I have the privilege of doing work that I truly love: being a group therapist.
As usual, in this moment, I am very conscious of language, as I attempt to communicate with others — out there in the blogosphere.
Here are some ways I can describe what I do. I lead groups. I facilitate groups. I do groups. I run groups.
My title? Group leader. Group facilitator. Group therapist.
None of this language completely captures what I do, and some of it seems misleading to me — giving me too much power, or otherwise not accurately reflecting my role and my experience in a group.
Digression about Language and Communication
I am focusing on language as I write this because language is sooooo important to me. I really want to be understood. I really want to communicate, to another person, what is important to me. I want to do that effectively, recognizing that there are so many reasons and ways that I might be misunderstood. There are so many barriers to people understanding each other. I experience that every day — in my professional life and in my personal life.
Sometimes I say this when I’m talking about communication: Each person is so unique — with a history and a current experience that is so personal, so different from anybody else’s — that it’s amazing that we can understand each other, at all. It’s like each one of us is our own country, with our own culture, language, and government. No wonder there are misunderstandings — when two separate countries try to exchange with each other.
Now, I know that may sounds extreme.
And as usual, the opposite is true, too — sometimes when I communicate with others, or witness communication, I experience people understanding and connecting with each other in amazing ways — understanding each other so profoundly and unexpectedly, no matter what their differences. Then, people can seem so connected, it’s like we are almost one entity. (Not like The Borg, though. Heaven forbid.)
Hmmm. I was planning on writing about something simple, but instead, I seem to be trying to communicate Things Profound (and even Trippy).
End of Digression
When I lead or run or facilitate or do groups, I sometimes (if I’m lucky!) work with somebody else, often called a co-facilitator or co-leader.
For the groups I do on Thursday evenings, I’ve been lucky enough to have a co-facilitator this year.
But I work at a teaching hospital, so people who work there are often there for limited periods of time. And it looks like my co-facilitator is leaving in a month or two.
Which I feel sad about, because I really enjoy working with her.
Last night, she couldn’t attend the group.
So this morning, I wrote her an e-mail, letting her know that I missed her last night and that I’ll miss her if she leaves.
But I hesitated before writing it.
For several reasons:
- It feels risky to let somebody know that I appreciate them.
- It feels risky to let somebody know that I am sad, because I’ll miss them.
- I’m afraid she might have some sort of adverse reaction, like guilt for missing last night’s group.
I recognize those feelings and fears, but my priority is to let people know when I’m having a positive reaction to them (as I wrote about, here.) So I wrote the e-mail. The subject for the e-mail was
An appreciation trip, not a guilt trip
And I let her know about how she was missed at group last night, as well as my feelings about the possibility of her leaving.
It felt like the next right thing to do. Or more simply, it felt right. And as I wrote that e-mail subject, I thought, “That’s my topic for today’s blog.”
Which is now done.
Thanks for reading, everybody.