Friday, April 07, 2006

God Loves Group Work

(Photo of group therapy session courtesy of

In my work as a clinical social worker, I provide group counseling with men and women who are in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. I was thinking this morning about how much I love doing group work and how powerful and dynamic it can be. It called to mind a quote for the Baha'i writings that I heard once at meeting where we were consulting about the spiritual significance of a social and economic development project in our area.

O ye friends of God! Today is the day of union and this age is the age of harmony in the world of existence. "Verily, God loveth those who are working in His path in groups, for they are a solid foundation." Consider ye that he says "in groups," united and bound together, supporting one another. "To work," mentioned in this holy verse, does not mean, in this greatest age, to perform it with swords, spears, shafts and arrows, but rather with sincere intentions, good designs, useful advices, divine moralities, beautiful actions, spiritual qualities, educating the public, guiding the souls of mankind, diffusing spiritual fragrances, explaining divine illustrations, showing convincing proofs and doing charitable deeds. When the holy souls, through the angelic power, will arise to show forth these celestial characteristics, establishing a band of harmony, each of these souls shall be regarded as one thousand persons and the waves of this greatest ocean shall be considered as the army of the hosts of the Supreme Concourse.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 401)

As a Baha'i I already understand that any work done in the spirit of service is considered an act of worship, but this quote suggests to me that group therapy itself might have an inner spiritual significance. This may be particularly true today when the challenges facing humanity are all related to the disease of disunity that afflicts relationships between people in every sphere of life. Perhaps it is the unifying aspects of group work that are it's greatest contribution to healing individuals and ultimately the world. I'll definitely have to explore this more deeply in the future!