Group Work & Organisational Training
I am an experienced group facilitator, having worked with a wide range of client groups over the past 30 years or more, in my role as community artist, teacher and therapist. My training in gestalt and psychodrama psychotherapies has equipped me with skills as a group therapist, personal development workshop leader and trainer, incorporating creative approaches to group process work.
I have also completed a training as a supervisor with Relationships Scotland and offer individual or group supervision for counsellors, psychotherapists and other professionals.
Weekly Therapy Group at Wellspring
I am running a series of 10 week therapy groups at Wellspring, 13 Smith's Place, Edinburgh.
This takes place on a Monday evening 5.15pm - 7pm.
The next group will be starting 18th March 2024, please email for more information and a booking form.
Cost is on a sliding scale £25 - £45.
This weekly therapy group provides an opportunity for personal growth and reflection in a safe and supportive setting.
There can be a great benefit to sharing difficult and painful life experiences with others. The feeling of being heard and recognised in therapy can be liberating, empowering and lead to feeling less isolated. The group experience enables this to take place in a wider context than individual therapy can offer. A therapy group can sit side by side with individual therapy and offer a complementary experience. It may be that you have experienced individual therapy for a while and want to step out and explore sharing and connecting with others. A group may also be your first choice of trying out therapy. A group offers an opportunity to embark on a shared journey, enhance awareness, learn more about how you relate to others and a way to experiment with being and behaving differently.
The group will be a closed group and run for 10 weeks. It will operate within a flexible structure drawing on gestalt therapy, psychodrama and mindfulness practice, and use creative methods to stimulate self awareness.
I will contact you to arrange a 40 minute one to one session prior to joining the group, which will cost £15.
Irvin Yalom's Group Therapy
Yalom’s eleven therapeutic factors that influence change and healing in group therapy:
1. The instillation of hope creates a feeling of optimism.
2. Universality helps group members realize that they are not alone in their impulses, problems, and other issues.
3. Imparting information helps to educate and empower people with knowledge pertaining to their specific psychological situation.
4. Altruism allows clients to gain a sense of value and significance by helping other group members.
5. >B>Corrective recapitulation provides for the resolution of family and childhood events within the safety of the group family.
6. Socializing techniques promote social development, tolerance, empathy, and other interpersonal skills.
7. Through imitative behaviour group members learn to adopt the coping strategies and perspectives of other group members.
8. Interpersonal learning teaches clients how to develop supportive interpersonal relationships.
9. Group cohesiveness gives members a sense of acceptance, belonging, value, and security.
10. Catharsis releases suppressed emotions and promotes healing by disclosing information to group members.
11. Existential factors incorporate learning how to just exist as part of something larger than oneself. This factor brings a client into the awareness that life will continue on, with pain, death, sadness, regret, and joy. By living existentially, clients learn how to accept these conditions without escaping from them. Instead, they learn how to live with them and through them.
In September 2019 I ran a week-long 'Life Journey' workshop called 'Taking Stock', at Cortijo Romero in Southern Spain.
See here for details: www.cortijo-romero.co.uk/
'I was able to use the course time for some self-reflection'.
'I enjoyed the varied content of sessions'.
'I liked Gary - a warm personality, modest and unassuming, and clearly an experienced therapist'.
'I loved it! I got a lot out of the course without going too deep so able to enjoy the holiday feel as well'.
'Didn’t know what to expect so came open minded. Pretty deep group psychotherapy which was helpful. Enjoyed a lot of the exercises, to my surprise'.
Please also see my article on my group work in India in 2012 at the bottom of this page.
For people that have worked with me in one of my groups I offer a 4 times a year day long therapy group on a Saturday at Wellspring in Edinburgh, to explore life issues in more depth, with the same group of people over a period of a year.
Open Ended Psychodrama Therapy Group
I have been running a weekly psychodrama therapy group in Edinburgh. This group is currently taking a break.
