Group therapy at the clinic was always interesting. Some days were filled with group sessions which were exhausting at worst, skull-numbingly dull at best. One particular session was with Gabi. Gabi was a thick-set middle aged fairly frumpy fraulein who spoke with a very heavy German accent. Progress in Gabi’s groups was slow. Her accent was a hindrance and some of the CDU patients kept running out of the room, their triggers going off because instead of saying ‘it’s fine’, she would say ‘it’s wein’.

At first I thought I was in the AA group meeting when she shouted at the top of her buxomy lungs “Wein…let’s bee-gin”, but soon realized we were in a session about Decision Making and the processes behind it. To make it as interactive as possible Gabi ze German was asking us to give examples of when we had had to make important decisions. She wanted us to explain how we had collected the information about ourselves, the situation and looked at the outcomes. This was very higher grade for most of us who had not progressed up Maslow’s hierarchical triangle. Gabi was getting despondent and decided to use the example of moving to Cape Town. She would say things like “Saw, ze jarb ees vaiting for you een Cep Town” and “Vat do you do?” Mad Mike (mentioned in an earlier blog) got very agitated. Noticeably so. So noticeably so that Gabi stopped and asked him what was wrong. Mike immediately exclaimed that he didn’t want to move to Cape Town. With the help of all of us Gabi explained that she was using the word ‘you’ incorrectly and actually meant ‘one’. “Saw, ven vun is offered ze jab een Cep Town vat dus vun do?” That seemed to calm Mike down a little until he again exclaimed, out of the blue that YES, he would in fact love to go live in Cape Town.

Things went from weird to weirder when Gabi screamed “Stop farting! It’s Richard” I looked around to see Richard, the red-faced culprit…there was Andre, Mike, Brandon, Gareth, Jarrod. No Richard. Oh-Kay I thought to myself, Gabi belongs here more than we do. Again she yelled “It’s Richard!” “Stop being Richard!”. Who the heck is Richard. How can Richard be farting if there’s no Richard in the group, and more importantly, how does one stop being Richard?

I turned to Andre and whispered “Who’s Richard and why doesn’t Gabi like him farting?”. Andre LOLed and as ROTFLHAO he replied, “She’s saying stop fighting. Don’t be rigid!”

The irony is that in a workshop about clarity and decision making I have never been so confused…

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