Q: So... are y'all like a cult?
A: Hahahaha... nope. No 'leader-leader' type chanting. No need or expectation for anyone to disown their family, shun their friends, grow really long beards (or armpit hair) and buy Birkenstocks. However, if that's what you want to do. We'll honor that... and probably ask you to share more about it.
That said the practice of authentic relating can lead to significant transformational change in one's life, sometimes leading us to realize how deeply unsatisfying our current relationships are and now emboldened with the tools and confidence to seek ones that fulfill us, and sometimes the practice can lead us to a deeper appreciation for what already exists in our lives. Of course, increased self-acceptance and self-love can lead to personal appearance being something you 'do' for yourself... which could lead to a long beard and/or Birkenstocks if that's your thing.
Q: Okay...then what kind of people engage with ART?
A: You name it, we've got it. Typical age ranges are those in their 20's' through to their 60's. With a bit more emphasis on those in their 20's and 30's likely due to the expansion of consciousness through generations. You'll find Students, Teachers, CEO's, couples, retiree's anyone and everyone... seriously. There's no real cookie-cutter criteria that makes up a 'relater'. Other than, you know, the fact we're all amazingly beautiful and perhaps, the desire to connect with others, and even then, sometimes when we feel like we don't want to be with others, we come out to the events to be accepted exactly where we are and see what that's like.
Q: So I've read the descriptions for (games/circling/t-group/etc) and I still don't get it.
A: Yeah, we get that. It's not uncommon that if you don't have any personal development background some of the language used may seem a bit foreign and even with the best langauge, sometimes it's best to just experience something (while honoring yourself) to get an idea of what it could mean for you. Often at the opening of circling events we will call on a handful of veterans to share what the practice is to them and you'll often receive a handful of distinctive responses. Representing, we think, the beauty and sustainability of the practice.
Authentic Relating is for everyone, wherever they're at.
Q: Where does "Authentic Relating" come from?
A: Specific details are a bit hard to come by but in general Relating Games in their current form seem to largely originate from Authentic World (Brian Bayer & Decker Cunov) out of California as part of their Alethia immersion weekends. Bryan and Decker have since Co-founded "The Integral Center" with Robert MacNaughton in Boulder, CO. In case you're further curious (you'll do great in circles!) it's named "Integral" for "Integral Theory" which, to distill down into a single sentence, is a theory that attempts to tie together the bulk of the worlds theories into a single framework.
The basis for Circling is considered founded by Guy Stengstock at Burning Man back in 1996. Roughly around the same time Brian Bayer and Decker Cunov happened to be already 'circling' with friends without even having put a name to it. At some point, it got refined into a practice and given a name. While the practice of Circling isn't therapy, several aspects of Circling are derived from the Gestalt approach to therapy (ownership, presence, etc...).
T-Group comes from Sensitivity Training which origins predates the people mentioned above.
Q: Who started Authentic Relating Toronto?
A: ART was co-founded by Josh Stein and Evan Dwyer roughly back in 2011. Josh held the bulk of the roles and responsbilities for years, integrated the community into the management and execution of ART and as of mid-2015 taken a step back for other opportunities.