Need A Life Upgrade? Consider Group Therapy

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One of the most positive life-changing experiences a person can have is being part of a therapy group. It is a place where you can safely face how you interact with others and how that affects your life and theirs.

Before you say, “No way, I’d never put myself through that,” think about this: How you relate to yourself and others largely determines the quality of your life experience.

To upgrade your life experience, you must first understand how your usual ways of relating to the world affect yourself and others. Being in group therapy gives you this opportunity.

If you do not like the effects your words and deeds have on your quality of life, you can learn and experiment with different, more effective behavior and communication options. Therapy groups provide the means to learn and practice these skills.

Although the group therapy process can be uncomfortable at times, there are many benefits that make the experience warm and fuzzy as well.

Life-Affirming Benefits of Group Therapy

  1. Hope is generated, that things can and will improve.
  2. Group members realize they are not alone in their distress, that there is a universal, common human experience in all our problems.
  3. Information and education about mental and emotional health, life skills, and relationships are offered; members also receive recommendations for managing problems.
  4. Members have an opportunity to exercise their altruistic (heart) muscle to help other members and be of service.
  5. Members realize how primary family experiences shape our beliefs and the way we relate to others, that we can let go of what holds us back and learn new ways of thinking and relating.
  6. Groups offer a chance to practice and develop effective interpersonal or social skills, including trying on or imitating the behaviors of others that we can see are effective.
  7. Groups are an opportunity to express emotions and feelings in a non-judgmental atmosphere and to receive feedback from others who are also experimenting with new ways of engaging.
  8. In therapy groups we face the realities of existence (aloneness, responsibility, mortality) with the support of others.

Over time groups develop cohesiveness, meaning members become connected through sharing their experiences, thoughts, and feelings. They learn that by allowing themselves to be vulnerable they create strong bonds of caring and support.

Source: Yalom, Irvin. The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, 4th Edition, Basic Books, 1995.

 
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