What & What Not to Debrief
Facilitator Tips Episode 45

Are there Healthy Boundaries of What to Debrief?


Welcome to the second instalment of our short series of video tutorials focused on processing, reflection or debriefing skills.

This week’s Facilitator Tips episode explores the question of What to debrief in terms of the tricky boundaries a facilitator must navigate in their efforts to process a group’s experience.


<< Go to Episode 44   Go to Episode 46 >>


When considering what to debrief in the context of program outcomes, the most effective facilitators think about more than just the wide array of topics available to them to discuss.

They are also very aware of the boundaries within which they must conduct the conversation to keep it as healthy and productive as possible.

Click the play button above to learn more about what and what not to debrief.


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Useful Links & Resources


  • Why Debrief – the first in our series of video tutorials focused on group processing skills.
  • When To Debrief – the third in our series of video tutorials focused on group processing skills.
  • How To Debrief – the fourth & final instalment of our series of video tutorials focused on group processing skills. Or in other words, this video will help you ask good debrief questions.
  • Useful Debriefing Tips – a bunch of useful and practical tips to help you lead an effective reflection session with your group.


Video Transcript


Hi there and welcome to the Facilitator Tips video series.

My name is Mark Collard. I work as an experiential trainer and an author, and today we’re going to continue in our series of Episode 45 and continuing to look at this debriefing skill, the reflection, the review, the processing, and in particular the what.

In our first episode, in Episode 44, we looked at why. Presuming we have good reasons for why we’re choosing to invite our group to reflect on their experience, then the next thing you want to look at is what, the boundaries around what, and not what to actually focus on.

The first one is there is so many topics. This is not about me telling you what you should be focusing on, but I would suggest focus on one or maybe two topics for each of your sessions of reflection. Too many, you could be there for too long. It’ll get too confusing. So focus on the really critical ones.

It should also be related to your program goals. That just makes sense. If there’s a reason why your group is gathered and why they are focusing on a particular development of skills, then be sure that your processing and your debriefing focuses on those particular objectives.

This is a personal one. I’m not a counsellor by trade, so I want to focus on the here and now. Once you start pulling skeletons out of cupboards from years and years ago, the group loses focus and you weren’t there and who knows how accurate that memory was of what happened there. But everyone, for the most part, was involved with the here and now. And so I like to keep the conversation, even if something was triggered from the past, what was it about now that triggered that memory? So focus on the here and now when you look at what to process with your group.

Significance. This is such a powerful boundary, that it needs to be significant. If it’s insignificant, that just makes sense that you wouldn’t want to focus on that, but is it significant to the goals, to the here and now, any of the topics that you might be wanting to focus on.

And here’s my last-minute tip, appropriate disclosure.

Be aware that you may have actually created a really comfortable, safe place for people to share and reflect, and someone feels safe enough to trust the situation to share something that’s inappropriate. It might be significant, it may even be related to the here and now, but it’s possibly not related to your goals. So unless you happen to be a therapist or a counsellor and are able to manage that sort of Pandora’s box, then be aware.

And if that does happen, maybe have a chat with that person individually and if necessary even seek some outside help for that purpose. So be aware of that.

Okay, this is the second of four topics. We’ve looked at the why and now we’ve looked at the what of debriefing. We have two more to come. So I look forward to seeing you in that next episode, but in the meantime check the notes. There’s many more articles and tips that I share in the show notes at www.playmeo.com Episode 45.

Thanks for listening, I really do appreciate it, and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.

Bye for now.


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