Focus groups as therapy

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We’ve found ourselves recently running focus groups on health-related matters, some of which involve very personal emotions and feelings. We’ve had grown men crying about how their young children who are afflicted with eczema feel, we’ve had middle aged men talking about how male incontinence makes them feel and we’ve had lesbians talking about what makes for good oral sex. The thing that unites all of these respondents is that they ended up telling us that they had never spoken with anyone as openly – and to that end they felt like they’d just undergone a vastly therapeutic session of therapy.

Some of our respondents have continued to meet in the wake of our research sessions, in the form of support groups.

In a world where things that people have traditionally relied on, such as the welfare state and the NHS, are shrinking back, it does feel like people don’t just want but need some kind of support structure beyond their immediate family, where they can open up about matters that are deeply personal and private.

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