Saturday, February 28, 2009

Empathy through music

For this directive, I listened to various classical music pieces and chose 4 different songs. I tried to find pieces that were upbeat, sad, angry, anxious sounding, etc. I played the first piece for the group and then asked everyone to draw the feeling they got from the song. They did the same thing for all 4 pieces and then got to talk about their art work and the feeling that inspired it. They were able to compare their art work, so it was interesting to see who got similar feelings from the same musical piece. This was a different approach, yet another way to help the patients tune into feelings.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Entitlement leading to decreased empathy

This week in my Empathy group, I asked the group members to portray a time that feeling entitled caused them to have decreased empathy for someone. Half of them were able to relate this directly to their crimes. A couple said that they felt entitled to sex which led up to their offenses. Many sex offenders have entitlement issues and related distorted thinking that they need to address. This directive helped them be more aware of how their feelings of entitlement caused harm to others.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Valentine directive

In one of my Empathy groups, I asked the participants to create an image about a time they felt loved. This helped to remind them that they could be loved, which is a concept that many offenders struggle with. Some feel they do not deserved to be loved or will never be loved again. This directive helped them get in touch with this feeling better and could encourage them to talk about how to be able to attain that feeling again. One patient drew some flowers to represent the love he had felt from his older sister. Later, he reported that this exercise helped him to talk to his younger sister, who he felt was more accepting of him, about how his crimes impacted his family and his desire to make amends with his older sister.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Out-of-Control directive

I tried this directive with my group this week...I asked the group members to think of a time where they felt out of control. I asked them to depict that in an image, but using their non-dominant hand. After, each member was able to discuss the feeling and also the experience of using their non-dominant hand. Some said that using their non-dominant hand helped them get in touch with the out-of-control feelings better. They were able to relate feeling out of control to times they committed their crimes, and they were also able to relate their feelings to how their victims may have felt out of control as well.