It’s time for a post that has a random collection of stuff I know!
This is my first attempt at a list — which I’ve often thought I should put together — of things that help people communicate more authentically in groups.
Because I am a group therapist (and I am giving presentations, these days, on the groups I’m doing), the focus of this list is from my perspective — a person who runs groups. (However, I hope that you, dear reader, might get something out of this, too.)
Things that Help People Communicate More Effectively (and More Authentically) In Groups
(and perhaps in any encounter with other people)
- People know enough about what to expect from their experience in order to be present with less anxiety. This helpful knowledge includes each person’s role in the group, what is expected of them, and what might be coming next.
- People feel safe enough to disclose and share, which includes knowing that other people’s thoughts are not as dangerous as one might fear.
- Acknowledging and inviting all the different parts of each person (including feelings and thoughts) (including the parts that are both accepted and disowned).
- Inviting what is shared and common among the group members (similar experiences, feelings, and thoughts).
- Acknowledgement of each person’s uniqueness — that they may feel alone and different at times. (This includes naming and validating this common thought, “I am the only one in this room who ……”)
- Link # 5 above with #4, above, to focus on interpersonal connection. In other words, people are unique and may feel alone even while in the presence of others, but they are not alone with that, either!
- Inviting people’s needs.
- Leaving room for hope but also disappointment, because all personal needs will not be met during each encounter. (Group work is very much about balancing your needs with other people’s needs.)
- Leaving room for people to figure out how to continue the work beyond the group session, including meeting those needs that weren’t met.
- Inviting everybody’s strengths and wisdom.
I focused on my needs in writing this post today. I’m going to leave it with that emphasis, rather than work much longer on this post, in order to make it more obviously useful to my readers. I do want to finish this soon, and get out and enjoy the day.
But I do want to say this:
Blogging is another group interaction (at least it is, in my mind). Considering that I focused more on my own needs in this post, I wonder how I did, in making this post effective for everybody who might read it?
Oh, that reminds of something else I do in groups:
11. Tell people there is no right or wrong way to do the group. Invite the concept of “good enough.”
I think I did a good enough job balancing my needs with your needs, today, in this important personal interaction.
Oooops! That reminds me of something else!
12. Acknowledge the importance of the connection.
Okay, I’m done. For now.
Thanks for reading.
© 2013 Ann Koplow