Greenstone Experiential https://greenstonexp.com Experts on Group Social Dynamics Thu, 30 Jul 2020 15:52:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 What is a Sociodrama? https://greenstonexp.com/2020/07/sociodrama/ https://greenstonexp.com/2020/07/sociodrama/#respond Tue, 07 Jul 2020 14:52:50 +0000 https://greenstonexp.com/?p=1183 What is a Sociodrama? A Sociodrama is a facilitated group experience that helps a group choose and discuss a topic that is of interest to the group.  The Sociodrama helps us understand perspectives and experiences within that topic, provides catharsis and validation, trains participants on roles, and improves communication.     A sociodramatic process can be [...]

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What is a Sociodrama?

A Sociodrama is a facilitated group experience that helps a group choose and discuss a topic that is of interest to the group.  The Sociodrama helps us understand perspectives and experiences within that topic, provides catharsis and validation, trains participants on roles, and improves communication.  

 

A sociodramatic process can be used by a business or a community to solve a host of problems, from poor communication in a family or among co-workers, to resentment and competing coalitions within a workplace, to aggression and injustice in a community.   It brings us together in a respectful way to discuss complex issues and find solutions.  

 

What do Sociodramas teach us?

 

Sociodramas help us gather new information about complex situations and issues.   It gives us new perspectives and a deeper understanding of emotions and lived-experiences.  This is information that cannot be found by reading an article or discussing an issue with others.  

 

We need this new information to solve social problems at work that may be impeding good team process or to move from a place of anger and frustration about a political issue, to one in which we are less reactive and can see solutions.  

 

Sociodramatic process allows for catharsis of emotion, expanding of perspectives, a deeper understanding of social issues, and more effective communication.  

 

Why is the Sociodramatic process so important now? 

 

In this time of rapid changes to our society and widespread polarization, our old ways of figuring out problems by talking about them and debating them is not working.  It only leads to more polarization, anger and frustration.  

 

We need a new and respectful way of engaging people in solving the big problems at hand caused by the pandemic, economic disparities, and racial injustice.  

 

The Sociodramatic process may help now because:

 

  • Complex societal problems not only involve facts and numbers, but also real people.  The sociodramatic process gives us the information we need about perspectives, emotions and experiences of real people.  

 

  • The sociodramatic process builds community because it purposefully creates safety and trust in a group of people.   Each individual feels seen and heard, and not judged, which helps people want to work together, not against each other. 

 

  • The sociodramatic process also helps people move from stuckness and fear to creativity and hopefulness. In this way, participants see solutions to complex problems that they didn’t see at the outset.  

 

In conclusion, debate and talk have limitations.  They confine us to the cognitive range of our experience.  A Sociodrama builds community, deepens our understanding of real perspectives of other people and helps us develop a more open and curious mind.  In a time of increasing societal tensions, the sociodramatic process can be utilized to reduce tensions and increase real understanding and encourage productive cooperation between people.

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Transitioning Back to Work https://greenstonexp.com/2020/06/transitioning-back-to-work/ https://greenstonexp.com/2020/06/transitioning-back-to-work/#respond Mon, 22 Jun 2020 15:50:04 +0000 https://greenstonexp.com/?p=1142 For all of us who have been working-from-home (WFH) for the last few months, or have been furloughed, or working part time, due to the COVID crisis, phasing back into work is now at hand!   What kind of emotions does this bring up for us?   Maybe excitement, relief and eagerness for those of us who [...]

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For all of us who have been working-from-home (WFH) for the last few months, or have been furloughed, or working part time, due to the COVID crisis, phasing back into work is now at hand!  

What kind of emotions does this bring up for us?  

Maybe excitement, relief and eagerness for those of us who have been “home-schooling” school-aged children or have been sharing tight home quarters with a spouse who has also been working from home.  

Or on the other hand maybe we are feeling nervousness, fear or even dread if we have been able to use this time at home for self-care, home projects, spending time with loved-ones, and exercising more, and now returning to work feels like taking all these good things away.  

