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M: Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, session 12

“ The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt. ” - Frederick Buechner

Yesterday we had the twelfth & final session of this "Life skills" evening class.  There was scheduled to have been a bit less than a three month gap since the last - eleventh - session.  However the heavy winter snow we'd experienced had resulted in this last session being postponed.

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:

Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (specific instructions)

See the two earlier blog posts - "Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (background information)" and "Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (how-to-do-it)" for fuller details of these self-affirmation, self-transcendence approaches.

This "instructions" post is downloadable as a Word doc

Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (how to do it)

I wrote yesterday about "Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (background information)".  Today's post looks more at how-to-do-it details.  Self-affirmation research describes a number of effective ways to reduce stress, clarify thinking, and boost effectiveness.  If the affirmation exercise is being done in response to a particular stress or threat, it's sensible to choose a subject to write (or speak) about that is of real personal importance but that is different from the area that's being threatened.  Happily several other writing research studies suggest additional ways of making this type of exercise even more helpful.  So a standard set of self-affirmation instructions might well involve asking participants to choose a particularly important personal value (for example, kindness,

Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (background information)

Writing (or speaking) about our values or areas of our lives that are of particular personal importance can help us feel less threatened by stresses and more able to see situations clearly.  There are many research studies demonstrating this.  For example writing about personal values has been shown to reduce both subjectively experienced psychological stress and the body's adrenaline response to taking an academic exam (Sherman, Bunyan et al. 2009).  This easing in sense of threat tends to boost the exam results people achieve, especially for those who tend to get more stressed (Cohen, Garcia et al.

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