Posts Tagged With: the healing power of groups

Day 2062: Performing Together

Yesterday, inside the Music Museum at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (where people from all over the world are performing together), I saw this:

In these days of divisiveness, performing together seems more vital than I can ever remember before.

Can you see the theme of performing together in my other photos from yesterday?

People in Edinburgh are so into performing together that when we asked our adorable server to take our picture last night at the Cellar Door Restaurant, she had to get into the act.

I look forward to seeing how my readers will be performing together in the comment section, below.

As always, I appreciate all those performing together in this blog, including YOU!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 1951: Vivian

Vivian is a social work intern who makes me smile, especially when she shows me photos like this:

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Yesterday, Vivian and I  made each other cry because it was her last day at work.  Soon, as a new graduate,  she’ll be off on her own road trip to Chicago.

In the final Friday therapy group she facilitated with me, we discussed goodbyes and helpful phrases like “The pain of a loss is a direct reflection of the importance of the connection” and “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Vivian, who is a very gifted student, shared many gifts yesterday.

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In honor of the many  things Vivian and I shared this year,  here‘s Jackie Chan singing “Believe in Yourself.”

I hope Vivian believes in herself,  as many of us in her community believe in her.

Vivian let me know she appreciates my gratitude. I am very grateful for Vivian, Jackie Chan, Nikita Gill, A. A. Milne, Rupi Kaur, healing groups and communities, and — of course! — YOU.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 1887: Chaos

About six months ago (but who’s counting?), I published a blog post with the same title as this one.   At the risk of somehow spreading the chaos in today’s news, I want to quote how chaos came up in my group therapy presentation yesterday. This happened in the question and answer period after I described how my open-access groups work in a primary care practice in a renowned teaching hospital in Boston.

Audience member: Ann, I am assuming you are comfortable with chaos. How do you deal with it in your groups, which people can attend as they choose?

Me: When you give people access to the behavioral health care they need, there is less chaos than you might expect.

I actually do not experience chaos in my therapy groups, but I do experience more of it, these days,  in the world outside my groups. As I said in my presentation yesterday, I believe people need the support of therapy groups even more in today’s chaotic world.

What do you see in the chaos of today’s pictures?

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Even in all this chaos, I’ve got video. Somebody else on my discussion panel yesterday (Moving Forward: Opportunities for Group in the New Health Care Environmentshowed a video like this:

I’ve also got video of some music to help deal with chaos:

I look forward to the chaos of your comments.

Chaotic thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 1738: Sharing dreams

Yesterday, I was asked to facilitate a group for staff, in addition to my usual Tuesday “Coping and Healing” group.  As usual, I was honored to provide a safe-enough space for people to express themselves and to connect with others in a healing way.

In both of the groups, people discussed the tragic events in the news. In one of the groups, the members decided to share and comment on each other’s recent dreams.  Whenever I work with dreams in a group, I encourage people to respond to other people’s dreams  with “If it were my dream, it might mean ….”  People’s dreams included sacrifice, animals, losing a baby, wandering in an enormous house, being chased, and communicating with dead relatives.  I mentioned that I’d recently dreamed that I was friends with Stephen Colbert.

If it were your dream, what might those dreams mean to you? What dreams have you been having lately?

I snapped only four photos yesterday, two consciously and the other two unconsciously.

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During dark times, try sharing your dreams.

Somebody is sharing dreams on YouTube:

 

Many thanks to you for sharing these dreams with me, here and now.

 

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 1354: See the love in everything

Yesterday, after facilitating a therapy group I loved at work, I went to see my lovely Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapist, George.  I love EMDR, because it has helped me reduce my anxiety about very unlovely experiences I had in the hospital when I was a child.

Because I’m having open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic next Wednesday, I loved the opportunity  to work with George in reducing my anxiety about that.  George and I tried  several lovely images to use when I’m going into surgery on September 21, including floating on the top of lovely water or being held by loving hands.   I love that I came up with this idea at the end of the session: I said to George, “I shall just see the love in everything.” George loved that, too.

