Sanctuary: Blog

Sanctuary Team Meetings

Submitted by: Sally Scott, Manager, Ruah Community Services, Women's Support Services


I attended a Five-Day training with the Sanctuary Institute in Perth, Australia as our organization Ruah Community Services is incorporating this trauma informed practice model into the every day running of the organization.

During this time one of the many things I got to participate in was a discussion about Sanctuary Team Meetings and what these will be like. From our group discussion and understanding of Sanctuary, after five days we were able to present the following:

A team involves everybody and hence these meeting must include everyone, nobody is to be left out or left behind. The meeting itself will run in a non-violent manner where everyone uses their Emotional Intelligence. This then provides for social learning opportunities that are democratic and allow open communication. The whole team is given an opportunity to be socially responsible in a space that accepts growth and change for all.

The team meeting gives time to the people who are serving the people.

Within the team meetings a number of things can happen;
• Everyone is considered equal and thus anyone can take the lead in the meeting as they are true team meetings and not led by any one person.
• We reflect on how we are being in the workplace and not focus on what we are doing in the workplace
• People share their feelings
• People share experiences and the impact of these on themselves and/or the team
• The meetings bring everybody together and to a stop at the same time, therefore everything gets to slow down
• A space is honored for everyone to come together without the pressure of a so called 'business' meeting.
• As a group we develop trust as we express our vulnerabilities to each other, share values, consider ethical and moralistic situations
• Agenda's are kept short so that we can have real discussions with one another
• The meeting is not to be too serious and we can have fun and be playful with each other. (Celebrity heads and musical chairs as well as team building exercises are favorites within our team.)

The Team Meeting is a tool within the Sanctuary Model to be used by teams. However this tool is a small part of what Sanctuary is.

Sanctuary is about us all being more accountable for ourselves and responsible for our behavior while at work.

The Team Meeting facilitates a space for teams to gather and have;
• Time - to be together
• Patience - with one another as we are forever learning and developing together
• Understanding - for where each person is within the team and what may be happening for them at any given time

It is important that within these meetings, as well as within the office environment that ALL OF THE TEAM is appreciated, valued, accepted and loved.

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