We’ve never been more “connected.” Social media and a more global perspective seem to link us at a moment’s notice. Yet, somehow, loneliness still feels like an epidemic.
Loneliness isn’t just about having access to more people, it’s about how you have those people in your life. Truthfully, our devices can connect and isolate us at the same. Our list of “friends” gets longer but the quality of our connections is dubious. In fact, loneliness has inspired many folks to try therapy for relief. But what about group therapy? Can it become a bulwark against the persistent loneliness of our digital age?
When You Need More Than Your Notifications
Life in the digital age has dramatically shifted our social lives. While we may be in touch with more people than ever, too many of these connections are superficial. We learn to see them as disposable and subject to spontaneous deletion or “un-friending.” In addition, our ever-increasing screen time hampers our real-world social skills. Without a steady amount of quality face-to-face interactions, we become less adept at reading the following social nuances:
- social cues
- facial expressions
- vocal inflections
- body language
This leads us to feel “awkward” in social settings and therefore more likely to avoid them. In turn, this reinforces our loneliness. What can bring us back into the fold, socially speaking? Intentionally entering into a healthy, well-moderated group of kindred spirits.
Dynamics of Group Therapy
Moderated by a leader, a group setting offers many distinct therapeutic advantages. These include:
- Identifying with others who are experiencing similar relationship issues and struggles with loneliness
- Learning to engage in and accept constructive observations
- Trusting others with personal details you’ve suppressed
- Gaining the benefit of hearing feedback from several people —most of whom are in the midst of a similar struggle
- Building new relationships and trying out new social strategies
- More affordable pricing helps ensure continued treatment and support
Combat Loneliness Through Group Therapy
Refined Social Skills/Social Dynamics
Group teaches you how to speak to others so that you can develop closer, more intimate relationships. You don’t just listen to each other’s concerns, you engage with members. You participate in your healing and the healing of others. This is how deep, healthy relationships are formed.
New Perceptions of Yourself
The odds are you joined a group because a problem exists in your life. Such a problem can eat away at your self-esteem and alter your self-image. As time passes, however, your fellow group members learn more about you. They see you and appreciate you and tell you about it. This helps you see yourself differently and appreciate yourself even more.
New Perspectives on Conflict
For most people, conflict is avoided. This can be wise at times but more likely, it is a catalyst for loneliness. In group sessions, issues are discussed directly. Conflict is not avoided. It is addressed in a healthy and productive. Conflict fosters teaching and learning moments. It is seen as a welcome opportunity for valuable growth. Healthy conflict resolution learned within the group translates into less isolation outside the group.
Cultivating Healthy Vulnerability
Another factor leading to loneliness may be a fear of appearing vulnerable. Again, this sometimes has its advantages but long term, it can motivate us to withdraw from social interactions. In group, vulnerability is highly encouraged. Accepting our vulnerability enables us to:
- More deeply connect with others
- Better understand ourselves
- Break down social barriers
- Become more open to change and new ideas
Taking the Step from Loneliness to Group Therapy
Loneliness feeds off itself. When we get used to feeling this way, we can become resistant to challenging it. Yet, often all it takes, though, is a single phone call. Taking that step to join group therapy can feel more like a massive leap. But it’s one worth taking. In the group, you will be reminded of the joys, benefits, and positive energy available when people connect collaborate for our mutual benefit.
Do you want more information regarding group therapy? Please read more here: group therapy. Beyond that, if you’re curious to learn whether group therapy is right for you — or if I’m the right therapist for your needs — please contact me for a free 20-minute phone consultation at 917-873-0506 or via the contact form on this website.