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The Art of Circling: An 8-Week Dive into Relational Practice

  • The Philadelphia Building 1315 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA, 19107 United States (map)

Circling is an intersubjective relational practice that might be described as part meditation, part group conversation, and part art form. When we Circle, we aim to get a felt understanding of another’s present-moment world while noticing and naming what is arising for us individually and in relation to each other. The practice is deeply experiential and takes place in the immediacy of the Now.

Ultimately, Circling is about connection. It’s an attempt to get what it’s like to be in another’s skin while simultaneously staying rooted in our own. This is a practice about seeing, being seen, and giving and receiving the kind of generative attention that changes lives and allows for new possibilities to emerge.

If the quality of our lives is measured, in large part, by the quality of our relationships, then this seems a highly worthy endeavor. In fact, it could be argued that this is exactly the kind of work that is needed right now, on a global level, to ensure sustainability here on our planet. As Mary Oliver says, “We are each other’s destiny.”

Circling is not therapy, and this is not a “therapy group." That said, it is a developmental practice that works our edges in the territory of human relationship. The experience may, at times, stir core material, evoking strong emotions, feelings, and somatic sensations in participants. Because this is a relational practice and we all have relational wounding, it is likely that it will, at some point, touch into places of tenderness in this domain. Group dynamics are at play, after all. 

There is an upside to that caveat, however. Although not the aim or intention of the practice, Circling can be healing. Between attachment wounds and narcissistic injuries, we all have places where we didn’t get what we needed relationally in our formative experiences. At the heart of the practice lies a commitment to connection that can be, and often is, an immensely transformative antidote to aloneness.

I hold the dual frame that Circling is both edgy and therapeutic; as a trained therapist, I will pay homage to the duality by holding and working skillfully with wounding that gets activated, and making sure that participants are well-resourced and have the requisite supports in place to handle any overflow (processing trauma and core material is not the focus or intention of the group, to be clear). I will ultimately foster a space in which healthy emotional risk-taking and vulnerability are encouraged as part of authentic relational practice.

Ours will be a closed, 8-week dive into this dynamic intersubjective terrain. The format will be as follows: During the first hour we will be working with a particular skill or foundational element of the practice. In the second hour we will put those skills to use in the context of a more formal Circle. (In my “yoga of relating” analogy, we might think of it as “breaking down the pose” before we flow.)

IMPORTANT: This will be an intimate group. I am capping it at 8 participants. By a “closed” group, I mean that it will be the same people over the course of the 8 weeks, without the comings and goings that occur with drop-in situations. This is intentional and will ideally foster deeper trust, safety, and connection. Please be prepared to commit yourself to the entirety of the experience if you choose to join us. Also, you MUST have a conversation with me prior to signing up, especially if I don’t know you. For both of our sakes, as well as for the potential health of the group, I want to make sure that it’s a “good fit.”

Finally, this experience is not a substitute for therapy. It may, however, be a beautiful adjunct to your already-existing process that way. If you have questions about the potential rightness of this practice group for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Please contact me here with inquiries and interest:


Phone: 609.280.6574

About the facilitator:

Ashley King, M.S.Ed., Ed.M., LPC is a holistic and integrative psychotherapist trained in the Hakomi Method of Mindful, Somatic Psychotherapy. In addition, she is studying AEDP (Accelerated, Experiential, Dynamic Psychotherapy) with Diana Fosha and is passionate about the intersection of dynamic, body-centered psychotherapy and intersubjective relational practice. She is also a certified Circling facilitator, a relationship coach, a meditation instructor, an intuitive energy healer and Reiki Master, and a yoga teacher with over 500 hours of training. She leads workshops and groups in and around the Philadelphia area and has a private psychotherapy practice in Center City. She is also a writer committed to inquiry at the creative edge.

The Philadelphia Building
1315 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

1/21/19, 1/28/19, 2/4/19, 2/11/19, 2/18/19, 2/25/19, 3/4/19, 3/11/19


$325 by 1/7/19; $375 thereafter

Contact me to sign up