Welcome! This is a new group - started in September of 2015 for therapists and clients of therapists, as well as people interested in therapy, self-exploration, self-development and growth. The founder is a Somatic Psychotherapist who is passionate about transforming the stigma and the various misconceptions that people have around psychotherapy. I am hoping to collaborate with others the ways that the therapuetic: ie that which is transformational, grounding, vitalizing instead of exhausting, life-creating instead of life-destructive, relationally harmonizing more than wounding, corrective instead of abusive - and thinking together how to both embody these practices as well as demonstrate them somehow in collective ways. I have written a lot here because I want our time together to start with a shared understanding of why this group is forming, so we can begin to generate ideas from a shared orientation as much as possible.
For those who are not into reading but may be inspired otherwise, I'll add that potentially, this is a collective art project and an experiential as a group. The photo I picked for the group photo is inspired by a concept of "the butterfly effect." check out: http://humansarefree.com/2014/05/the-butter... for an artists take on this concept.
The intention of this meetup is to bring people together to:
1. Think together about how to make therapy something that is more visible, for it to be better understood, seen, and not exactly "normalized," but something that we as a society are used to and therefore more open to.
2. Thinking together about how to make therapy connectible to people who may not know that to engage oneself can be a positive and life-rewarding endeveor that is worth the time and financial/energetic investment, and to show more people how thereapy is rewarding on levels that are difficult to measure, but are deeply profound for those who experience how it permeates their life in such a transformational way.
3. Engage together in ways that do make therapy more visible- together in meetups, and also in smaller breakout groups, so to flourish our ideas, learn from them, and continue to ask how healing and transformation can be something more seen, from the formless to the formed, from the misunderstood to the understood, from the discordant and segregated to the harmonious and collected, with shared respect for individual parts or the gestalt of a particular practice.
These intentions are born out of the founders question around the stigma of therapy. In most of the American culture and beyond (not in New York, New Yorkers love therapists and therapists love them;) The way that therapy is presented or generally thought of seems to support the resistance to therapy, because of the way that when therapy is made visible- in conversation or in a movie, usually it is because something has gone wrong, or, Hollywood wants to dramatise it for the plot and entertainment value. Entertainment historically is about exposing the shadow aspects of life, or to give some kind of experience to the audience. Hollywood doesn't seem to do its research around what therapy actually feels like, or it must just not care about being in integrity of the actual artform and practices of psychotherapy. It cares about what attracts an audience- and what attracts us is a bigger discussion than we can have here. In my experience, in any case, of watching the profession in movies or TV shows, drama (tragedy, conflict, turbulence) is priviledged over what is real.
Moreover, because psychotherapy is close to what is unknown or many times addressing what may be unconscious - and bringing that gently and respectfully into a person's awareness so they can engage more fully in their own life, the practice can seem scary, like one is being asked to look into the dark all alone. But that is not what is actually happening, nor is what would be therapuetic- what is actually happening with a therapist is that whatever is "the dark" is, is only approached if the therapuetic relationship has a flashlight, perhaps some fun toys or sparkle lights, an anchor, and, a map that has been, and is continually shared explicitly together. Along with these metaphorical and sometimes explicit tools, therapy also includes a time clock for which everything can just go back to normal (but perhaps impacted by being seen or being able to see more clearly), but yet normal- plus, the person is hydrated, fed and nourished with care and safety, kind regard, truth telling and the relief of feeling into what is vital.
The power of the therapuetic relationship goes on living in private spaces. The ways that therapy is deep and meaningful, worthy and wonderful, go unnoticed, undervalued, and unknown for what it really is by the masses. Meanwhile, we are suffering as as a life form, as a planet, as families and as individuals, and reaching out for help is marred with misunderstandings - or, opportunities yet tapped into - that all depends on your flexibility of mind.
The intention of this group, therefore, is to challenge and transform the status quo of "what is therapy," and to offer a platform for people to know and engage with therapy in a holistic, shared, and transparent way.
The idea is to bring the aspects of therapy and healing that are pleasurable and transformative, and also challenging, into the visible field- into parks, community rooms, farmers markets, and places where people gather, so that these powerful modalities can be witnessed - the whole point is to carve a way for toward's our societies acceptance and awareness of activities that are life-giving, healing, inclusive, and positive - even when facing the difficult, the dark, and what seems to be unresolvable.
The founder believes that shared and normalized therapuetic encounters could be an agent that in effect heals the misunderstandings that our society holds about therapy. As a collective and creative group, that which is therapuetic and transformational, healthy and balanced, as well as challenging and risky in a life-giving way - may then be practices that are embedded consciously into society instead of marginalized to private rooms and practices.
For those interested in the theoretical side of this group, we will have some group meetings to discuss our ideas around how to integrate ideas, theories, and thoughts about containment for the safety and protection of that which is essentially vulnerable, with respect to the essence of corrective experience, and how to ensure that the group can generate non-judgemental communication and real, grounded connetions.
I look forward to hearing from you and seeing this idea grow!