Thursday, September 16, 2010

My first group experience: The Good, The Bad, and The Whoa.

So I did my first group with children last night! I have so much to learn. *sigh* In case you didn’t know, I’m interning at a domestic violence program. The children have witnessed the violence in many different forms, and they attend group while their parents (just the victim, and I don’t say women/mothers because we have one male – it does happen!) attend group. I’ve been working with the child therapist for the last few weeks and she gave me the floor tonight. She actually left the room while we did the activity, and I think it went ok. The children are 1-6 grade, and they are at different levels of maturity. While they were being typical kids, they did complete the activity and actually talked about it afterwards. To me, that equals a win.

It is very obvious that I don’t know proper ways of getting children to settle down and behave. We do things differently in a therapeutic setting. Telling little Johnny to sit down and be quiet doesn’t work so much. I may not have as much control as the child therapist, and she certainly has an entirely different style than I, but I think I did ok. I’m alive, they’re alive. I’ll get better, right? :)

However, I met a young man tonight who I will refer to as E. He’s in 1st grade and is very troubled, as exhibited by his behavior in group. He used a few bad words, talked about Hell, and ran around the room like some sort of big cat, growling all the way! He was very agitated and certainly did not want to participate in an activity where he sat the entire time. I was told that he is going to be my first client, and I must say, I am nervous as heck! We will be using the playroom, where he will likely get our his anger and frustration and wild-childness. I do think this young man is in desperate need of someone to pay attention to him, to tell him that he is special, to let him know he matters. I haven’t read his file yet, but I bet it’s a doozy.

I am also going to start working with an adolescent girl (I will refer to her as Y) who has siblings in the program, as well. In fact, her 2 younger siblings are in one of the child groups, and they journaled about some ugly stuff happening with big sis. She has been inappropriately dealing with her anger lately and we want to find out what's beneath the anger. The adolescent group facilitators says she doesn’t speak much in group, so hopefully I can gain her trust and give her an outlet.

I met with my supervisor today and she really put things into perspective for me. I’ve never had a therapy session yet, so I feel at a real disadvantage about providing it! However, she said some things that make so much sense and eased up my anxiety a tad. She said the most important thing about therapy is the human connection. The relationship. She said just be human to human, be present and actively listen. Don't worry about what theory or model l should be following - that comes with experience. Just listen, and be genuine. She also added that she still gets nervous 15 years later but said working through that fear is what will make me grow…

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Law of the Jungle

I went to a leadership conference yesterday. It was geared toward an undergrad-level group but I thought it was interesting and motivating, nonetheless. I picked up some fantastic quotes (you know I love quotes!) and found out about some great book on leadership.

Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back —
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

-Rudyard Kipling

The above quote is actually pretty damn powerful. It talks of the importance of working as a team, a collective, with each other instead of against one another. I am very moved by this quote and concept, and I look forward to being a part of a grand team of like-minded professionals who are working towards the betterment of mankind.