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Peer groups, Cumbria spring group – second morning: early stages of a group, self-disclosure, & emotional awareness

I wrote yesterday about arriving at this year's Mixed Group here in Cumbria.  Now it's the second morning.  Yesterday was the first full day of the group.  How was it?  As I've written before "Process groups tend to move through a series of developmental stages.  These can be described in a variety of ways.  Tuckman presented an early description which still contains much that is useful.  His sequence was forming (orientation and dependence), storming (intra-group conflict and differentiation), norming (interpersonal intimacy and cohesion), performing (work and functional role-relatedness), and adjourning (loss and autonomy).  It is important to emphasise that all stages of group development contain useful opportunities for learning and that one stage is not necessarily any better than another."

Peer groups, Cumbria spring group – first morning: beginning, why are we here, & how do I know what I feel?

First morning of the "Mixed Group".  This last week has been such lovely weather.  People arriving yesterday evening looking so brown.  The forecast had predicted a change to more cloudy weather, and it certainly seems accurate for this morning's rather colder, overcast feel.  Good weather to stay indoors for "group work" though ... no repeated urge to be outside in the sun.

We've been meeting here in Cumbria for these four day peer group residentials for over twenty years.  I've written quite often about these groups in this blog, for example last year's Mixed Group and last year's Men's Group.

Setting up a therapists' support group 1

Seven of us got together yesterday afternoon to talk about possibly setting up some kind of therapists' support group.  We're all therapists ourselves, and some of us are close to or on the mature side of 60.  All male therapists, so we're kind of "the Grizzlies".  Why do it?  It's mostly been me who has got this inital meeting to happen ... with some help from a friend.  Why the effort?  The email we sent out at the end of November was headed "Invitation to a therapists' support group" and it read:  

Greetings.

Recently two of us ... who have been involved with counselling/psychotherapy for many years, have been talking about some good things that might emerge from meeting up with other experienced therapists.  We've batted around a whole series of ideas and one that has emerged looks loosely like this:

I: Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, session 9

You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars.

- Thomas Traherne

Yesterday was the ninth evening of this "Life skills" training.  I wrote about the eighth session last week.  The sequence of regular weekly classes now moves on to increasing gaps between sessions - so it's three weeks until the tenth, a further five weeks until the eleventh, and then an additional eleven weeks until the final twelfth session.  My hope is that we will be able to arrange occasional follow-up meetings even after that.

H: Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, session 8

Those who do not have the power over the story that dominates their lives - the power to retell it, reexperience it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change - truly are powerless because they cannot think new thoughts.

- Salman Rushdie
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