Or maybe we are feeling angry and resentful if our employer has been less-than-stellar during the COVID crisis.  Maybe we watched co-workers get fired or furloughed while the boss maintained a full salary.  Maybe we are just realizing right now that we really didn’t like aspects of our jobs or our employers all that much from the start and taking a pause allowed us to fully realize that. 

With all these diverse and valid reactions, this is a tricky time for employers.  What is the employer’s role in helping employees transition back?  

We have all gone through a big “experience” that made us feel strong emotions about our jobs and our workplace, and our employers.  It has been a time of clarity, suffering, and reckoning. 

While employers have traditionally not encouraged the expression of thoughts and feelings in the workplace, there may be no other choice at this point.  Employees need to speak about their experiences, they need to feel heard and understood, and they need to hear from one another.  

But, opening up this “can-of-worms” is not something that employers have traditionally done.  Most supervisors are not accustomed to being the role of facilitating their employees’ emotional processes.  

Regardless, this sharing and expression will happen because this disruption of the workplace has been a big experience for all of us.  We all want to talk about it, to tell stories, to process our new realizations, to hear from others, and to be part of the dialogue that creates a *New* workplace. 

It’s a great time to enlist the support of Employee Assistance professionals and workplace consultants. It’s a great time to plan employee retreats and other safe spaces to debrief and discuss.  Now is the time to create safe and purposeful spaces for employees and leaders to talk about what happened, what they feel about it, and what the *New* workplace will look like moving forward. 

 

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Validation: The Most Powerful Tool We Have https://greenstonexp.com/2020/06/validation/ https://greenstonexp.com/2020/06/validation/#respond Tue, 16 Jun 2020 17:53:40 +0000 https://greenstonexp.com/?p=1134 Validation is probably the most powerful tool we have to help us in this complicated world.  Validation is when we are given a safe space to say,  “This is what happened and yes it was hard. {Exhale}.” And in that pause the intensity of the experience decreases and we can go on without quite so [...]

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Validation is probably the most powerful tool we have to help us in this complicated world. 

Validation is when we are given a safe space to say,  “This is what happened and yes it was hard. {Exhale}.”

And in that pause the intensity of the experience decreases and we can go on without quite so much weight.  The heaviness of the surprise, shock and disappointment is now a memory of something hard we have gone through and the insights we have gained from going through it.  

In this way, we are open to new experiences and ready for being present.  In this way we are more powerful in our lives, ready to show up fully to be our best selves.  

In this way, validation makes us stronger, wiser, and more resilient. 

But many of us don’t have this experience of validation and instead stay stuck in layers of reactivity.  Our society isn’t set up for validation.  We don’t have pauses in which we feel safe to breathe and realize what we are feeling is real.  We don’t always teach this in our families and our workplaces are designed for more practical conversations.  

But at a minimum, we need validation in our personal lives with the one or two people who know us the best and show up for us every day consistently and kindly.  And when we don’t have this we suffer.  

And now, added on top of our usual life stressors, we also are processing the impact of the pandemic and widespread social unrest.  

The pandemic has caused far reaching losses, changes and adjustments for us all, especially those who have been forced to work from home during the pandemic, those of us who have lost a job or revenue as a result of the pandemic, or those of us who have been forced to work more as a result of the pandemic. 

And the social unrest over police brutality and institutionalized racism bring a further complicated slew of questions about where we stand, what we want to do or not do, and how we want to talk about it in our communities.   

These are difficult questions and difficult subjects.  

At Greenstone we are now offering a series of structured and deliberate group discussions for any group that wants to come together to discuss all these changes and disruptions.  

These groups are places where individuals are heard, where the rightfully emotional edge of hard experiences can be validated, where each person’s story will teach others’ something new, where new insights can lead the way to better social dynamics, better problem solving, and new ways of interacting and being in the workplace that are respectful and needed in this time.  

Respectful discussions allow for a collective, “{Exhale}.” And the intense experience becomes a meaningful memory with insights attached.  And what we have learned together can bring us forward constructively in this complex time. 

