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Friendship: science, art & gratitude

(this post is downloadable as both a Word doc & as a PDF file.) 

About every three months I meet up with one of my oldest and dearest friends and we spend twenty four hours or so together checking in on how our lives are going and what our plans are - this "work" links to the post "Building willpower: the eight pillars".  Our friendship goes back nearly 30 years and we've been doing these check-in's for a decade or so.  We know each other pretty well!  I'm just back from one of these times and it leads me to think a bit about friendship.

Proposal for a BABCP special interest group on compassion

The British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) encourages the formation of Special Interest Groups (SIG's) in areas that members want to particularly focus on.  There has been discussion recently about a possible SIG on Compassion.  If you're a member of the BABCP and you would like to be involved, do please let me know (if you haven't done so already).  I've made some suggestions about the kind of territory a Compassion SIG might cover (see below), but I very much understand that people who are interested in the SIG, may well not be interested in all the areas I've suggested ... and they may have additional suggestions to add.  The aim would be discuss all this further once we see if there at least 15 of us who would like to support the SIG's establishment.

Who can you trust ... and do they have to be boring?

May's edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology contains three articles on trust that got me thinking a bit.  It's been said that the qualities that attract you to a potential partner (or friend) may well end up being the very issues that become most problematic in the relationship.  So, for example, one's partner's ability to be spontaneous, emotional, let their hair down & have a great time may later become a real issue over their drinking, extra-marital affairs, and irresponsibility with money.  Or from the other end of the personality spectrum, their reliability and conscientiousness may become a real strain because they later seem over-cautious and kill-joys.  Anyway here's three additional contributions to this debate:

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:

Peer groups: Ravenstor autumn group 6 - respect & friendship

It's a couple of days since we drove back up to Scotland from Ravenstor.  I blogged yesterday about the last morning of the group and I was thinking a bit about judgements and who we choose as closer friends.  I feel a bit uncomfortable exploring this issue as I don't want to be dismissive of other human beings.  However there is a valid question - do some characteristics or qualities that people have make them "better" potential friends than other characteristics or qualities do?  For me the answer is a clear "yes". 

Peer groups: Ravenstor autumn group 5 - valuing, connection & disconnection

It's "the morning after", back home, reflecting on the group that finished yesterday at lunchtime.  "Peer groups: Ravenstor autumn group 4 - nature, father-son, flow & celebration" took us up to the beginning of the group's final half day together.  This last morning was pretty compressed.  We'd agreed to meet in the full group of 34 for a final session from 11.00am to 12.30pm, with the medium-sized groups of 11 or 12 meeting from 9.30 to 11.00, and the small support groups of 3 or 4 starting when they chose to!  Beforehand we had had to strip our beds, pack and clear our rooms.

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