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An online interpersonal support group stirs up a mix of feelings

         

            "Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel."

"This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."         Both quotations by Polonius in Shakespeare's "Hamlet"

Psychedelics: a group retreat - the ceremony, integration & follow-up.

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

     Psychedelics: a group retreat - the ceremony, integration & follow-up

                     "Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow-ripening fruit."   Aristotle 

The previous posts in this sequence are 'Psychedelics: a group retreat - initial thoughtsand 'Psychedelics: a group retreat - meeting up, orientation & the ceremony' 

Psychedelics: a group retreat - lessons: playlists, nature & integration

“ God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. ” - Reinhold Niebhur (adapted)

     Psychedelics: a group retreat - lessons: playlists, nature & integration

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”  Albert Einstein

           “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”  Aldous Huxley

Psychedelics: a group retreat - lessons: ceremonies, duration & organisation

The genius of Tulku Urgyen was that he could point out the nature of mind with precision and matter-of-factness of teaching a person how to thread a needle and could get an ordinary meditator like me to recognize that consciousness is intrinsically free of self ... I came to Tulku Urgyen yearning for the experience of self-transcendence, and in a few minutes he showed me I had no self to transcend ... Tulku Urgyen simply handed me the ability to cut through the illusion of the self directly, even in ordinary states of consciousness.  This instruction was, without question, the most important thing I have ever been explicitly taught by another human being.  It has given me a way to escape the usual tides of psychological suffering - fear, anger, shame - in an instant.

- Sam Harris

Psychedelics: a group retreat - lessons: ceremonies, duration & organisation

"And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been."   Rainer Maria Rilke 

Psychedelics: a group retreat - meeting up, orientation & the ceremony.

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

     Psychedelics: a group retreat - meeting up, orientation & the ceremony

"Today we can walk around together, talk, eat, and be silent together.  Later I believe we'll have the opportunity to act and suffer together.  All that is necessary to 'make someone's acquaintance' as they say."  Pierre Sogol, professor of mountaineering, speaking in Rene Daumal's book "Mount Analogue". 

5th international 'breaking convention' psychedelic conference: 1st morning - microdosing and group retreats & ceremonies

'Breaking Convention' - the fifth biennial international conference on psychedelics - took place at Greenwich University in London from 16th-18th August.  There were apparently 1,200 or so attendees for the 6 concurrent programmes - academic, workshop, performance, cinema, entertainment & installations - as well as an art exhibition.  I went primarily because it allowed me to hear pretty much all the relevant research groups in the UK present on their current findings.  As you can see from the other quite extensive writing about psychedelics on this website, I'm very interested in the encouraging emerging research highlighting potential therapeutic value of psychedelics.  Although I focussed on the academic programme, there was much too much even here to manage an ove

Social networks: social identity & the importance of both formal & informal group memberships (what can we do?)

“ One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.  He said "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.  One is Evil.  It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.  The other is Good.  It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith."  The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"  The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed." ” - Anonymous

   Social networks: social identity & the importance of both formal & informal groups (what can we do?)

 

key points: 

the social identity model highlights the value of group membership (more & less formal) for both psychological & physical wellbeing - are there groups you would like to join (or initiate) and are there helpful ways you can increase the sense of the importance to you of some of the groups you're a member of (for example by increasing your involvement with them).

Learning to run therapy groups

I run an annual five day training for counselling psychology students on facilitating groups.  I'm using this blog post to upload some of the slides.  For example here's a collection on the current state of psychotherapy & some suggestions on potentially helpful ways of moving forward.  

More to follow! ...

 

 

 

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