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Authentic Relating Circles

What are Authentic Relating Circles?

Circles (inspired by Circling™) are a group experience that leaves space for individual emotional expression, reflection and sharing of impact. It is a space where we are encouraged to follow our impulses, speak what is true for us, and explore relating with one another authentically in the present moment. It is a vulnerable practice that has the potential to yield deep human connection.

The intention of this practice is to connect deeply with our own experience while also getting to know another's experience and world. It is a practice in welcoming what is without having to change or fix what is true for ourselves or another. We seek to reveal what is unspoken in ourselves, with another or the group as a whole, in service of deeper connection and intimacy.  


The pillars of Circles are:


In holding Circles, we look first at ourselves and then to those who share the group with us, while staying in contact with the present moment.  This tends to be intimate and vulnerable because we bring attention to the current experience of our interpersonal connection, which is not commonly talked about. People often feel deeply seen and relational blind spots can be revealed through the process. Circles are a way for us to practice presence in relationship.


Circles are a practice of non-judgmentally being with each other in a group conversation. We practice holding each other and ourselves as innocent in our expressions in search of deeper understanding and in service of connection.


The intention of Circles is to connect from a place of curiosity and to strive for clarity as we bring awareness to what is implicit and make it explicit. As we circle, we practice breaking through the assumptions, blind spots and projections we may have about each other to allow for deeper connection and greater understanding to emerge.


Circles are the practice, and art, of slowing down, bringing our attention to our inner landscape, and sharing our felt experiences with one another, noticing what happens within us and what arises within the group as we do so.



The goal of Circles is not to change one another, but instead to be with what is, celebrating and honoring who and where we all are right now. We do this by acknowledging and getting curious about our reactions to aid or fix a person's experiencing. We then express and explore that urge rather than acting from it.


The following is a wonderful video from Circling Europe depicting a perspective of what Circles are. 

(Authentic Portland is not directly affiliated with Circling Europe.)

Circling Pic.jpeg

"It's like being roped into a psycho-social corral of potential!"

-  Max, AP Community Member

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