Published April 17, 2017

Psych Ward: Guardians of the Galaxy

Before facing a new foe, the team takes time to bond closer together!

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The space-faring team known as the Guardians of the Galaxy—a self-appointed title with no formal rights or responsibilities—came to our office with a request that our staff help them improve the ways in which they interact and work with one another. After meeting with the entire team and each member individual, what follows below is the program of workshops we are presenting to them to address their stated needs.

Recognizing Leadership- The Guardians—like so many groups of diverse people who consistently are placed in stressful situations—sometimes struggle with the chain of command. They can be prone to disrespecting those in leadership roles, rejecting plans to do things on their own, or—either consciously or not—failing to step up and seize a leadership position when necessary. This workshop seeks to empower all members to be both good leaders and good team members and better recognize when the time is to be one or the other.

Communication is Key!– Continuing from the theme above, even when roles are clear and understood, there are moments where it is necessary to convey disagreement, ask for clarification, or express feelings of being underappreciated. When such times come and the people involved are unprepared to communicate their needs, wants, opinions, or facts clearly and concisely, it can cause great strains on team cohesion. This breakout session will teach the Guardians how to decide when and where it is appropriate to raise objections, express feelings, or ask for more information and the best way to do that in a number of scenarios. This session is high in role plays and tends to be a lot of fun for all involved!

Resisting All-Powerful Beings– A relatively new addition to our staff, the Stepford Cuckoos are full of great tips and tricks on how to take on impossibly powerful cosmic beings without losing one’s head. Some past participants have found this workshop to be “overly aggressive” but we have been working on improving that aspect of it because we believe in the content.

Stress as Friend…and FOE!– Space travel in and of itself can be a mental and physical stressor. Add in evading hostile attempts to destroy your space craft, landing on worlds unlike ones you have ever seen before, and a wide range of violent encounters from hand to hand combat to small nuclear arms—and beyond—and you have a situation where your heart may be getting a workout all day every day. This three hour two session workshop helps participants recognize “good” and “bad” stress and how they can affect us all similarly and differently.

Mastering Your Brain– Once the Guardians have the psychoeducation about stress presented above, this breakout session will give them the tools to deal with it. Increasing their range of coping skills by reviewing mindfulness and distress tolerance techniques will help these adventurers be more effective at their jobs and in their personal lives. Another participation heavy group that participants seem to find just find delightful.

Telling Stress to Go Boom– We are outsourcing on this and cannot speak to its validity. However, the Guardian known as Rocket insisted on discussing “the therapeutic benefits of making stuff blow up” or “no deal,” so we found what we believe to be one of the better instructors in this area, a Mr. Paul Denning. We look forward to seeing his approach in action and possibly adding it to future retreat programs.

Trust Me!– This classic series of rapport building and trust exercises is everyone’s favorite breakout group and for good reason! Any team worth its weight in the crushing responsibility of knowing you are the only thing standing between the universe and a being that seeks to enslave every living creature and reduce freedom to nil cannot help but “graduate” from this one feeling closer than ever to be one another.

The retreat begins with Doctors Jim Starlin and Alan Davis on May 3 and runs every Wednesday through the end of the month. You can review the program as it progresses in the file GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: MOTHER ENTROPY!

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who loves a good breakout sesh.


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