Peer Groups Can Help Us to Overcome Many Of Life’s Problems

“It is the courage to be open and loving which is the manifestation of underlying strength and power. And it is only in embracing the possibility that you have a Higher Self that knows how to love, that knows truth within, that is truly powerful, that you can begin to face and dismantle the false beliefs of the protected self, the ego. You can’t begin to look at these and deal with them if you don’t believe there’s anything else. You can never move into the feeling of personal power until you recognize truly that there’s a peaceful place within you that is already there, that doesn’t have to be fixed.”      Jordan and Margaret Paul

Having been a teacher and counselor in addiction/mental health, I learned that most people love to learn about themselves. I realized that many of the labels used by counselors are unknown to all the people who never attend therapy. So I took these labels and developed a short test that will teach anyone 10 of his/her labels.

As individuals, we sometimes choose paths that are harmful to us. To get off that path and onto a new path takes exploration and experimentation.

My test, called the Changemaker Test, offers education for self-discovery as I believe that change within a person involves the courage to see(insight) and the courage to act (action). Therefore by using the labels to change themselves, the changemaker is the person who decides to learn and make the change happen.

“In our lives we are faced with a set of core issues that resurface again and again in different settings, with different people, at different times. These issues involve our relationship with the world, with ourselves, with our Higher Power. These are our life lessons.” Stephanie Covington and Liana Beckett

Groups are the recognized best method for people to gain information and acceptance from others. One of the main underpinings of AA is that all members are peers. Anyone has the opportunity to share and to be heard.

In the self-discovery model of group healing, everyone in the group is a student. The sharing of power in relationships defines the health of the relationship. No hierarchy is needed when people enter groups to help each other. The leadership of the group can be shared by all on a rotation basis.

The group members in the self-discovery group may decide to choose a rotation schedule. The main goal of the group may be short-term with the idea of splitting up to form new groups. Some people may choose to recycle–repeat the same group–before branching out to their own group. After 2-3 times recycling, the other group members may help with the formation of new group to a group member who wants to continue in her/his first group.

Although there are common group techniques to be learned, anyone who has compassion for others can help them to better understand themselves. The information about themselves is very personal and should always be given from a positive point-of-view.

Denial isn’t about lying; it is about not telling the truth because the truth is an unknown. Addictions provide us with escapes from reality. Giving up an addiction means giving up the world the addict has created and learning about the world that is unfolding around each of us.

Holding on to an addiction is extremely time-consuming so in order to help others we have to help them to discover themselves: the hobbies, pastimes, desires that may have been given up long ago.

So in order to help others, the mentor gives first the solution by helping the addict to discover him/herself. This is a direct reversal of the medical/AA model of stripping a person bare in order to rebuild him/her. The self-discovery method helps a person to grow with dignity.

In learning new areas of self-discovery, when the addict finds many other pastimes and talents, the addiction will become less and less needed. The mentor has to remember that the addict is in a circular pattern of responding to life and the circle of negative thinking must be interrupted.

Photo credit.

By learning our personality traits, we can determine the positives about ourselves to enrich our self-image. The Changemaker Test is meant to be the starting point for self-discovery. Using this blog, anyone with compassion and interest in others can use these materials to begin discussion groups to help others.

In compiling this test, the answers, and explanations, I know that people with a desire to help others can use these tools to help any who want to continue with self-discovery.

This test and related materials are available free at Learning Your Labels.

In Changemaker groups, the group leader leads only by getting the group together. By caring for others, the group members can learn as well as teach self-discovery. The group leader/leaders may choose to charge or ask for donations to pay for the meeting room and materials.

To lead education groups, Changemaker groups, the only requirement for the business is to have an occupational license to run a business. Changemaker groups are not therapy groups so no other license is required.

Changemaker groups are grow groups as the members have a desire for self-discovery. The groups may be a group who never formally meet but instead are joined together in a virtual group. They may choose to come together by some basic personality labels in common. They also may exchange email addresses, instant messaging addresses or meet in a chat room.

Through Changemaker Groups, we provide short-term specialized direction and solutions to help others to better understand themselves and ourselves.. With this direction and self-knowledge others will learn to implement techniques designed to lead to greater self-mastery.

Groups are the recognized best method for people to gain information and acceptance from others. One of the main underpinings of AA is that all members are peers. Anyone has the opportunity to share and to be heard.

The following excerpt from Treatment4Addiction summarizes the power of peer support groups:

“The celebrated physician and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, once stated: “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flames by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” Indeed, no man is an island, and human beings are by nature interdependent on one another for their emotional survival. Oftentimes, individuals feel helpless and hopeless when confronted by a crisis. Support groups are a reminder that they are not alone, and that help is just a meeting away. Research corroborates the belief that the peer support mechanism furthers the recovery process. According to two studies conducted in the cancer research field, patients who attended support groups and followed their medical treatments, had a higher longevity and experienced depression and anxiety to a lesser degree than those who did not participate. Many experts maintain that receiving emotional encouragement from others in a support group environment decreases one’s mental distress and anxiety, as well as enhances one’s mood. This in turn boosts the peer group member’s immune system and emotional well-being.”

“There are numerous benefits to be reaped from support groups, including the following:

  • A secure, non-judgmental medium for verbalizing powerful emotions and personal experiences
  • Coping skills that enable participants to manage specific symptoms
  • Valuable information about new medications, the latest treatments, and disease research
  • Learning skills, such as visualization methods, relaxation exercises, and breathing techniques
  • Mutual emotional support and encouragement to look after oneself”

Photo credit (for this site)

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