I think what I have learned about running groups ( and working with mental health) is that every patient and situation is unique. What works great for one may not for another. While groups may allow participants opportunities to listen to a wide range of perspectives from others, develop increased mindfulness or awareness of their inner truths, experience a sense of uniqueness, oneness, acceptance and other healing truths; it is not necessarily accessible or helpful to everyone.
I have experienced many challenges using groups; some within my control, some within patients control and some helps me experience the importance of “patience, open-mindedness, trust, beginners mind, gratitude, generosity, acceptance, non-judgement and non-striving”. (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
I now run several groups in a rolling enrollment model within a “Patient Medical Home” to minimize barriers to access: financial, familiarity, geographical, capacity, timing and stigma.
I have also gradually gotten better at helping individuals work through their personal challenges of joining and staying with groups.
While I often receive gratitude from patients who experienced benefits; I fully realize I am merely one of many “helpers” on their journey to growing awareness. I try to remember to thank them for the opportunities to bear witness to their limitless capacity for inner transformations.