Examples

This intervention can be used when the shame or doubt originates with out-of -group behavior. Clara reported to group that she had spent the last few days in bed rather than going to work. She is angry with herself, feels worthless, and doubts that she will ever get better. She says that she is thinking about leaving group because "you must all be totally angry at me and disgusted with me." The therapist wonders aloud if the others in group actually do feel this way and suggests doubt that the group would reject her for her behavior (this plants the suggestion in the minds of the other members that they demonstrate

Directed Eye Contact: Nonverbal Communication

acceptance of Clara despite her out-of-group behavior). The therapist directs Clara to stop for a few moments, close her eyes, and then open them and look silently around the room at her fellow members. As she moves her eyes around the room, each member in turn looks back at Clara with acceptance and compassion.

The intervention may also be used related to in-group behavior that leads to doubt and alienation. Jim had, for several weeks, been quite depressed and struggling with urges to cut or burn himself. He admits to the group that he has, just within the last few weeks, talked with his therapist about something that he had never discussed before; however, he is not ready to talk about this issue in group because it is too difficult and painful. Some group members express frustration because they cannot seem to reach Jim and want to help him. They feel he is distant and not participating fully in group. Jim withdraws further and says that maybe he should leave group if his participation is not good enough. The therapist wonders aloud if that is what the group is suggesting to him or if they might just be attempting to express their concern for Jim. The therapist directs Jim to sit with this thought for a few moments. She then asks him to look silently around the room at his fellow members. As he moves his eyes around the room, each member in turn looks back at Jim with reassurance and caring.

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