Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The "coming out" support group

All right... So I'm going to try and just post some quick reflections on yesterday's class on group therapy and the support group I went to here.

My class on group therapy. The main exercise we did was one where we got in groups of two and talked about things that make us happy, groups of four and talked about things that make us sad, groups of almost eight to talk about things that make us angry, and then we all entered into one group and talked about things that make us feel fear.

When the exercise was over we were to reflect on it and write how we felt in each of the various groups. Did the number of people matter. Did the subject matter. How did it feel when someone else joined your group. What number did we like best? We discussed how groups create boundries around them fairly quickly. I find it an interesting exercise. My favorite quote from the class was from this girl who said
"O, I love that question. No one ever asks me what makes me happy!"
So what makes you happy?

I also learned that this summer three of my classmates spent time in what is sortof an internship at the sexual dysfunction clinic. It's 9 weeks long and you get trained there. They said it was absolutely amazing. Now I want to do the same thing. I've heard it's helpful for many reasons, but one of them is that after having gone through the experience you are more able to listen well to any client talking about anything without being shocked. Which I think might be really helpful for my future if I'm counseling people. Anyway maybe that's something for the summer.

Following this I went right to the support group for women "coming out". I walked in a couple minutes late. We started by discussing this article on the invisibility of lesbians. Which all of the group seemed to agree was a fact, although people thought it was really odd that it was written by a guy. This was followed by just more general conversation about whatever was going on in people's lives. There is one other person in the group (six people total) who is "coming out" right now. She has told less people than me. The other people seemed to be there more for connection and general support. They have a no-dating policy, as well as, your typically confidentiality policy which I hadn't thought of before but that I appreciate. I wonder if many support groups have this or just this type of support group.

Except for the first minute when I had to walk into the room with them all looking at me it was a painless and profitable event. If you are looking for a support group you should ask a counselor or if your city/town has an organization or place of support for gays and lesbians ask them. :)


Zuzu said...

The author, Jimmy Palmieri, has written some very compelling articles on LGBT issues and the editorial board of dykenation found his articles lesbian friendly enough! Check out some of his other work. I applaud him for being interested in and recognizing the lesbian community issues. - Zu

jimmy palmieri said...

hi zuzu,

i have only just now come across your kind words. i truly in myheart, believe that if we all just try to understand each others issues, we will be a more forceful community. my advocacy on behalf of women, children gays and lesbians comes from my belief that all of us deserve the same treatment. im happy to appear in lesbian websites, periodicals, papers and magazines. it means my work for that day has been accomplished.
best to you zuz and all of the bloggers here.
jimmy palmieri
co-chair west hollywood lesbian and gay advisory board

just me said...

Wow, I kindof feel like a celebrity visited my blog. :) Jimmy keep up the good work.

jimmy palmieri said...

i'd like to invite everyone here to LA Valley Pride. go to www.tweakersproject.org and you can find out the adress. Tweakers will be showing all day, in a special screening tent, and there is a lot of lesbian information in the film. particulalry about meth use in the lesbian community. i hope to see some of you there.
best as always
jimmy palmieri
co-chair west hollywood lesbian and gay advisory board