Is Group Therapy For Me?
Are you tired of feeling alone in a big city full of people with “fabulous” lives? Do you compare your life to everyone else’s on social media or in the office? Do you struggle with your relationships, or find it hard to make friends? Do you have trouble getting along with your co-workers or advocating for yourself to get that promotion? Would you like a consistent place to receive support?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, group counseling might be the perfect option for you. Are you looking for a more affordable, yet effective option than individual therapy? Perhaps you’ve tried individual therapy, and you never found the relief that you were looking for. Maybe individual therapy didn’t feel as productive as you had hoped it would be, but you feel that you still need a professional’s help.
Are you someone who learns best from others, or thrives from a supportive and encouraging environment?
What Do Group Sessions Look Like At Therapy2Change?
In group psychotherapy with me, a professionally trained group therapist, you and a small number of people will meet under my guidance as I facilitate a conversation. During the session, I encourage you and the other members to help yourself and each other through hardship and life events. These group sessions involve all members sitting in a circle to create an open space of communication, and my role is to guide you and ensure that the space is confidential and comfortable for everyone to be able to participate.
All members of the group, including yourself, are carefully selected so that the group feels right to everyone. Most people who take part in these group therapy sessions will have some prior therapy experience, but this is not always the case if you’re a great fit for the group and the group dynamic. Because of the careful grouping process, these sessions are closed to the public, which means that the same members attend each week. However, carefully screened members may be added to a group along the way if the fit is right. This allows members to form close relationships with each other, so that learning and trying new skills feels less daunting. My job as the therapist is to intervene when necessary and contribute to the conversation to make sure you and everyone else has the opportunity to grow and learn, and to encourage everyone to participate. My goal is to help you thrive in this supportive group space so you can take the steps needed for positive life changes.
How Can Group Counseling Help?
Common sense tells us, and decades of research have proven, that being comfortable in a group setting is a foundation for overall emotional health. For most of us, we live our whole lives in group settings—at our work, home, school, and with our friends and neighbors.
We all started out life in a group: our family. We often carry over many emotional problems from that original group, even after years of living independently. As humans, most of us thrive when we have community support—group therapy not only provides that support, it can help you learn how to create that community within your personal life, and resolve whatever blocks that prevent you from doing so. Group sessions can help you form richer relationships and live more effectively in the world.
This type of therapy helps you see that are not alone in your life endeavors, and it allows you to be seen and understood by your peers—which can be a very powerful and healing experience. Your group members will share their life story and you will have the opportunity to listen and learn from their accomplishments, as well as their struggles. It is a place to exchange stories and experiences. You will also have the opportunity to demonstrate your own strengths and help others in the group learn from you, which can be very empowering and can boost your self-esteem. Receiving feedback and support from other members whom you’ve grown to know can be a very powerful catalyst for change.
Think of the group as a laboratory to practice new social skills. The leader’s job is to ensure the space is safe and supportive enough for you to experiment, without fear of loss or overwhelming shame. Because the group is united in a common goal—to improve interpersonal relationships and gain a more successful career and life—you and other members will find a sense of belonging and acceptance. You will grow weary of old habits and unhealthy patterns as you find support and guidance from the group. Within this supportive community you will find the strength you need to create positive life changes.
You May Have A Few Questions Or Concerns About Group Counseling Sessions…
Group feels too scary!
You’ve likely seen those AA or Al-Anon meetings on TV, or maybe you’ve been to a few yourself. Because of that, group sessions might seem like something daunting and intimidating, or even like a caricature. You might think it’s something only for people with more serious mental illnesses or for those who are not stable.
Well, those perceptions are true to an extent. However, a therapy group in a private setting is different, and the nature of TV or movies is to entertain, not inform. Members are carefully selected and can have a wide range of life experiences. My extensive training and experience specific to group therapy helps me maintain and nurture a healthy group environment. As a new member, you will be as prepared as much as possible so you have a sense of the group prior to entry, and are committed to working through whatever comes up during sessions. My job as the leader is to ensure the environment is safe enough for members to bravely try new skills.
The stimulating nature of group can help effect real change. So don’t worry—if I didn’t think you could handle it, I wouldn’t put you in the group in the first place!
Must I be in a group the first time I see you?
No—there will always be a screening process to ensure that the group is a good fit for you, and that you are a good fit for the group. I generally conduct at least 2-3 consultation sessions, even if you have had prior therapy experience or are in individual therapy with another therapist. It is important for me that if you enter a group, it will be a positive experience for you and the other group members.
If you’ve had no prior therapy experience, we might meet for a bit longer until we both have a sense that group will be the best experience for you. As we build our relationship, we will both be in a better position to make this assessment. Additionally, if you are experiencing a crisis, such as a recent loss or breakup, financial concerns or overwhelming depression or anxiety, it would probably be best for us to meet individually for awhile until you feel more secure and stable. Group can be very stimulating, and if you are already feeling over stimulated in your life, individual attention can be more cathartic and healing.
Would I have to choose between group and individual counseling?
This sometimes depends on you and your therapy goals. Both forms of therapy can actually enhance the effectiveness of the other. Your group sessions can help your individual sessions become more meaningful and directive, while individual therapy sessions can help you process issues that come up in the group and bring insights that you can then work through more effectively in the group.
From my professional experience, your personal growth often speeds up if you are able to do both. And some people that have weekly individual therapy find that they can reduce the frequency of those sessions once they join a group. Together, we can discuss what the right balance is for you so that you get the most out of therapy.
If you’re curious if group therapy is right for you, or if I’m the right therapist for your needs, contact me for a free 20-minute phone consultation at 917-873-0506 or contact me. My practice is located in Brooklyn.