Studied Group Counseling/Intensive #3

For the first week of the summer courses I was enrolled in another intensive. I was kept very busy with precourse work, watching a dvd and answering questions in a workbook about “Group Counseling.” Despite the repetitiveness of the workbook questions, I realized that this is an area of counseling that I am more familiar with/have more experience in. I have TOOONS of experience in the idea of group dynamics.  I have written, and helped to plan countless Bible studies, and led many small group weekend and year long endeavors. I am creative with developing activities or exercises to bond the group together, and to illustrate teaching points.

No more extension cords!

I was stoked!

However, no one told me that, while this class was about learning by participating in group, we were REALLY going to be participating in group. (Yes  I cried working thru some of my personal baggage, but I’m definitely better for it). Personally, I thought I had dealt with some stuff in my life, but I had really rationalized and self counseled through it (basically intellectualizing through it). I had never really allowed myself to feel that pain, hurt, and bitterness to accept through it. I am so grateful to my group members as we journeyed together, who really gave me permission to feel through that pain I’d been running from. It didn’t matter that there are others who have had worse in their lives, they were okay just to let me “sit in it” for a moment, and just feel. I didn’t have to metaphoricalize my feelings, I didn’t have to dress them up or make them pretty. I could feel bitter, angry, sad, wishful to change things, and mourn this absence of this particular aspect in my past. It was just so freeing! And now, I feel that I am better able to empathize with others, instead of advice giving or trying to fix their problems, but instead just “listening and hearing” them. I’m hoping to be a better friend in the future.

My group, Group #2.

Now, I’m just processing whether I need to dig deeper into this, personally, or if by experiencing that with God, that is all that I needed to do.

Lunch at ChikFila
Lunch at Panera, on our final class day!

We were the test guinea pigs for this brand new facility. The chairs had never been sat in, they were still getting other chairs and tables for the lobby throughout the week, you could see the crisp streaks of paint on the wall. They were truly amazing teaching spaces. I just worry about future courses, as many of the students were parking in retail spaces for the stores located next door :-/ Hopefully that will be worked out!

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