I don’t like it. I don’t like to start a post negatively but I don’t like it. I’m not here to lie and sell a rosy image of the world. I don’t like group therapy.
I feel more vulnerable in group that one on one. Don’t get me wrong just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not good for me. That’s why I continued with group long after I decided I really didn’t like it.
Let’s be honest nobody enjoys getting up in a room front of people and talking about their feelings. But it helps. It helps in many ways, one way is this, you realise others feel the same way you do. You notice that when you tell a group of strangers your problems they aren’t as big as you made them in your head. By listening to others talk about their problems you again realise you aren’t so different to other people.
Another thing that helps is the notion ‘Two heads are better than one’. Rather than trying to solve all your issues yourself you can get the advice of several people who you don’t care if you upset by not following through on their advice. This can be infinitely helpful.
Make friends. I know you don’t think of group therapy as a social event but it is. Many group therapy sessions have coffee/tea and snacks afterwards for the group to get to know one another. You can talk about things beyond your mental health. The vulnerability showcased during the session helps knock down many of the barriers socialising with new people can throw up. You can almost skip the awful small talk and jump straight to the things that are important to you and them.
If you make a friend in group therapy, they can become incredibly good friends due to mutual understanding, mutual aid and vulnerability. How often have you become closer to someone after either you or them, or both of you have been vulnerable in front of one another? Why do you think when you get intoxicated and have the chats with someone who wasn’t a close friend you suddenly move the friendship onto the next level? Vulnerability.
Being vulnerable isn’t always a handicap, it can often be a massive help in aiding in dealing with mental, emotional and mood issues.
So even if the idea of group is horrible to you, go try it. You have nothing to lose. But you’ve everything to gain. And if you hate it, good. That means you’re growing. Stick it out for at least four sessions, assuming one a week and see how you feel after that.
Drop some comments of your experiences with group!