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A Circle is a facilitated group experience toward a particular goal. Circles are a powerful tool for effecting change in one's life with intention and deliberation. A Circle combines the power of social exchange and support, the innovation of group problem solving, the impact of health coaching, and in this case, the reinforcement of a group exercise class.

Think of it as healing in the shared environment. More than this, circles have the power to change the world. As we change ourselves, we affect those within our own social circles--friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends. It's social contagion at its best.

Who is it for?

Continence Circles are for anyone struggling with a pelvic floor disorder--incontinence, urinary or anal leaking, pelvic pain, prolapse, prostatitis, erectile dysfunction. Why would someone experiencing pelvic pain want to be in a group with someone who is struggling with erectile dysfunction? Because while each pelvic floor condition is unique, they also hold a lot of commonalities. They are all conditions that are complicated by the stress in our lives, many of these conditions will respond to the same exercises, and the same list of foods and drink can exacerbate these conditions. Hence the umbrella term of "pelvic floor conditions". They also can hold another important feature--shame. I've been told that my Bladder & Pelvic Floor Health Class transformed a participant's life because it was the first time she was able to talk about her condition without shame, in a neutral environment, and with non-judgmental people. And, really, we're all in this together. A Circle brings together the knowledge and experience of its communities. A participant might be here for her overactive bladder but she might be able to offer another participant the name of a good male urologist her brother or husband used. This is the power and magic of the Circle.

My Bladder & Pelvic Floor Health Class is not a pre-requisite for this Continence Circle.

The Continence Circle entails:

  • a weekly, in-person meeting
  • access to the private, moderated/curated group discussion page (wiki) on my website where participants share progress, ideas, resources & support
  • an exclusive 10-minute meditation emailed to you
  • exercise therapy band
  • folder for screenings, articles, and resources
  • 15% discount for BodyBraille sessions during the Circle and for 3 months after the Circle ends

What does a meeting look like?

  • use of standardized health assessment questionnaires to track progress
  • facilitated discussion
  • introduction to and practice in meditation, mindfulness, writing, and other techniques for calming
  • group support and problem solving
  • exercise practice, with new moves introduced each week
  • homework assignments

What is the content?

Each Circle brings itself to life by the interaction and sharing of its members. Therefore the content of a Circle is dependent upon what the individual members bring to the group--their concerns, their challenges, their readiness to invite the next phase of their being. Our focus on pelvic floor conditions means that we will likely spend some time unraveling and re-weaving our relationships to:

  • stress and stress management techniques/strategies
  • exercise
  • sleep
  • diet. Participants can choose to carry out an elimination diet, if desired.
  • medical appointments, procedures and providers

What is the commitment?

  • Circles are limited to 12 participants but must have a minimum of 8 participants in order to achieve the group dynamics that are most beneficial.
  • Circles meet weekly over 8 weeks.
  • Participants must sign a commitment to confidentiality and agree to basic rules of order.
  • Participants commit to attend ALL sessions. 
  • Participants agree to be accountable to the group.

Melissa Cathcart, L.Ac., is trained in Motivational Interviewing and is a Racial Justice Facilitator with the Minneapolis YWCA. She has taught training classes, community education classes and continuing education workshops for professionals since 2000. She has been in practice since 2001 and has focused on pelvic floor conditions since 2008.

The next Continence Circle starts Wednesday 17 January 2018 6:30-8:30pm at the Solomon's Porch main gathering room, full of comfy couches. Bring a yoga mat and a small pillow or a large bath towel. Wear comfortable clothing. And be ready to share. You're in for a delicious ride!

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