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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.

Peer groups: Ravenstor autumn group 4 - nature, father-son, flow & celebration

So the fourth and last morning here at Ravenstor.  Didn't get to bed till after midnight and was up "late" this morning a little before 7.00am.  The dawn mist is already clearing on a beautiful day with the sun's glow just beginning to emerge over the ridge.  It reminds me of dawn in the Sahara, also on a "journey" with a group of friends, 18 months or so ago.

Peer groups: Ravenstor autumn group 2 - warming up

It's the second morning.  I wrote yesterday about our arrival at this group.  Didn't get to bed till later last night and slept in for longer.  The conversations are beginning to "ignite".  As we spend more time here, get into it, hear how deeply & openly others are prepared to be, and explore going deeper ourselves ... so the little conversations (waiting for a kettle to boil, on the way to bed, in the corridor) start to deepen too.  So touching.  Lovely.  The best kind of "village".  34 of us wandering around with our hearts so much more open. 

Peer groups: Ravenstor autumn group 1 - arriving

It's the first morning of this four day, peer-run Men's group.  We've been meeting like this every autumn since 1993 - a collection of friends & friends of friends & friends of friends of friends!  I've written extensively about these peer groups on this blog.  For example, five posts on last year's group and half a dozen on the year before.  There would have been 36 guys here this year, but sadly 2 dropped out at the last minute.  We're a real mixed bag - ranging in age from our 20's to our late 60's (maybe early 70's), ranging in experience from people who have been to large numbers of these kinds of groups to people for whom this is their first experience.  There are four father-son pairs - three where fathers invited their sons, and one where the son invited his father. 

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: links to attachment

Yesterday I wrote a post "Meeting at relational depth: what intrigued me most".  I described how, in this one day workshop, I paired up with someone I'd never met before and acted as client in a 20 minute role-played counselling session.  Every minute we independently estimated how deeply we felt connected (on a 0-10 scale).  When we looked at our estimates at the end of the session, they almost exactly matched.  I felt as connected to my "counsellor" as she did to me, even though she had said only a few words.  What's going on?

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.

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