Typical Responses To This Intervention

Frequently, the results of this intervention are dramatic and emotional. The doubtful group member, who is usually feeling shame, isolation, and disconnection from the group, experiences the unconditional acceptance of the group as a whole and is able to believe that his or her membership in the group is valued. The other members also benefit from the sense of closeness and trust that lingers in the group following this exercise. There is rarely any interpretation or discussion about this reaction. I have found it more valuable to allow the insecure member and the group as a whole to experience the resulting sense of closeness nonverbally and without the contamination of analysis. The doubtful member is then encouraged to sit with his or her experience while someone else in the group works.

CONCLUSION AND CONTRAINDICATION

This tool is most useful in a group that is solidly in the working phase and whose members have the ability and experience to trust the responses of their fellow group members.

It would be contraindicated in a group where there are many new members or when there has been significant recent disruption in the group. Such disruption would undermine group trust and safety and this intervention could, in these circumstances, backfire and lead to further alienation.

REFERENCES

Felir, S. (2003). Introduction to Group Therapy: A Practical Guide (Second edition). Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press. Goulding, M. M. & Goulding, R.L. (1979). Changing Lives Through Redecision

Therapy. New York: Grove Press. Perls, F, Hefferline, R. F., & Goodman, P. (1951). Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and

Growth in the Human Personality. New York: Dell Publishing. Yalom, I. (1985). The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy (Third edition). New York: Basic Books.

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