So said Colonel Hathi (of Jungle Book fame) ….on the march with his community or herd …….It has been a joy to observe over the last few months, the community program has begun to become established, in particular there are now four ‘Peer Support Groups’ running whereby women, particularly those who are having to keep a family and a job, career or business running, come together in facilitated group to lead and support each other.
What I have witnessed is groups of individuals, often temporarily lacking in confidence or skills sharing what they know and feel, in a calm and gentle manner and in the process developing personal resilience for the future. The striking personal realisation has been how a sense of interdependence in the group leads to greater sense of independence and confidence outside of it.
That is of particular interest to me, being engaged in action research on how the simple and practical Human Given’s (HG) approach (See http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/what-are-the-human-givens) to leading a calm life, getting clear thinking and developing new skills.
The peer support group meets a number of human needs identified by the HG approach; for belonging to community, for status and to be able to give and receive attention. And more! As the group develops it also begins to provide a secure and safe base, which for some of us that may have felt lonely or vulnerable, can make a big difference to how confidently we can approach life’s challenges, with more resilience.
The groups also provide an opportunity for the participants to demonstrate and hone some of their key resources. I particularly enjoy watching them use their imaginations in telling, re-framing and re-telling their stories. It never ceases to amaze me that calmness and emotional health improves as we each learn to tell ourselves an empowering narrative (whatever you do don’t listen to anyone who tells you everything is doom and gloom, or you are rubbish – they will put you under a gloomy, disempowering spell!)
And this story continues to unfold in an empowering way too. Like the neural brain connections that form and create our new learning, the individual peer groups will come together to create a larger hub. This will deepen and widen the network of collaboration, which on the same day will also host commerce focused events, as well as provide other opportunities for us all to come together, because People and Business Matters – which reminds me, I recall establishing something similar in the businesses I used to run; Communities of Practice we called them. It sounds like a good theme for the hub day.