Play a little game or What I do in my Group Therapy Sessions

For the past month and a half I am attending a professional seminar on marketing and sales. The concept of the seminar is for salepersons or enterpreneurs to enhance their skills in sales and to learn new marketing techniques so as to increase their sales percentages and profitability or to acquire a new skill in general.

The instructor uses a unique, at least by me, technique to pass knowledge around through experiential games, text reading, handcrafts and role playing. Most of the times we sit around in a close circle and F. (the instructor) tries to make us get in touch with our feelings. The hardest so far is to be able to express in actual words what we feel.

Yesterday, we played a little role playing game. At this point, I have to say that we are the smallest group, only 12-14 people are attending this class. However, I think we are the most devoted and the most passionate about it. Well, back to our game. We splitted in two groups of five people. Each group was a family composed by a father, a mother, a daughter, a grandmother and the daughter’s boyfriend, who is a Muslim. (the family is a Greek Orthodox quite wealthy family with a Pontus origin that lives in Thessaloniki). The two young people met in London, where they both live, study and work. It really amazed me the fact that without prior knowing the story we sat like we do: the daughter alone in the middle (the whole thing was about her), the father and grandmother on the right side, the mother and boyfriend on the left.

Without any one of us being a parent (except from one person who has a sweet young daughter six months old) and all being rather young (25-35 y.o.) we all adapted the beliefs and feelings and thoughts of the role we were playing. It was a perfect depiction in a small scale of the Greek family, the bonds, the thoughts, the actions and reactions, the customs and traditions we almost all share. And it was really amazing how this evolved through the our little play.

In the previous class, we all sat in a circle (again). There was a “reward chair” and we all rotated (clockwise). Every time each one of us sat in the chair, all the others in turn congratulated him/her on something. The hard thing was that we do not really know each other before hand. I have never met any of these people (at least I have never talked previously to any of them earlier) and they do not know me. Therefore, you had to say something good for someone without knowing them. However, it was really liberating in the end to listen 14 people to congratulate you on 14 different aspects of you and to do the same for them (find 14 good things to say to 14 different people that you DON’T know!) All this is based on one of Socrates’ theories about how to filter what we say about our fellow beings (the filter of truth – is it true what we want to say, the filter of kindness – is it good what we want to say and the filter of usefulness – is it useful in any way?). This falls under what my mom always says to me “try to have always a good word for everyone, when you don’t have a good word at all no matter how hard you try, say nothing”.

Moral of the day: Learn how to express your feelings. Say what you think. If you do not want to share it with the other person, just share it with the world (shout in the woods, cry alone in the dark, write a diary, confess to a priest) get it out of your system! Always have a good word for everyone!

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