In two consecutive days, I learned things about groups. This coincidence puts me on alert (of course). Here’s the result :
Currently reading Dr Yalom’s autobiography. He tells how he began to work with groups, as a therapist. To train and to learn in University, he joined a 8 days group therapy, sat in a middle of a dozen other people. The psy came in and told the group something about they won’t talk about the past but “the now only” – which is obviously stupid – then she kept her mouth closed. Silence.
Yalom, also there as a watcher of course, saw it coming, a blossom, from silence, of different bursts. Each people had their own way to react, from “Fine!” to “Come on!” to silence, to “She know what she does…” to “You’re manipulating us!”. Then the therapist had like a whole bunch of little trees in front of her, which grew up all by themselves, from a single sentence. Then works with that.
I talked yesterday with someone who’s a member of an association of “out loud readers“. Of course it’s interesting! You want to know why, and what does one learn in a such place, etc.
He told me the coach was really great, because VERY directive. One person begins to read out loud in front of the assembly, until she squarely interrupts them, give them instructions to follow – beck and call. Most of the time, instructions given are surprising, though clearly made to disturb and break patterns : one plays as an actor, one is slow, or shy, one is grey neutral. Boring.
She orders to whisper, to walk while reading, to be mean or frightening, even if you read a French XIXth Century love novel.
See me coming? Yalom writes than one of the powers of the therapist comes from… he gives his attention to the patient. I love to think it’s the one secret of all this article. The coach, in a group, pays attention to you. That is a present, and a very powerful thing, in a world where nobody really pays attention.
It’s one of these things which shocks you when you grow up, when you realize that in society, at work, in family, in many circles or conversations :
Most people let you talk waiting for their turn to talk.
They don’t really care : they want their turn.
Thus the simple knack from Dale Carnegie : LISTEN to people. Listen to them really. Then you’ll get smart questions, then listen more.
What do you think about ONE and TWO styles of group leaders? Give a small seed then listen and use what you catch, or give strong instructions which will disturb or break patterns? Can this second style be used in therapies?
Thanks for reading!