Ok, so you have a group of crazy people. No, I don't know why you have a group of crazy people, maybe you were really bad in a previous life, maybe you give off some high pitched sound that only crazy people can hear. Who knows, it is immaterial. Stay with me.
Some of them are depressed, some of them are paranoid, some are anxious, some are alcoholics, some are angry and some believe they are not crazy at all, they just have a special piece of toast in their shirt pocket that talks to them. Now. What I want you do do is put them in a room with a bunch of other crazy people. Make the room sort of dingy and without natural light. Ban all food and drink from the room, and also smoking. Provide hard plastic chairs in a circle. Place boxes of tissues on the floor at an ominously high frequency. Then get them to tell each other how they are feeling. Insist that total honesty is essential. Get them to "feed back" on each other. WHAT A GREAT IDEA.
I mean, really. Who thought of this, exactly? I am sure the Space Cadette could fill me in on the theory and genesis of group therapy (SC - comments box plse. Enlighten us) - did it evolve from Ten Step programmes? Was it a bunch of psychiatrists having a laugh? I can sort of see a couple of potential benefits:
1. keeps the crazies off the streets and away from firearms/drugs/Topshop;
2. enables the lesser crazies to feel relieved they are not as bad as the greater crazies;
3. makes everyone want to get less crazy to escape from group therapy.
And given that the efficacy of anti-depressants is currently in serious doubt (not that I believe this at ALL. If it's just placebo it's absolutely excellent placebo and I'm all for it), I suppose one might conclude that it is better than nothing.
Better than nothing, yes, possibly. But can it really be better than, for instance, taking the crazies for a walk in the park? Getting them to make animals out of vegetables? Showing them pictures of dogs with wigs on?
I did two different kinds of group therapy; 'weird' and Cognitive Behavioural therapy (subject of a later post).
Clearly 'weird' must have had another name, but I don't know what it was. Psycho dynamic? I Don't know. I was crazy at the time. Anyway. This was the kind of therapy that Irish ran. It was a bit like walking across a minefield, drunk, on stilts. Unpredictable, explosive and frankly insane. So, if there was a guy sitting in the corner picking at his face until it bled and rocking back and forth muttering, he would be the one Irish would alight on first.
Irish [with supernatural calm, like a man on horse tranquilisers]: Ballofrage, I sense that you need to bring your chair into the group so that you are fully present. Could you do that for me? I'd like you to sit back and really connect with the chair and feel its reality. Everyone, I'd like you all to really connect with the chair too, feel it against your spine, feel it grounding you.
Ballofrage: Fuck fuck fuck I can't deal with this fuck fuck.
Irish: Do you think it might help, Ballofrage, if we started with you this morning?
Ballofrage: Everything is so fucking black. I look at you all and I just see death and decay and hate. I just want to be dead and I want you all to be dead.
Irish [unfazed] Ok, Ballofrage, what I'm hearing is that you are having a bad day. So I'm going to ask the group if they can all feed back something to you that they think you could use today to get through this difficult day.
Ballofrage: Those fuckers?
Irish: Littleoldlady, could you start us off?
Littleoldlady: [nervously] Ballofrage you seem very sad.
Ballofrage: No shit, Littleoldlady.
Egomaniac: Irish, why are we starting with Ballofrage AGAIN. I feel like Ballofrage is totally dominating Group and I really have some stuff I need to talk through today, I have had a very difficult conversation with my father about my trust fund and I need to feed back. Ballofrage, I feel you are just totally monopolising this Group. You are not the only one with issues you know.
Ballofrage: Egomaniac you spoilt little slut, I did not fucking ask for this.
Irish: I think you both need to remember the rules of Group. This is about sharing how you feel and supporting each other, not about labelling each other in such an unhelpful way. Ishouldntbe here, what do you think?
Ishouldntbehere: I have no idea what is going on. Who are all you people anyway? I only have earache. I really don't know why my GP sent me here. It is not helping the earache at ALL.
Irish [becoming more animated]: But do you not think, Ishouldntbehere, that the earache perhaps represents something in your life? Like, perhaps, you feel that you have had enough of listening to others and you need to really be, like, heard, for once in your life?
Ishouldntbehere: It started when I fell off that banana boat in Lanzarote. I think I might have a perforated ear drum.
Fagbreak: Can I go out for a minute Irish?
Irish: You know the rules, Fagbreak. If I let you go it disrupts the dynamic of Group.
Fagbreak: What about if I feedback to Ballofrage, can I go then? Ballofrage, I feel you might need some weed.
Ballofrage: Hash makes me angry.
Irish: People! I feel like the energy is dissipating! Can we all just move our chairs a bit closer and take a minute to really connect with this moment? Jaywalker, could you tell us how you are feeling?
Irish: I hear that you are scared and I would like us to explore this emotion for a while. Can you tell us a bit more about this fear and how it feels?
J: It feels sort of scared.
Irish: What do you think this fear is. Are you scared that you won't ever feel better?
J: I am scared because Ballofrage is pointing at me and making throat slitting gestures.
..... and fade. Repeat at twice daily intervals until someone cracks.