Session 6: expressing emotions

Emotions and being free


NOTE: the readings referred to throughout this study are from John Steward’s book “From Genocide to Generosity.” It’s available in paperback and Kindle format from Amazon



Prepare for this session by reading:-

page 25 (feelings)

page 27 (I’m OK, you’re OK)

page 84 (emotions)

page 133 (broken-ness)


Step 1

To have a good group process we read our agreements to feel safe and free.


Step 2

Group catch-up and sharing: How am I today? What impacted me from the last session?

What did I enjoy from the readings to prepare for this session?

What questions has it raised for me?


Step 3 

We communicate out of our feelings – we show them in our tone of voice, the words we choose and our body language. As a group, consider the question of what we could say or do when anger (or one of the other ‘dragons’) comes into the conversation and things get ‘heated’ either in me or in the person talking to me (or in both of us).



Keep in mind the OK Corral, because Position 1 is the only position that does not involve violence. When I am living in the ‘I’m OK, U’R OK’ position, and anger rises above the surface, I pause and ask ‘now what is the feeling underneath the anger?’

If I am speaking with another person, I can take appropriate action to slow down, or even stop, the conversation until I know the first feeling.

What sort of things can I say or do to cool things down when anger gets in the way?


Step 4

I can only reach position 1 (‘I’m OK, You are OK’) by means of forgiveness. And I will need to regularly practise forgiveness to stay there.

Discuss in pairs: “Human nature does not readily forgive”, says Mama Deborah (p. 87).

What is my experience of giving and receiving forgiveness?

What is it about forgiveness that I find challenging or difficult?


Step 5

Feedback your thoughts to the group and combine your thoughts on ‘The challenges of forgiveness’ into one list.


Step 6

Then the group makes a list: What forgiveness is not?


Step 7

Forgiveness is a journey that takes time; forgiveness is difficult but possible.

Read aloud to the group Mama Deborah’s journey to forgive, from page 89  ‘Then I started thinking…’ to page 91 ‘…he was welcome at our place’. Then read the paragraph by a young woman as she decides to forgive: page 146,  ‘My mum has been saying…’

Then talk about: where do I identify with the struggle to forgive in Mama Deborah and the young woman?


Step 8

Feedback: what has helped me today? What I don’t yet understand about forgiveness is …


Step 9

Preparation for the next session is to read:-

Nyamutera: page 65 (top half of page)

Nsabiyera: page 84 (fifth point)

Makoriko: page 71 (top half)

Sabamungu: page 73-75 (middle)

Karigirwa: page 40, last paragraph (‘The fourth impact, which helped…’)


Step 10. Watch these two short videos. The first video is not an easy story, but gives background to the second. If you can, watch these with another person, so that you have someone to talk with about what you see and how it impacts you.