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Affect Script Psychology and shame help us understand how to build healthy, authentic relationships with ourselves and others through empathy. Use this circle with teams, organizations, and communities to understand how we can support each other when experiencing shame.

Welcome to the Space of the Circle.

  • MINDFULNESS MOMENT Pause, breathe, and listen to the sound


“Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’”

Brené Brown

  • INTRODUCE "ROUNDS" A "round" is a pass of the talking piece around the Circle. The keeper poses a question and, as a participant, may answer first. The keeper then passes the talking piece to the person to their left or right (or names the next person over Zoom).

    • On the first round, participants are invited to say their name and pronouns as well as respond to the question. Remember, it is always okay for a participant to pass.

    • FIRST ROUND Please share your name and pronouns and introduce a talking piece or special item you have with you today

  • Remind the group of Circle values and guidelines. These can be ones established in previous circles or be created new each time with new participants. Some helpful sharing guidelines may include:

    • Share what you feel comfortable sharing.

    • Respect the talking piece

    • You can pass at any time.

    • Be mindful of time.

    • Respect the privacy of those sharing.

    • Trust intent/name impact

    • Use “I” statements

    • Speak from the heart/listen from the heart

    • Be here now

    • Prioritize connection before content

    • Be both teachers and learners

    • Have fun!

  • ROUND Why is it important that you are here right now?

  • ROUND What does joy mean to you? Share a time you’ve experienced joy.

  • ROUND Describe a time you were surprised/startled, what other feelings or emotions were you feeling at the time?

  • ROUND Think about a time you were angry or upset, how did you respond to others in and around that moment?

  • ROUND Think about a specific moment or shame reaction you’ve experienced in yourself. Which direction do you typically go to on the Compass of Shame?

  • ROUND Why is it important for us to understand shame when supporting others?

  • ROUND Why is it important for us to understand shame when asking for support for ourselves?

  • CHECK-OUT ROUND What is something you learned or where surprised by?

  • CLOSING Listen to or watch this guided meditation by Tara Brach

  • Thank everyone for participating in the Circle!

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