Good Example Of Group Counselling Journal #1: Group Therapy Essay
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Community, Session, Conversation, Literature, Life, Time, Emotions, Future
Metaphor for this session
When everyone in the group at the beginning of a session had an opportunity to speak and share about some experiences in their lives with the group, I found that most of what we talked about can be themed with a need of hope. As I was narrating a brief account of what I want to talk about in future sessions and listening to each participant, I remembered a beautiful poem written by Catherine Pulsifer:
“When life is getting you down,
And you need a little hope.
Look deep down inside yourself,
And you’ll find the way to cop.
When life is getting you down,
Don’t allow it so.
Change the way you think of life,
And life will be better you know.
When life is getting you down,
Take the time to pray.
Don’t allow yourself frown
God will help you the good in the day”.
At the beginning, (F) asked if we can remind her with our names. Subsequently, we reviewed the ten group norms that we came up with in the first session. The leader (A) also made sure that everyone agreed about our group norms, if anyone wanted to add or discuss any other norms, and we all agreed (PVIM). As we went around the circle checking on how we were feeling, almost everyone was feeling relaxed and rational. In particular, I was less stressed than in the last session (PVIM). However, (PNIM) mentioned that she is not feeling well and that might affect her involvement in the group. (A) inquired if there is anyone who wants to share specific item, but we were looking to each other in silence (NVIM). Then, he (A) came up with an idea of each one mentioning briefly an area in his or her life and sharing in the group. We all liked the idea and agreed to participate (PVIM). As I was sitting on the right side of (A), I had to be the first one to talk. I felt anxious as I did not have something ready to share (NVIM). Recognizing my anxiety, (A) passed the question to someone next to me and mentioned that I would get the chance later. (B) looked up and uncomfortably laughed (PCM). Then, she shared an issue that is going on in her relationship with her mother recently and alluded that this is something she may talk further in future sessions. (A) thanked (B) for sharing that and passed the question to the next person. (C) started talking about how some relationships can shape our idea about trust, and she wished that all the group members can participate in discussing this topic. (D) then spoke about her issue of accepting and being accepted by people around her. She was talking very fast and using her hands to explain her ideas (NPIM, NNIM). (E) also shared her wish to talk in future sessions about some relationship issues. (F) then wanted to talk about her health issue and how it affected her education and friendships. She was moving her hands and eyes are filled with tears (NNIM). Then, (A) asked her if she wanted to talk more about that after the break, and she agreed (NVIM). After that, (G) shared her personal difficulty to share her thoughts and feelings with others, and she wished that we can talk about it in this group. (A) also talked about some childhood issues that he can talk about in future sessions. Finally, I mentioned that I would like to talk about forgiveness as it is something really bothering me recently.
We took a break for 5 minutes and then (A) asked (F) if she wants to share her story. She sat in silence for some time and started crying (NCM, NPIM), and (A) reminded her that the time is all about her and she should feel free and not in a rush (PVIM). (F) mentioned that she had a medical condition that put her in hospital for a week. During that time, she could not go to school, but submitted her assignments. (F) was covering her eyes and crying when she explained how sick she was and how difficult it was to face all of that without any support (NPIM). (F) also mentioned that after she was released from the hospital and went back to school, she had difficulty catching up with some assignments and with her group projects. Then she was unable to speak and cried heavily as she explained how nobody gave her any support, including even the close friends (NPIM, NNIM). We sat in silence for quite some time (NCM). Then, (A) thanked (F) for sharing her story with the group and looked at (D) as she was crying (NPIM), and asked her if she wanted to say something. (D) started by thanking (F) for sharing what happed to her and she expressed her feelings of anger and sadness (NVIM). (D) mentioned that she was really connecting with (F)’s story, and she really got shocked by the reaction of (F)’s friends. After that, (C) mentioned that she was really sad to hear what happed, but at the same time she was abroad of (F) that she is now doing well and able to be with us (PVIM). (A) gave me the chance to explore my feelings; I mentioned that I felt angry that (F) faced all of those difficulties (NVIM). It is really sad and unfair when you pay a heavy price for something that you are not responsible and know anything about. (G) then mentioned that it was really sad, especially given that this is something happened in a Christian school. Then, the rest of group members thanked and appreciated (F) for sharing her story. (A) closed this part of the session by letting (F) respond to what she heard. (F) mentioned that she was very grateful to hear our thoughts and feelings, and thanked the group for supporting her (PVIM, PPIM).
We took a break and switched to (D) as the leader. (D) started by asking the group to give (A) some feedback. (F) mentioned that she really appreciated the role of (A) when she was telling her story and, she laughed and thanked him for holding a napkin (PVIM, PPIM). (A) mentioned that he felt glad to hear it, as it was not easy for him to be connected emotionally to the group because he was trying to trigger emotional reactions from other members. (A), however, showed that there were some moments where he felt sad and his eyes were full of tears. (D) thanked (A) and appreciated that he was able to recognize her emotions. (C) also mentioned that (A) did a great job leading the group in silence. (D) then asked the group, as we were coming to the end, to do a check-out before ending the session. In addition, she asked each one to tell something positive to the one next to him/her. She also thanked the group for sharing some areas and wished that they share more next time.
At the beginning of the session and after we reviewed the group norms, (A) passed a question asking me if I have anything that I can share with the group. The sudden question made me feel anxious and I wished for a moment that I am not in the group. When I passed the question to (B), I was thinking about some areas in my life that can share with group. I found that sharing something about me with unknown people was very challenging. Coming from a collective culture where social rules encouraging selflessness and putting families’ or others’ needs ahead of personal needs, I felt a lot of pressure to share my personal issues or criticise some part of my spiritual orientation. I believe that everyone has a blind spot and it sometimes makes them unable to see reality. Hence, I believe that this is what made me feel anxious when (A) directly asked me to share some areas that I wish to talk. However, after I heard the entire group sharing their personal issues that they wanted to share with the group, I got encouraged to sharing one the most important part in myself, which is about the ability of forgiveness. I felt nervous and holding my breath when I started talking about it, which I thought that was normal as I started challenging some of my blind spots.
When (F), in the session, was telling her story of being sick and left with no support, I mentioned how I really felt anger. The feeling of anger was not only because of (F)’s story, but also because it brought some old experiences where I really felt alone in some situations without any support. When (F) was telling how difficult it was to see her friends around her not offering any help, the words made me feel like I am taking a heavy old blanket and put it on my body. I realized how much the experiences that I have had were still there and still exist. However, these deep feelings allowed me to be connected to (F).
I thought the atmosphere was quite, warm and empathetic. Also, sitting beside (A) and (B) made me feel more comfortable as we knew each other before. However, even though the room was good and comfortable when the students came to the room, the fact that we had to finish the session very quickly made me felt a little disappointed.
As this was the third session, I found that this session went above the surface. Even though we were defensive at the beginning of the session, when we started sharing what we are wishing to share in future sessions, it increased the level of vulnerability among the group, which was really better than last session.
Helpful/Non-helpful Leader Behaviour
I think (A) and (D) did a great job of maintaining the “holding environment” in the session where they were allowing the group members equally to share and give feedback. I really appreciate the way they led the session. When (F) was telling her story, the leader allowed the group members to be like a mirror where (F) can see herself though different members.
Stage and Function
For the first half of the session, the group was in the initial stage starting out with reviewing the group norms and asking if there was anyone wanting to add or discuss something about the group norms, and also by asking the group members to share the areas that they wished to talk about it in the next sessions. Moving into the working stage started out by (F) sharing her story. All the group members worked in the here-and-now attitude by following the story and by giving feedback.