It’s the big day, your first day of group therapy. This kind of therapy is unfamiliar to you.
As you stand outside of the clinic in downtown Seattle, your throat tightens while sweat begins to collect in your palms. You begin to doubt your decision, but you choose to walk in.
As soon as you open the door, your anxiety kicks in and you wonder if these people will like you. You don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of these people. What if you trip like you did at Victrola over on Pike Street? What if your personal experience is ridiculed during the session? There are so many “what ifs” controlling your mind.
When you walk in, others are already gathered in a circle. The room begins to close in on you as you approach the group. You feel lightheaded and nervous.
You take a seat and you’re immediately greeted by every individual as well as the therapist leading the session. Smiles are exchanged as well as a few reassuring handshakes.
These people around you are here for the same reason as you are, and you realize that early on in the session. You understand that things will be okay.
What is Group Therapy?
Group therapy is a form of therapy in which a group of individuals with similar backgrounds or similar traumatic experiences meet to describe and discuss their problems. Along with discussing any problems members may have, different fears are talked about. Many Seattle groups are designed to target a specific problem, such as anxiety or trauma according to the American Psychological Association, while other groups focus on developing social skills.
While a majority of group therapies in Seattle meet weekly at a clinic, some Seattle groups meet in a home and partake in yoga as therapy at places like Satmoto Yoga Therapy, which is growing in popularity. A clinic is the most popular meeting place as it typically provides a sense of security.
Group therapy is one step closer to real life than individual therapy is. Members are working with multiple, real people rather than just a mental health professional. In a strong group, different perspectives are shared which provide for more feedback and exploration.
When joining a group, members are trusted to follow a set of guidelines that are in place to keep the discussions confidential.
Why Group Therapy?
Deciding to participate in group therapy can be a difficult decision for many, as seen in Seattle. Personal fears typically cause many to shy away from group therapy, but this kind of therapy provides benefits that can’t be given elsewhere. Some may feel weak for seeking help, but our blog explains how therapy is actually a valuable tool on the path to recovery.
Many fear that secrets will be shared to strangers while others are nervous about speaking of traumatic experiences in front of a group. Some fear that they will have to start the conversation themselves without the help of the therapist on site. This is not the case.
Many members have experienced some form of trauma which has led them to group therapy. Group therapy boosts its members' confidence levels and self-esteem by introducing them to others that are experiencing the same problems. They realize they’re not alone in this journey.
A safe haven is provided to members. Difficult experiences are kept confidential amongst the group and support is given to those struggling to cope. Members understand that every individual person sitting around them is there for a reason.
Your group becomes your family. Throughout the duration of the different sessions, bonds are created between group members. Connections are made. Friendships bloom which instills a sense of support.
Is Group Therapy Right for Me?
Group therapy is for anyone that is looking for a way to get better in the presence of others going through similar struggles. People that benefit from group therapy are actively trying to make a significant change in their life. Many members of group therapy believe they have lost control of their life and are seeking guidance from multiple people.
Anyone has the ability to take control of their life. Group therapy allows for an individual to receive feedback from multiple sources, rather than one. This feedback is capable of changing the outcome for someone.
Joining a group can create a sense of vulnerability which can be an important social skill to develop. Group therapy can also help some become more assertive in their daily lives. This kind of therapy can benefit anyone.
What Happens in a Group Therapy Session?
Many wonder what actually happens during a group therapy session.
The therapist has usually screened all individual members in separate sessions for appropriateness of fit. The therapist then prepares each member for the first group therapy session.
Group members are told to take note of their personal feelings and thoughts in reaction to what is being discussed during the session. Members are also instructed to take note of other members’ actions and discussions.
When members first gather in a circle, they will introduce themselves and begin sharing why they are in group therapy. Members might even include what they hope to receive from the session. In later meetings, members will share their progress since the last meeting.
The precise manner in which the session is conducted depends largely on the group itself. Goals are different for each group so no group is the same, meaning no discussion is the same.
The therapist will often encourage a free-form style of dialogue. This style allows for members to participate whenever he or she sees fit. Some members don't want to speak at all, and that's okay. Some therapists will instead have a specific plan that the group will follow in order to have members practice new skills.
The therapist has been trained to help initiate group conversation and to work on any anxiety the group as a whole may be feeling. The therapist is also there to guide and facilitate self-exploration, provide support, and encourage group unity.
Group therapy can be intimidating at first and it might even seem like the wrong choice for you.
In reality, this kind of therapy is just a very welcoming group of individuals that are eager to provide a safe haven for you and others. Group therapy boosts your overall confidence and self-esteem by introducing you to others that have a similar background to your own.
When the group actually meets for the first time, introductions are done by the members. Many members will share why they are in group therapy and some might include what they hope to receive from the session.
Many fear that they will have to lead the conversation but the therapist has been trained in order to help initiate group conversation and to work on any anxiety the group may be feeling.
By participating in a group therapy session, you are opening up yourself to new people and new experiences. Plenty of life lessons and social skills are developed while in a session.
Bonds are created and friendships are formed after each session, and these friendships last a lifetime. You are surrounded by individuals with similar experiences as you so you know that you’re not alone.
Here at Mindful Therapy Group, our certified therapists are ready to help you or a loved one. Let us help you live a better life. Contact us by phone at 206-453-5707 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org