As a psychotherapist specializing in group therapy, I often hear the following comments and questions from clients in my practice:
“Group? Why Group?!”
“I like talking to you privately”
“Why should I share my deepest darkest struggles with a bunch of strangers”
“I already take care of others and not myself, won’t group be the same?”
“That’s too scary I don’t know what to expect”
These are all understandable concerns and fair questions. So, why do I practice group therapy?”
Quite simply, group therapy is the most powerful way for me to help people develop emotionally. Group isn’t easy, but it can and does help people who struggle with a wide range of difficulties. Here’s why group works so dramatically: Our culture is hyper-individualized which keeps us overly in-our-heads, and promotes an overemphasis on our “private” thoughts and feelings. As a result, we can become alienated, defensive, lonely, and unable to build satisfactory lives and close relationships with others. Sadly, we can also become unable to receive the help and support we all need at different times in our lives. Group therapy offers an alternative to this way of being.
Group therapy provides a rich and unique opportunity for people to create their own team for emotional development. In creating your team for development with other group members, you will also be developing the skills you need to lead the life you want. You will become better equipped to live in the world with others. After all, we live in many kinds of communities: at our jobs, in our neighborhoods, and at home. To live in communities successfully (and with less debilitating depression, anxiety, and other kinds of difficulties) requires us to grow emotionally. Group offers the opportunity for just that.
I hope that I have been able to give you a sense of my passion for the group approach. I would love to hear your thoughts, reactions and questions.