I heard of a therapy group where one participant said she was struggling with a migraine, and this felt like a curse on her life.
The group leader responded by saying, “I wonder if there’s a way we could all experience the migraine together with you?”
This story jolted me. It sounded like a bizarre question, but I also sensed that it had something to it. I was puzzled but intrigued and provoked.
If I were in that group, it would discourage me from what I would expect were very familiar responses to this participant – have you tried X, oh this must be awful, I have health problems too…
In our rush to change, we easily default to quick solutions. Organisations often think the best way to encourage creativity is to brainstorm.
I like weirder responses, like this therapist’s. When groups can dream together, something more wonderful can happen. Dreaming is a way of being comfortable with uncertainty and even distress. And when shared in a group, it can create a sense of connection that can be its own reward.
(I’m filing this as part of the spirit of Jaffa Groups.)