I love explaining to folks that I practice Social Therapy, a powerful and effective style of therapy that takes a different approach to group. Our groups are made up of people of various ages, genders, sexual orientations, class backgrounds and different reasons why they came into therapy.
When I tell people that I am a group therapist, they often respond with great interest, and ask about my group therapy practice. This is wonderful for me, as it is one of my favorite topics of discussion. Once we start talking, folks will inevitably expose an understandable assumption about group therapy. People will say things like ‘oh yes, therapy with others who are like you, that must be helpful', or will ask ‘what is the topic or theme of your groups?’
Can you guess what the (very reasonable) assumption is? It is that therapy groups are always made up of clients with similar ‘issues’. For example, clients going through divorce, women diagnosed with depression, men with anger management problems, etc. I feel sympathetic to this assumption because group therapy is typically practiced in this same-issue style. Also, it is how group therapy is portrayed in the larger culture (think images of Church basement AA meeting).
In social therapy, with our groups made up of diversity, we do actually have a theme. It is a theme called growth and development. Whoever is interested in that is a great candidate.
Why do group therapy in this way?
We want to help people get out of their heads and into the world. Given that the world is made up of all kinds of people, we want our groups to reflect that.
The focus of the Social therapy group is not to help fix a particular person’s problem or diagnosis, but rather to help people work as a team to develop, grow and create new ways of dealing with life and relationships.
Working together in a diverse team encourages people to learn new skills that will help them to live life to the fullest. A diverse grouping of people creates a richer environment for people to develop and evolve into who they can become.
Ironically, practicing a therapy that is not solely about YOU is very helpful…for everyone!