Most presenting issues have some connection to past or present relationships and how one feels about oneself, others, and one’s life as a result of those relationships. Whether one has experienced loss, mistreatment, rejection, being pushed into a role to please others, or one of the many other things that go awry in our relationship experience, group is a direct and powerful way to access relationship patterns and feelings toward oneself in relationships that are the source of the presenting concern. From anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, communication, or anger issues, to repetitively choosing the wrong partner for you, processing and understanding your relational experience in real-time is a powerful opportunity for change.
Clients can practice applying the insights and skills they are learning in individual therapy, such as awareness of feelings, their source, and the ability to express them vs. acting them out. Looking at relationship dynamics in real-time as reactions are occurring with other group members allows profound development to happen naturally. While exploring, the therapist or other members may notice things about the person that wouldn’t be apparent in individual therapy and that the person might not know to report to his/her individual therapist. Group therapy helps people learn to be more authentic and have a more full and loving sense of self, to have healthier relationships, to communicate effectively, and to not recreate painful childhood relationship dynamics in present relationships. These changes, combined with the support of the group, lead to decreased anxiety, depression, anger, and distress.
The support is not the focus for us (as it would be in a support group), though deep, supportive relationships are often formed with other members. Group therapy for us is a psychotherapy group where the focus is on exploring one’s real self and your feelings that are stimulated by the relationships in the room (which will inevitably mirror the relationship dynamics and feelings that arise outside of group therapy). So, what we want to see is people talking to each other about how they feel with each other moment to moment. Through this process, you will receive valuable honest feedback as well as learn about your reactions to others.