We had ten people signed up for the group and seven people showed up. Two men and the rest women. It is interesting that the stats show that more men have issues with “chronic disorganization or hoarding” than women but we always have more women in the group. I guess more women are willing to ask for help or maybe they are more used to talking in a group.
So, we have one chatty male, who is probably just exerting some nervous energy but I think it probably helps the others to start to feel more comfortable. The others are pretty quiet just getting a feel for who is in the room and what is going to happen. Tension and anxiety can be high as I am sure it takes a lot of energy and courage to come out to a group such as this.
We do a bit of a check in and a go around to see what people hope to get out of this group and why they are here. This really helps people to start to relax and to feel like they are in the right place. There are many commonalities and people feel comfortable quickly. We also are in a really nice private space in a cute Branch Library which helps add to that feeling.
Next we work on our group guidelines which encourage participants to know that we will keep confidentiality, have respect for each other, and adhere to the rules that fit for everyone and help to keep this a safe place.
Participants soon figure out that we have an agenda for each week which I tend to change as I feel necessary. Just ask my awesome co-facilitator who always just goes with the flow of the group and we have been working together happily now for about three years. Having this working relationship and support is so awesome and adds to the success of this group.
We have a break and then the lights go off and people soon learn that this means it is time for a short grounding/meditation which help everyone to get focused and ready to take in the next piece of work that happens in the group.
We let people know this is their group and we are not there to tell them how to run their lives. Sometimes, participants worry that we are going to go into their homes, tell them they have to get rid of things or turn them in to the authorities. This is just not the case and we reassure people that they are in charge of their own lives.
Check out on week one; we honour the fact that it takes a lot of courage to come out, we ask individuals how they are feeling about today and if they are ready to make a commitment to attend the eight weeks. We talk about the scheduled homework and we ask everyone including the facilitators to pick a challenge to work on over the week.
My challenge for this week is to clean off my dresser, taking everything off of it and then putting back only what I am planning to keep. This is something I have been procrastinating about so we will see how well I do with this.
I will be posting updates weekly about the success of our group so stay tuned for Week 2.
Please post any comments or questions you have about the group below:
What a neat idea — to provide support and direction instead of just complaining about employees who don’t handle their clutter well. I understand their fear about you telling them to get rid of items… I run into that as well. I always try and calm this fear by saying, “You’ll never hear me tell you to get rid of something.”
Thank you Seana, Yes this is a very real fear that people have. They often have not been able to make decisions for themselves so they might have doubts that they can’t do it themselves. I have even heard people say that they wish someone would tell them what to get rid of. Thanks for your comment!!
That is great work that you do! Looking forward to learning more!
Thanks so much Joanne, I am excited to write about this weekly and to share this journey 🙂
What a wonderful program! Although it’s probably a bit scary for people coming out for the first time, it probably feels a lot safer than allowing someone into their home.
I never thought about it that way, but that could certainly be true. Thanks Janet
I am also looking forward to learning more. My clientele seem to be the chronically disorganized, so I am aiming to learn as much as I can to better help them.
Thanks so much!! I think its going to be an interesting group!
What an amazing idea for a group like this! I would love to hear about the progress of this group. How do these people who join find out about the group?
This group is offered through CMHA Canadian Mental Health Association. I started it back in 2006 and it is offered free to clients of CMHA as well as to community members. I do a number of speaking engagements which really help to get the word out there too.
Is this group closed, full? Is there a cost? Will it run again?
This current group is full and it is a closed group. The group will run again, likely in April and there is no cost. Contact me privately and I can put your name on the waitlist.