Step Two Beginning the Ritual

The session opens with the therapist announcing that the group is saying goodbye to a peer that day. The therapist then takes out the rock and is the one who begins the ritual. It might go something like this:

TH: Martha, one characteristic that made me choose this rock (holding it up for others to see) is that it is seemingly perfect, expect for this one tiny flaw. Yet, notice that the imperfection does not detract from the rock's beauty, but actually enhances it. We all know how you struggled with perfectionism and how, during your time in group, you have come to accept yourself, warts and all. When you look at this rock and recall that its beauty is not detracted by the imperfection, but, it is the imperfection that makes it beautiful, I hope you will apply that to yourself and continue to embrace your own beauty and uniqueness.

Saying Goodbye: A Tennination Ritual

If you look closely, you will even see that that the rock has a certain sparkly quality. When you first got here, you were quiet, shy, and withdrawn. Now, as you prepare to leave and I reflect on how far you have come, I see a woman who enthusiastically reaches out to her peers by being helpful and supportive. You allow yourself to have fun and as a result, your own sparkly personality shines through. Your effervescence is one of the things that I will always remember about you.

Step Three: Passing It On

Once the therapist has spoken, the rock is then passed to the person beside her, who then shares his or her thoughts with the patient, talking about the progress they have made, how their time together has influenced them, or anything else that summarizes what the two have shared while in group together. The rock is further passed around the circle for every member to speak. The "patient of honor" must simply listen to the comments until all have had a turn.

Step Four: The Departing Patient's Turn

The rock will eventually return to the therapist after making its circle around the group. The therapist then places the rock in the departing patient's hand. It is then the patient's turn to address each member of the group, including the therapist(s), sharing his or her experiences and what the group and their time in treatment together has meant to the patient.

Step Five: Ending the Session

This intervention will probably take up the entire group time. If your group has a regular closing ritual, close the group as you normally would.

VARIATIONS ON A THEME

This same intervention can be used with shells or any other element from nature that is not fragile and will last. In addition to the feedback element of the ritual, each person can also "endow" the item with some characteristic that the patient needs to get by in the world. For example, "In parting, I put into this rock the gift of self-esteem with the hope that you always remember how valuable and worthy you are."

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