The activity can be carried out in groups of various sizes. However, it is always good to consider to what extent the participants will be willing to present and share the output of their work in a larger group and what time will be needed for the final discussion in such case. All participants should be given the same amount of time for their presentations. With larger groups, others’ presentations may inspire one’s thoughts about their River of Life, and therefore it is necessary to allow enough time for a discussion — there is a chance that participants add new thoughts to it.
The third part aims to enable participants to connect the topic of needs to relationships they build. Following the needs that participants identified within the chosen situations, discuss more generally what a particular need means and what it means to fulfil this need in relationships. What a relationship can be like when a particular need is (not) fulfilled?
“Each of us has picked specific Needs cards representing needs that were important for you in the situation you talked about in Dyads. Now, we form a circle and lay these Needs cards out together. You may mix all of the cards together. The important thing now is to look at various needs and try to think about what specifically it means to have a particular need satisfied within the relationships we build. If we succeed in answering the question of what it means to have these needs satisfied within a relationship, it will be easier for us to find a way to decide how to communicate these needs in relationships.”
Facilitator Team NESEHNUTÍ
Ask participants to think about each need in the context of their relationships, whether romantic, friend, or family ones. They may focus on relationships that are currently significant for them. We may ask participants to come back, individually, to the specific moments of their River and think about how a given need would be satisfied in these particular situations. Next, they may communicate their conclusions back to the discussion circle without being too specific.
Motivate participants to discuss the needs. The aim is to explore (a facilitator may jot down key points of the discussion on a flipchart using keywords, collocations) different perspectives and answers to these questions:
What does this particular need mean to me in a relationship? Which particular situation/ conversation do I associate with this need concerning relationships?
If we can determine what it means that the particular need is fulfilled in a relationship, it may be easier to start thinking about which strategy to use to fulfil it; which specific steps, actions we may take to satisfy the need.
THE NEED FOR SHARING AND AN IDEA ABOUT ITS FULFILLMENT IN A RELATIONSHIP: For a particular person, the need for sharing in an intimate relationship can mean to have an opportunity to open one’s heart about anything to their partner, without them feeling they must find an answer, come with a solution, or an opinion on that. Often, we do not share some thoughts and feelings with our partner, because they might interpret them wrongly and subsequently behave unpredictably towards us based on this interpretation. Our need for sharing — which is, however, merely associated with having an opportunity to express thoughts and feelings without any subsequent partner’s reactions — is suppressed. In the long term, this may lead to the inability to communicate or to a loss of trust.
A CONCRETE STEP (STRATEGY) TOWARDS HAVING THE NEED FOR SHARING IN MY RELATIONSHIP SATISFIED: For example, I sit with my partner and tell them that talking with them about various topics does not mean I expect their reaction. It is important in itself that I can express my thoughts and feelings, and this helps strengthen our mutual trust and feeling of safety. At the same time, I will be glad if my partner reciprocally expresses that they are not ready for this type of sharing at a given moment. This is also an act of mutual trust.
There may exist various strategies to fulfil a need — there is no such thing as the only one correct answer. To identify a need, the ability to verbalize it, to know what it means for us and in what different ways we can fulfil it — this is the basis for communication in relationships. Thanks to this knowledge, we are better equipped to reflect on whether our relationships are fulfilling or not, and also, whether people we have a relationship with are willing to work on it or not.