What about the man or woman who is the head of a large commercial business, the chief executive of a corporate industry, a high flying city banker, or someone who built up a multi-million pound business only to see it disappear overnight? What about such corporate moguls who one day are riding the crest of the economic wave and the next are drowning in the deepest of waters? Is not their loss as great as the loss felt by the man who rides the Clapham bus to work daily? Are they not also deserving of your sympathy or do you regard them as having been the undeserving rich? Is not the shock and experience of penury not as painful for them as it is for you or me? Unfortunately, hearing such stories often has a capacity for producing the instinctive reaction of 'serves you right' and 'welcome to my world' by those folk who never reached the top and always held a deepening resentment for anyone who did.
For twenty-three years between 1972 and 1995, I ran hundreds of groups for offenders, non-offenders, addicts, non-assertives, aggressives and people who displayed impulsive behaviour of a problematic kind. These groups had anonymous membership and the type and status of person one happened to be wasn't known to other group members. These groups produced some of the highest success rates in outcome within Great Britain and despite having a six-month's membership of over thirty people in each group, they were often oversubscribed by a ratio of 4-1.
Consequently, unlike many of my Probation colleagues who also ran groups of between 6-12 members and invariably had to scratch around often to fill them, I could be choosy who I worked with and had as members of my groups.
I have always known that what people cannot have they want even more. Hence, I was able to make membership of my groups as exclusive as I needed them to be. I also believe that people seeking help are more prone to work towards receiving it when it neither comes easy or free, and that the greater the personal investment in the treatment process, the more likely the successful outcome!
I therefore established 'an individual contract' with each person I accepted for group membership that varied in accordance with their type of circumstances, character and presenting problem. The poorest members who daily lived from hand to mouth were the only group members who were expected to pay a nominal fee that was given to charity, whilst the price extracted from the wealthiest group members was what they most valued; their time. Each week they had to give two hours of their time to some charitable cause or organisation before obtaining two hours of my time in a group session! Sometimes people who had fallen out with a family member and hadn't seen them for years were asked to renew contact before joining my group, while abused women were asked to leave their partners before their membership was accepted. All tense people who'd been taking tranquillisers for many years were expected to get off them first with the aid of their doctors before I could teach them to relax.
I found that by making such contractual commitments in advance, the people who then went on to become group members demonstrated a real need to change and were prepared to do whatever was needed to bring such change about. In such manner, most group members who lasted the six-month course found themselves being able to climb their mountain of fear and look out at their world anew.
The purpose of this post is not to big myself up as a former worker of great skikll, but instead to impress on other workers and carers that people have an inner strength to draw upon which they rarely call out. They also have a tremendous capacity to face and deal with all manner of loss, pain and hurt, once they discover the power of self love and the love of others. In fact, there is nothing in this world or one's life which cannot be borne and overcome through self belief and the power of love." William Forde: July 12th, 2016.