I’ve always been interested in groupwork. Recently I’ve been facilitating a rather challenging group. It includes an older man who is enjoying his retirement, an outdoor type who does not say so much but clearly regards the other members as wimps, a writer who has an irritating obsession with etymology, one I think of as the wanderer whose life problem seems to be that of never having learnt to settle down, who tells endless entertaining stories of travels, love affairs and so on, and I was able to rope in a Buddhist priest and a psychotherapist, of course, who I thought might be helpful but who spend most of their time talking to each other, then there’s a chap who has been divorced several times who now acts as a consultant on relationships, would you believe? - and there is a dreamer who seems to have had various spiritual experiences, and, I almost overlooked, there is an introvert who stays in the background, but seems to be willing to do the catering and housekeeping tasks. That makes ten of us which is a fairly good size for an encounter group. I don’t know what mysterious force of the universe drew them all together, but working with them is never dull.
We have done all the usual groupworky things - a futile search for identity and common purpose leading to various power struggles finally settling down to a fairly productive modus vivendi as I try to get them to realise that everyone has limitations and encourage some mutual respect for different roles. On the one hand, one aims for compassion and understanding and on the other one hopes that the inevitable tensions will prove creative and productive. It’s work in progress, of course, and one trusts that some more fundamental wholesome process is guiding at a deeper level.
Add a Comment