Focus on group work
There is nothing quite like it. At Acem’s training in interpersonal communication, the focus is on down-to-earth group work takes precedence. Instead of talks and lectures, much of the time is spent in groups of six to nine people, with an extremely open agenda. In collaboration with the other group members and one or two very experienced group leaders, you seek to understand where the communication between you and the others goes awry and why, sometimes associating back to formative experiences in the near or distant past. There may be frustrating and confusing periods, especially in the first phase of the course, but there will also be moments of relief that come with increased insight and understanding.
As one participant, Grant Mearns, UK, put it:
Better understanding of the unspoken aspects of communication
I have learnt how important the unspoken aspects of communication are, to comprehend where others come from. From the initial day, throughout the week, a huge change took place in the interaction in the group. It requires time together to grasp where others are coming from. Time and effort allowed the deeper aspects to come to life and to develop the kind of communication that makes it possible to understand others in depth. A great deal of learning took place in the group, which improved the comprehension of the unspoken levels.
Why don’t you understand me?
I got a better understanding of what came up, and which role I played myself when I wasn’t understood. The interaction in the group contributed to the development of trust between the members. Understanding the frictional points was part of this process. There was a multitude of factors to be understood along the way, but my ability to recognize and understand different perspectives of communication was enhanced.
The importance of immediate understanding
Understanding more of the deeper levels of communication is helpful in order to immediately understand others and grasp where the message is coming from. It makes it easier to answer without avoidance. The group pointed out aspects I was unaware of in myself, and it helped me share deeper aspects of my life.
The professional leadership and the professional setting of the course were important for the depth of the process. I could take home a better understanding of the deeper meaning of communication and the role I played; with confidence that I can translate this into my everyday life.
Or, in the words of another participant, Amrei Simon, Germany:
The course gave me self-insight and has made me more sensitive towards others
The communication group was important. In my group, I felt safe and protected. I had not expected
such a deep connection to develop between participants within just one week.
Before the course, I felt I was well aware of some of my personal psychological patterns and
behaviour but during the course, I started to understand myself better, which makes a difference. I
think my new self-insight will guide me further and be useful in the future. I expect it to become even
clearer after the course.
I feel that I have become more sensitive towards others, and think I can make use of that in my
contact with them. I have learnt that I can change the way I approach others, for instance in the way
I ask questions. Working together in the group has been helpful in gaining a better understanding of
other people’s perspectives. The others’ perceptions of situations were important to learn from.
The venue’s natural surroundings are beautiful and calming. Swimming in the lake was very nice.
There is enough space to walk and do things with others and also places to be alone when one needs
that in between.