Is Group Therapy right for me?
Group is a safe place to allow yourself to be vulnerable and experiment with new behaviors. You can learn to work through conflicts that might otherwise be avoided. You can learn that we all struggle with personal issues at various transition periods in our life — starting or ending a relationship or job, losing a loved one, being a parent, etc. As you identify with the struggles of others, you can learn emotional closeness and caring. Intimacy grows as you share honestly, involve yourself personally, interact in direct and open ways, and reveal yourself. Gradually, through your participation, you will discover your strengths, recognize your potential, and learn to trust your intuition. Group members both support and challenge each other to change their patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. Ultimately, however, it is up to you to make the decision to change.
Group therapy can be a compliment to individual and/or couples therapy or can be done alone. In a group, you learn about yourself through contact with others. You can explore your style of relating to others and learn effective social skills — ways to express your feelings and ask for what you want. You can get feedback from a variety of people and increase your self-awareness.
There are several disadvantages to group therapy. Facing the truths about your life can be painful. At first, you may be embarrassed, anxious, or angry about sharing who you are with the group. As you continue in group, you may feel pressure to conform to the group norms, even if they are not what you believe is right for you. There may be subtle pressure to not talk about certain subjects, not tell the full truth, or hide out-of-group conversations. You may “get hooked” in the process of being in group and not practice in-group learning outside of the group. Or, you may limit your group experience to venting your problems and not working to make changes.
Group is not a cure-all. In some cases, additional therapy is helpful. This type of group is not appropriate for people who are actively suicidal, psychotic, sociopathic, extremely self-centered, paranoid, or who live from crisis to crisis.
If you are interested in continuing your personal growth by joining an interpersonal process group, I would love to hear from you. Please call me at 404.518.0828 with any questions. I’d love to work with you. Dr. Sharman Colosetti