My university offers a Maymester, which is a three week semester. It's quite amazing actually. You attend class Monday – Friday for three hours every day, and in three weeks, you have another 3-hour credit out of your way. It was the first Maymester I've ever done in my academic career, and I thoroughly enjoyed it thanks to my wonderful colleagues and professor. The class I completed was Group Techniques and Procedures, and as part of the course, we experienced being a group member. And, let me say, I fell in love with group therapy over the past three weeks. To share a taste with you of what I learned over the past three weeks, listed below are snippets from the group reflections that I wrote after each of our six sessions. (Thank you, classmates, for allowing me to share some of the dynamics that made our group what it was.) - Everyone has a story, and if we just take the time to hear those stories, then we will have a much better understanding of one's motivations and interactions. - Several students put on their counseling "hats," which is something our leader asked us to not do at the beginning of our time together. I guess it shows that our label as counselor is hard to shed. - We definitely began the transition from the beginning stage to the middle stage, and this transition was gloriously exhausting and emotionally draining. - I loved our closing round because peoples' emotions so drastically changed from the opening. Instead of hearing "uncertain," "tense," "edgy," and "reserved," I heard "satisfied," "humbled," "empowered," and "comfortable." That is growth. - People are messy, and that's perfectly okay. We all hurt. We all have scars. We all experience pain. However, we all have the amazing ability to connect with a community in which we can share those hurts, scars, and pains and experience healing and growth in return. - It's incredible how, over time, an atmosphere of trust and cohesiveness pulls you into group and gives you the freedom to experience the here and now. No wonder trust is the most important aspect of a group. Without it, no work would ever be accomplished.
Courtnay Veazey is a graduate student at Mississippi State University pursuing a Master of Science in clinical mental health counseling and working as a graduate assistant at MSU's Career Center