My experience with being a leader in the groups that we did was a great learning experience. I learned a lot not only about myself, but also about what it is like to be the leader of a group. Leading a group was harder than I thought it would be and knowing how to start, what activities or techniques to use and what to say or do next was also harder than I thought.
What I learned about myself during the group leadership exercises was that I have a long way to go and a lot to learn before I actually start leading groups on my own. I also learned that leading groups wasn't only about my own experiences in life and what I know about certain topics, but also knowing what to do and say. I can know everything there is to know when it comes to using drugs, relapse, recovery and what I have experienced in life due to my addiction. I also learned that I have more confidence in myself than I have given myself credit for in the past. I have come along way from being the shy, introverted, withdrawn person I was, to being someone who is strong willed, voices her opinions and stands up for what she believes in.
The things I learned about being a group leader are that it takes more than just knowing what techniques and exercises to use. I have to actually listen and pay attention to what is being told to me. I have to be able to recognize the underlying things that are being said, not what is just being said on the "surface". Drawing conclusions and reaffirming them with the clients is going to be a big part of this process. Being able to get people to open up and trust me is also a part of being a group leader, I need to be able to be a person who is nonjudgmental and can take a neutral part in topics that are being discussed. If I become judgmental, my clients are not going to trust me, nor are they going to want to discuss anything further with me. There are so many aspects to being a group leader, it's not just about sitting there listening to clients and replying...
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