To those of you are familiar with us, it is no secret that we, at Gulmohar, love groupwork! Over the last few months, we have been running Weekly Discussion Groups as part of our response to the Covid-19 pandemic, on topics such as:
- Hope, Meaning and Despair
- The Experience of Artists (All of which are set in the Covid-19 context)
As we have found these groups to be a wholesome and fulfilling experience, we are very excited to open them up to all of you! The purpose of the groups we host is usually focused on creating safe spaces for conversation and deliberation about a topic at hand, and an opportunity for reflection with people.
We also find them to be a productive time of creating moments of shared experience and learning alike.
Some things to note about these discussion groups are:
- They are conducted online, usually on weekend afternoons with about 4-6 participants.
- The process of the group typically consists of the facilitators (us) asking the participants open-ended questions, that intend to stir reflection and awareness on the topics we cover. There is absolutely no requirement for preparation, or knowledge pertaining to the topic!
- These groups are meant to be safe spaces for thinking and sharing about your experience of things, in a hope of creating meaning, and feeling a sense of belonging.
- While there is a degree of structure- with rounds of questions being asked and rules in place to ensure safety and amicability, open expression of self is very encouraged.
- There is also no bar to entry. If our slots for the weekly discussion are full, hop onto the next one! We find each session to be rewarding and unique in what it provides.
If you are interested in participating in one of these groups, or would like to know more, email us at [email protected], or reach out to us through our instagram page (Instagram handle: gulmohar.mentalhealth). Hope to see you there!
At Gulmohar, we believe in the enormous potential of Group Work in facilitating healing, learning and growth. We translate this belief into practice through our offerings of Therapy groups, Support groups, and discussion groups at our organization.
These groups are safe spaces for people to express themselves without judgement, share each other’s pain and joy, connect with like-minded people, and be challenged in their old and unhelpful ways of thinking, feeling and being.
Purpose of the group
What goal do we wish to establish at the end of the group process?
Discussion groups. It could be facilitating discussion between group members on a particular theme, providing them with a safe space to express themselves, and to understand how others have been experiencing a similar situation. This could facilitate a meaning making process within each member of the group, and a sense of belongingness.
Support Groups. Alternatively, the purpose of the group could be to bring together people who are going through a similar experience (such as loneliness, trauma of abuse, anxiety). Group members draw comfort from knowing that they are not alone in their suffering, and find compassion, friendship, and understanding in people who truly understand their experience of pain.)
Group Therapy. In this, individuals receive therapeutic interventions in a group setting. Sometimes these groups have a theme (for example a therapy group for individuals who are experiencing identity distress). Therapy groups aim at helping the participants raise awareness about their experience, bring about changes in their life, and heal from their traumas.
We put in considerable time and effort in carefully planning these groups, as we base our planning in theory and research. After we have a layout of the plan ready, we consult with our mentors and get the content validated by them. We also pay heed to any suggestions, feedback or recommendations by them and make necessary changes.
Screening group members
The purpose of doing this is to ensure the benefit of the group at large. Through pre-session interviews we determine if a particular individual will be fit for that group. Say for example, a person is really overwhelmed, and requires a lot of individual attention by the therapist, in such cases, we would recommend that he/she seek individual therapy first.
Group Work commences
There are a lot of benefits that you can accrue from being a part of the group. This includes
- a feeling of universality– knowing you are not alone in your suffering);
- a sense of belongingness, emotional connectedness and acceptance- facilitated by coming in close, authentic contact with those who are experiencing problems similar to yours;
- an emergent sense of hope– when you see others grow and change, you might feel inspired and become hopeful about your own ability to change and grow.
- Feeling good about yourself- In a group setup, you not just receive help, but also provide help. You become a part of others’ journey of growth and healing. This might make you feel valuable, and boost your self-esteem.
- Emergence of interactional patterns– Groups act as a social unit where interactional patterns of the group members emerge. For example, you might become aware of your tendency to be judgmental; not give someone the benefit of doubt; be distrustful, cut someone off…
- And a safe place to constructively resolve conflict which carries over to your life at large: An environment of honesty and trust within the group allows for its members to effectively communicate with each other. It provides an opportunity to get in touch with your feelings, values, as well as baggage, and patiently process everything. This newfound way of communicating and being translates into life outside the group.
- Catharsis. As you narrate your experience, and get in touch with your feelings, in a safe, receptive environment, you can expect a sense of release and nourishment of the soul.
- Modelling adaptive behavior. When you witness other group members engage in adaptive behavior, you might feel inspired to do so too. For example, a group member who shows bravery and courage in showing disagreement with something that happened within the group, despite the fear of feeling like an outcast, might inspire others to be authentic and true to themselves, and voice their opinions more freely.
Termination of group
There is a bittersweet feeling when the Group Work comes to an end. There is a sense of loss for a space that had become a place of learning and healing for the group members. There is also a sense of achievement in the journey of growth and change that the group members embarked on together.Learn More