Role Playing Required in Support Group--Opinions?
I belong to an Asperger's support group that meets once a month. A few months ago the guy who is the administrator brought in a guy to help lead the meetings. This guy is working toward some kind of certification in social work or mental health. The administrator said that this guy was helping to run the group meetings to earn credit for whatever certificate or degree he's working on. Before he got involved, all of our meetings were guided discussion or sometimes a presentation about a particular issue involving Asperger's/autism.
The new guy has begun running role-playing sessions in the meetings. He picks a topic, and then has us break up into pairs or small groups and act out some scenario. Sometimes he will have us break up into groups afterward and discuss what happened in the groups before he has the entire group get together and talk about what took place.
I'm just wondering if this kind of forced interaction involving play-acting in a situation we have to imagine is taking place, helps anyone else. I'm asking because it doesn't help me. It's meaningless to me because it's contrived and it isn't real. I feel I'm going through the motions with no purpose.
I have the impression that I'm the only person in the group who feels this way, because no one else has said they'd rather not participate in this. Pretending or being required to interact in a way that isn't genuine rattles me. And I'm not sure it's really right for this guy to be using us to get credit for whatever school work he's doing. He isn't an authority on Asperger's/autism, and as far as I know he isn't an Aspie himself.
He sent a group email around to us before our most recent meeting saying that anyone who wanted to attend was required to participate in this role-playing. It wasn't optional. So I stayed home. I'm missing out on meetings that were important to me, and the discussions and presentations we used to have helped me enormously. It meant a lot to me to be able to spend an afternoon once a month with 30 or 40 Aspies, and to know I was safe and I could be myself.
At one of the meetings where he held these role-playing sessions, some of us sat them out. He made a comment aimed at us to the effect that we were copping out and we were cowardly for declining to join in. I felt that was totally uncalled for, and I felt it was manipulative, a case of him trying to bully us to join in, which is deeply inappropriate, given that Aspies are especially vulnerable to bullying throughout our lives.
Does anyone else have any opinions?
This situation sounds wrong! I can understand why you are uncomfortable... has it been resolved?