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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

Opening up group, session 7

“ Tell me what company you keep, and I'll tell you what you are. ” - Don Quixote/Miguel De Cervantes

So this was the seventh - and penultimate - meeting of this "Opening up" group.  I wrote about the sixth session last week.  Sadly, because of family crises, a couple of people hadn't been able to get to this evening's meeting.  In fact, of the five of us at this session, one arrived late.  Rather than simply get going and possibly want to update the late arrival once they were with us, or wait for them rather than getting started, I used a method that often seems helpful when somebody is a little late.  So instead of starting with a verbal check-in, I suggested we all take ten minutes to write about how we were feeling now at the start of this evening, at the penultimate meeting of this group.  As usual I explained that I wanted them to write very freely and deeply about their emotions and thoughts, but that they would t

Opening up group, session 6

“ Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible. ” - T. E. Lawrence

Yesterday evening was the sixth session of the "Opening up" group.  It had been a longer gap than usual - ten days since our full day meeting at the fifth session.  As we often do, we began with a round of "checking in"; an opportunity for all of us to say briefly how we were feeling.  Like two or three others, I had been particulary busy in the preceding few days.  Great how present-time, honest interaction with a group of others brings me out of all that brain-busyness into being more here-and-now.

Opening up group, session 5

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.

- Seneca

I wrote just a few days ago about the fourth session of this "Opening up" group.  This fifth session was a full day meeting.  Good to have a whole day together.  A bigger pool to swim in, more time to explore.  Nice too to share food together - we all brought contributions for lunch.

Opening up group, session 4

“ And now, let us believe in the new year that is given us - new, untouched, full of things that have never been. ” - Rainer Maria Rilke

I wrote last week about the third session of this "Opening up" group.  Yesterday evening was the fourth session.  The "cooking pot" of the group (a metaphor I used at the end of the post about our first group session) is getting stronger.  Group members seem to be feeling more trusting, more ready to share deeply.  And this produces a "virtuous circle" of taking more interpersonal risks, developing more care for each other, so feeling safer to be vulnerable, and then still more understanding and kindness.  Being part of this gives me hope for us as human beings.  We're surely capable of so much cruelty & ignorance, but we're also so capable of sensi

Opening up group, session 2

“ And now, let us believe in the new year that is given us - new, untouched, full of things that have never been. ” - Rainer Maria Rilke

I posted last week on the first meeting of this "Opening up" group.  The reflection sheets everyone had filled in after the initial meeting had been copied and sent to all participants, so we already had more material to work with as we started this second session.  I've experimented with different ways of beginning interpersonal group meetings over the years.  In peer groups I usually bid to start with a few minutes of silence.  I find it seems to help people "arrive" and then to engage more deeply, more quickly - it certainly does this for me.

Opening up group, session 1

Without courage other values wither away into mere facsimiles of virtue

- Rollo May

For many years I have run two kinds of "training group" for clients.  One teaches what can loosely be thought of as "stress management skills".  The latest version of this is the "Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing" course that I have been describing at some length in blog posts over the last three months.  The other kind of group that I regularly facilitate focuses on relationships.  As this group has evolved over the years it has been given various titles.  For quite some time I called it the "Relationships & emotional intelligence" group.  It was an accurate description of what we focused on, but it was kind of clunky as a label.  I've now reverted to simply calling the course "Opening up&

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