To provide extra support, create a safe environment in which individuals can discuss and explore commonalities and differences—a setting conducive to sharing personal stories. All involved should, as a group, agree on ground rules for the discussion. Allow individuals to express their discomfort if they wish, and don't dismiss their comments. Address the awkwardness in terms of specific behaviors (such as body language or actual comments), not personalities or generalizations. Acknowledge that people are different and their experiences make them who they are, and that commonalities may be hidden by the differences. First, find out what people have in common—they'll often be surprised.
The metaphor of excess baggage