Many people do not consider the option of group therapy when they are thinking of entering treatment. I think that’s unfortunate because not only is it an affordable option for most people, it is also a powerful treatment modality. Group is an energetic, dynamic, supportive, and rich environment where a unique type of growth occurs. It makes sense that group is good for people who might struggle with social anxiety, loneliness, shame, or those who have difficulties communicating.
But group is a treatment of choice for so many other concerns such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem, to name a few things. The reason for this is that our brains are social organs. They can only develop within relationships with others, and therefore they also transform within a relational setting. Our brains synergistically affect one another. The group provides that interpersonally rich and supportive environment where deep change occurs. When group members can be curious about themselves while remaining connected to others, a whole new type of learning can take place.
Members receive support from one another, they gain insights not only from their participation but through the work that others are doing, and members can see how they show up in relationship with others. We are not just talking about what gets in the way of satisfying connections with others anymore because it’s happening in real time and we can observe and intervene in effective ways.
Modern Psychoanalytic group therapist Elliot Zeisel referred to group therapy as a “nutritional soup” where members absorb the wonderful nutrients they need to thrive in their lives. I would agree as I've experienced my own professional and personal growth accelerated through participation in groups.
Group therapy might be a good option for you if:
You’ve reached a plateau in your treatment and you’re ready for the nutritious soup of group!
You want deeper connections to people in your life
You’ve noticed patterns in your relationships that have stumped you or have gotten in the way of what you want
You don’t want to do all the work but want to sometimes kick back and learn vicariously through others
You want to learn to become an emotionally safe person who can have all your feelings and choose which to act upon
You want to learn to navigate conflict with others while remaining connected
You would like to not lose yourself while you are in relationship with others
You want to become acquainted with a fuller and more fluid version of yourself
If this is you, consider joining a group!