Module 2: GSW – Introduction II

Global Social Witnessing Guidelines

“If everybody looks through broken glass, then together, we are looking at a world that looks broken. When I notice my crack in my window, and you notice yours, and we start healing our cracks, then we start to look at the world through clear glass. And that’s what trauma healing does. It starts unifying the world.”

Thomas Hübl

The practice of Global Social Witnessing aims to help unify our world.
However, in our practice, we need to take care not to overwhelm ourselves or others. These Guidelines wish to ensure that you keep yourself and others safe.
News about the world, or, more specifically, the experiences of refugees, can be overwhelming. Turning away, numbing out, and processing information on a purely mental level has its roots in an intelligent response of trying to protect our nervous systems from the emotional and physical experiences that may accompany our empathy and compassion. Especially when there are “trigger points”, points where the trauma landscape of the world meets our inner trauma landscape, great care is needed.
In our practice, we acknowledge this and our need for titration, self-care and self-protection and our responsibility to provide safe spaces for others. .


In my practice of GSW…

  • I check whether I am in a resourced, healthy, balanced state, before turning to embodied witnessing of news from the world.
  • I choose the theme and amount of information to work with consciously.
  • I aim to become more aware of my boundaries (the limits of my capacity) and the areas where witnessing someone else’s pain becomes overwhelming for me.
  • I don’t put pressure on myself to “feel more” or “take in more information”.
  • I remain kind, compassionate and honest with myself, curious to bring more consciousness to the edges of my embodied witnessing capacity.
  • I search out a supportive exchange or professional support where that feels helpful.

In bringing a GSW practice to groups or classes, we carry the additional responsibility for the wellbeing of others…

  • We first check whether the group is in a resourced, healthy, balanced state, before turning to embodied witnessing of news from the world.
  • We choose the theme and amount of information to work with consciously. We make sure to be aware of the diverse backgrounds and age groups of those present, and adapt accordingly.
  • We ensure that everyone in the group knows that our aim is to become more aware of our boundaries, and that we respect those boundaries within each other. We understand that everyone’s boundaries might be different and that we are not putting pressure on each other to “feel more” or “take in more information”.
  • We remain kind, compassionate and honest with ourselves and others, curious to find out more and bring more consciousness to the edges of our embodied witnessing capacity.
  • We have the necessary skills to facilitate a supportive exchange in the group.
  • We are able to support members in the group with accessing professional support if needed.
  • Ideally, join the Collective Trauma Facilitator Training which will be run through the Pocket Project in 2024.

When we are open and caring, we feel more. We feel more, so we can enjoy life more. We feel the pleasure, the beauty, the truth, and the composition of life more fully. We experience music, art and nature differently. We experience ourselves differently. It's like everything becomes richer, and it's great.
We also need to know that everything will be more amplified, richer. When we see something terrible that happens in the world, like a crime, a shooting, or a war, that also goes deeper into us.
We need to approach it in a titrated, related way, appropriately, because we can also just overwhelm ourselves and there's no good in doing that. A titrated way means that I come closer to the experience step by step, and not just all at once. This way I see how far I can go. Maybe I need to take a step back, then I take another step, and I feel, and I go slowly.

Thomas Hübl

 I cannot just ask for what I need or what I want from democracy. I also need to see what I can give. What's my contribution? Care arises out of connectedness, out of the capacity to host other people, groups that we disagree with, other political orientations, other cultural or ethnicities, and learn to explore ourselves. Who am I in relation to that?
We are often also the continuation of many other very painful aspects of humanity's past. And that's why we need to do some inner work to acquire wisdom in our life.

Thomas Hübl

Introduction to Global Social Witnessing II

Module 1: Introduction To Global Social Witnessing
Module 3: GSW – Basics