It was a good group today. 5 patients and all keen to write. 2 were keen to write what they wanted to write, which is always fine by me. The other 3 wrote in response to the writing exercises I brought. The 1st exercise was the gloves one I’ve described on the writing prompts page, the 2nd was postcards of Scotland and the 3rd was Freewriting from words (Speed, Power, Beauty, Balance, Freedom). Everyone wrote quite a lot and everyone enjoyed the writing. The writing we produced was very varied despite the fact that 4 of us were writing in response to the same stimulus exercises. For example, one person wrote quite descriptively whereas another wrote about some happy memories evoked by the gloves and by one of the postcards, which happened to be of a place where he’d spent happy holidays as a boy. One patient took the whole hour to write just what he wanted to write and then read his piece of writing to the group at the end. He had written personal and powerful writing, and a lot of it. The other 4 patients and I sat quietly listening for about 10 minutes while he read. I felt that it was a measure of the supportive atmosphere that had quickly developed in the group – the fact that the other patients felt able and willing to sit quiet and listen for so long.
I’m not sure at this point in time what I would do differently another time. I felt the group went well, no-one got an unfair share of my time or of the limelight, everyone said (on the evaluation forms) that they enjoyed the group and showed that by staying for more than the hour. The only improvement point I can think of right now is to work out how to make sure everyone hears the explanation and reassurances I give at the start when, as happened today, they arrive one at a time over a period of 5 or so minutes. Perhaps I could start with introductions and a quick warm up while I’m waiting to see if anyone else will come along. Or I could have a simple handout that I give to everyone to make sure that latecomers don’t miss the explanation bit. I’ll have to give that some thought.