Sunday, June 10, 2007

Response to Large Group Blog Entry

Entry for 10 June 2007:

Carmen, one of the students on this years’ Full Time Conselling Diploma course has sent the following response to my earlier comments on the Large Group (entry for June 2). With her permission, I am pleased to post her comments, which I personally find very interesting and useful in carrying the discussion further:

As a person at the end of the course you are describing I am perhaps in a position to offer what I feel I have learnt from the big group sessions.

Big groups can be fun, interesting, uncomfortable and scary. The fear is of the anger, judgement or retaliation of others. If a person is able to be non-defensive and reflective then there is the opportunity to learn, trust and balance what is inside alongside the views of others. An issue with the big group is the 'if', because not all people are at this stage. I suspect that the big group is more scary for these people. I guess there is a hope that by the end of the course some progress might be made toward this stage.

Personally I have learnt a lot from my reactions to the 'WS' of the big group. I have been unable to ignore my reactions, I have started to listen to my head and feelings reactions, I have started to be able to respond in these situations in an 'appropriate' way. I have learnt that however much I safely prepare what I say, it can still have an unpredictable effect on others. I cannot control the reactions of others but I can own and articulate my own reaction.

I have learnt that sometimes 'WS' cannot be contained, even by experienced tutors. Sometimes things just happen too quickly. Tutors are human, not super-human. Sometimes things do go off the wall but the hope is that we can use the underlying relationships, trust, care and empathy to move and grow from this. Sometimes the group has managed to do this by itself. However, I do feel it would be helpful to have at least one consistent big group tutor who has a role to facilitate this aspect when the group doesn't manage it. This would be a real judgement call for that tutor, to know when to allow enough time for the group to find its process, and when to intervene. I suspect this is a modelling role, important in the initial stages of the course and gradually seeing the group take it over?

I strongly believe that what I have learnt from the big group is invaluable in a counselling context. In particular, being able to openly respond to clients whatever they bring. What the big groups (alongside the personal and professional development group) have helped me to increasingly develop and experiment with is congruence. For me the big groups have felt an essential part of this development.

I don't yet feel able to comment on the self appraisal process as I am way too in the midst of it to be objectively reflective. What I can say is that it I have found it to be a strongly insightful process.

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