The power of group work never ceases to amaze me. And I was amazed all over again last weekend by the people who took part in my latest Living Beyond Anger, Living With Love workshop. Exploring what’s happening inside of oneself while surrounded by others with similar experiences allows us to breathe a collective sigh of relief. We realize that we are not alone; that our problems are not unique. Everyone, to one degree or another, who you pass on the street or meet throughout your day, has walked in your shoes at some time in his/her life. While their situations may be different on the outside, the underlying feelings are always the same. Experience is relative.
The people that usually find themselves at these workshops are all on the path of personal growth and for the most part self-aware. The fact that they are at varying points of development along their journeys allows them to offer educated and insightful comments to one another that continually blow me away. What’s truly unique about a group setting is that participants get the benefit of my perspective as a psychologist, but also the perspective offered by the other members. The experience is heightened because the energy generated by a group in a concentrated period of time, like a weekend workshop, creates a powerful impulse toward clarification and consequently action. In a weekend setting like this one, that energy propels us, like a catapult, down the road of development. It can serve as a jumping off point or a companion tool for one on one therapy, or even as a standalone experience of transcendence.
If you are thinking about taking the workshop when it is offered again this spring (April 2 & 3), consider this: A workshop experience forces an individual to take a giant leap forward in a profound and intensive period of time, whereas individual counseling is an investigation of self through more measured steps. It is up to you to decide what you are looking for and what works best at this point in your life. They can be used together or separate, and there are benefits to both.