Off and on I have led a group of three to seven women focusing on problem solving through personal and spiritual growth. Each participant will be able to work on her own individual goals. All learn greater awareness and appropriate expression of their emotions, and ways of enjoying more harmonious relationships. These women draw from six streams of wisdom: the taproot of biblical wisdom, plus psychology, family systems theory, recovery principles, my professional experience, and common-sense feedback from the personal lives of each woman in the group.
To create a supportive environment for women to grow personally and spiritually by sharing with others who are faced with similar challenges.
It has usually met for 90 minutes, 9:45 to 11:15 AM, with coffee and juice being furnished.
$40 per session, with payment being made at the first session of the month. To encourage regular attendance, which is very helpful to all participants, there will be no refund for missed appointments.
“Who we see here, and what is said here, we will keep here.”
I will carefully screen all group members in individual counseling sessions, which will be used to set individual goals and insure all members are able and willing to keep the secrets of the group. To keep our focus on who we are in private and in group, last names, the first names of life partners, and names of businesses will not be expressed in group.
In the first group, each woman will have 10-15 minutes to introduce herself, and another five to get feedback from others in the group. After that, each session will begin with prayer and a 5-minute account from each member of her week–her most significant gratitudes, temptations, mistakes, accomplishments, and issues which need time in group that morning. Then the floor will be open for dealing with the issues presented. I will ensure that each person requesting time gets her share of it, that each person asks for group time at least twice a month, that everyone reacts to each other in a constructive manner, and that his insights and direction are given when needed. When a new member comes into the group, or anyone decides to leave, after the usual round of initial reports, she will be given 20 minutes to introduce herself, and ten minutes to get the group’s feedback.
Group Rules and Procedures
Beyond these rules and those on the front, nothing that is said or done in this group will be discussed outside the group members, without permission of those involved. It is understood that I will also abide by these rules with the following exceptions, which I am required by law to report:
- Communication of any group member’s intent to harm herself or others
- The revelation of recent or ongoing sexual or physical abuse, and
- Whatever may become requested by court order.
We’ll be supportive and responsive to other group members who contact us between sessions. But to prevent cliques from forming, and others from feeling left out, when mentioning these contacts in group, we will not mention other group member(s) by name. Once the group is established, outings for the whole group are encouraged.
Group members should guard against offending one another. In the event of an offense, Matt. 18: 15-17 will guide our efforts to work it out.
Group decisions will be made by consensus of the group.
Members will respect others’ freedom to find their own answers. Advice should be given only when it is clearly desired.
Members will consider everyone’s need to share, and to have their own “floor time.”
Every effort will be made to start and stop the group meeting on time. Group members will try to be on time for each meeting, and are asked to apologize very briefly without excuse when they are not.
$40 per session, payable to “Paul Schmidt” or “Dr. Schmidt”.
If you are able to file an insurance claim for reimbursement of your fees paid for group, I will be happy to furnish or file these on a monthly basis. Insurance is likely to preauthorize, as group sessions are less expensive.
The decision to terminate from the group must be announced to me in private, two sessions prior to termination in order for the member and the group to process the event constructively. Any prepaid fees will be refunded.
Other Considerations and Issues
Our lives are journeys we are not meant to travel alone. That’s why God gives us families, friends, church families and Christian counselors. If you would like to experience deeper love, joy and peace in your relationships, this group may well be for you.
It is a problem-solving group, yes, but also a personal growth group. It can be a therapy group for some, a support group for others. Some will want to talk more at first, other will choose to talk less at first, and more later.
So that no one will have to be surprised by finding someone in the group from her own church, the first group member to join from any church can veto any prospective group member who wants to join from the same church before they are given her name. But if she OK’s the new person joining, her name will be shared with that applicant, who in turn can then also decide whether to join the group.
To minimize competition for approval or attention here, I will make sure everyone gets her share of time to talk, and of guidance and support in return.
To encourage quality new members to join the group and replace graduating ones, that friend can join by mutual agreement, and subject to screenings mentioned above: prior approval of group members who are in her church, and my approval through individual interview in advance.
To encourage members to make connections with each other for support between groups, members will be encouraged to exchange phone numbers and email addresses with any group member they feel a kinship with.