The Avalon Community is a quite recent (founded by Alanja Forsberg in 2015) extension of Circling into related modalities that include psycho-drama and some form of somatic experiencing, i.e. body-centered processing and working through early trauma experiences, which would include physical touch. Their flagship offer is a retreat called “Avalon” that is 6-day, deep dive into community and, if needed, the trauma that many of us carry.
The fact of early, somatic-based trauma is, as of this year (2017) rapidly gaining weight in the circling community. There are important conversations happening, partly based of many people’s experience that circling doesn’t actually work for recovering from early trauma (or if it does, it is too slow). There are a number of hypotheses being offered there, one being that physical touch is essential (and is not something that normally happens during Circling, and not at all for online circling), and the second idea being that since Circling is primarily a verbal process, and since “the wounds received from relationship can only be healed in relationship”, then attempting to recover from traumas inflicted at a pre-verbal age through a verbal process such as Circling may not work. As such, in an Avalon retreat, a skilled facilitator will work with a circlee, but not assume that the circlee is at a verbal age or can fully identify or express feelings, thoughts and needs. Rather, the facilitator might attempt to get into the “child’s” world by asking questions such as: how old are you? Are you angry, are you sad? Do you know what you want? Do you want me to come closer? Etc.
I find what is currently going on in the Avalon Community intensely exciting, almost like “next-generation circling”.
For more information about Avalon, look them up on Facebook under “Avalon Community” and check the website www.AvalonDharma.com