Our intensive Heroines group process ended a month ago. After that, I have had a pleasure to work with the inspiring success stories of five Finnish Heroines group participants that now are the New Heroines. While doing that, I have had a chance to sit back and process this amazing 8 months lasting journey we made with the pilot group. The importance that the group had on its participants is still hard to capture. Probably it is best just to let the participants speak for themselves.
In the focus group interview, we asked them: “Do you think your life would be different if you hadn’t participated in the group? One of the participants said: “I would probably still feel that I am an insignificant and void person who has no right to feel bad about being treated cruelly and have no right to talk about anything”. Another one continued: “I wouldn’t write a diary as intensely and deeply as I do now. The exercises have unlocked creativity. Poems are a new thing in my life, I haven´t written poems before”. The third one replied: “I have the direction of my living, being and thoughts unchanged, but the progress would have been much slower without these sessions. This has greatly accelerated the progress. The direction is the same, but the speed has increased and things have strengthened, confirmed. The fourth one said: “The group has brought me vigour. It will, hopefully continue to show in life”.
The fact that we were instructing the pilot group in a pandemic situation increased the meaningfulness of the gatherings. For many, they were the only social events they had in their lives. Like one of the participants put it “This has really cheered me up a lot, because all my hobbies and contacts were left out. I have had this task. I have been happy to come here and get a lot out of this”.
It is still early to conclude the whole meaning of the group process. Like one of the participants pointed out “Maybe we don’t understand all the effects yet. In addition to these short-term effects, this will probably have very long-term effects”.
Even though the regular group meetings ended, our Heroines journey will continue. The art exhibition inspired by the texts written by these New Heroines is still coming, as well as the Narrative collection – and the success stories publication. Another great thing is, that the staff member of the psychiatric unit who was participating in the Heroines group, wants to start a new Heroines group in the autumn. Like Ozara group wrote one month ago: Sometimes endings can be new beginnings!
The Finnish Association of Biblio/Poetry Therapy