NED126 Listening groups
Many people experience loneliness and disappointment in social relationships. ‘Hoop voor Noord’ (Hope for North), a multicultural church in Amsterdam Noord (Netherlands), brings neighbors together in a 'Listening Group' to share daily experiences with each other, listen to each other and learn from each other.
why this project?
There are a lot of people who stumble over things they don't know what to do with. They often keep them to themselves. It can be a relief to hear that another person is struggling with the same problems. You can talk about this in a Listening Group. People listen without prejudice and you can hear from others how they have handled things. During such a meeting, we sometimes do something different than talking and listening for a change: listening to music, playing a game, reading a poem out loud.
Listening groups under the name De Gulden Middenweg (the golden mean) were offered since 2014. Many participants from the very beginning are still part of the social network around the Church ‘Hoop voor Noord’. Participants experience that they gain more confidence in human relationships, build a network and participate more in society. One hopes that through a piece of personal recovery, participants will also get started with the deeper questions of life and thus find their way (back) to God and the Church.
what can we learn?
‘Integratieve Buurttherapie (IBT)’ (Integrative Neighborhood Therapy) is a preventive, community-based mental health intervention. IBT is used worldwide among the elderly, addicts, students, migrants and aid workers. With the help of IBT trainers, the Listening Groups were started in Amsterdam Noord. Volunteers are trained as conversation supervisors. A listening group is a community with equal relationships where a mutual sense of recognition and validation arises and where you discover that you can learn a lot from each other.