Groups in process

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When I work with groups I am constantly observing and evaluating. I use evaluations to guide and direct; to ascertain the problems and needs of the group, and program. According to Cruz, Berrol, (2004), “…quantitative methods explore measurable observable phenomena related to human experience, and seeks to explain and predict behavior.”

For instance, in one particular workshop assisting Dr. Rutkowski, I observed a client clench her hands, contract, and stand in a posture that would be difficult to move from whenever she used the phrase, “moving forward.” My hypothesis was she did not truly believe and embrace what she was saying, and had some physical tension around this phrase based on her body language.

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I have observed countless times before, the relationship between words and phrases and stances and postures (known behavioral phenomenon). Further, I have witnessed how one could change one part, stances/postures for instance (known variable), which would change the manner of the spoken words/phrases and thus their meaning for the client (predicted state). Based on this data, I suggested the client consciously take a stance/posture that was physically non-contracting (opening), and begin a movement process that was opening and flowing. Her body stance/posture changed and the manner in which she said her words changed as she experienced the concept of ‘moving forward.’

Afterwards, she shared that she began to truly believe both physically and emotionally that she could ‘move forward.’ My assertion that she did not fully embrace what she was saying was confirmed by the client.

In my process of leading groups I rely on my Halprin Method/Motional Processing/Life Art Process knowledge, my experience with many great teachers over the years, my intuition, and how I would want a workshop to be if I were the participant. I observe the dynamics of the individual and group, whether it is elders or preschoolers, and adjust accordingly. For instance, while leading the preschoolers in a creative movement exercise, they got out of control and ran about wildly ignoring my directions. I changed the quality of my voice and directed them to move like wooly worms. Naturally, it’s difficult to move wildly about when you’re lying on the floor wiggling.

Each group presents itself based on not just the dynamic of the individual and the collective, but also on the culture that the group is a part of. With the church group, there seemed to be a polite non-cooperative nature in their response to my direction of movement while reading a psalm. Having them close their eyes and adding more direction to the exercise seemed to open up the movement quality and quantity.

It gives me the giggles when I think of how terrified I was as a child to get up in front of a group and read a book report, or engage in some sort of activity. Today when I teach/lead a group, I actually feel more balanced, whole and in harmony than when I am not teaching/leading.

Cruz, R,F. & Berrol, C.F. (2004). Dance/Movement therapists in action: A working guide to research options. Springfield, Ill.: C.C. Thomas.

Rutkowski, A. (1984). Thesis: Development, definition and demonstration of the Halprin Life/Art Process in Dance Education. Unpublished doctorial dissertation, John F. Kennedy University.

Winter, R. (2001). Handbook for action research in health and social care. New York: Routledge.

Hervey, L.W. (2000). Artistic inquiry in dance/movement therapy:

Creative Research Alternatives. Springfield, Ill: Charles C Thomas.

Reprinted from my unpublished manuscript: Renewal and Rediscovery of the Self in the Life Art Process: 20 years as participant, assistant and facilitator. By Richard Brunner MA, R-DMT. Copy write 2006.

Afghanistan:the Saudi Arabia of lithium

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The New York Times has reported that U.S. officials and American geologists have found an estimated $1 trillion worth of mineral deposits that have yet to be exploited in the country. The paper said a Pentagon report called Afghanistan potentially “the Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key component in batteries for cellphones, laptop computers and eventually, a plug-in fleet of electric cars.

In December, 2007, China’s state-owned China Metallurgical Group Corp. (MCC) signed a $2.9 billion agreement with the Kabul government to extract copper from the Aynak deposit, one of the world’s largest unexploited copper deposits with an estimated 240 million tons of ore. When MCC entered into negotiations with the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, it offered substantial aid for resource development as part of the package.

Of course in order to move the ore Afghanistan needs a rail system. Afghanistan ‘s mining J0145565minister appointed China Metallurgical Group Corp. to carry out technical studies for two proposed rail lines in the country from Kabul to Turkam in the east, and Kabul to Mazar-e-Sharif in the north. The rail lines are seen as essential to help Afghanistan develop a mining industry that could bring in billions of sorely needed dollars to the impoverished nation.

Naturally China really wants gas and oil and once again  Afghanistan’s government signed a deal with China’s state-owned National Petroleum Corporation, allowing it to become the first foreign company to exploit the country’s oil and natural gas reserves.The ministry listed the initial value of the project with CNPC as $700 million. But the total could be ten times greater if more reserves are found and developed.

The government of Afghanistan also granted key gold and cooper licenses to a consortium backed by City of London banker Ian Hannam, former BHP Billiton CEO Chip Goodyear and Poland’s multibillionaire Jan Kulczyk. In addiation Afghan Gold and Minerals, Afghan Minerals Group, and Turkish-Afghan Mining Co. had been picked from a shortlist of 25 bidders to explore and start developing the Balkhab, Shaida and Badakhshan projects respectively. Afghan Gold and Minerals (owned by Sadat Mansoor Naderi) will have copper explorations rights over the Balkhab, northwest of the capital Kabul. Not sure who owns the Turkish-Afghan Mining Co. Also, Afghan Minerals Group was granted Thursday a license to explore the Shaida copper deposit, in the province of Herat, in western Afghanistan.BU0618

Meanwhile, Turkish-Afghan Mining obtained the license for the Badakhshan gold and copper deposit, in the Badakhshan province, in north-eastern Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s government granted an Indian steel company the right to exploit the Hajigak iron ore deposit which is considered one of the largest iron deposits in the world at 1.8 billion tonnes. The Indian company wants to ship the ore through Pakistan to India, which might seem a bit of a problem but the amount of money to be make by trucking firm and Government fee’s means that the green light will be given.

They are a lot of other businesses (and NGO’s) looking to profit from the Afganie war as well.

China, Not U.S., Likely to Benefit from Afghanistan’s Mineral Riches

China mining giant tapped for Afghan rail project

Afghanistan, China sign first oil contract

Afghanistan grants key copper and gold permits

Animal-Assisted Therapy

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Can animal-assisted therapy can help adolescents who are in hospital because of an acute psychiatric crisis? A randomized controlled trial investigates.

The study, conducted by a team of researchers led by M.C. Stefanini of the University of Florence, randomly allocated patients to either an animal-assisted therapy intervention or no intervention. Both groups continued to receive psychiatric treatment as usual, and those treating them did not know which group they were in. The results are very promising.

The intervention group had better school attendance, higher levels of global functioning, and spent less time in the hospital compared to the control group. “One possible explanation for this success is the role of the animal as a catalyst in the therapeutic process,” the researchers write. “Animals may represent a valid help in therapeutic contexts thanks to their ability to catalyze social interactions and to create a more relaxed environment.”   READ MORE HEREDogsCats

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I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do. Edward Everett Hale

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