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Group Clearing

Exercises from Talking with Our Brothers


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Courage to Love
Geo and his wife Deborah have s a Courage to Love Web site on relationships
George and Deborah
IMPORTANT EXERCISES FOR GROUP PROBLEMS AND PLATEAUS
Group Clearing
Creating and Avoiding Intimacy
Important Group Topics, Creating the Group

Title Group Clearing
Type Discussion
Group members clear any withheld communications from each other, within a format that contributes to safety, honesty, and personal growth. This exercise helps men practice the important skills of truthtelling and conflict resolution.
Steps
1. The group leader starts the group in the usual way.
2. Through a visualization, group members are asked to determine if there are any unexpressed withheld communications with any other members. For example, the group leader can say, "Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths. Picture each man in the group, and feel your connection with him. Do you feel open to him? If you feel closed to someone, ask yourself, 'Is this okay with me? Do Ifeel some pain about this separation? Is there anything which Ineed to say to feel closer or more connected to this man?"
3. The group leader explains the format for sharing. (Steps 4-9)
4. One member who is withholding says the name of the man he needs to talk to. These
two men face each other.
5. The first man asks permission to tell his truth.
6. If the responder says yes, then the man states his communication, his feelings, and the effect of the withhold on their relationship.
7. The man listening asks for clarification and says, "Is there anything else you need to tell me?" If so, the first man tells it.
8. When the first man feels complete, he says so.
9. Then the second man responds, in a non-blaming, responsible way.
10. When the men feel complete, another pair can enter the circle and follow the same procedure.
11.The group leader ends the group in the usual way.
Comments
This exercise should be done with the intention of cleaning up communication blocks and creating more intimacy. The consent and intention of the parties are critical. The leader's role is to provide safety and help the men stay within the guidelines that they have agreed upon. This model can also work for someone who has trouble with the group itself: its format, style, communications, etc.
This exercise was suggested by Eric Grabow, Berkeley, CA.

Title Important Group Discussion Topics: Creating the Group
Type Discussion
Description
These exercises help men to talk about group agreements and understandings. Agreement about these topics creates a set of benchmarks that group members can refer back to as the group continues. The discussion of such core topics creates group safety and cohesion.
Steps
1. The leader for the night starts the group in the usual way.
2. He starts a group discussion by asking one of the following questions.
A. Group Creation: What kind of group do I want to be in? (You can refer to Chapter
4 and 5 for possible answers.)
B. Commitment: What is my commitment to the group: time, attention, etc.? Will I
make group participation a priority?
C. Leadership: What kind of leadership do I want in the group? Am I willing to be
a leader? Will I be willing to deal with my issues about leadership in an
honest, non-blaming way?
3. Men go around the circle and answer whichever question the group leader has recommended.
4. Open dialogue can follow after the whole group has commented on a
question.
5. The leader closes the group in the usual way.
Comments
In Chapter Nine: Stages of the Group, Plateaus and Problems, I bring up these same
questions again, because the group is always working with them. The discussions on
this page should take two to three weeks, if each question is investigated deeply.
Care taken here will help solve a lot of questions and problems that can come up
later in the group.

These activities are taken from a longer chapter in Talking with Our Brothers, about activities which you can use when your group appears to be stagnating or having communication problems. Sorry, the book is currently out of print. E-mail me if you eant to be notified if it is again available.

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