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Let’s Start Listening For So Long https://greenstonexp.com/2020/06/lets-start-listening-for-so-long/ https://greenstonexp.com/2020/06/lets-start-listening-for-so-long/#respond Tue, 02 Jun 2020 17:13:02 +0000 https://greenstonexp.com/?p=1099 Today I heard the most sage words referencing our current national crisis and the experience of black Americans, “This is what happens when they haven’t been listened to for so long”.  Simple and profound.  Exactly.  Is this an experience you can relate to?  Has this ever happened to you?  What happens when you haven’t [...]

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Today I heard the most sage words referencing our current national crisis and the experience of black Americans, “This is what happens when they haven’t been listened to for so long”.  Simple and profound.  Exactly. 

Is this an experience you can relate to?  Has this ever happened to you? 

What happens when you haven’t been listened to in so long? 

When your words are not taken seriously, your words are left unheard, or worse when you are told that what you have seen, heard, and felt is actually is not true, what happens to you?

Some people tell me that when their existence and their experiences are ignored, manipulated and minimized, they have become testy, and even violent.   In fact, it seems like it would be very hard not to become consumed by negativity at some point.  Either directed inwardly or outwardly.  

When directed outwardly it might look like throwing things, smashing plates, or yelling, just to make a point that isn’t recognized.  

But mostly in my job as a clinical social worker I see it directed inwardly.  Depression, self-harm, passivity, stuckness.  Many people may judge this stance as lazy, but that is not a helpful way to interact with this person.  It creates an us and them mentality, separation and division.  Not helpful for you or them.  No problem solving, nothing gets better.  

The truth always lies much deeper than what we see from our own limited perspectives.  

This is a terrible time for small businesses whose goods are being looted and windows smashed, but it is a good time for asking questions that go deeper.  What has he experienced? What stories has he lived?  What has he seen, what has he heard?  How has his heart been hurt? 

And while there is a diversity of types of people who are looting, I am now thinking about those who really have lived what may be called, racial traumatization. Chronic, persistent ignoring, minimizing, gaslighting, and worse, aggression, suppression and violence against an entire racial group.  

This is a great time for community conversations however they happen.  It’s a great time for asking questions and expanding your perspective.  

Let’s help ourselves and our fellow community members move forward on the road toward healing.  Unfortunately, some may need a primal scream and to smash things.  And then after the scream, let’s try to support them by listening to them, listening deeply and fully.  No right, no wrong, only present-focused witnessing of a profound truth.  Let’s start listening for so long.  

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An Appeal to Customer Service Based Businesses in the Re-Opening Phase: https://greenstonexp.com/2020/05/an-appeal-to-customer-service-based-businesses-in-the-re-opening-phase/ https://greenstonexp.com/2020/05/an-appeal-to-customer-service-based-businesses-in-the-re-opening-phase/#respond Mon, 18 May 2020 17:00:51 +0000 https://greenstonexp.com/?p=1094 This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting my local favorite gardening and nursery center. It was mobbed!  There were many more cars than I remembered from last year, people and cars and BIG construction trucks all operating in the same traffic lane. And the customer service assistants were running around, literally, not making eye [...]

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This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting my local favorite gardening and nursery center. It was mobbed!  There were many more cars than I remembered from last year, people and cars and BIG construction trucks all operating in the same traffic lane. And the customer service assistants were running around, literally, not making eye contact, carrying on their own conversations among themselves and confused, apologetic and harried when I asked them questions. Long lines, a confusing flow to get into the check-out lines, and narrow aisles that made close contact with other mask-clad customers impossible to avoid. This was not a reassuring post socially-distant, reopening environment!

 

So here is my appeal. 

 

Please add lots of big signs. We (your humble customers) need them. We are confused, we are nervous, we are trying to be hopeful (buying lots of beautiful flowers) but we need to know WHAT and HOW the new normal looks at your business.  We need to know we will be safe in the traffic flow (please don’t mix people and small children and cars and big construction trucks in the same place), we need to know where to stand in line (it’s different than last year).  

 

And please add lots of smiles, direct communication and explanations of the new normal (how many people are allowed inside your building).  We need your patience and kindness in your mannerisms, in your tone of voice and in your body language (please slow down and look at me and talk kindly, not shouting, or pontificating please).

