Two 6 hour sessions are done and over with on my ‘Peer led support group’-facilitating training with Healthy minds.
It’s been more hectic than I ever imagined.
I mean I’m not getting paid to do this and neither are my peers.
We are a diverse bunch and as challenging as it may be to interact with people who come from different back grounds and have their own approach, I judge from a “kind heart”, I realise that we all want to help . We are all coming together with the desire to help others.
There are no “leaders” in this training group. We are the trainers and trainees learning from one another. I’m using this training as a mock support group of how I intend to approach facilitating with my own style.
We all communicate differently and I am always learning. It takes a great measure of patience to listen to what others feel, interpret and try to get across. I am learning that by turning down the volume on my judgements and tuning into what a person is saying, that person does usually have a point that is relevant to and in whatever context we are discussing.
It takes a special kind of listening and compassion to truly grasp whatever point a person is making about a topic. Especially when the judgement part of myself kicks in and I am like – aaargh fuck………
Judgements are normal . It is how we filter them that is important.
Yes ,I may have initial judgements but what I truly want and need to do (for me) is to stick to whatever topic it is we are discussing, and at the same time understand what a person is trying to get across. I also want to practice voicing my understanding of what I think it is that a person has said
Almost 90% of the volunteers – me included have some experience of mental illness. We are also at different stages in our mental health.
If, you can understand this in the context that mental health -good and bad -is never constant. You may understand this:
Next month when I start the 3rd and 4 th day of training. I may be experiencing a negative episode in my own mental health and maybe everything that I do in those 6 hours won’t make sense at all.
is what I believe is crucial to becoming a successful group facilitator the peer led support model. ( check out the highlighted blog links for a greater understanding of these skills)
This training is very much experiential. Self reflection needs to be consistent.
We are faced with real life situations/scenarios and and put into groups to problem solve. We all have our own ways of reaching a solution.
I am constantly being reminded that their is no right or wrong answer – there are no catches.
What is important is that the answers I come up with, reflects the value and the core of what the training is about.
It reminds me to constantly question myself about what skills I need to use to create a successful peer led support group, what I need to develop and what kind of self -care I can identify within myself to keep my own mental health safe.
We also covered boundaries.
My solution for people over stepping boundaries is to prepare a list in my mind or on paper and commit to what I feel comfortable disclosing to support group members and what I am happy and not happy to allow.
I believe these ‘ground rules’ of my own boundaries need to to be considered before I can start facilitating groups.
If I can do this,
then I know, that when it comes to the group establishing their own ground rules in regards to boundaries and keeping safe etc.
There will always be a point of reference to go back to if I/ group members sense that the group or a member of the group is not honouring the ground rules.
I’ve only just realised how important establishing ground rules are. I’m not there to fix any ones problems no matter how much I want to.
I am not there to order people around or lead them.
I’m there with a role to ‘hold the space’ as one of the training facilitators put it.
The most important part for me, is to believe in my own style of facilitating.
It helps to hear others opinions of how they would handle a situation or indeed what experiences they have had. These to me are guidelines – advice- on how these group facilitators have been able to stay in the role that they are -successfully.
We all make mistakes.
That is inevitable.
I needed to get this post down to confirm what my understanding is so far and also what skills and qualities I have or need or don’t have that will serve me successfully in this role.
As you can probably tell I am passionate and serious about this. I want to help set up the peer led eating disorder recovery group in the place I live.
I need to seriously take in the responsibility and commitment that is required from me.
To some people these groups are all that a person may have to look forward too. The only way they are able to carry on.
So I am going to leave it here. I’m gaining a lot from this training.
I’m also discovering a lot about myself. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned over the past few years. I am quite frankly unrecognisable to the person I was five years ago.
I love feeling strong.
I love that I won’t be led into other peoples agendas.
I love the fact I can ignore what other people are doing so I can get what I NEED and want from this training.
I love realising that I am a person with skills and qualities and it is okay to big myself up
I love pushing myself out of my comfort zone and the response I receive
I love the person I have become.
This journey, this path: is the best gift I ever gave myself.
That is it for now.
Just doing what I love.