Building Communities, Building a Culture of Peace

It’s one thing to invite people to awaken to a new cultural reality. It’s quite another to get new healthier habits to stick. Human beings are social creatures and community support is crucial. Just knowing you’re not alone is often enough to get through life’s challenges, big and small.

The “Conversando con la Veci(ndad)” Healing Dialog Circles Program has offered weekly healing circles open to the public since November 2017. The circles are based on a Brazilian methodology (TCI) developed in 1987, and were officially accepted as part of the government’s public health policy as a “Complementary and Integrative Practice” in 2006. Since 2013, the methodology has been included in the Brazilian government’s manual for basic mental health care as an advanced psychosocial intervention.

The methodology has spread around the world and is now present in over 27 countries, where millions of people join the circles to find solutions to their own problems, develop support communities and release everyday stress before it erupts in violence. It has shown its effectiveness as a support mechanism across numerous social strata and subject matters, including:

  • People with chronic or catastrophic illness or substance addiction;
  • Schools (with groups for students, parents and teachers);
  • Victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises;
  • Mental health professionals working to care for others;
  • And people like you who just need a respectful place to share…

In addition, prior to the epidemic, the No Más en Ecuador project successfully introduced the circles as an on-site corporate program designed to improve the work environment and reduce stress.

Although originally conceived as an on-site methodology, it has been successfully adapted to virtual spaces in response to COVID-19, permitting the construction of international virtual communities. Our program forms part of the “TCI in Spanish” virtual dialog circles network of ABRATECOM which has the support of the Community Mental Health Department of the International Social Psychiatry Association (WASP) and is currently gathering data on the use of the methodology during the pandemic.