Do you feel “stuck” in therapy and unsure that it’s working anymore?
Are you feeling a disconnect between who you are at your therapist’s office and who you are in your life? Do you wonder if you’ve come as far as you can with individual therapy, but worry that you have still not achieved all of your goals? Maybe you feel frustrated that you’ve invested all this time and money into therapy, but it still isn’t changing your life in the ways you’d hoped.
For example, through your work with your therapist, you may see that you get very defensive when you feel like you are being criticized. You can see that this hurts your relationships and even gets in the way of your career progress. You may leave your therapist’s office determined to get this under control.
Maybe you even have a specific plan, complete with actions you are going to take to see real changes in your life. Unfortunately when you walk out of the office all of your plans go out the window. You respond like you always do and feel terribly afterwards.
If you have been in this situation or one like it, you might think to yourself, “I wish this interaction could happen IN my therapist’s office! Then maybe I could finally get somewhere!”
Believe it or not, you can have this type of interaction in a therapy session.
Not with your boss, your partner, or your mother, of course, but with other people also looking to improve how their lives and relationships. This is the essence of group therapy. It creates a therapeutic environment where you have real-life interaction with other people grappling with similar issues, as well as a skilled therapist guiding and deepening the interactions.
Many people feel as though individual therapy can only bring them so far. There is nothing wrong with you if you feel stuck. While I am a huge proponent of individual therapy (of course!), for people struggling in relationships, life transitions, or feeling isolated, group therapy can take your personal development to the next level.
Group Therapy Can Help You Make New Breakthroughs
Talking to others who share your experiences can lead to a deeper understanding of yourself and your relationships and can allow you to get feedback and support from peers as you learn from other group members and their experiences. Best of all, it can help you observe your own feelings and reactions in real time, as all people are inevitably triggered by members of a group. In other words: It’s a safe place to be a human being having a human experience.
Participation in group therapy has many benefits including increased confidence, self-awareness, and communication skills. It’s a place to deeply explore your emotional triggers with other people and gain insight into your responses, even when emotions are running high. The ultimate goal for group therapy is to help you feel empowered to tap into your best self out in the world.
You may feel that group therapy can help you take important steps, but still have questions or concerns…
I’ve seen groups in movies and I don’t want to sit around with a bunch of crazy people.
This is not the same as the group therapy that you may have seen in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. This is a small group of people (between 4 and 7), just like you, who are looking to improve their lives. These are people you might work with or meet at a party. Interacting with them in a safe setting provides a chance to try out new ways of communicating with people outside of your regular life, but still with people you’d like to communicate with.
Will I be forced to share all my secrets with a bunch of strangers?
You will never be forced to share more than you are comfortable with. Making sure every group member feels secure and supported is my job in the group, and it’s one I take extremely seriously. Over time, a bond will develop with the group, and you will likely feel comfortable sharing and opening up, but I will not rush or force this process. However, if interacting with a small group this way feels extremely intimidating or threatening, this might not be the best time to start group therapy. It is completely natural to feel nervous about starting group. If you are very interested but also very terrified, seeing me for a few individual sessions first might help you get over this hump.
I’m tempted to try a group because it’s cheaper, but I think I might really need therapy one-on-one.
This is a tough call to make on your own. On the one hand, most people participating have had some individual therapy, usually with me, before coming into group. On the other, some people are ready to jump into group therapy right away, depending on what you are looking to gain from your therpy experience. The best thing is to call me and come in for a 30-minute meeting, at no charge, to see if you are a right fit for group.
One of the advantages to being part of a group is its affordability. Please note that in addition to the weekly 90-minute group sessions, you will meet with me individually once every two months (or as needed) in order to make sure you are getting as much as possible from your group experience.
“Tonya Lester is a gifted therapist who works extremely well with adults, couples, and groups. She is bright, conscientious, reliable, and insightful. She is a very good listener indeed who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her practice. I refer more patients/clients to her than to any other professional in my network.” John Broughton, Ph.D, Psychotherapist
Group therapy is dynamic, exciting, and extremely effective. Many clients experience profound changes in their lives and relationships once they are participating in a group. You, too, can experience those positive changes. If you are interested in giving group therapy a try, give me a call to schedule a free, 30-minute meeting to see if group therapy is right for you.
To schedule an appointment with me, click here.