Bridging the Gap: Brief Review and Post Series

Bridging the Gap: Brief Review and Post Series June 17, 2013

Title: Bridging the Gap: Working Within the Dynamics of Pagan Groups and Society
Author: Crystal Blanton

Price: $19.99
148 Pages
Publisher: Megalithica Books
ISBN: 9781905713431

Reviewed by Molly

Bridging the Gap is a very useful and well-done book. The author is an experienced addictions counselor and she skillfully brings her understanding of psychology and group dynamics into a pagan context, providing excellent, simple evocative metaphors that memorably bring groupwork concepts into clear understanding. Bridging the Gap is a great resource for anyone involved with any kind of group (as are we all, since groups are a defining facet of being human!). What does it have to do with Pagan Families? Quite a lot! I readily applied it to our homeschool playgroup, multi-age work party group, women’s spirituality group, breastfeeding support group, and the college classroom. I actually think it is best described as a user-friendly introduction to group dynamics using a variety of pagan groups as examples, rather than a book specifically about pagan groups/pagan group dynamics.

I enjoyed the book so much, that rather than only a review, I’ve decided to do a series of short posts on some of the concepts I found most useful and relevant! I will schedule these segments to post over the next several weeks.

From the publisher’s website:

As we evolve it becomes increasingly clear that being an incredible ritualist is not all that is needed to be a competent leader or member of our pagan society. Unless they come to the Craft already equipped with these skills from professional training or other life experience, the leaders in our community have not possessed the skills to effectively model or train in these techniques. For all the intensive training we endure in the Craft, pagans as a society are still ill-equipped to competently cope with the growing needs of our own community.

Bridging the Gap: Working Within the Dynamics of Pagan Groups and Society will look at filling the common gaps in our community by using techniques as tools to assess, understand, and work with the changing dynamic of any group or coven. While maintaining a professional polish, the book uses humor, common scenarios, exercises, and resources to examine the commonalities between techniques used in the counseling profession; giving the reader concrete, professional solutions to coping with common problems.

The book addresses:

  • Basics of common techniques used in counseling including anger management, assessment tools, boundaries, behavior shaping, restorative justice and many others
  • The common traps that occur within groups, which lead to devastating effects and dissolution
  • The creation of the group mind and how it is effected by the budding dynamics of a group
  • Creating boundaries to effectively mentor students
  • The importance of creating clear objectives and expectations as a group
  • The art of holding your group members accountable
  • When it is not your fight

I am a college professor and one of my favorite classes to teach is group dynamics. In the coming weeks, I plan to blend my own experiences and observations with some of my favorite sections from Bridging the Gap into a short series of posts. This book would be particularly excellent reading for anyone interested in working as pagan clergy or who educates future pagan priestesses or ministers, but is also helpful for those interested in effective and skillful participation in any group setting.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

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