It has been about a month since the Women’s Empowerment Group ended. As I reflect back on it, I am reminded of the magic of the group experience. As the group leader, it is an amazing journey to observe and participate in. Six women from diverse backgrounds, life experiences, and life journeys came together for eight sessions to learn about self-care, coping tools, boundaries, and assertiveness skills.

At first, almost everyone is a bit timid and shy, but by the third session, they interact like old friends. Challenging each other, laughing and crying together, and offering support and encouragement. By sessions four and five, they are sharing examples of how they are increasing healthy self-care and how doing so changes the ability to cope with distress. And by the end, they are sharing stories of newly acquired assertiveness skills.

Some learned that aggressive is different from assertive. Others learned that being passive gets them nowhere. Group members recognize that they are not alone in the struggle to set boundaries, to cope with difficult life experiences, and to care for self in healthy ways. Knowing they are not alone is a large part of the magic of the group experience. This, in turn, helps to pull down the walls so that group members feel safe in exploring these issues within themselves, and then to be able to share what they are learning with the group.