Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lacking empathy directive

Since last week we had talked about a time each group member felt empathy for someone, I decided that this week, we should talk about a time each patient had lacked empathy for another person. Most talked about how it is difficult to have empathy for other patients who are hard to get along with. A couple talked about not having empathy for staff, though one did go back and try to fix the situation with the staff he felt he offended. So, that showed pro-social behavior as a result of feeling empathy for someone else. At the end of the group, I emphasized that it's important to be aware of when you feel empathy for another as well as when you don't, so then you can figure out what you can do about.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Recent Empathy Directive

Last week, I asked my Empathy group members think about a time they felt empathy for someone in the last 3 months and to create an image about that. It was interesting to see who each person felt empathy for. One patient, who was new to sex offender treatment, chose a character from a movie. He later admitted that it was safer for him to empathize with someone in a movie rather than in real life. Another patient empathized with the parents of a child who had been killed which he saw on the news. He was able to relate how those parents felt to how the parents of his victims felt. I'll use this Art Therapy directive on occasion to help the patients think about times they have felt empathy and to explore it a little more.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What is empathy?

This was the first week of a new quarter, so for the first session of the Empathy group, I asked the group members to create an image to represent what empathy meant to them. I had several new members, so this helped me get an idea of their thoughts and feelings about the topic. I had done this directive in the past, and one patient actually drew himself squished inside a boot, to represent putting himself in someone else's shoes. It was telling that he looked uncomfortable and had anxiety lines drawn around him. This quarter, most of the patients drew symbolic images to represent trying to feel or understand what another is feeling and going through.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Overwhelmed directive

Last quarter, I had the Empathy group members create an image about a time they noticed that someone else felt overwhelmed. This helped them to be in tune with different cues another person might be giving, such as body language or behavior. One patient drew about a peer who attempted suicide and how that peer tried to give away some of his belongings beforehand. It also led to discussion of how we can help others who seem overwhelmed. They were also able to relate the feeling of being overwhelmed with how their victims may have felt or still feel.