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Peer groups: Ravenstor autumn group 1 - arriving

It's the first morning of this four day, peer-run Men's group.  We've been meeting like this every autumn since 1993 - a collection of friends & friends of friends & friends of friends of friends!  I've written extensively about these peer groups on this blog.  For example, five posts on last year's group and half a dozen on the year before.  There would have been 36 guys here this year, but sadly 2 dropped out at the last minute.  We're a real mixed bag - ranging in age from our 20's to our late 60's (maybe early 70's), ranging in experience from people who have been to large numbers of these kinds of groups to people for whom this is their first experience.  There are four father-son pairs - three where fathers invited their sons, and one where the son invited his father. 

Opening up group, session 8

“ 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

We had the final meeting of this eight session "Opening up" group last night.  I wrote last week about the seventh session.  This last meeting ran a day later than usual because of a clash with a family birthday. 

30th wedding anniversary ceilidh: celebration, social networks & gratitude

Auld lang syne 

Yesterday, Catero and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary with a ceilidh.  This is Auld Lang Syne at the end of the party.  I'm the loudmouth (on one glass of wine), with dear Catero on my left (to the right in the picture).  Laura, precious stepdaughter, is three places to my left and Kieran, precious son, only half shown four places to my right.  Celebration and gratitude ... and very relevant to this month's blog post themes of relationships and social networks.

Meeting at relational depth: a model

I went to a workshop on Saturday about "Relational depth".  As is usually the case, chewing over the material afterwards, thinking about how it's relevant for myself & my work, following up some leads - these seem crucial activities to promote "digestion" rather than a quick learning meal that goes right through me providing no "nutritional value".  One of the ideas that I enjoyed was a slight refocus of the classic person-centred triad - authenticity, empathy, unconditional positive regard - so that the relationship between the people involved became more foreground and the individuals a little more background.  I put together a slightly adapted version of one of the facilitator, Mick Cooper's handouts.  It looks like this:

Meeting at relational depth: what gets in the way?

This is the fifth in a series of six blog posts triggered by going to a workshop "Meeting at relational depth" taken by Mick Cooper in Glasgow.  I've already written about two exercises we explored during the morning session - "Meeting at relational depth: what does it involve?" and "Meeting at relational depth: what intrigued me most".  In the afternoon session, we mostly focused on two further exercises:

Strategies of disconnection:  Participants will be invited to take some time, in pairs, to discuss the ways in which they may tend to disconnect from others.  There will then be time to explore the relevance of this to therapeutic practice.

Meeting at relational depth: links to attachment

Yesterday I wrote a post "Meeting at relational depth: what intrigued me most".  I described how, in this one day workshop, I paired up with someone I'd never met before and acted as client in a 20 minute role-played counselling session.  Every minute we independently estimated how deeply we felt connected (on a 0-10 scale).  When we looked at our estimates at the end of the session, they almost exactly matched.  I felt as connected to my "counsellor" as she did to me, even though she had said only a few words.  What's going on?

Meeting at relational depth: what does it involve?

"A consultation is when the room disappears."   David Reilly (physician) 

On Saturday I went to a course called "Meeting at relational depth: a research workshop".  I have already written a first post outlining the day.  After staying overnight in Glasgow with a friend who was also coming to the course, we cycled over to Jordanhill Campus the next morning.  There were a couple of dozen or so participants on the workshop - a pretty good turn out.

Meeting at relational depth: outline of a 'research' workshop

I'm booked in for a course today with Professor Mick Cooper of the University of Strathclyde entitled "Meeting at relational depth: a research workshop".  The publicity blurb reads "This experiential workshop, which Mick Cooper has been running nationally and internationally since the publication of 'Working at relational depth in counselling and psychotherapy' (Sage, 2005), will give participants an opportunity to explore their experiences of relational depth, and to look at how it feels to meet others at this level of intensity - in both their therapeutic practice and everyday life.  Through practical exercises, pairs-work and small and large group discussion, the workshop will help partici

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