I love reporting to you that after the session, I saw the love in everything and everybody.  I love that next week I shall also see the love in:

  • the lovely Deb, who will drive us to the airport in her lovely Honda Fit,
  • the security personnel at the airport,
  • the plane that takes my boyfriend Michael and me to Minneapolis,
  • the shuttle that transports us to Rochester,
  • the hotel where we’ll be staying across the street from the hospital before my admission,
  • all the staff at the Mayo Clinic,
  • all the tests they’ll give me,
  • the needles and other things they’ll poke me with,
  • the questions they’ll ask me,
  • the operating room,
  • the hands of my surgeon,
  • the cardiac care unit,
  • the machines I’ll be attached to,
  • the medications they’ll give me,
  • the tubes going in and out of my body,  and
  • everything and everybody else during my recovery.

Do you see the love in everything I photographed yesterday?

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I see the love in those cats named Stormcloud and Peaches, who are being adopted together by some lovely family today.

I see the love in this lovely tune, which my late father sang with love to my late mother at an anniversary celebration.

I will see the love in everything you leave in a comment.

I see the love in all who helped me create this post and in you, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Day 1235: How do you let go of stress?

Three hundred and seventy-seven days ago, I wrote and let go of a  post called “A dozen ways to melt away your stress.”

Here it is, over a year later, and I’m still working on letting go of stress. People in my therapy groups are still working on that, too.

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I can’t stress enough how much stress comes up in therapy.

One way I let go of stress is taking photos.

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Groucho Marx, who said “I intend to live forever, or die trying,” helps me let go of stress.

Here’s Groucho letting go of stress by setting limits and expressing his feelings:

Here‘s a documentary stressing the importance of Groucho Marx:

How do you let go of stress?

As usual, I’m going to end this post by stressing my gratitude for all those who helped me create it and to you — of course! — for visiting.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 1180: Alone

If you have thoughts and feelings about being alone, you are not alone.

“Alone” is a very common topic and important issue for people. That’s why I’ve written several  previous posts with the word “alone” in the title:

Day 163:  Alone in the presence of others

Day 247: No one is alone

Day 289:  Sometimes, it just helps to know you’re not alone

Day 839: Never worry alone

Day 908:  You are not alone

Day 1028: Can’t do it alone

Last night in a therapy group, nobody was alone — everybody wanted to focus on the topic of being alone.

I, alone, wrote this during the group:

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If you have trouble reading that, I’m sure you’re not alone. It says

In ways we are all alone even when we are with others.

In ways we are connected with others even when we are alone.

I did not take that photo, alone. Here are more photos I took yesterday:

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I’m going to explain that last photo, alone. I wrote that on my office’s lone whiteboard to show somebody they weren’t alone in eating things that aren’t good for them.

When you think of being alone, what song comes to mind?  Am I alone in thinking of this one?

I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to know I’m not alone today.  You can do your part by leaving a comment, below.

Thanks!


When I first published this post alone, a couple of hours ago, I forgot to say that many of us feel more alone today because of the passing of brilliant comedian Garry Shandling.  Here’s Conan O’Brien, not alone in missing this man:

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Day 1173: Feeling lucky?

Feeling lucky?

I’m feeling lucky.

I feel lucky that, every day, I find lucky inspirations for my lucky blog posts, like this lucky sign I saw early yesterday on a lucky Saint Patrick’s Day morning:

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Even though I didn’t win a prize from any pots of gold, I feel lucky that:

  • I’ve got a lucky number of consistent and kind readers here at lucky WordPress.
  • I do group and individual therapy at a luckily large and well-known teaching hospital in lucky Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • My lucky 18 year old son, Aaron, is luckily healthy, happy, and wise.
  • My lucky boyfriend Michael is lucky enough to have met lucky me.
  • I’m seeing my lucky cardiologist, Dr. Mark Estes, today, who luckily knows more about pacemakers than almost anybody else in this lucky world of ours.
  • Today is Friday, which makes a lot of working people feel lucky.

On lucky Thursdays, I am lucky enough to facilitate two therapy groups. Here are all the other photos I was lucky enough to capture yesterday, in lucky chronological order:

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While I didn’t order Lucky Hydrox yesterday, I was still lucky enough to

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sing from my heart, as I was walking to and from my lucky workplace.

