The way I practice group therapy is different from the way I practice individual therapy. I will try my best to explain the major points here. Please feel free to ask me additional questions. My groups usually don’t have topics. The focus of my groups are usually interpersonal. According to relational theory, people learn how to have relationships in early childhood. This usually starts with their first relationships, which are a child’s caregivers. Through these interactions the child develops a pattern of relating to others. Many times we develop ways of interacting as children that are no longer necessary and may even hinder us in connecting to others. Group allows people to practice new ways of interacting in a safer environment. Then the client can try these new ways of interacting in the larger world. Group work helps people develop a more empathic listening style and teaches clients how to say things in a way that makes people less defensive. Honest, but kind, feedback from the group members is important.
The most meaningful kind of feedback deals with the relationship between the sender and the receiver. For example a group member might say “I have felt that way before, too. This makes me feel more connected to you.” This would be more therapeutic then the group member saying “I think you should……”. It does take a little encouragement at first to help the group members learn how to give feedback. They have to show more of themselves than they are used to. Once the group members communicate in a way that shows themselves, they may want to try communicating this way outside of group. This is only a little bit about how my groups operate. If this is something that interests you, please give me a call and I will see if I have a group that is right for you.