Over the years I have attended AA meetings along with going through the Dui education group at Blue Ridge Mental Health in Burnsville on a forced basis and then on a voluntary one. Both these groups helped with overcoming a problem with abusing alcohol. Working through an addiction like mine would have been impossible for me on my own. From the group at Blue Ridge I was able to receive support and education about what was happening to me.
AA helped with introducing me to the understanding that there is a spiritual side of an individual, and to realize that it was a part of my being that would need to be addressed to heal as well. During the present part I attend Church and can maintain sobriety without support from counseling groups of this nature. The groups that I attended and choose to write this paper about are Church groups. I had been noticing that the new Church in town seemed to have a lot of people attending; the parking lot is usually full on Sunday morning.
I had wanted to visit and see what it was like, on one morning I had got as far as the parking lot and backed out thinking I don’t know anyone in there. The next Sunday I didn’t back out, when reaching the side walk there was a couple of women walking toward the door at the same time as me they spoke to me and asked if I would like to go with them to their base group . On the first Sunday morning that I attended the base group at the Church in Spruce Pine I discovered an interesting discussion group that can be much more than just discussion when it gets started.
The group starts out in the traditional way with introductions that go around the room where the seats have been moved in a circle. If there are any new members they are introduced or if they just wondered in they get to introduce their-selves giving names and saying something about being there. During the first meeting the leader was one of the pastors and his wife. An interesting thing that I noticed was that the pastor’s wife also carried the title pastor too.
The leader makes announcements that usually take up the first five minutes of group time, ending his announcement with an open ended question about how the members of the group are doing and if there are any other announcements or if anyone have any special concerns or problems the members would like to talk about with the group. On my first visit there was a lady that lives in the same area I do having her first visit to the Church. Somehow she had ended up in the same group as I. She was very upset that day and was looking for help.
Her son had just been hit and killed a few months ago by an intoxicated driver. Her other son had moved back in with her and was trying to get off meth and pain medications; he was also drinking heavy too. This was an interruption in the normal process of the groups Sunday morning proceedings, the leader and other members of the group where able to talk with the lady and calm her down. Then the leader was able to bring the group back on task and maintain normal functions of the of the Discussion group .
The purpose of the group is to meet having discussions about individual problems that members of the group are facing along with the Church and the community at large. The lens that the group is looking at their work through is a holistic one that is based on the Bible and the belief in healing of the community and individuals by Jesus and the power of the spirit to do so. The group has able to intervene and help her along with her husband. For me this was a time that I could see the power of a group to work in a situation that had deteriorated as much as this family had.
The Pastors in the group realized that the lady knew me they are still scratching their chin on the fact that her and I ended up in the same place on the same day. The Church has taken them in and has started to work with the family on a regulator basis. I have been visiting the family while working as a part of the group to help them. I have talked with the son that is fighting with the substance abuse problems and been able to offer encouragement to him. And have offered to help him get introduced to some of the AA and NA meetings that are open to the public in this area.
From talking with the son he has expressed that he believes and sees the importance of spiritual awareness in relation to healing the whole being of us all. He is also planning on attending Church and taking part in the healing process that can come from being a member of a religious group. For me I had not fully understood the Church and all the other organizations as groups before taking this course, it has improved my prospective of what makes up a group and the power of all the different groups that are available to us in society .
The Church and many other groups that are available in our culture have charcteristic of “Yalom’s Curative Factors” giving hope, universality, giving to each other and society, closeness, and accepting responsibility for our own life. (Jacobs, Masson, Harvill 2006). I visited two groups that are of a religious nature. The second one I attended was at a realization center for dementia and alszimier patients. The members of the group were able to respond on different levels some were able to take a little part in the meeting and it was hard to tell if others were aware of what was going on around them at all.
The two men that were leaders of the group tried to engage the members as much as possible. In a situation like this it’s hard to see if you are reaching the members or not the leaders still organize and plan what will be the content of each weeks meeting . Their purpose is in the hope that someone will find comfort and peace in what they will present to the group on any given Sunday when they sing and preach the word and the hopes that can be found in the Bible. The two men that were there told me that they had been doing this for twenty years or so.
In thinking about my-self and the small amount of work that I have done and others that work with people in group setting we all seem to have a need to feel and see something come out of it , to see progress in the people we are working with. Doing so gives us all encouragement and helps us to keep going. When working as these two men were there seemed that they did not get to see much in the way of their works affect on the individual. It would take a lot of strength and faith to work and keep going at something were you could not see the fruits of the labor in the present and be able to draw encouragement from it.
Even though the body is deteriated in a person the spirit is still in tack and there is a possibility that coming together and hearing the message of hope brings joy to the part we cannot observe or understand through the senses. In conclusion looking at the dynamics of groups it important to remember that “the individual is seen as an indivisible whole,born,reared, and living in specific familial, social , and cultural contexts “( Corey 2005) these individual personality’s can be brought together in a group through leadership to fulfill a purpose of healing and learning through the common experience of humanity.
‘In a world that is growing more complex by the minute as it sometimes seems the group method can be cost effective, offer much recourse and bring a sense of belonging through the group it-self” (Jacobs, Masson, &Harvill 2006). Michael Johnson. Group Counseling,stragies &skills EdE. Jacobs,Robert L. Masson,Riley L. Harvill . 5th Edition2006. Thomson Brooks/Cole. Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy ,Gerald corey ,Seveth Edition. 2005 Thomson Learning Inc.