The Group Therapy Experience (book) – reflections 2

Chapter: The Resistances – Their Curious Desirability
Do we want our members to resist us or not? The first answer that may come to mind is, “Of course not. They had better cooperate or they’re wasting their time and ours.”
In group, from all that we can see, he may seem faultless.
Yet we know that in the real world he must be causing havoc to himself and others.
We want our group members to resist us in the group.
No matter how uncomfortable their resistances make us feel, no matter how much they seem to hinder us, they are vital to progress in another. Though they may sting us when we see them, we want to see them – we need to see them: without them, we are powerless.

But we may implicitly, subtly condone or encourage some forms of resistance while rejecting others. We may feel justified in doing so by defining a purpose or focus for improvement.

With blatant resistances, our chief tactic is to investigate it by asking other group members about it. We may ask how it makes them feel or ask them to speculate about why the resistant members is behaving in his or her particular way.

[The members may] conceal the resistance itself. Were they to face me with their disappointment, they would have to confront my response, which, they well know, would be to investigate they and their pattern of disappointment. Self-examination on their part might have to ensue, and they fear it.

Only by becoming aware of their resistances, by seeing themselves actually engaging in them, not once but again and again, can our group members put their resistances aside if they so wish. Granted, not all our group members will do this. However, over a period of time, those who find more rewarding ways of adapting in their lives will turn to those better methods. The choice will be theirs. our task is to give them the freedom to make that choice.


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