Welcome! This guide was developed to help people who would like to participate in the HeartWorks book study group.
About the book study groups
Book study groups run all through the year, and are conducted online. We select texts that participants are interested in reading and exploring together, that are related to the practice of compassion and mindfulness.
Size & Participants
Groups are usually around 12 participants: anything larger than this may become too unwieldy in an online forum. This size allows group members to get to know each other, and gives everyone an opportunity to be heard during a meeting.
When & Where
Groups meet over the internet, using online tools such as video conferencing and a Learning Management System (LMS). Each group has a facilitator who will invite members to contribute, using reflection questions as a guide.
The group can discuss, at the first meeting, the best time to meet.
Length & Frequency
Groups meet for one hour at a time. Dates are determined during the first meeting, or beforehand based on a regular schedule (usually 2 weeks).
The HeartWorks Book Study Group is free to join, and you are encouraged to offer a donation to support the facilitator.
Guidelines For Book Study Groups
The book study group is loosely arranged, however it’s helpful to have some guidelines that assist us in getting the most out of the book. Here are some guidelines:
- Kristy will take care of organizational details such as maintaining contact information and handling other logistics as they arise.
- It helps if group members contact the rest of the group via group email if they are unable to attend a particular meeting.
- Book study group etiquette recommends that we phrase comments in positive terms, do not criticize one another, and respect opinions that diverge from our own.
- Participants agree to keep what is said in the group confidential.
- Participants are encouraged to discuss concepts presented in the book in order to further their understanding of these concepts. This might sometimes include sharing about their experience in relation to these concepts, but as this is not an MSC or group therapy, participants are encouraged to keep the balance of the conversation “from the neck up” (ie conceptual). Although the material in some books is very deep and complex, we are encouraged to explore our own individual experiences as part of the process of reading, digesting, and assimilating the information, then talk about the process of being with our experiences from the more conceptual perspective of reporting back to the group.
Curriculum for a book study group
Each meeting has:
- one chapter of reading to be completed before the meeting;
- some additional material that supports exploration of the themes covered in the chapter being studied;
- a list of reflection questions that will be available online at the beginning of each meeting.
We choose books based on interest and relevance to the study of self-compassion and mindfulness. Upcoming book selections will be available here.