group content therapy

[note: I wrote this last week while at Confab & sat on it until after I’d had a chance to share it with my work team. I’m planning on using this as a framework for a new form of training for the users of our CMS. If you get anything useful out of it, let me know!]

The ideas about workshops have been rattling around in my head along with the whole concept of therapy & content strategy, and then last night as I was drifting off I realized that I could actually use the model of the group therapy that I’ve been in as a way to help our content editors improve their work.

So it was short-term therapy to assist with depression and anxiety. 8 weeks, maybe a dozen people, with a rolling entrance/exit. Almost every week there was someone new and/or someone finishing. new people would be asked to talk about what they were hoping to get out of the experience.

  • limited time frame
  • limited number of participants (enough so everyone could be heard, people could get to recognize one another)
  • similar diagnoses but different life experience
  • self-directed goals for the overall therapy

The content of the therapy was built around a CBT model, I’ll need to go find my folder to see the exact progression of topics, but it definitely felt like a progression, where everything was connected, and the things you learned one week informed what you got going forward. But not so much of a sequence that you couldn’t come in the middle (see rolling entrance/exit).

  • connected topics with loose sequencing
  • visible sequence to refer back to
  • experienced participants could offer assistance to new ones

In the actual sessions, the therapist would have everyone score their previous week (depression/anxiety), and how they did on their “assignment” from the previous week. each person could talk about that briefly. Then the therapist would introduce that week’s topic, explaining the concepts. There were always in-class exercises, often in pairs, to help us figure out how to apply that to our own lives. Then at the end there was a check-out worksheet, where you talk about what you learned, and identified one thing that you were going to try doing. It didn’t even have to be something from that day’s session, although for most people it was.

  • self-assigned homework
  • self-assessment of progress
  • mix of lecture, exercises, and discussion

If it was your last week, you got to talk about how you were going to use what you learned going forward, and what you planned to do to manage difficult situations or recurrences of depression/anxiety in the future.

  • a clear plan for continuing to use materials
  • realization that backsliding happens

So given all of that, I want to figure out how to structure an ongoing training experience that takes all of that into account. But I need to talk to Susan about it first. [note: I did, she was excited about the idea, and I’m going forward with it!]