If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when? –Hillel
In less than a week, a group of brave therapists and I will go on a journey. Although some may travel across large swathes of New Jersey to attend, the journey will not be one of distance but one of time.
We will spend a day together in a process group.
A process group in essence is a space where the focus of attention is on the process, what is occurring in the dynamics of the room, as much as it may be on the content.
The central idea is that how we communicate with others, how our words, inflections, nonverbal expressions and energetic presence affects them, is deeply interwoven with whatever issue we may want help with. For example, if a clinician is having difficulty asking for a full-fee, that may show up in the room by not feeling entitled to take up space, to receive the full attention of the other members or to ask for a specific kind of connection.
This environment is inherently uncomfortable. It brings up all of our anxieties about groups, other people and being judged. It highlights our fears of intimacy and confrontation. With a skilled leader, it’s a place where we can work through these fears and gain a visceral experience of power, agency and freedom.
I quote Hillel above because the process group is the ideal forum to develop in all three capacities. First, it provides ample opportunity to speak up for oneself, to access and express our needs and be creative and resilient in getting them met. Process groups also promote boundary setting, saying no, and tolerating others’ disappointment as we focus on our own needs and desires. At the same time, the group space helps us feel more. We become more empathic, considerate and sensitive to how we’re affecting other people and how we can contribute to their lives. Finally, process groups build courage and a preference for dynamism– the task is to be as honest as possible in the moment, to say as soon as we’re aware of it, what we’re thinking and feeling about the other members.
In preparation for the journey, I invite you to join me in the following meditation:
In what ways am I not showing up for myself?
In what ways am I focusing too much on myself?
When do I want something to change?
If you’re interested in coming with us, please register here: