Reflections from a social worker who attended a workshop in April 2016
Apologies! I totally did want to provide feedback, I have just gotten caught up in the craziness of work!
Ok, firstly I thought it was great overall. Seeing the participants come in on the Friday night, largely reluctant to be there, to sharing on the Sunday about what they learnt and how much they enjoyed it was amazing.
I felt that the mix of people in the group was good for giving people the opportunity to hear different views, opinions and perspectives and learn to be more respectful of this and aware of diversity of opinions.
The structure of the sessions was well-balanced. I recall a few participants felt it was a bit heavy at times and wanted more ‘light and lively’. However, I think to do this would somewhat dilute the purpose of the workshop. Yes, fun is necessary and lighter sessions help deal with the more emotionally taxing exercises, but the workshop is about learning alternatives to violence. So I wouldn’t take anything away from it in that regard. The breaks were a good breather and created a great opportunity for peer support.
I liked that on Friday night there was time spent talking as a group what we wanted to get out of it and what we wanted from each other. It created a sense of ownership I thought. But I felt as the weekend wore on and people began to feel more comfortable, the ‘ground rules’ were kind of forgotten about. Part of me feels I could be being a stickler for rules, but I felt that so much time was spent doing them to create a safe environment, it was a shame that people tended to overlook them. I think the biggest reason this affected me was I know there were people in the group for whom it took a lot of courage to speak publicly, so if the rules about listening and showing respect weren’t upheld, those individuals would’ve withdrawn and as a group we could’ve missed out on their valuable contributions. I also felt that this was an underpinning element of the alternatives to violence principles, so if a group of unknown individuals can’t listen to one another, what chance do they have with listening to those who are familiar to them?
Am I right in thinking this was the first time you guys (You, S & D) had facilitated the group together? I think this was apparent and at times I felt that there was a discord which undermined your position as the group facilitators. I thought that as individuals you all had so much useful and transforming stuff to bring, but as a team this was overshadowed at times and it was felt by the whole group. Obviously things happen, but maybe a discussion about your different styles, how you will determine if changes should be made, etc. would really help to avoid moments occurring that affect the participants’ perception of the facilitators.
That said, I would recommend the course to any of my service users and I will ask my colleagues to see if anyone is interested. There were a lot of useful exercise that we could do directly with individuals.
I also spoke to my service manager about tailor-made workshops for our service users. Depending on service user need, we may call on you guys at some point in the future.
From the feedback I got from a few of the other participants, I don’t think there was anyone who attended who did not enjoy it and who did not learn anything from it that could have a significant impact on their life.
I hope that is all helpful!
Thanks Alan. I really appreciate your heart and attitude for all of the work done by AVP.
I’ll be in touch,