Golden Rule Organization (GRO)
The self-improvement methods used by GRO are specifically designed to be "self-help" methods. You should be able to just read the "GR Workbook" to learn how to immediately begin using the techniques. While some aspects may be similar, it is not a 12-step program, and doesn't require the same type of interactions or group leaders.
However, as with many types of group therapy or counseling, it is helpful to have a group leader. As with marriage counseling or abuse therapy, it is also best to have someone who is objective, and not taking sides with one party or another, and who doesn't have a personal agenda.
Sometimes iresolvable disputes arise between those who are using the GR self help therapy method. For instance, disagreements, or even old "sore spots" between husbands and wives, family members, etc., can come up. Most often, when issues are brought up, there isn't a clear "you're right and you're wrong" answer - more than one party in an argument may be both right and wrong, or part of their involvement was right, and part of their involvement was wrong. When defensiveness and ego flare up, no one may be willing to admit their responsibility.
GR groups or fellowship meetings that don't have someone who all parties respect and have agreed to grant the authority to interject and make final decisions (sort of like a judge, mediator or arbitrator), are likely to fail. What happens, is that the ability for the method to work will break down or become less effective when an iresolvable dispute arises.
Thus, it is VERY important to have someone to play the role of group session leader. This doesn't even need to be the same person every time. In fact, it's better if it's not the same person all the time. It just requires that all parties involved have a true commitment to personal growth and wanting constructive criticism to see the truth about themselves, no matter how humiliating or painful it may be. If a group is unable to do that with other members who may be involved in a dispute, they may at least seriously listen to an objective group leader's viewpoints and comments without defensiveness and ego-based resistance. The last thing you want is for people to "agree" with the day leader while in truth they are just repressing their true feelings and "biting their tongue". This can happen when opinions/decisions don't go the way you think they should (which is always the case for someone in the meeting).
Again, the GR Workbook and the methods laid out in it for self-improvement, were designed to be "self-help" techniques to be used without a teacher or counselor. But that requires all parties in a group meeting to be humble and committed enough to finding the best solution, or truth, rather than everyone's priority being looking "good", "right", and trying to avoid looking "bad" or "wrong".
If you or your fellow GR meeting participants don't truly want self-improvement intensely enough to be willing to see yourself, warts and all, then it will not be successful, or will have very limited success.
Sometimes a group can achieve this without a group leader, if each member agrees that if there is a unanimous opinion by all other members, that they will admit the majority is very likely to be right.
If you already have a religion, may we suggest that you ask your spiritual guidance representatives to help (minister, rabbi, priest, lama, abbot/head monk, cleric or whatever your religion calls your spiritual guides).
Some people would like a GRO member to play the role of an objective group leader. But besides being spread too thin at this time, we also only want to teach people how to help themselves - not be involved in their lives any further than that (other than occasional counseling if absolutely necessary). We don't want to, and won't, preach or tell people what to do with their lives.
That being said, we recognize the need for truly objective arbitrators, and that there is a difference in trying to achieve self-improvement using constructive criticism, by following a book versus personal instruction. This is especially true if you don't have an objective group therapy leader who is respected enough by all parties to have their opinion be listened to without holding grudges or living with repressed anger under the surface - that is unhealthy for everyone.
However, it can be done without an objective group leader. Sometimes it just requires demonstrating how to do it by an objective third party who is experienced in using this method.
Thus, a person who has experienced successful GR method therapy sessions, and "knows the ropes", can often be helpful getting a new therapy group off to a good start, or "jump starting" a group that has become "stuck" a rut of denial or disagreements. That would be the job of a GR teacher or counselor.
We offer seminars and retreats, in which a GR group, couple or family can learn what it takes first hand, and how to go about having successful GR therapy meetings.
Unfortunately, our resources and teachers/counselors are spread very thin right now. However, we may be able to help people in that way, any time now. So drop us an email, explain your situation, and we'll get back to you on how we may be able to help. If people are willing, they may be able to have a representative of GRO to come to your location and give lessons. But we strongly recommend that you simply start with the book, and give it a try on your own first.
In order to be certain that no one is falsely representing themselves as a GRO group leader/teacher, we maintain a list of certified instructors/counselors. We urge you to email us to verify teacher/counselor status.