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Setting up a therapists' support group 1

Seven of us got together yesterday afternoon to talk about possibly setting up some kind of therapists' support group.  We're all therapists ourselves, and some of us are close to or on the mature side of 60.  All male therapists, so we're kind of "the Grizzlies".  Why do it?  It's mostly been me who has got this inital meeting to happen ... with some help from a friend.  Why the effort?  The email we sent out at the end of November was headed "Invitation to a therapists' support group" and it read:  

Greetings.

Recently two of us ... who have been involved with counselling/psychotherapy for many years, have been talking about some good things that might emerge from meeting up with other experienced therapists.  We've batted around a whole series of ideas and one that has emerged looks loosely like this:

Meeting at relational depth: a model

I went to a workshop on Saturday about "Relational depth".  As is usually the case, chewing over the material afterwards, thinking about how it's relevant for myself & my work, following up some leads - these seem crucial activities to promote "digestion" rather than a quick learning meal that goes right through me providing no "nutritional value".  One of the ideas that I enjoyed was a slight refocus of the classic person-centred triad - authenticity, empathy, unconditional positive regard - so that the relationship between the people involved became more foreground and the individuals a little more background.  I put together a slightly adapted version of one of the facilitator, Mick Cooper's handouts.  It looks like this:

Meeting at relational depth: what gets in the way?

This is the fifth in a series of six blog posts triggered by going to a workshop "Meeting at relational depth" taken by Mick Cooper in Glasgow.  I've already written about two exercises we explored during the morning session - "Meeting at relational depth: what does it involve?" and "Meeting at relational depth: what intrigued me most".  In the afternoon session, we mostly focused on two further exercises:

Strategies of disconnection:  Participants will be invited to take some time, in pairs, to discuss the ways in which they may tend to disconnect from others.  There will then be time to explore the relevance of this to therapeutic practice.

Meeting at relational depth: what does it involve?

"A consultation is when the room disappears."   David Reilly (physician) 

On Saturday I went to a course called "Meeting at relational depth: a research workshop".  I have already written a first post outlining the day.  After staying overnight in Glasgow with a friend who was also coming to the course, we cycled over to Jordanhill Campus the next morning.  There were a couple of dozen or so participants on the workshop - a pretty good turn out.

Meeting at relational depth: outline of a 'research' workshop

I'm booked in for a course today with Professor Mick Cooper of the University of Strathclyde entitled "Meeting at relational depth: a research workshop".  The publicity blurb reads "This experiential workshop, which Mick Cooper has been running nationally and internationally since the publication of 'Working at relational depth in counselling and psychotherapy' (Sage, 2005), will give participants an opportunity to explore their experiences of relational depth, and to look at how it feels to meet others at this level of intensity - in both their therapeutic practice and everyday life.  Through practical exercises, pairs-work and small and large group discussion, the workshop will help partici

Opening up group, session 6

Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.

- Gustave Flaubert

Yesterday evening was the sixth session of the "Opening up" group.  It had been a longer gap than usual - ten days since our full day meeting at the fifth session.  As we often do, we began with a round of "checking in"; an opportunity for all of us to say briefly how we were feeling.  Like two or three others, I had been particulary busy in the preceding few days.  Great how present-time, honest interaction with a group of others brings me out of all that brain-busyness into being more here-and-now.

Opening up group, session 5

“ To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe. ” - Marilyn Vos Savant

I wrote just a few days ago about the fourth session of this "Opening up" group.  This fifth session was a full day meeting.  Good to have a whole day together.  A bigger pool to swim in, more time to explore.  Nice too to share food together - we all brought contributions for lunch.

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