The tribe

 

Hi, everyone.

Welcome to group.

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You’re all nervous, I know.

That’s perfectly normal.

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You should start to relax as you get to know each other.

You have lots in common.

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So let’s start.  

Who’d like to introduce themselves first?

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I’d like to go home.

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I may throw up.

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=3

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I’d prefer a smaller group.

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Would it help if I left?

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God.  This is such bullshit.

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There.

Everyone feel better?

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* * *

 

Somewhere along the line, we therapists got the idea that there is such a thing as a safe space.

 

There is not.

 

Maybe, at best, there’s the “safe enough space.”  But let’s take a look at what safe often stands in for.

 

When someone says, “I don’t feel safe,” they are often trying to use that expression of feeling to manipulate their environment, rather than check in with us about their emotional state.

 

Safe is often a code word for “I want you to do something different,” such as:

 

Safe means you take responsibility for my lack of caution

 

Safe means you have to respond to me in a conscripted way

 

Safe means you can or can’t say things if they’ll cause an unpleasant feeling in me.

 

~ From “There’s no such thing as a safe place” by Mike Langlois, LICSW.

 

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2 responses to “The tribe

  • Lisa Frederiksen - BreakingTheCycles.com

    ooooooo — this is a good one (another good one!)… great way to help us see what’s behind, “I don’t feel safe” — wow – you’re good!

    • Steve Hauptman

      Thanks, Lisa. I mean “The tribe” to be an ongoing feature, sort of a group version of “Bert’s therapy” that will show some of what happens when people with control issues get together with other people with control issues.

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