EXPECTATIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS OF THOSE ATTENDING GROUP THERAPY
What is group therapy?
A therapy group is usually comprised of 6-8 people who meet face to face with 1 or 2 trained facilitators and talk about what is concerning them most. Members listen to each other and openly express thoughts and feelings about what someone does or says. These interactions give members an opportunity to increase understanding, try out new ways of being with others and learn more about the ways they interact. The content of the group sessions is confidential; members agree not to identify other members or their concerns outside of group.
Why does group therapy work?
When people learn to interact freely with other group members, they tend to recreate the same patterns of interactions that have proved troublesome to them outside of the group. With the facilitation of the group leaders, members develop awareness of the effects of their ways of dealing with their feelings and others’. The group therapy environment provides a safe confines to experiment with alternative ways of treating yourself and others that may be more satisfying. Many people feel they are somehow weird or strange because of their problems or the way they feel; it is encouraging to hear that other people have similar difficulties, and can grow past them.
What do I talk about in group therapy?
Talk about what brought you to the counselling centre in the first place. Tell the group members what is most concerning you. If you need understanding, let the group know. If you think you need pointed feedback about something you say or do that seems to have a negative impact, let them know that also. It’s important to tell people what you expect of them. Unexpressed feelings are a major reason people experience difficulties. Revealing feelings—self disclosure—is an important part of group and affects how much you will gain from the group experience. The most useful disclosures are those that relate directly to your present concerns. How much you talk about yourself is your decision; it will depend in part on your own comfort level and how much you are committed to change in a given area. If you have questions about what might or might not be helpful, you can always ask the group.
Nature of the group
1. Participation in the group
You control, and are ultimately responsible for, what, how much, and when you tell the group about yourself. The more you become involved, the more you are likely to benefit.
• Most people find that when they feel safe enough to share personal issues, therapy groups can be very growthful and affirming.
• Many people are helped by listening to others and thinking about how what others are saying might apply to themselves.
2. Advantages of group therapy
Ways that group therapy may be more enriching for some than individual therapy include:
• You can benefit from the group even during sessions when you say little but listen carefully to others. Most people find that they h...