The Parent Circle

The Parent Circle

Tapping the Wisdom of True Experts

By David Flohr

January/February 2012

It was on a night 20 years ago when I had an experience that transformed the way I work with parents today. Up to that point, I’d practiced the traditional approaches that most therapists use with parents—individual therapy, couples therapy, child-focused parent guidance, and family therapy. That night, after running a child-focused parent group, I was walking toward my car in the parking lot when I ran into three of the parents from the group who were still talking over what we’d been discussing in our meeting. “There’s an extra charge for parking-lot sessions,” I wisecracked as I walked past them. “This is our session, not yours,” shot back one of the parents, playfully, but also with a trace of seriousness. “And there’s no charge!”

It all seemed relaxed and fun at the time, but driving home, I found myself coming back to that comment and realizing that it spoke to what I was just beginning to admit to myself was missing in the parent group I was leading. With all the emphasis on techniques and parenting information, we seemed to be skirting the heart of the often frustrating and, at times, deeply painful experiences parents were struggling with. I found myself thinking, These parents have so much more understanding and wisdom to offer each other than this group is tapping into. They don’t need therapy as much as they need each other. What they needed was the opportunity, encouragement, and tools to co-create their own support…

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Monday, June 27, 2016 2:44:31 PM | posted by jose
This is a beautiful article about the power of the circle and the intimate, supportive relationships that can develop out of the process. As a circle facilitator I've found that as I turn over the facilitation of the circle and people take turns facilitating, they find that they have the intellectual and emotional ability to engage in important and difficult discussions. jose alfaro, lcsw

Saturday, September 1, 2012 2:59:06 PM | posted by Bill Miller
Great article tapping into the power and cumulative knowledge of parents. Wisdom as an accessible resource. Tried and failed to connect directly with Dr. Flohr. Wonder if anyone has an up to date email address, further articles, workshops etc. I am part of a New York City based group called the Fathering Forum and
Dr. Flohr's work fits perfectly with what we aspire to do.
If you can help please respond.
Thanks Reverend William E. Miller

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 8:58:19 PM | posted by Jason Richardson
Wow, great article! Really got me thinking about different group application that our clients can use, thanks!!

Saturday, March 31, 2012 5:17:22 PM | posted by Sue Stein
Finally! A model that makes sense for so many of the parents I work with. Would love to learn more about it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012 8:28:17 PM | posted by Michael Matasci
Loved this article
It got me inspired to work with