TATC Professional and Ethics Policies
As members of the Trillium Awakening Teachers Circle (TATC), we enter into and uphold specific agreements with one another, especially in the areas of ethics and ongoing participation in mutuality circles with other Trillium Awakening teachers. All members of the TATC are deeply in accord with these policies, and have agreed to face consequences if we fail to maintain them.
Teachers listed on this site are those who maintain these agreements in good standing.
Mentors also agree to honor the TATC ethics policy, and participate regularly in support groups led by Trillium Awakening teachers. All mentors in good standing appear on this website.
Introduction to our Ethics Policy
As Trillium Awakening teachers and mentors, our priority is always our students’ well-being, awakening, and integration. We recognize the influence we have on students who come to us individually and collectively for spiritual teaching and support. We have mutually agreed to uphold high standards of integrity, mutuality, and trust in all our interactions. We agree to remain accountable in mutuality with our students, colleagues, and the wider Trillium community. We agree to offer the same quality of connection and support to all students without prejudice regarding a student’s appearance, financial circumstances, education, age, gender, social status, or race.
The most egregious violations of trust between teachers and students (or therapists and clients) have historically occurred in the areas of power, money, and sexuality, and these three areas are specifically addressed below. For these purposes, a “student” or “mentee” is defined as a person being supported by a teacher or mentor in either private sessions, group sittings, or Trillium Awakening-related workshops.
The following is a summary of the key points of our ethics policy in the areas of power, money, and sexuality.
With regard to power issues and differentials between teachers and students, Trillium Awakening teachers specifically refrain from telling students what to do. You, and only you, are in charge of your life. Your teacher might suggest or recommend things they feel will facilitate your awakening and integration. In many cases you will want to follow those suggestions to benefit from their experience, but you should always feel free to honor your own inner guidance. If your teacher ever makes demands that feel uncomfortable or unreasonable, please raise your concerns with other members of your support team for full review.
Teachers and mentors acknowledge the need to be especially sensitive with issues around money, just as they would with sexuality.
Trillium Awakening teachers are free to set their own fees, and are not required to offer a sliding scale. They are expected to make clear agreements with students about their fees for personal sessions, including cancellations, and should draw clear boundaries between compensated “session” time and other times they spend with students in informal settings.
This teaching and support are offered on a fee-for-time basis. Students do not have to purchase anything, make donations, invest, or lend money in order to participate in our work.
Of course, workshops and retreats are highly recommended, and books and other resources are available to expand students’ understanding of the work. Various opportunities exist to make donations if you feel you have received benefit and want to support this work. But donations will never be required in order to participate, or receive benefit, from Trillium Awakening courses and services.
We’re aware of the traditional relationship between teachers and students regarding exchanges and gifts of money. Our teachers have agreed NOT to:
- Imply that donating, lending, or investing money in a teacher’s business or personal project will in some way further a student’s spiritual progress;
- Imply that students somehow owe teachers any additional money or service other than has previously been made clear;
- Imply that students should take care of teachers’ financial needs;
- Bring their own or other teachers’ financial needs to the attention of students;
- Ask students to hold teachers’ financial disclosures or dealings in confidence.
If you are ever asked to participate in anything that violates these terms, or somehow feels “off” to you, be sure to discuss it with other members of your support team.
Intimate Relationships and Sexuality
Romantic and sexual feelings and openings can be very important to the awakening process, and often arise in teacher/student or mentor/mentee relationships. To suppress or avoid such feelings could be counterproductive for students’ healing and growth, yet if teachers or mentors were to act upon them impulsively, this would violate the trust that participants in this work extend to those in positions of authority, guidance, and leadership.
Our ethics policy requires teachers and mentors to welcome, allow, contain, and investigate these feelings, and then communicate and explore their potential ramifications with their mutuality circle (for teachers) or small group teacher and mutuality circle (for mentors) before in any way acting upon these feelings. It may be the case that a relationship with a student or mentee could be the outcome of romantic feelings that arise as teachers work with students. If so, the following agreements are guidelines for making prudent and caring adjustments so that a relationship can begin well and develop auspiciously, for the benefit of both participants and the greater community around them.
The following will give you a sense of our intentions in this complex area:
- Teachers/mentors will not engage in sexual contact with participants during workshops or retreats.
- If a romantic interest develops between a teacher or mentor and a newer student, that student will be assisted in getting their feet on the ground and finding another teacher to work with before the teacher or mentor opens a relationship consideration with them.
- Teachers or mentors who serve a student in an ongoing primary relationship (private sessions on a regular basis) will not initiate romantic or sexual contact with that student, nor respond to any overtures by the student. They will consult with their mutuality circle members to receive coaching and support.
- If a sustained interest develops, and both are free of other romantic commitments, there are steps to follow (including a three-month “cooling off” period) to ensure that both student and teacher have adequate support before moving forward.
- In all cases, the goal is for all parties to be supported in ways that will help them navigate the especially volatile arena of romantic and sexual engagement. By participating in mutuality groups and being transparent with our feelings, our intention as conscious teachers is to help one another avoid the most significant lapses of judgment that can occur in private, one-on-one situations.
If you, as a student of the Trillium process, find yourself having strong romantic or sexual feelings toward a teacher or a mentor, please know that this is fairly common in the process of embodied awakening. Such feelings can be catalytic, whether or not they are ever acted upon. You are welcome to discuss your feelings with members of your support team, who will assist you in finding optimal ways to hold, contain, and celebrate the openings they represent.