Transformational experience for clients and trainees
As the social work trainee cohort at Hamm Clinic for the academic year 2019-2020 we were each excited to be a part of Hamm’s evolving focus on group work as a therapeutic intervention. We each wanted the practical experience of leading a group, but through our work have seen how group work can remove isolation, provide intentional spaces, and enact corrective emotional experiences.
My name is Leydi Lopez Rosales, I am completing my MSW at St. Thomas University, and I am cofacilitating the stress and anxiety group for Spanish-speaking women. Many clients have constraints in their lives that lead to increasing isolation, which can be taxing on people’s mental health. To arrive at a group and connect in a real way with others can build powerful bonds that do not always occur naturally outside the clinic walls.
My name is Tabitha Maxfield, I am completing my MSW at St. Thomas University, and I am cofacilitating the people of color group. With the format of a group, we as practitioners are able to carve out a very intentional space within the broader system of the clinic so we have the liberty to do therapy free of many of the barriers some clients face in therapy spaces. We also have tapped into the advice and consult of past practitioners at Hamm who led a similar group. Their thoughtful insight allows us to be even more intentional about the group as we create it.
My name is Connor Molloy, I am completing my MSW at the University of Minnesota, and I am cofacilitating the stage 1 trauma group. In our education we learn about the importance of the corrective emotional experience: the idea in psychotherapy that a client has a healing experience by being responded to in a new and safer way than they are used to. In groups, clients are responded to in new and safe ways by not only multiple people, but multiple peers who understand the client in a way a therapist may not be able to.
Finally, the cofacilitation of groups allows us to watch first-hand as experienced therapists do their work. Much can be learned from books and seminars, but to watch a seasoned colleague’s interpersonal engagement with clients in real-time is an invaluable experience and opportunity for growth.