The group is ongoing with the option for new members to join at any time.
The cost is on a sliding scale depending on your income of £20 - £35 per session.
Contact me if you are interested to find out more.
Weekend Psychodrama Workshops
I regularly run weekend psychodrama workshops at Wellspring in Leith, Edinburgh.
Psychodrama & Action Drama Methods
Psychodrama is a creative action group therapy that can help individuals and groups explore the complexity of thoughts and emotions present within any life situation. Central to the approach is creativity and spontaneity of action, which can reveal aspects of ourselves we have been unaware of and can help us to express ourselves more clearly and re-assess the focus and direction of our life. The symbolic language of dreams or a significant story can also be rich material to explore through these methods, as are small scale objects or images. The role of the group, and its facilitator, is to create a safe environment in which feelings can be acknowledged, expressed and contained. The work is done at whatever level of self-disclosure or depth each individual is comfortable with. An important aspect of the culture of the group is freedom of choice and the support to say no or stop at any time.
Individuals may choose to work with a personal issue that is current or a situation that lingers as unfinished business. The group offers a unique opportunity to explore the dynamics and interconnectivity between group members.
I am available to work with staff teams and offer tailor made sessions to suit particular groups.I can work with organisations on team building, employee support and creative away days. This could be a one-off workshop or a series of workshops over a period of time.
For those of us who's profession involves working directly with individuals and as part of a team, we are the most powerful tool that we have to work with. Any insight into our own motivations, prejudices and how we are prone to respond to those around us is bound to be useful. For that reason, I feel very strongly that personal development and a striving to understand ourselves is an important part of our professional development.
I have completed a training in supervision with Relationships Scotland. I am available to work with individuals and I'm interested to set up small supervision groups with a mix of supervisees within the psychotherapy and counselling profession, and possibly a group offering personal and professional support to people in other occupations.
In collaboration with an Art Therapist I have been delivering a series of Creative Therapy taster workshops. These are aimed at counsellors, support workers, teachers and anyone interested in their own personal development.
We use Art Therapy and Action Drama to facilitate self-awareness and personal enquiry.
We encourage personal responsibility and a commitment to team work. There are many valuable skills individual's can learn through engaging in the group process, such as listening, taking risks, offering feedback to other group members and negotiating ones own needs.
The focus and intensity of the group process can create a situation where group members feel safe enough to co-create an 'experiment' with the leaders and other group members. This may be exploring a current personal situation or an unresolved issue from the past, enabling the full range of feelings to be experienced in the present. This is challenging work done in a spirit of love and support, and can lead to unexpected feelings and insights, gaining awareness of blocks or habitual patterns of behaviour and a chance to experiment with ways of doing things differently.
Group members report feeling an increased self-confidence and greater ability to cope with difficult issues in their life.
We offer a certificate of attendance hours to count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Our personal styles are complimentary and we have received very positive feedback from participants.
All of the creative arts can find their place within this model of working and through experimentation, enable individual’s to find their preferred mode of expression.
The Use of Art and Image Making in Therapy
Using art materials for self-expression and reflection and can offer a means of accessing thoughts and feelings that might not be initially apparent. An image can cut through the barrier of rationality and give direct access to unconscious feelings.
“The making of a painting, a dance, or a poem is a microcosm of the larger movements of creative energy in nature that we bring to bear on the totality of our experience in the world” (Shaun McNiff - Art Heals)
I am a founder member of Playback Edinburgh Theatre Group. Playback Theatre is an improvisational theatre form where the team of performers instantly 'play back' the personal stories offered by audience members. It is a liberating and exciting form of theatre and can be seen as a community building experience for organisations or groups. We are available to work with any group or organisation on training days or consultation exercises.
I have been involved in co-leading mens groups in Edinburgh over the last few years. These groups run depending on funding and offer support and personal development in a safe space, for men to share their issues and concerns with other men. There is no group running at present.
See Psychodrama in India article .