Why I Love Groupwork

I think one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen was the blossoming of an unlikely friendship. It began in one of my domestic abuse recovery groups. Two women from completely different walks of life bonded over a shared experience of domestic abuse and helped each other to recover and grow.

Their experiences were different, one had experienced incredibly violent physical abuse from a thug of a husband, the other extreme psychological abuse from a clever and manipulative psychopath which left her a shell of who she used to be. Both women came into my office defeated, broken, each dealing with it in their own way, one quiet, frightened barely looking up from the floor, the other angry, loud and really really funny.

After a few sessions the louder of the two apologised to the quieter woman, she said she hoped she wasn't intimidating her, that she knew she was a bit loud and "common" with her tirade of swearing, she said she wished she could be as nice and posh as the quieter women. In return the quieter woman said "You're an inspiration to me, and you're really funny, I wish I was as brave as you"

As the weeks went by these two women shared their experiences, the quieter one found her voice and the angrier one found constructive ways to channel her anger into supporting others. They empathised with the different ways the other had experienced abuse and gave each other coping tips for the feelings they both felt despite the different forms the abuse took.

They not only found a friend who "got it" they found someone who challenged their assumptions just by being herself, and through that friendship they both grew. It was truly remarkable to watch.

My group gave them the tools they needed to recover, the friendship they formed in that group gave them the opportunity to flourish.