

  1. All Reflection Circle Members (RCM’s) stated they have been able to apply lessons learned from the Reflection Circle Process (RCP) in their professional and personal life. All commented on how the RCP positively impacted their skill development in all areas of their life–communication skills such as listening, self expression, assertiveness, impacting both personal and professional relationships. RCM’s mentioned positive changes in their ability to impact policy or program development and sustainability in their work settings. Most stated they experienced an improved ability to set the stage for others to experience empowerment, as well as advocate on behalf of others in their personal and professional life.
  2. All (RCM’s) stated experiencing some form of encounter with wisdom, spirituality, deep sense of connectedness, and or, experiences of compassion. All conveyed spiritual experiences in the form of deep sense of trust or connection via their relationships with circle members, or in terms of transpersonal experiences, or experiences of ineffability, or as encounters with wisdom, compassion, or empathy. Experiences of humanization (seeing all as equal, seeing all as human beings and not simply in their community roles) were also common. Half stated that the RCP helps them bring a spiritual perspective to the work they are doing allowing them to re-charge their commitment to their work, as well as inspiring others.
  3. RCM’s stated that learning from others was key. A wide diversity of views are shared in the circle resulting in new insights or perspectives. They also stated experiencing non-judgmental support, safety, trust, encouragement, and or, a strong sense of community. Several stated the RCP was a source of stress or emotional relief, helping them avoid burn out.
  4. RCM’s find parts of the RCP painful, anxiety producing, or challenging. In short, they experienced that growth can be painful at times. Despite this fact, almost all participants also find the RCP to be a source of peace, love and personal transformation.
  5. RCM’s experience honest, deep self examination and insight regarding personal and professional issues, and or, healing of old personal issues.
  6. RCM’s describe themselves as more patient, more able to slow down their thinking, and or more mindful, with emphasis on the RCP’s positive impact on decision making in all aspects of their life.
  7. RCM’s have deep gratitude for their circle experiences and stated they enjoy their experience.
  8. Via the RCP most participants discovered the answers they seek lie within themselves.

Entire Dissertation can be found here:

Encounters with Wisdom: A case study of community worker reflection circles in San Antonio, TX, by Don Arispe, Ph.D