DIY group therapy
March 5, 2009 6:36 PM   Subscribe

I think I'm looking for co-counseling, but without the co-counseling.

I've done many, many years of therapy by myself and with various partners and I'm pretty much over it. However, I think I would get a lot out of having a small group of folks to share with who weren't necessarily my close friends or professionals either. Somewhere with a semi-formal structure that had some guidelines but without a formal mediator or counselor. Ideally with people who have some very basic background in therapeutic techniques.

I like some of what I've heard about co-counseling - the peer-to-peer, nonprofessional aspect mostly. But I feel very skeptical about the culture of co-counseling, the classes you're expected to spend money on, the ideology and (to me) goofy sounding jargon.

Anyhow, is there some organization I can join that's less formal that co-counseling? Are there groups like what I'm describing already around? Do you have suggestions for how I could find a few people to form such a group with?

I live in the SF Bay Area if that matters.
posted by serazin to Human Relations (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Which brand of co-counselling have you been investigating? There are two - one is (from what I've read/been told by other who tried it) heavy on ideology and classes - re-evaluation co-counselling. The other, which I have experience of, is Co Counselling International (CCI) which, as I know it in the UK and Europe, is fairly informal, you only pay (not very much) to do a short introductory course to begin with and then you exchange co-counselling sessions with other co-counsellors free, gratis and for nothing. The key concepts are re-stimulation, discharge, free attention and shifting your attention back at the end of the session - nothing very heavy or difficult to grasp. I did it for years and found it very helpful and supportive. Eventually things changed in my life and I didn't need it any more, though I'm still friendly with people I knew from it. It's only problem is that it's so non-hierarchical, you tend to get the kind of family feuds about strong personalities that non-hierarchical organisations are prone to.
posted by Flitcraft at 7:08 PM on March 5, 2009

The terminology I think of in this case is support group. While many/most are probably led by pros, there may be some that are just led by an experienced layperson. I don't know really from experience, I just refer others to group support programs.
posted by fructose at 8:51 PM on March 5, 2009

I've heard that there's a Radical Mental Health Collective in Berkeley--I don't know much about them, but it's something to look for, at least. You might also look for a local Icarus Project chapter.
posted by overglow at 10:33 PM on March 5, 2009

Found some things that might be of interest


Diverse - but hopefully something is in there that can be of help.

posted by watercarrier at 1:24 AM on March 6, 2009

Two again
posted by watercarrier at 1:26 AM on March 6, 2009

It might be somewhat of a stretch - but maybe Esalen could also offer some insight into what you're seeking in your area. Check them out as well.
posted by watercarrier at 1:28 AM on March 6, 2009

I was part of a local Icarus Project in St. Louis for about 6 months last year. I really enjoyed it, but the meetings are no longer at a convenient time/place for me. If there is not an Icarus Project in your area, you could start one.
posted by hworth at 8:34 AM on March 6, 2009

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