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Ground Rules for Training Groups

John Talbut

The purpose of these rules is to help build up a non-threatening and mutually supportive culture within training groups. This has been found to be very helpful in enabling the group members to talk about and learn from their own experiences.

The rules are not absolute or immediate in their effect. Groups take time to get used to them and to build up an atmosphere of mutual trust. Group members are invited to be aware of how safe they feel when they decide whether to talk about anything with the group.

Group members are invited to assertively help other members to keep to the rules. Some of them are not easy to keep to - it may mean breaking habits of a lifetime.


Do not refer to anything of a personal nature that anyone has said, neither later during the training session nor in any other circumstances.

Respect the Autonomy of Others

Each member of the group has the absolute right to decide what they want to do or say in the group.

Speak for Yourself

Say "I" when that is what you mean, not "you", "we", "one" etc.

"I would like to..." not "We ought to ..." or "It would be nice if ...";

"I always wonder how someone will react" not "You always wonder ....".

No put-downs

Do not criticise or express any judgements or negative opinions about the other people - or yourself.

Do not give advice. Advice is a form of criticism, in effect you are saying that the other person has got it wrong. Giving information is different. In this case the other person is not criticised and can do whatever they like with the information. For example: sharing your own experience "When I ....... this is what happened ......." or giving factual information "Customers are entitled to get their money back for faulty goods."

Only One Person to Speak at a time

Give full attention to whoever is speaking. Do not interrupt. Do not speak out of turn in a round.

Mobile phones and pagers must be switched off.

Commit Yourself

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Published by Donington Training, Alvechurch, B48 7BY UK.

Training people to become more effective in their lives.

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Updated 26th August 2020

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