My Personal History With Group Process And Progression
In this journal, I intend to share my personal history with group process and progression. I would like to share my own experiences related to groups, multiculturalism, social beliefs, values, cultural norms, and religious influence. I also would add my bias assumptions towards the multicultural process of the groups. In doing this self-reflection process, I motivate myself to apply these competencies to my own advantage to grow and develop skills and competencies to multicultural openness and to be cautiously aware of my personal priestly, religious influence and assumptions on the formation and functioning of group interrelatedness.
The word ‘group’ brings several cultural and social meanings to my memory. I begin to realize that all along the journey of my life I was associated and inter-related with all kinds of groups. There are many occasions that I did not even have a choice to choose a group, by the time I realized I was already in a group process. I can think of at least on a few occasions there were smaller groups formed within the group due to like-mindedness, similar thinking pattern, sharing the same beliefs and values. I was put in boarding school from 5th grade to all the way until college and I went to seminary for 10 years; these two social institutions have exposed me to several group interactions and encounters. I began to integrate into this group process as there were several social components like; multi-caste system, multi-religious and cultural diversity that is an integral part of Indian society. I was looking out for my own so that I share the same values and belief system. I think I was doing this to find security and eliminate threats and avoid conflicts. It was in a way I was creating a support system and creating comfort zones. I have experiences regard to power privilege and oppression. As I come from southern part of India; caste system is a very prevalent social system in the society. Everyone is born into a caste and your caste determines your profession. As I happen to be born in a higher caste, I could experience power privileges at home, in school, and in the society. In a way, it created within me an ideology that I am superior to others, and I get to exercise my power privilege.
The other factor that led to this realization is that; we had three servants at home. They were hired on an annual contract to serve, cater to household needs and work at the farm. Because of this childhood experience of having servants it created a subjective feeling of superiority within me. The other example of I can relate was of my own Catholic faith. I studied at a Jesuit school, and there were a very minority of Catholics in the school. Even though we were a minority, the institution was Catholic, and the authority was Catholic, and I associated myself with that authority. I considered Catholicism was a superior religion when compared to other religions.
My association with the clergy I felt being a power privilege. On the same level, I can relate experiences of oppression. I can relate to a personal story of one of my classmate in 3rd grade. He was born in a lower caste. As per his caste, he was destined to remain as a barber for the rest of his life. He was a brilliant student. I shared his oppression of being denied to pursue his educational privileges’. I was angry at the system. The other stronger social issue was that the women and girl children were denied equal rights and equal opportunities in the society. This was another social issue that affected me, and I strongly felt that they were being oppressed by denying them a chance to peruse their dreams. It had been five weeks that I associate and interact with this new group in my graduate class. The first day of the school I observed my feelings of anxiety, fear, and curiosity. I was Used to the friendlier environment and all of sudden it looked so alien to me. I was also thinking maybe everyone was going through the same thoughts as mine. Even though, I grew up with several assumptions and bias opinions I was still open-minded. The environment was very professional, less friendly, I noticed we were still at the forming stage. The whole dynamics and classroom environment looked foreign to me. I did not know anyone. I wished that I knew someone. I was comfortable to know that two students take other classes with me. In the second week, it became a more familiar environment. I noticed that I was making conversations, exchange of numbers, sharing my opinions. I began to feel comfortable that everything will be fine.
This reflection brought to surface several memories of my own cultural adjustments I made during the last several years. The Process to adapt and integrate does not come quickly due to strong assumptions, values, and beliefs that we were settled at a deeper level. But as a facilitator, I will not be doing anyone any good if I walk around with these assumptions. I do recognize the need for acquiring more skills and competencies in becoming a facilitator in the multicultural and social justice group setting. As a facilitator, I intend to train myself to acquire competencies on issues of multiculturalism and social justice in group work. I come to understand that there is so much of literature on group work with multicultural groups and social justice issues. In the last few classes academic guidance I begin to understand how multiculturalism and social justice affect group process and dynamics. My goal as a facilitator to be open-minded, increase my own awareness, knowledge, and skills as related to facilitating the task, psychoeducational, counseling, and psychotherapy groups with diverse members; and engaging in social justice change. As I get familiar with these concepts, one of the objectives is to grow in the self-reflection process to have the knowledge of the self.