Relationships 101

I recently received the opportunity at work to create my own group about relationships. Initially we hoped to start another group in the jail focusing on anger management and emotional regulation, but since that is covered extensively in the trauma groups we decided to change gears. My new clinical supervisor asked me what I’m passionate about, so I gave the PG answer, relationships. And that is how this opportunity arose.

This group will cover the basics of relationships. That poses the questions: what are the basics of relationships? What is essential to every type of relationship in your life? What qualities make a relationship a healthy and rewarding one?

The goal of this group is to review and practice the qualities that are essential to all relationships, romantic and otherwise. The men will explore why certain qualities are essential to a relationship and how lacking some of these qualities may hinder a relationship. By the end of the group, the men will better understand the importance of honesty, trust, and communication in all relationships.

(I need to figure out how to better express the goal because that isn’t quite how I want to say it. I’ll work on that later.)

I want the first group to be an overview of what a relationship is and the types of relationships. So many people think of romantic relationships or familial ones, but forget that you have a relationship with your boss, friends, neighbors, and many other people. I want almost everything to apply to relationships across the board, but I do think having one group focused on romantic relationships would be beneficial.

I believe that topics of importance when discussing relationships are trust, honesty, communication, respect, and teamwork, among other things. I was just thinking about how I want to split this up into modules of sorts: what is a relationships, vales (trust, honesty, respect), communication (verbal, non-verbal, all types), and teamwork (I don’t know… compromise, expressing oneself, everything together…maybe I’ll change the last module’s name). It’s still a work in progress. I’m hoping to start it in the middle of march.

This is a start to what I want to do and I am blessed to be able to create my own curriculum. I have seen and heard about some of the men on the unit who don’t know how to talk to their family. They say the right things to my face, but fail when they talk to their families. That’s why I don’t just want to talk about it. I want them to be able to practice the things that they struggle with and to be able to bring up any questions they have.

One of the main critiques I hear from the men is that it’s easy in the jail, but difficult when they get out. I can’t be with them when they get out, but I can give them both fun and practice examples of things. We can discuss as a group why something doesn’t always work. That’s what we need. That’s why I hope to be able to also give them homework that is them practicing.

Honestly, I’m still learning myself about  the inner working of relationships. I’m also still debating whether or not I want to go back to school for marriage and family counseling… maybe if I get my PhD. What I want to get at with this group and this post is that it easy to forget the simplest things when it comes to relationships. We think we know how to communicate, but it’s more than talking. We think we know how to trust, but our insecurities can take over.

I am in no way, shape, or form qualified to teach a relationship group. Relating with others is one of the most difficult things I do. But I think that is why I’m the right person for the job. I’m not trying to push what I know on them, but I want a dialogue. I want them to decide for themselves why something is how they can implement it. I want them to decide what will work in their lives, but I want to provide some guidance.

I hope to share some of the topics more in-depth on here. It’s always a nice reminder to go back and check the foundation that you’re built relationships on. And who knows, maybe doing this will help in my relationships. Also, I’m pretty sure I’m going to get too in to this, designing the group. I was thinking a few months ago about how I want to design a group and it’s content. Maybe one day I’ll have designed several different group curriculums.

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