Group Therapy

What is group therapy?

Group therapy is a powerful vehicle for growth, change and support. Not
only will you receive tremendous understanding, support, and
encouragement from others, but you will also gain different perspectives,
ideas, and viewpoints that can make a difference in how you experience
yourself and others. Many clients, though somewhat apprehensive at first,
say that the group experience was helpful far beyond their expectations.

In group, you will have an opportunity to learn more about the way you
interact with others. What makes the group unique is that it is a closed
and safe system. The content of the group sessions is confidential; what
members talk about or disclose is not discussed outside the group.

The first few sessions of a group usually focus on the establishment of
trust. During this time, members work to establish a level of trust that
allows them to talk personally and honestly. Group trust is achieved when
all members make a commitment to the group.

How does group therapy work?

Most personal problems are interpersonal in nature. Very often they stem
from our relationships with our family of origin. Group therapy offers the
rare opportunity to explore and understand how you relate to others and
get specific feedback on how others react to you.

For many people, groups can be more effective and produce quicker
results than individual therapy. The opportunity to work through problems
with other people who share similar concerns is what makes group
therapy special. Only in group therapy can you directly work on how you
relate to others. The group environment of trust and safety can help you
build the skills you need to create the same kind of trust and safety in
your everyday life with friends, family, and intimate partners.

The group experience can help you learn about your style of relating,
your ability to be close, and your personal effectiveness in relationships,
and gives you the unique opportunity to see how others struggle with
these same concerns. It also offers the opportunity to explore a broad
range of personal issues and situations.

Some of the many benefits of group therapy

  • The group experience affords the opportunity to be real with others
    in an environment of safety and respect.
  • Being in a group can counteract feelings of isolation and a sense
    of being alone with your feelings.     
  • Members are able to try out new behaviors.
  • Group can provide members with diverse views, responses, and
    feedback.
  • In group, members often see their usual patterns of relating to
    people, allowing for an opportunity to challenge these patterns.
  • Groups can allow members the chance to explore and better
    understand themselves, learn new ways of relating, and how to
    better cope with difficulties.  

What do I talk about in group therapy?

The issues you choose to talk about are typically those that relate directly
to your present difficulty or concerns. How much you talk about yourself
depends upon what you are comfortable with. Unexpressed feelings are a
major reason why people experience difficulties. Revealing your
feelings
about the issue you are struggling with (self-disclosure) is an important
part of group therapy and affects how much you will gain from it. If you
have any questions about what might or might not be helpful, you can
always ask the group.

Some common misperceptions about group therapy

"I will be forced to tell all of my deepest thoughts, feelings and secrets to
the group."

You decide what, how much, and when you share with the group. Most
people find that when they feel safe enough to share what is troubling
them, a group can be very helpful and affirming. I encourage you not to
share what you are not ready to disclose. You can also be helped by
listening to others and thinking about how what they are saying might
apply to you.

"Group therapy will take longer than individual therapy because I will have
to share the time with others."

Actually, group therapy is often more efficient than individual therapy for
two reasons. First, you can benefit from the group even during sessions
when you say very little but listen carefully to others. You will find that you
have much in common with other group members, and as they work on a
concern, you can learn more about yourself. Secondly, group members
will often bring up issues that strike a chord with you, but that you might
not have been aware of or brought up yourself.

"I will be verbally attacked by the leaders and by other group members."

It is essential that group members feel safe to explore and share their
concerns in a non-judgmental atmosphere. As your group therapist my
job is to help create that safe environment. Feedback is often difficult to
hear. As group members come to trust and accept one another, they
generally experience feedback and even confrontation as positive, as if it
were coming from their best friend. One of the benefits of group therapy
is the opportunity to receive feedback from others in a supportive
environment. It is rare to find friends who will gently point out how you
might be behaving in ways that hurt yourself or others, but this is
precisely what the group can offer. This will be done in a respectful,
gentle way, so that you can hear it and make use of it.

"I have so much trouble talking with people, I'll never be able to share in a
group."

Most people are anxious about being able to talk in group. Almost without
exception, within a few sessions people find that they do begin to talk in
the group. You will most likely get a lot of support for sharing in the group.

When are the groups held?

Groups are forming all of the time and at different times and different
days. Please click on the link below to see a list of available groups. If you
are interested in being in a group or have any questions call or
email me
and I will be glad to discuss this opportunity with you.