We camouflage our true being before others to protect ourselves against criticism or rejection. This protection comes at a steep price. When we are not truly known by the other people in our lives, we are misunderstood. When we are misunderstood, especially by family and friends, we join the "lonely crowd." Worse, when we succeed in hiding our being from others, we tend to lose touch with our real selves. This loss of self contributes to illness in its myriad forms.
- Sidney Jourard
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.