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Posts Tagged ‘the harbour’

The Harbour is a Bristol-based charity that “provides free counselling and psychotherapy to people affected by a life-threatening physical illness”. They’re based in central Bristol, with convenient (pay and display) parking very close by. I’ve visited their premises before while on the hunt for practice rooms and it seems like a comfortable place for therapy.

They are currently spreading the word about a therapeutic group they’ll be starting in early 2012. This is aimed at people who are looking after someone with a life-threatening illness. It will run on a once-weekly basis for six months, and you can download a pdf flyer here: carers group flyer.

I believe The Harbour opeates from a psychodynamic perspective, so assume the group will run in that same vein.

As other gestalt writers have noted Fritz Perls came to believe that one to one psychotherapy was defunct, and that group therapy represented the next evolution in the therapeutic endeavour. Then again, in his final writings, Perls also declared group therapy defunct, believing the therapeutic commune he was setting up near Esalen was the next evolution in the therapeutic endeavour. Generally speaking, I take these sorts of declarations with a pinch of salt, especially when the person making them is essentially saying ‘the way I used to do things is defunct, the way I am about to do things is the way forward for us all’.

The beauty of the therapeutic group is that it builds a sense of community and interpersonal support that is very different to the individual therapy situation. I think both forms of therapy are good for exploring different things; group therapy is particularly good for exploring ‘the self in the system’, that is, how I as an individual relate to us as a group.

People who care for someone with a life-threatening illness are often quite isolated in their experience, especially considering how death-avoidant British culture tends to be. Speaking for myself, I might know that someone is caring for someone with a life-threatening illness, but I can’t pretend to know what that’s like in practice as it’s not anything I’ve experienced personally.

As a therapist, I would be able to empathise and explore the issues and so on. However, people also need a certain amount of ‘oh tell me about it, I dealt with something like that last week’ that is really more about connecting on a social level than on a therapeutic level; people who have good enough levels of support around them don’t generally come for therapy.

For further information about this group, contact details are on the flyer and the website.

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