Here’s one lucky song I was lucky enough to be singing, yesterday, with all my heart:

When I sang “Soothe” on my tryout for The Voice  last month, I wasn’t lucky enough to make it to the show. However, next month I’ll be lucky enough to sing “Soothe” for my fellow social workers at our lucky yearly party.

Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see and hear a recording of me singing it, here.

I hope I’m lucky enough to get lots of lucky comments today.

Lucky thanks to all my lucky readers!

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 990: How to change minds

That’s an important topic, isn’t it?  How to change minds.  I’m certain that — at this very moment —  advertisers, politicians, and many others are trying their best to figure out how to change minds.

Yesterday, in a therapy group, we changed our minds several times about which activity to choose, based on the issues people brought into the group room and the resulting 45-minute group discussion.

I had some trouble deciding whether to choose the mind-changing group activity of:

  1. Creating a t-shirt with an important, personal slogan or
  2. Answering the question that somebody in the group had raised: “What does it take to change people’s minds?”

Because I change my mind many times before making decisions, I decided to combine both of those mind-changing activities, as you can see:

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Before you change your mind about me, I want to explain that ‘Killing It” is an idiom — in these changing times —  for having a passionate commitment (about changing things or about anything else). My changing mind is also noticing, here and now,  that I included “songs” twice as I was designing my personal mind-changing t-shirt. Do you agree with me that songs and music are particularly important for changing people’s minds?

Here‘s a song about changing minds:

Do coincidences change people’s minds?  I’m noticing that the last word on my t-shirt and the first word in that “The Times They Are a-Changin’” video have no changes at all. That is, my t-shirt ends and that Bob Dylan video starts with  the same mind-changing word — “Quest.”

In my quest to change minds in a helpful way at work and elsewhere, I sometimes use words and I sometimes use images.  Here are some mind-changing images from yesterday, when  I considered (among other things):

  1. changing the number of rooms where I offer group therapy and
  2. how teachers at my son’s high school change minds, every day.

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Did any of those photos (or anything else in this post) change your mind about anything that’s important to you?

If you express your mind in a comment below, you may change minds, too.

Mind-changing thanks to Bob Dylan, to my son’s teachers, to every person, place and thing I encountered yesterday that changed my mind, and to you — of course! — for your beautifully changing mind, today.

Categories: group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 37 Comments

989: Expansion

I’ve been noticing many different types of expansion lately, including:

  • the expansion of tasks and obligations to fill every available moment, unless I consciously and continually reserve time for self-care,
  • building and construction expansions near where I work in Boston,
  • the expansion of the number of classmates attending my high school reunion this coming Saturday,
  • the expansion of hope for people who feel supported by others in therapy,
  • the possible expansion of my group therapy practice to include people who do not have doctors at the Boston teaching hospital where I work, and
  • this great tune by Pat Metheny, which expanded three times yesterday through my earphones during my expansive walks to and from work:

When I saw Pat Metheny appear on stage alone playing “Expansion” — surrounded by the expansion of all those incredible new instruments in his Orchestrion  — that expanded my mind, my heart, and my soul.  If you’d like any expansion of your knowledge and understanding about Pet Metheny’s  Orchestrion, I’ve expansively included  this link.

Today, I’m facing the expansion of all these tasks and obligations:

  1. Individual therapy where I work,
  2. Group therapy where I work,
  3. Checking out office space, as I possibly expand my therapy practice,
  4. Meeting all of my son’s new teachers (who I hope will be contributing to the expansion of his fine mind and understanding of the world around us), and
  5. A board meeting of the Northeast Society of Group Psychotherapy, an organization which contributes to the expansion of group therapy practice around here.

I think every photo I took yesterday, while I was listening to “Expansion,” relates to the title of today’s post.

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If you were going to choose one of those images to represent “Expansion,” which one would it be?

If you have any thoughts or feelings about the expansions expanding in this post, I hope you expansively leave a comment in the expanse below.

An expansion of gratitude to Pat Metheny; to people who explore the expansion of hopes and options in individual and group therapy; to  teachers everywhere who contribute to the expansion of young minds; to every person, place, organization, animal, and thing that expands my universe; and to you — of course!  — for the expanse of time you spent here, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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