Have You Considered Seeking Therapy, but You Are Hesitant to Make the Decision?
It’s not easy to take the step of contacting a therapist. In many cases, pressures from society and culture can make it feel downright embarrassing to accept the fact that you may need help and support. Or you may be hesitant to admit there’s a problem in the first place. Perhaps you are concerned about cost or skeptical about its effectiveness. Or you may worry about whether therapy will bring up difficult issues and make things worse. All you want is to feel understood and supported, but things aren’t getting any better. It’s no fun feeling caught between a rock and a hard place.
Many Individuals Find More Strength and Support in Group Therapy than Traditional One-to-One Therapy
Countless individuals struggle with challenges in their lives that traditional one-on-one therapy has failed to treat effectively. For many, group therapy offers an effective solution. Being in a group will help you realize other people have problems like yours. It can be a great comfort when you see that you are not alone in your struggles. In my groups safety is a vital consideration, and no member is allowed to speak or behave inappropriately. Every member is required to sign an agreement to give honest, respectful and caring feedback, honor the boundaries, feelings and welfare of other group members, and feel free to protect their own boundaries and rights to privacy. No one is required to speak or participate, and some members get a lot out of groups simply by
Many group therapy clients are also members of recovery organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous. Therapists and health care professionals agree that these organizations have survived because of their effectiveness in helping addicts in their recovery. However, without the experienced leadership of a trained group therapist, issues of improper, disrespectful or even hostile behavior can arise in the groups. This kind of behavior can leave other members of the group feeling hurt, judged unfairly or even condemned. To ensure this negative atmosphere is never a part of my groups, I take care to screen – as far as possible – all group members.
If you are considering group therapy, please be sure the group leader has the proper credentials. Whenever possible, try to work with a licensed professional. Ask whether it is an open-ended or a limited-session group. Ask about the focus of the group; some address self-help issues like stress management or communication, while others get into deep therapy for chronic emotional issues. Feel free to ask for a short, no-cost consultation to help you get a feel for the therapist and obtain answers about what to expect in group meetings.
Group Therapy Can Help You Find the Support You Need
The group setting provides an environment and support system you can’t always find in traditional one-to-one therapy. My groups provide a forum for airing and solving your problems, as well as a welcome increase in your ability to handle life’s daily stresses. To help you realize your personal goals in an open, supportive setting, I combine my experience in stress management and clinical hypnosis with a life-long practice of meditation.
In group sessions, I bring an easy-going and somewhat flexible approach. While I won’t let a group member “run” the group or dominate the discussion, I recognize there are cases where my plan for a given session should be put on hold. If you have something crucial to share that requires attention, or if you are dealing with a crisis, you can be comfortable knowing you will get the support and care you need. Rigidity is rarely helpful in these settings; and I prefer to serve as a role-model of flexibility and unconditional positive attention for my group members.
Group work is one of the most effective methods of getting help. In a group we are validated, supported and encouraged to be who we are, and to change, if change is desired.
The advantages of group therapy:
- Group therapy is a powerful vehicle for self-improvement. Just hearing other people’s stories has the effect of encouraging and inspiring group members. It brings out a person’s compassion and desire to be of help. That alone is tremendously therapeutic and one of the great wonders of group work.
- Confidentiality is required, and members agree to give respect and support to all.
- The cost is more affordable than that of individual therapy.
- Group therapy could help you minimize or even avoid the need for medication in cases of situational depression or mild anxiety.
- For most people the social nature of a therapy group promotes learning and makes it a lot more interesting, and even fun.
Since 2002 I have led hundreds of groups on a wide range of issues and problems. The topics have included conflict resolution, sexual abuse, stress management, trauma, communication, anger management and spiritual abuse recovery. Group therapy can help you find the support and solutions you need.
But, you may still have questions about group therapy…
How long does a group therapy course last?
In case of a long-standing or chronic problem, an open-ended group lasts as long as you need it to last. It’s your call how long you choose to attend. A focus group, which addresses a particular problem, might have a limited number of sessions – often between six and ten.
I’m worried there might be sexual impropriety within the group?
That’s a serious question, and I address this in the therapy agreement that every group member must sign. Every member agrees to refrain from having sexual contact with another group member. Married or otherwise committed couples are obviously excepted.
What happens if I see a group member or my therapist in public?
Let’s say you’re at a restaurant with a co-worker; and the co-worker is a known gossip. Your therapist or one of your fellow group members appears. You see them. What do you do? Do you greet them, and then have to explain to your co-worker how you know this person? My clients understand that in public I do not acknowledge them unless they greet me first. This same rule applies for all group members, too.
You Can Find the Support You Need
If you are searching for group therapy, or if you have additional questions, I invite you to call me at (219) 309-3928 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. Or, if you have an idea or request for a helpful therapy or support group, please feel free to reach out and tell me about it.