Many group leaders would concur that there is almost a ‘sacred’ magic that weaves throughout a group when stories of pain and shame are shared, when barriers are temporarily lowered and group members revel, if only for a short time, in a space that comes close to a ‘spiritual’ feeling of deep human connection and unconditional acceptance.
It is one thing to say that in this vulnerable place an experienced group facilitator will display high competency skills, a ‘steady hand steering the ship’, an ability to hold the space safe for the group.
This paper will focus on a group leader’s ability to balance their own self disclosure, the fine line and art form of lowering one’s own shield, exposing one’s own vulnerabilities whilst remaining in the distinct leadership role – to facilitate the group members in their own experience whilst deeply and humanely sharing the experience. When this balance is achieved, a Group Leader helps to create for the group an opportunity to share a deep connection that in our current world climate of judgement, isolation and sheer survival seems so very far from reach but something that we all are yearning to grasp.
My main objective and outcome in this 22 minute presentation is to incite discussion and self reflection of our own use of self disclosure particularly when presenting an educative seminar/group where we may be in the perceived role of ‘expert’ or ‘teacher’. I will draw from my own experiences leading educative parenting groups and seminars and the powerful impact appropriate and timely self disclosure has been in deepening human connection, thus assisting to facilitate change particularly when participants meet only once for a 3 hour period.