 

In this time, we need structure and guidance.  Show me the lines, the rules, the new way of doing things.  Please be patient.  I want to comply, I want to adjust to the new normal.  I want to feel safe in the new normal. 

 

It’s a new time, a time for reflection, adjustment and change.  Things can and will be good:  colorful plants and flowering trees and healthy shrubs!  But it will feel chaotic if we don’t have a new structure around the old ways. 

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Grieving for Routine: Covid-19 and our Shaken Reality https://greenstonexp.com/2020/04/grieving-for-routine-covid-19-and-our-shaken-reality/ https://greenstonexp.com/2020/04/grieving-for-routine-covid-19-and-our-shaken-reality/#respond Mon, 13 Apr 2020 11:03:08 +0000 https://greenstonexp.com/?p=1082 I cried a lot yesterday. I did not lose anyone (praise be!) and yet I openly and desperately wept for almost 20 minutes. I have no idea why, just that I did. I reflected on my Maslow needs: safety, physiological, love and belonging, esteem- whoops- there it is in esteem- freedom. I have lost freedom. [...]

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I cried a lot yesterday. I did not lose anyone (praise be!) and yet I openly and desperately wept for almost 20 minutes. I have no idea why, just that I did. I reflected on my Maslow needs: safety, physiological, love and belonging, esteem- whoops- there it is in esteem- freedom. I have lost freedom.

With Covid-19, we have all lost freedom. And in loss, there is grief. The Kubler-Ross model of the five stages of grief are familiar now: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

I guess I’ve tried really hard to do what I can to “flatten the curve” by staying home, washing my hands, and coughing in my elbow. But for me personally, this goes deeper.

I cannot do what I used to do! I cannot go out and get a cup of coffee. I can’t visit friends. I can’t walk the malls if I’m bored. I can’t grocery shop. I can’t go to my favorite restaurant. At home, my outgoing personality is crimped. I wave at people when I walk, but that’s it. I can’t see the people I work with, and I can’t be in my office- a change of scenery. And I don’t know when this will end! And I am super scared, because I have diabetes. I’m at risk from this virus, a little more than everyone else.

My crying is me grieving. I lost a ton of freedom, and normal, and it hurts. For the moment, I’m physically okay. My job is safe. I can eat good food, and skype/ video chat with people. But I can’t help outside of the house – and that is what sustained me and brought meaning to my everyday life before all this.

And I’m losing some of the joy of this springtime season. Spring brings Passover, Easter, and holidays in almost every major religion. Spring normally brings parties, celebrations, and outdoor adventures. For me, a big loss is the graduation ceremony from UAlbany, where I just finished my PhD degree. The ceremony is another victim Covid-19 claimed. The University canceled the event to protect people. Rightfully so, by the way, but still…. It hurts.

What helps now for me is sharing and talking with others. The Friday GreenstoneXP Discussions group hosted by Jill and Greg help me, personally, maintain some contact with the outside world, and give me a place to process, grieve, heal and find stories of hope.

Please join us every Friday at 11:15 AM EST. Clink the link for more info:

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Patience with Ourselves and the Process https://greenstonexp.com/2020/03/patience-with-ourselves-and-the-process/ https://greenstonexp.com/2020/03/patience-with-ourselves-and-the-process/#respond Mon, 30 Mar 2020 09:15:49 +0000 https://greenstonexp.com/?p=1079 Could this be a time for us all to learn what slowing down really is?  A time for us to learn about patience with ourselves? What about empathy for ourselves? I’ll share a story I recently heard about a woman who lived a typical American “go-go” lifestyle even though she is over 70 years old.  [...]

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Could this be a time for us all to learn what slowing down really is?  A time for us to learn about patience with ourselves? What about empathy for ourselves?

I’ll share a story I recently heard about a woman who lived a typical American “go-go” lifestyle even though she is over 70 years old.  In this version of the story, she was busy running to the gym, various charitable and social events, helping neighbors, food shopping and keeping up her home.  Her friends would tell you that she never slowed down. And she lived what many would consider a full, successful life in her retirement years.

