Group Therapy: Got Questions?
I love practicing Social Therapy, an innovative group therapy approach that brings diverse clients together to grow emotionally.
I was asked recently to address common questions about the group therapy process. I’m glad to oblige. Here are a few:
1. Won’t my issues get lost in the shuffle with a group? Or What about the individual attention I might need?
Taking the focus off of you as an individual actually helps! We have discovered that focusing on a group developing, not solely on you, can help us evolve in new ways.
But I want help with my anxiety, my debilitating depression, my mess of a relationship, with how stuck I am in life or with my career, etc.
Yes, we work on these life issues in group, collectively. Group therapy is a practice ground for exploring and relating to your life in new ways.
Talking only about your story and what is going on so-called inside of you:
Is not like most of life, which is lived socially.
Does not give us the resources needed to take a new look at what you are challenged by emotionally and relationally.
2. Will I be forced to talk? Or Will I have to do things the ‘group way’?
No, in my groups you will never be forced to do anything you do not choose to do. Group is made up of free citizens who are coming to create a team for growth and support together. You are not coming in to fit into something that is already set in stone, but rather coming as an active co-builder of the environment.
I often say that what is so useful about group therapy to our lives and emotional health is that it is less coming to receive a service already prepackaged and more like coming onto a construction site and joining the fellow builders.
3. I want my personal issues to be private! Or I don’t feel comfortable sharing with strangers.
Group might not be for you, which is fine. However, keeping your issues private can actually keep them going, or make things worse. Our mistrust of and alienation from other humans plays a role in our anxiety, depression and divorce epidemics.
Group therapy is a way to help us remember the wonderfulness of doing therapy, and life, as a team.
4. I don’t want to hear other people’s problems. Or Other regular people don’t have the expertise of a therapist.
Yes, you are hearing other people's problems, but that is how real life works, isn’t it? You are sharing with others walking down the street, at work, at home. Group can be a wonderful opportunity to learn how to share our so-called problems in a way that feels generative and useful, instead of draining. Also, there is lots of joy, laughter, and sharing of life’s successes, in our groups as well.
At group, you are still in therapy with me, and I have many years of experience as a group facilitator and therapist. On our best days people are exploring, philosophical and curious with another, not generating advice and knowledge at one another.
Are there more questions about group therapy? I would love to continue the conversation. And consider joining one of my groups.