Description Of Interventions

When I am conducting a group, I sit on a chair similar to the other chairs in the room. I intervene verbally only after discussions or expressions of group clients and go along with the flow of interactions and respond with empathy to the points being discussed. I never impose an issue for discussion nor do I judge any disclosure(s) of group members.

I avoid summing up or presenting long interpretations and explanations. My aim is to avoid being the center of interaction. I respond to the group as a whole and, when necessary, I can work with individ-

/ A m Part of the. Group Matrix

ual problems. I watch for symptoms or expressions indicating a possible dangerous antigroup response (Nitzun,1996). These antigroup responses may manifest themselves in behaviors such as scapegoating and acting out. 1 specifically am cognizant of the possibility and actualities of negative manifestations that can harm the group as a whole. My assumption is that the interactions will enrich, in a spiral movement, a deeper understanding of relevant repressed issues.

CASE EXAMPLES A Small Group of Students

Ada, a member of the training group, was very active since the beginning of the session. She shared a dream she had had the previous night, and continued focusing most of the attention on her unresolved problems with her parents, and cried from time to time. Close to the end of the session, Lily, a quiet client, made a personal remark saying that she (number eight of twelve children) feels sometimes neglected by her parents. Ada rejected abruptly Lily's intention to start a dialogue saying that there is no similarity. Lily, talking to Ada, said that she feels, again, a closed door and arrogance in Ada's attitude. Ada said that she doesn't know what Lily is talking about. At this moment I intervened asking Ada to try to look at Lily as a mirror that reflects what Lily sees. Three women participants continue to reflect to Ada what they see of her selfish and narcissistic attitude. Ada was astonished and remained silent until the end of the session.

A Small Group in an International Workshop

I conducted a small group of nine qualified European professionals, six women and three men. At the beginning of the second meeting, one female participant, Christine, a German psychologist, said that she remembers the end of an unpleasant dream. She was in a small airplane ready to land, but something went wrong and instead of landing, the plane began to shake and the passengers were anxious. When she woke up she was still afraid. Some colleagues tried to help her, unsuccessfully, to grasp the possible personal reasons for the anxious and insecure feelings. Goran, a Swedish psychiatrist, remembered a painful similar experience when flying, years ago, to London. The free associations continued, involving most of the group members who expressed their concerns to disclose personal issues that were aroused after Christine's dream. I said that I am also in this plane. I worry too, as the pilot, how to make a safe landing. I am a qualified "pilot," and I believe that in this trip everybody is involved. Claudia, an Italian participant, expressed her shame at her inability to speak because of her poor English, and I, the only one in the group who understood some Italian, translated her valuable interventions. In this friendly atmosphere, suddenly, Christine looked at me and said, "You know, my husband is from Israel. We are living in Heidelberg now, but he insists to go back and I don't know..." Other members opened new problems and discussed important conflicts. There was a readiness to share concerns. The group had a safe landing.

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