Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Residential Week 5: Communication

Group Objective: To explore the basic communication styles (Aggressive, Passive, and Passive-Aggressive) and provide tools to help clients move into more authentic communication.

Key Teaching Points: We develop certain communication styles, often to feel safe, that are possibly not really serving us. These styles often develop in a family system that does not honor or allow authenticity. This group will explore the “light and shadow” aspects of the different styles, while also exploring tools and practices for clients to develop more authentic ways to communicate.

Materials Needed: Whiteboard or flipchart, markers

Reading from Conscious Recovery: Part of recovery is exploring the communication style we use. Most of you are probably aware of the four communication styles: aggressive, passive, passive-aggressive, and assertive, right? Well, I have reframed the assertive style, and now refer to it as the authentic style of communication. Our communication styles often develop from our family systems, and we have come to use a particular communication style as a strategy to feel safe. Moving toward an authentic communication style allows us to not only feel more comfortable in our own skin, it allows us to have deeper, more meaningful relationships.

There’s an additional bonus too: Authenticity grows and is shared. When we have found a safe place to bring all of ourselves into the room, including things we have felt shame about and feelings and experiences that lie in the shadow, ultimately we experience more connection, stronger relationships, and a more fully grounded sense of self. As it turns out, people generally respond positively to authenticity. When we can share our experiences of suffering and brokenness, others quite often respond with their own experiences. When we can really be ourselves, without worrying about how it looks or seems, that joy is palpable and contagious. That’s the power of authenticity. As with all of these gifts, what we feed will grow. As we go deeper into recovery and conscious awareness, we develop more courage to let others truly see us. It gets easier; it becomes our way of being. As a teacher once told me, “The spiritual journey is not about “getting good;” it’s about becoming more and more real.” That’s authenticity.

Residential: Week 5 Group Outline Communication

(10 minutes) Meditation

(10 minutes) Check-in: Everyone says their name and something about communication.

Review Shared Agreements

  • One Person Speaks at a Time

  • Confidentiality

  • Share the Air

  • No “Fixing”

  • “I” Statements

  • Feedback Upon Request

    (5 minutes) Group Discussion: Ask these questions and discuss:

  • What percentage of communication is non-verbal? (Studies indicate that 85-90% of communication is non-verbal)

  • What is non-verbal communication? (Most will probably say “body language” as the answer)

    Key Point: Body language is only another small percentage of communication; most is energy. (Explain that animals are naturally in-tune with energy and when we were pre-verbal we picked up on the energy around us.)

    You might ask the question: “Have you ever met someone and you feel really comfortable around them? Is it their body language or might is be their energy?

    (15 minutes) Group Brainstorming (Flip-chart): Aggressive, Passive, Passive-Aggressive, Authentic. (Frame the first three as tendencies, possibly unhealthy and that the goal is to move toward authentic.) Ask clients: “What are the characteristics of the four styles?” Have clients brainstorm these and list the attributes for each of them on the whiteboard or flipchart.

    (10 minutes) Group Discussion: Which style do you tend toward? (One of the first three) If participants choose authentic, have them speak about their “unhealthy” tendency.

    (20 minutes) Group Process (Small Groups): Have people break into small groups based on the style they tend toward and then sit and discuss the following points:

    • Where did this tendency originate?

    • What are the useful and un-useful aspects in your life?

    • What are some of the ways/tools to move toward authenticity?

      (10 minutes) Group Process: Have one person from each group “report” to the larger group regarding the discussion in their group, especially focusing on the “how-to” move toward authenticity.

      (10 minutes) Closing Process