GoodbyesÂ in group therapy â€‹Â often Â allowâ€‹ more awarenessâ€‹ of deeperÂ feelings than Â would â€‹be acknowledged in our usualÂ everyday â€‹lives. Â It’s a good idea â€‹â€‹to actually begin Goodbyesâ€‹ 3 weeks ahead of leaving, so there is enough time over several sessions for a few goodbyes, in addition to the usual therapeutic work in a weekly session. Â When members postpone starting [i.e. avoid the strong feelings] in important goodbyes, there may not be enough time in their last session for complete goodbyes. Â When that happens I strongly recommend coming one more session than planned, rather than leaving this critical emotional business unfinished.
Complete goodbyes allow putting into words and exchanging all the 1]â€‹ Appreciations, 2]â€‹ ResentmentsÂ and â€‹3]â€‹ Regrets connected with each other member and with their experiences together in Groupâ€‹, with â€‹the therapistâ€‹â€‹ and with â€‹the Group as a whole.Â Â â€‹Saying aloud in wordsâ€‹ the closenessâ€‹ and depthâ€‹Â of feelings that developsâ€‹ over time in good group therapy allows closing each relationship in it’s ownÂ idiosyncratic way. Â Thisâ€‹ greatly strengthensâ€‹ every member’sâ€‹ willingness to experience and skillfully express the emotions necessaryÂ for connectedness and support in everyday life.
Often our parents couldn’t teach these intimacy skills because their parents didn’t have the skills; they couldn’t teach what they didn’t get from their parents. Â Lacking experience, safety andâ€‹ support, people usually avoid feeling and saying these things in everyday lifeâ€‹ because the depth of intimacy and vulnerabilityÂ are so unfamiliar and scary. Â So most people haveâ€‹ little orÂ no experienceâ€‹ really feeling & saying the heartfelt things that would be said and need to be said for genuine intimacy. Â It’s also true that all important goodbyes are connected through their similar feelings – love, sadness, anger and scare. Â Past important goodbyesâ€‹, both said and especially unsaid, come naturally to unconscious awareness, further complicating and intensifying goodbyes in Group.Â Unfortunately oâ€‹ur culture tends to avoid deeply experiencing and talking about importantâ€‹Â feelings in relationships.â€‹ Â Practicing feeling and actually putting these very human emotions into words greatly facilitates deeper, more satisfying and sustaining intimacy in future relationships. Â Goodbyesâ€‹ are a kind of final therapeutic exercise,Â an opportunity to put into practice all theÂ therapeutic experiences which have led to “graduating” fromÂ Group Therapy. Â Dr Bob