Description Of Intervention Case Example

This particular example involves a man who was deathly afraid of speaking in groups. For many weeks he said as little as possible and concealed his fear. He eventually shared with me that he had this fear. We discussed the possibilities for addressing this. I suggested that he could say something about it, tell someone else and have that person share his fear, I could say something, or continue as he had been doing with an emphasis on self-reflection to learn more about the process. He decided that he would share this fear himself in the next group during the opening group process. The group was very interested and supportive. Others with similar fears shared their experience. Most importantly, there was a shift. His dilemma became the group's dilemma. His silence was seen as a loss for the group—whatever he might have to share was not available. Questions arose. What was it about our group that fed the fear? What could we do about it? How could we track the process? This man became a representative of the silent and fearful part of everyone. His response was quite emotional. This process unfolded over a couple of months, became part of the group's oral history, and culminated with him coming to the group one evening dressed up in a costume and performing a piece of theater that involved the group as audience and participants. Essentially, the identified problem, fear of speaking out, became a seed experience for individual growth, community development, and an example of a deeply democratic process (Cohen, 2004, pp. 158-159).

Format for Issue Resolution

Each group or class begins with an invitation to check in and to participate in a personal and community process experience.

A time frame is established and closely adhered to. This adherence helps to establish a sense of safety and the frame for whatever form of psychotherapy is being utilized. Expectations that everyone will have an opportunity are stated.

The content that fits and does not fit is described. In educational environments what does not fit in this initial process time is course content, questions about assignments, grading issues, and any other content that might be construed as informational. In psychotherapy groups what does not fit are questions about administrative issues or processing of issues that are raised.

Develop a group culture that is safe with an opportunity for everyone to do whatever he or she needs to become more fully present in the moment. Build trust and a "containment field" by eliciting the opportunity for process and facilitated inner work. The containment field is the psychological environment within which the major work of the group will take place. Encourage content that is personal and inclusive of in-the-moment experience, recent significant life events, personal responses to any and all aspects of the course, memories, dreams, and reflections.

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