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Peer groups, Cumbria spring group: third full day - boundary issues, friendships and singing round a bonfire under the stars

And it's the final early morning of this four day residential group.  I wrote yesterday about sunshine along the wall outside - and it's here again today, bright & fresh.  Sunday morning.  I can be a very organized person - lovely though to let my hair down at times here (what hair I've got left).  Yesterday evening we sang around a bonfire.  Fantastic stars.  The stream.  Wine.  Singing together.  Happiness.  Not to bed till well after midnight.

Peer groups, Cumbria spring group: second full day - couple's work, interpersonal challenge, fathers and banquets

The start of the third full day here.  In yesterday's post I wrote about the first full day and today I'll write about our second full day together.  We've had so much rain over the last couple of days, it's a blessing to see the bright early sunlight splashed along the wall outside the window as I sit here writing.  I sneaked away to bed with Catero my wife a bit early yesterday evening.  It had been a long special day and now I'm up this morning feeling fresh.

Peer groups, Cumbria spring group: first full day - feeling our way in, revisiting the Skye experience and dancing

Still before breakfast - at the start of the second full day now.  Yesterday I wrote about "arriving".  The noise of the mill stream just outside provides a constant back drop while we're here.  When we arrived on Wednesday evening it was flowing so quietly, the water level almost as low as I've seen it.  Then the rain came and it turned into a torrent.  Roaring.  In a way a bit of a parallel for our group.  We've got going fast.  So many of us know each other well.  Familiar place.  Familiar to be in one of these residential groups together again.  And new.  Extraordinary to "age" alongside these people.  We've brought photographs from earlier groups going back over twenty years.  Poignant, funny, endearing, happy-sad.

Peer groups, Cumbria spring group: first morning - "arriving"

First morning of the "Mixed Group".  We have been meeting like this - in an old converted watermill in Cumbria - nearly every year since the start of the 90's.  This year's residential is a bit different.  For many it's a 20 year reunion (or thereabouts).  Sixteen old friends!  Sounds a little like "The big chill" or "Peter's friends" or any of a whole series of other films and stories looking at  "reunions".  I've written a lot about these residential groups in this blog - see, for example, the group work links in

  • Walking in Skye & Kintail: lessons, self-compassion & posttraumatic growth

    Still less than three days since the most intense, prolonged, potentially catastrophic experience of my life.  What have I learned ... both personally and as a therapist?  Gratitude ... of course.  Gratitude to the mountain rescue service, gratitude to my wife & family & friends, gratitude for my health, for the extraordinary beauty of this world, for being able to walk, to breath, to smile.  And gratitude can even help me process what happened better

    Walking in Skye & Kintail: mountain rescue, helicopter winches, and avoiding death & PTSD

    It's really early, and paradoxically I should be sleeping beautifully because I'm in a comfortable room at the Sligachan Hotel on the Isle of Skye.  However I'm not too fussed - acute sleep deprivation may well affect memory consolidation and reduce the risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following trauma.  And why the possible PTSD?

    Update on website traffic: my own favourite top 15 (6-10) - therapist feedback, relationships, conflict, group work, & walking

    Last month I used Google Analytics to identify the most read pages on this website and I wrote the post "Update on website traffic: the ten most popular blog posts". This got me thinking - "What are my own personal favourites?" I quickly realised that the posts that I've written that have had the most impact on me and my practice as a therapist are nearly always made up of sequences of blog posts rather than just individual items.  I said that glancing back over the last year or so, themes that stood out included mindfulness, therapist feedback, self-control, conflict, embodied cognition and positive psychology.

    My brand new "two-seven-two" model of integrative psychotherapy! (second post)

    I began thinking yesterday about what I actually do as a psychotherapist.  This lead to a light-hearted first post describing a "two-seven-two" model of integrative psychotherapy.  The initial "two" acknowledges the importance of an overview of what has been going on for the client and a good working alliance.  The "seven" describes a series of overlapping therapeutic areas that I pay attention to.  The first three of these are probably used by most psychotherapists - problem solving relevant outer issues, problem solving unhelpful internal response styles, and - where appropriate - looking at "ball & chain" contributions from the past that may be holding back progress in the present.

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