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Opening up group, session 4

If a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees are his pockets

- Traditional

I wrote last week about the third session of this "Opening up" group.  Yesterday evening was the fourth session.  The "cooking pot" of the group (a metaphor I used at the end of the post about our first group session) is getting stronger.  Group members seem to be feeling more trusting, more ready to share deeply.  And this produces a "virtuous circle" of taking more interpersonal risks, developing more care for each other, so feeling safer to be vulnerable, and then still more understanding and kindness.  Being part of this gives me hope for us as human beings.  We're surely capable of so much cruelty & ignorance, but we're also so capable of sensi

Opening up group, session 3

“ Who will prefer the jingle of jade pendants if he once has heard stone growing in a cliff? ” - Lao Tzu

We had the third session of this "Opening up" group last night.  I wrote last week about the second session.  There are seven of us in this group - six other participants and myself.  My impression over many years of group work done in different time chunks (evenings, single days, weekends, residentials lasting several days) and in different group sizes (approximately four to forty participants) is that the larger the time chunk, the larger the group size that it's realistic to work with.  I'm talking here about interactive interpersonal groups.  Obviously if one is teaching skills to a structured group (especially if one limits sharing by group members), one can work effectively with much bigger numbers than this.  There are also psychodynamic interpersonal groups that "work" with over a hundred participants. 

Opening up group, session 2

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you. - Jackson Brown

I posted last week on the first meeting of this "Opening up" group.  The reflection sheets everyone had filled in after the initial meeting had been copied and sent to all participants, so we already had more material to work with as we started this second session.  I've experimented with different ways of beginning interpersonal group meetings over the years.  In peer groups I usually bid to start with a few minutes of silence.  I find it seems to help people "arrive" and then to engage more deeply, more quickly - it certainly does this for me.

Opening up group, session 1

“ The most important thing is caring, so do it first, for the caring physician best inspires hope and trust. ” - Sir William Osler

For many years I have run two kinds of "training group" for clients.  One teaches what can loosely be thought of as "stress management skills".  The latest version of this is the "Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing" course that I have been describing at some length in blog posts over the last three months.  The other kind of group that I regularly facilitate focuses on relationships.  As this group has evolved over the years it has been given various titles.  For quite some time I called it the "Relationships & emotional intelligence" group.  It was an accurate description of what we focused on, but it was kind of clunky as a label.  I've now reverted to simply calling the course "Opening up&

Opening up group, sixth session

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.

A quiet rant to group facilitators & would-be group facilitators

Should group facilitators & would-be group facilitators have personal experience of the skills they're teaching?  Should swimming or driving instructors be able to swim or drive themselves?  I'm sure it's possible to help someone learn to swim without being a swimmer oneself, but if you're an instructor you're likely to do a better job and be more convincing in your suggestions if you yourself are pretty good at swimming. 

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