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Talking Circles Mending Broken Hearts

In a group setting, families and individuals have recently started coming together in a safe place to open up and connect with each other: the Talking Circle. The group meets once a week at the Behavioral Health Services Building and Lehi Community Building in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

A talking circle is a healing group, an opportunity for Community members to come together and open up about what is weighing heavy on their hearts. Carol Colmenero, director of the SRPMIC Family Advocacy Center, explained how the talking circle uses a non-Western approach to healing that has been used by many tribal communities for healing and talking.

“Healing from grief and loss if there is a tragedy in the Community, if you have stress in your life, or [if you] just have things that may be bothering you, it’s an opportunity to come together with your community to talk,” said Colmenero.

The talking circle has been meeting for a little over a month. So far, 18 to 25 people have shown up to the weekly meeting.

The talking circles have no time limit, but each session can last two to four hours. “With unresolved trauma, grief and loss, the Community saw that there needed to be a place in the area for the members to be with other members to open up,” said Colmenero. “This was so we don’t have to go outside the Community and [it] would be Community driven, by the members. The talking circle is mediated by Community members as well.”

The location alternates between the Lehi Community Building and Salt River location. In the future, look for gender-specific talking circles, a teen talking circle and also an area for babysitting.

“The talking circles are confidential. What is discussed in the room stays in the room. Just show up. We also encourage participants to bring food to share as a potluck-style type of meeting. Sharing food and interacting with each other is also a part of healing,” said Colmenero.

For more information on the talking circle, contact Durina Keyonnie at (480) 362-6662. Transportation is also available; call (480) 362-5655.