This post explains why I ask Group Therapy members to Copy the whole group and me all Email to me or any other member. This agreement represents practicing openness, one of the three essential skills of deep emotional intimacy.
The written guidelines I went over with each group member in preparation for Group Therapy are the background agreement for sharing with the whole group all emotional things related to other members &/or me – the intent is to discover what happens when we develop relationships with other people in group, because that will reflect how we set up & experience relationships in the rest of our everyday world. Copying all in your Group allows everyone in the Group full access to all written communication within the group, making possible discovering a member’s patterns of relating to others which need exploration, rather than losing these vital opportunities for therapeutic reflection.
Preferring “privacy” about Email with other group members is usually based on early family experiences which led a client to hide themselves and their feelings because they felt unsafe in their original family. Only through great courage can personal growth move beyond needing the old walls, toward deep intimacy. Experientially learning that the old walls are no longer necessary requires daring to show one’s true self, when the natural openness of a child proved emotionally dangerous in the original family. In group therapy we can learn by practicing the intimacy skill of Openness, by showing a few other people all about me. Staying hidden and “safe” is terribly lonely, because our old walls keep others distantly away from us.
We’re unlikely to discover how those formerly necessary walls now function to prevent emotional closeness, without experimenting to discover how different the present actually is from our past family pains.