And then came COVID 19 – the second week of March 2020 which changed everything, personally, socially, culturally and internationally.  At first she stumbled and stuttered through the “lack,” of movement, adventure, and social engagement. She was bored with her four walls, even though she shared them with two good friends.  She was restless, feeling like she needed to move, and the alternative of looking around at the same things everyday seemed unbearable.

But the threat of the virus kept her in, and her respect for science and of logic kept her in the house. She knew she was doing the “right” thing.

By the 14th day she found herself doing crossword puzzles, facetime with her grandkids and watching a movie, and that’s it for a whole day.  As little as it was, it was enough.  And maybe she was enough, just so.

And I wonder how many people are facing personal breakthroughs like this now.  While “social distancing,” is painful because we are forcibly letting go of routines that sustained us, it is also bringing us closer to ourselves, and possibly closer to accepting ourselves.

What if we are now cultivating patience as a society, as a culture, and a person?  What if this will help us transform into a bigger braver version of ourselves?

How are you slowing down?  How are you learning to allow yourself to grieve the familiar routines that once sustained you? And what do you find on the other side?

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Spinach in your teeth….. https://greenstonexp.com/2020/02/spinach-in-your-teeth/ https://greenstonexp.com/2020/02/spinach-in-your-teeth/#respond Thu, 20 Feb 2020 19:02:50 +0000 https://greenstonexp.com/?p=1030   Ever walk up to someone with spinach in their teeth and freeze?  Your mind races - what do I do - what do I say?”  And you let that person go on with spinach in their teeth.  Later you think “Why did I do that?” Now let’s imagine a harder scenario:  a member in [...]

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Ever walk up to someone with spinach in their teeth and freeze?  Your mind races – what do I do – what do I say?”  And you let that person go on with spinach in their teeth.  Later you think “Why did I do that?”

Now let’s imagine a harder scenario:  a member in your organization uses poor/offensive humor.  What do you do?  What do you say?  Her bad humor is distracting, its a problem, but it’s also sensitive, you don’t want to hurt her feelings and most of all, you don’t want her to think you don’t like her.  You really do like her, or at least you did like her, but now you are also really annoyed with her and now you start to feel that annoyance turning into anger.  What do you do?  How do you continue to work with her? How do you stem your tide of negative feelings before they turn into resentment?

Providing others feedback can help move mountains, but it can also feel awkward, scary or even threatening.  Most of us have not been taught how to be comfortable with “conflict.”  Our emotional reactions often get in the way of honest, kind and clear communication, on both sides of the equation.

And as humans accepting feedback, we need good vibes.  It can be hard to hear that we have offended someone or made a mistake.  It’s so much easier to hear that we are good team members, that we have excellent skills, that we are appreciated for wrapping up a great project with expert precision.  But how can we also be really good at receiving feedback that something we did was not so excellent?

We all want to do better. People seek feedback and guidance. People crave advice on how to improve. From basic presentation skills, to improving confidence in a business, folks want to get better, and do better. So giving people feedback may be helpful and even sought after, but knowing this often isn’t enough to ease our worries as we move into having that hard conversation.

“Having Hard Conversations with Good People,” is a Sociometric training by GreenstoneXP on March 6th, from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.. part of our 2020, “Exploring Workplace Dynamics,” professional development series.

The training will normalize the difficulty of having these conversations, and in doing so allow some breathing room for exploring how to do them better.  Participants will hear and see what others struggle with and how it is similar and how it is different from their own personal struggles.  Participants will have some needed opportunities to practice having difficult conversations.  As a group, we will come up with fictional scenarios that could happen at a workplace and be directed through an enactment of these scenarios.  The facilitators will allow for ample switching of roles and perspectives to allow participants to fully experience what it feels like on both sides of the equation.

Participants will walk away with an increased sense of comfort and confidence in their ability to broach difficult subjects in the workplace.

And who knows, you may not skip a beat the next time your boss has spinach in her teeth, as you expertly, fluidly, and kindly, let her know there may be a reason to check the mirror before her next meeting.

We invite you to join recognized experts from GreenstoneXP on an interactive, engaging, and useful workshop.

Now excuse me as I find some floss……

How to have hard conversations with good people.

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