By Claire Rose, MOT, OTR/L

If you’re anything like me, the words “book club” conjure up an antiquated image of a group of ladies seated on couches and overstuffed armchairs, daintily drinking tea while nibbling on a biscuit or sipping wine with a carefully arranged charcuterie board presented more for aesthetics than for sustenance. It’s an environment that looks lighthearted and fun from the outside, but on the inside can be an incredibly pressured and overwhelming experience for a neurodivergent introvert like me. In Part 2 I will tell you more about this part of my story. For now….

Imagine my surprise when the GHC Book Club turned out to be one of the most valuable experiences of my tenure with this company. Thoughtfully facilitated by one of our colleagues and developed both for our therapists and for the families and communities we serve, this offering demands nothing of me but an hour of my time each month and has given back to me tenfold, both in my professional role as a therapist and also with poignant resonance in my personal life as a spouse and parent.

The convenience and comfort of the online gathering format has relieved so much of my anxiety associated with a group activity; there is no pressure to make small talk, no expectation of having to read and synthesize every word in order to have a voice in the room, and no judgment for how much (or how little) a group member may participate in discussion. Each book has been mindfully chosen and each discussion is led with care and honesty. Participants are invited to come as they are, mirroring the sense of safety and belonging that we aim to create for our children within their therapeutic experiences with us.

Our new book for the year, “What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing” promises to bring thoughtful discussion and reflections on our histories and the personal encounters that have shaped us into who (and how) we are today. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my time as a therapist, it is that trauma doesn’t discriminate, and therefore each one of us have wounds that are in their own stages of healing. The opportunities that our book club brings- a space for connection and community, a chance to be seen and heard, and to learn and grow from our lived experiences- are a far stronger balm than I would ever have imagined.