Taol – The Native American Talking Circle And How We Apply It In Your Recovery!
Taol – A reprint from a Native People’s Conferrence
“Taol, or traditional talking circles, is a traditional Native American practice that SCARS uses to help traumatized crime victims recover,” according to what I presented in a recent conference.
“Taol is a safe space where victims can share their stories with others who have been through similar experiences. This can help victims to feel less alone and to begin to heal from their trauma.”
Taol can also help victims to make sense of their experiences and to develop coping mechanisms. In a Taol circle, victims are encouraged to talk about their feelings, to ask questions, and to receive support from others. This can help victims to feel more in control of their lives and to begin to move forward.
There is some research that suggests that Taol can be an effective intervention for traumatized crime victims. For example, one study found that Taol participants reported significantly lower levels of PTSD symptoms and anxiety than a control group of victims who did not participate in Taol.
Native American Talking Circles
Native American Talking Circles (Taol,) also known as healing circles or support circles, can be a valuable tool in the recovery of traumatized crime victims. Talking Circles are a traditional practice in many Indigenous cultures, including various Native American First Nations. They provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals to share their experiences, express their emotions, and find healing within a community setting.
Talking Circles or Circle Talks are a foundational approach to First Nations pedagogy-in-action since they provide a model for an educational activity that encourages dialogue, respect, the co-creation of learning content, and social discourse.
The nuance of subtle energy created from using this respectful approach to talking with others provides a sense of communion and interconnectedness that is not often present in the common methods of communicating in the Native American classroom and that is typically missing from Western models of education.
When everyone has their turn to speak, when all voices are heard in a respectful and attentive way, the learning atmosphere becomes a rich source of information, identity, and interaction.
Talking Circles originated with First Nations leaders – the process was used to ensure that all leaders in the tribal council were heard and that those who were speaking were not interrupted except to enhance understanding.
Usually, the Chief would initiate the conversation, with other members responding and sharing their perceptions and opinions of the topic under discussion. The process provides an excellent model for interaction within the learning environment as well. It is also very adaptive to any circle of people who need to discuss topics and make decisions together.
Taol vs. Peer-to-Peer Support Group Models
Taol and peer-to-peer support groups are both types of group support that can be helpful for crime victims. Both Taol and peer-to-peer support groups provide a safe space where victims can share their stories with others who have been through similar experiences. This can help victims to feel less alone and to begin to heal from their trauma.
In Taol, the circle is led by a facilitator (a kind of chieftain) who helps to keep the discussion flowing and ensures that everyone has a chance to speak. In peer-to-peer support groups, the group is typically led by a therapist or other mental health professional, though it can also be led by a group leader.
Both Taol and peer-to-peer support groups can be helpful for crime victims, but there are some key differences between the two approaches. Taol is a more traditional approach that is rooted in Native American culture of inclusivity, as opposed to the Western model of competition and comparisons. Peer-to-peer support groups are more Westernized and typically use a more structured approach to support.
Ultimately, the best approach for a crime victim will depend on their individual needs and preferences. Some victims may prefer the more traditional setting of a Taol circle (which can be done online in the form of a Zoom call or in person,) while others may prefer the more structured setting of a peer-to-peer support group. While SCARS has not talked about this previously, it employs the Taol model for its support groups for maximum effectiveness.
Why Does Taol Work For Scam Victims
There are a few reasons why Taol – Native American Talking Circles can be very helpful for traumatized scam victims.
- Safety and Validation: Taol circles provide a safe space for victims to share their stories without fear of judgment or criticism. This can be especially important for scam victims, who may feel ashamed or embarrassed about being defrauded. In a Taol circle, victims can hear from others who have been through similar experiences and receive validation for their feelings, be educated, and be guided by a Trial Elder (the Taol Leader.)
- Connection: Taol circles allow victims to connect with others who have been through similar experiences. This can help victims to feel less alone and to learn from others’ experiences. It can also provide victims with a sense of community and support. More than just community, it provides very real personal connections essential to stay on the path to recovery.
- Healing: Taol circles can help victims to heal from their trauma. By sharing their stories and receiving support from others, victims can begin to make sense of their experiences and develop coping mechanisms. This can help them to move on from their trauma and to rebuild their lives. Especially true when coupled with professional trauma counseling or therapy – which SCARS always recommends.
Here are some of the psychological benefits of Taol – Talking Circles for traumatized scam victims:
- Reduced isolation: Scam victims often feel isolated and alone after being scammed. Taol circles can provide a safe space for victims to connect with others who have been through similar experiences. This can help victims to feel less alone and to know that they are not the only ones who have been scammed.
- Increased self-esteem: Scam victims often feel ashamed or embarrassed about being scammed. Taol circles can help victims to rebuild their self-esteem by providing them with a supportive and validating environment. In a Taol circle, victims can hear from others who have been through similar experiences and receive support and encouragement.
- Improved coping skills: Taol circles can help victims to develop coping skills for dealing with the psychological effects of being scammed. In a Taol circle, victims can learn from others’ experiences and receive support and guidance in developing healthy coping mechanisms.
- Increased resilience: Taol circles can help victims to develop resilience in the face of future challenges. By sharing their stories and receiving support from others, victims can learn to bounce back from adversity and to build a stronger sense of self.
If you are a scam victim who is struggling to cope with the psychological effects of being scammed, SCARS implementation of Taol – Talking Circles may be a helpful resource you need.
You can find more information about SCARS support groups or sign up at support.AgainstScams.org